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Author Topic: The Fuss Over Icons  (Read 5435 times) Average Rating: 0
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« Reply #90 on: January 29, 2012, 05:39:55 AM »

I think the idea has to do with how different cultures expressed respect.  I can't imagine the reaction if had been 6 years old and took a picture of Christ and told me Grandmother, "here's what I think of Jesus" and spit on it.

Kissing icons, etc, are just the forms of respect that were paid to people and other things. If the culture iconography had developed in, had been one in which you just looked with longing and devotion on someone, but, never touched them physically, then it would have been transferred to Christian art and iconography.

That would have been a symbolic use of an object. The words spoken would and the spitting would be offensive alone without the image being of any importance.
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« Reply #91 on: January 29, 2012, 09:50:56 AM »

FountainPen, I recall mentioning some time ago that you did not seem to have attended any Orthodox services, and, IIRC, had recommended that you did, to get some idea of how icons are regarded and treated in Orthodox devotions and liturgical practice. May I also recommend you read the seminal treatise by St John of Damascus called In Defense of the Holy Images (found here: http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/source/johndam-icons.html, it's not a long document), which addresses a multitude of questions on the place and propriety of icons in Christian life.

If, after reading this work, and attending at least one or two Orthodox services, then come back to us with your concerns (if you have any) about iconography. Your concerns on the use of imagery in worship and devotion is nothing new - but the Church sorted it all out more than 1200 years ago. Present-day iconoclasts are simply reinventing a wobbly, wayward wheel.  Wink
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« Reply #92 on: January 29, 2012, 10:15:24 AM »


The cherubim in the temple are merely showing that the second commandment by itself is not a reason for prohibiting the making of images and placing them in churches. You're right that it would be a stretch to point to these as the main reason for venerating icons of Christ and the Saints.

The Incarnation is the precedent for icons as you are thinking of them: images which are venerated. Jesus Christ was worshiped whilst on earth, as recorded in Scripture, yet (as it says in the Divine Liturgy): "(they) have bowed not before flesh and blood but before You the awesome God". But of course.... they did "literally" bow before flesh and blood, because Jesus Christ (called the "image" or "icon" of God in Scripture) was fully man. So, the disciples bowed down before Jesus, took hold of His feet, and worshiped Him (Matthew 28:9), yet they are not worshiping a man, but their Lord, God and Saviour. A casual observer would just see some men bowing down and kissing he feet of another man, but the disciples knew what they were doing, and Who they were doing it to. It is similar with icons: we are not kissing or venerating pieces of wood and paint, but the the prototype of what they represent.

I can accept that explanation possibly, for the icons of Christ.

Okay. Would I be right in saying that you wouldn't accept it for other icons because you believe Christ to be omnipresent, but the Saints are not?
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« Reply #93 on: January 29, 2012, 10:52:38 AM »


The cherubim in the temple are merely showing that the second commandment by itself is not a reason for prohibiting the making of images and placing them in churches. You're right that it would be a stretch to point to these as the main reason for venerating icons of Christ and the Saints.

The Incarnation is the precedent for icons as you are thinking of them: images which are venerated. Jesus Christ was worshiped whilst on earth, as recorded in Scripture, yet (as it says in the Divine Liturgy): "(they) have bowed not before flesh and blood but before You the awesome God". But of course.... they did "literally" bow before flesh and blood, because Jesus Christ (called the "image" or "icon" of God in Scripture) was fully man. So, the disciples bowed down before Jesus, took hold of His feet, and worshiped Him (Matthew 28:9), yet they are not worshiping a man, but their Lord, God and Saviour. A casual observer would just see some men bowing down and kissing he feet of another man, but the disciples knew what they were doing, and Who they were doing it to. It is similar with icons: we are not kissing or venerating pieces of wood and paint, but the the prototype of what they represent.

I can accept that explanation possibly, for the icons of Christ.

Okay. Would I be right in saying that you wouldn't accept it for other icons because you believe Christ to be omnipresent, but the Saints are not?

No. Are you also suggesting that Christ is present in the icon in a mysterious way when the icon is being venerated?
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« Reply #94 on: January 29, 2012, 11:06:21 AM »

FountainPen, I recall mentioning some time ago that you did not seem to have attended any Orthodox services, and, IIRC, had recommended that you did, to get some idea of how icons are regarded and treated in Orthodox devotions and liturgical practice. May I also recommend you read the seminal treatise by St John of Damascus called In Defense of the Holy Images (found here: http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/source/johndam-icons.html, it's not a long document), which addresses a multitude of questions on the place and propriety of icons in Christian life.

If, after reading this work, and attending at least one or two Orthodox services, then come back to us with your concerns (if you have any) about iconography. Your concerns on the use of imagery in worship and devotion is nothing new - but the Church sorted it all out more than 1200 years ago. Present-day iconoclasts are simply reinventing a wobbly, wayward wheel.  Wink

I'm not a present day iconoclast who is unable to read long documents. Neither am i prepared to travel 2 hours there and 2 back, to get to an English speaking Orthodox service. My concerns are not limited to the church service so it's not as though i'm missing out on vital information by not attending and i've read several papers on icons that have been linked to on this forum, including that one.

Thanks.
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« Reply #95 on: January 29, 2012, 11:28:18 AM »


The cherubim in the temple are merely showing that the second commandment by itself is not a reason for prohibiting the making of images and placing them in churches. You're right that it would be a stretch to point to these as the main reason for venerating icons of Christ and the Saints.

The Incarnation is the precedent for icons as you are thinking of them: images which are venerated. Jesus Christ was worshiped whilst on earth, as recorded in Scripture, yet (as it says in the Divine Liturgy): "(they) have bowed not before flesh and blood but before You the awesome God". But of course.... they did "literally" bow before flesh and blood, because Jesus Christ (called the "image" or "icon" of God in Scripture) was fully man. So, the disciples bowed down before Jesus, took hold of His feet, and worshiped Him (Matthew 28:9), yet they are not worshiping a man, but their Lord, God and Saviour. A casual observer would just see some men bowing down and kissing he feet of another man, but the disciples knew what they were doing, and Who they were doing it to. It is similar with icons: we are not kissing or venerating pieces of wood and paint, but the the prototype of what they represent.

I can accept that explanation possibly, for the icons of Christ.

Okay. Would I be right in saying that you wouldn't accept it for other icons because you believe Christ to be omnipresent, but the Saints are not?

No. Are you also suggesting that Christ is present in the icon in a mysterious way when the icon is being venerated?

No, I wasn't. Alright, so why could you accept (possibly) what I said for icons of Christ, but not for other icons?
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« Reply #96 on: January 29, 2012, 11:43:31 AM »


No, I wasn't.

Then why would you think i'd accept it because of omnipresence?

Sorry, i thought that's why you had mentioned it.
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« Reply #97 on: January 29, 2012, 11:59:04 AM »


No, I wasn't.

Then why would you think i'd accept it because of omnipresence?

Sorry, i thought that's why you had mentioned it.

I was just speculating on why you said you could possibly accept the explanation for icons of Christ, and so imply that you still couldn't accept it for venerating icons of Saints. My presumption was wrong, I'm sorry. Maybe you weren't implying that at all... but if you are saying that the explanation "works" for icons of Christ but not icons of other Saints, then I do wonder what distinction you're making.
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« Reply #98 on: January 29, 2012, 01:27:14 PM »

Years ago there were many illiterate people and Icons were used to express biblical stories to those that couldn't read. That is why the images are usually referred to as written and not drawn.

And i would not have an issue with that at all as a teaching tool.

     OK. It's a beginning. The arguments your using are the same as those who defame alcohol because there are those who mishandle it and become drunks and alcoholics. So in order to help those who are misusing it everyone must not use it. This is more of a spiritual problem of the misuser. Than that of the icon. If the user is focusing on the wood and paint than surely they are misguided. If instead we look at the icon towards the image we are edified in the same way as we look upon a picture of a family member. Relating the picture with the person in it.
   
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« Reply #99 on: January 29, 2012, 02:04:29 PM »

Years ago there were many illiterate people and Icons were used to express biblical stories to those that couldn't read. That is why the images are usually referred to as written and not drawn.

And i would not have an issue with that at all as a teaching tool.

The veneration of icons teaches the proper reverence of those they represent, as well as teaching the stories depicted in a different/non-literary form (e.g., Christ's baptism in the Jordan). So they're still teaching tools, for the literate and the illiterate alike.

I'm glad you've come to realize that there is no problem whatsoever with icons. Smiley

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« Reply #100 on: January 29, 2012, 03:54:39 PM »

Years ago there were many illiterate people and Icons were used to express biblical stories to those that couldn't read. That is why the images are usually referred to as written and not drawn.

And i would not have an issue with that at all as a teaching tool.

FountainPen,

Going back to my initial response (#8), my question would be: do you have a problem with the veneration of icons, or veneration in general? What sort of objects do you think it is allowable to venerate?

and as long as I'm here (forgive me for not loading the thread in another tab and going for the quote in full context)

Quote
I can accept that explanation possibly, for the icons of Christ.

Do you understand that saints are an icon of Christ? So, to a degree, is every human, as we are all made in the image of God, but a saint is like a portrait to the unregenerate human's stick-figure. We have icons of saints not to take away from Christ, but because an icon of a saint is an icon of an icon of Christ.
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« Reply #101 on: January 29, 2012, 06:00:33 PM »

And there are those icons that are miracle-working...
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« Reply #102 on: January 29, 2012, 10:54:56 PM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

FountainPen, I recall mentioning some time ago that you did not seem to have attended any Orthodox services, and, IIRC, had recommended that you did, to get some idea of how icons are regarded and treated in Orthodox devotions and liturgical practice. May I also recommend you read the seminal treatise by St John of Damascus called In Defense of the Holy Images (found here: http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/source/johndam-icons.html, it's not a long document), which addresses a multitude of questions on the place and propriety of icons in Christian life.

If, after reading this work, and attending at least one or two Orthodox services, then come back to us with your concerns (if you have any) about iconography. Your concerns on the use of imagery in worship and devotion is nothing new - but the Church sorted it all out more than 1200 years ago. Present-day iconoclasts are simply reinventing a wobbly, wayward wheel.  Wink

I'm not a present day iconoclast who is unable to read long documents. Neither am i prepared to travel 2 hours there and 2 back, to get to an English speaking Orthodox service. My concerns are not limited to the church service so it's not as though i'm missing out on vital information by not attending and i've read several papers on icons that have been linked to on this forum, including that one.

Thanks.

People have crawled a thousand miles starving on their knees for God, if you can't bother driving merely two hours to witness Orthodox for yourself, then in your regretful laziness you have NO RIGHT to speak out anything against her, because you are simply to lazy or indifferent to check it out for yourself.  I am sorry but laziness is no excuse for willful and woeful ignorance  Undecided Undecided

I take the subway two hours just to get lunch sometimes but I'm from LA, we have a different concept of geography..

stay blessed,
habte selassie
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« Reply #103 on: January 29, 2012, 11:29:47 PM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

FountainPen, I recall mentioning some time ago that you did not seem to have attended any Orthodox services, and, IIRC, had recommended that you did, to get some idea of how icons are regarded and treated in Orthodox devotions and liturgical practice. May I also recommend you read the seminal treatise by St John of Damascus called In Defense of the Holy Images (found here: http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/source/johndam-icons.html, it's not a long document), which addresses a multitude of questions on the place and propriety of icons in Christian life.

If, after reading this work, and attending at least one or two Orthodox services, then come back to us with your concerns (if you have any) about iconography. Your concerns on the use of imagery in worship and devotion is nothing new - but the Church sorted it all out more than 1200 years ago. Present-day iconoclasts are simply reinventing a wobbly, wayward wheel.  Wink

I'm not a present day iconoclast who is unable to read long documents. Neither am i prepared to travel 2 hours there and 2 back, to get to an English speaking Orthodox service. My concerns are not limited to the church service so it's not as though i'm missing out on vital information by not attending and i've read several papers on icons that have been linked to on this forum, including that one.

Thanks.

People have crawled a thousand miles starving on their knees for God, if you can't bother driving merely two hours to witness Orthodox for yourself, then in your regretful laziness you have NO RIGHT to speak out anything against her, because you are simply to lazy or indifferent to check it out for yourself.  I am sorry but laziness is no excuse for willful and woeful ignorance  Undecided Undecided

I take the subway two hours just to get lunch sometimes but I'm from LA, we have a different concept of geography..

stay blessed,
habte selassie

How you can start and end your posts with the supposed 'blessings' and then come out with such harsh and personal judgement is beyond me.

When i get home from work, i am responsible for looking after a terminally ill family member. I don't have time to drive two hours there and back to get to church on a weekend because i'm not free to do so and i'm not prepared to leave them with a carer on the weekend like i have to on a week day. It has nothing to do with laziness or not being bothered as you wrongly assume.

Trying to shame me by telling me of people who have crawled thousands of miles for God... is well... i have no words Habte -- none that i can post anyway.

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« Reply #104 on: January 29, 2012, 11:49:04 PM »

Years ago there were many illiterate people and Icons were used to express biblical stories to those that couldn't read. That is why the images are usually referred to as written and not drawn.

And i would not have an issue with that at all as a teaching tool.

FountainPen,

Going back to my initial response (#8), my question would be: do you have a problem with the veneration of icons, or veneration in general? What sort of objects do you think it is allowable to venerate?

and as long as I'm here (forgive me for not loading the thread in another tab and going for the quote in full context)

Quote
I can accept that explanation possibly, for the icons of Christ.

Do you understand that saints are an icon of Christ? So, to a degree, is every human, as we are all made in the image of God, but a saint is like a portrait to the unregenerate human's stick-figure. We have icons of saints not to take away from Christ, but because an icon of a saint is an icon of an icon of Christ.

I do understand that each component is able to be explained logically as being just a small thing that isn't anything to be concerned about. Kissing, bowing, venerating etc., but put them all together and that's when i start having problems.

As for saints being icons of Christ -- this is what that sounds like to me: We Orthodox collect boxes, not just any old boxes but only the boxes that used to contain gifts. We have several and they don't have to be fancy ones they can just be plain old boxes or sometimes bags too. We stack them all in a corner and periodically look at them because they remind us of the gift that used to be inside and they are representitive of the gift that is Jesus. We are all gifts and that's why we give gifts to one another because it reminds us of Jesus. Don't you see, that's why we keep the boxes because it brings us closer to Jesus.

Now i know that this is nonsense, but what you're telling me makes about as much sense to me as what i've written above. I can see the obvious links you're making with icons, Christ, saints, restoration of the image etc., but the overall elephant in the room, as-it-were, is still idolatry.

I'm trying, i really am.
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« Reply #105 on: January 30, 2012, 01:30:17 AM »

As for saints being icons of Christ -- this is what that sounds like to me: We Orthodox collect boxes, not just any old boxes but only the boxes that used to contain gifts. We have several and they don't have to be fancy ones they can just be plain old boxes or sometimes bags too. We stack them all in a corner and periodically look at them because they remind us of the gift that used to be inside and they are representitive of the gift that is Jesus. We are all gifts and that's why we give gifts to one another because it reminds us of Jesus. Don't you see, that's why we keep the boxes because it brings us closer to Jesus.

The saints aren't boxes that contained (past tense implying they no longer do) gifts, but contain (present tense) gifts, more like display cases for showing off the gifts they contain. I don't know how useful that is for you, but I hope it helps as far as explaining the saints and relics. As for icons specifically, I typically use the argument that most iconoclasts treat images representative of secular authority with more reverence than they do religous ones. One example would be that no one has a problem with saluting their nation's flag, but wouldn't dare show the slightest reverence to an icon.
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« Reply #106 on: January 30, 2012, 02:01:51 AM »

I can see the obvious links you're making with icons, Christ, saints, restoration of the image etc., but the overall elephant in the room, as-it-were, is still idolatry.

I'm trying, i really am.
Perhaps the issue is cultural. How middle eastern and russian people honor stuff is different from how Americans honor stuff.

They kiss, we handshake.

They touch dead bodies, we fill them with chemicals and encase them in steel.

'Cause what you seem to be saying is, "I get honoring, but the stuff you guys do to icons is not just honor." Maybe our culture just sucks at physically honoring stuff, so authentic gestures of honor seem idolatrous by comparison.
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« Reply #107 on: January 30, 2012, 12:51:05 PM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!




How you can start and end your posts with the supposed 'blessings' and then come out with such harsh and personal judgement is beyond me.

When i get home from work, i am responsible for looking after a terminally ill family member. I don't have time to drive two hours there and back to get to church on a weekend because i'm not free to do so and i'm not prepared to leave them with a carer on the weekend like i have to on a week day. It has nothing to do with laziness or not being bothered as you wrongly assume.

Trying to shame me by telling me of people who have crawled thousands of miles for God... is well... i have no words Habte -- none that i can post anyway.



Excuse me, perhaps that came across harsher then it needed to be or was intended, but the truth hurts sometimes.  The reality is that you are lazy if you are saying, "Neither am i prepared to travel 2 hours there and 2 back, to get to an English speaking Orthodox service. "  Even with all the circumstances you are dealing with, do you think that we in Orthodox don't have the same? None of us have ill relatives or logistical problems? You shouldn't dismiss the reality of Church because of your current circumstances, we are all in this same boat, we all have these same problems, do you know how we deal with them? The Divine Liturgy. THIS is why folks here continually invite you to visit a Church and attend a Liturgy, because the healing from the Holy Spirit which you, me, and us all need DAILY is in the Liturgy, is in the Church.  If you scoff or dismiss it, that is your business, but we are sincerely trying to help you the only way God has helped us, we are trying to share with you what God has shared with us, if you aren't interested, we simply can't help you. You are drawing your own fundamental lines in the sand here, but we can't teach you Orthodox, you have to experience it for yourself.  I'll tell you like I tell my students, "Give God the opportunity, don't waste it."

I take the subway 2 hours each way EVERY Sunday to go to Liturgy.  Orthodox is an experience, not a book.  Why did the Inca King Ataluapa through the Bible on the ground, because he couldn't read it and rightfully said that it didn't speak to him.  This is why the Church lives and teaches through the experience of the Divine Liturgy.  You will not find Orthodox in any of the books you are reading, you can only find Orthodox from the tangible experience of the Church, through prayer and the Holy Spirit.  I found your attitude a bit condescending by the way, sorry if I flinched.

stay blessed,
habte selassie
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« Reply #108 on: January 30, 2012, 01:13:17 PM »

I havent read all the pages of this, but Id just like to put in my two cents.  Remember, I grew up protestant but i now have an icon corner. 

One way that it benefited me, was sort of an accountability.  (I guess thats the right word...)  My prayer life was pretty miserable.  At best, my prayer life was me mumbling a prayer into my pillow, if I remembered,  when I went to sleep.   You may not be as bad as i was though.   All I can say is that having a specific location to say my prayers, (not that prayer is limited to that location of course) and having a sort of prayer rule has been extremely beneficial.  I dont even walk passed the icons without praying something, even if its just saying the Jesus prayer as im walking by.  These sort of things are meant to help you with your prayer life. 

As far as idolatry, I just dont get it.  People in evangelical circles have no problem raising their hands, or kneeling at the foot of the stage when a rock and roll worship band is performing.  Could we not make an argument that you (not you in particular) are idolizing the rock band?  I can assure you I dont worship these things.  I dont see whats so wrong with looking at an icon of Chirst as you pray to him.  Or looking at an icon of a saint when asking him to pray for you.  (intercession of saints is a whole other topic of course. no need to get into that here.)  Prayer can be challenging at times.  Engaging more of my senses with the visuals of the icons, scent of the incense, and touching a prayer rope is what helped me to get back on track. 
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« Reply #109 on: January 30, 2012, 01:16:21 PM »

Habte, don't you think it might be more conducive to bringing Fountain Pen to Orthodoxy not to continue in haranguing him/her along the same lines they already objected to? I know that when I came here originally, I was also far from the Orthodox Church and felt I could not attend (the nearest OO church is so far away that even the local Ethiopians attend the EO church rather than traveling for hours upon hours to attend liturgy; are you going to call all of them lazy, too?). By the grace of God, I moved some 1200 miles away and can now attend Orthodox services as often as they are offered. It is a blessing of God as much as being able to tend to a terminally ill relative (something I have also done) is, because just as the faith is not in reading books, it is likewise not only in attending services and feeling ourselves right with God for our exertions. So rather than negatively appraising others for what they do not do, why not show a way that they might come closer to the true faith and the greatness of mercy that may sustain them while they are outside the church? For instance: We cannot always go to church, but we can learn the Agbeya (as I did before I moved here and could attend services). We cannot always pray the full hour, but we can pray the Prayer of Thanksgiving (as I often do, and would have done over my mother had I known it when she was dying). Maybe if we have not memorized that yet, we can pray shorter prayers (Kyrie Eleison, the Jesus prayer, etc). There is always something we can do, but what we ought not do is disparage people for not being where we are, or where we would like them to be.

Of course Fountain Pen should go to church. I should too, but services are only so often since we don't have our own priest (they're flown in from Phoenix), so I suppose technically I am also falling short of the standard many have of weekly/daily attendance. That, I believe, is one of the strengths of Orthodoxy over my previous experience in RCism (with its concept of "Sunday Obligation"): It is adaptable to circumstances in which the struggling may find themselves not out of "laziness" toward its practice, but out of mercy towards its practicants.
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« Reply #110 on: January 30, 2012, 01:55:32 PM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

Habte, don't you think it might be more conducive to bringing Fountain Pen to Orthodoxy not to continue in haranguing him/her along the same lines they already objected to? I know that when I came here originally, I was also far from the Orthodox Church and felt I could not attend (the nearest OO church is so far away that even the local Ethiopians attend the EO church rather than traveling for hours upon hours to attend liturgy; are you going to call all of them lazy, too?). By the grace of God, I moved some 1200 miles away and can now attend Orthodox services as often as they are offered. It is a blessing of God as much as being able to tend to a terminally ill relative (something I have also done) is, because just as the faith is not in reading books, it is likewise not only in attending services and feeling ourselves right with God for our exertions. So rather than negatively appraising others for what they do not do, why not show a way that they might come closer to the true faith and the greatness of mercy that may sustain them while they are outside the church? For instance: We cannot always go to church, but we can learn the Agbeya (as I did before I moved here and could attend services). We cannot always pray the full hour, but we can pray the Prayer of Thanksgiving (as I often do, and would have done over my mother had I known it when she was dying). Maybe if we have not memorized that yet, we can pray shorter prayers (Kyrie Eleison, the Jesus prayer, etc). There is always something we can do, but what we ought not do is disparage people for not being where we are, or where we would like them to be.

Of course Fountain Pen should go to church. I should too, but services are only so often since we don't have our own priest (they're flown in from Phoenix), so I suppose technically I am also falling short of the standard many have of weekly/daily attendance. That, I believe, is one of the strengths of Orthodoxy over my previous experience in RCism (with its concept of "Sunday Obligation"): It is adaptable to circumstances in which the struggling may find themselves not out of "laziness" toward its practice, but out of mercy towards its practicants.

It isn't lacking attendance which I was criticizing, it is a scoffing or dismissive attitude.  If she wasn't intending to scoff the Church, then that is my mistaken interpretation, but tone doesn't translate well on internet forums.  Attitude and intention is what is important.  Folks need to PRAY constantly to be allowed the Grace to go to Church.  The moral of the Slaying of the Innocents is that Jesus is on the move and Christians are constantly under threat, so we simply can't take any opportunities for granted and we need to pray that God brings us through every single opportunity without squandering His Grace. If folks have nearby parishes and don't attend, they are scoffing the Church.  If folks have never been in their life, but are preemptively drawing the dividing line, what can they expect?

I didn't mean to disrespect her, but I may have also misunderstood her reply.  Folks have been polite enough to get into the lengthy discussions over the past few months with FountainPen, but at the end of the day, if she isn't even going to attend a single Divine Liturgy what is it worth? We aren't going to convince her to go to Orthodox Liturgy by the persuasiveness of our arguments about doctrine and dogma.  At the end of the day, FountainPen is just going to have to see it for herself!  So all this talking is redundant if she has already drawn that line in the sand.  Again though, I may have misunderstood her reply, but I read that as a dismissal of our invitation. We are Orthodox.  This is an Orthodox forum.  We are here to invite folks to our parishes, if the reject the invitation, what more can we do, but I felt she was throwing her rejection back in our faces like with a teeth smacking gesture..

and as to your comment about Ethiopians, A) it is not relevant to my point to FountainPen, because these Ethiopians are attending a closer Orthodox service, whereas apparently FountainPen has only one nearby and it isn't, its far, but regardless its the only one she may have. (B) Further, I would unashamedly call them lazy for choosing a local but non-Oriental parish.  I am very sensitive to these kinds of matter, I know folks who walked across Ethiopia to become refugees in Kenya or Sudan, dreaming and praying of their Ethiopian Church, and for folks in this modern US to have the luxury of driving, and not drive an extra few hours to experience the Kingdom of God on earth, what is the point?  Where are the priorities?  Again, I take the subway two hours each way to go to Liturgy every time, I don't have a car, nor have I had one for several years, so folks can't pull that cop-out to me, I speak from experience.  

I don't intend this a judgment  but definitely a criticism.  Folks need to give God the opportunity..

stay blessed,
habte selassie
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« Reply #111 on: January 30, 2012, 04:35:15 PM »

I didn't mean to disrespect her, but I may have also misunderstood her reply.  Folks have been polite enough to get into the lengthy discussions over the past few months with FountainPen, but at the end of the day, if she isn't even going to attend a single Divine Liturgy what is it worth?

St. Monica prayed for her son for how many years before the Spirit moved him to abandon his wicked ways and come to the Church? 20? 25? Something like that. The potential saints of today (i.e., everybody) deserve nothing less. While there almost always comes a point when it is profitable to back away from a particular argument (and it sounds like you've reached that point with FP), we never stop praying for people, do we? We never stop praying for the whole world. A few months, a few years, a few decades...whatever. Keep at it and do not despair.

Quote
We aren't going to convince her to go to Orthodox Liturgy by the persuasiveness of our arguments about doctrine and dogma.
 

Of course not. I think most people first attend church because they are invited. Arguing people into church is a bad way to do it because we do not come to God by argument.

Quote
At the end of the day, FountainPen is just going to have to see it for herself!  So all this talking is redundant if she has already drawn that line in the sand.
 

Well you know what they say about things built on sand. It applies to things written in sand, too. The line may move, with time. We may help it move, with patience and understanding.

Quote
Again though, I may have misunderstood her reply, but I read that as a dismissal of our invitation. We are Orthodox.  This is an Orthodox forum.  We are here to invite folks to our parishes, if the reject the invitation, what more can we do, but I felt she was throwing her rejection back in our faces like with a teeth smacking gesture..

I have a feeling I may have missed this invitation, but from what I have seen in this thread (posts calling her lazy), I do not blame her for not wanting to come experience the faith herself. The disposition of my spiritual family here in Albuquerque is, thanks be to God, almost unbearably light and kind, despite not moving an inch in the realm of doctrine or normative practices. If I were called lazy and derided for my failure to live up to what is already established, or even worse assumed to be purposely turning my nose up at the Orthodox way of life, I would not still strive to integrate myself into the community. I would give up and probably just stop going to church altogether. And as you say, you do not know whether or not you have understood FountainPen, but proceed based on your assumptions and hunches. Well, I have a hunch, too, having spent about 18 months of my 13th-14th year trying to care for my dying mother: FP is probably incredibly tired and burdened. So I would say this:

Fountain Pen, no one can argue you into Orthodoxy, nor do we necessarily seek to do so. Zealotry (in the positive sense of the word) sometimes overtakes us all, no matter who we are, and that can be off-putting to someone who comes from a background that does not accept what we already see as real/historically obvious/fundamental/etc. But our church is a place of comfort (even for people like me, the perpetually-uncomfortable catechumen) not because it is easy or basic, but because our Lord Jesus Christ is there. When we come together to worship our Lord, it is an entirely different experience than any argument on the internet can prepare you for or any book can inform you of. Our Lord has granted us relief from our burdens and rest for our souls in His holy Church, and when we enter into it it is like entering into heaven, or as close to it as we will ever get before we give up our souls to the Lord. It is absolutely transformative, and does not end with the liturgy. Every single Saturday (we in Albuquerque worship on Saturday because the priests who serve us need to return to their diocese in Phoenix for the Sunday service) changes me and my life. Sometimes a little bit, sometimes a lot. But it's never the same, and I'm never the same. Life is still difficult and tiring, but the peace of Christ is with me because I have come, by the Holy Spirit, to meet Him in His Church.

That is why you should go to the Orthodox Church. Maybe if you want a faith you can be immediately intellectually-convinced of and comfortable with, you will find it not to your liking. But if you want to lay down your burdens and be transformed by the presence of God before you, Orthodoxy will bring you there.
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« Reply #112 on: January 30, 2012, 05:15:49 PM »

Hey, guys, let's talk about Fountain Pen like she's not able to read all this.
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« Reply #113 on: January 30, 2012, 05:25:31 PM »

Geez, instead of "Come and See" it seems like all the posts here are doing nothing more than driving her away.

Well done team. Well done.


 Roll Eyes  Roll Eyes
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« Reply #114 on: January 30, 2012, 05:26:38 PM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!



Well you know what they say about things built on sand. It applies to things written in sand, too. The line may move, with time. We may help it move, with patience and understanding.



This speaks volumes of peace to my heart, thank you for it.  I never stopped praying for FountainPen or any folks outside of the Church, however my implication was that time and time again, not just on this thread but all the time on this forum, many many folks devote a lot of time to testify and witness Orthodox to FountainPen, and I interpreted her comment as being of a negative and dismissive attitude (she said "Neither am i prepared to travel 2 hours there and 2 back, to get to an English speaking Orthodox service. My concerns are not limited to the church service so it's not as though i'm missing out on vital information by not attending.)  I may have wrongfully interpreted that, again, tone is not translated well in internet forums.  Either way, my point remains valid, even if I crossed a line with the lazy comment.  

If FountainPen or any others are not prepared, or have no intentions of, or even see the inherent value of attending Divine Liturgy, then in their scholastic zeal they have entirely missed the point of Orthodox.  In Orthodox, it is far superior to be illiterate and shy with sincere faith and hope in the Liturgy, then to spend a lifetime burdened by books.  Jesus Christ said, "You search the Scriptures diligently, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me.  But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life."

stay blessed,
habte selassie
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« Reply #115 on: January 30, 2012, 05:30:09 PM »

Hey, guys, let's talk about Fountain Pen like she's not able to read all this.

I was addressing her directly because I can relate in some small way to where she is. What's wrong with that?
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« Reply #116 on: January 30, 2012, 05:33:39 PM »

Hey, guys, let's talk about Fountain Pen like she's not able to read all this.

I was addressing her directly because I can relate in some small way to where she is. What's wrong with that?
Your intentions were good. Just think it will do more harm than good. People don't like being talked about in that manner.
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if Christ does and says x. And someone else does and says not x and you are ever in doubt, follow Christ.

"Simply put, if you’re not willing to take what is dearest to you, whether plans or people, and kiss it goodbye, you can’t be my disciple."
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« Reply #117 on: January 30, 2012, 05:44:17 PM »

I don't really see how I talked about her in "that way" or any other way (I was relating my own experience of Orthodoxy, not hers or anyone else's), but okay. Fountain Pen, I apologize if you were offended in some way.
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« Reply #118 on: January 30, 2012, 06:31:36 PM »

Years ago there were many illiterate people and Icons were used to express biblical stories to those that couldn't read. That is why the images are usually referred to as written and not drawn.

And i would not have an issue with that at all as a teaching tool.

FountainPen,

Going back to my initial response (#8), my question would be: do you have a problem with the veneration of icons, or veneration in general? What sort of objects do you think it is allowable to venerate?

and as long as I'm here (forgive me for not loading the thread in another tab and going for the quote in full context)

Quote
I can accept that explanation possibly, for the icons of Christ.

Do you understand that saints are an icon of Christ? So, to a degree, is every human, as we are all made in the image of God, but a saint is like a portrait to the unregenerate human's stick-figure. We have icons of saints not to take away from Christ, but because an icon of a saint is an icon of an icon of Christ.

I do understand that each component is able to be explained logically as being just a small thing that isn't anything to be concerned about. Kissing, bowing, venerating etc., but put them all together and that's when i start having problems.

As for saints being icons of Christ -- this is what that sounds like to me: We Orthodox collect boxes, not just any old boxes but only the boxes that used to contain gifts. We have several and they don't have to be fancy ones they can just be plain old boxes or sometimes bags too. We stack them all in a corner and periodically look at them because they remind us of the gift that used to be inside and they are representitive of the gift that is Jesus. We are all gifts and that's why we give gifts to one another because it reminds us of Jesus. Don't you see, that's why we keep the boxes because it brings us closer to Jesus.

Now i know that this is nonsense, but what you're telling me makes about as much sense to me as what i've written above. I can see the obvious links you're making with icons, Christ, saints, restoration of the image etc., but the overall elephant in the room, as-it-were, is still idolatry.

I'm trying, i really am.

Also, St. John of Damascus gives us scriptural precedent for venerating icons.

"Abraham bowed down to the sons of Hamor, men who had neither faith nor knowledge of God, when he bought the double cave intended to be a tomb. Jacob bowed to the ground before Esau, his brother, and also before the tip of his son Joseph's staff. He bowed down, but he did not adore. Joshua, the son of Nun, and Daniel bowed in veneration before an angel of God, but they did not adore him" (The Divine Images, page 19).
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« Reply #119 on: January 30, 2012, 06:41:47 PM »

and further, what of the serpent of brass? were the israelites worshipping the statue when they came to it for healing?

"And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any person, when he beheld the serpent of brass, they lived"(Numbers 21:9).
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« Reply #120 on: January 31, 2012, 06:53:49 AM »

and further, what of the serpent of brass? were the israelites worshipping the statue when they came to it for healing?
Might not be the best example, considering what happened to that brass serpent.
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if Christ does and says x. And someone else does and says not x and you are ever in doubt, follow Christ.

"Simply put, if you’re not willing to take what is dearest to you, whether plans or people, and kiss it goodbye, you can’t be my disciple."
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« Reply #121 on: January 31, 2012, 02:58:11 PM »

and further, what of the serpent of brass? were the israelites worshipping the statue when they came to it for healing?
Might not be the best example, considering what happened to that brass serpent.

They did eventually go overboard, and offered incense to it and gave it a new name, but God did command that the israelites come to the serpent for healing. The serpent was at that time a "meeting place" between God and man. When people turned to the serpent as an end in itself and ignored God's glory working through it, well that was the turning point that led to their destruction.

this serpent was the first "icon" of Jesus, as foretold in the gospels.
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« Reply #122 on: January 31, 2012, 03:04:15 PM »

Also note that in between the golden cherubim on the ark was a similar "meeting place" between God and man. The high priest would come in to make his most sacred prayers and offerings before the ark in the holy of holies. So those who claim that the Jews did not pray nor offer worship to God before these "images" are mistaken.

Exo 25:22 And there I will meet with thee, and I will commune with thee from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubims which are upon the ark of the testimony, of all things which I will give thee in commandment unto the children of Israel.
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« Reply #123 on: February 01, 2012, 02:24:18 AM »

"Wherefore David blessed the LORD before all the congregation: and David said, Blessed be thou, LORD God of Israel our father, for ever and ever. Thine, O LORD, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, O LORD, and thou art exalted as head above all. Both riches and honour come of thee, and thou reignest over all; and in thine hand is power and might; and in thine hand it is to make great, and to give strength unto all. Now therefore, our God, we thank thee, and praise thy glorious name...

...And David said to all the congregation, Now bless the LORD your God. And all the congregation blessed the LORD God of their fathers, and bowed down their heads, and worshipped the LORD, and the king."

-1 Chronicles 29:10-13, 20
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if Christ does and says x. And someone else does and says not x and you are ever in doubt, follow Christ.

"Simply put, if you’re not willing to take what is dearest to you, whether plans or people, and kiss it goodbye, you can’t be my disciple."
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« Reply #124 on: February 03, 2012, 03:58:33 PM »

Nicholas Papas, an iconographer whose icons you can purchase at http://comeandseeicons.com, has just started writing for The Sounding, a blog run by OCN. His first blog post is a reflection on one of his works - a mural of Christ and ten saints - and I enjoyed reading an iconographer's thoughts on the significance of his own icon. 

By the way, FountainPen, although I come from a Catholic background, I always get excited when I see that you've posted something. You always ask such good questions, and it usually leads to a good discussion. What are your thoughts on Nick Papas' post? Is there anything that you find objectionable?
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« Reply #125 on: February 03, 2012, 05:18:22 PM »

Years ago there were many illiterate people and Icons were used to express biblical stories to those that couldn't read. That is why the images are usually referred to as written and not drawn.

And i would not have an issue with that at all as a teaching tool.

FountainPen,

Going back to my initial response (#8), my question would be: do you have a problem with the veneration of icons, or veneration in general? What sort of objects do you think it is allowable to venerate?

and as long as I'm here (forgive me for not loading the thread in another tab and going for the quote in full context)

Quote
I can accept that explanation possibly, for the icons of Christ.

Do you understand that saints are an icon of Christ? So, to a degree, is every human, as we are all made in the image of God, but a saint is like a portrait to the unregenerate human's stick-figure. We have icons of saints not to take away from Christ, but because an icon of a saint is an icon of an icon of Christ.

I do understand that each component is able to be explained logically as being just a small thing that isn't anything to be concerned about. Kissing, bowing, venerating etc., but put them all together and that's when i start having problems.

As for saints being icons of Christ -- this is what that sounds like to me: We Orthodox collect boxes, not just any old boxes but only the boxes that used to contain gifts. We have several and they don't have to be fancy ones they can just be plain old boxes or sometimes bags too. We stack them all in a corner and periodically look at them because they remind us of the gift that used to be inside and they are representitive of the gift that is Jesus. We are all gifts and that's why we give gifts to one another because it reminds us of Jesus. Don't you see, that's why we keep the boxes because it brings us closer to Jesus.

Now i know that this is nonsense, but what you're telling me makes about as much sense to me as what i've written above. I can see the obvious links you're making with icons, Christ, saints, restoration of the image etc., but the overall elephant in the room, as-it-were, is still idolatry.

I'm trying, i really am.

     Anything from money to golden calves can be considered idolatry. At this point I would just like to add. That it's our very own response to the image that makes it an idolatry or not. You know, there was once a time when people worshiped the sun and some still do. Would that mean that we have to destroy it to make us OK with your god? Or should one look at the real root of the problem. Which for me is "thy self"
    Not to belittle someones actions but. There are those who are week of mind and character that will always read thing wrongly. Take alcohol for example. Alcohol is dangerous to those who don't know how to use it properly. Do we then blame the alcohol for it's misuse? I hope you see now that there are many thing that you are presenting as miss information. Only because of the stance you choose to take in regards to icons. Your not allowing yourself to see things in a different context. The correct context might I add.
    When we look upon icons there are two images present. The picture and the substance of the person. We venerate the person in the Icon because the substance is that of a saint and a continuation of the image of Christ. In other words we see Christs actions through the saints actions. That is why they are deserving of veneration. They continue in the long line of saints from the time of Christ that have edified those who use them as an example of what Christ wants people to be.
     Ill go as far as to say there are those that do misuse icons in the orthodox faith. But I'm sure that there priests. If aware of the situation would certainly handle it accordingly and set there flock strait.
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« Reply #126 on: February 06, 2012, 07:53:20 PM »

Dear Fountain Pen,

I don't know if you are still reading this thread, but if so, though it may be hubristic of me, I think I can help with your questions. Over the years I've become a passable parrot of the thoughts and explanations of my betters.

What Icons are:
  • Images/remembrances of the champions and exemplars of the faith who have been revealed in the Church by God for veneration and emulation.
    Textbooks in the faith for the illiterate.
    Windows to heaven.
    The dullest edge of beatific vision.
    Hieroglyphs

What icons are not:
  • Idols
    Superfluous

Explanations:

History:
  • It would help to know the basic history of how icons interred the Church, there are four sources according to the Tradition. 1st. Christ, the image of God, made an image of Himself and passed it on to the King of Edessa with a promise to send to him one of His apostles after Christ had completed His earthly ministry. That apostle was Mattias, and according to Eusebius, Edessa was one of the the first, if not the first Gentlle city to convert to the faith…indeed it converted so deep in Christian history, in the first or second generation, the dating cannot be entirely certain.

    2nd: The Apostle Luke during his interviews with the Theotokos painted the prototype of the Theotokos and Holy Child images you find at the front of every Orthodox temple. According to the Tradition, the Theotokos said upon viewing St. Luke's work that her Son would bless that image. He later made more copies, and if memory serves there are at least four or five images of the Theotokos surviving that reputed to originally have been from his hand.

    3rd: The holy martyrs: This is where images of the saints come from. In Egypt and Palestine the funerary custom was to attach an image of the deceased, usually from a time of their youth and health, to the face of the body to be placed in the tomb. It served as a kind of grave marker, and given the particular funerary sensibilities of the Egyptians from pharonic times, the image on the board and the the deceased were believe to enjoy a mystical ontological connection beyond the grave.  When people in these regions became Christian, they kept many of their old funeral customs, and when the deceased was a martyr it was customary within the Christian community to take their relics (bones) into the Church for the veneration of the faithful. You can read about how tenderly early Christians felt about the relics of their martyred in the Martyrdom of St. Polycarp, who was a disciple and spiritual son of the Apostle John. When the relics came into the church, the funerary images came with them. So in those early centuries one began to find Christian temples whose walls were adorned with the images of those who had given their lives for Christ…members of the great cloud of witnesses of whom the world was not worthy. Naturally, over time those images began to be copied and shared, especially of martyrs whose life and death were especially noble in the service of Christ.

    As this practice became particularly Christian in its representation of the martyrs, the images became less overtly naturalistic and more theologically representative.  When the old funerary custom provided an image of the deceased as they appeared in the prime of their life, Christian funerary images of the martyrs showed the martyrs as persons whose lives were transformed by Christ..in union with Life Himself. Thus it was later argued that all images of the saints are images of Christ insofar as they are images of Christ as revealed in this or that holy person.

    4th Jerusalem: As Christianity grew in popularity, and conversions multiplied, and even the emperor himself and his mother became Christians, and it was safer to travel as Christian, and the emperor's mother had gone to great lengths to seek out and adorn the holy places in Jerusalem, Jerusalem then became a site of great pilgrimage. The Christians of Jerusalem commemorated the events of Christ's life and that of other biblical figure by painting images of them and adorning their their temples with them along with those of the martyred saints.  Visitors were very taken with these images, and wanted copies to take home with them as keepsakes, and inspiration pieces for their places of worship.  Soon enough a whole cottage industry of sorts grew up in and around Jerusalem to produce biblical event/life of Christ icons for the pilgrims who in turn spread them all over Christendom…for in those early centuries, the activities of the Church at Jerusalem, the eldest of them all was looked to as a standard bearer…so whatever was done and approved of by the Church in Jerusalem generally favorably received and often emulated.

Hieroglyphs, Beatific Vision/Windows to Heaven:
The funerary experience of the Church with her martyrs established the idea of the connection between the image and the prototype. It was similar in concept to the idea that the statue of an emperor present in a place of official gov. business solemnized the business…sort of like the way we regard a notary seal as making something official, only more-so. So just as the government had images of its ruler in places of government business, the Church had images of her ruler in her temples. The image and it's prototype were understood to be connected, the image in a way making present the person who was the prototype.  This also coincided with similar perceptions in the liturgical experience of the Jews at Passover, where one who has eaten the meal and heard the recitation of the story of the exodus to have been mystically present at the original event. This mindset greatly informed the compositional aesthetics of icons as these things began to be pondered and standardized within the Church. This is why well wrought icons have a reversed perspective, which seems to distort the "natural" appearance of things represented therein like chairs and pedestals, buildings, etc.  The vanishing point for the composition is located in the viewer, not on the plane of the horizon.  This means the icon does not exist as a mere flat representation, but creates through its composition a sacred space in collaboration with the viewer. The image 'wraps' around the viewer, moves towards him, includes him in the event depicted or in the presence of the person whose image it is.

It was not only Egyptian funerary customs which contributed to Christian iconography the graphic legacy of Egyptian hieroglyphics.  This is at the root of why one often hears of icons being written, not painted…even though technically speaking they are made with paints. Hieroglyphs followed certain conventions of the division of space and the representation of informational content. A geometric study of the placement of images in a well made icon will show these same divisions of space as found in hieroglyphic inscriptions. One also find conventions such as distance represented in height planes, of more important figures shown larger than less important ones, and a variety of artistic conventions to convey abstract or spiritual ideas…even the choice of colors has distinct meaning. For example, events that occurred indoors are shown outdoors but under a fabric awning. The divine light in a saint is shown by a golden nimbus, plants take fantastic shapes to point to otherworldliness…back towards paradise. First red, and then later gold leaf was used to represent light. There's a whole catalog of emblems and gestures that convey a variety of theological ideas…enlarged ear lobes over long locks of hair, for example are not necessarily indications of coiffure but is a way of showing that this person was sensitive to hearing the voice of God. Angel hair styles are modeled on those of Persian boy servants of that time…thus showing they are servants of God.  Images of the holy are always show full face or at least 3/4 and thus open to communion with the viewer. Images in profile are theologically, ecclesiologically closed.  So when an icon is seen all these compositional factors enter into how that image is understood and related to…how it is read.  For example you could spend months studying the implications of the composition of Andre Rublev's Hospitality of Abraham (Holy Trinity). Some have even gone so far as to suggest that it's composition is so profound as to be in itself a proof of the Holy Trinity. I cannot speak to that, but it does possess immense depths.

Given that the image is not just portraiture, but a kind of image conveyed sermon/hymn on a given holy theme composed in accordance with carefully chosen canons with regard to it content and execution, that they are regarded as being in line and color what the Gospels and Epistles are in the written word, it is in this respect they must be encountered and contemplated.  Same message, same content, different media.

Consider a favorite hymn which is well crafted and theologically rich. One first experiences it externally…you read the words and follow the notes and sing along. It touches you, and as your life experience grows your love and appreciation of the hymn grows as well. Soon enough you sing it from memory…no need for a book…and then one day you penetrate the words. You go behind the text to place where the composer was when he was inspired along these lines.  You encounter the place where the hymn came from…and from that day, it's not just another's words you agree with and sing…but your own song, for you have tasted the spring it flowed from. That is how an icon works. It is first experienced externally, then appreciated and loved, then one day the heart penetrates the image…as if a window had been opened and passed through. The place where the image came from, the holy vision to some extent is experienced and the prototype touched. Now the heart has been educated and sees beyond what the eye beholds, the image is a bridge leading towards the reality, joining this world to that, the duller end here, the glorious end there.  Now the external prayer said before the image has awakened in the heart and the heart moves swiftly in prayer to stand before God and the whole congregation of Angels and Saints, the triumphant assembly of the Church of the Firstborn, and Word of God.

Ostentation: The line here is relative. The principal we follow is that the worship of God and all associated with it should be beautiful. It's beauty should harrow the heart that it may receive and bring to fruit the seed of everlasting remembrance before God. Each community of faithful does what is within it's power to beautify its worship. What is ostentatious in one context is a fit and precious offering in another.  That said, yes people do go overboard when the ornament obscures rather than reveals the object ornamented. Some oklads (protective metal coverings for old or much venerated icons, usually of river and gold and sometimes jewels) are a bit much, leaving only little bits of the icon visible for veneration.  

The question of ostentatious veneration and venerations run amok were dealt with in the canons of the 7th ecumenical council. Prior to it, some went so far as to ingest bits of its paint, received communion from the hands of the icon of a beloved saint, used to stand in as godparents.  All these other similar uses were identified and forbidden.  The council explicitly stated that icons may receive only that level of veneration appropriate to be shown to another man.  It is on this point though moderns trying to critique icon veneration often get in trouble.  Moderns tend to be very democratic and egalitarian…the idea of the appropriateness of bowing and prostrating before kings, emperors and potentates is a million miles from their thoughts…but it was not so far from the thoughts of those who drafted the canons of the 7th council, in whose time such gestures of honor and respect were entirely common. We must learn our cultural myopias and take them into account in our judgements of ancient times and ways.  As humans we have a limited physical vocabulary…a deep bow in one context is veneration, in another it is latria…adoration and worship. Only context and the interior state of the heart determine it for sure.  That said, abuse is not an argument against right use. The Church has determined the boundaries of right use. It is up to us to observe them both positively and negatively.

Comments:

Being able to throw images in the trash…as if the image did not matter.  During the iconoclastic controversy an certain iconographer refused to obey the emperor's edict against painting icon.  After several years the iconographer was caught and dragged before the emperor who placed an icon of Christ on the floor and told the iconographer to trample it, because it was just paint and wood.  Instead the iconographer pulled a coin from his purse that bore the emperor's image and trampled it instead.  In fury the emperor commanded the iconographer be executed and as the guards dragged the hapless man away, he cried out, "You see your majesty, an image is not nothing!"

Bright Lines: There aren't any visible to the human eye though they run thorough the middle of every human heart.  We may not say to an icon, "You are my God." Nor may we treat it as if it were God. Yet we treat them with great joyful reverence in public and in private…even in procession.  We do not pray to an icon, we pray before it, because as noted it creates a sacred space which includes us and invites us to prayerful contemplation and worship.

Icons are not objects of naked intellection and aesthetic appreciation, rather they create places for an event of communion between us and Christ and His saints. The very nature embodies the Orthodox understanding of Christian gnosis…it is in experience, in communion, in participation, not in discursive thinking or ideation. And our experience is filtered and guarded with an icon because it stand compositionally and theologically within the Spirit lived experience of the Church across the ages.  And when an icon gets too old, too damaged to be repaired or used as it was created for, then it goes into the fire…not unlike our attitude towards a worn out national flag. It is disposed of respectfully.

So, please forgive my longwindedness, but I hope have have touched upon your major questions and concerns about Orthodox icons and iconography.
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« Reply #127 on: February 07, 2012, 07:31:14 AM »

I'm still reading  

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« Reply #128 on: February 10, 2013, 12:11:03 AM »

I don't want to focus on theology here, so much as your apparent belief that this type of veneration or shrine is weird. I think it is clearly a natural human way to deal with those who are no longer with us:
















^ the preserved shrine-bedroom of a dead American soldier

This is a natural human thing to do. If we do this sort of thing with more-or-less sinful people, so much more should we do it with those "good and faithful servants" who have been made worthy to live eternally with God?

And for what it's worth, I have known people who spoke to photographs of the dead, such as a parent, child, or spouse. Also they do it at the graveside too. This kind of thing is more common in the east, but I think it is a universal human reality.

a picture is worth a thousand words. Thank you, as being a catechumen the icon thing was really odd to me. BUT this really hit home <3
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« Reply #129 on: February 10, 2013, 12:16:17 AM »


History:
  • It would help to know the basic history of how icons interred the Church, there are four sources according to the Tradition. 1st. Christ, the image of God, made an image of Himself and passed it on to the King of Edessa with a promise to send to him one of His apostles after Christ had completed His earthly ministry. That apostle was Mattias, and according to Eusebius, Edessa was one of the the first, if not the first Gentlle city to convert to the faith…indeed it converted so deep in Christian history, in the first or second generation, the dating cannot be entirely certain.

    2nd: The Apostle Luke during his interviews with the Theotokos painted the prototype of the Theotokos and Holy Child images you find at the front of every Orthodox temple. According to the Tradition, the Theotokos said upon viewing St. Luke's work that her Son would bless that image. He later made more copies, and if memory serves there are at least four or five images of the Theotokos surviving that reputed to originally have been from his hand.



okay, I was wondering which image of Christ was most accurate as I once heard the common portrayal was a famous artist who painted his gay lover (have no idea of the credibility of that, but have since been seeking a legitimate illustration with history). Do you have an image you could send? And of Theotokos and Christ? Thank you so much for the long windedness!![/list]
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« Reply #130 on: February 10, 2013, 01:19:42 PM »

 
Quote
I once heard the common portrayal was a famous artist who painted his gay lover

I've never heard of such a thing. It is possible there are some today or in recent history who paint in an iconographic style and use models of people they know for the images.  Such was popular to do with religious pictures of the Virgin Mary in the West during the Renaissance. However, that sort of thing is deeply contrary to the canons of the Church with respect to holy images. Their forms are dictated within the Tradition and must rest on historical sources and documented accounts. They are in line and color what the Scriptures are in written word, thus the types and compositions of images accepted as icons in the Church are carefully guarded. This of course does not mean all iconographers are of equal talent, or of equal depth of spiritual life…all things that become part of any given icon.

The Face. The image we understand to be that of Christ likely has its deepest root in the image of the Holy Mandylion (Holy Napkin), and those of the Theotokos of those images by the hand of St. Luke.



The image of Christ at St. Catherine's on Mt. Sinai dates from before the iconoclastic controversy, and is one of the primary iconographic models in use today:


This is the type of the blessed Theotokos know as Hodegetria or Directress/She who shows the way. This is the pose/composition first attributed to St. Luke:


Another very old version of the Theotokos is the Oran's or Worshiper. Specific variations have various names, but among the most common are the ones with Christ in a mandorla at her bosom. This represents the moment she said yes to God and Christ became incarnate within her. It was the moment when Heaven met earth. This is why this icon is traditionally placed directly behind the altar in it's apse. Since the whole temple is an icon of the cosmos, the place in the apse of the altar is where the roof meets and becomes one with the wall, just as heaven touched earth and God became Man, and it is in the altar on the throne where bread and wine become the Body and Blood of Christ, again heaven meeting earth. These images are generally called either Panagia (all holy) or Wider than the Heavens (because her womb became wider than the heavens…containing Him Whom the heavens cannot contain)

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« Reply #131 on: February 10, 2013, 11:19:35 PM »

Dear to Christ, "Fountain Pen",

If you have access to the internet, you can "attend" a Divine Liturgy even if you can not physically attend. Broadcast of the Divine Liturgy are available on the internet by several jurisdictions in the USA. Some are in the original tongue of the jurisdiction but most are bilingual or all in English. While these are pale substitutes for the full witness of participating in the Divine Liturgy and the other services of the Church, however they will enable you to worship with the Orthodox. As a son who cared for my mother with my precarious wife and hard working teenagers for some six years until she reposed, I know first hand the extra burden you carry as a loving family caregiver. It is important for you to get Respite to be spiritually charged even if it is only once a month try to attend a Liturgy, talk privately with a Priest and try to get the spiritual support and answers you need.

In Christ,
Thomas
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« Reply #132 on: February 11, 2013, 09:55:29 PM »

Quote
I once heard the common portrayal was a famous artist who painted his gay lover

The Face. The image we understand to be that of Christ likely has its deepest root in the image of the Holy Mandylion (Holy Napkin), and those of the Theotokos of those images by the hand of St. Luke.



This is going to sound very very ignorant so please pardon me, but the Holy Napkin...napkin as in like napkin to assist in tidy eating? Like to wipe your hands on?
And thank you so much, these images hold much much more meaning knowing this bit of history behind them.
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« Reply #133 on: February 11, 2013, 10:04:21 PM »

Quote
I once heard the common portrayal was a famous artist who painted his gay lover

The Face. The image we understand to be that of Christ likely has its deepest root in the image of the Holy Mandylion (Holy Napkin), and those of the Theotokos of those images by the hand of St. Luke.



This is going to sound very very ignorant so please pardon me, but the Holy Napkin...napkin as in like napkin to assist in tidy eating? Like to wipe your hands on?
And thank you so much, these images hold much much more meaning knowing this bit of history behind them.

"Napkin" in this context simply means "cloth".
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« Reply #134 on: February 11, 2013, 10:06:14 PM »

"Napkin" in this context simply means "cloth".

Is it the same case with Acts 19:11-12?
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