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Author Topic: Serious concerns about the Throne of God!  (Read 1835 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: September 27, 2012, 05:59:53 PM »

 First of all this post is not meant to offend anyone. I just wanted to drive your attention on a particular issue which concerns the throne of God and the way it is depicted through all the iconostasis.
 
 Basically what we have drawn in the picture is an old man with a long beard sitting on a small wooden chair or being wrapped in some kind of cloth. This is probably the most famous depiction of The Father in the church. The problem with all of this is that it has nothing to do with what the Bible says.

1.) God's throne is not a wooden small chair - The bible clearly describes God as sitting on a high and lofty throne (Isaiah 6). In fact the throne is so HUGE that the entire heavenly host surrounds it. It is something of humongous proportions probably as big as mountain or much bigger. Why the church then has degraded this majestic throne to an ugly old SMALL chair? The whole idea of God as being great and glorious is lost... Instead of towering above all other creatures the throne is something decreased to their level?

2 ) Why is God portrayed as an old man? The bible says that mountains melt like wax before the presence of the Lord. Heaven and earth will one day flee before him and his majesty (revelation 20:11). He dwells in unapproachable light infinitely brighter than any other light known to us. And this being is being presented as an old man?

 I just don't seem to get the idea. I would like to repeat again that this post is not meant to offend but to seek for answers. I know that the idea here is not to be literal but symbolic. The paintings are not meant to be taken literally but symbolically but this doesn't exclude the fact that the minds of millions are influenced to think of God as the old man on the chair just because human mind works strongly on the visual level. We all want to imagine how stuff looks like and we all want to have a good perception of things. However this is not the way of doing it. It seems wrong to me that the church has degraded the loftiest throne in existence to a regular-sized chair and the most glorious being in existence to an old man.

 I will be happy for your attention and opinion on this topic . Thanks in advance!
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« Reply #1 on: September 27, 2012, 06:34:30 PM »

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

First of all this post is not meant to offend anyone. I just wanted to drive your attention on a particular issue which concerns the throne of God and the way it is depicted through all the iconostasis.
 
 Basically what we have drawn in the picture is an old man with a long beard sitting on a small wooden chair or being wrapped in some kind of cloth. This is probably the most famous depiction of The Father in the church. The problem with all of this is that it has nothing to do with what the Bible says.

1.) God's throne is not a wooden small chair - The bible clearly describes God as sitting on a high and lofty throne (Isaiah 6). In fact the throne is so HUGE that the entire heavenly host surrounds it. It is something of humongous proportions probably as big as mountain or much bigger. Why the church then has degraded this majestic throne to an ugly old SMALL chair? The whole idea of God as being great and glorious is lost... Instead of towering above all other creatures the throne is something decreased to their level?

2 ) Why is God portrayed as an old man? The bible says that mountains melt like wax before the presence of the Lord. Heaven and earth will one day flee before him and his majesty (revelation 20:11). He dwells in unapproachable light infinitely brighter than any other light known to us. And this being is being presented as an old man?

 I just don't seem to get the idea. I would like to repeat again that this post is not meant to offend but to seek for answers. I know that the idea here is not to be literal but symbolic. The paintings are not meant to be taken literally but symbolically but this doesn't exclude the fact that the minds of millions are influenced to think of God as the old man on the chair just because human mind works strongly on the visual level. We all want to imagine how stuff looks like and we all want to have a good perception of things. However this is not the way of doing it. It seems wrong to me that the church has degraded the loftiest throne in existence to a regular-sized chair and the most glorious being in existence to an old man.

 I will be happy for your attention and opinion on this topic . Thanks in advance!

Actually, the Eastern Orthodox agrees with your sentiments and has explicitly forbidden icons which portray God the Father as "an old man with a white beard" however in the Ethiopian jurisdiction we have several Smiley

an Ethiopian example

stay blessed,
habte selassie
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« Reply #2 on: September 27, 2012, 06:40:56 PM »

1.  Jesus Christ has a human body of normal proportions so we can show him sitting on a normal throne. Some icons will show him enthroned on the cherubim and seraphim like here:


2.  Byzatine iconographic canons actually forbid depicting the Father as an old man.  That said some iconographers ignore the canons and paint the Father as an old man.
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« Reply #3 on: September 27, 2012, 07:23:47 PM »

First of all this post is not meant to offend anyone. I just wanted to drive your attention on a particular issue which concerns the throne of God and the way it is depicted through all the iconostasis.
 
 Basically what we have drawn in the picture is an old man with a long beard sitting on a small wooden chair or being wrapped in some kind of cloth. This is probably the most famous depiction of The Father in the church. The problem with all of this is that it has nothing to do with what the Bible says.

1.) God's throne is not a wooden small chair - The bible clearly describes God as sitting on a high and lofty throne (Isaiah 6). In fact the throne is so HUGE that the entire heavenly host surrounds it. It is something of humongous proportions probably as big as mountain or much bigger. Why the church then has degraded this majestic throne to an ugly old SMALL chair? The whole idea of God as being great and glorious is lost... Instead of towering above all other creatures the throne is something decreased to their level?

2 ) Why is God portrayed as an old man? The bible says that mountains melt like wax before the presence of the Lord. Heaven and earth will one day flee before him and his majesty (revelation 20:11). He dwells in unapproachable light infinitely brighter than any other light known to us. And this being is being presented as an old man?

 I just don't seem to get the idea. I would like to repeat again that this post is not meant to offend but to seek for answers. I know that the idea here is not to be literal but symbolic. The paintings are not meant to be taken literally but symbolically but this doesn't exclude the fact that the minds of millions are influenced to think of God as the old man on the chair just because human mind works strongly on the visual level. We all want to imagine how stuff looks like and we all want to have a good perception of things. However this is not the way of doing it. It seems wrong to me that the church has degraded the loftiest throne in existence to a regular-sized chair and the most glorious being in existence to an old man.

 I will be happy for your attention and opinion on this topic . Thanks in advance!
The "Old Man" imagery comes from the Ancient of Days depicted in Daniel 7: 13-14, which has in some places been interpreted as God the Father.
Quote
13 I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of Days, and they brought him near before him.

14 And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.
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« Reply #4 on: September 27, 2012, 08:17:31 PM »

Byzantine tradition assigns the title Ancient of Days to Christ:
http://www.iconsnunanastasia.com/img20.html
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« Reply #5 on: September 27, 2012, 08:52:06 PM »

Byzantine tradition assigns the title Ancient of Days to Christ:
http://www.iconsnunanastasia.com/img20.html
Then who was the Son of Man depicted in Daniel?
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« Reply #6 on: September 27, 2012, 10:47:07 PM »

Byzantine tradition assigns the title Ancient of Days to Christ:
http://www.iconsnunanastasia.com/img20.html

Maybe in some iconography, but not patristically: http://orthodoxwiki.org/Ancient_of_Days#The_Ancient_of_Days_in_Daniel_7
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« Reply #7 on: September 27, 2012, 11:28:15 PM »

1.) God's throne is not a wooden small chair

2 ) Why is God portrayed as an old man?
Yeah, we agree.
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« Reply #8 on: September 28, 2012, 09:43:26 AM »

Is not the Ancient of Days the Father ? Depicting from the book of Daniel ?
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« Reply #9 on: September 28, 2012, 09:53:55 AM »

Is not the Ancient of Days the Father ? Depicting from the book of Daniel ?

The vision in the book of Daniel is of the Son, not the Father. At any rate, the Father has never become incarnate, nor has He ever revealed Himself in any visible form. His voice was heard at Christ's Baptism and His Transfiguration, but a voice is still invisible and intangible.
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« Reply #10 on: September 28, 2012, 10:16:43 AM »

Is not the Ancient of Days the Father ? Depicting from the book of Daniel ?

The vision in the book of Daniel is of the Son, not the Father. At any rate, the Father has never become incarnate, nor has He ever revealed Himself in any visible form. His voice was heard at Christ's Baptism and His Transfiguration, but a voice is still invisible and intangible.
Yet your own hymnography contradicts this...
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« Reply #11 on: September 28, 2012, 10:23:03 AM »

Is not the Ancient of Days the Father ? Depicting from the book of Daniel ?

The vision in the book of Daniel is of the Son, not the Father. At any rate, the Father has never become incarnate, nor has He ever revealed Himself in any visible form. His voice was heard at Christ's Baptism and His Transfiguration, but a voice is still invisible and intangible.
Yet your own hymnography contradicts this...

What, that the Father became incarnate or visible in some form?

EDIT: Here is the kontakion for the Sunday of Orthodoxy, which commemorates the defeat of iconoclasm:

No one could describe the Word of the Father; but when He took flesh from you, O Mother of God, He consented to be described, and restored the fallen image to its former state by uniting it to divine beauty. We confess and proclaim our salvation in word and images.

And this, from St John of Damascus:

Of old, the incorporeal and uncircumscribed God was not depicted at all. But now that God has appeared in the flesh and lived among men, I make an image of the God who can be seen. I do not worship matter, but I worship the Creator of matter, who through matter effected my salvation. I will not cease to venerate the matter through which my salvation has been effected.
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« Reply #12 on: September 28, 2012, 10:53:16 AM »

Is not the Ancient of Days the Father ? Depicting from the book of Daniel ?

The vision in the book of Daniel is of the Son, not the Father. At any rate, the Father has never become incarnate, nor has He ever revealed Himself in any visible form. His voice was heard at Christ's Baptism and His Transfiguration, but a voice is still invisible and intangible.
Yet your own hymnography contradicts this...

What, that the Father became incarnate or visible in some form?

EDIT: Here is the kontakion for the Sunday of Orthodoxy, which commemorates the defeat of iconoclasm:

No one could describe the Word of the Father; but when He took flesh from you, O Mother of God, He consented to be described, and restored the fallen image to its former state by uniting it to divine beauty. We confess and proclaim our salvation in word and images.

And this, from St John of Damascus:

Of old, the incorporeal and uncircumscribed God was not depicted at all. But now that God has appeared in the flesh and lived among men, I make an image of the God who can be seen. I do not worship matter, but I worship the Creator of matter, who through matter effected my salvation. I will not cease to venerate the matter through which my salvation has been effected.

And from The Octoechos, Tone 5, Midnight Office Canon to the Holy and Life Creating Trinity, Ode 4, first troparion:

Quote
"Daniel was initiated into the mystery of the threefold splendour of the one Dominion when he beheld Christ the Judge going unto the Father while the Spirit revealed the vision."
“Μυείται τής μιάς Κυριότητος, τό τριφαές ο Δανιήλ, Χριστόν κριτήν θεασάμενος, πρός τόν Πατέρα ιόντα, καί Πνεύμα τό προφαίνον τήν όρασιν.”
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« Reply #13 on: September 28, 2012, 04:14:21 PM »

daniel specifically mentions the hair and the clothes of the 'Ancient of Days' but not His face or body (hands / feet etc.)
to me, it seems like the Father.

what do the orthodox church fathers say about this?
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« Reply #14 on: September 28, 2012, 09:05:54 PM »

daniel specifically mentions the hair and the clothes of the 'Ancient of Days' but not His face or body (hands / feet etc.)
to me, it seems like the Father.

what do the orthodox church fathers say about this?

St John of Damascus, for one, was implacably against any portrayal of the Father. He, and other saints and fathers, are quoted in this decree from the Great Council of Moscow (1666):

Quote
To paint an icon of the Lord Sabaoth, which is the same thing as the Father with a grey beard along with His only begotten Son in His bosom and a dove between them, is very bad and inappropriate, for no one has seen the Father in His divinity: for the Father does not have flesh and the Son was not incarnately born from the Father before the ages. As the Prophet David says, “from before the morning watch, I have begotten thee.” So this birth is not according to the flesh, but unspeakable and incomprehensible. And also Christ Himself says in the holy Gospel: “No one knows the Father but the Son …”, and Isaiah the prophet says, “to whom could you liken God? What image could you contrive of Him?” The same thing is also said by the holy apostle Paul in Acts 17:29: “since we are the children of God, we have no excuse for thinking that the Deity looks like anything in gold, silver, or stone that has been carved and designed by man.”

And as St John of Damascus said, “No one can make an imitation of the invisible and incorporeal and indescribable and unimaginable God; only a pure lunatic and totally impious person would do such a thing.” In the same way, St Gregory the Dialogist, Pope of Rome, forbids the same thing. Because of these preceding statements, we are supposed to understand the divinity of Sabaoth and the eternal birth of the only-begotten Son from the Father in our mind, but it is not possible and is inappropriate to write images of them. The Holy Spirit is not a dove according to essence but God by essence, and no one has ever seen God, as St John the Evangelist and Theologian witnesses. Only at the Jordan, at the holy baptism of Christ, did the Holy Spirit appear in the form of a dove, and for this reason it is permissible to paint an image of the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove for this icon. In any other place, it is not permitted to paint the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove.

Also He appeared on Mt. Tabor as a cloud and sometimes in other forms. In addition, the name Sabaoth is applied not to the Father but only to the Holy Trinity. According to Dionysius, Sabaoth is translated from Hebrew, the language of the Jews, as the “the Lord of Hosts,” and thus “Lord of Hosts” is the Holy Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Also the Prophet Daniel says, “I have seen the Ancient of Days sitting on the judgment seat,” and this is applied not to the Father but to the Son because he will be judging every nation with his fearful judgment at his Second Coming.

Also some write Sabaoth on the icons of the Holy Annunciation as He is breathing from His mouth, and this breath is going to the womb of the most holy Mother of God. Who has ever seen such a thing or what holy scripture witnesses to that? Where is it taken from? It is very clear that this practice and similar practices come from people who possess foolish wisdom or, more properly to stated, are crazy. On the basis of the preceding, we order from henceforth that this inappropriate and foolish practice stop.
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« Reply #15 on: September 28, 2012, 10:34:55 PM »

daniel specifically mentions the hair and the clothes of the 'Ancient of Days' but not His face or body (hands / feet etc.)
to me, it seems like the Father.

what do the orthodox church fathers say about this?

It's a confusing thing. Several fathers clearly identify the Ancient of Days with the Father. Check out this link: http://www.saintjonah.org/articles/ancientofdays.htm
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« Reply #16 on: September 28, 2012, 10:43:46 PM »

Is not the Ancient of Days the Father ? Depicting from the book of Daniel ?

The vision in the book of Daniel is of the Son, not the Father. At any rate, the Father has never become incarnate, nor has He ever revealed Himself in any visible form. His voice was heard at Christ's Baptism and His Transfiguration, but a voice is still invisible and intangible.
I thought Moses saw His back as He walked away.
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« Reply #17 on: September 28, 2012, 10:44:32 PM »

Icons aren't supposed to be accurate depictions anyway.
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« Reply #18 on: September 28, 2012, 10:53:46 PM »

daniel specifically mentions the hair and the clothes of the 'Ancient of Days' but not His face or body (hands / feet etc.)
to me, it seems like the Father.

what do the orthodox church fathers say about this?

It's a confusing thing. Several fathers clearly identify the Ancient of Days with the Father. Check out this link: http://www.saintjonah.org/articles/ancientofdays.htm

This article is based on one written by Vladimir Moss. Mr Moss is not someone I would give much authority on any area of Orthodoxy, much less iconography. IIRC, Moss' work is an apologia conforming to the error of the Matthewites, who promote the "NT Trinity" as canonical, and condemn the icon painted by Andrei Rublyev as uncanonical. Paul Azkoul makes the same mistake.
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« Reply #19 on: September 28, 2012, 11:01:49 PM »

daniel specifically mentions the hair and the clothes of the 'Ancient of Days' but not His face or body (hands / feet etc.)
to me, it seems like the Father.

what do the orthodox church fathers say about this?

It's a confusing thing. Several fathers clearly identify the Ancient of Days with the Father. Check out this link: http://www.saintjonah.org/articles/ancientofdays.htm

This article is based on one written by Vladimir Moss. Mr Moss is not someone I would give much authority on any area of Orthodoxy, much less iconography. IIRC, Moss' work is an apologia conforming to the error of the Matthewites, who promote the "NT Trinity" as canonical, and condemn the icon painted by Andrei Rublyev as uncanonical. Paul Azkoul makes the same mistake.

The source aside, is there anything flawed in the actual citations given? The 1666 council isn't particularly authoritative either, by the way.

Also, a question which I haven't seen answered: If the "Ancient of Days" is the Son, then who is the "son of man" who ascends to him?
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« Reply #20 on: September 28, 2012, 11:11:04 PM »

Answer me this, Iconodule:

Are there any feasts of the Church dedicated to God the Father? Are there Orthodox churches or monasteries dedicated to God the Father?
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« Reply #21 on: September 28, 2012, 11:16:35 PM »

Answer me this, Iconodule:

Are there any feasts of the Church dedicated to God the Father? Are there Orthodox churches or monasteries dedicated to God the Father?

I don't know. Do you have an answer for my questions, though?

I'm not defending icons of God the Father, but the question is obviously more complicated than some people let on.
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« Reply #22 on: September 28, 2012, 11:19:56 PM »

daniel specifically mentions the hair and the clothes of the 'Ancient of Days' but not His face or body (hands / feet etc.)
to me, it seems like the Father.

what do the orthodox church fathers say about this?

This was already answered:

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,47214.msg812651.html#msg812651

Also see Fr. John's article (link at bottom of the orthodoxwiki article).   
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« Reply #23 on: September 28, 2012, 11:22:24 PM »

daniel specifically mentions the hair and the clothes of the 'Ancient of Days' but not His face or body (hands / feet etc.)
to me, it seems like the Father.

what do the orthodox church fathers say about this?

This was already answered:

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,47214.msg812651.html#msg812651

Also see Fr. John's article (link at bottom of the orthodoxwiki article).   

So would you say that Moscow's 1666 council got it wrong then?
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« Reply #24 on: September 28, 2012, 11:28:14 PM »

daniel specifically mentions the hair and the clothes of the 'Ancient of Days' but not His face or body (hands / feet etc.)
to me, it seems like the Father.

what do the orthodox church fathers say about this?

It's a confusing thing. Several fathers clearly identify the Ancient of Days with the Father. Check out this link: http://www.saintjonah.org/articles/ancientofdays.htm

This article is based on one written by Vladimir Moss. Mr Moss is not someone I would give much authority on any area of Orthodoxy, much less iconography. IIRC, Moss' work is an apologia conforming to the error of the Matthewites, who promote the "NT Trinity" as canonical, and condemn the icon painted by Andrei Rublyev as uncanonical. Paul Azkoul makes the same mistake.

The 1666 council isn't particularly authoritative either, by the way.


I sure hope not.  That council consigns to hellfire anyone who amend the liturgical books or follow amended versions in any way (which means the bishops anathematize themselves since many of them were approving of the next redaction, and all northern Slavic peoples for all time thereafter).  So this council not only consigns old believers to eternal condemnation, but also "new riters" who would remain faithful to the Church after future redactions.  Not only were the service books, but the Typikon itself revised several times thereafter.    
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« Reply #25 on: September 28, 2012, 11:31:01 PM »

daniel specifically mentions the hair and the clothes of the 'Ancient of Days' but not His face or body (hands / feet etc.)
to me, it seems like the Father.

what do the orthodox church fathers say about this?

This was already answered:

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,47214.msg812651.html#msg812651

Also see Fr. John's article (link at bottom of the orthodoxwiki article).    

So would you say that Moscow's 1666 council got it wrong then?

They got one thing right, that Rublev-style icons truly depict the Trinity, something denied by some today, who say it was Christ and two angels.  

Here's the thing.  It is not wrong to say that God the Son can be depicted as ancient of days, because He is the express image of the hypostasis of the Father, and also is depicted as ancient of days in the book of Revelation.  But to say God the Father is not ancient of days is absurd, patristically speaking.  
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« Reply #26 on: September 28, 2012, 11:31:19 PM »

daniel specifically mentions the hair and the clothes of the 'Ancient of Days' but not His face or body (hands / feet etc.)
to me, it seems like the Father.

what do the orthodox church fathers say about this?

It's a confusing thing. Several fathers clearly identify the Ancient of Days with the Father. Check out this link: http://www.saintjonah.org/articles/ancientofdays.htm

This article is based on one written by Vladimir Moss. Mr Moss is not someone I would give much authority on any area of Orthodoxy, much less iconography. IIRC, Moss' work is an apologia conforming to the error of the Matthewites, who promote the "NT Trinity" as canonical, and condemn the icon painted by Andrei Rublyev as uncanonical. Paul Azkoul makes the same mistake.

The 1666 council isn't particularly authoritative either, by the way.


I sure hope not.  That council consigns to hellfire anyone who amend the liturgical books or follow amended versions in any way (which means the bishops anathematize themselves since many of them were approving of the next redaction, and all northern Slavic peoples for all time thereafter).  So this council not only consigns old believers to eternal condemnation, but also "new riters" who would remain faithful to the Church after future redactions.  Not only were the service books, but the Typikon itself revised several times thereafter.    

Yes, I'd say it was a disaster for the Russian church. Since the Moscow Patriarchate has allowed old-ritualists to return to the Church and keep their old rite, I think it's safe to say that the 1666 Moscow council is a dead letter.
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« Reply #27 on: September 28, 2012, 11:56:50 PM »

daniel specifically mentions the hair and the clothes of the 'Ancient of Days' but not His face or body (hands / feet etc.)
to me, it seems like the Father.

what do the orthodox church fathers say about this?

This was already answered:

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,47214.msg812651.html#msg812651

Also see Fr. John's article (link at bottom of the orthodoxwiki article).    

So would you say that Moscow's 1666 council got it wrong then?

They got one thing right, that Rublev-style icons truly depict the Trinity, something denied by some today, who say it was Christ and two angels.  

Here's the thing.  It is not wrong to say that God the Son can be depicted as ancient of days, because He is the express image of the hypostasis of the Father, and also is depicted as ancient of days in the book of Revelation.  But to say God the Father is not ancient of days is absurd, patristically speaking.  

But would you say it is appropriate to paint icons of God the Father as the Ancient of Days?
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« Reply #28 on: September 29, 2012, 12:09:27 AM »

daniel specifically mentions the hair and the clothes of the 'Ancient of Days' but not His face or body (hands / feet etc.)
to me, it seems like the Father.

what do the orthodox church fathers say about this?

This was already answered:

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,47214.msg812651.html#msg812651

Also see Fr. John's article (link at bottom of the orthodoxwiki article).    

So would you say that Moscow's 1666 council got it wrong then?

They got one thing right, that Rublev-style icons truly depict the Trinity, something denied by some today, who say it was Christ and two angels.  

Here's the thing.  It is not wrong to say that God the Son can be depicted as ancient of days, because He is the express image of the hypostasis of the Father, and also is depicted as ancient of days in the book of Revelation.  But to say God the Father is not ancient of days is absurd, patristically speaking.  

But would you say it is appropriate to paint icons of God the Father as the Ancient of Days?

I agree with 7th Ec. Council and St. Nikodemos on this point, and disagree with council of 1666-7.  While it is clear that St. John depicts "Ancient of Days the Son," I think there can be little doubt that St. Daniel the prophet depicts "Ancient of Days the Father," since the Son of man goes to His Father in the Ascension.   
 
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« Reply #29 on: September 29, 2012, 12:28:57 AM »

For what it is worth, a deacon from out of town once told me that the Ancient of Days in Daniel was also the Son, but he could not expound on it at the time because he was about to give a class.
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« Reply #30 on: September 29, 2012, 01:30:13 PM »

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

Just to mix it up, in the Book of Henok, a canonical book in the Ethiopian Tradition, the Ancient of Days is clearly the Father and distinct from the Holy One who is the Son.  This in part is why the Ethiopians preserve the EO forbidden images of the Father as an old man with a beard, in allusion to the Henok references Smiley

By the way, in my heart, the Church is the Throne of God where we meet Him in prayer during the Divine Liturgy and hopefully are blessed to receive Him through the Holy Communion.

stay blessed,
habte selassie
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« Reply #31 on: September 29, 2012, 05:38:51 PM »

well, i can see that many church fathers consider the 'ancient of days' to be the Father, but it does not automatically follow that we can depict the Father in iconography.

even daniel did not see Him clearly, so i don't think we should either.
in the coptic church we don't have this iconography in our churches.

i understand some churches do, but i have only seen it once so far (in a greek orthodox church).
i didn't venerate that icon, but there were about 100 others in the church, so i didn't feel like i missed out!
 Wink
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« Reply #32 on: September 29, 2012, 07:50:48 PM »

^I take it that you guys did not actually read the recommended links which have material from the acts of the 7th council that approve of OT theophanies such as the Ancient of Days being depicted.   
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« Reply #33 on: September 29, 2012, 11:55:55 PM »

daniel specifically mentions the hair and the clothes of the 'Ancient of Days' but not His face or body (hands / feet etc.)
to me, it seems like the Father.

what do the orthodox church fathers say about this?

It's a confusing thing. Several fathers clearly identify the Ancient of Days with the Father. Check out this link: http://www.saintjonah.org/articles/ancientofdays.htm

This article is based on one written by Vladimir Moss. Mr Moss is not someone I would give much authority on any area of Orthodoxy, much less iconography. IIRC, Moss' work is an apologia conforming to the error of the Matthewites, who promote the "NT Trinity" as canonical, and condemn the icon painted by Andrei Rublyev as uncanonical. Paul Azkoul makes the same mistake.

The 1666 council isn't particularly authoritative either, by the way.


I sure hope not.  That council consigns to hellfire anyone who amend the liturgical books or follow amended versions in any way (which means the bishops anathematize themselves since many of them were approving of the next redaction, and all northern Slavic peoples for all time thereafter).  So this council not only consigns old believers to eternal condemnation, but also "new riters" who would remain faithful to the Church after future redactions.  Not only were the service books, but the Typikon itself revised several times thereafter.    

Thus making it the Greatest Council Ever, even if there are no canons about bears in church. Those crazy Russians.
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« Reply #34 on: September 30, 2012, 01:23:22 AM »

daniel specifically mentions the hair and the clothes of the 'Ancient of Days' but not His face or body (hands / feet etc.)
to me, it seems like the Father.

what do the orthodox church fathers say about this?

This was already answered:

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,47214.msg812651.html#msg812651

Also see Fr. John's article (link at bottom of the orthodoxwiki article).    

So would you say that Moscow's 1666 council got it wrong then?

They got one thing right, that Rublev-style icons truly depict the Trinity, something denied by some today, who say it was Christ and two angels.  

What about saying that historically Abraham met Christ and the two angels and they are iconic of the Trinity?
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« Reply #35 on: September 30, 2012, 06:42:40 AM »

father h, i have read it, thank you for your effort in posting it, and i kiss yr hand.
i was pointing out that not all orthodox churches have the same position on it, so i think it is up for debate.
not that i want to debate a lot, as i am not a theologian - so i will leave the rest of the debate to those who know more.
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« Reply #36 on: September 30, 2012, 07:00:57 AM »

 I am quite happy with your answers and the fact that you all agree on the 2 points I mentioned. I know that eventually it doesn't matter that much whether God's throne is that big or not as big as mentioned previously but the point is that "height" is used quite a lot in the bible to express somebody's dominion above someone else. God is described as dwelling in the highest heavens. He is the high and lofty one. And the throne is described as well as "high and lofty" in Isaiah and "Great" in revelation 20 (greek is "megan" which means huge) . Jesus is said to be highly exalted on the throne. The idea throughout the bible that the throne is VEEERY HIGH is so finely expressed that it is hard to imagine God on a small chair instead of a towering throne which symbolizes total supremacy and transcendancy. I made the post because it was worrying that the church has degraded God from his magnifiscent throne and position and put him on something on a human level. This was my whole point. Thanks a lot for your posts Smiley
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« Reply #37 on: October 03, 2012, 04:01:21 AM »

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

Just to mix it up, in the Book of Henok, a canonical book in the Ethiopian Tradition, the Ancient of Days is clearly the Father and distinct from the Holy One who is the Son.  This in part is why the Ethiopians preserve the EO forbidden images of the Father as an old man with a beard, in allusion to the Henok references Smiley

By the way, in my heart, the Church is the Throne of God where we meet Him in prayer during the Divine Liturgy and hopefully are blessed to receive Him through the Holy Communion.

stay blessed,
habte selassie

I've never read the Book of Enoch, but it's not considered canonical in the Eastern Orthodox Church. But Jesus did say that no man hath seen the Father at any time (John 6:46).
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« Reply #38 on: October 04, 2012, 12:21:40 PM »

Some thoughts:

--The title Ancient of Days, if we want to be consistent, should apply to each Person of The Holy Trinity (none is more God than the other). You cannot see The Father because He is never visible (not even in the Age to Come). The Father can be known, interacted with, but not seen. What you see is Christ (the Icon, the Logos). And this is possible in The Holy Spirit.

--Clearly, you can never depict The Father in iconography because it cannot be a fact, and there's a canon against that.

--The Ancient of Days is really something that was more fitting to The Old Testament. It helped people visualize things back then. Honestly, God is never an old man with a beard; this would come close to the Human Nature of Christ, but He's not old. Nowadays, we have higher revelations such as The Uncreated Light, that God is immaterial spirit, and we are even called to give up any way of imagining God because He cannot be seen in His Essence (and this includes Christ's Divine Essence). Only His human (physical essence) can be actually seen. But, God CAN be known and seen by our nous (as Spirit). That's what we are called to, our whole struggle in The Church, to know God as He is.
« Last Edit: October 04, 2012, 12:22:46 PM by IoanC » Logged

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« Reply #39 on: October 06, 2012, 05:36:57 PM »

It is the Father though not in light but allegorically , metaphorically..
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