Author Topic: Why would Catholic Christian use Statues to worship God?  (Read 2603 times)

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Offline Nephi

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Re: Why would Catholic Christian use Statues to worship God?
« Reply #45 on: December 06, 2012, 12:22:26 PM »
Is there a difference between "praying before" and "venerating?"

Offline Apotheoun

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Re: Why would Catholic Christian use Statues to worship God?
« Reply #46 on: December 06, 2012, 12:25:24 PM »
Is there a difference between "praying before" and "venerating?"
That may depend upon the person doing the "praying" or "venerating."  For me personally, I would not pray before a statue because the act of veneration always involves prayer along with other physical actions.
« Last Edit: December 06, 2012, 12:25:35 PM by Apotheoun »
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Offline age234

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Re: Why would Catholic Christian use Statues to worship God?
« Reply #47 on: December 06, 2012, 12:51:58 PM »
Were you venerating them, as in revering or treating them with great reverence, or were you praying before them without actually venerating the object or that which you believed it to be imbued with, i.e. divine energy?

I treated it exactly like an icon. I said a prayer and kissed the base of it.

I don't personally see the difference, as venerating images of any kind is wholly apart from my pre-Orthodox life experience. I've never been a pagan idol-worshipper, so it doesn't seem like it would be a stumbling block, as the act does not tempt me to start worshipping pagan gods.

Not that I go around venerating statues. On the rare occasion I've found myself in a Roman church for some reason I've done it, but it's not as if it's a common occurrence.
« Last Edit: December 06, 2012, 12:52:53 PM by age234 »

Offline J Michael

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Re: Why would Catholic Christian use Statues to worship God?
« Reply #48 on: December 06, 2012, 01:00:21 PM »
Is there a difference between "praying before" and "venerating?"

I think Apotheoun's answer is pretty good.  I'd say, yes, there is a difference.  If I, for example, stand or kneel in front of a statue of the Theotokos, and pray the Hail Mary or an Akathist to her, am I venerating the statue or am I saying a prayer before it "using" it, perhaps but not necessarily as a kind of physical cue to evoke a deeper reverence for the Theotokos herself?
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Offline Apotheoun

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Re: Why would Catholic Christian use Statues to worship God?
« Reply #49 on: December 06, 2012, 01:08:52 PM »
Is there a difference between "praying before" and "venerating?"

I think Apotheoun's answer is pretty good.  I'd say, yes, there is a difference.  If I, for example, stand or kneel in front of a statue of the Theotokos, and pray the Hail Mary or an Akathist to her, am I venerating the statue or am I saying a prayer before it "using" it, perhaps but not necessarily as a kind of physical cue to evoke a deeper reverence for the Theotokos herself?
It sounds like you are using the statue simply as a physical object that reminds you mentally of the Virgin Mary, who is not herself present in the statue.  That is a very Augustinian approach, which - although foreign to my own spiritual praxis - is less problematic than one that tries to apply the Eastern theology of icons to statues.
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Re: Why would Catholic Christian use Statues to worship God?
« Reply #50 on: December 06, 2012, 01:20:54 PM »
Were you venerating them, as in revering or treating them with great reverence, or were you praying before them without actually venerating the object or that which you believed it to be imbued with, i.e. divine energy?

I treated it exactly like an icon. I said a prayer and kissed the base of it.

I don't personally see the difference, as venerating images of any kind is wholly apart from my pre-Orthodox life experience. I've never been a pagan idol-worshipper, so it doesn't seem like it would be a stumbling block, as the act does not tempt me to start worshipping pagan gods.

Not that I go around venerating statues. On the rare occasion I've found myself in a Roman church for some reason I've done it, but it's not as if it's a common occurrence.

Statues are 3-d and often life-like in their dimensions. Venerating something like that makes my teeth itch.

 A flat, painted Icon is clearly a likeness, not an attempt to recreate the physical presence full blown. So it is clear in a Icon that we are venerating a projection, an image of the that which is being venerated. A statue comes closer to the Pagan idea of the Statue being the thing itself due to it being made life-like.  

Statues are old technology. How would you feel about venerating a Hologram that could move and react?
« Last Edit: December 06, 2012, 01:39:04 PM by Marc1152 »
Your idea has been debunked 1000 times already.. Maybe 1001 will be the charm

Offline J Michael

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Re: Why would Catholic Christian use Statues to worship God?
« Reply #51 on: December 06, 2012, 01:24:53 PM »
Were you venerating them, as in revering or treating them with great reverence, or were you praying before them without actually venerating the object or that which you believed it to be imbued with, i.e. divine energy?

I treated it exactly like an icon. I said a prayer and kissed the base of it.

I don't personally see the difference, as venerating images of any kind is wholly apart from my pre-Orthodox life experience. I've never been a pagan idol-worshipper, so it doesn't seem like it would be a stumbling block, as the act does not tempt me to start worshipping pagan gods.

Not that I go around venerating statues. On the rare occasion I've found myself in a Roman church for some reason I've done it, but it's not as if it's a common occurrence.

Statues are 3-d and often life-like in their dimensions. Venerating something like that makes my teeth itch.

 A flat, painted Icon is clarly a likeness, not an attempt to recreate the physical presence full blown. So it is clear in a Icon that we are venerating a projection, an image of the that which is being venerated. A statue comes closer to the Pagan idea of the Statue being the thing itself due to it being made life-like. 

Statues are old technology. How would you feel about venerating a Hologram that could move and react?

Now, that's just positively creepy! :o :o
 ;)
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Offline Apotheoun

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Re: Why would Catholic Christian use Statues to worship God?
« Reply #52 on: December 06, 2012, 01:32:05 PM »
Statues are old technology. How would you feel about venerating a Hologram that could move and react?
There is a "holo-Jesus" at a local Roman parish near my house, but it is a very ethereal image and so it does not have the impact of what you are describing.

« Last Edit: December 06, 2012, 01:39:58 PM by Apotheoun »
"All that the Father has belongs likewise to the Son, except Causality."
St. Gregory Nazianzen

"We should believe that divine grace is present in the icon of Christ and that it communicates sanctification to those who draw near with faith."
St. Theodore Studite

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Re: Why would Catholic Christian use Statues to worship God?
« Reply #53 on: December 06, 2012, 01:38:12 PM »
Statues are old technology. How would you feel about venerating a Hologram that could move and react?
There is a "holo-Jesus" at a local Roman parish near my house, but it is a very ethereal image and so it does not have the impact of what you are describing.



It may be only a matter of time...

Your idea has been debunked 1000 times already.. Maybe 1001 will be the charm

Offline Apotheoun

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Re: Why would Catholic Christian use Statues to worship God?
« Reply #54 on: December 06, 2012, 01:41:12 PM »
That would be a cheaper way to build Churches.  Just construct a large room with yellow lines all over the place.
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St. Theodore Studite

Offline J Michael

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Re: Why would Catholic Christian use Statues to worship God?
« Reply #55 on: December 06, 2012, 01:44:25 PM »
That would be a cheaper way to build Churches.  Just construct a large room with yellow lines all over the place.

Yeah, but watch out for these guys:
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Offline age234

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Re: Why would Catholic Christian use Statues to worship God?
« Reply #56 on: December 06, 2012, 01:50:58 PM »
Statues are 3-d and often life-like in their dimensions. Venerating something like that makes my teeth itch.

We can argue about style, but proper statuary is subject to the same rules as iconography and must convey the same theology. The Theotokos must point to her Son, for instance. It's just a different medium. Carved reliefs are not uncommon in Orthodoxy; why is the same graven image okay when they're it's halfway carved out of a surface, but anathema when it is freestanding?

A flat, painted Icon is clarly a likeness, not an attempt to recreate the physical presence full blown. So it is clear in a Icon that we are venerating a projection, an image of the that which is being venerated.

A statue is a projection in three dimensions rather than two.

A statue comes closer to the Pagan idea of the Statue being the thing itself due to it being made life-like.

Maybe in the ancient pagan mind with its superstitions, but I simply don't buy that idea in today's world.

Statues are old technology. How would you feel about venerating a Hologram that could move and react?

How would you feel about venerating a digital icon on a computer screen? Technology presents all kinds of problems when taken to their logical ends. I would not venerate a hologram, neither a flat icon nor a 3D manifestation, because they are not physical objects. Iconography does not exist merely to remind us of a person and focus our prayers; it is a physical touchpoint with the other world (if I am recalling my Florensky correctly).

As for moving and reacting, that is different, as it is an explicit attempt to simulate a living person. But if someone starts thinking a statue (or an icon for that matter) is alive and reacting to them, the problem is between their ears. As I said: on the whole, people are not likely to confuse a statue with a living being today as they were 1500 years ago, when people believed spirits literally lived inside statues.

I'm not saying we should replace icons with statues, or erect statues in addition to icons in our churches. I don't personally own any religious statues. I don't think statues have much of a place in the Eastern Church because it's not a part of our historical tradition. But is statuary somehow inherently anathema to the theology of the Incarnation that makes image-making necessary? No, I don't think so.

Offline Apotheoun

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Re: Why would Catholic Christian use Statues to worship God?
« Reply #57 on: December 06, 2012, 01:55:48 PM »
That would be a cheaper way to build Churches.  Just construct a large room with yellow lines all over the place.

Yeah, but watch out for these guys:


Kneeling to a hologram


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Offline podkarpatska

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Re: Why would Catholic Christian use Statues to worship God?
« Reply #58 on: December 06, 2012, 02:25:11 PM »
Statues are old technology. How would you feel about venerating a Hologram that could move and react?
There is a "holo-Jesus" at a local Roman parish near my house, but it is a very ethereal image and so it does not have the impact of what you are describing.



It may be only a matter of time...



Nice windows though - from Heimer Studios in New Jersey I suspect as they look like ones in my church.....

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Re: Why would Catholic Christian use Statues to worship God?
« Reply #59 on: December 06, 2012, 06:21:48 PM »


Forget about statues vs. icons vs. holograms - I can't stop looking at that poor cat!
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Offline Sleeper

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Re: Why would Catholic Christian use Statues to worship God?
« Reply #60 on: December 07, 2012, 01:22:14 AM »
Quote
That the one of the first holy images created was a statue,


Ahem. The first holy images created were the Mandylion, the icons painted on flat boards by Apostle Luke, and the painted images on the walls of the catacombs.

Indeed, but why would St. Veronica's statue not be considering "one of" the first holy images along with them?

Quote
They were bas-reliefs, as are the carvings of iconostases today. Not fully three-dimensional.

« Last Edit: December 07, 2012, 01:23:04 AM by Sleeper »

Offline Shanghaiski

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Re: Why would Catholic Christian use Statues to worship God?
« Reply #61 on: December 07, 2012, 01:24:15 AM »
Again, statues are the exception. It's a skewed understanding that makes a normative practice from exceptions.
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Re: Why would Catholic Christian use Statues to worship God?
« Reply #62 on: December 07, 2012, 05:21:10 AM »
Were you venerating them, as in revering or treating them with great reverence, or were you praying before them without actually venerating the object or that which you believed it to be imbued with, i.e. divine energy?

I treated it exactly like an icon. I said a prayer and kissed the base of it.

I don't personally see the difference, as venerating images of any kind is wholly apart from my pre-Orthodox life experience. I've never been a pagan idol-worshipper, so it doesn't seem like it would be a stumbling block, as the act does not tempt me to start worshipping pagan gods.

Not that I go around venerating statues. On the rare occasion I've found myself in a Roman church for some reason I've done it, but it's not as if it's a common occurrence.

Statues are 3-d and often life-like in their dimensions. Venerating something like that makes my teeth itch.

 A flat, painted Icon is clarly a likeness, not an attempt to recreate the physical presence full blown. So it is clear in a Icon that we are venerating a projection, an image of the that which is being venerated. A statue comes closer to the Pagan idea of the Statue being the thing itself due to it being made life-like. 

Statues are old technology. How would you feel about venerating a Hologram that could move and react?

Now, that's just positively creepy! :o :o
 ;)
I find statuary (not just religious, but particularly if it's painted) just about equally creepy to that hologram idea. I realise that this is a personal hang up and not terribly rational, and wouldn't begrudge Roman Catholics using statues in the way they do, but I am glad we don't do it. Icons were hard enough to accept when I first came to Orthodoxy as a disgruntled Protestant - statuary would have been impossible for me.

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Offline Kerdy

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Re: Why would Catholic Christian use Statues to worship God?
« Reply #63 on: December 07, 2012, 05:53:43 AM »
We rent out an old, small Catholic Church no longer used by them due to a big church building down the road.  They still use it for some things, so we set up and take down each service.  When we do, we cover the large statues.  I don’t think this is really saying anything definitive, but I think it does say something.

Offline Didymus

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Re: Why would Catholic Christian use Statues to worship God?
« Reply #64 on: December 07, 2012, 07:38:34 AM »
God told Moses to make statues of cherubs to use in worship. Clearly God does not have a problem with using statues as part of worship. This is simply a continuation of an ancient practice.
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Offline Melodist

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Re: Why would Catholic Christian use Statues to worship God?
« Reply #65 on: December 07, 2012, 01:38:57 PM »
We rent out an old, small Catholic Church no longer used by them due to a big church building down the road.  They still use it for some things, so we set up and take down each service.  When we do, we cover the large statues.  I don’t think this is really saying anything definitive, but I think it does say something.

What are they of?
And FWIW, these are our Fathers too, you know.

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Offline choy

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Re: Why would Catholic Christian use Statues to worship God?
« Reply #66 on: December 07, 2012, 01:55:12 PM »
We rent out an old, small Catholic Church no longer used by them due to a big church building down the road.  They still use it for some things, so we set up and take down each service.  When we do, we cover the large statues.  I don’t think this is really saying anything definitive, but I think it does say something.

Don't they cover the statues themselves?  It part of the instructions in the Catholic parishes to cover the statues when renting out the church to non-Catholics.

Offline Kerdy

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Re: Why would Catholic Christian use Statues to worship God?
« Reply #67 on: December 07, 2012, 06:13:30 PM »
We rent out an old, small Catholic Church no longer used by them due to a big church building down the road.  They still use it for some things, so we set up and take down each service.  When we do, we cover the large statues.  I don’t think this is really saying anything definitive, but I think it does say something.

What are they of?

Mary and Jesus

Offline Kerdy

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Re: Why would Catholic Christian use Statues to worship God?
« Reply #68 on: December 07, 2012, 06:17:14 PM »
We rent out an old, small Catholic Church no longer used by them due to a big church building down the road.  They still use it for some things, so we set up and take down each service.  When we do, we cover the large statues.  I don’t think this is really saying anything definitive, but I think it does say something.

Don't they cover the statues themselves?  It part of the instructions in the Catholic parishes to cover the statues when renting out the church to non-Catholics.

Is it?  I honestly do not know.  Maybe we took on the task to make it easier for them.  I always thought it was because of our icons before the alter and to keep the focus on royal doors rather than the giant statues on the sides.

Offline choy

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Re: Why would Catholic Christian use Statues to worship God?
« Reply #69 on: December 07, 2012, 06:29:18 PM »
We rent out an old, small Catholic Church no longer used by them due to a big church building down the road.  They still use it for some things, so we set up and take down each service.  When we do, we cover the large statues.  I don’t think this is really saying anything definitive, but I think it does say something.

Don't they cover the statues themselves?  It part of the instructions in the Catholic parishes to cover the statues when renting out the church to non-Catholics.

Is it?  I honestly do not know.  Maybe we took on the task to make it easier for them.  I always thought it was because of our icons before the alter and to keep the focus on royal doors rather than the giant statues on the sides.

I've read something in the past that says that.  Basically all statues are to be covered and the Eucharist that is in the tabernacle is to be moved to another safe location, if the church is rented out to non-Catholics.  I'm trying to find that document but I can't find it in the GIRM or Canon Law.  Its there somewhere.  If they didn't and you did for them, either they just missed that requirement or someone from your community has made this arrangement with them that you'd do it for them.

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Re: Why would Catholic Christian use Statues to worship God?
« Reply #70 on: December 07, 2012, 07:11:50 PM »
As a Catholic may I chime in on this? Just to say I've never felt the same about statues as I now feel about icons.

Some statues are OK, may even have sentimental value. I cherish a very old and very battered wooden statue of the Theotokos which belonged to my great-aunt. But I cherish it mainly because it reminds me of my great-aunt (a very devout RC of the old school who endured a great deal when her beloved local church, where she attended Mass daily, repainted its walls BRIGHT ORANGE, and added lots and LOTS of colorful banners, shortly following Vatican II.   :o ::)  But I digress!  ;D).

Anyway, the point is I don't think statues in the West are *intended* to have the same meaning or impact as icons in the East. Just my personal impression, not a dogma!
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Offline choy

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Re: Why would Catholic Christian use Statues to worship God?
« Reply #71 on: December 07, 2012, 08:33:51 PM »
As a Catholic may I chime in on this? Just to say I've never felt the same about statues as I now feel about icons.

Some statues are OK, may even have sentimental value. I cherish a very old and very battered wooden statue of the Theotokos which belonged to my great-aunt. But I cherish it mainly because it reminds me of my great-aunt (a very devout RC of the old school who endured a great deal when her beloved local church, where she attended Mass daily, repainted its walls BRIGHT ORANGE, and added lots and LOTS of colorful banners, shortly following Vatican II.   :o ::)  But I digress!  ;D).

Anyway, the point is I don't think statues in the West are *intended* to have the same meaning or impact as icons in the East. Just my personal impression, not a dogma!

Thing is, with modern technology it is easier to reproduce icons and get the same quality, in terms of what is in the icon.  With statues, coming from a predominantly Roman Catholic third world nation who tries to minimize the cost of statues, not good.

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Re: Why would Catholic Christian use Statues to worship God?
« Reply #72 on: December 07, 2012, 09:33:16 PM »
Thing is, with modern technology it is easier to reproduce icons and get the same quality, in terms of what is in the icon.  With statues, coming from a predominantly Roman Catholic third world nation who tries to minimize the cost of statues, not good.

?? I'm not sure I really understand this, choy. Which RC third world nation are you talking about, specifically?  ???
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Offline Wyatt

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Re: Why would Catholic Christian use Statues to worship God?
« Reply #73 on: December 07, 2012, 09:39:56 PM »
I'm an RC and I've never venerated a statue, of course that may be due to a part of my Protestant psyche which I have yet to de-program. However, I personally think I would be more comfortable venerating an Icon than venerating a statue. I'm not sure I can explain why. I think it's because, when you see an Icon, you can tell instantly that it is an Icon and that it was made for the purpose of veneration. A statue is a statue. Statues have many purposes. Icons have one purpose.

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Re: Why would Catholic Christian use Statues to worship God?
« Reply #74 on: December 07, 2012, 09:51:18 PM »
Quote
Statues have many purposes. Icons have one purpose.

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Re: Why would Catholic Christian use Statues to worship God?
« Reply #75 on: December 07, 2012, 10:34:19 PM »
Statues are 3-d and often life-like in their dimensions. Venerating something like that makes my teeth itch.

We can argue about style, but proper statuary is subject to the same rules as iconography and must convey the same theology. The Theotokos must point to her Son, for instance. It's just a different medium. Carved reliefs are not uncommon in Orthodoxy; why is the same graven image okay when they're it's halfway carved out of a surface, but anathema when it is freestanding?

A flat, painted Icon is clarly a likeness, not an attempt to recreate the physical presence full blown. So it is clear in a Icon that we are venerating a projection, an image of the that which is being venerated.

A statue is a projection in three dimensions rather than two.

A statue comes closer to the Pagan idea of the Statue being the thing itself due to it being made life-like.

Maybe in the ancient pagan mind with its superstitions, but I simply don't buy that idea in today's world.

Statues are old technology. How would you feel about venerating a Hologram that could move and react?

How would you feel about venerating a digital icon on a computer screen? Technology presents all kinds of problems when taken to their logical ends. I would not venerate a hologram, neither a flat icon nor a 3D manifestation, because they are not physical objects. Iconography does not exist merely to remind us of a person and focus our prayers; it is a physical touchpoint with the other world (if I am recalling my Florensky correctly).

As for moving and reacting, that is different, as it is an explicit attempt to simulate a living person. But if someone starts thinking a statue (or an icon for that matter) is alive and reacting to them, the problem is between their ears. As I said: on the whole, people are not likely to confuse a statue with a living being today as they were 1500 years ago, when people believed spirits literally lived inside statues.

I'm not saying we should replace icons with statues, or erect statues in addition to icons in our churches. I don't personally own any religious statues. I don't think statues have much of a place in the Eastern Church because it's not a part of our historical tradition. But is statuary somehow inherently anathema to the theology of the Incarnation that makes image-making necessary? No, I don't think so.

We can argue about style, but proper statuary is subject to the same rules as iconography and must convey the same theology. The Theotokos must point to her Son, for instance. It's just a different medium. Carved reliefs are not uncommon in Orthodoxy; why is the same graven image okay when they're it's halfway carved out of a surface, but anathema when it is freestanding?

Yes, I think so. It is not a question of using "Carving". It is more a matter of a statue being a full on replica of the person. It comes too close to an attempt to make the person physically present. 
Your idea has been debunked 1000 times already.. Maybe 1001 will be the charm