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Author Topic: Christmas’ missing icon: Mary breastfeeding Jesus  (Read 14971 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: December 11, 2012, 05:07:22 PM »

Quote
Ask anybody in the street what’s the primary Christian symbol and they would say the crucifixion,” said Margaret Miles, author of A Complex Delight: The Secularization of the Breast, 1350-1750, a book that traces the disappearance of the image of the breast-feeding Mary after the Renaissance.

“It was the takeover of the crucifixion as the major symbol of God’s love for humanity” that supplanted the breast-feeding icon, she said. And that was a decisive shift from the earliest days of Christianity when “the virgin’s nursing breast, the lactating virgin, was the primary symbol of God’s love for humanity.”

In fact, the oldest known image of the Virgin Mary is from a third-century fresco in a Roman catacomb that shows the infant Jesus suckling at her exposed breast.

From those early traces, the motif of “Maria Lactans,” as it is called in Latin, became increasingly popular – and increasingly graphic – an illustration of what the Catholic writer Sandra Miesel called “the shocking fleshiness of our faith.”
....
Whatever the obstacles, Miles thinks it would be a good thing for the culture, and Christianity, if Maria Lactans made at least a brief return to church – at Christmas or anytime.
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« Reply #1 on: December 11, 2012, 05:16:54 PM »

My wife's grandmother had one of these hanging at the top of the stairs in the house we live in now.

It has since been replaced with a "regular" icon corner for no other reason than I felt there was enough of Grandma's "old stuff" hanging around and I wanted my put my own mark on the house. 
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« Reply #2 on: December 11, 2012, 06:03:34 PM »

Icon of the Mother of God Milk-giver/Galaktotrophoussa/Mlekopitatel'nitsa:



And this one, from a Nativity fresco dating from the very late 13th century:



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« Reply #3 on: December 11, 2012, 06:32:01 PM »

I think it is all the years of breastfeeding, but all the breastfeeding icons make me cringe. It looks like Christ is biting and pulling her nipple OUCH!
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« Reply #4 on: December 11, 2012, 06:40:52 PM »

Icon of the Mother of God Milk-giver/Galaktotrophoussa/Mlekopitatel'nitsa:





I like this one a lot Smiley
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« Reply #5 on: December 11, 2012, 06:54:44 PM »

This icon type is an example of an icon which attests to Christ’s humanity. It counters the heresies which denied the full humanity of Christ.  Orthodox hymnography for the Mother of God frequently refers to her nursing the infant Christ, and the standard Gospel reading for the Divine Liturgy of any feast of the Mother of God includes Luke 11:27.

However, in proper iconographic tradition, while the Virgin’s breast is visible, it is rendered in a non-anatomical way: the breast emerges from her garments about halfway between her shoulder and where her "real" breast would be. This anatomical anomaly has been interpreted by some as an indication that iconography was a naïve art form, that iconographers "couldn’t draw or paint". Not so. The anatomical distortion was a deliberate gesture to portray a theological truth (that Christ was fully human as well as fully divine), while not risking any sensual or corrupting implications regarding the portrayal of the Virgin’s breast.
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« Reply #6 on: December 11, 2012, 07:05:52 PM »

That anatomical distortion is a distraction. And it honestly makes me *feel* her pain. It would be less distracting to do an icon with Christ latched if you want to show his face.

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« Reply #7 on: December 11, 2012, 07:06:37 PM »

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« Reply #8 on: December 11, 2012, 07:07:15 PM »

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« Reply #9 on: December 12, 2012, 02:19:57 AM »


this is my favorite one.
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« Reply #10 on: December 12, 2012, 02:36:41 AM »

Wrongly or not, I just can't help but find breastfeeding icons unsettling. Undecided
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« Reply #11 on: December 12, 2012, 02:48:05 AM »

Wrongly or not, I just can't help but find breastfeeding icons unsettling. Undecided

How much breastfeeding have you been around as an adult. We've got 3 kids and live in the progressive northwest so for me it's no big deal...women flop em out for their kiddos and a smart man just diverts the eyes! Lol!  Roll Eyes
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« Reply #12 on: December 12, 2012, 02:53:56 AM »

How much breastfeeding have you been around as an adult. We've got 3 kids and live in the progressive northwest so for me it's no big deal...women flop em out for their kiddos and a smart man just diverts the eyes! Lol!  Roll Eyes

Very different!  laugh

I'm not exposed to it at all here. Women that do it do so privately and/or carry breastmilk bottles around others or in public. Any kind of non-private breastfeeding is generally frowned upon, as far as I can tell.
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« Reply #13 on: December 12, 2012, 04:40:49 AM »

It won't find it's way into my home.
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« Reply #14 on: December 12, 2012, 05:06:59 AM »

I'm not exposed to it at all here. Women that do it do so privately and/or carry breastmilk bottles around others or in public. Any kind of non-private breastfeeding is generally frowned upon, as far as I can tell.

Barbarian lands.
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« Reply #15 on: December 12, 2012, 08:30:12 AM »

Wrongly or not, I just can't help but find breastfeeding icons unsettling. Undecided
How do you think Jesus ate as an infant? Shocked
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« Reply #16 on: December 12, 2012, 08:30:58 AM »

Does this belong in the schlock icons thread?
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« Reply #17 on: December 12, 2012, 08:39:27 AM »

Does this belong in the schlock icons thread?

You mean the Milk-giver icons posted? No. They're not schlock. Smiley
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« Reply #18 on: December 12, 2012, 08:45:36 AM »

Wrongly or not, I just can't help but find breastfeeding icons unsettling. Undecided
How do you think Jesus ate as an infant? Shocked

Rule #374: We don't speak of anything having to do with bodily fluids when it comes to Jesus.  Wink
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« Reply #19 on: December 12, 2012, 11:16:46 AM »

Wrongly or not, I just can't help but find breastfeeding icons unsettling. Undecided
How do you think Jesus ate as an infant? Shocked
Like I said in my follow-up, it's not the act of breastfeeding that's the problem but doing so that others can see it. Tongue
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« Reply #20 on: December 12, 2012, 12:53:31 PM »

Wrongly or not, I just can't help but find breastfeeding icons unsettling. Undecided
How do you think Jesus ate as an infant? Shocked
Like I said in my follow-up, it's not the act of breastfeeding that's the problem but doing so that others can see it. Tongue
Be a man.

We have one of these icons, but had to order it from Ukraine because we couldn't find it stateside.
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« Reply #21 on: December 12, 2012, 06:33:20 PM »

The US is almost the worst about breast feeding taboos among world cultures.

I think on some level the concept that breast feeding was just for the poor that couldn't afford a wet nurse (before the advent of formula) or later to buy "real" milk in formula form has persisted for whatever reason.

Now, I don't think women should be out there with their whole breast exposed. But I don't think that seeing the top of a breast should be offensive to anyone. You see more breast on billboards, TV, magazines, movies and ads in the mall than you do a woman that is breast feeding.

Although, I have always wanted to buy one of these for a baby, just to rankle some extremely prudish people



It's just a hat folks! Wink
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« Reply #22 on: December 12, 2012, 06:35:38 PM »

I think on some level the concept that breast feeding was just for the poor that couldn't afford a wet nurse (before the advent of formula) or later to buy "real" milk in formula form has persisted for whatever reason.

....
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« Reply #23 on: December 12, 2012, 06:44:33 PM »

I do breast feed in public. It is completely ridiculous to insist that women breast feed in the bathroom, or in the car. Breast feeding in the bathroom is just gross and unsanitary. In my case it would be impossible for me to breast feed in the car or bathroom. It would require either taking all of the kids into the bathroom with me, or taking all the kids in the car and strapping them in their seats. Getting 4 kids in car seats takes at least 15 minutes. Getting from the store, to the car is at least another 15. With a baby that nurses every 2 hours, well let's just say I would never get anything done. I have used cover-ups to nurse. After a certain point they just make everything more difficult. One would have to watch very closely (and by that I mean you would have to have your face within 1 foot of my body) to see anything when I latch a baby on/off.
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« Reply #24 on: December 12, 2012, 06:47:02 PM »

I do breast feed in public. It is completely ridiculous to insist that women breast feed in the bathroom, or in the car. Breast feeding in the bathroom is just gross and unsanitary. In my case it would be impossible for me to breast feed in the car or bathroom. It would require either taking all of the kids into the bathroom with me, or taking all the kids in the car and strapping them in their seats. Getting 4 kids in car seats takes at least 15 minutes. Getting from the store, to the car is at least another 15. With a baby that nurses every 2 hours, well let's just say I would never get anything done.

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« Reply #25 on: December 12, 2012, 06:52:39 PM »

I do breast feed in public. It is completely ridiculous to insist that women breast feed in the bathroom, or in the car. Breast feeding in the bathroom is just gross and unsanitary. In my case it would be impossible for me to breast feed in the car or bathroom. It would require either taking all of the kids into the bathroom with me, or taking all the kids in the car and strapping them in their seats. Getting 4 kids in car seats takes at least 15 minutes. Getting from the store, to the car is at least another 15. With a baby that nurses every 2 hours, well let's just say I would never get anything done. I have used cover-ups to nurse. After a certain point they just make everything more difficult. One would have to watch very closely (and by that I mean you would have to have your face within 1 foot of my body) to see anything when I latch a baby on/off.

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« Reply #26 on: December 12, 2012, 07:44:01 PM »

It is important to know that in certain states breastfeeding in public is not protected by law. You can actually get arrested for doing it if the police choose to. At the very least you can be kicked out of stores and restaraunts.
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« Reply #27 on: December 12, 2012, 08:43:58 PM »

It is important to know that in certain states breastfeeding in public is not protected by law. You can actually get arrested for doing it if the police choose to. At the very least you can be kicked out of stores and restaraunts.
I think it's illegal as indecent exposure in my state, but may be wrong on that. A woman would very likely be asked to leave, though. Certain places like my university have breastfeeding-designated rooms.
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« Reply #28 on: December 12, 2012, 09:08:29 PM »

If your profile is correct, and you are in Ohio then it is protected by law. But since the indecent exposure law doesn't exclude breast feeding, there is a great deal of leeway.


http://breastfeedinglaw.com/


But with a local attitude toward breast feeding like you speak of, it is no surprise that Ohio only has 30-39% of babies still breastfeeding at 6 months.

http://www.inhabitots.com/cdc-breastfeeding-report-card-shows-best-and-worst-breastfeeding-states/
(for those offended by breastfeeding, don't look at the second page of the above article)
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« Reply #29 on: December 12, 2012, 09:23:42 PM »

If you profile is correct, and you are in Ohio then it is protected by law. But since the indecent exposure doesn't exclude breast feeding, there is a great deal of leeway.

http://breastfeedinglaw.com/

But with a local attitude toward breast feeding like you speak of, it is no surprise that Ohio only has 30-39% of babies still breastfeeding at 6 months.

http://www.inhabitots.com/cdc-breastfeeding-report-card-shows-best-and-worst-breastfeeding-states/
(for those offended by breastfeeding, don't look at the second page of the above article)
Interesting.

If you look at the comments people posted under the Ohio law page, you'll see what I mean about local sentiment.

However your second link speaks of breastfeeding in general, whereas cultural tabboo is against visual and public breastfeeding. The two might correlate, but I've known women to pump and/or breastfeed, but they do the latter in private and use bottles in public. This behavior is locally accepted as fine and/or a good thing.

Although, I heard recently of a woman sitting down in a store to breastfeed and she wasn't asked to leave, even though she was blocking up an aisle. It probably just varies.
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« Reply #30 on: December 12, 2012, 09:34:30 PM »

Unless a woman is VERY, VERY committed, they will not pump for exclusive feeding for longer than 6 months. Then women tend to give solids rather than pump because it is simply easier. Pumping is extremely time consuming. Public perceptions of breast feeding have a direct effect upon how long a woman will breast feed. Breast feeding for 2 years is recommended. If I pumped for every public feeding, I would have been pumping for about a decade solid now.


There is another issue that as a man you won't be able to understand. It takes excess milk to feed a baby a bottle. You produce enough milk for each feeding. So in order to have enough milk to skip a feed, you have to have a stockpile of milk large enough. On average a 2 month old baby eats somewhere around 3 oz every 2 hours. If you are out and about for 6 hours you need 9 oz of milk. Mom likely produces that much almost exactly. So she has to pump after every feeding. That 9 oz could take a week to a month to get. Pumping also has a direct effect on infant weight gain. Human milk, like cow milk, has a fatty component as well as a thinner component. You can pump and increase the foremilk which is thin. You can't increase the hindmilk. The hindmilk is what causes a baby to gain weight, as well as feel satisfied after a feeding. Too much foremilk causes colic, poor weight gain and a host of other issues.

Pumping takes a very, very long time. A pump can't get all the milk a baby can. I can feed my baby directly and get more down him in 15 minutes than I could from pumping for a half hour. The hormones that allow letdown are not triggered by pumping. It is depressing, isolating, and frustrating to pump.
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« Reply #31 on: December 12, 2012, 09:42:33 PM »

I think people have this idea that women produce milk like a tap. Although women produce milk continuously, we don't produce a limitless amount continuously. I can't just skip breast feeding an infant without some milk stockpiled AND discomfort. Skipping a feeding is not comfortable. Just like if you had a bladder full of 4 oz of urine for hours would not be comfortable. I am sure that you have had someone press upon your bladder while it was full. Now imagine how it would feel if that bladder was constantly brushed up against, and you were continuing to accumulate more and more urine until instead of 3 oz in your bladder you had 9 oz. Additionally, imagine if the sound of your child crying caused you to starting leaking! Women are not designed to skip a feeding without discomfort. And if you skip too many feedings, you lose supply. By feeding bottles you miss feeds, by missing feeds you tell your body to produce less milk.
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« Reply #32 on: December 12, 2012, 09:47:16 PM »

If the Theotokos had pumped for public feeding she would have had to do it ultra old school; the milking yourself into a bowl method! laugh
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« Reply #33 on: December 12, 2012, 10:05:46 PM »


I find this one kind of creepy.
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« Reply #34 on: December 12, 2012, 11:06:21 PM »

Don't tell Robert Lentz about this.
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« Reply #35 on: December 12, 2012, 11:35:03 PM »

Don't tell Robert Lentz about this.

I shudder to think what he'd do with it. Oh, wait - he's homosexual, with a predilection for painting gay blades. Though he has also painted Sts Felicity and Perpetua with lesbian intent ...
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« Reply #36 on: December 13, 2012, 08:51:18 AM »

May one breast-feed in Church?

Quote
Early this year, a Georgia [USA] woman claimed she was kicked out of worship for breast-feeding her infant. I know a bit of what she must have felt: On a family trip to St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City, as I started to breast-feed my son in the sanctuary, I was whisked away by a security guard to the bathroom. Countless other Christian women, trying to feed their children without having to miss a sermon, have faced the disapproval of others who think breasts have no place in the sanctuary.

How widespread the no-breast-feeding rule is in U.S. churches is hard to say. But one thing's clear: Our squeamishness over breast-feeding has little precedent in the church. Instead, Christians have long celebrated this aspect of Jesus' early life. Church father Ephrem the Syrian wrote a collection of hymns on the Nativity, including this, which connects the humble picture of Jesus nursing from Mary's breasts to Jesus' generous provision as King of all creation:

The Lofty One became like a little child,
yet hidden in Him was a treasure of
Wisdom that suffices for all.
He was lofty but he sucked Mary's milk,
and from His blessings all creation sucks.
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« Reply #37 on: December 13, 2012, 11:23:39 AM »

Does this belong in the schlock icons thread?

You mean the Milk-giver icons posted? No. They're not schlock. Smiley
What's "milk-giver" in Greek? "Galatokos"?
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« Reply #38 on: December 13, 2012, 12:50:23 PM »


I've seen such. No one complained.

What's "milk-giver" in Greek? "Galatokos"?

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« Reply #39 on: December 13, 2012, 12:54:03 PM »

Public breast-feeding was so common around where I grew up that hardly anybody gave it a thought. I mean there was nothing "counter-cultural" about it.
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« Reply #40 on: December 13, 2012, 01:05:57 PM »

Breast feeding isn't a big deal, but most I know have a cover for themselves since its inappropriate to expose yourself. I have to say that the Theotokos' exposure in those icons is wrong. At least cover her up, you can convey the same message in a better fashion.
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« Reply #41 on: December 13, 2012, 01:07:19 PM »

Breast feeding isn't a big deal, but most I know have a cover for themselves since its inappropriate to expose yourself. I have to say that the Theotokos' exposure in those icons is wrong. At least cover her up, you can convey the same message in a better fashion.
That's the point, they didn't cover themselves. Not those I saw at least.
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« Reply #42 on: December 13, 2012, 03:49:22 PM »

Unless a woman is VERY, VERY committed, they will not pump for exclusive feeding for longer than 6 months. Then women tend to give solids rather than pump because it is simply easier. Pumping is extremely time consuming. Public perceptions of breast feeding have a direct effect upon how long a woman will breast feed. Breast feeding for 2 years is recommended. If I pumped for every public feeding, I would have been pumping for about a decade solid now.


There is another issue that as a man you won't be able to understand. It takes excess milk to feed a baby a bottle. You produce enough milk for each feeding. So in order to have enough milk to skip a feed, you have to have a stockpile of milk large enough. On average a 2 month old baby eats somewhere around 3 oz every 2 hours. If you are out and about for 6 hours you need 9 oz of milk. Mom likely produces that much almost exactly. So she has to pump after every feeding. That 9 oz could take a week to a month to get. Pumping also has a direct effect on infant weight gain. Human milk, like cow milk, has a fatty component as well as a thinner component. You can pump and increase the foremilk which is thin. You can't increase the hindmilk. The hindmilk is what causes a baby to gain weight, as well as feel satisfied after a feeding. Too much foremilk causes colic, poor weight gain and a host of other issues.

Pumping takes a very, very long time. A pump can't get all the milk a baby can. I can feed my baby directly and get more down him in 15 minutes than I could from pumping for a half hour. The hormones that allow letdown are not triggered by pumping. It is depressing, isolating, and frustrating to pump.

Just to chime in, breast-feeding is not as easy as some would make it out to be.
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« Reply #43 on: December 13, 2012, 03:50:49 PM »

Breast feeding isn't a big deal, but most I know have a cover for themselves since its inappropriate to expose yourself. I have to say that the Theotokos' exposure in those icons is wrong. At least cover her up, you can convey the same message in a better fashion.
That's the point, they didn't cover themselves. Not those I saw at least.
Have to say, this is how it is still done in the Middle East. And if Muslims don't freak out at the sight of feeding breast, the Americans can get over it (btw, I still haven't. Comes from growing up in the US).
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« Reply #44 on: December 13, 2012, 04:06:13 PM »

Breast feeding isn't a big deal, but most I know have a cover for themselves since its inappropriate to expose yourself. I have to say that the Theotokos' exposure in those icons is wrong. At least cover her up, you can convey the same message in a better fashion.

It is only considered innapropriate in modern WASPy american culture.

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« Reply #45 on: December 13, 2012, 04:53:20 PM »

Florida shrine devoted to Mary nursing:
http://www.missionandshrine.org/la_leche.htm
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« Reply #46 on: December 13, 2012, 05:39:51 PM »

These images bother me!







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« Reply #47 on: December 13, 2012, 05:57:41 PM »

Breast feeding isn't a big deal, but most I know have a cover for themselves since its inappropriate to expose yourself. I have to say that the Theotokos' exposure in those icons is wrong. At least cover her up, you can convey the same message in a better fashion.

It is only considered innapropriate in modern WASPy american culture.



This.

If folks are so squeamish about women breastfeeding, even if they do so discreetly, then perhaps they should sanitize this passage which is part of the standard Gospel reading during the Divine Liturgy on feasts of the Mother of God:

As Jesus was saying these things, a woman in the crowd called out, “Blessed is the womb that bore You, and the breasts at which You nursed!”


There are also a good number of Theotokia which refer to her suckling Christ - should these be edited as well so as not to offend their delicate sensibilities?   Roll Eyes
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« Reply #48 on: December 13, 2012, 06:00:39 PM »

These images bother me!









They bother me as well. Yes, I know that they are not from Orthodox tradition, but where's the theological or doctrinal justification for anyone other than Christ to feed from the Mother of God's breast? Good grief!
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« Reply #49 on: December 13, 2012, 06:02:18 PM »

These images bother me!









WOAH. who is that anyway? They bother me too.  Undecided
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« Reply #50 on: December 13, 2012, 06:06:42 PM »

It's St. Bernard of Clairvaux.

You can read about the story behind these images here
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« Reply #51 on: December 13, 2012, 06:13:00 PM »

It's St. Bernard of Clairvaux.

You can read about the story behind these images here

Nothing like throwing a bucket of cold water on Orthodox outrage....The pics are still weirding me out though...
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« Reply #52 on: December 13, 2012, 06:28:10 PM »

God acts in strange ways.

And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 18:3)
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« Reply #53 on: December 13, 2012, 06:49:55 PM »

God acts in strange ways.

And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 18:3)

There is a world of difference between having the pure and innocent faith of a child, and presuming to suckle from the breast that God Himself was fed from. What sort of person dares to touch the living Ark? And in such a way? There is so much that is wrong with this "vision" of St Bernard. The description of the Virgin moistening his lips moistened with her milk is one thing - but the idea of her giving him her breast to suckle, and the reason why, flies in the face of a true and proper regard for the Mother of God. It's simply bad theology.
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« Reply #54 on: December 13, 2012, 08:19:24 PM »

Breast feeding isn't a big deal, but most I know have a cover for themselves since its inappropriate to expose yourself. I have to say that the Theotokos' exposure in those icons is wrong. At least cover her up, you can convey the same message in a better fashion.
It is only considered innapropriate in modern WASPy american culture.
No. As Jetavan pointed out in another thread, many people here (in my cultural region) are some form of Scots-Irish Protestants, not exactly Anglo-Saxon Protestants. Smiley
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« Reply #55 on: December 13, 2012, 08:21:32 PM »

This.

If folks are so squeamish about women breastfeeding, even if they do so discreetly, then perhaps they should sanitize this passage which is part of the standard Gospel reading during the Divine Liturgy on feasts of the Mother of God:

As Jesus was saying these things, a woman in the crowd called out, “Blessed is the womb that bore You, and the breasts at which You nursed!”


There are also a good number of Theotokia which refer to her suckling Christ - should these be edited as well so as not to offend their delicate sensibilities?   Roll Eyes
I think most wouldn't have a problem with that. It's the seeing it that's the problem. Tongue
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« Reply #56 on: December 13, 2012, 08:32:35 PM »

Breast feeding isn't a big deal, but most I know have a cover for themselves since its inappropriate to expose yourself. I have to say that the Theotokos' exposure in those icons is wrong. At least cover her up, you can convey the same message in a better fashion.
It is only considered innapropriate in modern WASPy american culture.
No. As Jetavan pointed out in another thread, many people here (in my cultural region) are some form of Scots-Irish Protestants, not exactly Anglo-Saxon Protestants. Smiley
Same thing, God's Frozen People from the British Isles.

btw, you are aware that the Irish national anthem refers to the Scots-Irish Protestants as the "Saxon Foe"?
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« Reply #57 on: December 13, 2012, 08:33:27 PM »

God acts in strange ways.

And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 18:3)

There is a world of difference between having the pure and innocent faith of a child, and presuming to suckle from the breast that God Himself was fed from. What sort of person dares to touch the living Ark? And in such a way? There is so much that is wrong with this "vision" of St Bernard. The description of the Virgin moistening his lips moistened with her milk is one thing - but the idea of her giving him her breast to suckle, and the reason why, flies in the face of a true and proper regard for the Mother of God. It's simply bad theology.
As are visions in general.
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« Reply #58 on: December 13, 2012, 09:00:28 PM »

Same thing, God's Frozen People from the British Isles.

btw, you are aware that the Irish national anthem refers to the Scots-Irish Protestants as the "Saxon Foe"?

I don't think I've ever heard the Irish anthem, and I didn't know that.
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« Reply #59 on: December 13, 2012, 10:05:34 PM »

Breast feeding isn't a big deal, but most I know have a cover for themselves since its inappropriate to expose yourself. I have to say that the Theotokos' exposure in those icons is wrong. At least cover her up, you can convey the same message in a better fashion.
It is only considered innapropriate in modern WASPy american culture.
No. As Jetavan pointed out in another thread, many people here (in my cultural region) are some form of Scots-Irish Protestants, not exactly Anglo-Saxon Protestants. Smiley
Same thing, God's Frozen People from the British Isles.

btw, you are aware that the Irish national anthem refers to the Scots-Irish Protestants as the "Saxon Foe"?
Was the anthem specifically referring to the Scots-Irish specifically, or to the initiators of the colonization, King James and the English powers?
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« Reply #60 on: December 14, 2012, 12:10:19 AM »

Breast feeding isn't a big deal, but most I know have a cover for themselves since its inappropriate to expose yourself. I have to say that the Theotokos' exposure in those icons is wrong. At least cover her up, you can convey the same message in a better fashion.
It is only considered innapropriate in modern WASPy american culture.
No. As Jetavan pointed out in another thread, many people here (in my cultural region) are some form of Scots-Irish Protestants, not exactly Anglo-Saxon Protestants. Smiley
Same thing, God's Frozen People from the British Isles.

btw, you are aware that the Irish national anthem refers to the Scots-Irish Protestants as the "Saxon Foe"?
Was the anthem specifically referring to the Scots-Irish specifically, or to the initiators of the colonization, King James and the English powers?
Not that it matters much-King James I of England was first King James VI of Scotland-but the anthem dates from the 19th century, as it also refers to Irish Americans coming to fight the "Saxon foes."  The song was set down in 1907.  It would be the Scots-Irish, rather than the Anglo-Saxon English, that they were fighting off in Ireland then.
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« Reply #61 on: December 14, 2012, 04:09:58 AM »

God acts in strange ways.

And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 18:3)

There is a world of difference between having the pure and innocent faith of a child, and presuming to suckle from the breast that God Himself was fed from. What sort of person dares to touch the living Ark? And in such a way? There is so much that is wrong with this "vision" of St Bernard. The description of the Virgin moistening his lips moistened with her milk is one thing - but the idea of her giving him her breast to suckle, and the reason why, flies in the face of a true and proper regard for the Mother of God. It's simply bad theology.

And what kind of person dares to eat God Himself?

We receive Holy Communion because we were commanded by Christ Himself to do so. We are unworthy, yet we receive. St Bernard saw a private vision, and suckled to "receive divine wisdom" through the Virgin's milk - surely this is heresy! It is Christ who is God's Wisdom and Word, and He did not receive His wisdom from His mother's milk.
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« Reply #62 on: December 14, 2012, 09:39:06 PM »

Returning to the Milk-giver icon:

A few of the many hymns which deal with the matter, from a variety of Orthodox services:

Without seed you gave birth in time to the timeless Son of the Father, O Mother of God. O strange wonder! you nourished Him at your breast while remaining a virgin.

Search the Scriptures, as Christ our God said in the Gospels, for in them we find Him brought to birth and wrapped in swaddling clothes, nursed and suckled, accepting circumcision and carried by Symeon, not in imagination, but in truth appearing to the world. To Him let us cry, ‘God before the ages, glory to You!’

All of us, the generations of men, bless you as the Virgin who, alone among women, gave birth without seed to God incarnate; for the fire of the Godhead made His abode within you, and you nurtured the Creator and Lord with milk as a babe. Therefore, we, the race of angels and men, cry out to you together: Entreat Christ our God, that He grant remission of offences to those who with faith honor your all-holy birthgiving.

All the choirs of Angels were amazed, pure Virgin, at the dread mystery of your child-bearing: how He who by His will alone upholds the universe is held as a mortal in your arms, and how the Pre-eternal accepts a beginning, and He who nourishes everything that breathes by His ineffable goodness is suckled at the breast. And as they praise you as truly God’s Mother, we glorify you.

The Creator of the ages, who fulfilled the law as a babe of eight days, is circumcised in the flesh; He is wrapped in swaddling clothes as a mortal and He is nourished with milk, who holds all things by His infinite strength as God, and ends them in an instant.

Icons are the visual counterpart of hymns, and both represent and proclaim what the Church teaches and believes.
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« Reply #63 on: December 14, 2012, 09:51:45 PM »

Returning to the Milk-giver icon:

A few of the many hymns which deal with the matter, from a variety of Orthodox services:

Without seed you gave birth in time to the timeless Son of the Father, O Mother of God. O strange wonder! you nourished Him at your breast while remaining a virgin.

Search the Scriptures, as Christ our God said in the Gospels, for in them we find Him brought to birth and wrapped in swaddling clothes, nursed and suckled, accepting circumcision and carried by Symeon, not in imagination, but in truth appearing to the world. To Him let us cry, ‘God before the ages, glory to You!’

All of us, the generations of men, bless you as the Virgin who, alone among women, gave birth without seed to God incarnate; for the fire of the Godhead made His abode within you, and you nurtured the Creator and Lord with milk as a babe. Therefore, we, the race of angels and men, cry out to you together: Entreat Christ our God, that He grant remission of offences to those who with faith honor your all-holy birthgiving.

All the choirs of Angels were amazed, pure Virgin, at the dread mystery of your child-bearing: how He who by His will alone upholds the universe is held as a mortal in your arms, and how the Pre-eternal accepts a beginning, and He who nourishes everything that breathes by His ineffable goodness is suckled at the breast. And as they praise you as truly God’s Mother, we glorify you.

The Creator of the ages, who fulfilled the law as a babe of eight days, is circumcised in the flesh; He is wrapped in swaddling clothes as a mortal and He is nourished with milk, who holds all things by His infinite strength as God, and ends them in an instant.

Icons are the visual counterpart of hymns, and both represent and proclaim what the Church teaches and believes.

I'm not saying they are wrong, just I won't have one in my home.  I find them distasteful.
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« Reply #64 on: December 14, 2012, 09:54:21 PM »

Returning to the Milk-giver icon:

A few of the many hymns which deal with the matter, from a variety of Orthodox services:

Without seed you gave birth in time to the timeless Son of the Father, O Mother of God. O strange wonder! you nourished Him at your breast while remaining a virgin.

Search the Scriptures, as Christ our God said in the Gospels, for in them we find Him brought to birth and wrapped in swaddling clothes, nursed and suckled, accepting circumcision and carried by Symeon, not in imagination, but in truth appearing to the world. To Him let us cry, ‘God before the ages, glory to You!’

All of us, the generations of men, bless you as the Virgin who, alone among women, gave birth without seed to God incarnate; for the fire of the Godhead made His abode within you, and you nurtured the Creator and Lord with milk as a babe. Therefore, we, the race of angels and men, cry out to you together: Entreat Christ our God, that He grant remission of offences to those who with faith honor your all-holy birthgiving.

All the choirs of Angels were amazed, pure Virgin, at the dread mystery of your child-bearing: how He who by His will alone upholds the universe is held as a mortal in your arms, and how the Pre-eternal accepts a beginning, and He who nourishes everything that breathes by His ineffable goodness is suckled at the breast. And as they praise you as truly God’s Mother, we glorify you.

The Creator of the ages, who fulfilled the law as a babe of eight days, is circumcised in the flesh; He is wrapped in swaddling clothes as a mortal and He is nourished with milk, who holds all things by His infinite strength as God, and ends them in an instant.

Icons are the visual counterpart of hymns, and both represent and proclaim what the Church teaches and believes.

I'm not saying they are wrong, just I won't have one in my home.  I find them distasteful.

If you heard these hymns in church, would you find them distasteful?
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« Reply #65 on: December 14, 2012, 09:56:20 PM »

Returning to the Milk-giver icon:

A few of the many hymns which deal with the matter, from a variety of Orthodox services:

Without seed you gave birth in time to the timeless Son of the Father, O Mother of God. O strange wonder! you nourished Him at your breast while remaining a virgin.

Search the Scriptures, as Christ our God said in the Gospels, for in them we find Him brought to birth and wrapped in swaddling clothes, nursed and suckled, accepting circumcision and carried by Symeon, not in imagination, but in truth appearing to the world. To Him let us cry, ‘God before the ages, glory to You!’

All of us, the generations of men, bless you as the Virgin who, alone among women, gave birth without seed to God incarnate; for the fire of the Godhead made His abode within you, and you nurtured the Creator and Lord with milk as a babe. Therefore, we, the race of angels and men, cry out to you together: Entreat Christ our God, that He grant remission of offences to those who with faith honor your all-holy birthgiving.

All the choirs of Angels were amazed, pure Virgin, at the dread mystery of your child-bearing: how He who by His will alone upholds the universe is held as a mortal in your arms, and how the Pre-eternal accepts a beginning, and He who nourishes everything that breathes by His ineffable goodness is suckled at the breast. And as they praise you as truly God’s Mother, we glorify you.

The Creator of the ages, who fulfilled the law as a babe of eight days, is circumcised in the flesh; He is wrapped in swaddling clothes as a mortal and He is nourished with milk, who holds all things by His infinite strength as God, and ends them in an instant.

Icons are the visual counterpart of hymns, and both represent and proclaim what the Church teaches and believes.

I'm not saying they are wrong, just I won't have one in my home.  I find them distasteful.

If you heard these hymns in church, would you find them distasteful?

Hearing the word breasts and seeing breasts are different, so you will forgive my not understanding your attempt to correlate the two.
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« Reply #66 on: December 14, 2012, 10:13:30 PM »

If you heard these hymns in church, would you find them distasteful?

I agree with him in not wanting to have one in my house, but I wouldn't have a problem with these hymns. I suppose, for me at least, hearing is different than seeing.

For example, hearing about the nudity of Adam and Eve in the Garden is different than seeing pictures with them uncovered. Likewise, I realize Jesus had male genitalia, but I don't care to see it in icons, pictures, and statues.
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« Reply #67 on: December 14, 2012, 10:17:17 PM »

If you heard these hymns in church, would you find them distasteful?

I agree with him in not wanting to have one in my house, but I wouldn't have a problem with these hymns. I suppose, for me at least, hearing is different than seeing.

For example, hearing about the nudity of Adam and Eve in the Garden is different than seeing pictures with them uncovered. Likewise, I realize Jesus had male genitalia, but I don't care to see it in icons, pictures, and statues.
Additionally, I have always been under the impression icons were written in a certain style to avoid the problem of graven images and that style was to not be life like.
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« Reply #68 on: June 21, 2013, 12:35:22 AM »

Back to the original intent of this thread: Breastfeeding iconography.

I can't stand the icons because they make it look like Christ is biting the Theotokos. I understand that an icon isn't meant to be realistic in terms of anatomy. But the way they depict breastfeeding looks so uncomfortable that I wouldn't have many Milkgiver icons. But I do find the idea very beautiful. The Theotokos wouldn't have used a cover. But she also would have had a great deal more support than women do now. I think often about how Christ was nourished at her breast while I nourish my children. I am very thankful that God has allowed me to feed our children.  



image readjusted for viewing purposes, remember to add width=# (I used 750 here) after img in the code

Example:
(img width=750)http://catholiclane.com/wp-content/uploads/breastfeeding-mary.jpg(img) but instead of parentheses, use brackets. God bless.

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« Reply #69 on: June 21, 2013, 12:36:50 AM »

We finally agree on something.  I down like them either.
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« Reply #70 on: June 21, 2013, 12:41:07 AM »

You dislike them for very different (and in my view unhealthy) reasons.
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« Reply #71 on: August 07, 2013, 06:02:37 PM »

After (painfully) reading through 15 pages of tangents, I took some time picking out the posts that have to do with the original topic at hand. I plead to your kindness and common sense to not lead this to a tangent on (the apparently controversial) topic of breastfeeding in general, but to talk about the icon and divergences of the icon, with theological, liturgical, and spiritual significance.  I will ask that if you must talk about breastfeeding as a general topic or debate to post here.

God bless you all and may the blessings and intercessions of the Theotokos (who we are all I'm sure commemorating and celebrating at this time) be with us all.

Mina

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« Reply #72 on: August 07, 2013, 07:57:35 PM »

Just wanted to add this one since it has to do with the topic:

while I completely understand and value the symbolism in the OP icon, I find other icons of the Theotokos much more comforting and soothing. 

The first time I saw one like it was in Ukraine in a church....and I had to stop and do a double take.  This was years ago, and I was rather young...and almost felt offended on behalf of the Mother of God, that mankind should depict her in such a way.

Everyone knows she gave birth and fed the Christ child....however, she was always modest and covered up, and might be offended that her breast was showing (even if it is depicted as coming out of her shoulder instead of her chest - which makes it look even odder).

I have no issues with the icon and understand and appreciate the theology behind it, however, I would not hang one in my prayer corner.
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Vain existence can never exist, for \\\"unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain.\\\" (Psalm 127)

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« Reply #73 on: August 07, 2013, 09:34:24 PM »



while I completely understand and value the symbolism in the OP icon, I find other icons of the Theotokos much more comforting and soothing. 

The first time I saw one like it was in Ukraine in a church....and I had to stop and do a double take.  This was years ago, and I was rather young...and almost felt offended on behalf of the Mother of God, that mankind should depict her in such a way.

Everyone knows she gave birth and fed the Christ child....however, she was always modest and covered up, and might be offended that her breast was showing (even if it is depicted as coming out of her shoulder instead of her chest - which makes it look even odder).

I have no issues with the icon and understand and appreciate the theology behind it, however, I would not hang one in my prayer corner.

Works for me.  I agree.  I understand they why, I just do not think it is required or for that matter, helpful.
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