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Author Topic: Miraculous Icons -- tested for validity?  (Read 1142 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: January 30, 2013, 03:01:33 PM »

I was reminded of my interest in this topic by the thread on the "crying" Icon.

I'm a believer, of course, so this topic doesn't necessarily come from a place of unbelief.

So...I've seen the Iveron myrrh streaming icon at a church in my area (a year or so ago).  And I read about other instances of miraculous happenings.

I'm always curious: have these emissions (oil, tears, etc...) been tested in a laboratory?  I mean, I know they go through a Church process for determining authenticity, but...

Is no one else curious about the chemical makeup of these things?  For instance, if an icon is "crying," I want to know if the chemical makeup of that liquid is the same as human tears.  Etc. etc.

I would feel a lot better if I knew that unbiased, scientific means, were employed in order to determine the composition of the emissions AND any possible non-miraculous reasons for the "miracle."
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« Reply #1 on: January 30, 2013, 03:21:29 PM »

i tried to use the search function to see if this had been covered.  I was unsuccessful.
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« Reply #2 on: January 30, 2013, 04:42:32 PM »

I'd be more worried that the "crying Icons" were demonic in nature opposed to godly. If Icons in my Church started crying I would probably leave and start praying.
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« Reply #3 on: January 30, 2013, 05:29:41 PM »

I'd be more worried that the "crying Icons" were demonic in nature opposed to godly. If Icons in my Church started crying I would probably leave and start praying.
Interesting point.  I think, though, that I'm most interested in the metaphysics of it in general.
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« Reply #4 on: January 30, 2013, 05:36:26 PM »

I'd be more worried that the "crying Icons" were demonic in nature opposed to godly. If Icons in my Church started crying I would probably leave and start praying.


Why would a Weeping Icon be demonic?
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« Reply #5 on: January 30, 2013, 05:47:34 PM »

If a laboratory has higher authority than the Church you need to check what you're actually worshiping.
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« Reply #6 on: January 30, 2013, 05:50:00 PM »

If a laboratory has higher authority than the Church you need to check what you're actually worshiping.
is that supposed to be an answer or just a bit of self righeousness i should disregard?
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« Reply #7 on: January 30, 2013, 06:13:42 PM »

You said "I'm a believer" and I just want to make sure that means you believe in God and not Sir Francis Bacon.
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« Reply #8 on: January 30, 2013, 06:18:21 PM »

You said "I'm a believer" and I just want to make sure that means you believe in God and not Sir Francis Bacon.
Uh yeah.  Let's see.  I believe in God -- check! And I believe that there was a historical person named Francis Bacon -- check!

Any other questions, Your Eminence?
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« Reply #9 on: January 30, 2013, 06:21:03 PM »

I was reminded of my interest in this topic by the thread on the "crying" Icon.

I'm a believer, of course, so this topic doesn't necessarily come from a place of unbelief.

So...I've seen the Iveron myrrh streaming icon at a church in my area (a year or so ago).  And I read about other instances of miraculous happenings.

I'm always curious: have these emissions (oil, tears, etc...) been tested in a laboratory?  I mean, I know they go through a Church process for determining authenticity, but...

Is no one else curious about the chemical makeup of these things?  For instance, if an icon is "crying," I want to know if the chemical makeup of that liquid is the same as human tears.  Etc. etc.

I would feel a lot better if I knew that unbiased, scientific means, were employed in order to determine the composition of the emissions AND any possible non-miraculous reasons for the "miracle."

The Orthodox bishops are pretty consistent that weeping icons are not subjected to forensic testing.  Having witnessed weeping icons I would not expect them to be chemically identical to tears.  The tears are oily and strongly smell of incense/flowers/myrrh.  
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« Reply #10 on: January 30, 2013, 06:22:20 PM »

I was reminded of my interest in this topic by the thread on the "crying" Icon.

I'm a believer, of course, so this topic doesn't necessarily come from a place of unbelief.

So...I've seen the Iveron myrrh streaming icon at a church in my area (a year or so ago).  And I read about other instances of miraculous happenings.

I'm always curious: have these emissions (oil, tears, etc...) been tested in a laboratory?  I mean, I know they go through a Church process for determining authenticity, but...

Is no one else curious about the chemical makeup of these things?  For instance, if an icon is "crying," I want to know if the chemical makeup of that liquid is the same as human tears.  Etc. etc.

I would feel a lot better if I knew that unbiased, scientific means, were employed in order to determine the composition of the emissions AND any possible non-miraculous reasons for the "miracle."

The Orthodox bishops are pretty consistent that weeping icons are not subjected to forensic testing.  Having witnessed weeping icons I would not expect them to be chemically identical to tears.  The tears are oily and strongly smell of incense/flowers/myrrh.  

Thanks for attempting to answer my actual, honest question.
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« Reply #11 on: January 30, 2013, 06:24:01 PM »

 Having witnessed weeping icons I would not expect them to be chemically identical to tears.  The tears are oily and strongly smell of incense/flowers/myrrh.  
I have seen a myrrh streaming icon, and I can definitely vouch for the beautiful smell and the beauty of the experience, the blessing of it.

I can't help but wonder what the process is which determines the authenticity of the miraculous event, and preferably a joint validation (outside and inside the Church).
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« Reply #12 on: January 30, 2013, 06:24:07 PM »

I'd be more worried that the "crying Icons" were demonic in nature opposed to godly. If Icons in my Church started crying I would probably leave and start praying.


Why would a Weeping Icon be demonic?

To keep people focused on external signs than actual inner development? Same reason they make people speak gibberish in Charismatic churches.
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« Reply #13 on: January 30, 2013, 06:25:23 PM »

 Having witnessed weeping icons I would not expect them to be chemically identical to tears.  The tears are oily and strongly smell of incense/flowers/myrrh.  
I have seen a myrrh streaming icon, and I can definitely vouch for the beautiful smell and the beauty of the experience, the blessing of it.

I can't help but wonder what the process is which determines the authenticity of the miraculous event, and preferably a joint validation (outside and inside the Church).

My thoughts are that God won't allow the signs to happen in a labratory. In the Gospels, it seemed like Jesus only performed miracles and signs for people who had a humble disposition, but not just to satisfy curiousity or to the presence of unbelievers.
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« Reply #14 on: January 30, 2013, 06:31:16 PM »

 Having witnessed weeping icons I would not expect them to be chemically identical to tears.  The tears are oily and strongly smell of incense/flowers/myrrh.  
I have seen a myrrh streaming icon, and I can definitely vouch for the beautiful smell and the beauty of the experience, the blessing of it.

I can't help but wonder what the process is which determines the authenticity of the miraculous event, and preferably a joint validation (outside and inside the Church).

My thoughts are that God won't allow the signs to happen in a labratory. In the Gospels, it seemed like Jesus only performed miracles and signs for people who had a humble disposition, but not just to satisfy curiousity or to the presence of unbelievers.
I always feel mixed about this -- and I'm sure it has something to do with my sinfulness.  On one hand, I understand that reasoning.  On the other, I'm sure most folks with an awareness of history realize that these "tokens" have been used by authorities in the past to manipulate the faithful (usually by politically connected clergy - Western, in my reading, but also Eastern I'm sure).  It seems like a curiously insulated and circular process of self-verification, no?

Please excuse the crude example, but isn't it a bit like a CEO hiring/appointing a good friend to do an audit on his company?  "Yep, it all checks out as far as I can see" is a bit of a thin verification in that case isn't it?

Again, I'm not accusing anyone of anything (though fake relics and the like were quite popular in the middle ages), I'm just wondering.
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« Reply #15 on: January 30, 2013, 06:31:49 PM »

Having witnessed weeping icons I would not expect them to be chemically identical to tears.  The tears are oily and strongly smell of incense/flowers/myrrh.  
I have seen a myrrh streaming icon, and I can definitely vouch for the beautiful smell and the beauty of the experience, the blessing of it.

I can't help but wonder what the process is which determines the authenticity of the miraculous event, and preferably a joint validation (outside and inside the Church).

Several bishops have explained what they do:

First, the icon is taken to the Bishop's residence and placed in his chapel for at least one to three months.

Second, the icon is subjected to multiple exorcisms to rule out the demonic.

There have been several icons apparently where unscrupulous persons have admitted to anointing the icon daily with scented oil. That is why the icon is taken to the bishop's residence or his chapel, so it can be watched and sprinkled with holy water. I think the "miraculous icon" at the defrocked and now deceased Father Greene's Blanco, Texas monastery was proven to be a hoax where a certain monk made sure that the myrrh was flowing on a regular basis.
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« Reply #16 on: January 30, 2013, 06:33:21 PM »

 Having witnessed weeping icons I would not expect them to be chemically identical to tears.  The tears are oily and strongly smell of incense/flowers/myrrh.  
I have seen a myrrh streaming icon, and I can definitely vouch for the beautiful smell and the beauty of the experience, the blessing of it.

I can't help but wonder what the process is which determines the authenticity of the miraculous event, and preferably a joint validation (outside and inside the Church).

Several bishops have explained what they do:

First, the icon is taken to the Bishop's residence and placed in his chapel for at least one to three months.

Second, the icon is subjected to multiple exorcisms to rule out the demonic.

There have been several icons apparently where unscrupulous persons anointed the icon daily with scented oil. That is why the icon is taken to the bishop's residence or his chapel, so it can be watched and sprinkled with holy water.

From a Church perspective, this is a great, great protocol.

But again, I'm curious about verification of these miracles outside of the Church. 

Thank you, Maria, for that information.
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« Reply #17 on: January 30, 2013, 06:35:55 PM »

I'd be more worried that the "crying Icons" were demonic in nature opposed to godly. If Icons in my Church started crying I would probably leave and start praying.


Why would a Weeping Icon be demonic?

The same way that some Orthodox think that some of the Roman Catholic Marian apparitions are demonic.  Satan is the father of lies, I can't see why he wouldn't fool people into believing a miracle so that they would be deceived into taking a false path.  Even the devil can dress up as an angel of light.
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« Reply #18 on: January 30, 2013, 06:37:28 PM »

 Having witnessed weeping icons I would not expect them to be chemically identical to tears.  The tears are oily and strongly smell of incense/flowers/myrrh.  
I have seen a myrrh streaming icon, and I can definitely vouch for the beautiful smell and the beauty of the experience, the blessing of it.

I can't help but wonder what the process is which determines the authenticity of the miraculous event, and preferably a joint validation (outside and inside the Church).

Several bishops have explained what they do:

First, the icon is taken to the Bishop's residence and placed in his chapel for at least one to three months.

Second, the icon is subjected to multiple exorcisms to rule out the demonic.

There have been several icons apparently where unscrupulous persons anointed the icon daily with scented oil. That is why the icon is taken to the bishop's residence or his chapel, so it can be watched and sprinkled with holy water.

From a Church perspective, this is a great, great protocol.

But again, I'm curious about verification of these miracles outside of the Church. 

Thank you, Maria, for that information.

Outside the Church?  The scientific method here is to take apart the icon and try to find out the source of the tears/water/oil/etc.  I don't think the Church would want that.
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« Reply #19 on: January 30, 2013, 06:43:00 PM »

 Having witnessed weeping icons I would not expect them to be chemically identical to tears.  The tears are oily and strongly smell of incense/flowers/myrrh.  
I have seen a myrrh streaming icon, and I can definitely vouch for the beautiful smell and the beauty of the experience, the blessing of it.

I can't help but wonder what the process is which determines the authenticity of the miraculous event, and preferably a joint validation (outside and inside the Church).

Why involve people outside the Church?

Are you afraid of being hoaxed? Then don't bother with such icons. Our faith is not founded on miracles.
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« Reply #20 on: January 30, 2013, 06:46:11 PM »

Scientifice "verification," which almways amounts to a "we have no idea how this could happen," does take place from time to time. But science deals with things which follow actual natural laws. Miracles are an overthrowing of those laws.
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« Reply #21 on: January 30, 2013, 06:53:38 PM »

Scientifice "verification," which almways amounts to a "we have no idea how this could happen," does take place from time to time. But science deals with things which follow actual natural laws. Miracles are an overthrowing of those laws.

Some miracles do, some miracles don't.  I believe that God doesn't need to break the laws of physics which He himself created just to give us a blessing.  Sometimes he does need to do that, but not always.  I believe miracles can be something natural and "ordinary".
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« Reply #22 on: January 30, 2013, 06:58:37 PM »

Scientifice "verification," which almways amounts to a "we have no idea how this could happen," does take place from time to time. But science deals with things which follow actual natural laws. Miracles are an overthrowing of those laws.

Some miracles do, some miracles don't.  I believe that God doesn't need to break the laws of physics which He himself created just to give us a blessing.  Sometimes he does need to do that, but not always.  I believe miracles can be something natural and "ordinary".

By "miracles" I was using the narrower defination. Life itself is a miracle, of course, but that doesn't make the narrow definition inaccurate or meaningless.
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« Reply #23 on: January 30, 2013, 07:09:18 PM »

Marc is going to chime in about "scientific test" done by someone he knows the results of which miraculously disappeared but showed that the myrrh or whatever was not of this world.

Strange but likely not true.
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« Reply #24 on: January 30, 2013, 07:13:34 PM »

Marc is going to chime in about "scientific test" done by someone he knows the results of which miraculously disappeared but showed that the myrrh or whatever was not of this world.

Strange but likely not true.

Strange you should mention that.
There was an issue of Conciliar Press' discontinued magazine Again, which discussed the miraculous icons of Christ Crucified and the Theotokos in Australia, which were tested by a lab. The oil that streamed from both icons was 100 percent pure olive oil and the lab tech had never seen such purity. The lab could never find the source of the aromatic flower scent.
Furthermore, that oil was used to anoint many sick who miraculously recovered.

Sorry, I do not remember the issue, but it was published in the late 1990s.

As I recall, the cover of said magazine had a picture of the Holy Cross which was shown flowing with holy myrrh.
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« Reply #25 on: January 30, 2013, 07:18:40 PM »

The oil that streamed from both icons was 100 percent pure olive oil and the lab tech had never seen such purity.
Maybe because it was real olive oil.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0393070212
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« Reply #26 on: January 30, 2013, 07:21:55 PM »

The oil that streamed from both icons was 100 percent pure olive oil and the lab tech had never seen such purity.
Maybe because it was real olive oil.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0393070212

As it was explained in the article in Again Magazine, the lab stated that there are always natural impurities found in olive oil and that the best is 99 percent pure. Aromatic compounds or rancidity are the culprits. However, in the oil found streaming from these icons, they could not find the aromatic compound that would be responsible for the scent of flowers. The oil was 100 percent pure, which was a miracle in itself.
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« Reply #27 on: January 30, 2013, 07:36:10 PM »

I would consider a forensic result of "we dont know how this is happening" to be a good result.

also, yes, of course one of my concerns is for hoaxes...but also out of genuine curiosity.
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« Reply #28 on: January 30, 2013, 08:03:12 PM »

I would consider a forensic result of "we dont know how this is happening" to be a good result.

also, yes, of course one of my concerns is for hoaxes...but also out of genuine curiosity.

That is what the lab said. They could not offer any natural explanation for this miracle.
The miracle was so profound that they did not charge for the lab testing.
They were grateful that they were chosen to perform these tests.
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« Reply #29 on: January 30, 2013, 08:38:45 PM »

Here's my experience. There is such an icon at a church in NE Pennsylvania. The icon has been streaming steadily for more than a year. Every week a Moleben to their Theotokas is offered and annointing follows. The church is packed, the singing is heartfelt and the entire experience is incredible. The parish in question formed during a most bitter dispute with the Greek Catholics. The feuding  continued for decades. Anyway people of many faiths come.  Orthodox, Roman Catholics, Byzantine Catholics and even Protestants ... I would call it experiential self-validation in a sense.
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« Reply #30 on: January 30, 2013, 08:49:13 PM »

Here's my experience. There is such an icon at a church in NE Pennsylvania. The icon has been streaming steadily for more than a year. Every week a Moleben to their Theotokas is offered and annointing follows. The church is packed, the singing is heartfelt and the entire experience is incredible. The parish in question formed during a most bitter dispute with the Greek Catholics. The feuding  continued for decades. Anyway people of many faiths come.  Orthodox, Roman Catholics, Byzantine Catholics and even Protestants ... I would call it experiential self-validation in a sense.


That would appear demonic if it is attracting people of all faiths. We know that the Holy Spirit only works within the Orthodox Church, the thought that it is working and coming to all of those other people from different religions seems like demons trying to promote false ecumenism.
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« Reply #31 on: January 30, 2013, 08:52:13 PM »

That would appear demonic if it is attracting people of all faiths. We know that the Holy Spirit only works within the Orthodox Church, the thought that it is working and coming to all of those other people from different religions seems like demons trying to promote false ecumenism.

Blasphemy.
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« Reply #32 on: January 30, 2013, 09:21:32 PM »

That would appear demonic if it is attracting people of all faiths. We know that the Holy Spirit only works within the Orthodox Church, the thought that it is working and coming to all of those other people from different religions seems like demons trying to promote false ecumenism.

Blasphemy.

Indeed!  Angry

Obviously James has not considered the distinct possibility that some of these non-Orthodox folks might, just might, be transformed by the experience, and embrace the true faith ....  Roll Eyes
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« Reply #33 on: January 30, 2013, 09:23:16 PM »

That would appear demonic if it is attracting people of all faiths. We know that the Holy Spirit only works within the Orthodox Church, the thought that it is working and coming to all of those other people from different religions seems like demons trying to promote false ecumenism.

Blasphemy.

Indeed!  Angry

Obviously James has not considered the distinct possibility that some of these non-Orthodox folks might, just might, be transformed by the experience, and embrace the true faith ....  Roll Eyes

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« Reply #34 on: January 30, 2013, 11:01:21 PM »

Submitting an icon to a laboratory would be "tempting the Lord your God" in my book.

Matthew 4:7, Deuteronomy 6:16.

Also, I really don't think it would help people's faith - it could easily do the opposite.  
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« Reply #35 on: January 30, 2013, 11:03:33 PM »

Submitting an icon to a laboratory would be "tempting the Lord your God" in my book.

Matthew 4:7, Deuteronomy 6:16.

Also, I really don't think it would help people's faith - it could easily do the opposite.  
No, exposing fraud is not tempting the Lord.

And yes, several icons have been tested, and cleared of fraud.

The first thing the bishop did when he came to investigate the one at the Antiochian Church (at the time the only one) here, he first performed an exorcism, to make sure what supernatural powers were at work.
« Last Edit: January 30, 2013, 11:05:18 PM by ialmisry » Logged

Question a friend, perhaps he did not do it; but if he did anything so that he may do it no more.
A hasty quarrel kindles fire,
and urgent strife sheds blood.
If you blow on a spark, it will glow;
if you spit on it, it will be put out;
                           and both come out of your mouth
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« Reply #36 on: January 31, 2013, 07:00:45 AM »

Submitting an icon to a laboratory would be "tempting the Lord your God" in my book.

Matthew 4:7, Deuteronomy 6:16.

Also, I really don't think it would help people's faith - it could easily do the opposite. 
No, exposing fraud is not tempting the Lord.

And yes, several icons have been tested, and cleared of fraud.

The first thing the bishop did when he came to investigate the one at the Antiochian Church (at the time the only one) here, he first performed an exorcism, to make sure what supernatural powers were at work.

At which church was that from ?. Also, once the exorcisms are performed on the icon does this pretty much sterilize the icon of any demonic powers?, and if it continues to flow does it mean that the icon weeping is from God ?.


What also captivates me to think the weeping icons are from God is that they also have healing ability, is that true?.
« Last Edit: January 31, 2013, 07:03:12 AM by psalm110 » Logged
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« Reply #37 on: January 31, 2013, 07:15:20 AM »

A dear friend, one of whom introduced me to Orthodoxy, has spoken to me about one such icon he has seen.  He is a very discerning person, so I do not doubt his story.
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« Reply #38 on: January 31, 2013, 07:21:54 AM »

That would appear demonic if it is attracting people of all faiths. We know that the Holy Spirit only works within the Orthodox Church, the thought that it is working and coming to all of those other people from different religions seems like demons trying to promote false ecumenism.

Blasphemy.

Why do you think JamesR is Blasphemying?



That would appear demonic if it is attracting people of all faiths. We know that the Holy Spirit only works within the Orthodox Church, the thought that it is working and coming to all of those other people from different religions seems like demons trying to promote false ecumenism.

Blasphemy.


Indeed!  Angry

Obviously James has not considered the distinct possibility that some of these non-Orthodox folks might, just might, be transformed by the experience, and embrace the true faith ....  Roll Eyes


If people focus on icons/saints or the miracles which God manifested through the icons/saints, but not focus on God Himself.  They are indeeded worshipping the idols (demons).

And I don't think the miracles  (which God manifested on icons) can build the true faith. In New testament, most of the Isarelities saw or experienced the miracles which Jesus performed , but they still nailed Him on cross. In Five Book of Mose, all Isarelities had seen and experienced a lot of great miracles when Moses led them to leave the Egypt,but they still did not trust God and follow His will.
« Last Edit: January 31, 2013, 07:42:35 AM by walter1234 » Logged
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« Reply #39 on: January 31, 2013, 09:09:35 AM »

No, exposing fraud is not tempting the Lord.
yes, thank you.

And yes, several icons have been tested, and cleared of fraud.
that's great to hear, thank you.
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« Reply #40 on: January 31, 2013, 09:22:23 AM »

Submitting an icon to a laboratory would be "tempting the Lord your God" in my book.

Matthew 4:7, Deuteronomy 6:16.

Also, I really don't think it would help people's faith - it could easily do the opposite.  
No, exposing fraud is not tempting the Lord.

And yes, several icons have been tested, and cleared of fraud.

The first thing the bishop did when he came to investigate the one at the Antiochian Church (at the time the only one) here, he first performed an exorcism, to make sure what supernatural powers were at work.


Quote
Matthew 8:4
And Jesus said to him, “See that you tell no one; but go your way, show yourself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.”

Yes, We have to cleared of fraud.Even Jesus asked the one He healed to see the priest and check His body in order to clarify whether the miracles is true or not.
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« Reply #41 on: January 31, 2013, 09:24:39 AM »

That would appear demonic if it is attracting people of all faiths. We know that the Holy Spirit only works within the Orthodox Church, the thought that it is working and coming to all of those other people from different religions seems like demons trying to promote false ecumenism.

Blasphemy.

Indeed!  Angry

Obviously James has not considered the distinct possibility that some of these non-Orthodox folks might, just might, be transformed by the experience, and embrace the true faith ....  Roll Eyes

Agreed. I, for one one, do not doubt that the Theotokas has abundant love for all of God's people. To arrogantly assume that her manifestation could not be a means of healing fractured souls, hearts , families, communities appears to me to be reflective  more of something dark and 'demonic' rather than a simple Church full of people seeking truth,peace and healing of body and soul.
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« Reply #42 on: January 31, 2013, 12:57:12 PM »

Submitting an icon to a laboratory would be "tempting the Lord your God" in my book.

Matthew 4:7, Deuteronomy 6:16.

Also, I really don't think it would help people's faith - it could easily do the opposite.  
No, exposing fraud is not tempting the Lord.

And yes, several icons have been tested, and cleared of fraud.

The first thing the bishop did when he came to investigate the one at the Antiochian Church (at the time the only one) here, he first performed an exorcism, to make sure what supernatural powers were at work.

By "laboratory" you thought I meant a bishop's investigation? 

By laboratory I was following the thread which was speaking of a sophisticated scientific analysis.
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« Reply #43 on: January 31, 2013, 01:04:50 PM »

I was reminded of my interest in this topic by the thread on the "crying" Icon.

I'm a believer, of course, so this topic doesn't necessarily come from a place of unbelief.

So...I've seen the Iveron myrrh streaming icon at a church in my area (a year or so ago).  And I read about other instances of miraculous happenings.

I'm always curious: have these emissions (oil, tears, etc...) been tested in a laboratory?  I mean, I know they go through a Church process for determining authenticity, but...

Is no one else curious about the chemical makeup of these things?  For instance, if an icon is "crying," I want to know if the chemical makeup of that liquid is the same as human tears.  Etc. etc.

I would feel a lot better if I knew that unbiased, scientific means, were employed in order to determine the composition of the emissions AND any possible non-miraculous reasons for the "miracle."

Yes, the Myrah from the Hawaiian Streaming Icon has been lab tested. The combinations were impossible to replicate in all practicality and at least one part was impossible to identify, with no earthly corollary.
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Your idea has been debunked 1000 times already.. Maybe 1001 will be the charm
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« Reply #44 on: January 31, 2013, 01:10:41 PM »



Yes, the Myrah from the Hawaiian Streaming Icon has been lab tested. The combinations were impossible to replicate in all practicality and at least one part was impossible to identify, with no earthly corollary.
Wow!  That is fascinating.  Where did you hear/read about this?
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