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Author Topic: Why statues are not used in the EOC?  (Read 2731 times) Average Rating: 0
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« Reply #45 on: February 04, 2013, 06:41:30 PM »

The best known counter-example is Isaakievsky Sobor in St Petersburg.

http://o-spb.ru/archives/69

It is more a traditional ban than a theological one.

One statue-filled church, built only about 300 years ago, does not prove anything.
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« Reply #46 on: May 07, 2013, 09:52:39 PM »

Quote

A VERY short answer:

Orthodoxy has never regarded or used statues as objects of veneration in the same way that icons were and are. Statues are three-dimensional, and therefore naturalistic and earthbound, whereas an icon, with its flatness, non-naturalistic artistic style, and lack of linear perspective, attempts to portray what is spiritually perfected, and not of this world. Statues were also considered too similar in form to pagan idols.

I'd like to hear a Catholic response to this post.


There are indeed Orthodox churches and monasteries that use and venerate statues to the present day:

http://www.tervenichi.ru/terv_video/2012_08_28skit  (Video)

http://www.tervenichi.ru/020_photohronyca/2012_08_28skit

http://www.tervenichi.ru/020_photohronyca/uspenskit2011

http://www.tervenichi.ru/020_photohronyca/2009soborbm

http://www.tervenichi.ru/020_photohronyca/2009pokrov (Blessing of outdoor statue)



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« Reply #47 on: May 07, 2013, 11:02:41 PM »

Statues, like organs, altar girls, clean-shaven priests and bishops, cross-dressing monastics, and joint prayer services with Hindoos are very much the exception, not the rule. Doubtless, one can find anything in an Orthodox church, but that does not mean that such a thing belongs there or is a reflection of Orthodox tradition.
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« Reply #48 on: May 07, 2013, 11:07:06 PM »


One church of thousands which shows obvious latinizations doesn't constitute any real Orthodox tradition.
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« Reply #49 on: May 08, 2013, 01:30:16 AM »


One church of thousands which shows obvious latinizations doesn't constitute any real Orthodox tradition.

The Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Moscow shows obvious latinizations as well: outdoor statues, westernized iconography, depiction of God the Father as white-haired old man, etc.
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« Reply #50 on: May 08, 2013, 03:47:26 AM »


One church of thousands which shows obvious latinizations doesn't constitute any real Orthodox tradition.

The Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Moscow shows obvious latinizations as well: outdoor statues, westernized iconography, depiction of God the Father as white-haired old man, etc.

Erroneous exceptions don't make a tradition, as others have correctly pointed out. God the Father images have been consistently and frequently denounced by the Church as wrong and doctrinally unsound, but human nature, stubborn as it is, continues to perpetuate them.
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« Reply #51 on: May 08, 2013, 06:42:55 AM »


Can you please explain why the EOC's practice of using images/icons does not violate one of the Ten Commandments :

You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.


"And make two cherubim out of hammered gold at the ends of the cover. Make one cherub on one end and the second cherub on the other; make the cherubim of one piece with the cover, at the two ends. The cherubim are to have their wings spread upward, overshadowing the cover with them. The cherubim are to face each other, looking toward the cover. (Exodus 25:18-20) "

That was ordered by God Himself. So in that case, it was permitted as an exception.
Also the Bronze serpent Moses made, was also ordered by God. So it is another exception.

We can't make images or statues for religious purposes without a specific commandment from God.

Please show me in the New Testament, a specific commandment by God that we can make and use images/statues of Jesus and the Saints.
"He who has seen Me has seen the Father.  How can you ask 'show us the Father?'"

Btw, in the OT it specifically says not to make a graven image because the Hebrews never saw any form on Sinai.  That changed, even before the Apostles beheld Him on Tabor.

To say that we need a specific commandment from God to portray Him in the Flesh is to deny the Incarnation.  The NT indicates such denial comes not from Christ but the Antichrist.
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« Reply #52 on: May 08, 2013, 06:48:35 AM »

kx9, is there anything in St John of Damascus' quotes I posted that you find problematic?

Yes, I find it problematic... explanation given below.



Some relevant quotes from St John of Damascus on why icons do not violate the Ten Commandments:

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

If we made an image of the invisible God, we would certainly be in error ... but we do not do anything of the kind; we do not err, in fact, if we make the image of God incarnate who appeared on earth in the flesh, who in His ineffable goodness, lived with men and assumed the nature, the volume, the form, and the colour of the flesh...

Since the invisible God became visible by taking on flesh, you can fashion the image of Him whom you saw. Since He who has neither body nor form nor quantity nor quality, who goes beyond all grandeur by the excellence of His nature, He, being of divine nature, took on the condition of a slave and reduced Himself to quantity and quality by clothing Himself in human features. Therefore, paint on wood and present for contemplation Him who desired to become visible.


First of all, if John of Damascus had given this opinion based on what was written in the Bible, then it would be of consideration. But I feel that what he has said is just his opinion on something that is not written in the Bible.
Ah, and your "feelings" are the measure of all things, and not the mind of the Church?

It is best not to go beyond what is written.
The table of contents of the Bible wasn't written, so you "go beyond what is written" every time you appeal to Holy Scripture.

Therefore it is not wise to quote someone when they have given their opinion on something which the Bible doesn't say or is silent on the matter.
Show us where that is written in the Bible.

Furthermore, why does the EOC and RCC make images of the saints, when the Bible has not given permission for it either?
Because we glorify those whom God has glorified.
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« Reply #53 on: May 08, 2013, 06:50:51 AM »

Isa, what or whom is the Antichrist?
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« Reply #54 on: May 08, 2013, 12:19:50 PM »

Erroneous exceptions don't make a tradition, as others have correctly pointed out.

Maybe, but the problem is that every EO church I've ever visited has at least one of these "erroneous exceptions".

As has every EC church and every RC church, and btw I once saw a Free Will Baptist church with an icon of the Theotokos prominently displayed in their Nativity scene. (two erroneous exceptions for the price of one!).

Maybe the real answer is: there are no perfect churches this side of Heaven. But of course as Father Jack once said, "That would be an ecumenical matter!"
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« Reply #55 on: May 08, 2013, 01:33:38 PM »


Can you please explain why the EOC's practice of using images/icons does not violate one of the Ten Commandments :

You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.


"And make two cherubim out of hammered gold at the ends of the cover. Make one cherub on one end and the second cherub on the other; make the cherubim of one piece with the cover, at the two ends. The cherubim are to have their wings spread upward, overshadowing the cover with them. The cherubim are to face each other, looking toward the cover. (Exodus 25:18-20) "

That was ordered by God Himself. So in that case, it was permitted as an exception.
Also the Bronze serpent Moses made, was also ordered by God. So it is another exception.

We can't make images or statues for religious purposes without a specific commandment from God.

Please show me in the New Testament, a specific commandment by God that we can make and use images/statues of Jesus and the Saints.
Why? You don't believe that the Old Testament was inspired by God?
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« Reply #56 on: May 12, 2013, 01:23:03 AM »

kx9, I would remind you that neither the Old nor New Testaments describe the doctrine of the Trinity, yet you (presumably) hold to it. Don't you think that other aspects of the Christian faith also weren't written down?
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« Reply #57 on: May 12, 2013, 01:53:39 AM »

Statues outside the Church? No problem...
Statues inside the Church? Problem...

Statues aren't bad, or evil, or blasphemous. But they shouldn't be inside a Church. Unless they are used to hold a relic for veneration, are kept vague and are essentially holy mannequins. Like (as a silly example) if there's a holy wristwatch worn by a Saint, I'd see no problem putting it on a statue of a hand and wrist.

In the Byzantine Rite... No statues, no organs, no westernized icons.
In the Western Rite... No issue with statues or westernized religious paintings, as long as they aren't treated or venerated like icons.

Also, reliefs, entablatures and engravings aren't an issue in the Byzantine Rite.
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« Reply #58 on: May 21, 2013, 12:49:48 AM »

Idolatry would be worshiping a statue or image as though that image was actually God or pagan gods. This was the perennial sin of Israel which constantly struggled with polytheism. In short, there is a supreme distinction between the icon and the idol and I feel like they are being collapsed into one when in reality they are not the same. There is nothing wrong with using a statue or an image for deeper contemplation of the divine mysteries, but if a person used either as though they were actually gods then either could be idolatrous. In the RCC they are visual aids to prayerful contemplation. When I see a 'statue' (more like a mannequin?) of the crucified Lord during the Eucharistic meal I think about how much The Lord loves me and what he endured in His love and sometimes, then, when I pray on my knees awaiting the Eucharist I picture the cross and resurrection before I approach the mystery. In all of this I never think that the crucifix is alive or intrinsically divine.
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« Reply #59 on: May 21, 2013, 12:57:43 AM »

Idolatry would be worshiping a statue or image as though that image was actually God or pagan gods. This was the perennial sin of Israel which constantly struggled with polytheism. In short, there is a supreme distinction between the icon and the idol and I feel like they are being collapsed into one when in reality they are not the same. There is nothing wrong with using a statue or an image for deeper contemplation of the divine mysteries, but if a person used either as though they were actually gods then either could be idolatrous.

Three-dimensional images speak of earthbound, worldly, temporal reality. The flatness of icons and bas-reliefs speaks of heavenly, other-worldly, spiritual reality. This, in a nutshell, is why statues have never been part of Orthodox veneration.
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« Reply #60 on: May 21, 2013, 01:07:48 AM »

Idolatry would be worshiping a statue or image as though that image was actually God or pagan gods. This was the perennial sin of Israel which constantly struggled with polytheism. In short, there is a supreme distinction between the icon and the idol and I feel like they are being collapsed into one when in reality they are not the same. There is nothing wrong with using a statue or an image for deeper contemplation of the divine mysteries, but if a person used either as though they were actually gods then either could be idolatrous.

Three-dimensional images speak of earthbound, worldly, temporal reality. The flatness of icons and bas-reliefs speaks of heavenly, other-worldly, spiritual reality. This, in a nutshell, is why statues have never been part of Orthodox veneration.

I understand the reasoning of EO veneration, I was just providing a Catholic explanation since it was requested. I disagree that 3d = wordly and 2d = ethereal. Perhaps it's a difference in cultural perception.
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« Reply #61 on: May 21, 2013, 01:30:48 AM »

Idolatry would be worshiping a statue or image as though that image was actually God or pagan gods. This was the perennial sin of Israel which constantly struggled with polytheism. In short, there is a supreme distinction between the icon and the idol and I feel like they are being collapsed into one when in reality they are not the same. There is nothing wrong with using a statue or an image for deeper contemplation of the divine mysteries, but if a person used either as though they were actually gods then either could be idolatrous.

Three-dimensional images speak of earthbound, worldly, temporal reality. The flatness of icons and bas-reliefs speaks of heavenly, other-worldly, spiritual reality. This, in a nutshell, is why statues have never been part of Orthodox veneration.

I understand the reasoning of EO veneration, I was just providing a Catholic explanation since it was requested. I disagree that 3d = wordly and 2d = ethereal. Perhaps it's a difference in cultural perception.

It has nothing to do with cultural perception. Linear perspective and three dimensions, as well as time as we know it, are specifically earthly, temporal parameters.

There is also a durable misconception, still found in art reference books, and among art historians, that the iconographers of the early Christian period “couldn’t draw or paint”, that this was a primitive or naïve art form. It must be remembered that they were the descendants of the people who gave the world the physical perfection of Classical sculpture and murals (such as the sculptures of Praxiteles and Pheidias, or the Greek and Roman frescoes), and where the development of geometry allowed the refinement of linear perspective in depicting three dimensions on a flat surface.

Therefore, a flat, abstracted, non-realistic form of painting, and the non-anatomical rendering of bodily proportions and features (elongation, disproportionate relative sizes of facial features, minimal modeling) was specifically and deliberately adopted as the standard for iconography, as it represents and depicts what is heavenly, spiritually-transformed, and not of this world.
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« Reply #62 on: May 21, 2013, 01:45:13 AM »

Idolatry would be worshiping a statue or image as though that image was actually God or pagan gods. This was the perennial sin of Israel which constantly struggled with polytheism. In short, there is a supreme distinction between the icon and the idol and I feel like they are being collapsed into one when in reality they are not the same. There is nothing wrong with using a statue or an image for deeper contemplation of the divine mysteries, but if a person used either as though they were actually gods then either could be idolatrous.

Three-dimensional images speak of earthbound, worldly, temporal reality. The flatness of icons and bas-reliefs speaks of heavenly, other-worldly, spiritual reality. This, in a nutshell, is why statues have never been part of Orthodox veneration.

I understand the reasoning of EO veneration, I was just providing a Catholic explanation since it was requested. I disagree that 3d = wordly and 2d = ethereal. Perhaps it's a difference in cultural perception.

It has nothing to do with cultural perception. Linear perspective and three dimensions, as well as time as we know it, are specifically earthly, temporal parameters.

There is also a durable misconception, still found in art reference books, and among art historians, that the iconographers of the early Christian period “couldn’t draw or paint”, that this was a primitive or naïve art form. It must be remembered that they were the descendants of the people who gave the world the physical perfection of Classical sculpture and murals (such as the sculptures of Praxiteles and Pheidias, or the Greek and Roman frescoes), and where the development of geometry allowed the refinement of linear perspective in depicting three dimensions on a flat surface.

Therefore, a flat, abstracted, non-realistic form of painting, and the non-anatomical rendering of bodily proportions and features (elongation, disproportionate relative sizes of facial features, minimal modeling) was specifically and deliberately adopted as the standard for iconography, as it represents and depicts what is heavenly, spiritually-transformed, and not of this world.
I disagree. That seems to be your perception of what 2D vs. 3D images signify. Transcendence can be ascertained in a 3D image as well and it would be silly to argue otherwise. You may believe that it is more fitting to use images rather than statues and that is your right but I simply disagree.
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« Reply #63 on: May 21, 2013, 01:55:03 AM »

Idolatry would be worshiping a statue or image as though that image was actually God or pagan gods. This was the perennial sin of Israel which constantly struggled with polytheism. In short, there is a supreme distinction between the icon and the idol and I feel like they are being collapsed into one when in reality they are not the same. There is nothing wrong with using a statue or an image for deeper contemplation of the divine mysteries, but if a person used either as though they were actually gods then either could be idolatrous.

Three-dimensional images speak of earthbound, worldly, temporal reality. The flatness of icons and bas-reliefs speaks of heavenly, other-worldly, spiritual reality. This, in a nutshell, is why statues have never been part of Orthodox veneration.

This reminded me of posts I found once that included pictures of Russian (folk) statues. Namely here and here. Except possibly the Christ Imprisoned statue, the other ones seem to capture the feel of an icon much more than Western statuary.

What are your thoughts on these?
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« Reply #64 on: May 21, 2013, 01:58:35 AM »

Idolatry would be worshiping a statue or image as though that image was actually God or pagan gods. This was the perennial sin of Israel which constantly struggled with polytheism. In short, there is a supreme distinction between the icon and the idol and I feel like they are being collapsed into one when in reality they are not the same. There is nothing wrong with using a statue or an image for deeper contemplation of the divine mysteries, but if a person used either as though they were actually gods then either could be idolatrous.

Three-dimensional images speak of earthbound, worldly, temporal reality. The flatness of icons and bas-reliefs speaks of heavenly, other-worldly, spiritual reality. This, in a nutshell, is why statues have never been part of Orthodox veneration.

I understand the reasoning of EO veneration, I was just providing a Catholic explanation since it was requested. I disagree that 3d = wordly and 2d = ethereal. Perhaps it's a difference in cultural perception.

It has nothing to do with cultural perception. Linear perspective and three dimensions, as well as time as we know it, are specifically earthly, temporal parameters.

There is also a durable misconception, still found in art reference books, and among art historians, that the iconographers of the early Christian period “couldn’t draw or paint”, that this was a primitive or naïve art form. It must be remembered that they were the descendants of the people who gave the world the physical perfection of Classical sculpture and murals (such as the sculptures of Praxiteles and Pheidias, or the Greek and Roman frescoes), and where the development of geometry allowed the refinement of linear perspective in depicting three dimensions on a flat surface.

Therefore, a flat, abstracted, non-realistic form of painting, and the non-anatomical rendering of bodily proportions and features (elongation, disproportionate relative sizes of facial features, minimal modeling) was specifically and deliberately adopted as the standard for iconography, as it represents and depicts what is heavenly, spiritually-transformed, and not of this world.
I disagree. That seems to be your perception of what 2D vs. 3D images signify. Transcendence can be ascertained in a 3D image as well and it would be silly to argue otherwise. You may believe that it is more fitting to use images rather than statues and that is your right but I simply disagree.

Surnaturel, you probably don't know that I have studied, taught about, and written about iconography for many years. Icons are not simply religious art painted in an abstracted style. They express what Orthodoxy teaches and proclaims, and they serve liturgical functions which are simply absent from non-Orthodox traditions. "Theology in color" is an often-used phrase to describe them. Icons are the visual counterpart to hymnography. Just as Orthodox liturgical hymns and prayers express what we believe (lex orandi, lex credendi), so do icons.

Furthermore, an iconographer is not an artist allowed free rein on his creativity or expression, be it self-expression or the expression of the patron who has commissioned the icon. He is an instrument of the Church, and, like a hymnographer, must use his talents to properly express what the Church believes and espouses.
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« Reply #65 on: May 21, 2013, 02:03:56 AM »

Idolatry would be worshiping a statue or image as though that image was actually God or pagan gods. This was the perennial sin of Israel which constantly struggled with polytheism. In short, there is a supreme distinction between the icon and the idol and I feel like they are being collapsed into one when in reality they are not the same. There is nothing wrong with using a statue or an image for deeper contemplation of the divine mysteries, but if a person used either as though they were actually gods then either could be idolatrous.

Three-dimensional images speak of earthbound, worldly, temporal reality. The flatness of icons and bas-reliefs speaks of heavenly, other-worldly, spiritual reality. This, in a nutshell, is why statues have never been part of Orthodox veneration.

This reminded me of posts I found once that included pictures of Russian (folk) statues. Namely here and here. Except possibly the Christ Imprisoned statue, the other ones seem to capture the feel of an icon much more than Western statuary.

What are your thoughts on these?
I am not opposed to them in that I don't think they are intrinsically evil or sinful, but I prefer Orthodox artistry in images, I don't think it translates well into that form. With statues I prefer the simplicity of say Mother Mary or Mother Teresa which, for me, is subtle and gentle enough to draw my mind to God in a fitting way (no color).

Sorry I would show an example but I am new here and have not figured out how to post pics
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« Reply #66 on: May 21, 2013, 02:08:38 AM »

Idolatry would be worshiping a statue or image as though that image was actually God or pagan gods. This was the perennial sin of Israel which constantly struggled with polytheism. In short, there is a supreme distinction between the icon and the idol and I feel like they are being collapsed into one when in reality they are not the same. There is nothing wrong with using a statue or an image for deeper contemplation of the divine mysteries, but if a person used either as though they were actually gods then either could be idolatrous.

Three-dimensional images speak of earthbound, worldly, temporal reality. The flatness of icons and bas-reliefs speaks of heavenly, other-worldly, spiritual reality. This, in a nutshell, is why statues have never been part of Orthodox veneration.

I understand the reasoning of EO veneration, I was just providing a Catholic explanation since it was requested. I disagree that 3d = wordly and 2d = ethereal. Perhaps it's a difference in cultural perception.

It has nothing to do with cultural perception. Linear perspective and three dimensions, as well as time as we know it, are specifically earthly, temporal parameters.

There is also a durable misconception, still found in art reference books, and among art historians, that the iconographers of the early Christian period “couldn’t draw or paint”, that this was a primitive or naïve art form. It must be remembered that they were the descendants of the people who gave the world the physical perfection of Classical sculpture and murals (such as the sculptures of Praxiteles and Pheidias, or the Greek and Roman frescoes), and where the development of geometry allowed the refinement of linear perspective in depicting three dimensions on a flat surface.

Therefore, a flat, abstracted, non-realistic form of painting, and the non-anatomical rendering of bodily proportions and features (elongation, disproportionate relative sizes of facial features, minimal modeling) was specifically and deliberately adopted as the standard for iconography, as it represents and depicts what is heavenly, spiritually-transformed, and not of this world.
I disagree. That seems to be your perception of what 2D vs. 3D images signify. Transcendence can be ascertained in a 3D image as well and it would be silly to argue otherwise. You may believe that it is more fitting to use images rather than statues and that is your right but I simply disagree.

Surnaturel, you probably don't know that I have studied, taught about, and written about iconography for many years. Icons are not simply religious art painted in an abstracted style. They express what Orthodoxy teaches and proclaims, and they serve liturgical functions which are simply absent from non-Orthodox traditions. "Theology in color" is an often-used phrase to describe them. Icons are the visual counterpart to hymnography. Just as Orthodox liturgical hymns and prayers express what we believe (lex orandi, lex credendi), so do icons.

Furthermore, an iconographer is not an artist allowed free rein on his creativity or expression, be it self-expression or the expression of the patron who has commissioned the icon. He is an instrument of the Church, and, like a hymnographer, must use his talents to properly express what the Church believes and espouses.
I think that 'theology in color' is an excellent way to describe Eastern iconography. I find it beautiful to be sure. All that I am saying is that statues are not idolatrous in and of themselves in a prayerful context.
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« Reply #67 on: May 21, 2013, 02:15:10 AM »

Idolatry would be worshiping a statue or image as though that image was actually God or pagan gods. This was the perennial sin of Israel which constantly struggled with polytheism. In short, there is a supreme distinction between the icon and the idol and I feel like they are being collapsed into one when in reality they are not the same. There is nothing wrong with using a statue or an image for deeper contemplation of the divine mysteries, but if a person used either as though they were actually gods then either could be idolatrous.

Three-dimensional images speak of earthbound, worldly, temporal reality. The flatness of icons and bas-reliefs speaks of heavenly, other-worldly, spiritual reality. This, in a nutshell, is why statues have never been part of Orthodox veneration.

I understand the reasoning of EO veneration, I was just providing a Catholic explanation since it was requested. I disagree that 3d = wordly and 2d = ethereal. Perhaps it's a difference in cultural perception.

It has nothing to do with cultural perception. Linear perspective and three dimensions, as well as time as we know it, are specifically earthly, temporal parameters.

There is also a durable misconception, still found in art reference books, and among art historians, that the iconographers of the early Christian period “couldn’t draw or paint”, that this was a primitive or naïve art form. It must be remembered that they were the descendants of the people who gave the world the physical perfection of Classical sculpture and murals (such as the sculptures of Praxiteles and Pheidias, or the Greek and Roman frescoes), and where the development of geometry allowed the refinement of linear perspective in depicting three dimensions on a flat surface.

Therefore, a flat, abstracted, non-realistic form of painting, and the non-anatomical rendering of bodily proportions and features (elongation, disproportionate relative sizes of facial features, minimal modeling) was specifically and deliberately adopted as the standard for iconography, as it represents and depicts what is heavenly, spiritually-transformed, and not of this world.
I disagree. That seems to be your perception of what 2D vs. 3D images signify. Transcendence can be ascertained in a 3D image as well and it would be silly to argue otherwise. You may believe that it is more fitting to use images rather than statues and that is your right but I simply disagree.

Surnaturel, you probably don't know that I have studied, taught about, and written about iconography for many years. Icons are not simply religious art painted in an abstracted style. They express what Orthodoxy teaches and proclaims, and they serve liturgical functions which are simply absent from non-Orthodox traditions. "Theology in color" is an often-used phrase to describe them. Icons are the visual counterpart to hymnography. Just as Orthodox liturgical hymns and prayers express what we believe (lex orandi, lex credendi), so do icons.

Furthermore, an iconographer is not an artist allowed free rein on his creativity or expression, be it self-expression or the expression of the patron who has commissioned the icon. He is an instrument of the Church, and, like a hymnographer, must use his talents to properly express what the Church believes and espouses.
I think that 'theology in color' is an excellent way to describe Eastern iconography. I find it beautiful to be sure. All that I am saying is that statues are not idolatrous in and of themselves in a prayerful context.

Yet three-dimensional statues have never been part of Orthodox veneration. This is no accident. And "beauty" does not, in itself, make an icon holy . A look at the "Strange icons" and "Schlock icons" threads will show you that many images which are "beautiful" and painted in an abstracted style associated with iconography are not icons at all.
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« Reply #68 on: May 21, 2013, 02:23:55 AM »

Idolatry would be worshiping a statue or image as though that image was actually God or pagan gods. This was the perennial sin of Israel which constantly struggled with polytheism. In short, there is a supreme distinction between the icon and the idol and I feel like they are being collapsed into one when in reality they are not the same. There is nothing wrong with using a statue or an image for deeper contemplation of the divine mysteries, but if a person used either as though they were actually gods then either could be idolatrous.

Three-dimensional images speak of earthbound, worldly, temporal reality. The flatness of icons and bas-reliefs speaks of heavenly, other-worldly, spiritual reality. This, in a nutshell, is why statues have never been part of Orthodox veneration.

I understand the reasoning of EO veneration, I was just providing a Catholic explanation since it was requested. I disagree that 3d = wordly and 2d = ethereal. Perhaps it's a difference in cultural perception.

It has nothing to do with cultural perception. Linear perspective and three dimensions, as well as time as we know it, are specifically earthly, temporal parameters.

There is also a durable misconception, still found in art reference books, and among art historians, that the iconographers of the early Christian period “couldn’t draw or paint”, that this was a primitive or naïve art form. It must be remembered that they were the descendants of the people who gave the world the physical perfection of Classical sculpture and murals (such as the sculptures of Praxiteles and Pheidias, or the Greek and Roman frescoes), and where the development of geometry allowed the refinement of linear perspective in depicting three dimensions on a flat surface.

Therefore, a flat, abstracted, non-realistic form of painting, and the non-anatomical rendering of bodily proportions and features (elongation, disproportionate relative sizes of facial features, minimal modeling) was specifically and deliberately adopted as the standard for iconography, as it represents and depicts what is heavenly, spiritually-transformed, and not of this world.
I disagree. That seems to be your perception of what 2D vs. 3D images signify. Transcendence can be ascertained in a 3D image as well and it would be silly to argue otherwise. You may believe that it is more fitting to use images rather than statues and that is your right but I simply disagree.

Surnaturel, you probably don't know that I have studied, taught about, and written about iconography for many years. Icons are not simply religious art painted in an abstracted style. They express what Orthodoxy teaches and proclaims, and they serve liturgical functions which are simply absent from non-Orthodox traditions. "Theology in color" is an often-used phrase to describe them. Icons are the visual counterpart to hymnography. Just as Orthodox liturgical hymns and prayers express what we believe (lex orandi, lex credendi), so do icons.

Furthermore, an iconographer is not an artist allowed free rein on his creativity or expression, be it self-expression or the expression of the patron who has commissioned the icon. He is an instrument of the Church, and, like a hymnographer, must use his talents to properly express what the Church believes and espouses.
I think that 'theology in color' is an excellent way to describe Eastern iconography. I find it beautiful to be sure. All that I am saying is that statues are not idolatrous in and of themselves in a prayerful context.

Yet three-dimensional statues have never been part of Orthodox veneration. This is no accident. And "beauty" does not, in itself, make an icon holy . A look at the "Strange icons" and "Schlock icons" threads will show you that many images which are "beautiful" and painted in an abstracted style associated with iconography are not icons at all.
Right. But again, I am not arguing for or against icons ITT. I have no problem with them. Rather I am defending the RC use of statues while not claiming that other churches should adopt the ancient Latin tradition since you have your own ancient form of veneration.
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« Reply #69 on: May 21, 2013, 04:31:21 AM »

Idolatry would be worshiping a statue or image as though that image was actually God or pagan gods. This was the perennial sin of Israel which constantly struggled with polytheism. In short, there is a supreme distinction between the icon and the idol and I feel like they are being collapsed into one when in reality they are not the same. There is nothing wrong with using a statue or an image for deeper contemplation of the divine mysteries, but if a person used either as though they were actually gods then either could be idolatrous.

Three-dimensional images speak of earthbound, worldly, temporal reality. The flatness of icons and bas-reliefs speaks of heavenly, other-worldly, spiritual reality. This, in a nutshell, is why statues have never been part of Orthodox veneration.

I understand the reasoning of EO veneration, I was just providing a Catholic explanation since it was requested. I disagree that 3d = wordly and 2d = ethereal. Perhaps it's a difference in cultural perception.

It has nothing to do with cultural perception. Linear perspective and three dimensions, as well as time as we know it, are specifically earthly, temporal parameters.

There is also a durable misconception, still found in art reference books, and among art historians, that the iconographers of the early Christian period “couldn’t draw or paint”, that this was a primitive or naïve art form. It must be remembered that they were the descendants of the people who gave the world the physical perfection of Classical sculpture and murals (such as the sculptures of Praxiteles and Pheidias, or the Greek and Roman frescoes), and where the development of geometry allowed the refinement of linear perspective in depicting three dimensions on a flat surface.

Therefore, a flat, abstracted, non-realistic form of painting, and the non-anatomical rendering of bodily proportions and features (elongation, disproportionate relative sizes of facial features, minimal modeling) was specifically and deliberately adopted as the standard for iconography, as it represents and depicts what is heavenly, spiritually-transformed, and not of this world.
I disagree. That seems to be your perception of what 2D vs. 3D images signify. Transcendence can be ascertained in a 3D image as well and it would be silly to argue otherwise. You may believe that it is more fitting to use images rather than statues and that is your right but I simply disagree.

Surnaturel, you probably don't know that I have studied, taught about, and written about iconography for many years. Icons are not simply religious art painted in an abstracted style. They express what Orthodoxy teaches and proclaims, and they serve liturgical functions which are simply absent from non-Orthodox traditions. "Theology in color" is an often-used phrase to describe them. Icons are the visual counterpart to hymnography. Just as Orthodox liturgical hymns and prayers express what we believe (lex orandi, lex credendi), so do icons.

Furthermore, an iconographer is not an artist allowed free rein on his creativity or expression, be it self-expression or the expression of the patron who has commissioned the icon. He is an instrument of the Church, and, like a hymnographer, must use his talents to properly express what the Church believes and espouses.
I think that 'theology in color' is an excellent way to describe Eastern iconography. I find it beautiful to be sure. All that I am saying is that statues are not idolatrous in and of themselves in a prayerful context.

Yet three-dimensional statues have never been part of Orthodox veneration. This is no accident. And "beauty" does not, in itself, make an icon holy . A look at the "Strange icons" and "Schlock icons" threads will show you that many images which are "beautiful" and painted in an abstracted style associated with iconography are not icons at all.
Right. But again, I am not arguing for or against icons ITT. I have no problem with them. Rather I am defending the RC use of statues while not claiming that other churches should adopt the ancient Latin tradition since you have your own ancient form of veneration.

You are still missing the point, Surnaturel, as do so many non-Orthodox, particularly Roman Catholics and even some Byzantine Catholics, I have had the same discussion with. The purpose of icons, which were, after all, the sole proper "art form" considered suitable for veneration (I include icons on other items such as Gospel books, etc, which, in themselves, are worthy of veneration), and in existence from the beginning of the Christian era when the Church was undivided, is quite different from the post-schism use of statues by the non-Orthodox.

Even icons painted in a naturalistic style, with linear perspective, shadows cast by the figures and features in the composition, and modeling which reproduces volume, are, strictly speaking, deficient as objects of veneration. These speak of time, place and space as seen through earthly eyes and parameters. Yet, in heaven, there is no time as we know it; there is no night and day, but the Light that never sets, the eternal Day that never ends, where all that is earthly, mortal and corruptible has been transfigured, transformed and perfected. It is these things, and more, which the icon seeks to portray and express, something which a 3D statue is manifestly incapable of doing.
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« Reply #70 on: May 21, 2013, 07:42:52 AM »

Statues outside the Church? No problem...
Statues inside the Church? Problem...


You want to say that statues can be used outside Church for veneration, or for help for during prayers? Because, if i remember correctly, when i asked about statues at home ( because i have one of the Theotokos in the icon corner in my room that i do not venerate, although sometimes i just want to watch it) you said that statues should not be put near the icon corner. If i did not understood you correctly, correct me.
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« Reply #71 on: May 21, 2013, 09:31:33 AM »

Idolatry would be worshiping a statue or image as though that image was actually God or pagan gods. This was the perennial sin of Israel which constantly struggled with polytheism. In short, there is a supreme distinction between the icon and the idol and I feel like they are being collapsed into one when in reality they are not the same. There is nothing wrong with using a statue or an image for deeper contemplation of the divine mysteries, but if a person used either as though they were actually gods then either could be idolatrous.

Three-dimensional images speak of earthbound, worldly, temporal reality. The flatness of icons and bas-reliefs speaks of heavenly, other-worldly, spiritual reality. This, in a nutshell, is why statues have never been part of Orthodox veneration.

I understand the reasoning of EO veneration, I was just providing a Catholic explanation since it was requested. I disagree that 3d = wordly and 2d = ethereal. Perhaps it's a difference in cultural perception.

It has nothing to do with cultural perception. Linear perspective and three dimensions, as well as time as we know it, are specifically earthly, temporal parameters.

There is also a durable misconception, still found in art reference books, and among art historians, that the iconographers of the early Christian period “couldn’t draw or paint”, that this was a primitive or naïve art form. It must be remembered that they were the descendants of the people who gave the world the physical perfection of Classical sculpture and murals (such as the sculptures of Praxiteles and Pheidias, or the Greek and Roman frescoes), and where the development of geometry allowed the refinement of linear perspective in depicting three dimensions on a flat surface.

Therefore, a flat, abstracted, non-realistic form of painting, and the non-anatomical rendering of bodily proportions and features (elongation, disproportionate relative sizes of facial features, minimal modeling) was specifically and deliberately adopted as the standard for iconography, as it represents and depicts what is heavenly, spiritually-transformed, and not of this world.
I disagree. That seems to be your perception of what 2D vs. 3D images signify. Transcendence can be ascertained in a 3D image as well and it would be silly to argue otherwise. You may believe that it is more fitting to use images rather than statues and that is your right but I simply disagree.

Surnaturel, you probably don't know that I have studied, taught about, and written about iconography for many years. Icons are not simply religious art painted in an abstracted style. They express what Orthodoxy teaches and proclaims, and they serve liturgical functions which are simply absent from non-Orthodox traditions. "Theology in color" is an often-used phrase to describe them. Icons are the visual counterpart to hymnography. Just as Orthodox liturgical hymns and prayers express what we believe (lex orandi, lex credendi), so do icons.

Furthermore, an iconographer is not an artist allowed free rein on his creativity or expression, be it self-expression or the expression of the patron who has commissioned the icon. He is an instrument of the Church, and, like a hymnographer, must use his talents to properly express what the Church believes and espouses.
I think that 'theology in color' is an excellent way to describe Eastern iconography. I find it beautiful to be sure. All that I am saying is that statues are not idolatrous in and of themselves in a prayerful context.

Yet three-dimensional statues have never been part of Orthodox veneration. This is no accident. And "beauty" does not, in itself, make an icon holy . A look at the "Strange icons" and "Schlock icons" threads will show you that many images which are "beautiful" and painted in an abstracted style associated with iconography are not icons at all.
Right. But again, I am not arguing for or against icons ITT. I have no problem with them. Rather I am defending the RC use of statues while not claiming that other churches should adopt the ancient Latin tradition since you have your own ancient form of veneration.

You are still missing the point, Surnaturel, as do so many non-Orthodox, particularly Roman Catholics and even some Byzantine Catholics, I have had the same discussion with. The purpose of icons, which were, after all, the sole proper "art form" considered suitable for veneration (I include icons on other items such as Gospel books, etc, which, in themselves, are worthy of veneration), and in existence from the beginning of the Christian era when the Church was undivided, is quite different from the post-schism use of statues by the non-Orthodox.

Even icons painted in a naturalistic style, with linear perspective, shadows cast by the figures and features in the composition, and modeling which reproduces volume, are, strictly speaking, deficient as objects of veneration. These speak of time, place and space as seen through earthly eyes and parameters. Yet, in heaven, there is no time as we know it; there is no night and day, but the Light that never sets, the eternal Day that never ends, where all that is earthly, mortal and corruptible has been transfigured, transformed and perfected. It is these things, and more, which the icon seeks to portray and express, something which a 3D statue is manifestly incapable of doing.

Can you point me to the dogmatic justification from this theological belief?
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« Reply #72 on: May 21, 2013, 11:52:13 AM »

You want to say that statues can be used outside Church for veneration, or for help for during prayers? Because, if i remember correctly, when i asked about statues at home ( because i have one of the Theotokos in the icon corner in my room that i do not venerate, although sometimes i just want to watch it) you said that statues should not be put near the icon corner. If i did not understood you correctly, correct me.

I can't speak for Devin, but I have small statues in my icon corner that serve a decorative purpose. I don't treat them as icons, so I don't see the issue with them being there.
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« Reply #73 on: May 21, 2013, 11:53:07 AM »

You are still missing the point, Surnaturel, as do so many non-Orthodox, particularly Roman Catholics and even some Byzantine Catholics

"You're missing the point, Surnaturel: there is simply no defense for any opinion that is not anti-Roman Catholic."  Roll Eyes
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« Reply #74 on: May 21, 2013, 11:57:53 AM »

You are still missing the point, Surnaturel, as do so many non-Orthodox, particularly Roman Catholics and even some Byzantine Catholics

"You're missing the point, Surnaturel: there is simply no defense for any opinion that is not anti-Roman Catholic."  Roll Eyes

lol  Cheesy
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« Reply #75 on: May 21, 2013, 12:07:06 PM »

Idolatry would be worshiping a statue or image as though that image was actually God or pagan gods. This was the perennial sin of Israel which constantly struggled with polytheism. In short, there is a supreme distinction between the icon and the idol and I feel like they are being collapsed into one when in reality they are not the same. There is nothing wrong with using a statue or an image for deeper contemplation of the divine mysteries, but if a person used either as though they were actually gods then either could be idolatrous.

Three-dimensional images speak of earthbound, worldly, temporal reality.

Sometimes.

Quote
The flatness of icons and bas-reliefs speaks of heavenly, other-worldly, spiritual reality.

Sometimes.
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« Reply #76 on: May 22, 2013, 12:54:37 AM »

Idolatry would be worshiping a statue or image as though that image was actually God or pagan gods. This was the perennial sin of Israel which constantly struggled with polytheism. In short, there is a supreme distinction between the icon and the idol and I feel like they are being collapsed into one when in reality they are not the same. There is nothing wrong with using a statue or an image for deeper contemplation of the divine mysteries, but if a person used either as though they were actually gods then either could be idolatrous.

Three-dimensional images speak of earthbound, worldly, temporal reality. The flatness of icons and bas-reliefs speaks of heavenly, other-worldly, spiritual reality. This, in a nutshell, is why statues have never been part of Orthodox veneration.

I understand the reasoning of EO veneration, I was just providing a Catholic explanation since it was requested. I disagree that 3d = wordly and 2d = ethereal. Perhaps it's a difference in cultural perception.

It has nothing to do with cultural perception. Linear perspective and three dimensions, as well as time as we know it, are specifically earthly, temporal parameters.

There is also a durable misconception, still found in art reference books, and among art historians, that the iconographers of the early Christian period “couldn’t draw or paint”, that this was a primitive or naïve art form. It must be remembered that they were the descendants of the people who gave the world the physical perfection of Classical sculpture and murals (such as the sculptures of Praxiteles and Pheidias, or the Greek and Roman frescoes), and where the development of geometry allowed the refinement of linear perspective in depicting three dimensions on a flat surface.

Therefore, a flat, abstracted, non-realistic form of painting, and the non-anatomical rendering of bodily proportions and features (elongation, disproportionate relative sizes of facial features, minimal modeling) was specifically and deliberately adopted as the standard for iconography, as it represents and depicts what is heavenly, spiritually-transformed, and not of this world.
I disagree. That seems to be your perception of what 2D vs. 3D images signify. Transcendence can be ascertained in a 3D image as well and it would be silly to argue otherwise. You may believe that it is more fitting to use images rather than statues and that is your right but I simply disagree.

Surnaturel, you probably don't know that I have studied, taught about, and written about iconography for many years. Icons are not simply religious art painted in an abstracted style. They express what Orthodoxy teaches and proclaims, and they serve liturgical functions which are simply absent from non-Orthodox traditions. "Theology in color" is an often-used phrase to describe them. Icons are the visual counterpart to hymnography. Just as Orthodox liturgical hymns and prayers express what we believe (lex orandi, lex credendi), so do icons.

Furthermore, an iconographer is not an artist allowed free rein on his creativity or expression, be it self-expression or the expression of the patron who has commissioned the icon. He is an instrument of the Church, and, like a hymnographer, must use his talents to properly express what the Church believes and espouses.
I think that 'theology in color' is an excellent way to describe Eastern iconography. I find it beautiful to be sure. All that I am saying is that statues are not idolatrous in and of themselves in a prayerful context.

Yet three-dimensional statues have never been part of Orthodox veneration. This is no accident. And "beauty" does not, in itself, make an icon holy . A look at the "Strange icons" and "Schlock icons" threads will show you that many images which are "beautiful" and painted in an abstracted style associated with iconography are not icons at all.
Right. But again, I am not arguing for or against icons ITT. I have no problem with them. Rather I am defending the RC use of statues while not claiming that other churches should adopt the ancient Latin tradition since you have your own ancient form of veneration.

You are still missing the point, Surnaturel, as do so many non-Orthodox, particularly Roman Catholics and even some Byzantine Catholics, I have had the same discussion with. The purpose of icons, which were, after all, the sole proper "art form" considered suitable for veneration (I include icons on other items such as Gospel books, etc, which, in themselves, are worthy of veneration), and in existence from the beginning of the Christian era when the Church was undivided, is quite different from the post-schism use of statues by the non-Orthodox.

Even icons painted in a naturalistic style, with linear perspective, shadows cast by the figures and features in the composition, and modeling which reproduces volume, are, strictly speaking, deficient as objects of veneration. These speak of time, place and space as seen through earthly eyes and parameters. Yet, in heaven, there is no time as we know it; there is no night and day, but the Light that never sets, the eternal Day that never ends, where all that is earthly, mortal and corruptible has been transfigured, transformed and perfected. It is these things, and more, which the icon seeks to portray and express, something which a 3D statue is manifestly incapable of doing.

Can you point me to the dogmatic justification from this theological belief?

Unlike your church, the Orthodox have not embraced scholasticism, and its zeal for classifying, quantifying and "dogmatizing" every little aspect of the faith. There are a great many aspects to iconography which can only be learned by immersion in the liturgical and devotional life of the Church. This is in no way to be taken as some sort of gnostic statement, far from it! It is more a case of master teaching apprentice, and of discernment borne out of many years of exposure and experience of Orthodoxy in all its facets.

The last paragraph of my previous post contains imagery and phrases straight out of the liturgical deposit. You will find such imagery in many Orthodox liturgical hymns and prayers. Lex orandi, lex credendi. And, if an icon is to be true, it must seek to express what is not of this world, what is timeless, what is spiritually transformed and transfigured. To choose a three-dimensional medium, with its volume, shadow, and naturalism, to express this will always fall short.




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« Reply #77 on: May 22, 2013, 01:05:58 AM »

Idolatry would be worshiping a statue or image as though that image was actually God or pagan gods. This was the perennial sin of Israel which constantly struggled with polytheism. In short, there is a supreme distinction between the icon and the idol and I feel like they are being collapsed into one when in reality they are not the same. There is nothing wrong with using a statue or an image for deeper contemplation of the divine mysteries, but if a person used either as though they were actually gods then either could be idolatrous.

Three-dimensional images speak of earthbound, worldly, temporal reality. The flatness of icons and bas-reliefs speaks of heavenly, other-worldly, spiritual reality. This, in a nutshell, is why statues have never been part of Orthodox veneration.

I understand the reasoning of EO veneration, I was just providing a Catholic explanation since it was requested. I disagree that 3d = wordly and 2d = ethereal. Perhaps it's a difference in cultural perception.

It has nothing to do with cultural perception. Linear perspective and three dimensions, as well as time as we know it, are specifically earthly, temporal parameters.

There is also a durable misconception, still found in art reference books, and among art historians, that the iconographers of the early Christian period “couldn’t draw or paint”, that this was a primitive or naïve art form. It must be remembered that they were the descendants of the people who gave the world the physical perfection of Classical sculpture and murals (such as the sculptures of Praxiteles and Pheidias, or the Greek and Roman frescoes), and where the development of geometry allowed the refinement of linear perspective in depicting three dimensions on a flat surface.

Therefore, a flat, abstracted, non-realistic form of painting, and the non-anatomical rendering of bodily proportions and features (elongation, disproportionate relative sizes of facial features, minimal modeling) was specifically and deliberately adopted as the standard for iconography, as it represents and depicts what is heavenly, spiritually-transformed, and not of this world.
I disagree. That seems to be your perception of what 2D vs. 3D images signify. Transcendence can be ascertained in a 3D image as well and it would be silly to argue otherwise. You may believe that it is more fitting to use images rather than statues and that is your right but I simply disagree.

Surnaturel, you probably don't know that I have studied, taught about, and written about iconography for many years. Icons are not simply religious art painted in an abstracted style. They express what Orthodoxy teaches and proclaims, and they serve liturgical functions which are simply absent from non-Orthodox traditions. "Theology in color" is an often-used phrase to describe them. Icons are the visual counterpart to hymnography. Just as Orthodox liturgical hymns and prayers express what we believe (lex orandi, lex credendi), so do icons.

Furthermore, an iconographer is not an artist allowed free rein on his creativity or expression, be it self-expression or the expression of the patron who has commissioned the icon. He is an instrument of the Church, and, like a hymnographer, must use his talents to properly express what the Church believes and espouses.
I think that 'theology in color' is an excellent way to describe Eastern iconography. I find it beautiful to be sure. All that I am saying is that statues are not idolatrous in and of themselves in a prayerful context.

Yet three-dimensional statues have never been part of Orthodox veneration. This is no accident. And "beauty" does not, in itself, make an icon holy . A look at the "Strange icons" and "Schlock icons" threads will show you that many images which are "beautiful" and painted in an abstracted style associated with iconography are not icons at all.
Right. But again, I am not arguing for or against icons ITT. I have no problem with them. Rather I am defending the RC use of statues while not claiming that other churches should adopt the ancient Latin tradition since you have your own ancient form of veneration.

You are still missing the point, Surnaturel, as do so many non-Orthodox, particularly Roman Catholics and even some Byzantine Catholics, I have had the same discussion with. The purpose of icons, which were, after all, the sole proper "art form" considered suitable for veneration (I include icons on other items such as Gospel books, etc, which, in themselves, are worthy of veneration), and in existence from the beginning of the Christian era when the Church was undivided, is quite different from the post-schism use of statues by the non-Orthodox.

Even icons painted in a naturalistic style, with linear perspective, shadows cast by the figures and features in the composition, and modeling which reproduces volume, are, strictly speaking, deficient as objects of veneration. These speak of time, place and space as seen through earthly eyes and parameters. Yet, in heaven, there is no time as we know it; there is no night and day, but the Light that never sets, the eternal Day that never ends, where all that is earthly, mortal and corruptible has been transfigured, transformed and perfected. It is these things, and more, which the icon seeks to portray and express, something which a 3D statue is manifestly incapable of doing.

Can you point me to the dogmatic justification from this theological belief?

Unlike your church, the Orthodox have not embraced scholasticism, and its zeal for classifying, quantifying and "dogmatizing" every little aspect of the faith. There are a great many aspects to iconography which can only be learned by immersion in the liturgical and devotional life of the Church. This is in no way to be taken as some sort of gnostic statement, far from it! It is more a case of master teaching apprentice, and of discernment borne out of many years of exposure and experience of Orthodoxy in all its facets.

The last paragraph of my previous post contains imagery and phrases straight out of the liturgical deposit. You will find such imagery in many Orthodox liturgical hymns and prayers. Lex orandi, lex credendi. And, if an icon is to be true, it must seek to express what is not of this world, what is timeless, what is spiritually transformed and transfigured. To choose a three-dimensional medium, with its volume, shadow, and naturalism, to express this will always fall short.





You seem incapable of answering the question, which is okay if you don't know the answer. So lets make this simple:

1) are you of the opinion that statues as tools for prayer is heretical or idolatrous?

2) is this your personal belief or is this binding on the Orthodox Church?
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« Reply #78 on: May 22, 2013, 01:18:47 AM »

It is not my opinion that matters here, but the mind of the Orthodox Church which, historically, liturgically, patristically, and, yes, at Ecumenical Council level, has established icons, not statues, as the proper form for veneration.

From the Seventh Ecumenical Council:

Act 7:

“We define the rule with all accuracy and diligence, in a manner not unlike that befitting the shape of the precious and vivifying Cross, that the venerable and holy icons, painted or mosaic, or made of any other suitable material, be placed in the holy churches of God upon sacred vessels and vestments, walls and panels, houses and streets, both of our Lord and God and Saviour Jesus Christ, and of our spotless Lady the holy Mother of God, and also of the precious Angels, and of all Saints. For the more frequently and oftener they are continually seen in pictorial representation, the more those beholding are reminded and led to visualize anew the memory of the originals which they represent and for whom moreover they also beget a yearning in the soul of the persons beholding the icons. Accordingly, such persons are prompted not only to kiss these and to pay them honorary adoration, what is more important, they are imbued with the true faith which is reflected in our worship which is due to God alone and which befits only the divine nature. But this worship must be paid in the way suggested by the form of the precious and vivifying Cross, and the holy Gospels, and the rest of sacred institutions, and the offering of wafts of incense, and the display of beams of light, to be done for the purpose of honouring them, just as it used to be the custom to do among the ancients by way of manifesting piety. For any honour paid to the icon (or picture) redounds upon the original, and whoever bows down in adoration before the icon, is at the same time bowing down in adoration to the substance (or hypostasis) of the one therein painted. For thus the doctrine of our Holy Fathers, it was the tradition of the universal Church."


Interpretation (from The Rudder):

An idol is one thing, a statue is another thing, and an icon (or picture) is a different thing. For an idol differs from an icon in that the icon is a likeness of a true thing and its original, whereas the idol is an image of a false and inexistent thing, and is not the likeness of an original, according to Origen and Theodoret — just as were the idols of the false and inexistent gods of the Greeks. We call those images which embody the whole figure statues and carved or sculptured figures in general. As for this kind of images, namely, the statues, the catholic (Orthodox) Church not only does not adore them, but she does not even manufacture them, for many reasons:

1) because in its present definition this Council says for images to be produced with paints (or colours), with mosaic, or tessellated work, and with any other suitable material (which means with gold and silver and other metals, as Theodosius the bishop of Amorion says in Act 4 of the same Council) upon the sacred utensils, and robes, including sheets and cloths; upon walls and boards, and houses and streets. It did not mention a word about construction of a statue. Rather it may be said that this definition of this Council is antagonistic to statues;

2) because neither the letters written by patriarchs in their correspondence with one another, and to emperors, nor the letters of Pope Gregory to Germanus and of Pope Adrian to the present Council, nor the speeches and orations which the bishops and monks made in connection with all the eight Acts of the present Council said anything at all about statues or sculptured figures. But also the councils held by the iconomachs, and especially that held in Blachernae in the reign of Copronymus, in writing against the holy icons, mention oil paintings and portraits, but never statues or sculptured figures, which, if they existed, could not have been passed over in silence by the iconomachs, but, on the contrary, they would have been written against with a view to imputing greater blame to the Orthodox;

3) because although the woman with an issue of blood made a bronze statue of Christ in memory of and by way of giving thanks for the miracle and the benefaction which it had conferred upon her; and she set it up in the Panead, at the feet of which there sprang up a plant, or herb, which cured various ailments; and, as some say, that statue was smashed to pieces by the Emperor Maximinus, before Constantine the Great, and the bronze was seized by him; or else Julian the Apostate seized it, and put in its place the statue of Jupiter, as an anonymous writer says. Though, I say, the woman who had an issue of blood did make this statue (which the Christians took into the Church and honoured; and people went to see it out of a yearning for the original of it, as Philostorgus the Arian historically records), yet, as a matter of fact, that work of the woman who had an issue of blood was a concession from God, who, for goodness’ sake accepted it, making allowances for the imperfect knowledge of the woman who set it up; and because that was an embodiment and mark not of the grace of the Gospel, but of the old Law, as Pope Gregory II says in writing to St. Germanus (for the old Law had the two Cherubim, which were gold statues and sculptured figures containing all the body of the angelic powers, according to ch. 38 of Exodus, which Cherubim, according to an unknown expositor, had the face of a calf, and adored the Ark of the Covenant (here called the Ark of the Testimony, and by this adoration separated the Israelites from the idolatry of the Egyptians, who used to adore the calf. For the Jews learned from this that if a calf adored the Ark, it followed that the Egyptians were wrong in adoring it as a god).

Not only the old Law, but also the custom of the Greeks fostered the erection of statues and sculptured figures, as St. Germanus writes in a letter to Thomas of Claudiopolis which is to be found in Act 4 of the present Council, and which says: “It being obvious that the Saviour levelled His own grace to condescension with the faith of the woman, and showed what has been made evident to us above, namely, that it is not that what is performed is in general the object, but that it is the aim of the one performing it that is being reduced to experience . . . ." And again: “We do not say this, so that we may find an excuse for exercising the art of making bronze pillars, but merely in order to make it plain that the Lord did not discard the national custom at this point, but, instead, availed Himself of it to exhibit therein for a considerable length of time the wonder-working and miracle-working efficiency of His own benevolence; on which account it is not devout to disparage the custom of a somewhat more pious nature which has prevailed among us.”

You see here three things as plainly as day, to wit: 1) that the erection of the statue of Christ was moral, and that the Lord accepted it as a matter of compromise with the times; 2) that statues ought not to be manufactured; and 3) that it is more pious and more decent for the venerable images to be depicted, not by means of statues, but by means of colours in paintings. For the same saint said above by way of anticipation that in historically recording the facts concerning the statues, he historically recounts the fact that the icons of the Apostles Peter and Paul, painted in colours, were still extant . . . Canon LXXXII of the 6th, moreover, says that we ought to prefer the grace of the Gospel to the legal form, and ought to set up the human character, or figure, of Christ in icons instead of the olden lamb even in oil paintings.

So that from all that has been said it is proved that the Westerners are acting contrary to the definition of this holy and Ecumenical Seventh Council, and contrary to the tradition of the Church in making statues and sculptured figures and plaster of paris replicas, and setting them up in their churches. We said hereinabove those representations which embody the whole of that which they represent are called statues and sculptured work and plaster of paris figures in general, whereas those representations which do not embody the whole of the person or other object which they are intended to represent, but at most merely exhibit them in relief, projecting, that is to say, here and there above the level and surface of the background, are not called statues or sculptured work or plaster of paris figures or any such name, but, instead, they are called holy icons (or, if they are not holy, simply pictures). Such are those which are to be found engraved or stamped or otherwise delineated upon the sacred vessels, on divine Gospels, and other holy books, on precious crosses, of silver and gold, according to Dositheus (p. 656 of the Dodecabiblus); to the same class are assigned also images cast in wax and more or less in relief, that is to say, projecting at various points above and receding at other points below the plane surface of the image, concerning which divine Chrysostom (in his Discourse wherein he argues that one and the same Lawgiver is the author of both the Old and the New Testament; and in Discourse 307 on the vesture of priests, the origin of which is to be found in the Gospel of the kingdom of Christ) says the following:

“I myself have loved the images cast in wax as a matter of piety. For I beheld an angel in an image driving back hordes of barbarians. I saw barbarian troops being trodden underfoot, and the words of David coming true, wherein he says: ‘Lord, in thy city Thou wilt do their image havoc’ (p. 852 of the second volume of the Conciliar Records, in Act 6 of the 7th C.; and p. 647 of the sixth vol. of Chrysostom). Oecumenius, too, accepts and approves this kind of image which is cast in wax in the manner above described (in his commentary on the Epistle to the Hebrews). Hence, in writing to Symeon the bishop of Bostra, Anastasius the Patriarch of Antioch says: “though, as a matter of fact, an image is nothing else than a piece of wood and colours mixed and mingled with wax” (p. 845 of the second volume of the Conciliar Records). In the same class with these images are placed also the images which are carved in wooden crosses (crucifixes) and medallions. They, too, likewise are wrought in relief and project above the plane of the level surface, and do not compromise the whole body of the person or thing represented.

The reason and cause why statues are not adored or venerated (aside from the legal observation and custom noted hereinabove) seem to me to be the fact that when they are handled and it is noticed that the whole body and all the members of the person or thing represented are contained in them and that they not only reveal the whole surface of it in three dimensions, but can even be felt in space, instead of merely appearing as such to the eye alone, they no longer appear to be, nor have they any longer any right to be called, icons or pictures, but, on the contrary, they are sheer replications of the originals. Some persons, though, assert or opine that the reason why the Church rejected or did away with statues was in order to avoid entirely any likeness to idols. For the idols were statues of massive sculpture, capable of being felt on all sides with the hand and fingers.


It is clear from the above that, while bas-relief and embossed images are permissible for veneration, fully 3-dimensional statues are not.

Furthermore, more food for thought from one of the great iconologists, Leonid Ouspensky, whose works are standard references for iconographers and those who study iconography:

The decisions of the Quinisext Council were signed by the emperor, and a place was left for the signature of the Pope of Rome; following were the signatures of the Patriarchs Paul of Constantinople, Peter of Alexandria, Anastasius of Jerusalem and George of Antioch. These were followed by the signatures of 213 bishops or their representatives. Among the signatures was that of Basil, archbishop of Gortyna (in Crete), who signed on behalf of the Church of Rome. There were also signatures of other bishops of the West. The authority of these representatives of Western Christianity is contested. Hefele writes: "It is true that the Vita Sergii in the Liber Pontificalis reports that the legates of Pope Sergius, having been deceived by the emperor, signed their names. But these legates of the pope were simply pontifical apocrisiaries living in Constantinople and not legates who had been sent expressly to take part in the council." In any case, as soon as the council had ended, the acts were sent to Rome requesting Pope Sergius' signature. He refused, even rejecting his copy of the acts. He declared that the decisions of the council had no value and asserted that he preferred death to accepting error. The error consisted undoubtedly in some teachings and practices which were condemned by the council, such as, for example, the obligatory celibacy of clergy, the Saturday fast (already forbidden by the First Ecumenical Council), the representation of Christ in the form of a lamb, and others. Yet the Roman Church eventually accepted the Seventh Ecumenical Council, which refers to Canon 82 of the Quinisext Council. Therefore, it can be said that the Roman Church implicitly also recognises this canon. Pope St. Gregory II refers to Canon 82 in his letter to the Patriarch of Constantinople, St. Germanus. Pope Hadrian I, for example, solemnly declares in his letter to Patriarch St. Tarasius his adherence to the Quinisext Council; he does the same in a letter to the Frankish bishops in defence of the Seventh Ecumenical Council. Pope John VIII spoke of the decisions of the Quinisext Council without voicing any objection. Later, Pope Innocent III, quoting Canon 82, calls the Quinisext Council the Sixth Ecumenical Council. But all this is only the agreement of some popes, whereas there were others who had contrary opinions. On the whole, the West did not receive the decisions of the Quinisext Council.

The teaching of the Church on the christological basis of the icon, therefore, remained foreign to Western Christianity. This teaching could not enrich the sacred art of the West, which even today retains certain purely symbolic representations such as the lamb. The refusal to accept the decisions of the Quinisext Council later had, in the realm of sacred art, a great importance. The Roman Church excluded itself from the process of a development of an artistic and spiritual language, a process in which all the rest of the Church took an active part, with the Church of Constantinople providentially becoming the leader. The West remained outside of this development.

The Orthodox Church, on the contrary, in accordance with the Quinisext Council, continued to refine its art in form and in contents, an art which conveys, through images and material forms, the revelation of the divine world, giving us a key to approach, contemplate and understand it. It seems to us that it is particularly important for Western Orthodoxy, as it emerges in our own time, to be well aware of the significance of Canon 82 of the Quinisext Council. The canon, in fact, is the theoretical basis of liturgical art. Whatever course Western Orthodox art will take in the future, it will not be able to bypass the basic directive which was formulated for the first time in this canon: the transmission of historical reality and the revealed divine truth, expressed in certain forms which correspond to the spiritual experience of the Church.


The above excerpt goes some way in explaining why there is such divergence in content and form of western religious art and that of canonical Orthodox iconography. Despite the church of Rome accepting the rulings of the Seventh Ecumenical Council (convened almost a century later), it seems little mind was paid by that church to the prohibitions of that Council to the portrayal of God the Father as a bearded old man, hence the perpetuation of such images to this day. The conclusion could therefore be drawn, that the west also similarly saw no problem with statues as ecclesiastical art.
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« Reply #79 on: May 22, 2013, 01:25:05 AM »

From http://www.orthodoxanswers.org/answer/44/

It states that the Seventh Ecumenical Council neither condones or rejects statues but says that:

"the venerable and holy images, as well in painting and mosaic as of other fit materials, should be set forth in the holy churches of God."

The West would of course argue that statues have been decided in her region as "fit materials" and the council does not prohibit this.
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« Reply #80 on: May 22, 2013, 01:36:08 AM »

From http://www.orthodoxanswers.org/answer/44/

It states that the Seventh Ecumenical Council neither condones or rejects statues but says that:

"the venerable and holy images, as well in painting and mosaic as of other fit materials, should be set forth in the holy churches of God."

The West would of course argue that statues have been decided in her region as "fit materials" and the council does not prohibit this.

The Greek word for icon/image is quite different from the word for statue.

There is nothing random or accidental in Orthodoxy.  angel
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« Reply #81 on: May 22, 2013, 02:00:51 AM »

My priest said it like this. It isnt that there is anything WRONG with statues per say, but, we use icons because they are better than statues.
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« Reply #82 on: May 22, 2013, 02:27:26 AM »

My priest said it like this. It isnt that there is anything WRONG with statues per say, but, we use icons because they are better than statues.

A telling indicator of the absence of statues as objects of Orthodox veneration can be found in the writings and pronouncements of the iconoclasts. They railed against icons, but nary a word on statues. Why? Because they simply weren't used for veneration.
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« Reply #83 on: May 22, 2013, 07:53:58 AM »

My priest said it like this. It isnt that there is anything WRONG with statues per say, but, we use icons because they are better than statues.

A telling indicator of the absence of statues as objects of Orthodox veneration can be found in the writings and pronouncements of the iconoclasts. They railed against icons, but nary a word on statues. Why? Because they simply weren't used for veneration.

Couldn't one argue that statues fell under the term "icons"? Why would someone always be making the distinction if indeed the point is that the term included statuary?
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« Reply #84 on: May 22, 2013, 08:00:51 AM »

My priest said it like this. It isnt that there is anything WRONG with statues per say, but, we use icons because they are better than statues.

A telling indicator of the absence of statues as objects of Orthodox veneration can be found in the writings and pronouncements of the iconoclasts. They railed against icons, but nary a word on statues. Why? Because they simply weren't used for veneration.

Couldn't one argue that statues fell under the term "icons"? Why would someone always be making the distinction if indeed the point is that the term included statuary?

No, it cannot be argued so. The Greek words for statue and icon are entirely distinct and unrelated words. The meaning of each word is quite specific, and the words are not interchangeable.
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« Reply #85 on: May 22, 2013, 08:51:57 AM »

A telling indicator of the absence of statues as objects of Orthodox veneration can be found in the writings and pronouncements of the iconoclasts. They railed against icons, but nary a word on statues. Why? Because they simply weren't used for veneration.

So it's primarily a matter of opinion and personal preference. Because they weren't used for veneration by the Orthodox, but were used by other Christians.

My final word, as I'm leaving on a trip: there is no definitive answer to this question because that's simply not the Orthodox way, as I have come to understand it. Not that there's anything wrong with that.  Grin
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« Reply #86 on: May 22, 2013, 08:58:05 AM »

A telling indicator of the absence of statues as objects of Orthodox veneration can be found in the writings and pronouncements of the iconoclasts. They railed against icons, but nary a word on statues. Why? Because they simply weren't used for veneration.

So it's primarily a matter of opinion and personal preference. Because they weren't used for veneration by the Orthodox, but were used by other Christians.

My final word, as I'm leaving on a trip: there is no definitive answer to this question because that's simply not the Orthodox way, as I have come to understand it. Not that there's anything wrong with that.  Grin

You're forgetting that the iconoclasts preceded the Great Schism by several centuries. Therefore, your statement is without foundation.
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« Reply #87 on: May 22, 2013, 10:18:23 AM »

LBK, are there any writings you can point me to that clearly make these distinctions before or including the decrees of the Ecumenical Council? I can't help but think these are later justifications for the Eastern phobia of statues, and I don't mean that to come across as crass or rude. I understand the complex relationship. But if there is a solid argument before the Council that lays out these criteria for icons needing to be only about transfigured humanity, no shadows, no "temporal" relationship, etc., I want to see it. This gets awfully close to a denial of the reality of the incarnation, which is ironic given the close ties holy images supposedly have to this essential doctrine. The whole reason we can make images of God is because He came in the flesh. He was real, on an earth that casts shadows, with a full 3D experience. And one of the very first images we see is a bronze statue, made by a woman who knew full well what God in the flesh actually meant.
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« Reply #88 on: May 22, 2013, 11:13:24 AM »

You want to say that statues can be used outside Church for veneration, or for help for during prayers? Because, if i remember correctly, when i asked about statues at home ( because i have one of the Theotokos in the icon corner in my room that i do not venerate, although sometimes i just want to watch it) you said that statues should not be put near the icon corner. If i did not understood you correctly, correct me.

I can't speak for Devin, but I have small statues in my icon corner that serve a decorative purpose. I don't treat them as icons, so I don't see the issue with them being there.

Well, neither I treat the statue that is in my icon corner as the icons there, but somewhere I read that the icon corner is our home Church, and as we know, there is no place for statues in Churches.
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« Reply #89 on: May 22, 2013, 01:58:33 PM »

From http://www.orthodoxanswers.org/answer/44/

It states that the Seventh Ecumenical Council neither condones or rejects statues but says that:

"the venerable and holy images, as well in painting and mosaic as of other fit materials, should be set forth in the holy churches of God."

The West would of course argue that statues have been decided in her region as "fit materials" and the council does not prohibit this.

The Greek word for icon/image is quite different from the word for statue.

There is nothing random or accidental in Orthodoxy.  angel
thats the beautiful prophetic dimension of the council: some images are 3D. Cool
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