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Author Topic: Icons in bathroom?  (Read 5964 times) Average Rating: 0
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KATHXOYMENOC
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« on: June 14, 2006, 10:31:57 AM »

I have heard that one should not have a Bible in the bathroom - i.e., where one uses the toilet - and the same goes for icons.

However, our toilet is in a separate room with its own door separating it from the room with the sinks and shower and bathtub. There are also clothes closets in that same bathroom, also with their own doors. So it's basically four rooms:

1. sink/shower/tub room
2. clothes closet 1 with door
3. clothes closet 2 with door
4. toilet/linen-closet room with door

Would it be okay to put an icon(s) in any of the above rooms 1.-3., e.g., an icon of Christ washing the disciples' feet in room 1., as someone on another forum asked?
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« Reply #1 on: June 14, 2006, 11:05:13 AM »

Would it be okay to put an icon(s) in any of the above rooms 1.-3., e.g., an icon of Christ washing the disciples' feet in room 1., as someone on another forum asked?

Depends on why you want it there and what you'd do with it. The pertinent question is not if it is "okay" or if it is allowed or if there is a "rule" regarding such things (which there isn't), but rather: Why am I doing this? If you want to put an Icon in your closet because you will then retreat there and pray with this Icon on a regular basis, then by all means do so. If you want to put it up there for some other reason -- especially if it seems that you won't actually use the Icon for prayer very often at all -- then you should probably consider if such makes much spiritual sense.
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« Reply #2 on: June 14, 2006, 11:18:51 AM »

I'm not sure who told you this, but it seems to echo the idea that God cannot stand to be around some activities, as if we are somehow sinful when we are going to the bathroom.  The Logos incarnate engaged in this activity as well, after all.

I have an icon of the Theotokos of the sign in one bathroom and an icon of the Ladder of Divine Ascent in the other in my house.  I like to have an icon in each room...sort of a "where can I flee from Your presence" kind of thing.
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« Reply #3 on: June 14, 2006, 11:23:37 AM »

I'm not sure who told you this, but it seems to echo the idea that God cannot stand to be around some activities, as if we are somehow sinful when we are going to the bathroom.ÂÂ  The Logos incarnate engaged in this activity as well, after all.

I have an icon of the Theotokos of the sign in one bathroom and an icon of the Ladder of Divine Ascent in the other in my house.ÂÂ  I like to have an icon in each room...sort of a "where can I flee from Your presence" kind of thing.

Don't make me lie, but I think it was at St. Maximus that I read or it was said that one shouldn't have the Scriptures in the room where the toilet is, and one shouldn't read the Scriptures while one is using the toilet.

With regard to God and these activities, there is Deuteronomy 23:12-14:

12 You shall also have a place outside the camp and go out there, 13 and you shall have a spade among your tools, and it shall be when you sit down outside, you shall dig with it and shall turn to cover up your excrement. 14 Since the LORD your God walks in the midst of your camp to deliver you and to defeat your enemies before you, therefore your camp must be holy; and He must not see anything indecent among you or He will turn away from you.

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« Reply #4 on: June 14, 2006, 11:30:55 AM »

Don't make me lie, but I think it was at St. Maximus that I read or it was said that one shouldn't have the Scriptures in the room where the toilet is and one shouldn't read the Scriptures while one is using the toilet.

Dunno about that, but I do know that archeologists believe that Martin Luther did quite a bit of Bible reading and sermon writing while on the loo. Perhaps, if he rebelled against Tradition in ways doctrinal, by mutatis mutandis he did so in ways scatological?
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« Reply #5 on: June 14, 2006, 11:40:10 AM »

Don't make me lie, but I think it was at St. Maximus that I read or it was said that one shouldn't have the Scriptures in the room where the toilet is, and one shouldn't read the Scriptures while one is using the toilet.

Well, by all means, if Father's telling you to avoid doing those things, then weigh his opinions very heavily and err on the side of deferring to him.

Quote
With regard to God and these activities, there is Deuteronomy 23:12-14:

Would you think that perhaps this could be seen in light of "it is not what goes into a man that defiles him, but what comes out of him" (and by "come out," I obviously mean words through the mouth and not the other "come out" that would fit in this context)?  Instead of clinging to gastrointestinal regulations of the Old Covenant (both re: "input" and "output"), it would seem now that the attitude of the heart would overrule these things.
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« Reply #6 on: June 14, 2006, 12:23:31 PM »

Well, by all means, if Father's telling you to avoid doing those things, then weigh his opinions very heavily and err on the side of deferring to him.

Would you think that perhaps this could be seen in light of "it is not what goes into a man that defiles him, but what comes out of him" (and by "come out," I obviously mean words through the mouth and not the other "come out" that would fit in this context)?ÂÂ  Instead of clinging to gastrointestinal regulations of the Old Covenant (both re: "input" and "output"), it would seem now that the attitude of the heart would overrule these things.

I never specifically asked re: the non-toilet rooms, or even re: the bathroom at all. It's just something I heard or read, maybe from him.

We're not Orthodox (yet?), and don't have any icons in the house except for a small diptych on the mantel, and some pictures of icons there and in the bedroom.
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« Reply #7 on: June 14, 2006, 01:06:57 PM »

Seems like a tasteless idea at the very least, and disrespectful at the very most.
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« Reply #8 on: June 14, 2006, 01:18:18 PM »

KATHXOUMENOC,
Worrying about having icons in the bathroom vicinity is probably the least of your worries right now if you are a catechumen.
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« Reply #9 on: June 14, 2006, 02:25:33 PM »

KATHXOUMENOC,
Worrying about having icons in the bathroom vicinity is probably the least of your worries right now if you are a catechumen.

I'm not even yet a catechumen, still an "inquirer." I picked the name because it's reflective of my Christian walk at this time, whether in the Orthodox Church or in another Christian venue.ÂÂ  Wink

However, my wife is a catechumen, and will probably be wanting to put up some icons, so it's something we may have to consider.
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« Reply #10 on: June 14, 2006, 03:07:24 PM »

Pedro,

I'm the one who said that:)

According to the common practice of cradles from the old countries and the counsel of my priest (and the example at church--there are icons all over our common spaces, but have you EVER seen one in the bathroom?) and just what my common sense tells me, no icons in the bathroom and I put my bible down if I'm going to be occupied in there.
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« Reply #11 on: June 14, 2006, 03:11:22 PM »

I'd think its OK...unless you do some pretty specific sins in that washroom.... Roll Eyes
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« Reply #12 on: June 14, 2006, 03:38:58 PM »

I have heard that one should not have a Bible in the bathroom - i.e., where one uses the toilet - and the same goes for icons.

However, our toilet is in a separate room with its own door separating it from the room with the sinks and shower and bathtub. There are also clothes closets in that same bathroom, also with their own doors. So it's basically four rooms:

1. sink/shower/tub room
2. clothes closet 1 with door
3. clothes closet 2 with door
4. toilet/linen-closet room with door

Would it be okay to put an icon(s) in any of the above rooms 1.-3., e.g., an icon of Christ washing the disciples' feet in room 1., as someone on another forum asked?

I suspect based on some of the responses here that icons in "rooms" 1.-3. would probably be okay, as nudity and dressing one's self wouldn't be a problem, since people can have icons in their bedrooms, but "room" 4. might be a questionable or prohibited location in the eyes of some people and some priests.
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« Reply #13 on: June 15, 2006, 01:50:36 AM »

I would not recommend it. I would think that it would be seen as disrespectful at the least and sacrilegious at the most. We Americans often make these types of mistakes if we are converts---our society has no real view of the sacred and despite our attempts to enter the sacred often have been ill prepared for it resulting in what in most Orthodox Countries would be viewed as sacrilege.

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« Reply #14 on: June 15, 2006, 01:51:51 AM »

Again...this ain't the place to make final decisions.  Starting ideas, yeah, maybe.  But talk w/Father first, and trust his judgement.
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« Reply #15 on: June 15, 2006, 02:03:01 AM »

I'm not even yet a catechumen, still an "inquirer." I picked the name because it's reflective of my Christian walk at this time, whether in the Orthodox Church or in another Christian venue.  Wink

However, my wife is a catechumen, and will probably be wanting to put up some icons, so it's something we may have to consider.

Well, then just don't even worry about any of the areas 1-4 at the moment.  Try the bedroom (for personal prayer) and the living room.  EVENTUALLY, you can branch out from there.
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« Reply #16 on: June 15, 2006, 04:07:00 AM »

I wish that's all I had to worry about in my faith struggles.
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« Reply #17 on: June 15, 2006, 02:40:15 PM »

This thread is funny because my hubby and i were talking about if putting icons in a bathroom is right or wrong. We still haven't come up with an answer.

I mean, the icons are everywhere around the house, and around the house one may be undressing, burping, passing gas, lols... so what's the difference if you were to put an icon in the bathroom? For some reason it just doesn't seem right to me, but i don't want to say that without the reason, "why!".. and i don't know why.

One reason for NOT putting an icon in the bathroom could be that the shower steam can damage the icon.. other than that, i don't know what to think of.
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« Reply #18 on: June 15, 2006, 03:10:07 PM »

I mean, the icons are everywhere around the house, and around the house one may be undressing, burping, passing gas, lols... so what's the difference if you were to put an icon in the bathroom? For some reason it just doesn't seem right to me, but i don't want to say that without the reason, "why!".. and i don't know why.

Personally, I think all of these things -- the bathroom, burping, undressing, etc. -- are all red herrings. The fundamental and most important question is: "Do I use this Icon in this place for prayer on a regular basis? Does having it hanging here benefit my spiritual life?"

If the answer to either question is no, then one shouldn't have an Icon in that place. Period.

Icons are not decorations, pieces of art, or things we put up all over the place in order to set a mood. They are holy, blessed in the Church, and intended to be used in prayer, meditation, and Scripture reading.

That's not a personal attack on anybody, by the way. I think, in general, many Orthodox in the diaspora have too many Icons and therefore end up treating them as something they are not -- or even without proper respect and prayer. In fact, many people end up throwing all kinds of "Icons" away, e.g. ones printed on bulletins, pamphlets, cards, calendars, because we have gotten so used to just reproducing and using images of Icons on everything! (And are any of these images treated with respect, much less veneration and prayer? If not, why do we make them and buy them?)

At any rate, wouldn't it be better to save all the money spent on 10 printed Icons and thereby purchase an actual hand-painted Icon for one's home, made by an actual iconographer while praying and fasting -- and, then, use this Icon for one's own prayer and devotion?
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« Reply #19 on: June 15, 2006, 03:12:36 PM »

Personally, I think all of these things -- the bathroom, burping, undressing, etc. -- are all red herrings. The fundamental and most important question is: "Do I use this Icon in this place for prayer on a regular basis? Does having it hanging here benefit my spiritual life?"

If the answer to either question is no, then one shouldn't have an Icon in that place. Period.

Icons are not decorations, pieces of art, or things we put up all over the place in order to set a mood. They are holy, blessed in the Church, and intended to be used in prayer, meditation, and Scripture reading.

That's not a personal attack on anybody, by the way. I think, in general, many Orthodox in the diaspora have too many Icons and therefore end up treating them as something they are not -- or even without proper respect and prayer. In fact, many people end up throwing all kinds of "Icons" away, e.g. ones printed on bulletins, pamphlets, cards, calendars, because we have gotten so used to just reproducing and using images of Icons on everything! (And are any of these images treated with respect, much less veneration and prayer? If not, why do we make them and buy them?)

At any rate, wouldn't it be better to save all the money spent on 10 printed Icons and thereby purchase an actual hand-painted Icon for one's home, made by an actual iconographer while praying and fasting -- and, then, use this Icon for one's own prayer and devotion?

Very interesting. I think, too, that you have hit a nail on the head for me, for I had begun to think of icons as spiritual decorations for an Orthodox or Christian house as well as being an aid to prayer.

And ... what is meant by "the diaspora"? For Jews, it means being scattered outside the Holy Land, but what does it mean for Christians, and specifically for Orthodox Christians?
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« Reply #20 on: June 15, 2006, 03:32:22 PM »

I don't think it means anything for Christians in general. For Orthodox Christians, it can mean various things. Most literally, it refers to groups of people from traditionally Orthodox lands (e.g. Greece, Serbia, Russia), who leave their homeland and live in other lands that are not traditionally Orthodox.

By extension, therefore, it is sometimes used by Orthodox to refer to Orthodox communities in Western Europe, the Americas, Australia, etc.

Some Orthodox in the diaspora object to being labeled as "Orthodox in the diaspora," since they say: "I never left any homeland and set up shop here. This IS my homeland." However, it's a term of convenience at worst, and, according to some, a rather meaningful and descriptive one (since many diaspora communities share particular characteristics).

Basically, I use it to mean: Countries that have Orthodox communities in them (whether by emmigration or conversion), wherein Orthodox Christianity is relatively new (and small in numbers), especially Western Europe, the Americas, and Australia.
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« Reply #21 on: June 15, 2006, 03:39:47 PM »

I don't think it means anything for Christians in general. For Orthodox Christians, it can mean various things. Most literally, it refers to groups of people from traditionally Orthodox lands (e.g. Greece, Serbia, Russia), who leave their homeland and live in other lands that are not traditionally Orthodox.

By extension, therefore, it is sometimes used by Orthodox to refer to Orthodox communities in Western Europe, the Americas, Australia, etc.

Some Orthodox in the diaspora object to being labeled as "Orthodox in the diaspora," since they say: "I never left any homeland and set up shop here. This IS my homeland." However, it's a term of convenience at worst, and, according to some, a rather meaningful and descriptive one.

Basically, I use it to mean: Countries that have Orthodox communities in them (whether by emmigration or conversion), but are not traditionally considered to be Orthodox Christian.

Since a Christian's heart does not belong to the kingdoms of this world, but to the Kingdom of God, I would find using the term "diaspora" a needless and potentially harmful associating of one's faith with one's or one's church's country of national origin. The "promised land" for a Christian is neither Greece nor Russia, etc., but the heavenly country which the saints in the book of Hebrews desired (Hebrews 11:13-16).
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« Reply #22 on: June 15, 2006, 03:46:34 PM »

Since a Christian's heart does not belong to the kingdoms of this world, but to the Kingdom of God, I would find using the term "diaspora" a needless and potentially harmful associating of one's faith with one's or one's church's country of national origin. The "promised land" for a Christian is neither Greece nor Russia, etc., but the heavenly country which the saints in the book of Hebrews desired (Hebrews 11:13-16).

It has nothing to do with promised lands or even theology, but with description, categories and effecient use of language. Perhaps we should never say "I am a citizen of the United States" because that would compromise our allegiance to the in-breaking reality of Christ's Kingdom?

When I (and many people) use the term "diaspora", it's equivalent to saying: "Orthodox people in Western Europe, the Americas and Australia."
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« Reply #23 on: June 15, 2006, 03:54:43 PM »

It has nothing to do with promised lands or even theology, but with description, categories and effecient use of language. Perhaps we should never say "I am a citizen of the United States" because that would compromise our allegiance to the in-breaking reality of Christ's Kingdom?

When I (and many people) use the term "diaspora", it's equivalent to saying: "Orthodox people in Western Europe, the Americas and Australia."

But that still makes a needless distinction, IMO, between Orthodox people in Greece and Russia (who are somehow not in the "diaspora"), and Orthodox people in other countries (who for ethnic and geographic reasons are regarded as being in the "diaspora"). My point is that ALL Christians are in the "diaspora" as long as the Kingdom of God has not yet come to earth - i.e., they are scattered/dispersed throughout the earth as strangers and aliens in this world - and hence NONE should be categorized as being in the "diaspora" (versus classifying some as being in the "diaspora" and others as not being in the "diaspora").
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« Reply #24 on: June 15, 2006, 04:51:01 PM »

I don't think that it is a good Idea to put Icons in the Bath Room. or the Bible as well. the Bath room is not very good place. when taking a bath or shower the Icons and the bible could be damged my the steam.
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« Reply #25 on: June 15, 2006, 06:37:58 PM »

But that still makes a needless distinction, IMO, between Orthodox people in Greece and Russia (who are somehow not in the "diaspora"), and Orthodox people in other countries (who for ethnic and geographic reasons are regarded as being in the "diaspora").

But as long as those countries have an Orthodox majority and Orthodox in the West suffer under heterodox leaders and the Church has no role in state affairs, there should be a distinction.
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« Reply #26 on: June 15, 2006, 10:15:26 PM »

But as long as those countries have an Orthodox majority and Orthodox in the West suffer under heterodox leaders and the Church has no role in state affairs, there should be a distinction.

No. Again, the church cannot be - or should not be - equated with or identified with a national earthly country. Just because there may be, for some, such a distinction, does that warrant using such a term that makes such a distinction? After all, they are all members of the one, holy, catholic and apostolic church.

But ... if you insist on calling the Orthodox in these other countries "those who are in the 'diaspora'," then it's only right that the Orthodox who are in their so-called "proper" native lands should be called "those who are in 'Babylon'." 1 Peter 5:13 (cf. 1 Peter 1:1)
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« Reply #27 on: June 15, 2006, 10:41:06 PM »

I'd think its OK...unless you do some pretty specific sins in that washroom.... Roll Eyes

come, come now sloga, haven't you realized that this thread is a common-sense free zone...LOL.

But seriously, perhaps we should consider whether Christ was any less holy or less divine while defecating than while performing a miracle? Do we view a natural biological process as unclean or sinful? Or are we simply uncomfortable with the idea that God became Man?  (Questions about Icons are ultimately questions about Christology)
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« Reply #28 on: June 16, 2006, 03:04:00 AM »

Quote
But seriously, perhaps we should consider whether Christ was any less holy or less divine while defecating than while performing a miracle?

First of all, we don’t know whether or not Christ defecated.

Christ did not submit to any and every natural susceptibility, process and inclination of His humanity just because such susceptibilities, processes and inclinations were natural to that very humanity. The Word always had direct control of and providence over His human activities and processes, and only submitted to certain human activities and processes within divine reason. He had the power to be immune from that which His humanity was naturally subject to (e.g. sickness), and He had the power to supernaturally control the extent to which that to which He was naturally subject affected Him (e.g. his hunger), and according to Orthodox (i.e. Alexandrine) Christology, as propounded particularly by Sts. Athanasius and Cyril, The Word indeed exercised those powers.

When The Word voluntarily became flesh, He did not voluntarily become an unwilling victim of the natural corruptibility associated with that flesh. The experience of human corruptibility was itself voluntarily partaken of, to an extent voluntarily determined. 

As such, unless you can provide some specific soteriologically significant reason as to why Christ must have engaged in the human practice of defacation, then I can find no reason to assume that He did. The fact His humanity was consubstantial with us, does not necessarily mean He personally experienced it as we do. 

Quote
Do we view a natural biological process as unclean or sinful?

Sin is not the issue here. The issue is respect. One wouldn’t hang a picture of their mother next to the toilet, so why would one do so with a Holy Icon? The very nature of a bathroom--a room with the very purpose of allowing persons to rid themselves of waste and dirt--compels common sense to realise that such is not the type of room befitting items of purity and holiness; it is plain disrespectful.

Furthermore, your logic can be extended to the justify the absurd, including the not too recent incident regarding the “artistic” (using the word very loosely) depiction of the Lord Christ that a certain (unbalanced) man created with his own urine. One could justify such a sacreligious act by asking, “Is there anything sinful about urine? It’s just a natural fluid that we eject from the natural body right?”
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« Reply #29 on: June 16, 2006, 04:57:14 AM »

1.   The fundamental and most important question is: "Do I use this Icon in this place for prayer on a regular basis? Does having it hanging here benefit my spiritual life?"

Icons are not decorations, pieces of art, or things we put up all over the place in order to set a mood. They are holy, blessed in the Church, and intended to be used in prayer, meditation, and Scripture reading.

2.  In fact, many people end up throwing all kinds of "Icons" away, e.g. ones printed on bulletins, pamphlets, cards, calendars, because we have gotten so used to just reproducing and using images of Icons on everything! (And are any of these images treated with respect, much less veneration and prayer? If not, why do we make them and buy them?)

I  agree with this viewpoint and believe it is important to keep sacred things, (music included) for sacred occasions, or to help us return our focus to Heaven, to benefit our spiritual life. 

But I do remember when my children were growing up and spent the night at a Christian friend's house.  They complained to me the next day, "Mom, it was really hard being in that house, there were no holy images anywhere."  My children were helped to focus by having windows to Heaven  in several different places.

Most of our icons are in the chapel, but we have a few other pieces of holy art in different rooms, and when I walk into that room I am reminded of my relationship with the person depicted in that image.  It is edifying and strengthening.  But if this image were to become common place, and ignored, I  think it would be better for me to remove it.

2.  I am very troubled by the disrespect shown to holy images on literature.  I feel responsible for putting those things away properly.  St. Francis would not allow any writings from the Scriptures to lay around or be treated disrespectfully.  On the other hand, I have been touched by a holy image that I saw sitting somewhere,  and drawn in to holy devotion.   It may be that sometimes people will be touched by God as they have a chance encounter with something holy.

In any case, this thread reminds me of a story I heard at the onset of my Franciscan journey.

Two brothers were on retreat at a Trappist monastery.  The first brother,  a Friar Minor (Franciscan)  came to ask Father Guardian a question about the rules.  He said, "Father, may I drink coffee while I pray?"  Father Guardian answered him,  "No my son.  It is better to finish your coffee and then go into pray."  Obediently, the friar set his coffee down and went to pray.

Now the other brother, a Jesuit novice had over heard  this conversation and he too had a question for the Guardian.  "Father,"  he began,  "Is it permitted for me to pray, while I drink my coffee?"  Father Guardian replied,  "Of course my son, we must pray without ceasing."

This little story while humorous (albeit Catholic),  just confirms what Pensateomnia had said earlier, "does it benefit my spiritual life". If our hearts are continually bent on communing with God,  without legalistic boundaries,  we may very well find ourselves in an unusual place with the Holy Word of God.

By the way, just to satisfy any idle curiosity, we don't have an icon in our outhouse.   Smiley 
« Last Edit: June 16, 2006, 05:03:38 AM by Mother Anastasia » Logged

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« Reply #30 on: June 16, 2006, 07:17:39 AM »

First of all, we don’t know whether or not Christ defecated.

Christ did not submit to any and every natural susceptibility, process and inclination of His humanity just because such susceptibilities, processes and inclinations were natural to that very humanity.

He nursed at the breast (according to some icons, and it's implied by the Gospels). He apparently ate food and drank wine and water. He grew tired - i.e., his muscles built up lactic acid. He slept. He sweated. His body functioned just like a human body, because it WAS a human body. If He did not defecate, he was not completely human, IMO.

That is part of the scandal/stumbling block of the Incarnation - i.e., that God Himself became fully human, taking on ALL our frailties and weaknesses and activities (but without sinning), including doing those things that we think are "beneath" the level of divine beings.

Defecation and urination are no different than exhalation of carbon dioxide and perspiration - i.e., relieving the body of waste products produced by or left over from the absorption/utilization of food or expenditure of energy. In fact, when I do a lot of sweat-inducing work outside for a long period of time, I find that I may drink quarts and quarts of water or ice tea or Gatorade, but I never seem to have to urinate - apparently because my sweat glands have sufficiently done whatever my kidneys would normally do.
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« Reply #31 on: June 16, 2006, 07:30:51 AM »

Quote
If He did not defecate, he was not completely human, IMO.

I addressed this argument in my previous post when I stated:

The fact His humanity was consubstantial with us, does not necessarily mean He personally experienced it as we do.ÂÂ  

In explaining how Christ experiences our humanity I stated:

Christ did not submit to any and every natural susceptibility, process and inclination of His humanity just because such susceptibilities, processes and inclinations were natural to that very humanity. The Word always had direct control of and providence over His human activities and processes, and only submitted to certain human activities and processes within divine reason. He had the power to be immune from that which His humanity was naturally subject to (e.g. sickness), and He had the power to supernaturally control the extent to which that to which He was naturally subject affected Him (e.g. his hunger), and according to Orthodox (i.e. Alexandrine) Christology, as propounded particularly by Sts. Athanasius and Cyril, The Word indeed exercised those powers.

The above stipulated principles, and the specific examples given, have their basis in the works of Sts. Athanasius and Cyril. They do not reflect my private opinion.

Christ was fully human because He was humanly capable of all human processes and activities, including sickness and defacation. However, as the Divine Word Incarnate, He had the ability to control these processes and activities. His submission to them was voluntary, and hence He could conversely make Himself immune from them voluntarily. Christ was never an unwilling victim to humanity. His Resurrection is the greatest proof of that.
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« Reply #32 on: June 16, 2006, 08:46:40 AM »

His submission to them was voluntary, and hence He could conversely make Himself immune from them voluntarily.
If Christ excercised His ability to not undertake a human fuction, then He would be voluntarily rejecting it- and therefore not taking on full humanity and choosing not to be truly "a man like us in all things except sin". Christ Himself spoke of defaecation as a human function: "Do you not see that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and then out of the body?" (Matt 15:17). To say that Christ chose to make Himself "immune" from defaecation is nothing short of Docetism- (the same Docetism the Moslems still have about Christ's death on the Cross).
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« Reply #33 on: June 16, 2006, 09:32:04 AM »

Quote
If Christ excercised His ability to not undertake a human fuction, then He would be voluntarily rejecting it- and therefore not taking on full humanity and choosing not to be truly "a man like us in all things except sin".

I already responded to this argument; twice now… On the first occasion, I proposed the argument myself and answered it myself in anticipation that others would attempt to throw it at me:

The fact His humanity was consubstantial with ours, does not necessarily mean He personally experienced it as we do. 

He experiences humanity differently, not because He is not really human, but because He is not merely human.

Quote
Christ Himself spoke of defaecation as a human function: "Do you not see that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and then out of the body?" (Matt 15:17).

Huh I do not need a statement from Christ to know that defecation is a human function.....

I believe you’re missing the point. The issue does not concern whether or not defecation is a human function, nor is it with respect to whether or not defecation was a function that Christ’s humanity in particular was naturally capable of, and inclined towards. The issue concerns whether or not Christ was necessarily subject to the exercise of this function. In consideration of patristic authority and reason, I conclude, no.

Allow me to elaborate upon the example of sickness: when we come into contact with another person infected with a cold, we will naturally and unwillingly contract that cold by virtue of the natural susceptibility of our humanity to contagious infections. Unlike us, however, Christ would not necessarily contract such a contagious infection, because despite the fact that His humanity, like our humanity, is naturally susceptible to contracting such contagious infections, He, unlike us, exercises dominion and authority over the natural laws that govern our human condition, and as such He is able to suspend or influence those laws at will, in order that He not incur the sickness in question.

A similar argument applies to the process of defecation. When we eat, we find that our bodies need to discharge that waste; we neither will this process, nor is its timing subject to our discretion; we go when we need to go, because we have to go. Christ, on the other hand, as with the above example, is not necessarily subject to the natural functions of His humanity, and can, at will, suspend or influence those laws that govern His humanity such that He discharge whatever He consumes in His own way.

Quote
To say that Christ chose to make Himself "immune" from defaecation


First of all, I did not say that He did. There is no indication that He did. I am simply saying He was capable of doing so, and hence we shouldn’t assume that He didn’t. The principles that I have applied in drawing this conclusion with respect to the issue of defecation, were applied by Sts. Athanasius and Cyril to other human functions and processes, including sickness, suffering, and hunger. Since I find no logical reason to discriminate between defecation and other human activities, functions, and processes, my conclusion is validly drawn upon the basis of patristic authority.

Quote
is nothing short of Docetism- (the same Docetism the still Moslems have about Christ's death on the Cross).

That’s a bold move to implicitly accuse Sts. Athanasius and Cyril of docetism.

Docetism is the doctrine that regards the humanity of Christ to be in and of itself illusory, which hence deems His human experiences to be apparent as opposed to actual. According to Sts. Athanasius and Cyril, Christ’s humanity was consubstantial with ours, and His experiences were thus very real; nonetheless, those experiences were undergone voluntarily at His own discretion (in the sense described throughout my last few posts). The charge of docetism is thus a straw man attack.
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« Reply #34 on: June 16, 2006, 09:54:40 AM »

But that still makes a needless distinction, IMO, between Orthodox people in Greece and Russia (who are somehow not in the "diaspora"), and Orthodox people in other countries (who for ethnic and geographic reasons are regarded as being in the "diaspora"). My point is that ALL Christians are in the "diaspora" as long as the Kingdom of God has not yet come to earth - i.e., they are scattered/dispersed throughout the earth as strangers and aliens in this world...

That's a fine (and obvious) theological point, but it has very little to do with the actual usage of the word in its current manifestation, nor should it compel one to give up a perfectly useful and efficient means of expression.

In fact, in principle, your argument would disallow all distinction and description. How dare one say "Orthodox in the West" or "Orthodox in the eastern part of the U.S." or "Orthodox in the U.K." since that -- apparently! -- somehow implies that one believes that these Orthodox are not as much a part of the here-and-yet-not-here Kingdom of Christ as Orthodox in some other area.

We have to face reality. Every Orthodox Christian lives in a particular context. Some of those contexts are similar; others are not. And these contexts influence the way Orthodox Christians participate in, react to and experience the Church, which already is the in-breaking eschatological community, i.e. a glorious foretaste of our true home, the Kingdom of Christ. Thus, even while the Church is one, the experiences and particular manifestations of that one Church are manifold; and this diversity can be broadly categorized and described. Like all verbal attempts at convenient generalization, such will not be perfect, but it will be meaningful.

Should you desire every time you are trying to make such a distinction to say: "Orthodox Christians who live in the old French neighborhoods of Bucuresti, as well as Orthodox Christians who live on the banks of the Volga, have these customs, whereas Orthodox Christians who live near UCSB along the coastline of California and Orthodox Christians who live near Houston, Texas do these things" -- by all means, do so!

But in its clumsiness of expression, such fails to grasp one of the essential realities that the distinction may be attempting to describe -- a distinction that has nothing to do with governments, established Churches, laws or citizenship. Rather, it has to do with culture, i.e. day-to-day life, customs, how one makes one's entire life conform to the eschatological reality of one's Christian Faith.

Most Orthodox Christians in the diaspora face certain challenges to their Faith, especially in figuring out how to live in a practical way on a day-to-day basis as Orthodox Christians. Many have no access to a parish, since they live in areas where there is no Orthodox Church; others may have a parish with no priest; many may only be able to go to Church once a week; most are not able to take off time from work on major Orthodox holidays, since these are not only not recognized by the State, but also not valued by the culture; quite a few have very few Orthodox friends, little support in school, their workplace, even their home; sometimes, it is difficult to keep the fast, since most restaurants have few -- if any! -- vegan options and everyone is quite accustomed to cooking and eating meals with meat or cheese. In short, they have to figure out how to live as an Orthodox Christian (how to cook, eat, work, take vacation, pray, relate to their extended family and neighbors, budget for trips to parishes or monasteries), and such often poses very specific challenges and (sometimes) very few resources and easy answers.

While Orthodox lands (i.e. Orthodox cultures) are losing many of their particularly Orthodox characteristics, none of these things are wide-spread challenges for Orthodox Christians who live in, say, Greece or Romania. Rather, while there may be an emerging secular culture, there is also a large minority of people who are very active in the Church. Thus, whether they like it or not, Orthodox people in such places are surrounded by Churches and monasteries. They can interact with and learn from multiple clergy, experienced lay people, trained theologians and Orthodox families (Not too hard to find Orthodox playmates for young Yianni...just walk out your front door! No worries about what crazy ideas Yianni will learn in school, especially about religion, since Orthodox theology and history are required subjects for everyone!). People can -- and do! -- go to Church for Orthros or Vespers any day they like (I've been to a non-feast day Tuesday Vespers in Thessaloniki with 100 people...and that was just in some little Church I happened to be passing when the bells rang, as did the bells on two of the others Churches on that particular street). Businesses can and do close on Church holidays, people can stop by the Church on their afternoon walk and light a candle. Grandma shows you how to cook fasting meals that aren't unpalatable. In short, the cultural resources and customs can support and deepen one's faith.

Try as we may, such things are often hard to come by in the diaspora. We have to carve them out of the rock of a competing society, whereas, in Orthodox lands, one has the example, guidance and approval of peer groups and a good chunk of one's neighbors. Not to mention the many holy sites, holy relics and nearby elders!
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« Reply #35 on: June 16, 2006, 09:59:04 AM »

That's a fine (and obvious) theological point, but it has very little to do with the actual usage of the word in its current manifestation, nor should it compel one to give up a perfectly useful and efficient means of expression.

In fact, in principle, your argument would disallow all distinction and description. How dare one say "Orthodox in the West" or "Orthodox in the eastern part of the U.S." or "Orthodox in the U.K." since that -- apparently! -- somehow implies that one believes that these Orthodox are not as much a part of the here-and-yet-not-here Kingdom of Christ as Orthodox in some other area.

We have to face reality. Every Orthodox Christian lives in a particular context. Some of those contexts are similar; others are not. And these contexts influence the way Orthodox Christians participate in, react to and experience the Church, which already is the in-breaking eschatological community, i.e. a glorious foretaste of our true home, the Kingdom of Christ. Thus, even while that Church is one, the experiences and particular manifestations of that one Church are manifold; and this diversity can be broadly categorized and described. Like all verbal attempts at convenient generalization, such will not be perfect, but it will be meaningful.

Should you desire every time you are trying to make such a distinction to say: "Orthodox Christians who live in the old French neighborhoods of Bucuresti, as well as Orthodox Christians who live on the banks of the Volga, have these customs, whereas Orthodox Christians who live near UCSB along the coastline of California and Orthodox Christians who live near Houston, Texas do these things" -- by all means, do so!

But in its clumsiness of expression, such fails to grasp one of the essential realities that the distinction may be attempting to describe -- a distinction that has nothing to do with governments, established Churches, laws or citizenship. Rather, it has to do with culture, i.e. day-to-day life, customs, how one makes one's entire life conform to the eschatological reality of one's Christian Faith.

Most Orthodox Christians in the diaspora face certain challenges to their Faith, especially in figuring out how to live in a practical way on a day-to-day basis as Orthodox Christians. Many have no access to a parish, since they live in areas where there is no Orthodox Church; others may have a parish with no priest; many may only be able to go to Church once a week; most are not able to take off time from work on major Orthodox holidays, since these are not only not recognized by the State, but also not valued by the culture; quite a few have very few Orthodox friends, little support in school, their workplace, even their home; sometimes, it is difficult to keep the fast, since most restaurants have few -- if any! -- vegan options and everyone is quite accustomed to cooking and eating meals with meat or cheese. In short, they have to figure out how to live as an Orthodox Christian (how to cook, eat, work, take vacation, pray, relate to their extended family and neighbors, budget for trips to parishes or monasteries), and such often poses very specific challenges and (sometimes) very few resources and easy answers.

While Orthodox lands (i.e. Orthodox cultures) are losing many of their particularly Orthodox characteristics, none of these things are wide-spread challenges for Orthodox Christians who live in, say, Greece or Romania. Rather, while there may be an emerging secular culture, there is also a large minority of people who are very active in the Church. Thus, whether they like or not, Orthodox people in such places are surrounded by Churches and monasteries. They can interact with and learn from multiple clergy, experienced lay people, trained theologians and Orthodox families (Not too hard to find Orthodox playmates for young Yianni...just walk out your front door! No worries about what crazy ideas Yianni will learn in school, especially about religion, since Orthodox theology and history are required subjects for everyone!). People can -- and do! -- go to Church for Orthros or Vespers any day they like (I've been to a non-feast day Tuesday Vespers in Thessaloniki with 100 people...and that was just in some little Church I happened to be passing when the bells rang, as did the bells on two of the others Churches on that particular street). Businesses can and do close on Church holidays, people can stop by the Church on their afternoon walk and light a candle. Grandma shows you how to cook fasting meals that aren't unpalatable. In short, the cultural resources and customs can support and deepen one's faith.

Try as we may, such things are often hard to come by in the diaspora. We have to carve them out of the rock of a competing society, whereas, in Orthodox lands, one has the example, guidance and approval of peer groups and a good chunk of one's neighbors. Not to mention the many holy sites, holy relics and nearby elders!

Now I better understand the point you were making. Thanks for taking the time and making the effort to post this.
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« Reply #36 on: June 16, 2006, 10:06:50 AM »

You're welcome!
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« Reply #37 on: June 16, 2006, 11:03:56 AM »

I lean in the direction of 'no icons or Bible in the lavatory'. Nor in the bath.

(BTW, FYI for the many American readers, having the toilet and bath in separate rooms is fairly standard outside the US.)

I know that at least some Orthodox priests remove their pectoral crosses when making a pit-stop.

I don't do that with the crucifix I wear on a chain, and don't think God minds (I generally agree with the implications of the Incarnation here - Our Lord once alluded to defecation after all), but generally agree with 'no holy things in that room' because 1) the risk of damage (from water or steam from the bath for example) and 2) the room's function - it's not like you go in there specifically to pray.

Regarding the criticism of overusing paper icons and treating them carelessly - as decorations that can be thrown away - amen! I tend to be careful about taking such images, keeping them (either using them or storing extras in a reserved folder or drawer) and, if I can't use them, giving them away or, if unuseable/damaged, reverently/privately burning them as should be done.

As I like to say, as a quasi-sacramental presence icons are halfway between Western Catholic pictures and statues on one hand and having the Sacrament in the room with you on the other. There's nothing wrong with what you do in the lavatory, but would you keep the Reserved Sacrament (Holy Gifts) there?

And I understand that in Orthodoxy the Gospels for example get about the same reverence as icons so there you are.

They don't belong in a place that's set aside for profane (not necessarily sinful or per se sacrilegious) use.

Regarding 'diaspora' the recent news of the Russian Church's bishop in the UK switching to the Greeks reminded me of all this. If all were in order a 'diaspora' situation or mentality wouldn't exist. There are enough Orthodox in the UK and US to have a go at one local/national independent church (in the Orthodox communion) with one bishop per city and all the ethnic parishes under him. It all hangs on the old-country patriarchates having the courage to sacrifice that income (the Greek and Antiochian patriarchs need that American cash to survive) to do the right thing.
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« Reply #38 on: June 16, 2006, 11:40:18 AM »

It all hangs on the old-country patriarchates having the courage to sacrifice that income (the Greek and Antiochian patriarchs need that American cash to survive) to do the right thing.

You know, people say this all the time, as if it were obvious, so I looked into it last year. I can't remember the numbers exactly, but the claim is demonstrably false. The largest source of funds and political support for the EP come from the State of Greece; next from Greeks in Greece, both on a private basis and then, considerably, from certain organizations; next from the Archons of the Patriarchate, etc.

The various Metropolises and, specifically, the GOA give a pittance to the EP. A veritable pittance, to the degree that it's purely a matter of form.

Now, no doubt, the EP would not enjoy losing his Exarch in America, for example, since that would mean fewer opportunities for face-time with the State Department and the POTUS. But, first of all, can we deny the legitimate need for such potential help, considering the dire state of the Phanar's persecuted status; and, secondly, couldn't the EP appoint an Exarch even after he granted some kind of autonomy to an organized and unified American Church (how can we expect total jurisdictional unity from on high when parishes don't even interact?)?

The extremely wealthy American Greeks who contribute funds to the Patriarchate since they are Archons could still be named Archons and still contribute money regardless of the status of the American Church...and even without these, the EP would still have the lion's share of its current funding. So, I really don't see how money from America has anything to do with the EP's view on the diaspora.
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« Reply #39 on: June 16, 2006, 12:20:20 PM »

...
The fact His humanity was consubstantial with ours, does not necessarily mean He personally experienced it as we do.ÂÂ  

He experiences humanity differently, not because He is not really human, but because He is not merely human.
 
....

I believe you’re missing the point. The issue does not concern whether or not defecation is a human function, nor is it with respect to whether or not defecation was a function that Christ’s humanity in particular was naturally capable of, and inclined towards. The issue concerns whether or not Christ was necessarily subject to the exercise of this function. In consideration of patristic authority and reason, I conclude, no.

Allow me to elaborate upon the example of sickness: when we come into contact with another person infected with a cold, we will naturally and unwillingly contract that cold by virtue of the natural susceptibility of our humanity to contagious infections. Unlike us, however, Christ would not necessarily contract such a contagious infection, because despite the fact that His humanity, like our humanity, is naturally susceptible to contracting such contagious infections, He, unlike us, exercises dominion and authority over the natural laws that govern our human condition, and as such He is able to suspend or influence those laws at will, in order that He not incur the sickness in question.

A similar argument applies to the process of defecation. When we eat, we find that our bodies need to discharge that waste; we neither will this process, nor is its timing subject to our discretion; we go when we need to go, because we have to go. Christ, on the other hand, as with the above example, is not necessarily subject to the natural functions of His humanity, and can, at will, suspend or influence those laws that govern His humanity such that He discharge whatever He consumes in His own way.

....

I don't have the time to dig up all the relevant patristic quotations in support of my argument at the moment; however, I promise to once I've finish my end of semester exams (i.e. in approximately a week's time).

For now, here is a relevant excerpt from St. Athanasius' On the Incarnation:

Quote
§21. Death brought to nought by the death of Christ. Why then did not Christ die privately, or in a more honourable way? He was not subject to natural death, but had to die at the hands of others. Why then did He die? Nay but for that purpose He came, and but for that, He could not have risen.

Why, now that the common Saviour of all has died on our behalf, we, the faithful in Christ, no longer die the death as before, agreeably to the warning of the law; for this condemnation has ceased; but, corruption ceasing and being put away by the grace of the Resurrection, henceforth we are only dissolved, agreeably to our bodies’ mortal nature, at the time God has fixed for each, that we may be able to gain a better resurrection. 2. For like the seeds which are cast into the earth, we do not perish by dissolution, but sown in the earth, shall rise again, death having been brought to nought by the grace of the Saviour. Hence it is that blessed Paul, who was made a surety of the Resurrection to all, says: “This corruptible259 must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality; but when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death where is thy sting? O grave where is thy victory?” 3. Why, then, one might say, if it were necessary for Him to yield up His body to death in the stead of all, did He not lay it aside as man privately, instead of going as far as even to be crucified? For it were more fitting for Him to have laid His body aside honourably, than ignominiously to endure a death like this. 4. Now, see to it, I reply, whether such an objection be not merely human, whereas what the Saviour did is truly divine and for many reasons worthy of His Godhead. Firstly, because the death which befalls men comes to them agreeably to the weakness of their nature; for, unable to continue in one stay, they are dissolved with time. Hence, too, diseases befall them, and they fall sick and die. But the Lord is not weak, but is the Power of God and Word of God and Very Life. 5. If, then, He had laid aside His body somewhere in private, 48and upon a bed, after the manner of men, it would have been thought that He also did this agreeably to the weakness of His nature, and because there was nothing in him more than in other men. But since He was, firstly, the Life and the Word of God, and it was necessary, secondly, for the death on behalf of all to be accomplished, for this cause, on the one hand, because He was life and power, the body gained strength in Him; 6. while on the other, as death must needs come to pass, He did not Himself take, but received at others’ hands; the occasion of perfecting His sacrifice. Since it was not fit, either, that the Lord should fall sick, who healed the diseases of others; nor again was it right for that body to lose its strength, in which He gives strength to the weaknesses of others also. 7. Why, then, did He not prevent death, as He did sickness? Because it was for this that He had the body, and it was unfitting to prevent it, lest the Resurrection also should be hindered, while yet it was equally unfitting for sickness to precede His death, lest it should be thought weakness on the part of Him that was in the body. Did He not then hunger? Yes; He hungered, agreeably to the properties of His body. But He did not perish of hunger, because of the Lord that wore it. Hence, even if He died to ransom all, yet He saw not corruption. For [His body] rose again in perfect soundness, since the body belonged to none other, but to the very Life.


Source: http://www.sacred-texts.com/chr/ecf/204/2040118.htm

I think St. Athanasius makes it quite clear, that by virtue of Christ being God The Word Incarnate, He was able to prevent sickness affecting His humanity, and He was able to restrain the effects of His human hunger. St. Cyril makes these points more explicitly, but I don't have time to locate the relevant quotations as of yet.
« Last Edit: June 16, 2006, 12:21:28 PM by EkhristosAnesti » Logged

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« Reply #40 on: June 16, 2006, 02:51:30 PM »

Personally, I think all of these things -- the bathroom, burping, undressing, etc. -- are all red herrings. The fundamental and most important question is: "Do I use this Icon in this place for prayer on a regular basis? Does having it hanging here benefit my spiritual life?"

If the answer to either question is no, then one shouldn't have an Icon in that place. Period.

Icons are not decorations, pieces of art, or things we put up all over the place in order to set a mood. They are holy, blessed in the Church, and intended to be used in prayer, meditation, and Scripture reading.

That's not a personal attack on anybody, by the way. I think, in general, many Orthodox in the diaspora have too many Icons and therefore end up treating them as something they are not -- or even without proper respect and prayer. In fact, many people end up throwing all kinds of "Icons" away, e.g. ones printed on bulletins, pamphlets, cards, calendars, because we have gotten so used to just reproducing and using images of Icons on everything! (And are any of these images treated with respect, much less veneration and prayer? If not, why do we make them and buy them?)

At any rate, wouldn't it be better to save all the money spent on 10 printed Icons and thereby purchase an actual hand-painted Icon for one's home, made by an actual iconographer while praying and fasting -- and, then, use this Icon for one's own prayer and devotion?

Who said i didn't pray in the bathroom? lols. So perhaps the icon hanging there can benefit my spiritual life?
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« Reply #41 on: June 16, 2006, 02:55:11 PM »

I don't think that it is a good Idea to put Icons in the Bath Room. or the Bible as well. the Bath room is not very good place. when taking a bath or shower the Icons and the bible could be damged my the steam.

That's one reason i had for NOT putting icons in the bathroom. Then again, i've seen the icon of St. Euphrosynos the Cook in my Priest's kitchen, and there is steam and heat in there, yet it hasn't been damaged.
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« Reply #42 on: June 16, 2006, 04:11:01 PM »

I think St. Athanasius makes it quite clear, that by virtue of Christ being God The Word Incarnate, He was able to prevent sickness affecting His humanity, and He was able to restrain the effects of His human hunger. St. Cyril makes these points more explicitly, but I don't have time to locate the relevant quotations as of yet.

St. Athanasios is explaining why Christ died by public Crucifixion rather than of sickness or old age. He does not say that "He was able to restrain His hunger", but that he did not "perish of hunger" (just like neither you nor I do, despite the fact that we are not Divine). And the claim that your views are Docetism stands if you think that Christ merely had the appearance of being human but chose to be "immune" from certain human functions such as elimination of bodily waste.
Despite your obvious Docetism EA, I actually agree with your point that the bathroom is inappropriate for Icons. Not simply because it is disrectful to place a venerated object somewhere one would not place a photograph of one's mother, but also because of the hygeine issue. An icon is kissed, and unless we somehow think that an Icon in the bathroom is "immune" from collecting common bathroom bacteria such as enterobacter on it's surface, then we shouldn't kiss it. So it it is doubly disrespectful to place an Icon in the bathroom if it means it will not be venerated with a kiss.
« Last Edit: June 16, 2006, 04:12:36 PM by ozgeorge » Logged

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« Reply #43 on: June 16, 2006, 05:13:05 PM »

I agree with Pensa...I'm taking an iconography class and it's not necessarily hard but the difficult part about it is just all the tiny steps you have to do. Just preparing the board can take a week. I'm really learning to appreciate icons as a collaboration of the divine with our effort, patience, and insight to create these images. Becase we have tons of paper icons at home, I didn't really care for icons, but when I saw how amazing 'real' (egg tempera on wood) icons are, that made me change my mind. Now the only reason we have paper icons are to show to my sister for a particular feast day which I then usually enlarge and paste onto a piece of wood instead of buying the professional more expensive copies.
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« Reply #44 on: June 17, 2006, 01:55:05 PM »

Why can't this whole thing be as simple as this:

If you really want an icon there, put one up. 

If you feel bad, don't put one up. 

If you change your mind later.  Change your mind, and start over with options one and two. 

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