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Author Topic: Icon I am not sure about...  (Read 6535 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: July 01, 2006, 11:26:57 PM »

If any RCC or Orthodox would like to explain to me about one Icon that I have a hard time with,, The Orthodox Icon of God troubles me a bit.
Don't get upset- I love Icons and would like to have more (I only have 2 now) .
But it says in the CCC that it is not right to have one of GOD.
I have seen some in Orthodox parishes, I have always felt funny about them. Not just because of the CCC (I did not know about that until much later) but it does not seem right. Can anyone tell me why I am having a stumbling block on this?
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« Reply #1 on: July 01, 2006, 11:34:58 PM »

Because it's not legit.  You SHOULD have a problem with any icon depicting God the Father, since He is indescribable and therefore cannot and should not ever be depicted.

The Son is the image of the Father; a depiction of His Incarnate Self is the only legitimate depiction of God that Orthodox should engage in.  I'm not sure where folks went off base in depicting the Father (I call those icons, "Grampa God")--could have been from western influences, but don't quote me on that--but such depictions go against what the Seventh Ecumenical Council was all about.

I pray for the day when all such "icons" are taken out of our churches.
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« Reply #2 on: July 01, 2006, 11:37:07 PM »

Thanks Pedro!

It's good to hear when your common sense and gut is right!
I feel sorry for them, they must mean well but are a bit off with that Icon.
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« Reply #3 on: July 02, 2006, 01:06:05 AM »

Now this is coming from someone who has never seen one, but I have read and heard atleast a million times that the "depiction" of God is just a Christianified view of Zeus. To be honest, I did not know an icon of God existed, I thought you were talking about an Icon of our saviour, Christ.  Huh
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« Reply #4 on: July 02, 2006, 02:03:34 AM »

Funny that one citing Roman Catholic beliefs sees a problem with the icon of the Father. I notice this icon most in Transylvania and in Bulgaria where innovations in iconography are generally ascribable to Catholic influence.

Some try to get around the problem by saying that it's not really God the Father who is portrayed, but Christ as the Ancient of Days. But when this white-bearded figure is flanked by a dove on one side and a standard depiction of Christ on the other, it's fairly obvious that the artist meant to depict the Father.

In Transylvania there's a boom in church construction, and I notice icons of said figure on the freshly-painted walls of many new churches. I just don't understand why iconographers keep doing this.
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« Reply #5 on: July 02, 2006, 02:23:42 AM »

Quote
I notice this icon most in Transylvania and in Bulgaria where innovations in iconography are generally ascribable to Catholic influence.

I've seen it on Athos, even at Greek monasteries (among some other strange icons as well).  The largest one that I remember is St. Andrew's Skete, so the Russians can be blamed for that.  The thing to keep in mind with all this is that many very holy monks have trod the path to theosis in front of these icons. 
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« Reply #6 on: July 02, 2006, 02:26:54 AM »

Actually, Kursk-Root icon of the Mother of God, honored as wonder-working, and currently owned by ROCOR, contains this image.
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« Reply #7 on: July 02, 2006, 05:06:25 AM »

Actually there are images of God the Father in Catholic art. I remember many years ago being shocked to see one in Galway Cathedral in Ireland which is quite modern. It is quite unusual, there are of course many images of God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. Personally I remain uncomfortable about images of the Father but theologically I don't suppose there is any reason why only two thirds of the Trinity can be portrayed. Similarly I feel uncomfortable whenever people use the word YAWEH when they refer to the Lord. It seems not right somehow but I can't put my finger on why.

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« Reply #8 on: July 02, 2006, 09:22:17 AM »

I'm with Sloga...never seen one.
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« Reply #9 on: July 02, 2006, 11:36:00 AM »

Quote
I'm with Sloga...never seen one.

Look no further!

http://www.stsophia.org/stsophiaphototour10.htm
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« Reply #10 on: July 02, 2006, 03:20:41 PM »

YIck, you're not supposed to display Christ as a sheep, either, since He isn't one, nor the Holy Spirit as a dove outside of the times/places where we are told He appeared "as" a dove.
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« Reply #11 on: July 02, 2006, 04:00:27 PM »

The Icon of the Holy Trinity (Not the Rublev one) but having the figure of an Elderly  personage (Father) a Young One (Jesus-son) and holy spirit as a dove is indeed a western Religious painting that got the icon Treatment  where ever the Roman catholic Holy Trinity prayer cards got shipped when it was difficult for budding Orthodox Artists (hoping to become iconographers without training) to get the  Icon Painting Manuals or access to prototypes. It has definitely been condemned by a Russia Synod Council (100 Chapters) that established St Anton Rublev as the model for Russian Iconography.  This icon is still very popular with the Old Believers and was also frequently found in the Royal Church building and appointed gifts to new Russian Churches from the Royal family due to the influence of the French upon the Russian Royal Family, arts etc.

I don't think the matter has been formally addressed outside the Russian Church and is a common icon to be seen at churches called Holy Trinity as the patronal Icon. I personally don't think it is appropriate however it is found in many cathedrals and monasteries that are not Russian so who knows if it has been condemned except by the Russian Synod.

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« Reply #12 on: July 02, 2006, 05:55:19 PM »

Funny that one citing Roman Catholic beliefs sees a problem with the icon of the Father. I notice this icon most in Transylvania and in Bulgaria where innovations in iconography are generally ascribable to Catholic influence.

Some try to get around the problem by saying that it's not really God the Father who is portrayed, but Christ as the Ancient of Days. But when this white-bearded figure is flanked by a dove on one side and a standard depiction of Christ on the other, it's fairly obvious that the artist meant to depict the Father.

In Transylvania there's a boom in church construction, and I notice icons of said figure on the freshly-painted walls of many new churches. I just don't understand why iconographers keep doing this.

Why is this funny? Maybe you need to know why I am a RCC, look at my post history.
Thanks though. I needed that.
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« Reply #13 on: July 02, 2006, 05:56:54 PM »

[quote author=Νεκτάριος link=topic=9406.msg126381#msg126381 date=1151821422]
I've seen it on Athos, even at Greek monasteries (among some other strange icons as well).ÂÂ  The largest one that I remember is St. Andrew's Skete, so the Russians can be blamed for that.ÂÂ  The thing to keep in mind with all this is that many very holy monks have trod the path to theosis in front of these icons.ÂÂ  
[/quote]

Okay, but does that make it right?
I respect the Holy Monks, but I do not want to follow error.
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« Reply #14 on: July 02, 2006, 05:59:41 PM »

Actually there are images of God the Father in Catholic art. I remember many years ago being shocked to see one in Galway Cathedral in Ireland which is quite modern. It is quite unusual, there are of course many images of God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. Personally I remain uncomfortable about images of the Father but theologically I don't suppose there is any reason why only two thirds of the Trinity can be portrayed. Similarly I feel uncomfortable whenever people use the word YAWEH when they refer to the Lord. It seems not right somehow but I can't put my finger on why.



The reason you do not like the word YAWEH being uttered is because the Jewish people did not - they thought it to be blashphemy to do so.
The CCC has the "rules" on this - my little one took the bookmark out so I have to search for it again.!!!!
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« Reply #15 on: July 02, 2006, 06:05:27 PM »

Quote
Okay, but does that make it right?
I respect the Holy Monks, but I do not want to follow error.

No, it is not right. But, it does show the level of importance we should attach to being "correct" on all of the little things.ÂÂ  First, we must work on driving out the passions and truly living Christians lives.ÂÂ  When we get there we can then make it a point to correct all of the little things.ÂÂ  
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« Reply #16 on: July 02, 2006, 06:09:37 PM »

[quote author=Νεκτάριος link=topic=9406.msg126411#msg126411 date=1151877927]
No, it is not right. But, it does show the level of importance we should attach to being "correct" on all of the little things.ÂÂ  First, we must work on driving out the passions and truly living Christians lives.ÂÂ  When we get there we can then make it a point to correct all of the little things.ÂÂ  
[/quote]


Okay, I'm half with you on that one. Half, since I wonder how I am going to get God's grace to fight my passions if I condone or dismiss him being depicted when in fact God may be so offended by it that I will be denied that Grace from the Holy Spirit. If I keep myself from the "near occasion of sin" then I have a much better chance of getting on that rung on the divine ladder..No?
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« Reply #17 on: July 02, 2006, 06:14:45 PM »

Do you mean to say that God would be so offended by the fact that you are in viewing distance of a "depiction" of Him that he would deny you grace? What if, instead, you were in viewing distance but did not in fact see the icon? What then? Is there a 50 foot rule you must follow in dealing with this icon? Every foot less than 50 feet away from the "icon" results in the absence of one one hundreth of the grace you could potentially possess.
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« Reply #18 on: July 02, 2006, 06:19:59 PM »

Just for clarity if anyone is interested- once again, I did not like this PRIOR to reading this. To be clear, I never saw this before in my life until I attended an Antiochian OC.

Anyways- not that it matters what the RCC says on this, here it is:

Holy Images (1159)

The sacred image, the liturgical icon, principally represents Christ.It cannot represent the invisible and incomprehensible God, but the incarnation of the Son of God has uhsered in a new "economy" of images:
     Previously, God, who has neither a body nor a face, absolutely could not be     represented by an image. But now he has made himself visible in the flesh and has lived with men, I can make an image of what I have seen of God...and contemplate the glory of the Lord, his face unvieled. (27)27- St. John Damascene, De imag. 1,16:PG 96:1245-1248

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« Reply #19 on: July 02, 2006, 06:27:36 PM »

Do you mean to say that God would be so offended by the fact that you are in viewing distance of a "depiction" of Him that he would deny you grace? What if, instead, you were in viewing distance but did not in fact see the icon? What then? Is there a 50 foot rule you must follow in dealing with this icon? Every foot less than 50 feet away from the "icon" results in the absence of one one hundreth of the grace you could potentially possess.

No, not at all. And thank you for your snap judgment.
I look to the Church for gudiance, and healing. It would seem that if those who allowed this to be their in the house of GOD, I would be a participant by continuing to go there --in agreement with their opinion. They are far brighter and closer to God than I will ever be and if they are "feeding me garbage" --- an old accounting term comes to mind-
Garbage in- Garbage out!
Now, If this is not garbage, just explain it to me, so I can get right with it.
Ignorance is usually the obstacle to learning, and that's why I posted this-
To get educated answers , not a Dr. Phil discussion.
I'm trying to get to the truth in the Orthodox faith, how can a question be wrong?
Or turned into a situation where the question is not addressed but my character is??
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« Reply #20 on: July 02, 2006, 06:43:30 PM »

The argument over the depiction of God the Father is a "Russian Orthodox vs. Rest of Orthodoxy" thing.
The only Canon against depicting God the Father occurs in the "Great Synod of Moscow" which ousted Patriarch Nikon (after adopting his reforms).
The same Synod also has a Canon banning the three bar Cross (later ignored, but never actually revoked).
So the Greek, Antiochian and Jerusalem Patriarchates started depicting God the Father, while the Russian Patriarchate never adopted this.
Don't let anyone tell you it's "not legitimate" until an Oecumenical Synod decides on it.
Best thing to do is ask your priest. If you are joining the Church in the Russian Tradition, give the Icon to a Greek or Antiochian friend. If you are joining a Greek or Antiochian Church- no problem.
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« Reply #21 on: July 02, 2006, 06:49:32 PM »

Didn't mean to address your character- God knows mine could be scrutinized more easily and heavily than most. I was attempting to address the implications of this icon's existence and how it could relate to an individual's spiritual progress. Echoing Nektarios, I'd have to say that despite the theological flaws in this depiction of God, saints were produced in its presence. Is the icon "incorrect"- certainly. Will it serve as a stumbling block in one's spiritual life? Only if you let it.
I suppose this "icon" has to be evaluated in context. Perhaps in the Antiochian parish you attended the priest is not very fond of it either. Still, the icon could have some kind of sentimental value for the parishioners, making it unwise to remove it at this time. Maybe the grandchildren of the purchaser of the icon attend this parish, and getting rid of it would, in the end, do more harm than good for their spiritual lives. Who knows...
If its existence in this parish is really an obstacle to your attending, perhaps you should ask the parish priest about it.
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« Reply #22 on: July 02, 2006, 06:54:50 PM »

Thanks again to almost all the posters here for trying to help me find out if or when and how this is or is not appropriate. I will continue to seek guidance here as most everyone I have had contact with on this forum has gone out of their way for me in helping me understand these things in a very honest and helpful way. I once again have to account for the fact that I too, (as I did yesterday!!!) say things myself that are just plain not right to say. But, no harm done.
I desire "right teaching" . Imperfect persons are OK., but if they are teaching or encouraging me to participate in something that is either against Church teaching, the Holy Scriptures, or the Tradition of the Early Fathers----
Well... then I might as well believe that the gates of hell had prevailed after all.
Icons are beautiful.

God is indescribable.

I Love God. I love all the beautiful Icons and find them as helpful "tools" in my toolbox to enhance the worship experience, to draw closer to him and venerate them as they should be.

How would someone even venerate an Icon like this?

A bow and a kiss and cross oneself Huh
Is not that the same you would do for the other Icons??
God should not (in my most humble opinion) be in the same leauge with any other Icon.
Nor depicted. It would be inadequate to try to.
Inadequate to venerate properly.
Oh well, Sorry for the post.
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« Reply #23 on: July 02, 2006, 08:27:46 PM »

John 14:8-10 (New International Version)
New International Version (NIV)
Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society

   

 8Philip said, "Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us."

 9Jesus answered: "Don't you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, 'Show us the Father'? 10Don't you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you are not just my own. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work.

Thats the verse I was told to reference when I asked my priest about that icon which was behind the altar in stained glass.

-Nick
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« Reply #24 on: July 03, 2006, 12:17:31 AM »

ozgeorge,

Why did the synod ban the three bar cross?
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« Reply #25 on: July 03, 2006, 06:21:39 AM »

ozgeorge,

Why did the synod ban the three bar cross?
The Synod of Moscow was set up because Patriarch Nikon wanted to correct certain errors in the Russian Service Books, Iconography and Rubrics to bring them into line with the Greek Church. For example, Russian Christians were crossing themselves with two fingers instead of three, and iconography was starting to show heavy realism as well as other influences from non-Orthodox Churches. So everything seen as "Russian" in the Church became "suspect", and this included the "Three Bar" or "Eight Point" Cross which was seen as "non-Greek" and therefore "un-Orthodox". It is only relatively recently that the Eight Point Cross is becoming a recognised symbol of Orthodoxy in the Greek Church as well. The "Four Point Square" or "Greek" Cross (with all the arms the same length) has been the symbol of Orthodoxy in the Greek Church for a much longer time, and is used Iconographically as such  (eg, on the vestments of Bishop Saints in Icons). I actually wear a "Three Bar" Cross, and when I was in Greece last year, nobody recognised it and many people asked me if I was Russian (including one Priest my Cousin introduced me to). Here in Australia, it's different. The Greek monastery I attend has an outdoor Chapel (from which the Gospel is read on Pascha) and the windows have Three Bar Crosses in stained glass. So I suppose in the Diaspora where the different Traditions of Orthodoxy mix more frequently, there is more such cross-over. The other place where I saw similar "cross-over" of Tradition is Mount Athos, where monastics of different traditions closely mix.
At any rate, the Synod of Moscow was a local Synod, and it's Canon's should be treated as such. They are not universally binding on all the Church- a mistake converts often make. "My Church says it, so it must be universal Orthodox doctrine." .....It ain't necessarily so.
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« Reply #26 on: July 03, 2006, 06:40:28 AM »

The argument over the depiction of God the Father is a "Russian Orthodox vs. Rest of Orthodoxy" thing.
The only Canon against depicting God the Father occurs in the "Great Synod of Moscow" which ousted Patriarch Nikon (after adopting his reforms).
The same Synod also has a Canon banning the three bar Cross (later ignored, but never actually revoked).
So the Greek, Antiochian and Jerusalem Patriarchates started depicting God the Father, while the Russian Patriarchate never adopted this.
Don't let anyone tell you it's "not legitimate" until an Oecumenical Synod decides on it.
Best thing to do is ask your priest. If you are joining the Church in the Russian Tradition, give the Icon to a Greek or Antiochian friend. If you are joining a Greek or Antiochian Church- no problem.


When you say "so the Greek,....started depicting....
Do you know when this all started? Is this somewhat new? Do these or any other icons have to be approved by a Bishop or someone else in authourity?
Thanks for your post!
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« Reply #27 on: July 03, 2006, 06:59:26 AM »


When you say "so the Greek,....started depicting....
Do you know when this all started? Is this somewhat new? Do these or any other icons have to be approved by a Bishop or someone else in authourity?
Thanks for your post!

One of the oldest known depictions of God the Father in Iconography, is, (believe it or not) Russian! And this depiction dates back to at least the 13th Century! It is the "Kursk Root" Icon of the Theotokos, which, by the way, is a "Wonder-working" Icon with it's own Feast-day! If you click here you'll see an article from the periodical "Orthodox Life" which appeared in 1982 about the Kursk Root Icon with a photo of it. The small figure above the head of the Theotokos is God the Father depicted as a "The Ancient of Days" and the Holy Spirit proceeding from Him in the form of a Dove (another supposedly "illegitimate" depiction except in the case of the Icon of the Baptism of Christ). If the Canon of the "Great Synod of Moscow" about not depicting God the Father were taken literally as people seem to do today, then the Kursk Root Icon should not have been allowed to be venerated, let alone, earn the title "Wonder-working" and be given it's own Feast Day in the Russian Church!
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« Reply #28 on: July 03, 2006, 07:11:05 AM »

Don't let anyone tell you it's "not legitimate" until an Oecumenical Synod decides on it.

My question: Did not the Seventh Council center on the idea that the member of the Godhead who is flesh could be depicted?  Doesn't this fly in the face of depicting the undepictable Father?  If the Father, who is spirit, could be depicted after all, then what's the big deal St. John of Damascus makes about the Word becoming flesh, "And therefore I depict Him..."?

Some things are natural inferences.  My guess?  The Kursk Root is miraculous because of the Theotokos and in spite of the idolatrous image above her.  Unfortunate (there's an understatement) that it should be there.
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« Reply #29 on: July 03, 2006, 07:54:30 AM »

idolatrous
Oh puh-lease!

Some things are natural inferences.  My guess? The Kursk Root is miraculous because of the Theotokos and in spite of the idolatrous image above her. 
So you "inference" and "guess" leads you to pass judgement on your Greek and Antiochian bothers and sisters and call them idolaters for depicting God the Father.....Oh hang on, you didn't sctually say that did you? I "guess" I just "inferred" it from when you called depicting God the Father as being idolatrous.......You see, Pedro, this is why personal "guessing" and "inferring" has no place in Canonical Orthodoxy. We never "guess" or "infer" anything in the Orthodox Church. And we certainly don't decide these things as individuals.
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« Reply #30 on: July 03, 2006, 08:09:28 AM »

Doesn't this fly in the face of depicting the undepictable Father?
Which Canon says the Father is "undepictable" Pedro?

The Gospel certainly doesn't agree with you, and in fact, accuses anyone who claims not to have "seen" the Father as not knowing the Son, because Christ says:

"If you had known Me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know Him, and have seen Him. Philip said unto Him, 'Lord, show us the Father, and it sufficeth us.'  Jesus said unto him, 'Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen Me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Show us the Father?' " (John 14:7-9)
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« Reply #31 on: July 03, 2006, 08:16:45 AM »

And finally, Pedro, Icons do not depict "Nature" or "Essence", but only hypostasis. This was also spelled out by the Seventh Oecumenical Council.
Therefore, to make the claim that depicting God the Father is "idolatry" goes against the teachings of the Seventh Oecumenical Council, since one can only say this based on the false belief that Icons of the Father depict His Nature or Essence- which no Icon does of anyone- even of Saints. And to believe that Icons depict Nature or Essence is, in fact, the  real idolatry.
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« Reply #32 on: July 03, 2006, 08:19:45 AM »

Quote
At any rate, the Synod of Moscow was a local Synod, and it's Canon's should be treated as such. They are not universally binding on all the Church- a mistake converts often make. "My Church says it, so it must be universal Orthodox doctrine." .....It ain't necessarily so.

Well, while I agree with ozgeorge that it's quite alright to make these Ancient of Days icons (one of my favorite icons is actually of the Holy Trinity crowning Mary as Queen of Heaven, and yes, it was painted by Orthodox!), I can't agree that it "has" to be from an ecumenical council to be "official", although he may not have been suggesting that when he wrote "it ain't necessarily so"--I am not totally sure so maybe he can clarify.  The criterian of an Orthodox doctrine, teaching, or practice is of course whether it is accepted "by the Church."  Plenty of local synods' canons and even the canons of St Basil--an individual--are in fact considered "ecumenical" because of their acceptance by the Church.  The Council of Blachernae (1285) issued the official teaching on the filioque and it was a "local" council.  "Ecumenical" councils such as the Iconoclast Council of 754, etc, were later abrogated as heretical.  So the criteria is reception, an admitedly difficult to define teaching, and not simply "everyone is doing it so it's ok" either (witness the Kollyvades movement that rejected the heresy of infrequent communion due to "unworthiness.)

Therefore, I would say that because the Ancient of Days iconographic tradition is a venerable tradition, and exists in all local Churches, and has produced such wonderworking icons as the Kursk Root which is celebrated as ozgeorge wisely points out with its own feast day, that it simply IS the Orthodox tradition that such icons are allowed--we don't need to wait until an ecumenical council is called (I personally don't believe that any more ecumenical councils per se can be called because there is no empire [while still allowing for universal councils] but that's a different subject!), we know now what is the Orthodox teaching. Now, if the "God the father type icons are heretical" group takes over and starts persecuting the group that has such icons, we may need to have a universal council to reaffirm the teaching Smiley

Sorry for the longwinded tangent that is not strictly speaking on topic.

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« Reply #33 on: July 03, 2006, 08:24:36 AM »

Now, if the "God the father type icons are heretical" group takes over and starts persecuting the group that has such icons, we may need to have a universal council to reaffirm the teaching Smiley

What if they start publically accusing them of idolatry and teaching this error internationally? Cheesy
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« Reply #34 on: July 03, 2006, 11:06:27 AM »

The Gospel certainly doesn't agree with you, and in fact, accuses anyone who claims not to have "seen" the Father as not knowing the Son...

Right...the Father is made visible through His express image: the Son.  Before the Incarnation, no man had seen God the Father and lived.

[/quote]
And finally, Pedro, Icons do not depict "Nature" or "Essence", but only hypostasis. This was also spelled out by the Seventh Oecumenical Council.

Certainly.  But where is it stated that we know what the hypostasis of the Father, Who is spirit, looks like?  We don't know how to make an image of the hypostasis of the Father, and the Old Testament is full of warnings against folks who try to do so, as if He were like anything created.
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« Reply #35 on: July 03, 2006, 11:32:56 AM »

Anastasios,

I think the Kollyvades are a good counterexample to your post.  Simply because something is the "Orthodox practice" doesn't mean that is it correct.  I.e infrequent communion, Sunday memorial services are not the traditional nor best practice - even if engaging in such doesn't make one heterodox.  I think that is the point being made with these icons.  And as for acting going into schism over such, I believe your Greek Old Calendarist brethen are the only ones to have done that...

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« Reply #36 on: July 03, 2006, 11:39:37 AM »

But where is it stated that we know what the hypostasis of the Father, Who is spirit, looks like?

Firstly, you are still confusing the Hypostasis of the Father with Nature. The Angels are "bodiless powers" i.e. spirits in their Nature, but we are not depicting their Nature in their Icons, but rather, their Hypostasis. Who had seen the Cherubim which God commanded Moses to be depicted on the Ark and the curtain of the Holy of Holies? (Exodus 25:18 and 26:31).
Secondly, there were oodles of times when the Pre-incarnate Christ revealed Himself in the Old Testament as "One like a Son of Man", for example to the Three Holy Youths in the fiery furnace. So if he who has seen the Son has seen the Father..............
Thirdly, and most importantly, there is a very real problem for those who argue that The Ancient of Days seen by the Prophet Daniel is the Son and not the Father: If the Ancient of Days is only the Son, then Who is the "One like a Son of Man" Who ascends to Him and is given Dominion?
"I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed." (Daniel 7:13-14).
If the Ancient of Days is only the Son, and the "One like the Son of Man" is the Son, then this raises the question of why would the Son give a theophany of Himself to Daniel in which He appears as two hypostases? Are the Nestorians correct after all? Perish the thought! It makes much more sense that the Ancient of Days in this case is the Father, and Daniel is having a vision of the Ascension of Christ. In which case, there is the answer to your question. Daniel saw the Hypostasis of the Father. Theredore the Father can be "legitimately" depicted as The Ancient of Days.
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« Reply #37 on: July 03, 2006, 12:18:53 PM »

Daniel saw the Hypostasis of the Father. Theredore the Father can be "legitimately" depicted as The Ancient of Days.

You make some good points.  For the record, though, it never occurred to me to say the Ancient of Days was the Son.  That's just silly.  The rest of the posts is good food for thought.ÂÂ  My questions, then, are twofold:

1) What do we do with the statement that no one has seen God and lived?

2) What do we do with the writings of St. John of Damascus, who repeatedly says in On the Divine Images that in former times the One who was beyond depiction has now taken a human body, of which an image can be made?ÂÂ  If an image of God the Father can be made apart from His Son's Incarnation, why the big deal about the Son's becoming incarnate (and therefore depictable) in the writings of St. John?
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« Reply #38 on: July 03, 2006, 12:45:35 PM »

And finally, Pedro, Icons do not depict "Nature" or "Essence", but only hypostasis. This was also spelled out by the Seventh Oecumenical Council.
Therefore, to make the claim that depicting God the Father is "idolatry" goes against the teachings of the Seventh Oecumenical Council, since one can only say this based on the false belief that Icons of the Father depict His Nature or Essence- which no Icon does of anyone- even of Saints. And to believe that Icons depict Nature or Essence is, in fact, theÂÂ  real idolatry.



Hmmm. I thought the Icon of Christ at Siani was just that. Depicting the 2 natures of Jesus...
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« Reply #39 on: July 03, 2006, 01:12:04 PM »

Hmmm. I thought the Icon of Christ at Siani was just that. Depicting the 2 natures of Jesus...

No; the two roles of blessing and judge..."the kindness and sternness of God" (Rom. 11:22).
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« Reply #40 on: July 03, 2006, 02:54:03 PM »

I'm with Pedro on this.  If you can depict a Person of the Holy Trinity who has never been incarnate, why were images of God so forbidden in the Old Testament?

By the way, images depicting God the Father as an old man can sometimes be found in Armenian iconography.  The oldest one I have seen is from a manuscript dating in the 1300's.  By that time, the Armenians had had plenty of contact with the Crusaders, so I assumed that is where the use of that icon came from.   I don't know if that depiction of God the Father has ever been used by other OO churches, though. 

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« Reply #41 on: July 03, 2006, 05:17:24 PM »

Actually there are images of God the Father in Catholic art. I remember many years ago being shocked to see one in Galway Cathedral in Ireland which is quite modern. It is quite unusual, there are of course many images of God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. Personally I remain uncomfortable about images of the Father but theologically I don't suppose there is any reason why only two thirds of the Trinity can be portrayed. Similarly I feel uncomfortable whenever people use the word YAWEH when they refer to the Lord. It seems not right somehow but I can't put my finger on why.




I tried to find this Cathedral online to see the art, no luck.
It occured to me just now though, that while I still think it should not be in art either, Roman Catholics do not venerate art per say. Not like Icons are venerated to be sure. So, maybe it is a different type of problem in artwork vs. Icons.
I guess I never realized this question would lead to so many more...
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« Reply #42 on: July 03, 2006, 06:37:34 PM »

1) What do we do with the statement that no one has seen God and lived?
This means that no one has seen the Divine Essence or the Divine Nature- not even of Christ. What the Apostles saw on Mount Tarbor was the Divine Energies, not the Divine Essence.

2) What do we do with the writings of St. John of Damascus, who repeatedly says in On the Divine Images that in former times the One who was beyond depiction has now taken a human body, of which an image can be made?  If an image of God the Father can be made apart from His Son's Incarnation, why the big deal about the Son's becoming incarnate (and therefore depictable) in the writings of St. John?
But an image of the Father cannot be made apart from the Incarnation. Daniel may have seen a vision, but it was the Incarnate Christ Who revealed the Father to us. And it was the Incarnation of Christ which sanctified and redeemed matter, and hence, matter can now be used to make Icons.
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« Reply #43 on: September 01, 2009, 04:53:35 AM »

Sorry to resurrect this old thread but this interests me because I have an icon with the Ancient of Days above the scene of the Crucifiction.  So my question is...

Is or is it not against the Canons of the 7th Ecumenical Council to depict God the Father?
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« Reply #44 on: September 01, 2009, 06:21:35 PM »

Is or is it not against the Canons of the 7th Ecumenical Council to depict God the Father?

Yes, it is against the canons of both the Quinisext and Seventh Ecumenical Councils to depict God the Father. Numerous subsequent local councils, in Greece, Russia and elsewhere, continued to confirm this prohibition.
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