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History of Icons

Discussion in 'St. Justin Martyr's Corner: Debate an Orthodox Chr' started by JM, Jan 14, 2015.

  1. abacabb3

    abacabb3 Newbie

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    I have an honest question. EOs, what is the appropriate use of icons? How do you commonly see them misused? How can they be used, in your personal experience, with special emphasis on giving all the glory to God and not having one's devotion divided?

    Much thanks
     
  2. ArmyMatt

    ArmyMatt Regular Member Supporter

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    adorn your Churches and houses with them (since the house is an extension of the Church), and pray.

    commonly? simply used as decorative art. uncommonly? worshiped although neither are done by the Orthodox.

    they show the Gospel in color, in all places, and in all times. they help keep focus in prayer, and their iconographic style teaches us about God.
     
  3. truefiction1

    truefiction1 Fool

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    Icons depict God incarnate or creatures in God's image and likeness who are venerated only because God's glory is revealed in their likeness to God by His grace. All True goodness, whether in human persons or angelic ones is "God in them". All glory goes to God, no matter who is represented in the image of the icon being venerated. "Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, with whom there is no change or shifting shadow." (James 1:17)

    Once, while bowing in our customary manner before an icon of the Theotokos in a Liturgical service, I was unexpectedly blessed with a small taste of True poverty of spirit (Matthew 5:3), and by the light of the Holy Spirit my own unfathomably deep spiritual depravity and filthiness was shown to me as I stood, condemned by my own sinfulness, before the most blessed, most pure mother of our God, and I could do nothing but weep over this horror that was myself, and beg for her to pray for this most useless and worthless of sinners -- me. It was a gift of the Holy Spirit. The Lord called such a state of soul "blessed". The holy Psalmist David also called it blessed when he said "the sacrifice acceptable to God is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart Thou will not despise". The gift of tears which wash away our sins and the mud of selfish pride and conceit from our spiritual eye was given to me while bowing before and then kissing the icon.

    God is with us even when venerating icons, because we worship the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit: One God!
     
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2017
  4. abacabb3

    abacabb3 Newbie

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    I don't mean to be a wise guy, but God has made my cats, albeit indirectly. Glory does not go to my cats if I venerate a picture of them.

    Further, why icons and iconoraphic style? Can this be improved upon with 21st century technology? Wouldn't VR headsets or hd displays do a better job simulating a window into heaven? The Roman Catholics use images that are not specifically iconographic, so I don't think the media of icon can be the only image blessed by God.
     
  5. truefiction1

    truefiction1 Fool

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    Not to be a wise guy either, but a cat is not made in God's image and likeness, so therefor cannot serve as an icon of God in the way members of the race of mankind do. Still, glory to God for cats! "O Lord, how manifold are Thy works. In wisdom hast Thou made them all!"

    As far as iconographic style, there is a Theology behind it that provides Orthodox iconographers with certain guidelines that ensure they act properly as windows into Heavenly, spiritual realities. Icons done in this way tend to appear like "cartoons", probably because those who receive the Kingdom of God are converted and become as little children, and we like looking at cartoons instead of images of our fallen world.
     
  6. ArmyMatt

    ArmyMatt Regular Member Supporter

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    cats are not human. Christ became man, and that is the difference.

    because they are designed to help us pray and to teach.

    I am sure they can be, and how they would fit into the Church's liturgical life the Church will use. the problem is that stuff can become distracting to prayer, which is very counterproductive. but the Church is finding ways to use new technology as much as we can.

    the media of the icon is not the only image blessed by God. we have more than just iconography. embroidery, wood carvings, food and drink, music, poetry, novels, stonework, architecture, etc are all media that the Church uses that God blesses
     
  7. JM

    JM Absolute Predestinarian Supporter

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    The Devil. Satan.
     
  8. JM

    JM Absolute Predestinarian Supporter

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    Is that your opinion or does your church state that dogmatically? That's the problem. "Unless you actually have stuff" from a church council "it's simply your own hyperbole and more eisegesis."

    See, both can play that game. But why not use the brains God gave us and sort it out?

    Like the "Icon of Luke?" People can say a lot of things about faith and facts, but, unless you have a dogmatic statement from your church concerning any issue we discuss...it's just your opinion.

    Sorry Matty you must've missed this.

    Deut. 12;

    v. 1.-2 destroy Temples belonging to false religion
    v. 4-19 worship is prescribed where God reveals His name in …the Tabernacle
    v. 4. “You shall not worship the Lord your God in that way, your own way
    v.8 “You shall not do according to all that we are doing here today, everyone doing whatever is right in his own eyes,”
    v. 20-21 the revealed will of God regulates worship
    v. 29-21 we are not to be influenced by culture (Icons were cultural in the Eastern Empire and used by Greek Pagans)
    v.31 “You shall not worship the Lord your God in that way, for every abominable thing that the Lord hates they have done for their gods, for they even burn their sons and their daughters in the fire to their gods.”
    v. 32 “Everything that I command you, you shall be careful to do. You shall not add to it or take from it.

    Yes, the Trinity is found in scripture. It's a scriptural idea.

    This goes to point.

    Deut. 12;

    v. 1.-2 destroy Temples belonging to false religion
    v. 4-19 worship is prescribed where God reveals His name in …the Tabernacle
    v. 4. “You shall not worship the Lord your God in that way, your own way
    v.8 “You shall not do according to all that we are doing here today, everyone doing whatever is right in his own eyes,”
    v. 20-21 the revealed will of God regulates worship
    v. 29-21 we are not to be influenced by culture (Icons were cultural in the Eastern Empire and used by Greek Pagans)
    v.31 “You shall not worship the Lord your God in that way, for every abominable thing that the Lord hates they have done for their gods, for they even burn their sons and their daughters in the fire to their gods.”
    v. 32 “Everything that I command you, you shall be careful to do. You shall not add to it or take from it.

    No, others are free to do as they like. I am well within the stream of Western catholicism, both historically and biblically. I know you folks don't like Augustine but he is a great church father even if you deny his scriptural teaching.

    You can think, right? You can read? You can draw conclusions? That's how you became convinced that the Eastern Orthodox church was the true church?

    Your ultimate authority really boils down to you and your understanding of the Christian faith. You are defining what you want to believe by aligning with the Eastern Orthodox denomination.

    Demonstrate that God commanded the use of Icons or the canonization of Seraphim please for the readers.

     
  9. JM

    JM Absolute Predestinarian Supporter

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    A dog headed saint...

    [​IMG]

    The iconography used by EO's was common in Greek pagan homes and used to depict dead relatives, gods, etc. Icons on ruined pagan homes have been unearthed. When Christianity and the State merged the practice was continued and made "Christian."

    There is an entire chapter in "Byzantium : the surprising life of a medieval empire" by Judith Herrin. The author is not a Protestant or even Christian for that matter...just for the record.

    Yours in the Lord,

    jm
     
  10. abacabb3

    abacabb3 Newbie

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    Can you send me that?
     
  11. abacabb3

    abacabb3 Newbie

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    I understand, please know that I wrote that in response to your reasoning saying that because God made every good thing, it is a positive good to venerate these good things. However, surely this reasoning does hold up as cats are good, but not venerable.

    On a different note, are icons a way of communing with brothers and sisters that cannot be physically present?
     
  12. truefiction1

    truefiction1 Fool

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    Beelzebub (Mark 3:22)? Thank you. I have no further questions.
     
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2017
  13. truefiction1

    truefiction1 Fool

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    Icons are a way of Communing with God, and yes we often look upon an icon of brothers and sisters who have gone to be with Christ and ask them to pray that we will persevere in repentance and be saved. Or we may ask for the healing of our desperately sick loved ones.

    I know that they icons are beneficial. If I hadn't come to this knowledge first hand, them I might have doubts. In my case, providence has it that I will venerate icons as part of my Life of continuing repentance toward God and faith in Jesus Christ, because I know that God approves it. "To the pure, all things are pure." (Titus 1:15)
     
  14. ArmyMatt

    ArmyMatt Regular Member Supporter

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    not my opinion, no. I have mentioned the history as have you. the difference is that you looked to one council that rejected icons, you neglected that the iconoclasts were not even consistent in their rejection of icons, and then dismissed the centuries of icons prior and the councils that affirmed them.

    I am. far more evidence supports icons than rejects them.

    you have referenced the dogmatic statements from Nicaea II

    pretty immature

    no one disputes this, we dispute that you are reading those verses correct in terms of what is proper and to be accepted.

    nowhere does Scripture call God a Trinity, nor does Scripture ever say Three Persons in One God. that comes from Tertullian. you were the one who said if it is not commanded in revelation, it is idolatry. so there is more to the revelation that only Scripture, since Scripture does not say God is Trinity. the same argument you are rightly using to defend God is Trinity, even though Scripture does not call Him Trinity, is the same we are using for icons. so Scripture simply being silent on something is not an outright negation of it.

    and you are again presupposing your own conclusion without showing that you are reading correctly. icons were a norm for the Jews as well since the Tabernacle and Temple had them, as have 1st century excavated synagogues.

    so says you. I am sure a lot of Western Christians would say that you are not. and we like St Augustine and we know he is a great Father of the Church and because we reject some of what he said (which he did as well, and told folks to do if he conflicted with the Church), doesn't mean we simply throw him out.

    yes, but that is not solely how I became convinced of the Orthodox Church, although those were a part of it.

    but not neglecting the aspects of history I don't like or didn't like when converting. it is not simply my understanding, but the constant witness. I am not just dismissing what historically I disagree with because I disagree with it.

    Exodus and the making of the Tabernacle as discussed (imaged commanded by God, and then the subsequent Temples), the 2nd council of Nicaea as discussed, both commanded their making and use.

    I never said He commanded the canonization of St Seraphim, but that has nothing to do with not quoting from Russian sources, but quoting from someone who probably wasn't even there. which is bad scholarship. and a distracting question which has nothing to do with the topic at hand.
     
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2017
  15. ArmyMatt

    ArmyMatt Regular Member Supporter

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    non-canonical icons have existed as well. just because someone claims that something is an icon, does not mean that it is, even if it is early. and that is St Christopher, if you knew his life you would know why he sometimes is depicted like that.

    there were icons of Christ as a Lamb in the early days, but since Christ became man and not an actual Lamb, those images were rejected.

    it was also in synagogues as well. yes, the artistic style came from Greece, imagery was not. the practice began in ancient Israel with the Tabernacle.

    and Holy Blood, Holy Grail was not written by Christians, and neither was the book Zealot.
     
  16. abacabb3

    abacabb3 Newbie

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    How do you commune with God, He isn't the picture?
     
  17. ArmyMatt

    ArmyMatt Regular Member Supporter

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    through whatever means God chooses, and since He took on flesh and became man, matter can be used to commune with Him.

    absolutely not
     
  18. truefiction1

    truefiction1 Fool

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    Through the grace (uncreated energy) that God touches our own spirits with when we practice our faith, the practice of which includes commemorating those "who spoke the word of God to you. Consider[ing] the outcome of their way of life and imitate[ing] their faith." (Hebrews 13:7) We commemorate them with iconography in addition to writing and reading about them. We remember them and think to humbly ask them to pray for us sinners when we enter into a Church or into our private places of prayer and see them depicted in iconography.
     
  19. truefiction1

    truefiction1 Fool

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    When we bow before the person depicted and kiss their feet, we aren't worshiping the person as God, or as a god. No. We are simply doing as taught in the Bible, which is to, "in humility, consider others to be better than yourselves." (Philippians 2:3)

    Since we receive blessed poverty of spirit (Matthew 5:3) as a gift of the Holy Spirit, we see that those depicted are better than our horribly defiled selves, and we honor them with bows and by kissing their feet, humbly asking them to pray for us, being of the understanding that "The prayer of a righteous man has great power to prevail." (James 5:17)

    Many will ask, "Why ask for dead people to pray for you? They can't hear you. they are not omniscient. Etc... "

    The thing is, such requests for intercessory prayers of dead saints are heard by God somehow, because many times God responds to those intercessory prayers by the Holy Spirit, with great Power. Unfortunately, for ones who don't believe and don't want to believe, such demonstrations of Power by God don't have any effect. Such ones wouldn't believe even if someone "rose from the dead". (Luke 16:31) and certain ones will even be so impious as to attribute the work of the Holy Spirit Who answers the intercessory prayers of saints to Beelzebub, because they are beyond the point of no return in the blind madness of their own conceit. Thus, they are incapable of ever coming to know what mercy is, and eternally incapable therefor of ever being able to receive it.

    My advice is that if anyone thinks that the veneration of icons violates the letter of the law then that is understandable, but you do well to keep an open heart and mind about things.

    But most importantly, if beautifully fragrant myrrh streams miraculously from an icon by the Holy Spirit, and then the miracle oil is used to anoint a terminally ill person who has received a death sentence from their doctors (like stage 4 cancer) and is suddenly found to be free of the disease, and those who were witnesses to it were blessed with the strengthening of their faith in Jesus Christ and the promise of Eternal Life because of this great gift of the Holy Spirit, do not murmur aloud that this oil and this healing are of Satan, the Devil. I like to think that all of you will be saved.

    Do you hear what I'm saying?
     
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2017
  20. prodromos

    prodromos Senior Veteran Supporter

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    Do you believe the Devil can heal? I don't. If the Devil is the cause of an illness, he can appear to heal by ceasing to afflict, or he can cause symptoms to appear to stop by blocking pain for example, but I do not believe the Devil is capable of actually healing.
     
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