Iconography
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Iconography

The Meaning and Importance of the Icon in the Byzantine Tradition

        This article is based upon part of the Introduction from Byzantine Daily Worship by Archbishop Joseph Raya & Baron José de Vinck, Alleluia Press, Allendale, NJ, 1969. It has been freely adapted for use here by Father J. Michael Venditti, who has re-worded and added to it in order to make its contents understandable outside of their original context.

    "Christ," says St. Paul, "is the icon of the invisible God" (Col. 2:7). An image, says St. Thomas Aquinas, connotes three simultaneous qualities: likeness to prototype, derivation from it, and similarity of species with it. Likeness alone is not enough. A photograph is a likeness; it is not an image in the sense used here. A son is the image of his father, but not vice versa. Christ is the image of the Father because He manifests Him to mankind. The underlying idea of the icon is the manifestation of the hidden. In itself, “an image is not usually equal with what it represents; but, in fact, we know that Christ, as the image or icon of the Father, is identical with the Father in every particular, differing from Him only by the fact of being begotten” (St. John of Damascus).

    It is in this sense that one must understand what kind of “image” an icon of the Byzantine Tradition is, even in the context of being an aid to devotion; for the icon is not a representation of people, places or things designed to aid the imagination or simply to bring to mind certain holy ideas, as required by St. Ignatius of Loyola. Yes, the icon is helpful for prayer, but not as a means to put the imagination into motion. Metropolitan Seraphim explains the role of the icon in prayer this way:

        “If you stand before the Redeemer’s icon or that of the Mother of God, stand as if you were before the Lord Jesus Christ Himself or before the Blessed Virgin Mary. Keep your intelligence without any representation, for there is a great difference between standing before the Lord in His very presence and representing Him to the imagination. In the latter case, attention is not given to prayer directly, but is held by traditional impressions which only skim the surface of our consciousness.”

    The icon, therefore, is not a picture. The icon is not a painted representation meant to teach. The icon is a grace and a life. It is a life that penetrates and purifies and elevates. From the icon emanates a virtue that inspires the faithful with hope and gives him consolation. St. John of Damascus calls it a “channel of divine grace,” seeming to bestow on the icon an almost sacramental character. In another sense, one can say the icon’s relationship to the faithful is similar, though certainly not equal to, that of Holy Scripture. It may be for this reason that, in the vocabulary of the Byzantine Tradition, an icon is not “painted” but “written.”

    The icon, then, is not only an aesthetical entity. It is the result of the faith and prayer of the Church. It is the life of the Church lived in Christ. A saving truth is not communicated by the word alone but by the fact of awakening vital forces of life, through the presentation of beauty. Because God loved us, He turned to us a visible face, a human face, in Christ. He turned to us the face of the absolute beauty which is not different from the fullness of God and the fullness of being. The icon carries with it the love of this beauty, and the beauty of this love.

New Date
 
ByzanTEEN Virtual Evening Out #2 --Sunday July 26, 6:00 -7:30pm

Has the message of the new atheists that has infiltrated American culture top to bottom got you confused and scratching your head?

Join Father Andrii Dumnych for a lively discussion about God and why the spiritual life should matter to YOU. 

There will also be time to play virtual games and meet new and old friends. 

Any Questions can be directed to: frdeacontom@gmail.com 

(If you have not registerd by 4:00 on July 24th, please request invitation at the above email)

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Sunday of All Saints Message

"Then afterward I will pour out my spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions." Joel 2:28 (quoted by Peter following the Descent of the Holy Spirit in Acts 2:17)

 

Hear Bishop Kurt's message (here) for the Sunday of All Saints provided by God With Us Online and how the Holy Spirit at Pentecost prepares us to be Saints.

Living In or Near the Brooklyn Borough?

The Divine Liturgy is now being celebrated in Brooklyn, New York!

Sundays at 8:00 a.m. at: 

Saint Margaret Mary Roman Catholic Church

215 Exeter Street

Brooklyn, New York 11235

 

Come, pray with us and see our growing community!

For more information please contact Father Iaroslav Korostil

570-507-4483

 

New Byzantine Catholic Community Forming

A Byzantine Catholic community is forming at St. Philip Neri RC Church, 292 Munn Road, Fort Mill, South Carolina (about a half hour drive from Charlotte, North Carolina). Please join us as we grow our community and celebrate together the Byzantine Divine Liturgy.

 

Father Steven Galuschik of All Saints Byzantine Catholic Church in North Fort Myers, Florida began celebrating the Divine Liturgy with the community at the end of October, 2017. This community will serve the northern part of South Carolina as well as Charlotte, North Carolina. 

 

Please share  this information with your friends and family, especially those who have moved "down South." The Divine Liturgy is celebrated on Saturdays at 4:00 p.m. If you would like to participate in any way, or have questions please contact Ron Somich at 440-477-6389 or at ron.somich@gmail.com or visit the website at https://carolinabyzantine.com for news, upcoming gatherings and service times.

Come and See

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Copies of the book are availlable from you pastor or by 

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