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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

A Defense of the Holy Icons!

As seen from Orthodox Apologetics by David

Quote:
"One of the most common criticisms that Protestants express against Orthodox Christianity is the prominent place of iconography, a uniquely Orthodox Christian figurative art form, in the Church. That Orthodox Christians give a very special place to the Holy Icons is hard to miss. Our churches, homes, and even places of business are filled with them, often outside as well as in. Upon entering a church and before prayers at home, Orthodox Christians generally perform bows from the waist1 and kiss the icons in reverence. During the worship services in an Orthodox Church, the Priest frequently incenses the icons and the worshipers frequently bow and even prostrate toward them. On various feast days throughout the year,2 icons of Christ, of the Theotokos,3 and of various Saints and Angels are raised high and processed in and around churches and streets. And we do, after all, refer to them as the “Holy Icons.”


For Orthodox Christians, icons are an intrinsic aspect of our spirituality and of our everyday lives. We use them for prayer, as gifts, as decoration, as jewelry, and as ever-present reminders of our loved ones and the love and inspiration they offer. We even believe that God can and does work miracles through them. There are many icons referred to as “wonder-working” or “myrrh-streaming” which Orthodox believers bear a special reverence for, accepting that through these particular icons God has done a special act for man.4 Some of these icons are even on the calendar of feast days we celebrate.5"

To read the rest please visit Orthodox Apologetics




Part 2

Quote:
"An obvious and important question to ask when examining the validity of the presence and veneration of the Holy Icons in the churches today is whether or not the earliest Christians, roughly those of the first five hundred years of the Church, used iconography and, if so, how they used it. The faith and practice of these earliest Christians is supremely important in deciding correct faith and practice of Christians today as these early Christians lived the closest in time, place, and culture to the Apostles and other first century followers of Christ. Many of the Christians who lived during this period were members of churches which had been directly founded by Apostles and lived in cities mentioned in the Bible. In addition, very importantly, most of the Christians of this period spoke the ancient Greek of the New Testament as their own native language. Recognizing the importance and authority of the early Church, John Calvin wrote:

If the authority of the ancient church moves us in any way, we will recall that for about five hundred years, during which religion was still flourishing, and a pure doctrine thriving, Christian Churches were commonly empty of images. Thus, it was when the purity of the ministry had somewhat degenerated that they were first introduced for the adornment of churches.12


Until fairly recently, Calvin's words here were the common assumption of both Protestants and historians of early Christianity. It was widely believed and taught that the churches of the first several hundred years were largely imageless and that Christians themselves were generally hostile to figurative art, rejecting it as an idolatrous pagan practice. This assumption was largely based on a dearth of archaeological evidence and on a false assumption of Jewish iconophobia coupled with erroneous prooftexting of various early Christian writers' criticisms of the idols of the pagans.


All three bases of the theory of early Christian hostility toward images have been dismantled by the introduction of new evidence throughout the 20th century, and more evidence continues to be uncovered today through archaeological exploration.14 The hole that once existed in physical evidence of the worship of ancient Christians and Jews has now been filled with numerous discoveries throughout the Middle East, Southern and Eastern Europe, and North Africa."


To read the rest please visit Orthodox Apologetics








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