THE LADDER OF DIVINE ASCENT on TRUE LOVE Saint John Climacus OUR LADY OF TENDER MERCY HODGETRIA

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This period of Christianization probably saw the use of Christian images became very widespread among the faithful, though with great differences from pagan habits. Robin Lane Fox states[8] 'By the early fifth century, we know of the ownership of private icons of saints; by c. The Roman Imperial cult of the divinity of the emperor, expressed through the traditional burning of candles and the offering of incense to the emperor's image, was tolerated for a period because it would have been politically dangerous to attempt to suppress it.

In Philostorgius, an allegedly Arian Christian, charged the Orthodox Christians in Constantinople with idolatry because they still honored the image of the emperor Constantine the Great, the founder of the city, in this way. Dix notes that this occurred more than a century before we find the first reference to a similar honouring of the image of Christ or of His apostles or saints, but that it would seem a natural progression for the image of Christ, the King of Heaven and Earth, to be paid similar veneration as that given to the earthly Roman emperor.

After adoption of Christianity as the only permissible Roman state religion under Theodosius I, Christian art began to change not only in quality and sophistication, but also in nature. This was in no small part due to Christians being free for the first time to express their faith openly without persecution from the state, in addition to the faith spreading to the non-poor segments of society. Paintings of martyrs and their feats began to appear, and early writers commented on their lifelike effect, one of the elements a few Christian writers criticized in pagan art—the ability to imitate life.

The writers mostly criticized pagan works of art for pointing to false gods, thus encouraging idolatry.

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Statues in the round were avoided as being too close to the principal artistic focus of pagan cult practices, as they have continued to be with some small-scale exceptions throughout the history of Eastern Christianity. Nilus of Sinai d. Plato of Ankyra appeared to a Christian in a dream. The Saint was recognized because the young man had often seen his portrait.

This recognition of a religious apparition from likeness to an image was also a characteristic of pagan pious accounts of appearances of gods to humans, and was a regular topos in hagiography. One critical recipient of a vision from Saint Demetrius of Thessaloniki apparently specified that the saint resembled the 'more ancient' images of him—presumably the 7th-century mosaics still in Hagios Demetrios.

Another, an African bishop, had been rescued from Arab slavery by a young soldier called Demetrios, who told him to go to his house in Thessaloniki. Having discovered that most young soldiers in the city seemed to be called Demetrios, he gave up and went to the largest church in the city, to find his rescuer on the wall. During this period the church began to discourage all non-religious human images—the Emperor and donor figures counting as religious. This became largely effective, so that most of the population would only ever see religious images and those of the ruling class.

The word icon referred to any and all images, not just religious ones, but there was barely a need for a separate word for these.

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Luke's portrait of Mary[edit]It is in a context attributed to the 5th century that the first mention of an image of Mary painted from life appears, though earlier paintings on catacomb walls bear resemblance to modern icons of Mary. The image was specified to have been 'painted by the Apostle Luke. When the icon arrived in Constantinople it was fitted in as the head into a very large rectangular icon of her holding the Christ child and it is this composite icon that became the one historically known as the Hodegetria.

She further states another tradition that when the last Latin Emperor of Constantinople, Baldwin II, fled Constantinople in he took this original circular portion of the icon with him. This remained in the possession of the Angevin dynasty who had it likewise inserted into a much larger image of Mary and the Christ child, which is presently enshrined above the high altar of the Benedictine Abbey church of Montevergine.

However, Guarducci also states that in an ancient image of Mary[15] at the Church of Santa Francesca Romana was determined to be a very exact, but reverse mirror image of the original circular icon that was made in the 5th century and brought to Rome, where it has remained until the present. Luke the Evangelist and brought to India by St.

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There was a continuing opposition to images and their misuse within Christianity from very early times. The use of icons was seriously challenged by Byzantine Imperial authority in the 8th century. Though by this time opposition to images was strongly entrenched in Judaism and Islam, attribution of the impetus toward an iconoclastic movement in Eastern Orthodoxy to Muslims or Jews 'seems to have been highly exaggerated, both by contemporaries and by modern scholars'.

Under his son Constantine V, a council forbidding image veneration was held at Hieria near Constantinople in The council anathemized all who hold to iconoclasm, i. Then the ban was enforced again by Leo V in And finally icon veneration was decisively restored by Empress Regent Theodora in From then on all Byzantine coins had a religious image or symbol on the reverse, usually an image of Christ for larger denominations, with the head of the Emperor on the obverse, reinforcing the bond of the state and the divine order.

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Such images functioned as powerful relics as well as icons, and their images were naturally seen as especially authoritative as to the true appearance of the subject: naturally and especially because of the reluctance to accept mere human productions as embodying anything of the divine, a commonplace of Christian deprecation of man-made 'idols'. Like icons believed to be painted directly from the live subject, they therefore acted as important references for other images in the tradition. Beside the developed legend of the mandylion or Image of Edessa, was the tale of the Veil of Veronica, whose very name signifies 'true icon' or 'true image', the fear of a 'false image' remaining strong.

Stylistic developments[edit] St Peter encaustic on panel, c. Although there are earlier records of their use, no panel icons earlier than the few from the 6th century preserved at the Greek Orthodox Saint Catherine's Monastery in Egypt survive,[24] as the other examples in Rome have all been drastically over-painted. The surviving evidence for the earliest depictions of Christ, Mary and saints therefore comes from wall-paintings, mosaics and some carvings.

They are broadly similar in style, though often much superior in quality, to the mummy portraits done in wax encaustic and found at Fayyum in Egypt. As we may judge from such items, the first depictions of Jesus were generic rather than portrait images, generally representing him as a beardless young man. It was some time before the earliest examples of the long-haired, bearded face that was later to become standardized as the image of Jesus appeared. When they did begin to appear there was still variation.

Augustine of Hippo — [26] said that no one knew the appearance of Jesus or that of Mary. However, Augustine was not a resident of the Holy Land and therefore was not familiar with the local populations and their oral traditions. Gradually, paintings of Jesus took on characteristics of portrait images. At this time the manner of depicting Jesus was not yet uniform, and there was some controversy over which of the two most common icons was to be favored. The first or 'Semitic' form showed Jesus with short and 'frizzy' hair; the second showed a bearded Jesus with hair parted in the middle, the manner in which the god Zeus was depicted.

Theodorus Lector remarked[27] that of the two, the one with short and frizzy hair was 'more authentic'.

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To support his assertion, he relates a story excerpted by John of Damascus that a pagan commissioned to paint an image of Jesus used the 'Zeus' form instead of the 'Semitic' form, and that as punishment his hands withered. Though their development was gradual, we can date the full-blown appearance and general ecclesiastical as opposed to simply popular or local acceptance of Christian images as venerated and miracle-working objects to the 6th century, when, as Hans Belting writes,[28] 'we first hear of the church's use of religious images.

However, the earlier references by Eusebius and Irenaeus indicate veneration of images and reported miracles associated with them as early as the 2nd century. What might be shocking to our contemporary eyes may not have been viewed as such by the early Christians. Acts reports that 'people brought the sick into the streets and laid them on beds and mats so that at least Peter's shadow might fall on some of them as he passed by.

Almost everything within the image has a symbolic aspect.

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Christ, the saints, and the angels all have halos. Angels and often John the Baptist have wings because they are messengers.

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JAMES eds. This was the fIrst time since the death of Constantius that that emperor's distinctively naturalistic style had been used by the Trier mint, and the resulting image is very different from the formulaic portrait of Maximian, with short turned-up nose, that had always been used before. Sometimes this word was used to signify a pendant on an icon, or as a unit of weight. Please make sure this important item is placed on the agenda of your upcoming Parish Assembly Meeting so that you may elect these delegates to ensure full participation from your parish. The iconoclasts, who held that their council of was the seventh oecumenical council, began with the traditional profession of belief in the apostolic and patristic traditions and in the preceding six general councils.

Figures have consistent facial appearances, hold attributes personal to them, and use a few conventional poses. Colour plays an important role as well. Gold represents the radiance of Heaven; red, divine life. Blue is the color of human life, white is the Uncreated Light of God, only used for resurrection and transfiguration of Christ.

If you look at icons of Jesus and Mary: Jesus wears red undergarment with a blue outer garment God become Human and Mary wears a blue undergarment with a red overgarment human was granted gifts by God , thus the doctrine of deification is conveyed by icons. Letters are symbols too. Most icons incorporate some calligraphic text naming the person or event depicted. Even this is often presented in a stylized manner.

Miracles[edit] Our Lady of St. Theodore, a copy of the 11th-century icon, following the same Byzantine 'Tender Mercy' type as the Vladimirskaya above. In the Eastern Orthodox Christian tradition there are reports of particular, Wonderworking icons that exude myrrh fragrant, healing oil , or perform miracles upon petition by believers.

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When such reports are verified by the Orthodox hierarchy, they are understood as miracles performed by God through the prayers of the saint, rather than being magical properties of the painted wood itself. Theologically, all icons are considered to be sacred, and are miraculous by nature, being a means of spiritual communion between the heavenly and earthly realms. However, it is not uncommon for specific icons to be characterised as 'miracle-working', meaning that God has chosen to glorify them by working miracles through them. Such icons are often given particular names especially those of the Virgin Mary , and even taken from city to city where believers gather to venerate them and pray before them.

Islands like that of Tinos are renowned for possessing such 'miraculous' icons, and are visited every year by thousands of pilgrims. Eastern Orthodox teaching[edit] A fairly elaborate Orthodox Christian icon corner as would be found in a private home. This is because icon painting is rooted in the theology of the Incarnation Christ being the eikon of God which didn't change, though its subsequent clarification within the Church occurred over the period of the first seven Ecumenical Councils.

Also, icons served as tools of edification for the illiterate faithful during most of the history of Christendom. Thus, icons are words in painting; they refer to the history of salvation and to its manifestation in concrete persons. In the Orthodox Church 'icons have always been understood as a visible gospel, as a testimony to the great things given man by God the incarnate Logos'[33] In the Council of it was stated that 'all that is uttered in words written in syllables is also proclaimed in the language of colors'.

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In Exodus, God commanded that the Israelites not make any graven image; but soon afterwards, he commanded that they make graven images of cherubim and other like things, both as statues and woven on tapestries. Later, Solomon included still more such imagery when he built the first temple. Eastern Orthodox believe these qualify as icons, in that they were visible images depicting heavenly beings and, in the case of the cherubim, used to indirectly indicate God's presence above the Ark. In the Book of Numbers it is written that God told Moses to make a bronze serpent, Nehushtan, and hold it up, so that anyone looking at the snake would be healed of their snakebites.

In John 3, Jesus refers to the same serpent, saying that he must be lifted up in the same way that the serpent was. John of Damascus also regarded the brazen serpent as an icon.