Thomas B
on June 7, 2013 755 views
Icons are reminders of the spiritual world. They are windows into eternity; a holy space depicting sacred reality in the course of humanity.

Iconography is the Bible in Art and theology in color. The bible and iconography along with prayer of the heart are the gates into the mystery of Orthodox Christian spirituality. Icons serve as "windows into heaven" depicting our Christian history reflecting images of Christ, the Virgin Mary, the Apostles and other holy and heroic Christians of the past.

The icons found in Orthodox Churches are a celebration of the fact that Jesus Christ is indeed the Word made flesh (John 1:1-14). As the 7th Ecumenical Council held in Nicea in 787 proclaimed:
"Icons are in colors what the Scripture
are in words: witnesses to the Incarnation,
the fact that God has come among us
as a person whom we can see, touch
and hear, to offer us the new life
and begin the new creation."

The eyes in an icon are made large and animated because they have seen great things. The ears are also made large to hear the commands of the Lord. The nose is made long and thin, therefore it doesn't smell the things of this world only spiritual fragrances. The mouth is small, since there is less importance on physical food and drink (fasting), and more importance on spiritual food "the Word of God." The halo encircling the head of Christ or the saint depicts the radiant light of the their divinity.

Orthodox Christians do not worship icons, of course; worship is for God alone. But we do venerate them, believing that the honor given to the icon passes on to the person it images. Just as pictures of our loved ones in our wallets or homes remind us of real people and significant events, icons are the same reminder of those we honor and love. Icons image those who have loved God and sacrificed their lives for Him. They are sacred friends and events representing a world regenerated by divine grace. They are the saints who exemplify human potential at its finest.

Icons are a part of the Orthodox Christian worship and prayer, lifting the heart and mind into God's heavenly kingdom. Churches represent a celebration in color and form of God's presence in His Church. Icons also revere a place of honor in our homes to which we direct our prayerful attention either as individuals or as families.
Categories: Chant, Russian