Which one of these is a valid icon and why?

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Handmaiden50
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Which one of these is a valid icon and why?

Postby Handmaiden50 » Mon 22 December 2014 11:28 pm

I am wanting to expand my prayer corner which, so far, only has a print icon of Christ.

I came across these icons of Panagia Paramythia (I believe that is correct). One is more Byzantine looking, while the other is more "Roman Catholic" looking. I am guessing that only the Byzantine one would be a valid icon and, if so, why?
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Barbara
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Re: Which one of these is a valid icon and why?

Postby Barbara » Thu 25 December 2014 7:49 pm

I am not really expert, but I would assume that they both are valid. Some, if not many, Orthodox would prefer the lower traditional style icon, though, and not like the upper one.

I might hazard a guess that that top one is from Ukraine. It reminds me of some I saw there.
I love that soft violet color of the robes of the Christ Child. I recall an icon in which the Mother of God had robes of the same color which was in the trapeza at the main Dormition Cathedral of the Kiev Caves Lavra. Or might still be there,
though most of the building complex was destroyed by the Soviets.

I do not care for the strange expression in the Most Pure Virgin's eyes in the upper icon, though. What about looking for a third, more congenial icon, to help you get used to the concept of the veneration of the Theotokos, which must be strange for you, coming from Protestantism.

You are doing great, quickly absorbing all these new concepts, Handmaiden !

PS - The lower one appears to be a Sofrino print-icon, or a similar mass-produced cheap one.
You might want to keep searching for something unique and special which really appeals to you individually.
Then you will feel more drawn to pray to the Holy Virgin and more often.

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Barbara
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Re: Which one of these is a valid icon and why?

Postby Barbara » Fri 26 December 2014 12:43 am

Look at how beautifully ornate are the posts of the chair in which the Queen of Heaven sits in that top icon !

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Handmaiden50
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Re: Which one of these is a valid icon and why?

Postby Handmaiden50 » Sat 27 December 2014 3:28 pm

Barbara,

I agree with your comment about the expression in Panagia's eyes in the first example. I have been looking at various websites to see what they have - with regard to the more traditional icons, some iconographers give Panagia a very peaceful, gentle facial expression, while others show an expression that seems more depressed or troubled looking (in the eyes and what seems like somewhat of a frown) as she holds an infant Jesus (unless that is to reflect the fact that she was aware that her Son was to suffer and die for us, I don't know.).
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Re: Which one of these is a valid icon and why?

Postby Jean-Serge » Mon 29 December 2014 7:59 pm

The upper one is dubious to me, it looks like a picture not an icon; too much westernized.
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Re: Which one of these is a valid icon and why?

Postby Barbara » Thu 1 January 2015 2:19 am

Yes, many Traditional Orthodox will have the same reaction as Jean-Serge. That is the norm.
But for me< i like the peaceful, calm, sweet expressions in the eyes of the Heavenly Queen, as Handmaid mentioned.

Why not take time over New Year's to find a wider selection of icons ? Don't worry, there are no real mistakes [except that map of Greece splashed over the purported icon pictured on another thread here !! - ]

It's a fun process of learning and discovery of what will fit your prayer needs the best.

I know I will be unpopular saying this. But those ones where Her eyes are brooding or angry looking don't fit my image of Her.
They are disquieting. I haven't seen any in a Russian Church in the style of that upper icon. However, a priest once brought back prints of an icon of the Mother of God quite reminiscent of this from Kiev. I liked the rest of the icon. Again, it was that discordant expression which made me not feel enthusiastic about it.

She can look distant, which is part of Her regal ambiance.
She doesn't HAVE to look warm and caring. But - to look so - like you picked out so well, Handmaider - depressed, is frankly uncomfortable for me as the viewer. I don't understand why such icons are available for sale.
But, there must be a reason. Anyone have any idea ?! [Don't make too much fun of me now - !]

Meanwhile, just keep searching, Handmaiden. It's IMPORTANT to have a very fitting Icon of the Mother of God. She is our irreplaceable help !

A propos of nothing really, this top icon reminds me of seeing a dark-haired youngish woman on the Moscow Metro once whose features resembled remarkably a classical Byzantine style Icon, like Maria's Vladimirskaya Icon avatar. It was amazing to see an icon of the Heavenly Queen almost become alive this way !

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Re: Which one of these is a valid icon and why?

Postby Isaakos » Mon 12 January 2015 5:43 am

I believe all things are sanctified when received with prayer and thanksgiving. Even westernized icons, so long as they lift the mind and heart to God.
Blessed is the man who has volunteered to hold and keep until the end of his life our holy Orthodox faith, the faith of the one Church of Christ and our mother, the Catholic and Apostolic Church.

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