Can icons representing the Father be venerated?

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Cyprian
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Re: Can icons representing the Father be venerated?

Postby Cyprian » Mon 12 March 2018 7:02 pm

Justice wrote:There is the argument that since Christ became man, we can portray him but the Father, hasn't taken on a human form nor has the Holy Spirit.

With those who make a fuss about rejecting images and depictions of the Father, it seems that there is a fundamental misunderstanding of the basis by which persons may be depicted in iconography.

Obviously, it is not necessary for someone to become incarnate in order to be depicted. The Holy Spirit has never become incarnate, and yet the Church depicts Him in icons. The holy angels do not have flesh either, and yet, they are depicted. The devil also has never taken on flesh, although we sometimes see him depicted as an old man in icons, such as the Nativity.

So it is just plain silly to argue that the Father cannot be depicted because He has never taken on flesh. If the iconomachs were consistent in their faulty reasoning, they would necessarily have to argue that the Holy Spirit should also never be depicted in icons either, since the Spirit, like the Father, has never became incarnate.

This argument which suggests that the Word can be depicted because he became flesh, but the Father cannot be depicted because He never has, is spurious and falls completely flat, and should be abandoned.

St. John of Damascus, in his apology in defense of the icons, makes explicitly clear the basis by which someone or something may be depicted in icons:

"In a word it may be said that we can make images of all the forms which we see. We apprehend these as if they were seen."

All that is required is to demonstrate that God the Father has been seen, and then there can be no objections to His being depicted.

"But Scripture offers forms and images even of God." (St. John of Damascus)

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Re: Can icons representing the Father be venerated?

Postby Justice » Mon 12 March 2018 8:02 pm

Cyprian wrote:
Justice wrote:There is the argument that since Christ became man, we can portray him but the Father, hasn't taken on a human form nor has the Holy Spirit.

With those who make a fuss about rejecting images and depictions of the Father, it seems that there is a fundamental misunderstanding of the basis by which persons may be depicted in iconography.

Obviously, it is not necessary for someone to become incarnate in order to be depicted. The Holy Spirit has never become incarnate, and yet the Church depicts Him in icons. The holy angels do not have flesh either, and yet, they are depicted. The devil also has never taken on flesh, although we sometimes see him depicted as an old man in icons, such as the Nativity.

So it is just plain silly to argue that the Father cannot be depicted because He has never taken on flesh. If the iconomachs were consistent in their faulty reasoning, they would necessarily have to argue that the Holy Spirit should also never be depicted in icons either, since the Spirit, like the Father, has never became incarnate.

This argument which suggests that the Word can be depicted because he became flesh, but the Father cannot be depicted because He never has, is spurious and falls completely flat, and should be abandoned.

St. John of Damascus, in his apology in defense of the icons, makes explicitly clear the basis by which someone or something may be depicted in icons:

"In a word it may be said that we can make images of all the forms which we see. We apprehend these as if they were seen."

All that is required is to demonstrate that God the Father has been seen, and then there can be no objections to His being depicted.

"But Scripture offers forms and images even of God." (St. John of Damascus)


Nice to meet you Cyprian. I look forward to having many discussions with you.
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Re: Can icons representing the Father be venerated?

Postby Cyprian » Mon 12 March 2018 8:05 pm

Justice wrote:Dcn Joseph of the Orthodox Metropolia considers the icons to be of western origin. Though he is still favorable of the icons because they have been venerated for hundreds of years.

Ask this Dcn. Joseph to prove these icons "to be of western origin." Anyone can simply make an empty or baseless claim―it is entirely another matter to prove it. Where is the proof that images of the Father are of a (heretical) "western origin"?

Gregory of Colorado has also spoken out against these icons calling them of papal origin.

Where is his proof for this baseless claim? Which saints taught that images of the Father are of papal origin? Give us names. Why should any of us prefer Gregory's private opinions over those of the Church? By your own admission, you acknowledge that these icons have been venerated for "hundreds of years".

St. Basil the Great states that in the Church, custom has the force of law.
St. Chrysostom is known for his saying: "It is tradition? Ask no more."

So what does that tell us about the pride of certain individuals who presume to go about telling everyone that they know better, and that we ought not venerate images of the Father, when none of the saints ever wrote even a single treatise against them?

It seems to me that Gregory, and those of like opinion, wish to place themselves above the holy fathers, and make a name for themselves, as if they discovered some hidden heresy which they believe infiltrated the church over the course of many centuries, which somehow went completely unnoticed and unaddressed by all the great luminaries of the Church.

St. Cosmas never agitated against images of the Father; and neither did St. Seraphim of Sarov, St. Nicodemos, St. Tikhon, St. John of Kronstadt, St. Nektarios, St. John of Shanghai and countless others holy luminaries.

Apparently Gregory knows better than all these guiding lights, and wants to demonstrate to everyone else that he is smarter and more scholarly. Apparently he believes his version of 'orthodoxy' is more pure and untainted than the saints who came before him.

I think some would do well to spend more time reading the works of St. Gregory Palamas, and St. John Damascene's Apology in Defense of the Icons, and less time reading faulty theology from modernist renovationists on some supposedly "true orthodox" website.

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Re: Can icons representing the Father be venerated?

Postby Cyprian » Mon 12 March 2018 8:42 pm

Justice wrote:On another note, I don't think this thread discussed about the seventh ecumenical council which prohibits depictions of God the Father.

It did no such thing! This is simply incorrect. If the Seventh Ecumenical Council had actually prohibited depictions of God the Father, then how come images of the Father are found everywhere throughout the Church, with examples dating back more than a thousand years, and how is it that the saints did not voice objections to these images?

"The Council decreed that the veneration of icons was not idolatry (Exodus 20:4-5), because the honor shown to them is not directed to the wood or paint, but passes to the prototype (the person depicted). It also upheld the possibility of depicting Christ, Who became man and took flesh at His Incarnation. The Father, on the other hand, cannot be represented in His eternal nature, because “no man has seen God at any time” (John 1:18)."

No one is attempting to depict the Father's invisible nature in icons. The Son and the Spirit possess the exact same nature (essence) as the Father, and neither can the Son or the Holy Spirit be depicted according to their invisible nature or essence either. The Father, Son and Holy Spirit are all one in the essence of divinity, and hence equally invisible according to their divine essence or nature. If one were to suggest that the Father's divine essence or nature is invisible, but somehow the Son's divine essence or nature is visible, that is Arianism.

St. Theodore the Studite
Third Refutation of The Iconoclasts

"When anyone is portrayed, it is not the nature but the hypostasis which is portrayed. For how could a nature be portrayed unless it were contemplated in a hypostasis?"

As St. Theodore the Studite makes explicitly clear, no one is depicting the bare essence or nature of the Father, which is indeed invisible and cannot be represented, in icons. It is the hypostasis, i.e. the person, which is depicted.

Do not think that it is either the divine or the human nature of Christ that is portrayed in icons. Jesus Christ is the Theanthropos (God-man), possessing fully-divine and fully-human natures. Rather, it is the entire person of Christ which is portrayed.

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Re: Can icons representing the Father be venerated?

Postby Maria » Mon 12 March 2018 9:49 pm

Cyprian wrote:
Justice wrote:Dcn Joseph of the Orthodox Metropolia considers the icons to be of western origin. Though he is still favorable of the icons because they have been venerated for hundreds of years.

Ask this Dcn. Joseph to prove these icons "to be of western origin." Anyone can simply make an empty or baseless claim―it is entirely another matter to prove it. Where is the proof that images of the Father are of a (heretical) "western origin"?

Gregory of Colorado has also spoken out against these icons calling them of papal origin.

Where is his proof for this baseless claim? Which saints taught that images of the Father are of papal origin? Give us names. Why should any of us prefer Gregory's private opinions over those of the Church? By your own admission, you acknowledge that these icons have been venerated for "hundreds of years".

St. Basil the Great states that in the Church, custom has the force of law.
St. Chrysostom is known for his saying: "It is tradition? Ask no more."

So what does that tell us about the pride of certain individuals who presume to go about telling everyone that they know better, and that we ought not venerate images of the Father, when none of the saints ever wrote even a single treatise against them?

It seems to me that Gregory, and those of like opinion, wish to place themselves above the holy fathers, and make a name for themselves, as if they discovered some hidden heresy which they believe infiltrated the church over the course of many centuries, which somehow went completely unnoticed and unaddressed by all the great luminaries of the Church.

St. Cosmas never agitated against images of the Father; and neither did St. Seraphim of Sarov, St. Nicodemos, St. Tikhon, St. John of Kronstadt, St. Nektarios, St. John of Shanghai and countless others holy luminaries.

Apparently Gregory knows better than all these guiding lights, and wants to demonstrate to everyone else that he is smarter and more scholarly. Apparently he believes his version of 'orthodoxy' is more pure and untainted than the saints who came before him.

I think some would do well to spend more time reading the works of St. Gregory Palamas, and St. John Damascene's Apology in Defense of the Icons, and less time reading faulty theology from modernist renovationists on some supposedly "true orthodox" website.


Very well stated, Cyprian.
Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me a sinner.

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Re: Can icons representing the Father be venerated?

Postby Cyprian » Mon 12 March 2018 9:54 pm

Justice wrote:Why in these icons does it always depict Christ as a child and holding the Holy Spirit?

Like Maria said, it might be best not to use "always". The icon you posted appears to show the Holy Spirit in the likeness of a dove at the Father's chest, not in Christ's hands. Others do not show Christ as a child, but as a bearded man. The icons in question are usually called "Fatherhood" or "Paternity".

The Holy Fathers teach that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and rests in the Son, and also that the Spirit is given and sent by both the Father and the Son, so I do not see why a depiction of Christ holding the Spirit, while in the bosom of the Father, would be objectionable.

Here is one from circa 1260-1280 A.D. from the Church of Panagia Koumbelidikis (Παναγίας της Κουμπελίδικης) in Kastoria, Greece.

Notice this is not some tiny icon tucked away in someone's private home, or an image hidden in some manuscript on a shelf, but this fresco is displayed openly in Church, and has been seen by thousands of faithful over the past 750 years.

No one ever made a fuss about this depiction of the Holy Trinity for the past seven and a half centuries, and this Church is in Greece, this is not in the Vatican or "in the West".

Image

Image

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Re: Can icons representing the Father be venerated?

Postby Cyprian » Sat 17 March 2018 9:29 pm

Thank you, Maria. Nice to meet you too, Justice. I should forewarn you however, that I am not a very sociable or chatty person. I prefer quiet contemplation in private.


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