Monday, May 5, 2008


I've stumbled across an interesting article on icons. Here's an excerpt:
When the baptised person has entered the seemingly insignificant door of his heart, he finds himself in Paradise, in the open space where Christ walks with his disciples. He is transfigured, and sees things otherwise unseen. As St. Maximus wrote, one pure in heart experiences "a change in his senses and passes from the flesh to the Spirit. The Spirit brings about a transformation of his sensible energies and strips away the veils of passions from the intellectual faculty" ( 10). And again, "In Christ, those who were baptised become light in light, and they know the one who begot them " Then the iconographer paints those whom he has seen with his own spiritual eyes. Then he paints not images of images, but an image taken from the living prototype. Certainly he will receive the physical likeness of the saint from existing icons, but these icons he experiences sacramentally, not as a replacement for the real thing, but as a sacramental bearer of the very person depicted. He meets the saint personally in Christ through the Holy Spirit, just as Peter, James and John met Moses and Elijah on Mount Tabor. The outer likeness he receives from the Spirit through icons, and the "inner" likeness, the personal relationship with the saint, he receives from the same Holy Spirit through purity of heart. In that way the physical likeness which the iconographer receives through icons is not something exterior to his life in the Spirit, because the Spirit who has guarded this likeness through icons is the same Spirit who fills his heart with light.

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