Never as gods: icons
and their veneration
Professor Constantine Scouteris
In the tradition of the
Eastern Church doctrine and worship are inseparable. Worship is, in a
certain sense, doctrinal testimony, reference to the events of
Revelation. Thus "dogmas are not abstract ideas in and for
themselves but revealed and saving truths and realities intended to
bring mankind into communion with God"1. One could say
without hesitation that, according to Orthodox understanding, the
fulness of theological thought is found in the worship of the Church.
This is why the term Orthodoxy is understood by many not as right
opinion, but as right doxology, right worship. Right worship involves
right opinion as well.
In this perspective of the
close relationship between worship and doctrine I am of the opinion that
the best way to present a brief theology of icons is to use liturgical
data. That is, to toncider the doctrinal testimony of the worshipping
community. Thus I will take as a basis for my paper three hymns of the
Sunday of Orthodoxy. As is well known, the Sunday of Orthodoxy is the
first Sunday in Lent, when the Orthodox Church commemorates her victory
over the iconoclasts and the final restoration of icons to the churches
by the empress Theodora, regent of her young son Michael III. This
restoration took place at a synod held at Constantinople in 843, which
decreed that in commemoration of this event a Feast of Orthodoxy should
be celebrated annually.
The three hymns I am using
as a frame for my paper are: the kontakion; the third sticheron; and the
doxasticon of Vespers.2
Word of the Father became circumscribed, taking flesh from thee, O
Theotokos, and He has restored the sullied image to its ancient
glory, filling it with the divine beauty. This our salvation we
confess in deed and word, and we depict it in the holy icons.
Thou who art
uncircumscribed, O Master, in Thy divine nature, wast pleased in the
last times to take flesh and be circumscribed; and in assuming
flesh, Thou hast also taken on Thyself all its distinctive
properties. Therefore we depict the likeness of Thine outward form,
venerating it with an honour that is relative. So we are exalted to
the love of Thee, and following the holy traditions handed down by
the apostles, from Thine icon we receive the grace of healing.
ungodliness to the true faith, and illumined with the light of
knowledge, let us clap our hands and sing aloud, offering praise and
thanks- giving to God; and with due honour let us venerate the holy
icons of Christ, of the all-pure Virgin and the saints, whether
depicted on walls, on wooden panels or on holy vessels, rejecting
the impious teaching of the heretics. For, as Basil says, the honour
shown to the icon passes to the prototype it represents. At the
prayers of Thine undefiled Mother and of all the saints, we beseech
Thee, Christ our God, to bestow upon us Thy great mercy.
"The uncircumscribed Word of the Father, taking flesh, became
Studying the issue of
icons we can easily realise that the whole matter has a christological
dimension. The use of icons forms an integral part of the doctrine of
the Incarnation. The main question could be formulated as follows: was
Christ, the incarnate Logos of the Father, circumscribed or
uncircumscribed? The iconoclasts declared that Christ was
uncircumscribed, as God-Man, for the unity of divinity and humanity
allowed no room for depicting him. According to the theology of
iconoclasts, as it is presented at the Council of Hieria (754)3,
the iconographer painting " an icon of Christ represents either his
humanity, separating it from the divinity, or both the humanity and the
divinity of the incarnate Logos. In the first instance he is a follower
of Nestorius, while in the second he confuses divinity and humanity and
follows the Monophysites; even worse, he assumes that the
uncircumscribed divine nature can be circumscribed by humanity, which is
of course blasphemous.4
Although these arguments
appear reasonable, it is evident that the iconoclasts had difficulties
understanding that an icon does not represent either the one or the two
natures of Christ. An icon is rather a representation of the invisible
through the visible. St John of Damascus, answering the objections of
iconoclasts, makes the following clear theological statement:
I do not venerate the
creation over the Creator, but I venerate the Creator who became
creation like me, and came down into creation without humiliation
and without being debased, in order to glorify my nature and make me
to be partaker of the divine nature [...]. For the nature of flesh
has not become deity, but, as the Word became flesh without change,
remaining as he was, likewise the flesh became Word, without losing
what it is, identifying moreover with the Word hypostatically. Thus,
taking courage, I represent God, the invisible, not as invisible,
but insofar as he has become visible for us by participation in
flesh and blood. I do not represent the invisible deity but I
represent the flesh of God which-has been seen.5
Besides the arguments
brought against the use of icons one can see a deep theological
difference between iconoclasts and defenders of the icons. Emphasis was
given to the nature by the iconoclasts, while for the supporters of the
icons the hypostasis, the person of the incarnated Word served as the
foundation. St Theodore the Studite gives us the orthodox position
briefly and clearly: "Every image is the image of an hypostasis,
and never of a nature".6 Seen from this perspective, an
icon is an historical picture. Thus the maker of an icon does not depict
images of certain invisible, heavenly and transcendental realities, but
concrete events and personalities connected with the historic fact of
The icon is understood as
a gift of the Incarnation, as a new possibility to theologise, based on
the person of the Son incarnate. In Old Testament times there could not
be any possibility of representing God. In the Mosaic law there is a
strict prohibition concerning images: "Thou shalt not make unto
thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing" (Exod. 20:4).7
Images constituted at that time a danger to the worship of the one and
true God. Again St John of Damascus declares:
In times past, God,
without body and form, could in no way be represented. But now,
since God has appeared in flesh and lived among men, I can depict
that which is visible of God. I do not venerate the matter, but I
venerate the Creator of matter, who became matter for me, who
condescended to live in matter, and who, through matter accomplished
my salvation; and I do not cease to"respect the matter through
which my salvation is accomplished.8
In Christ matter is
assumed and sanctified. The mystery of the divine economy constitutes
the definite abolition of any dualism between spirit and matter. In the
person of Christ we find the affirmation of matter, which becomes the
medium of divine energy and grace.9 Thus matter has a certain
liturgical function in the history of salvation.
So it is from this
perspective that we have to understand the accusation of idolatry put
forward by the iconoclasts. In Greek pagan religion, idols were just
pictures of things which did not exist.10 In this case matter
becomes an object of worship (adoratio). In the New Testament
Christ delivers men from idolatry not in a negative way, by abolishing
any image, but positively, by revealing himself, who is the true image
of-God the Father (2 Cor. 4:4; Col. 1:15; John 14:9).11 In
his divinity the Word of God is the consubstantial image of the Father
and in his humanity is the image of God. In his humanity he reveals the
image of the authentic man. This is self-evident even though we can not
separate the two natures in Christ. Such a division leads either to
Nestorianism or to Monophysitism. The reality of the hypostasis, of the
one Person of Christ, ensures the unity of the two natures "without
confusion, without change, without division, without separation".12
And thus when speaking of Christ we presuppose the unity of the two
In an analogous way, when
speaking of the icon of Christ we take for granted this unity in the
icon; in other words we do not have in the icon the image of the
humanity of Christ, separated from his divinity, but rather we
understand that this image is a representation of the one incarnated
Logos, of the uncircumscribed Word of the Father, who, taking flesh,
became circumscribed. As the hypostasis assures the unity as well as the
distinction of the two natures, the icon of Christ likewise testifies to
this unity of the natures and to the distinction between created and
uncreated.13 In order to justify the possibility of painting
an image of Christ, the Fathers of the Seventh Ecumenical Council
clearly underlined this appearance of the icon of the very hypostasis of
God the Logos in flesh:
The Catholic Church
while depicting Christ in his human form, does not separate it from
the divinity united unto it; rather she considers it as being
deified and confesses it as wholly one with God [omotheon],
as Gregory the Theologian also states [...). And just as when one
paints the picture of a man he does not depict him without his soul,
but rather he who is depicted remains with his soul [...] so, too,
when making the icon of the Lord, we confess his flesh to be deified
and we understand his icon as nothing else but an icon showing the
imitation of the prototype.14
"He has restored
the sullied image to its ancient glory, filling it with the divine
Icons have their biblical
justification in the creation of man according to the divine image. The
creation of man "in the image of God", "after his
likeness" (Gen. 1:26-7), clearly demonstrates that there is a
certain analogy between the divine and the human. The Greek Fathers
understood this analogy in terms of participation in the divine beauty.
From this perspective, the fact that man was created in the image of God
means that God made human nature a participant of every good. By virtue
of his own nature God himself is the absolute beauty and good. And thus
in creating man according to his image he has communicated to him his
own goodness, which is described as freedom, wisdom, justice, love,
immortality.15 In other words man was created to be a kind of
mirror reflecting the divine beauty. It is self-evident that there is a
basic difference between God the prototype and man the image: the latter
is created, while the former is uncreated. It is remarkable also that
the creation of man according to the divine image was a dynamic
vocation. Man should extend himself from the image to the likeness of
God. The gift of the image did not have a static character; it was
rather the beginning of a personal history of sanctification. But the
image of God as created reality was still characterised by
changeability. Man could refuse to follow the way leading from image to
likeness. In fact this is precisely what happened: by his free will he
fell. Original sin is under- stood as being the darkening and obscuring
of the divine image. St Gregory of Nyssa says that man has changed the
image for a mask (prosopeion).16
It was by the Incarnation
of the Logos that man was restored to his ancient glory. In Christ is
realised a second creation of man; the hidden and obscured image of God
was repainted. The way from the image to the likeness is again open for
man. The fact that the Son of God became man gives man the possibility
of becoming himself god by grace. The Fathers of the Seventh Ecumenical
Council, comparing the first creation to the second, point out that the
second creation of man, realised by God the Logos, "is more in
God"s likeness and thus the recreation becomes a better thing than
the creation; and this gift is eternal".17
gift"18 brings man once more into communion with the
divine beauty. Again man is given the possibility to become, freely and
consciously, a God-bearer (theophoros). Certainly the locus of
this transfiguration of man is the Church. Through baptism in the Church
man can find his real being. In other words the Church offers a cure and
a healing, returning man to his natural state. And so man in the Church,
participating in the life of the deity, himself becomes an icon. St
Diadochus of Photice points out that man in the Church, through inner
action and the grace of the Holy Spirit, is given the possibility
"to repaint his own likeness on the image of God".19
This iconic dimension of
man is clearly indicated in many aspects of the life of the Orthodox
Church. In every Liturgy and public act of worship the priest offers
incense to every one of the faithful in the same way as he offers it to
the icons. In the divine Liturgy, the believers who sing the thrice-holy
hymn to the life-giving Trinity are considered to be images of the
cherubim. Surrounded by the icons they offer to Christ his own from his
own, in all and for all. And so the Liturgy is a living icon of the
heavenly mystery of the Kingdom of God. Even the Church building, says
St Symeon of Thessalonica, is an image of the Church in her totality,
representing what is on earth, what is in the heavens and what is beyond
the heavens. The narthex of the Church corresponds to the earth, the
nave to paradise or the heavens, the sanctuary to that which is higher
than the heavens.20 Moreover, the Church itself is an icon of
the Holy Trinity. The communion of persons in the body of the Church is
in the image of the communion of the divine Persons.
In the light of what has
been said it is easy to understand that the use of icons has a deep
theological significance. We would do better to say that icons are in
themselves theology, word about God, intended to bring man to the
"face to face" vision of God, which transcends words, concepts
and images. The painting of icons involves a visual representation of
the entire drama of human history. The creation of man in the image of
God, his recreation in Christ, his transfiguration and his final glory,
are all, in a certain sense, present in "the holy icons of Christ,
of the all-pure Virgin and the saints, whether depicted on the walls, on
wooden panels or on holy vessels".
"We confess the salvation in deed and word, and we depict it in
the holy icons"
St John Damascene in his
De Imaginibus Oratio I reminds us of the distinction made by St Basil
the Great between written and unwritten doctrine, and he under- lines
his conclusion that "both have equal force for piety".21
He follows the same line himself when he speaks of the "unwritten
customs" emphasising that "the ecclesiastical ordinance is
transmitted to us not only through letters but also through un- written
We have to see the role of
icons in the life of the Church within this context. We have already
said that through the Incarnation of the Word of God man becomes a new
creation, making himself an icon by the grace of the Holy Spirit and by
inner action. We have also suggested that icons are another way of
theologising. In the final analysis this means that in the Church man
receives two possibilities: firstly to become the image of God, thereby
restoring God's likeness in himself; and secondly to proclaim this gift
to his fellow man, theologising to this end not only in verbal, but also
in visual images.23
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. In the Council of 860 it
was stated that "all that is uttered in words written in syllables
is also proclaimed in the language of colours".24 From
this perspective icons and Scripture are linked through an inner
relationship; both coexist in the Church and proclaim the same truths.
There is a mutual supplementation and agreement between words and visual
images. Scripture, says St John of Damascus, is a kind of icon. And the
icon, from another point of view, is Holy Scripture. I return-once more
to his formulation:
Just as in the Bible
we listen to the word of Christ and are sanctified [...] in the same
way through the painted icons we behold the representation of his
human form, of his miracles and passion: and are likewise
sanctified, and fully reassured, and imbued with joy, and pronounced
blessed; and we respect, honour and venerate his human form. And
beholding his human form, we contemplate, as much as we can, the
glory of his deity. Because we can only arrive at the spiritual
through the material, for we are created twofold, possessing both
soul and body; and because our soul is not naked but covered with a
veil; thus we hear comprehensible words as with our corporeal ears
and consequently contemplate the spiritual; and thus through bodily
vision we come to the spiritual.25
The iconic dimension of
Scripture and the scriptural dimension of icons correspond absolutely to
the theology of the Eastern Church, and especially to its teaching
concerning revelation and the knowledge of God. It is well known that
from an Orthodox viewpoint the words of the Bible are not revelation in
themselves, but rather words concerning revelation.26 In the
same way an icon is not itself an independent, but rather guides us to
that which is. From this perspective both Scripture and icons have an
introductory and a pedagogic function. Both mediate historical events or
historical persons. In both is salvation confessed; in the first through
words, in the second through depiction. Both indicate the revelation,
although revelation itself transcends words and images alike.27
It is remarkable that Nicephorus, Patriarch of Constantinople (806-15),
considered that icons, although a more "earthly scripture",
have a powerful influence, especially on those who do not understand
Scripture. Indeed, very often what escapes us when hearing words does
not escape us when viewing icons.28 For their part the
Fathers of the Seventh Ecumenical Council speak about the
"scriptural vision" and the "pictorial formation" as
the two symbolic ways through which we reach the supra-sensible
introductory and instructive character of both Holy Scripture and icons
needs further clarification. Speaking of Scripture and icons as symbolic
ways (symbolic in the primitive meaning of this Greek word) we simply
mean that both have a limited function, since the mystery of God itself
and the experience, the glory of the transfigured Christ and the
unspeakable words heard by St Paul are revealed realities, which cannot
be expressed and transmitted in created words, concepts or images. St
Symeon the New Theologian refers to 2 Corinthians 34 ("And I knew
such a man, [whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God
knoweth]; how that he was caught up into paradise, and heard un-
speakable words, which it is not lawful for man to utter", and
words" are the mystical and truly inexpressible visions and
supra-exalted unknown knowledge of the glory and deity of the Son
and Word of God which is beyond light and which transcends
knowledge. This revelation of the glory of God (called by Symeon the
apprehension, in incomprehensibility, of things that cannot be
grasped] is given to the saints by illumination of the Holy Spirit.30
Thus the saints, through
divine illumination, come to hear the unspeakable words, which are above
any hearing; they have a vision of what is above every vision. According
to St Symeon, the man who has achieved illumination and has come to the
vision of God has a new sense which is the unification of all the five
senses and at the same time is above every sense.31 With this
in mind it is possible to understand that scriptural, as well as
pictorial knowledge concerning God leads to a supra-intellectual and
supra-sensible know- ledge of God. Such knowledge is contained in the
Bible and expressed on the icons (since every icon manifests the hidden)32;
and yet it is above any description of, or any expression concerning
God, either in the Holy Scripture or the icons.
"We depict the likeness of thine outward form, venerating it
with an honour that is relative" At this point we must touch on
the very delicate question of the veneration of icons. This was one of
the basic issues between those involved in the long icono- clastic
controversy; it was also the cause of many misunderstandings in Western
Christianity. A characteristic example of this is the twenty-second of
the Anglican "Articles of Religion", where "the worship
and adoration of images" is condemned. Since these
misunderstandings are, to a large degree, the result of difficulties in
translation, it may be worthwhile to make a brief clarification of the
terms used. Basically, two words are used in Greek: aspasmos and
proskynesis. We can translate the first as "greeting" and the
second as "veneration". Both terms are included in the
definition of the Seventh Ecumenical Council, and even veneration is
defined as a veneration of honour (timetike proskynesis):
We decree with all
precision and care that the venerable and holy icons are to be set
up alongside the form of the venerable and life-giving cross; these
consisting of colours and mosaics and other suitable material, are
to be set up in the holy churches of God, on sacred vessels and
vestments, on walls and panels, in houses and by the wayside: both
the image of our Lord, God and Saviour Jesus Christ, and of our
spotless Lady the holy Mother of God, of the honourable angels and
of all holy and pious men. For the more frequently they are seen by
means of pictorial representation the more are those who behold them
aroused to remember and desire their prototypes and to give them
greeting and the veneration of honour: not indeed that true worship
[latreia] which, according to our faith, is due to God alone.33
Although the definition of
the Council is very clear and excludes any kind of latreia, the
actual worship of icons was often attributed to Eastern Christianity.
Obviously this is due to the unfortunate translation of the Greek proskynesis
(veneration) as adoratio in the Latin version of the Conciliar
Acts. The famous Libri Carolini used this translation and
rejected, for political reasons, both the Iconoclastic Council of 754
and Nicaea II of 787. Nicaea II was characterised in the Caroline Books
as inep1issimae Synodi. It is remarkable that Thoma: Aquinas, who
accepted Nicaea II, was to speak of a "relative adoration".
Basing their arguments on this expression the Greeks took the
opportunity to accuse the Latins of idolatry in a Council held at St
Sophia in 1450.34
At any rate, and in spite
of misinterpretations, Orthodox theology has always clearly stated that
the veneration of icons has a relative character. The Fathers of the
Seventh Ecumenical Council often repeat: "The Christians respect
one God praised in Trinity, and him alone do they worship". And
thus, in agroaching the icons, "they venerate them relatively [...]
and indeed never as gods".35
"The honour shown to the icon passes to the prototype it
The Platonic conception of
the "prototype" and the "image" was used a great
deal in the iconoclastic controversy. To the iconoclastic identification
of the image with the prototype the defenders of the icons proposed the
real distinction of the icon from the divine model. Icons remind us of
the prototypes and elevate us to them.36 They are not
realities in themselves, but their value derives from the realities they
represent. Icons are signs of the invisible presence of God in history.
They guide us to a vision of a new history, the vision of the divine
kingdom in which past, present and future are contained. They are
entrances into another cosmos, which is to be revealed in its fullness
at the end of time. The analogy "image-prototype" requires
some further elaboration. We take as a basis the classical formulation
derived from St Basil the Great: "The honour shown to the icon
passes to the prototype it represents".37
Speaking here of the icon
and the prototype we do not mean a relationship analogous to that of the
divine persons. Only the Son is "the natural and in no way
differing image" of the Father, and only the Spirit "the
natural and in no way differing image" of the Son.38
Other images of God are different from their model, and therefore not
idols.39 Although an icon is distinct from its prototype, yet
there is a close relationship between them. In other words, the icons of
the saints are not just pictures of some models of the past, but
witnesses in the here and now of the life of holiness. The deacon
Stephanus of Constantinople in his Vita Sancti Stephani Junioris
points out that "the icon is a door opening our mind, which is
created after God to the inner likeness of the prototype".40
And St John Damascene, speaking of the icons, emphasises that during
their lives "the saints were Qled with the Holy Spirit, and when
they reposed the grace of the Holy Spirit remained in their souls and
bodies, in their tombs, their engravings and their holy icons: indeed
not by nature, but by grace and energy".41 Thus the icon
of a saint signifies his holiness. Consequently when we honour it we do
not honour a wooden panel or a wall or a vessel, but the sanctity of a
concrete person. And yet honouring a saint we glorify and honour God
from whom comes down every good and perfect gift. There is always a
theological analogy, a christocentric relation. "We depict the icon
of Christ as King and Lord, never separating him from his army. The
saints are the army of Christ [...]. I venerate the icon of Christ as
God incarnate; [the icon] of [...] the Theotokos, as Mother of
the Son of God; [the icons] of the saints, as friends of God".42
The honour shown to icons
refers back to our prototype, to the incarnate Son of God and, through
him and in him, to the consubstantial and undivided Trinity. The words
of Germanus, Patriarch of Constantinople, are significant in this
connection: "When someone who is knowledgeable looks at the icon of
a saint he says, [...) Glory be to God, and he adds the name of the
saint [.. ) that the all-holy name of Christ may be glorified in both
the visible and invisible".43
"Following the holy traditions (...J, from thine icon we receive
the grace of healing"
It is evident that when we
speak of icons we touch on a very basic theme of Orthodox spirituality.
St Germanus of Constantinople, speaking of the icons, takes up the words
of John.Chrysostom again, when he insists that the whole question of
icons is filled with devotion.44 In the Orthodox tradition it
is commonly agreed that the icon is a living memorandum of the
divine energy45 and even more a medium for receiving healing
and grace. We have already pointed out that the sanctity of the saints
is not simply a phenomenon of the past, but by grace is ever present in
the icon "without a departure". Thus the icons are sanctifying
channels, ways of spiritual and bodily therapy and preludes to the final
transfiguration of the world.
In order to understand the
healing and charismatic dimensions of icons we should keep in mind what
has already been briefly pointed out concerning matter. Since man is
created of soul and body, it is only through the material that he can
reach the spiritual. Thus matter has a liturgical function; it is
something sine qua non not only in the earthly presence of
Christ, which involved a continuous sanctification of matter, but also
in the entire life of the Church. "I do not cease to respect matter
through which my salvation is accomplished", notes St John
Damascene "because it is filled with divine energy and grace".44
In the divine theophany, matter was assumed and used; it was restored
and honoured. The wooden cross, the mountain, the place of the skull,
the life-giving stone, the new tomb (the source of our resurrection),
the Bible, the Holy Table where we partake of the Bread of Life, even
the Body and the Blood of Christ themselves, are all matter.47
Like these, and many other things, the icon is a material object through
which grace is conveyed.
The granting of the grace
of healing through material objects is a common tradition in the Church
and has its biblical foundation in the various miraculous healings
performed by Christ and the apostles. We can recall, for example, the
case of the woman who had an issue of blood twelve years, and who, just
by touching the garment of Christ, was healed (Mark 5:25-34). Patriarch
Germanus also reminds us of several stories from the Acts of the
Apostles: the shadow of Peter (Acts 5:15-16), the handkerchiefs and the
aprons of Paul (Acts 19:11-12) were also media of heal- ing. Not every
shadow or every handkerchief, but the shadow of Peter and the
handkerchiefs of Paul. In an analogous way not every icon is miraculous,
only some of them. For the grace of healing is not automatically
provided; it is given to the faithful under certain conditions as a gift
of divine grace.48
Thus it is evident that
the an icon is not an element of decoration but a liturgical object.
This means that the icon is inseparable from the worshipping community,
which elevates it to a means of receiving sanctifying and healing grace.
For the basis of the grace of healing is the Church. Within the Church
the icon becomes a way for spiritual and bodily therapy, just as the
Bible in the Church becomes word of God "quick, and powerful, and
sharper than any two-edged sword". Outside the Church the icon is
simply a religious picture, just as the Bible is a book "sealed
with seven seals".
As the Gospel constitutes
a surpassing of the standards of this world, so also the icon. The
Gospel involves the abolition of human wisdom. The preaching of the
cross is foolishness for the world (1 Cor. 1: 18). And yet this
foolishness is the destruction of all wisdom "after the flesh"
(1 Cor. 1:26):
I will destroy the
wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the under- standing of
the prudent. Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the
disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this
world? For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew
not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them
that believe (1 Cor. 1: 19-21).
Like the oral Gospel, the
icon -. this visual Gospel - is foolishness and scandal for the world.
For the world is used to seeing things as they appear. Whereas the icon
is a window which allows us to see things as they truly are, glorified
Statement of the Third Sub-Commission (July 1982)", Anglican-Orthodox
Joint Doctrinal Discussions, Document 257.
2. I borrow the
English translation from The Lenten Triodion tr. Mother Mary
and Archimandrite Kallistos Ware (London 1978), pp.306, 300, 301.
3. The Acts of the
Council of Hieria are preserved in the minutes of the Seventh
Ecumenical Council (787).
4. For a brief
exposition of Iconoclastic theology see J. Meyendorff, Byzantine
Theology. Historical Trends and Doctrinal Themes (New
York 1974), p.44. See also G. Florovsky, "The Iconoclastic
Controversy", Christianity and Culture (Belmont Mass.
1974), pp.101-19 and B. Giannopoulos, Ai Christologikai
antilepseis ton Ikonomachon (Athens 1975).
5. PG 94. 1236BC.
6. PG 99. 405A.
7. On this point see
the discussion of St John Damasccne, PG 94. 1245Aff and 1249Dff.
8. PG 94. 1245AB.
9. PG 94. 1300B.
10. Germanus of
Constantinople, PG 98. 152C.
11. See P. Evdokimov, L'
Orthodoxie (Neuchatel 1965), p.218.
12. Definition of the
Fourth Ecumenical Council of Chalcedon.
13. P. Evdokimov, L'
art de l' icone. Theologie de beaute (Paris 1972), p.178.
14. Mansi xiii. 344AB.
15. See Gregory of
Nyssa, PG 44. 184A-D. On the subject of participation in God"s
perfections according to St Gregory of Nyssa, see D.L. Balas,
Metousia Theou (Rome 1966), esp. p.143. On the theme of man as the
image of God in connection with the icons see L. Ouspensky,
Theologie de l' Icone (Paris 1980), p.137ff.
16. PG 44. 193C.
17. Mansi xiii. 216A.
18. Mansi xiii. 216A.
i (Athens 1957), p.266.
20. PG 155. 292A,
21. PG 94. 1256A (St
Basil: PG 32. 188Aff).
22. PG 94. 1256A.
23. L. Ouspensky in L.
Ouspensky and V. Lossky, The Meaning of Icons, (Boston 1952),
24. Mansi xvi. 40D.
See also Evdokimov, L' Orthodoxie, p.222.
25. PG 94.
26. On this question
seq Symeon the New Theologian, Sources Chretiennes 122 (Paris
1966), pp.390440. St Symeon"s main point is that the Bible
cannot be identified with revelation; he provides an excellent
commentary on the unwritten words heard by St Paul.
27. "Just like
the Holy Scripture, the icon transmits historical fact, an event
from Sacred History or an historical personage, depicted in his real
physical form and, again like the Holy Scripture, it indicates the
revelation that is outside time, contained in a given historical
reality" (Ouspensky, Meaning of Icons, p.37).
28. PG 100. 380D.
29. Mansi xiii. 482DE.
Chretiennes 122, pp.398-400.
Chretiennes 122, pp.400-2.
32. John Damascene, PG
33. Mansi xiii.
34. Meyendorff, Byzantine
35. Mansi xiii. 482BC.
36. Mansi xiii. 482E.
37. De Spiritu
38. St John Damascene,
PG 94. 1340AB; see also St Theodore Studite, PG 99. 501BC.
39. Meyendorff, Byzantine
40. PG 100. 1113AB.
41. PG 94. 1249CD.
42. PG 94. 1252BCD.
43. PG 98. 181D.
44. PG 98. 149B.
45. John Damascene, PG
46. PG 94. 1245B.
47. PG 94. 1245BC. See
also PG 94. 1300BC.
48. PG 98. 185C. See
also John Damascene, PG 94. 1352D.
49. Nicephoros of
Constantinople, PG 100. 385AB; also L.Ouspensky in Threskevtike
kai ethike Egkyklopaideia, 5. 410.