Here is the basic pencil drawing for a new panel icon of Saint Etheldreda that I have just started for a friend. Icon size is 9″ x 12″.
Iconography of the Theotokos has a private significance for each human being because it symbolizes his materiality, physicality, and the relation of this matter to the spirit within the person. Through icons of the Theotokos we can observe sublimation and exhalation of this relationship between matter and spirit. In the pagan world, the conflict of this dualism was the most important problem. Through icons we can see that this relationship should manifest like the relationship between mother and son, so that the perfection of the human being is fulfilled – Vladislav Andrejev.
The mystery of the divine image in man is given to him through the teaching of icons – Vladislav Andrejev.
God adorns Himself in magnificence and clothes Himself with beauty. Man stands amazed and contemplates the glory whose light causes a hymn of praise to burst forth from the heart of every creature. The Testamentum Domini gives us the following prayer:
Let them be filled with the Holy Spirit . . . so they can sing a doxology and give you praise and glory forever.
An icon is the same kind of doxology but in a different form. It radiates joy and sings the glory of God in its own way. True beauty does not need proof. The icon does not prove anything; it simply lets true beauty shine forth. In itself, the icon is shining proof of God’s existence, according to a kalokagathic argument – Paul Evdokimov, The Art of the Icon: A Theology of Beauty.
Now is the time to portray beauty in actions and in art, not in words. For as the world descends increasingly and unfailingly into darkness and despair, it is beauty, not words, that is going to give hope to humankind and light up the path to Beauty, Hope and Light, saving and restoring our dying world to the fullness of grace.
Beauty portrays love because all beauty comes from God the Father – Ineffable Beauty Himself.
To be filled with the Spirit is to be intoxicated with joy.
The question was asked, “Can demons mimic angels?” The very brief answer is yes, they decidedly can. One thing, one quality, they gave never mimic nor give to anyone is peace.
The question was asked, “How can we share in the divine life?” Since there is quite a bit that needs to be said to clearly address the topic of partaking in the divine life (2 P 1:4), I will be answering at length about this in a post to follow. Briefly, however, the answer is by becoming genuine friends with the One, True God; His only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ and Their Holy Spirit – the Most Holy Trinity.
Icons “show us the contiguity and interaction of two worlds, two planes of being: on the one hand, the eternal peace of the higher regions; on the other hand, a world of sorrow, sin, chaos, but thirsting for God’s peace – a world that seeks but has not yet found God” – E. Trubetskoii, Icons: Theology in Color.
Originally posted in 2012, I am re-posting the above herewith because of the ongoing number of questions that keep coming in on this subject.
According to Saint Nikita Stithatos, the differences between dreams, revelations and visions can be discerned as follows:
- Dreams are “images that do not remain unchanged in the imaginative faculty of the nous,” the heart of the soul. Dreams “present a confused picture with constantly altering scenes and forms . . . [they are seen by] materialistic and sensually-minded people;”
- Revelations are theorias of the mysteries of God, “granted to the purified and illumined soul in a way that transcends normal sense perception . . . [they are granted to those] who are activated by the Holy Spirit, and whose soul is united to God through theology” (theoria). Revelations are associated with inner purity;
- Visions are constant and unchanging. They also “remain imprinted on the nous unforgettably for many years . . . [visions are present in] those well advanced on the spiritual path, who have cleansed the soul’s organs of perception.”
Met. Hierotheos. (2010). The science of spiritual medicine. Levadia, Greece: Birth of the Theotokos Monastery.
The symbolic language of the icon is “incomprehensible to the sated flesh, to the heart full of longings for material things. But it becomes the very fabric of life when these longings collapse and an abyss opens at our feet. Then we need a firm foothold at the edge of the abyss, we need to feel the motionless calm of the icon above our tribulations. And the joyous vision of a sobor, a church of all creation above the bloody chaos of our existence becomes as necessary as our daily bread. We need to be sure that the beast is not all in all; that above the beast’s kingdom there is another law of life and that it will prevail” – E. Trubetskoii, 1973, Icons: Theology in Color, p. 36.