Advent and Christmas – 2

Theo Gold bulb2“The Lord, the Word of God, came down to earth and was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and Mary the Virgin and became man, without change becoming our equal in all things save sin, so that, traversing all that which is ours, He might re-forge and make that first man anew and, through him, all of us who were begotten and came into being from him and are like him who engendered us.  Since, because Adam who engendered us had become corruptible and mortal—and, I will add, deaf and blind – and, by reason of his transgression, both naked and insensible of his divine vesture, such being the man of dust, so as well have they all become who were born of him: of dust, corruptible, mortal, deaf, blind, naked and insensible, differing in no way from the irrational animals or, better, become even worse than the beasts as having embraced all the latter’s’ passions and taken them into themselves” (Saint Symeon the New Theologian).

 

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Advent and Christmas – 1

The christmas ceremony in the orthodox Russian Church of Maria Magdalene in the foot of Mount of Olives in Jerusalem“With the God-man Christ, all that is God’s has become man’s, human, ours, so that each of us individually and all of us assembled together in the Divine-human body of Christ, the Church, might become god-men, having attained ‘to the perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ’ (Eph 4:12-13).   Therefore Christmas, the day of the birth of the God-man, the Lord Jesus Christ, is the greatest and most important day in the history of all the worlds in which man moves and lives” (Saint Nikolai Velimirovich).

 

Faith – Why proselytising fails

“Faith, as a work of the Holy Spirit, comes to one person through another, but only when this other communicates the word of Scripture assimilated and confessed with faith, or with the capacity of experiencing communion in the Spirit” (Staniloae [1998] The experience of God: Revelation and knowledge of the Triune God, p. 42).

On icons – 16

The light of the first day and the light of the eighth day meet in the icon – Paul Evdokimov

On icons – 15

“In mystical experience, the soul is raised up from the visible realm to where visibility itself vanishes and the field of the invisible opens: such is the Dionysian sundering of the bonds of the visible. And after soaring up into the invisible, the soul descends again into the visible – and then and there, before its very eyes, are those real appearances of things: ideas” – P. Florensky (1996), Iconostasis, p. 45.

On icons – 14

“At the crossing of the boundary into the upper world, the soul sheds – like outworn clothes – the images of our everyday emptiness, the psychic effluvia that cannot find a place above, those elements of our being that are not spiritually grounded. At the point of descent and re-entry, on the other hand, the images are experiences of mystical life crystallized out on the boundary of two worlds” – P. Florensky (1996), Iconostasis, pp. 44-45.

On icons – 13

“In creating a work of art, the psyche or soul of the artist ascends from the earthly realm into the heavenly; there, free of all images, the soul is fed in contemplation by the essences of the highest realm, knowing the permanent noumena of things; then, satiated with this knowing, it descends again to the earthly realm. And precisely at the boundary between the two worlds, the soul’s spiritual knowledge assumes the shape of symbolic imagery: and it is these images that make permanent the work of art” – P. Florensky (1996), Iconostasis, p. 44.

On icons of the Theotokos

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.

On icons – 14

The mystery of the divine image in man is given to him through the teaching of icons – Vladislav Andrejev.

Icons manifest the existence of God

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.