The light of the first day and the light of the eighth day meet in the icon – Paul Evdokimov
On the Western side of the Church, Benedict XVI (2000, The Spirit of the Liturgy) has emphasized five fundamental principles regarding both the need and the function of images in the universal Church, particularly holy icons. These principles are that:
- Icons are, “Images of beauty, in which the mystery of the invisible God becomes visible, are an essential part of Christian worship” (p. 131);
- “Sacred art finds its subjects . . . beginning with creation and continuing all the way from the first day to the eighth day” (p. 132);
- “Images point to a presence, they are essentially connected with what happens in the liturgy” (p. 132);
- “Their whole point [of images] is to lead us beyond what can be apprehended at the merely material level, to awaken new senses in us, and to teach us a new kind of seeing, which perceived the Invisible in the visible . . . It comes from an interior vision and thus leads us to such an interior vision. It must be a fruit of contemplation . . . a prayer and seeing undertaken in communion with the seeing faith of the Church. The ecclesial dimension is essential . . . [providing] an essential connection with the history of the faith, with Scripture and Tradition” (p. 133);
- “The Church in the West . . . must achieve a real reception of the Seventh Ecumenical Council, Nicaea II, which affirmed the fundamental importance and theological status of the image in the Church. The Western Church does not need to subject herself to all the individual norms concerning images that were developed at the councils and synods of the East . . . There must, of course, be no rigid norms. Freshly received intuitions and the ever-new experiences of piety must find a place in the Church . . . [Furthermore] art cannot be “produced” . . . it is always a gift . . . it has to be received, otherwise it is not there (pp. 134-135).
Source: The Icon of the Divine Heart of God the Father: Apologia and Canon – Chapter 3 – Critical Review
As previously shown, icons of God the Father were originally depicted based on the prophetic theophanies of Daniel (7:9-15), Ezekiel (1:26-28, 8:1-5), Isaiah (6:1-5), and Moses (Ex 24:9-11, Nb 12:6-8). Such icons were both symbolic as well as Biblical and traditional, according to (St) Pavel Florensky’s (1996) typology of icons. God the Father was also commonly depicted according to Continue reading “For those who consider icons of God the Father verboten”
“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.
“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.
“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.