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).

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On icons – 16

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

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.

On icons – 9

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 shapes of symbolic imagery: and it is these images that make permanent the work of art. Art is thus materialized dream, separated from the ordinary consciousness of waking life – Pavel Florensky, 1996, Iconostasis

On icons – 6

In the icon, we see a divine reality which goes beyond the dimensions of this earthly world, but which, at the same time, respects this earthly world because it is created by God to become transfigured in His Spirit. If the representation loses the character of God’s mystery, if it reduces this mystery to the sensible forms of matter, the icon loses its soul – E. Sendler, The Icon: Image of the Invisible.

On icons and the deification of man – 2

Iconic light becomes incarnate grace, materialized, and it must be received as such in contemplation. Contemplation is not simply passive reception but requires all the dynamism of the spirit; the light of God must therefore be assimilated in order to be transmitted to others. Man thus enters into the divine eros. The knowledge of the intelligible light becomes illumination and thereby man moves toward the brilliantly shining darkness of the absolute mystery – E. Sendler, The Icon: Image of the Invisible.

On icons and the deification of man

The movement of love which proceeds from the Father spreads out His light on all creatures. By knowledge, episteme, and contemplation, theoria, creatures purify themselves of everything that blocks the realization of the likeness with God and thus elevate themselves to God to become deified – E. Sendler, The Icon: Image of the Invisible.