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Posted By Eric Sammons On March 6, 2009 @ 7:19 am In Eastern Christianity,Spirituality | Comments Disabled
I have long been a lover of icons. These beautiful depictions of the persons and events of salvation history are much loved in the East, and in fact form an integral part of their liturgical and theological life. What many Westerners don’t understand, however, is that icons are not merely a form of art, but windows which help us draw into a deeper communion with God.
ZENIT recently had an interview  with Fabio Nones, a doctor in theology and director of a center of iconography in Trent, Italy. An excerpt:
Nones explained to ZENIT that there is a great difference between an artist, in the ordinary sense of the word, and a painter of icons.
“The artist who creates a work of ark looks to communicate his sentiments, his vision of the world,” he explained. “Meanwhile, the painter of icons is called an iconographer and this is a vocation that looks to express through the colors not so much what he feels, his sentiments, but the faith of the Church, of the Christian community he carries inside.”
This reflects the fact that many Eastern Christians say that one does not “draw” icons, but “writes” them. Icons are much like Sacred Scripture: they are a written means through which we draw closer to our Savior.
I particularly notice the value of icons when I see them through the eyes of my children. We have a number of icons in our house and I often find that my children know the events and people of our Faith more deeply through their knowledge of these icons. For example, my son likes to point out that in the icon of the Last Supper, Judas is the only apostle depicted with only one eye showing (i.e. in profile). In iconography, the eyes are the windows to the soul, and by depicting Judas in profile, the icon is reflecting how Judas has turned from God. This helps my son then understand that we must be open to God at all times, never turning our eyes away from His saving Love.
If you are looking for icons to purchase for your own home, I would recommend skete.com , which has beautiful icons and wonderful customer service. My wife and I have found that icons make wonderful First Communion gifts.
Article printed from Divine Life – A Blog by Eric Sammons: http://ericsammons.com/blog
URL to article: http://ericsammons.com/blog/2009/03/06/iconography/
URLs in this post:
 an interview: http://www.zenit.org/article-25281?l=english
 skete.com: http://skete.com/
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