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Theotokos = The Bearer of God Moscow, 15 th Century Constantinople, 14 th Century Orans Eleousa Kyriotissa Hodegetria Vladimir Virgin, Constantinople, 12 th Century The Virgin of the Incarnation, Rome, 11 th Century
Kyriotissa, Moscow, 15 th Century Kyriotissa “ She who reigns in majesty”
Hodegetria, Constantinople, 14 th Century Hodegetria “ She who shows the way.”
Orans The Virgin of the Incarnation, Rome, 11 th Century “ Virgin of the sign.” “ Praying Virgin” Or Blachernitissa
Eleousa Vladimir Virgin, Constantinople, 12 th Century “ Virgin of tenderness.” Or Glykophilsousa “ Virgin of Sweet Kisses”
Saints St. Peter, St. Catherine’s at Mt. Sinai, 6 th Century
St. Peter, St. Catherine’s at Mt. Sinai, 6 th Century
Angels Portraits Miracles Archangel Gabriel, Moscow, 1387-1395 Archangel Michael, Greece, 14 th Century Miracle at Chonae, St. Catherine’s Monastery at Mt. Sinai, 12 th Century.
Miracles Miracle at Chonae, St. Catherine’s Monastery at Mt. Sinai, 12 th Century.
Festal The Annunciation, Russian Icon, 14 th Century The Nativity, St. Catherine’s Mt. Sinai, 7 th Century
Icons are akin to the “graven images” mentioned in the second commandment: “ 4 Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: 5 thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them. ” ( Exodus 20: 4-5)
Icons are man made, as opposed to relic, and do not deserve to be venerated: “The divine nature is completely uncircumscribable and cannot be depicted or represented by artists in any medium whatsoever.” (Iconoclastic Council, 754)
Icons are powerful didactic tools: “An image is, after all, a reminder; it is to the illiterate what a book is to the literate, and what the word is to hearing, the image is to sight.” (John of Damascus)
Icons are a valuable proxy by which the faithful could demonstrate their love and honor for the divine: “God created man to his own image” (Genesis 1:27)
Icons are a valid way to communicate Christ’s humanity and suffering: “How, indeed, can the Son of God be acknowledged to have been a man like us—he who was deigned to be called our brother—if he cannot be depicted?”
The Crucifixion and Iconoclasts whitewashing an icon of Christ, Khludov Psalter , 850-75.
Simon Magus and Patriarch Nikephoros, Khludov Psalter ,850-75.
Theodora Instructing her Daughters in the Veneration of Icons, Madrid Skylitzes, 12 th Century.
Icon of the Triumph of Orthodoxy, Constantinople, 1400.