Thursday, January 31, 2008


This icon was written for this place in our nave by Sr. Mary-Gabriel of the Sisters of St. Margaret. Someday I will have to obtain a better photo, but for now, let me just share this, from a book on icons and the Seventh Ecumenical Council (aka Second Council of Nicea):
Incarnation does not divide form from content or media from message or the signifier from the signified. The beauty makes manifest something of the truth of the thing that is perfected in the manifestation – just as, even knowing all the sins that X may have done by commission or omission does not prevent the priest from bowing to X in adoration of the image of God within her or him. The story does not give us an account of Abgar’s response to receiving the image, but the suggestion is elsewhere that the recognition of beauty calls forth praise, doxology. In the opening paragraph of his Images III, Damascene describes the icon as a canticle. It is part of an economy of grace that calls for latreia, worship. Beauty makes manifest giftedness and a participation in an eternal mystery, and it is in the function of human beings in their making to articulate that praise within creation. The records of the Seventh Ecumenical Council of 787 C.E., which deliberated on the importance of icons, state that “creation does not worship its Maker directly in its own right, but it is through me that ‘the heavens declare the glory of God’ (Ps 18:11), through me that the moon venerates God, through me that the stars venerate God, through me that the waters, rain, dews, and the whole of creation venerate and glorify God. My making participates in and testifies to God’s begetting.
Giakalis, A., Images of the divine: The theology of icons at the seventh Ecumenical Council. Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1994, p.44. (The passage refers to St. John Damascene, who testified on behalf of icons, and the story of Abgar).

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