Icons

Icons are considered necessary in Orthodoxy to physically represent the Incarnation of Christ. Just as Christ became visible, kissable flesh, so we prayerfully venerate His image in worshipping Him, and those of the Saints in requesting their intercession.

Icons depict their subjects IN GLORY, not naturalistically — hence the radiant gold backgrounds in most of them. They depict them as we hope someday to be. In a sense they depict them body AND soul, and not just as hairless apes like in ‘paintings.’

BTW, do you know what a halo actually is? It’s the Uncreated Divine Energies radiating from Christ’s (2 Corinthians 4:6), or a Saint’s, face. In some icons the halo isn’t just a golden circle, but a disc of golden rays radiating from the subject’s face. For us a halo is not a hoop floating above someone’s head…that’s a bowl of oatmeal! (Remember the commercial?)

Sometimes we have relief icons, which can still depict the Divine Energies. But not statues, because in three complete dimensions, they can’t depict them. Besides, statues are too close to idols.

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