Sunday, October 14, 2007

A Little About Icons

I was pointed to a very interested article by someone on a Byzantine/Orthodox forum about Icons in the Home in Russian Orthodox culture. The customs surrounding Icons in Russian Orthodoxy bring the Presence of God, the Holy and Mighty One, into their daily lives.
...peasants’ tables are often so arranged that it is impossible to sit with one’s back to (them); the table is jammed up into the Ikon corner so that it appears as if the Ikons themselves are sitting down to the meals. Before eating, one bows to the Ikon and crosses oneself three times and one repeats the ritual after the meal and then adds, “Thank you,” addressing the master
of the house.

If you sleep in a Russian home, the Ikon with its little lamp before it looks down upon you all night and guards you from evil.

...all the homes (are seen) as private ante-chambers of the village church, that in passing from the church to the home one’s reverence remains unaltered, and that all lived in the remembrance of the immanence and nearness of God.
I guess many Christians today would think all this a little weird and extreme. But, I think that in these and other customs talked about in this article, such as crossing one's self when passing a Church, the sense of the Presence of God in the everyday is heightened.

We have lost the sense of the sacred in this country. We no longer see God as He is--everywhere and All Powerful. We no longer even treat our Churches as sacred places. We no longer treat the human body as the temple that the Lord created it to be. I think a little reverence and the reminder of religious icons and some of the customs surrounding them would not be misplaced in today's society.

9 comments:

Rachi said...

I can't seem to surround myself with enough icons, I love having them around, but because of the culture it makes me feel a bit weird, sort of like why do I need so many.
But when I went to a Russian friend's house I realised how many there were- very much like how you described!
makes me feel a bit better, and I'll just keep collecting! :) I found a really nice one of St Dymphna through a google image search, praying for her intercession A LOT at the moment

God Bless xoxo

Marie said...

I remember attending a Mass for Peace where Icons were being sold in the Church hall. There was a beautiful one, not very expensive. But I thought where would I put it? So I didnt buy it:(. I have regretted it ever since.

Arent those icons beautiful?

Peace to you:)

Marie

Dymphna (4HisChurch) said...

I love Icons, too, Rachi! Someone once told me that icons (and religious statues and pictures) are like "family portraits" from Heaven. I really like that.

Dymphna (4HisChurch) said...

Marie,
I find it difficult to avoid buying them! The parish we used to attend sells them. I bought one where God is creating the fish and the birds. What attracted me to it, initially, was that there was a lot of blue in it, which seemed unusual for the icons I have seen. Anyway, between icons and rosaries, I would buy them all the time!

Jennifer said...

The traditions and customs are one reason I joined the Catholic church. I always cross myself when I pass a Catholic church. I always use the holy water...and often have it in my home. I always kneel towards the tabernacle. I always say a little prayer when I pass any cemetary or a crucifix...there are many customs I have assimilated into my everyday routines. I have pictures and prayer cards etc that I have collected over the years.

I know they bring me closer to God.

Dymphna (4HisChurch) said...

Leaflet Missal has a Holy Card Album in their catalog which looks interesting. A great place to keep all those "family portraits!"

Libbie said...

I'm fascinated by icons. My protestant convictions have tormented me about the one that I did own of Our Lady of Walsingham, and it did go in the recycling (it was a card). I wish it hadn't now, to be honest. Oh, the knots I tie myself in! :-)

Dymphna (4HisChurch) said...

I love Our Lady of Walsingham! I became familiar with Our Lady of Walsingham while I was in the Anglican/Episcopal Church. I don't have an icon of her, though.

Coffee Catholic said...

I love Icons!! I have loads of them in storage back home in the USA and I can't wait to get them here to my farmhouse in Scotland.

HI RACHI!!!!!! Did you get the post card I sent a while back?

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"Slavery ended in medieval Europe only because the church extended its sacraments to all slaves and then managed to impose a ban on the enslavement of Christians (and of Jews). Within the context of medieval Europe, that prohibition was effectively a rule of universal abolition. "— Rodney Stark

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