Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

Icons in the Syrian Orthodox tradition

Expand Messages
  • Apu Jose
    Dear readers, In this posting, I would like to discuss about icons in the Syrian Orthodox tradition . I see a lot of ignorance among our Church members in this
    Message 1 of 8 , Sep 26 3:08 AM
    • 0 Attachment
      Dear readers,

      In this posting, I would like to discuss about icons in the Syrian Orthodox tradition . I see a lot of ignorance among our Church members in this subject.I request all thr learned members of this forum to correct me if I am wrong.

      The Holy Syrian Orthodox Church uses only 2 dimensional icons , that is only pictures not statues which is a Roman Catholic concept . We consider statues as idols . It is advisable not ot keep it in our houses . It is never kept in churches .Also it is advisable not to keep photos of the statues of St Mary and the saints.

      The SOC uses only an Easter cross and not a crucifix ( a cross with the body of Jesus Christ nailed to it ). Easter cross is a plain cross( without the Christ) which is a the symbol of Resurrection. We worship the Christ , who defeated death, through his glorious Resurrection. As St paul says whatever I preach is in vain, if Christ hasnot risen up. We look towards Risen up Christ for worship rather than Christ nailed on the cross.But , I see in a number of our houses they keep the crucifix . It is better to keep the Easter cross than the Crucifix.

      The SOC uses only pictures of Christ praying in Getshmene or Christ facing towards the front without the heart. The picture of Christ with the heart is used by the RC church as they believe in worshipping the Heart of Jesus. The icon of Christ facing the front is found in the chapel in the Patriarchal aramana . It would be good if we can sell that kind of pictures through our Church stalls.This picture shows the eternal Kingship( blue colour of his dress) and the \the blood sacrifice( Red colour of his blanket ) of our Lord.We donot use pictures of Infant Jesus.

      The SOC does not believe in the concept of the Holy family of St Joseph, St Mary and child Jesus. So we donot have pictures of St joseph, St Mary and child Jesus together.

      We donot use pictures of St mary alone. Nor do we use pictures of St Mary which shows her heart. Both these are RC concepts. All our pictures of St Mary are with her holding infant Jesus in her arms.This brings out the concept of St Mary as Mother of God beautifully. There are two kinds of pictures like this , one which is facing towards the front ( I guess this kind of pictures are only available in the Puthupally Church stall )and another facing sideways.

      I think even in the case of icons of St Joseph also we have icons of him with child Jesus only.

      We keep icons of the saints of our Church only.

      These factors are normally ignored in our homes , Church buildings , in the Church stalls etc . These kind of pictures sometimes even appear in some of our Church publications.This is usually observed in outside Kerala Churches. These things happen because some well meaning but ignorant people gift these kind of pictures to the Church . The vicar would not have any choice but yield to them ,as it may hurt their sentiments .Problem with this is people who see this will start doing the same, thinking it is permitted . Our people should be given more awareness of these SOC concept pof icons . Also , it would be better to refrain from selling these kind of icons which does not conform to our theology from our Church stalls and edit these kind of pictures from our publications .

      I invite everyone to share his feelings about this . Please correct me if I am wrong.

      With prayers
      Apu Jose
      Bhubaneswar, Orissa
      4096
    • Eldose Thelappilly Jacob
      Dear Appu, Its very interesting to share your knowledge and experience on these matters. As far as I know, there is no any ACTUAL pictures of Jesus,St.Mary,
      Message 2 of 8 , Sep 29 1:54 AM
      • 0 Attachment
        Dear Appu,

        Its very interesting to share your knowledge and experience on these matters.

        As far as I know, there is no any ACTUAL pictures of Jesus,St.Mary, Joesph, and most of our saints. The term ACTUAL means a photo taken by camera as we do today.

        All most all the pictures as we see today are drawn by looking on the actual person or from thier imagination! The present picture of Parumala thirumeni is even modified and coloured..! not reall.! I have seen a copy of the original (still a drawn by artist) with a CoEpiscopa of our Church in Ernakulam which he is keeping that as a lifetime precious in his collection.!

        There is sketched pictures available from the the handtowel which was put on Jesus' face while buring his eternal body on the tomb. Many of ancient historians accept that as a true face picture of Jesus...! The western picture style of Jesus and disciples and the Oriental style of Jesus and disciples are different. This is 'cause of how they are been drawn by artists living in these regions...! (example: if see in western countries, the Jesus and disciples are bit fatty,white while in Oriental (Syria) their body shape is drawn almost lean and fair coloured..!) So regional influance would have left artist to draw thier own imaginated pictures which would have later on used widely. this is clear from pictures at Roman Churches and Antiochan churches which is the key traditional church of the world.

        I believe these information(good or bad) will spark more arguments from our well educated patrons on SOC..!

        Our church believe that face of Jesus with heart is not to be kept; I think due to following.
        1. our faith is beyond a materialistic view (heart being a part of body) which cannot be seen, can only be experienced...!
        2. He (Son) is always keep praying for the betterment of the world so we use the prayer one.
        3. Stuanch faith that Prayer will be answered.
        4. To remind us that we have a father who is always praying for you.

        Regards and prayers,
        Eldose # 4070
      • John Thomas
        Dear Apu, That was a good point to discuss. I totally agree with you and I personally used to tell others about this. But writing in this discussion form is
        Message 3 of 8 , Sep 29 12:39 PM
        • 0 Attachment
          Dear Apu,

          That was a good point to discuss. I totally agree with you and I personally used to tell others about this. But writing in this discussion form is the need of this time, so that a lot more people are made aware of.

          In our sunday schools this concept should be taught to our children and our churches must deny presents of pictures which are against SOC ideology. Like you said, our church stalls should not sell icons other than traditional SOC icons.
          I really appreciate your good work on this regard.
          God Bless you.

          John Thomas
          St. Mary's Valiapally, Kottayam
          ========================
          From the desk of the Moderator:
          Please sign your messages with member ID. If not having a member ID, please send your details including contact number to moderators
          (SOCM-FORUM-owner@yahoogroups.com) and obtain a member ID BEFORE POSTING ANY MORE MESSAGES in SOCM. Thank you for your understanding and cooperation.
        • Dr.
          Dear moderators, The posting of Mr. Apu Jose of SOCM digest No. 2740 is very much appreciated. The details can also be found in Cayre (1940) Manual of
          Message 4 of 8 , Sep 29 3:57 PM
          • 0 Attachment
            Dear moderators,

            The posting of Mr. Apu Jose of SOCM digest No. 2740 is very much
            appreciated. The details can also be found in Cayre (1940) Manual of
            patrology. Vol. 3. (H. Howitt, Trans.) Paris: Desclee & Co.
            Iconoclastic controversy (Greek - eikonoklastes - meaning image
            breaker) during A.D. 717 - 843 is well recorded in the history. The
            name of John of Damascus, the priest, is refered in this context. For
            brevity I shall quote a few lines of John of Damascus (A.D. 676-
            750)."It is impossible and impious to picture God, but not Christ,
            the Virgin, the saints and those angels who have appeared in human
            form. It is permitted to do so; idols alone are forbidden in the
            scriptures. The advantages of images and their veneration are many.
            They teach and recall the divine gifts, they nourish piety, they are
            also canals of grace, a kind of medium between their prototype and
            the faithful, even possessing a certain instrumentality in the
            granting of graces from high" (pp. 328-329).

            It is sad that Syrian Orthodox Church Book stalls have started
            selling items which were forbidden by our Church Fathers. I had to
            tell this to some of our "leaders" to become more unpopular!

            Fr. Mani Rajan


            --- In SOCM-FORUM@yahoogroups.com, Apu Jose wrote:
            >
            > Dear readers,
            >
            > In this posting, I would like to discuss about icons in the Syrian
            Orthodox tradition . I see a lot of ignorance among our Church
            members in this subject.I request all thr learned members of this
            forum to correct me if I am wrong.
            >
            > The Holy Syrian Orthodox Church uses only 2 dimensional icons ,
            that is only pictures not statues which is a Roman Catholic concept .
            We consider statues as idols . It is advisable not ot keep it in our
            houses . It is never kept in churches .Also it is advisable not to
            keep photos of the statues of St Mary and the saints.
            >
          • Shinu Jesus Abraham
            Greetings to All Thanks to Mr. Apu Jose for bringing up the subject. The problem is defenitely as Rev.Fr. Mani Rajan mentioned - WHO WILL BELL THE CAT Let me
            Message 5 of 8 , Oct 1, 2008
            • 0 Attachment
              Greetings to All

              Thanks to Mr. Apu Jose for bringing up the subject. The problem is
              defenitely as Rev.Fr. Mani Rajan mentioned - "WHO WILL BELL THE CAT"

              Let me just add to it a few more points to the list of Mr. Apu from
              the most important place of church - the holy Thronos

              1. Are we allowed to have silver or golden cross in the centre of
              Thronos? Isint it a plain wooden cross the right SOC tradition?

              2. Isint there an order for the number of candles on the holy
              Thronos? Looking around I am seeing from 2 candles to as many as 15
              candles in some churches. Is this right?

              There are much more to list out which needs the attention of the
              concerned, if not will only help to multiply in the future.

              Requesting prayers

              Shinu Jesus Abraham
              Member id # 2908

              --- In SOCM-FORUM@yahoogroups.com, Rev. (Dr.) Fr. Mani Rajan wrote:
              >
              > Dear moderators,
              >

              >
              > It is sad that Syrian Orthodox Church Book stalls have started
              > selling items which were forbidden by our Church Fathers. I had
              to
              > tell this to some of our "leaders" to become more unpopular!
              >
            • Apu Jose
              Dear readers, I would like to thank Rev Fr Mani Rajan, Mr John Thomas, Mr Eldhose and Mr Shinu for responding to my posting. I request all of you who read this
              Message 6 of 8 , Oct 2, 2008
              • 0 Attachment
                Dear readers,

                I would like to thank Rev Fr Mani Rajan, Mr John Thomas, Mr Eldhose and Mr Shinu for responding to my posting.

                I request all of you who read this , to spread this teaching among the members of our Church. I guess at least in their respective parishes they will be able to bring about some difference .

                With prayers
                Apu Jose
                Ernakulam , Kerala
              • Dr.
                Dear moderators, 1. Are we allowed to have silver or golden cross in the centre of Thronos? Isint it a plain wooden cross the right SOC tradition? Wooden cross
                Message 7 of 8 , Oct 2, 2008
                • 0 Attachment
                  Dear moderators,

                  1. Are we allowed to have silver or golden cross in the centre of
                  Thronos? Isint it a plain wooden cross the right SOC tradition?

                  Wooden cross (empty budded cross or Easter cross) is our tradition.
                  There can be additional ornamental golden or silver cross but a
                  wooden cross is a must for it is symboic of the cross on which Christ
                  was crucified.

                  2. Isint there an order for the number of candles on the holy
                  Thronos? Looking around I am seeing from 2 candles to as many as 15
                  candles in some churches. Is this right?

                  There is no documentary evidence about the number of candles to be
                  placed on the altar (Anson, 1948). Moreover, it was not our practice
                  until 10th or 11th century. However, Exodus 40:4; John 8:12; Psalm
                  27:1; Matthew 25:1-13 are some of the Biblical references that allude
                  to the use of candles (oil lamps) in the Church. The number of
                  candles is supposed to be 12 symbolising the 12 Apostles. Since the
                  Cross symbolises Christ, 13 candles (one at the centre) are not
                  necessary. However, the practice varies with local traditions.
                  Please note that Mor Dionysius Bar Saleebi (d. 1171) or Mose Bar
                  Kipho (d. 903) did not mention about the practice in their
                  commentaries.

                  References
                  Anson, P. F. (1948). Churches - Their plan and furnishing.
                  Milwaukee: The Bruce Publishing Company.
                  Mose Bar Kipho (1988). Church fathers - II (G.. Chediath, Trans.).
                  Kottayam: OIRS.
                  Dionysius Bar Saleebi (1990). Exposition of Liturgy (G. Chediath,
                  Trans.). Kottayam: OIRS.

                  Fr. Mani Rajan

                  --- In SOCM-FORUM@yahoogroups.com, Shinu Jesus Abraham wrote:
                  >
                  > Greetings to All
                  >
                  > Thanks to Mr. Apu Jose for bringing up the subject. The problem is
                  > defenitely as Rev.Fr. Mani Rajan mentioned - "WHO WILL BELL THE CAT"
                  >
                • Shinu Jesus Abraham
                  Greetings to all Thanks to achen for the detailed reply. But would like to know a bit further clarification. Which cross should be on the centre of the
                  Message 8 of 8 , Oct 4, 2008
                  • 0 Attachment
                    Greetings to all

                    Thanks to achen for the detailed reply. But would like to know a bit
                    further clarification. Which cross should be on the centre of the
                    top-most step of holy thronos? Is it right to have 15+ candles on
                    the holy thronos when we know that candles symbolises the 12
                    Apostles?

                    Shinu Jesus Abraham
                    Member ID # 2908

                    --- In SOCM-FORUM@yahoogroups.com, Rev. (Dr.) Fr. Mani Rajan wrote:
                    >
                    > Dear moderators,
                    >
                    > 1. Are we allowed to have silver or golden cross in the centre of
                    > Thronos? Isint it a plain wooden cross the right SOC tradition?
                    >
                  Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.