Update of Church Fathers on images (rejecting them)

Discussion in 'Faith, Devotion & Formation' started by Stalwart, Mar 24, 2021.

  1. Distraught Cat

    Distraught Cat Active Member

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    You know, this does make cense (lol) because they'll cense the congregation, too, won't they; they wouldn't, however, bow to the congregation.
     
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  2. BedtimePrayers

    BedtimePrayers Member

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    Well I’ve seen people here saying kissing icons is also wrong. First time I see this view.
    There’s no difference in my world. Might as well stop prostrating before monarchs because it’s idolatry
     
  3. BedtimePrayers

    BedtimePrayers Member

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    I mean show me one quote that doesn’t talk about pagan art?
    The early church had some fathers that were iconoclasts because the pagans with images were all around them. This doesn’t mean iconoclasm is doctrinally correct.
    The quotes of the early fathers he posted do not address veneration of icons, they clearly state pagan statues
     
  4. Invictus

    Invictus Well-Known Member

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    Actually the priest makes a slight bow to the congregation during the censing, and the congregation bows back.

    There are basically 3 levels of bowing in EO liturgical practice:
    1) Slight bow from the waist
    2) Bow from the waist in which your fingers touch the ground - this is called a “metania”
    3) Bow to the ground, starting from a kneeling position - this is a “proskynesis”
     
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  5. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

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    In an Anglican situation the censing of the people normally happens just prior to the sursum corda. Normally the practice is for the connection to be made in the sense of a bow of the head by the thurifer and returned by the congregation, affirming the great truth of the image and likeness that we all share and recognising the presence of Christ in the believer, and then the censing of the people takes place.
     
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  6. Distraught Cat

    Distraught Cat Active Member

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    I was under the impression that this was the gist of the EO practice as well.
     
  7. Invictus

    Invictus Well-Known Member

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    But Anglicans don’t do it with near the gusto or precision that EO clergy do. The censor has to be swung back and forth a set number of times in specific directions and in a certain order, accompanied by specific prayers. Bells are attached to it. The Litany is chanted over the censing by the Deacon and the congregation, while the priest says his own prescribed prayers. In the Orthodox Liturgy there are at least 2 and sometimes 3 or 4 different and independent things happening simultaneously. It’s not entirely ‘linear’ like the Anglican liturgy. To an outsider it would look chaotic even though it’s not.
     
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  8. Distraught Cat

    Distraught Cat Active Member

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    I don't have the full text before me, but the second from Clement of Alexandria and the first of Irenaeus don't seem to be speaking of pagan idols.
    Surely I don't need to remind you that the first post stated the following:
    Does that which they said apply to icons?
     
  9. Distraught Cat

    Distraught Cat Active Member

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    That's fascinating to me. By 'over', do you mean the congregation and the Deacon, in some way, bless the censing through the Litany?
    edit: 'over' sounded like over in its use "They shouted over one another.'
     
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  10. BedtimePrayers

    BedtimePrayers Member

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    It would apply if they said icons but they didn’t. Probably because icons as we know it with all their regulations didn’t exist. You won’t find the early fathers speaking of icons. But nicea II didn’t happen in a vacuum, obviously images existed way before then and people venerated them, hence the several iconoclast controversies.
    I think it’s unrealistic, historically, to say that in a span from ~400 ad to 700 ad an explosion of icon veneration took place in a religion which thought it was idolatry.
     
  11. Invictus

    Invictus Well-Known Member

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    The latter is correct, actually. :laugh:
     
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  12. Invictus

    Invictus Well-Known Member

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    Some parts of the Liturgy are literally “filler”, i.e., they give the congregation, or the choir, or both, something to do while the priests perform the actual Liturgy behind the iconostasis. An example of this is the Cherubic Hymn. Many EO do not realize it’s not actually part of the Liturgy.
     
  13. Distraught Cat

    Distraught Cat Active Member

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    So for you, the answer is no because the translation, at any rate, does not invoke the word 'icon'. And yet, I infer that you oppose contraception; Natural Family Planning and modern prophylactics find no mention in the scripture or in the Church Fathers, having not existed. So you must extrapolate from their relevant writings; you have no alternative. So it is with icons. In any case, icon and image are not separate words in Greek, are they?
    That seems fair. Yet, could some of these new regulations have missed the mark?
    Indeed. What might that suggest to you, having read the quotes above?
    It would be conjecture to say that they were always approved and that they had been a mandatory practice until iconoclasm arose. Again, refusing to prostrate oneself before an image is not the same thing as destroying that image because of a perceived infringement of the second commandment. All this business has helped me to realize that the intent and usage of the image constitute an important part of iconolatry.
    To the contrary, it is extremely realistic, historically. Were there Rosaries before the advent of the same? And were all the liturgies solidified? The practice of the church did change, even if the doctrine did not. You say that this is unrealistic historically, yet you believe that from ~1500 AD to the present there was an explosion of mass heresy from the 'true apostolic faith' in much of the erstwhile Christian Europe. So why could not this simple error have occurred in Late Antiquity?
     
  14. Distraught Cat

    Distraught Cat Active Member

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    I think that's brilliant, actually. It's not as though the hymns are unproductive, really. They do turn one's mind toward God.
     
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  15. Invictus

    Invictus Well-Known Member

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    Indeed they do.
     
  16. BedtimePrayers

    BedtimePrayers Member

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    It couldn’t have occurred because I don’t see proof for it. I can pinpoint to the start of the Protestant reformation, and who started it, and who were the “proto reformers.”
    Can you point out anyone “pushing” a reformation of icon veneration, with a date and name?
    The apostolic churches all also have very, very similar doctrines. Protestantism does not.
    How can there be a mass apostasy in late antiquity if their doctrines are all so similar?
    It’s illogical.

    You can take the statements of the fathers either way. I haven’t done much research about icons. But St. John damascene has a good treatise on icons. I think tomorrow is his feast day.
    The fact that the fathers can be read either way, sounds like the Bible.
    The fact is we are far removed from the time period. We shouldn’t need to comb through history and pick and choose which doctrines we keep and which are idolatrous aberrations. Not everyone has the time or willpower, or even ability to sit down and read multiple books and to pick out which doctrines they believe to be true or not. The fact that the church decided which way to interpret the fathers is enough for me.
    I also wouldn’t hinge becoming a Protestant or staying one solely on icons. There are much bigger issues.


    I think a lot of this argument just stems from prostration and kissing being worship. The Bible doesn’t anywhere say these actions are idolatrous. The idolatrous action is thinking a picture is god, thinking it will respond to your prayers, and offering sacrifice to it.
    When you read the commandments in the Bible, you ought to ask yourself why god has prohibited something. We are supposed to be rational creatures.
    What is intrinsically immoral that god prohibited?
    He prohibited IDOLATRY, the worship of other gods. The people of that time worshipped statues as somehow containing a god or relationship to the god within them. They believed the gods would eat food set before the statues. This is what god prohibited, this is immoral.
    The veneration of icons which depict Christ or holy Saints is completely different, because they aren’t worshipped. The physical action of a prostration is not immoral, what is immoral is idolatry. You can commit idolatry without bowing to or kissing a statue simply by thinking it’s god. The focus should not be on what you’re physically doing but on your intention and theology behind it.
    No Christian believes that icons are imbued with divinity and sacrifice etc should be offered to it. No one in a first world country really believes these things anymore, they are beliefs of ancient uneducated peoples.
    I think Protestants should ask themselves why god prohibited bowing to idols, and wether he is condemning idolatry, or the prostration towards an object as immoral
     
  17. Stalwart

    Stalwart Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Puts the iconoclasts at Nicea II in a different light, doesn’t it? The apostolic faith had almost won. The catholic church had almost won.

    No matter, the catholic faith is ever green, and still survives, nourished over centuries by the blood of martyrs.


    Read about the iconoclasts of 700s AD, the last ember of the Catholic Church in the east.

    Read about the Latin churches of the west, who called Nicea II a pseudo-synod and refused to venerate images. They maintained the Catholic faith in the west (until the popes extinguished it).

    Read about St Epiphanius tearing down the icons starting to crop up in his time, fueled by millions of newly converted gentiles (for the first the the jews became outnumbered in the Church). He writes in one of his epistles, he tried to tell everyone, but they wouldn’t listen to him.
     
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2021
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  18. BedtimePrayers

    BedtimePrayers Member

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    I will read more in depth about this and answer to you afterwards. I’m having a hard time finding a book that deals with icons in early Christianity.


    I will just say, I find it peculiar you seem to be suggesting that the church went apostate when it stopped being a Jew majority. Do you trust the Jews to protect the faith more than pagan converts?
    They could hardly stop themselves from idolatry at every turn…
    I wouldn’t say gentile converts had anything to do with icons. The church was never Jewish to begin with, after the first 200 centuries it was pretty much all gentiles. I don’t know any historian that believes the church was Jewish majority in even 400 ad.
    The Jews stayed on with their own religion, most never really converted
     
  19. Invictus

    Invictus Well-Known Member

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    You will greatly enjoy this article. It covers all the issues quite nicely, including that the justifications for icon-worship provided by John of Damascus were identical to those of Celsus centuries before.
    https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/themelios/article/answering-eastern-orthodox-apologists-regarding-icons/
    In a way, the Eastern Orthodox reaction to the evidence against their position - an anti-intellectual, anti-evidentialist attitude, even among Orthodox academics - is a microcosm of why I couldn’t continue in that tradition despite my sincere admiration for many aspects of it.
     
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  20. Invictus

    Invictus Well-Known Member

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    Absolutely. And the evidence - biblical and postbiblical - is that they did so.

    Actually, the Church in Syria and Palestine was (possibly) predominantly Jewish all the way into the 4th century. Your statements are frankly just evidence of the arrogant run-of-the-mill Catholic antisemitism that is alive and well, and which I thoroughly detest and despise. I’ll ask to have you banned from the site if you make another statement like that. I have zero tolerance for antisemitic sentiments or remarks, and I’ll not have our reputation tarnished by that vile filth.
     
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2021
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