Category Archives: Apologia

Martyr Stephen the New of Mt Auxentios | Confessor of Icons

On Nov 28, the memory of the Holy Confessor and Martyr Stephen “the New” of Mount Auxentios. Born after numerous prayers for a child from his pious parents, John and Anna, St Stephen was born in Constantinople in 715 and … Continue reading

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The Holy Spirit as a dove in iconography

A previous post on the Throne of Preparation showed the widespread (in time and location) practice of depicting the Holy Spirit as a dove. The Holy Spirit did descend “as a dove” at the Baptism of Christ, and so naturally … Continue reading

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Are the Saints who destroyed idols Iconoclasts?

In the 8th-century A.D., the veneration of images of Christ and His Saints was restored by the Byzantine Emperor, after being previously outlawed. This Triumph of Orthodoxy not only defended the veneration of icons as “permissible”, but actively confessed the … Continue reading

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How not to be an accidental Iconoclast

Following on from the post What makes an Icon Holy?, it is clear an image is holy when it truly depicts someone who is holy, rather than through any magical way it was produced. It also means that a completed … Continue reading

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What makes an Icon Holy?

A subtitle for this post could well be: “What is a Holy Icon?”, and as a topic it probably should have been dealt with before now. Perhaps most people reading this already know what “Icons” are within the Orthodox faith. … Continue reading

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Lazarus of Constantinople | The First Iconographer Saint

On November 17th, the life of St Lazarus of Constantinople is commemorated. Born c. 810 in Armenia, he is also known as Lazarus Zographos (Ζωγράφος), or the Painter. St Lazarus, therefore, is the earliest Saint to be glorified specifically as … Continue reading

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The Lamb of God in Orthodoxy | A History in Icons

“ Worthy is the Lamb who was slain To receive power and riches and wisdom, And strength and honor and glory and blessing!” (Rev. 5:11) The Lamb of God is the ancient name given to Jesus Christ, and recorded in … Continue reading

Posted in Apologia, Didactic Icons, History, Icons of Christ, Icons of the Incarnation, The Saints | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Why does God work wonders through Icons?

This poem, from St Nikolai’s Prayers by the Lake is in fact a passionate defence of all things material, through which God works wonders: icons, nature, and particularly the relics of Saints. It is offered here specifically because of its … Continue reading

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What does this hand gesture mean in Icons?

This is an extract from a longer post about the Icon of Christ, but deserves a separate entry. It explains the meaning behind the way Christ and the Saints are sometimes shown holding their right hand in icons, as shown … Continue reading

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St Gregory Palamas on Holy Icons

On the second Sunday of Lent, the great theologian and ascetic of the Church, St Gregory of Palamas is remembered. To honour this, I post some words of his on the Holy Icons, taken from his work: The New Testament … Continue reading

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