Icons & Incarnation

To make our confession short, we keep unchanged all the ecclesiastical traditions handed down to us, whether written or unwritten. One of these is the portrayal of painted representations, which by the way is a tradition in agreement with the message of the Gospel. For since both the painted representations and the message of the Gospel proclaim the incarnation of God the Word as being real and not as being a mere apparition, and since both benefit us in many other ways, it is then clear that they support each other and testify to each other.” Therefore, adhering to the divinely inspired authority of our Holy Fathers and the tradition of the Catholic Church (for, as we know, this tradition is of the Holy Spirit who dwells in the Church) and following the royal procedure, we define with accuracy and certainty that the holy and venerable Icons are to be set up in the same way as the figure of the precious and life-giving Cross.”

We declare that painted Images and those in mosaic and other suitable material of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, of our undefiled Lady the Theotokos, of the honorable Angels, and of all the Saints and Holy People are to be placed in the holy Churches of God, on sacred vessels and vestments, on walls and panels, in houses and by the roadsides. For the more continually these persons are observed through such painted representations, so much the more will the observers be aroused to recollect or remember the depicted persons and to aspire after them.”  They will also be aroused, as is duly proper, to honor, reverence and salute such Images. Indeed, we do not say that people are to pay such Images the actual worship of faith which is properly due only to the Divine nature. But just as we do to the figure of the venerable and life-giving Cross, and to the Holy Book of Gospels and other sacred objects, so we must also honor Icons with the offerings of incense and candles; for such has been the pious custom of antiquity.

For the honor paid to the Icon passes to its prototype, and he who venerates an Icon venerates through it the person that is depicted….”

– Second Ecumenical Council Of Nicea – 787AD


Enjoy the holy Icons in this video written over the centuries, and the Orthodox hymnody that accompanies it sung by the Boston Byzantine Choir.  The Doxology is the final hymn of Sunday Matins, and serves as the immediate entrance into the Divine Liturgy.




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