On the first Sunday of Great Lent, we celebrate the ‘Sunday of Orthodoxy’ when we remember the restoriation of Holy Icons to the church. This Sunday, and each day, remind us that Icons are not ‘art’, but theology – the love of God in real tangible earthly forms. It is an Incarnational theology that reminds us that God loved the world so much that He gave His only begotten Son, born of a woman, the Theotokos, born under the law in order to fulfill the Law. The Blessed Virgin, Mary, the Mother of God gives birth and her flesh to Him who is more spacious than the heavens. The enfleshment of Christ our God for us is love. An organic personal love. For He is like us in all manner except, He, unlike us – is without sin, and accomplishes for us, what we cannot accomplish for ourselves: restoration, salvation with the Holy Trinity.
Icons are more than ‘art’, they are not painted as much as they are written; for they are the Image of God written in the flesh and bone in every person who has ever been born. We see the Image of God in everyone, living Icons, and our call is to ‘reverence’ and serve one another as we would indeed serve the very God who fashioned us in our mother’s womb.
This is the proclamation we declare after Divine Liturgy on the Sunday of Orthodoxy:
As the Prophets beheld, as the Apostles have taught, as the Church has received, as the Teachers have dogmatized, as the universe has agreed, as Grace has shown forth, as Truth has revealed, as falsehood has been dissolved, as Wisdom has presented, as Christ has awarded: thus we declare, thus we assert, thus we preach Christ our true God, and honor His Saints in words, in writings, in thoughts, in sacrifices, in churches, in Holy Icons; on the one hand worshiping and reverencing Christ as God and Lord; and on the other hand honoring as true servants of the same Lord of all, and accordingly offering them veneration.
This is the Faith of the Apostles; this is the Faith of the Fathers; this is the Faith of the Orthodox;
this is the Faith which has established the universe!