Christian History Project. This site contains the text of 12 volumes on the history of mankind over the last 2,000 years written from a 'collectively-denominational' Christian perspective.

Iconography |
The mysterious practice of iconography

Iconography is drawn from Chapter Five, beginning on page 124, of Volume Six, The Quest for the City of the twelve-volume historical series The Christians: Their First Two Thousand Years. If you would like to order this book please visit www.TheChristians.info.

These ancient images are not said to be painted but ‘written,’ after fasting and prayer, and viewing them is intended to enable the Holy Spirit to act upon the soul of the viewer

Iconography - The mysterious practice of iconography

Iconography – The mysterious practice of iconography
A monk in Cyprus reminds us that monasteries are the natural habitat for iconographers, who prepare for their task by prayer, fasting and study.

Icons are two-dimensional images depicting Jesus, Mary and the saints. They are said to be “written,” not drawn or painted, and the images do not reflect merely human personality. Rather, say Eastern Christians, the Holy Spirit expresses divine truth through the artist, whose labor is a form of prayer. That’s why icons must adhere to certain formalities of color, design, pattern and gesture. The images are not strictly realistic but representational, even abstract. Similarly, a Christian who views an icon should do so as a form of prayer, enabling the Holy Spirit to act upon his soul through the figure. It is in this spiritual purpose, not in the paint and wood, that the sanctity of icons lies. They are regarded as “windows to heaven.” Iconography spread from Constantinople to Russia, Greece and the Balkans, with some variations in regional style. Two monks, one in his workshop in a Finnish monastery (1) and a second in Cyprus (2), remind us that monasteries are the natural habitat for iconographers, who prepare for their task by prayer, fasting and study. Many monks help to maintain their monasteries through the sale of their work. A visual reminder of prayer and of the closeness of Christ and his saints in the lives of the faithful, these icons are for sale in a sidewalk stall in Crete (3). A Cypriot monk (4) displays the icon he has painted of St. Nectarius. The name of the person depicted is always identified, as in the top right corner of this icon. Museum displays, such as this one in Athens (5), infuse an appreciation for iconography in the curious and the devout from all over the world.

This is the end of the Iconography category article drawn from Chapter Five, beginning on page 124, of Volume Six, The Quest for the City. To continue reading more about Iconography from The Christians, Their First Two Thousand Years we suggest experiencing the rest of the book, complete with hundreds of magnificent illustrations, by ordering it at www.TheChristians.info