Byzantine Snapshot: Proclaim The God Who Is Before All Ages

While working on some craft leftovers with our homeschoolers today, I was able to work around them and do some art. The image below was the end result. It makes a fairly decent desktop background for advent.

GVL_Advent image Byzantine Orthodox Mary and Jesus

I created this after combining an embossed silver star, black cardboard and the cover of a recycled Christmas card. The combination was then laminated, photocopied {one colour, the other grayscale} and photographed on an angle.  From there I cropped and slightly pixelated the image.

Byzantine icons and their unique place in Eastern Orthodox worship is interesting. Worship and art are significant; one prays through it, not to it. Hearts are directed and minds realigned towards Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

I appreciate them. Yet to be convinced that the theological snares are serious enough to warrant avoidance. For example: the dangers of natural theology and its slide into seeing a second revelation of God, where there is in fact only one intact revelation, that of Jesus Christ, in Word, Presence and Deed.

Although Karl Barth doesn’t appear to have been against icons, reading through his work on Natural Theology in CD.II/I makes it a definite that he wasn’t for them either. I think Barth’s appreciation of Mozart comes close to any kind of support here – he walks a fine line between devoted distraction and directed devotion.

In any case I’m sure, in regards to this matter anyway, I’ll either land on being for, against or simply just remain appreciative of the devotion they express, and the devotion towards God that they inspire.

This painting features the young Mary and the infant Jesus. As near as I can tell the icon is the famous, ‘The Vladimir Virgin’.

There is a commentary available here and if you’re into reading up on Byzantine Art, David Talbot Rice’s book ‘Art of the Byzantine Era’ is a good place to start.


Music: Eksedysan {They Have Stripped Me} by Fr. Nikodimos Kabarnos 


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