Icons have been described as “Theology written in images and colour.” Icons are not just pictures — they are sacred images, which convey spiritual truth in picture form, and are sometimes described as windows to heaven. Let's learn some more about what icons are, how they are made, the symbolism involved, and why some people protested against them!
Blog Tag: Holy Tradition
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Christians have been flocking to the dusty Israeli town of Ramla to see what locals are calling a miracle: streaks of what looks like oil mysteriously dripping down an icon of St. George at a Greek Orthodox church named for the legendary third century dragon slayer. Let’s learn more about this miraculous icon.
Prayer and fasting are spiritual disciplines to increase our sensitivity to God’s Presence and to reduce the cravings that can sometimes control our bodies. Let’s learn some more about fasting, the biblical basis for fasting, and the circumstances under which people should not fast. Fasting During Lent, many people may choose to fast. Abstaining from animal products (meat) and dairy foods is considered to be fasting in the Orthodox Church.
The Orthodox Church embraces what is known as “Holy Tradition.” Sometimes Christians have a problem with this position because they confuse “Holy Tradition” with what the Bible calls “the tradition of men.” But if we look closely at Scripture, we find that Scripture commends us to follow and practice “Holy Tradition.” Let’s learn a little more about the difference between the two.
Over the years I’ve noticed that some visitors to Orthodox services feel uncomfortable and uncertain about kissing the cross at the end of the Liturgy Service. I’d like to try to explain why we do it. Kissing the Cross of Jesus We have to admit, that from a modern perspective, it is a really a strange thing to do. Kissing the depiction of a man being executed could, in fact, be seen as grotesque. The reason we do it, however, is because of what this particular person means to us.
Someone once called the Orthodox Church “The Candlelight Kingdom.” Candles are so much a part of our worship that it has been said “to light a candle is to pray.” Why do we use candles? And what has prayer to do with lighting candles? Let's learn about candle-lighting and what it means. God: Light of the World Every time we light a candle the flame and the light should remind us of God. In the Bible God is often described in terms of fire and light: “For our God is a consuming fire” (Hebrews 12:29).
Incense has been used in the worship of God since the time of Moses, and its use is commanded by God (Exodus 30). Clouds of incense symbolise the glory of God that is present as we worship Him. When the Priest directs the incense towards the worshipers he is paying homage and respect to the image of God in each one of us. Let's learn about what incense is, how it is used in worship, and its historical significance.
The symbol of the Christian Faith has always been and always will be the sign of the cross, because it is the sign of our Redemption by our Lord Jesus Christ. When we wish to show that something is dedicated to Christ it is marked with a cross, whether it be church buildings, the Holy Gospel, the sacred vessels or the graves of the departed. Christians wear baptismal crosses to show that they are dedicated to Christ.
In the Orthodox Church, you’ll see specialised vestments being worn by the clergy every week. Let’s explore what these vestments are, what they mean, their purpose and where they came from.