Posts Tagged ‘tongue’

Ancient Christian Coptic Oriental Orthodox icons – The reason for asymmetric body members in early Christian iconography

Monday, July 30th, 2012

While checking some information on Coptic Eastern Oriental faith, I've stumbled upon a very beautiful (and unique) ancient Orthodox Christian icon depicting Saint Menas and our saviour the Lord Jesus Christ, below is the very beautiful icon

Saint Mena (Sv. Mina) and The Lord Jesus Christ icon from 6th century

Saint Mena (Sv. Mina) and The Lord Jesus Christ icon from 6th century

As you can see the iconography is very interesting, the images differ from modern day iconography the portraits are not looking so serious but looks like "childish". This childish forms and faces on the early Christian iconography is not accidental; it expresses the childish like pure faith our Christian devoted ancestors had. This early Christian faith and spiritual life icon is obviously in conjunction with our Saviour Jesus Christ words as red in the Gospel according to Matthew:
 

At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, "Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?" Then Jesus called a little child to Him, set him in the midst of them, and said, "Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Whoever receives one little child like this in My name receives Me.

Matthew 18:1-5

This icon as well as the early Christian icons are very different from nowdays iconography probably for reason;
the images difference, the seriousness and the lack of brightness in the faces of nowdays iconography is a clear sign of the great decay of both Orthodox Christian as well as the down-fall of spiritual life worldly.
I've seen similar childish looking image icons in some Bulgarian ancient relics museums in my child years and always thought the depictions are so kiddish because iconographers of that time did not have the painting knowledge and skills to draw better ones.
Now as I know Christianity much better than then, I understand my previous assumption for the reason of the kiddish looking images is wrong.
Saint Mena (Sv. Mina) and The Lord Jesus Christ icon from 6th century

Very interesting in the early Christian iconography are the shapes. If you take a close look to above icon, you will notice the disparity of the two body members; the hands, head and eyes are unusually big. My guess for the lack of correspondence of body members is the attempt of early iconographers to put accent on most important members of our bodies;

– The head (holding the mind and thoughts of the saints)
– The hands through which the daily food is raised and the eyes through which the world is comprehended are much bigger than in a real person portrait.
– The mouth which is almost the size of the eyes; obvious reference that for early Christian contemplating was much more precious (important) thing, than speech.
This is also in accordance with the New Testament holy scriptures which says like so concerning the tongue:
 

8 But no one can tame the tongue; it is a restless evil and full of deadly poison.
9 With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the likeness of God;
10 from the same mouth come both blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be this way.
11 Does a fountain send out from the same opening both fresh and bitter water?
12 Can a fig tree, my brethren, produce olives, or a vine produce figs?
Nor can salt water produce fresh.

Notice also the Halos of the two saints, the size of the halos is almost one third of the whole body of the saints. The Gospel hold by our and all humanity Saviour Jesus Christ is also enormous sized; corresponding almost the height of the arm of Christ on the icon.
The size of the Gospel stresses out the importance of the Holy Bible writtings for early Christians. Nowdays the size of Gospels or Holy Bible especially among protestant Churches "tradition" is becoming smaller and smaller following the spirit of the time proclaiming mobility …

Today the iconography Orthodox Christian "school" has severely changed and the icon images are much more complicated than in ancient times.
The complication of images and elements on Orthodox Icons is a "mirror" of the internal complicated world of us modern-time Christians. This over-complication of our internal spiritual world, does separate us from God instead of uniting us as it is well known in Holy Orthodox Christian tradition God is best known through simplicity and pureness in life thoughts and actions.

The Coptic Oriental Orthodox Church is the only Church, where there is still iconographers drawing in the style of the ancient times childish looking icons. The reason Copts preserved this ancient iconography is that they have conservated big portion of the ancient faith rejecting the decisions of all 7 Orthodox Ecumenical Church Councils. Copts still accept only ecumenical council decisions up to the III-rd ecumenical council. This is also the reason why Eastern Oriental Orthodox Christians are considered not in official communion with the rest of Eastern Orthodox Churches. I had the opportunity by God's grace to meet an Coptic Orthodox Christian (a guy called Baky); From what I've seen and experienced within the few months with Baky my conclusion is Coptic Orthodox layman faith is much stronger than the one in most of other Orthodox Christians I know. The official standpoint of our Eastern Orthodox Church concerning the copts are that they're in heresy and not really orthodox. I'm not sure if this is really true, since I have spend few months with this Coptic Christian brother this autumn and winter and from what I've seen and heard as well as researched on coptic Orthodox it seems their overall Church teaching, Holy Liturgies and everything is very much orthodox (with very little service and faith differences). Here are few beautiful Coptic Orthodox Christian icons still being drawn in the spirit of early days Christianity.

Saint Abba Anthony the Great Coptic Oriental orthodox Icon

Abba (saint) Anthony the Great the father of Orthodox Christian Monastic Life

Coptic Orthodox Oriental Icon Abba Anthony and saint Paul

Coptic Orthodox Oriental Icon of Saint Anothony the Great – "the founder" of Monastic life

Coptic Oriental Orthodox Icon Tobias old testamential Book story

Tobias Old Testamential Story coptic icon

Holy Family Flight into Egypt Coptic Orthodox Icon

Holy Family – Flight into Egypt Coptic Orthodox oriental icon

Christ the Saviour Coptic Oriental Orthodox icon

Christ the Saviour – Coptic Oriental Orthodox icon

Holy Theotokos Coptic Oriental Orthodox icon

Holy Theotokos Coptic Oriental icon

Saint Athanasius defender of pure orthodoxy Oriental Orthodox icon

Saint Athnasius coptic orth icon

The Dormition of Holy Theotokos Mother Mary Coptic Orthodox Oriental Icon

The Dormition of Virgin Mary Coptic icon

St. Maximus The Confessor Holy Relics (incorruptable right hand) is for veneration in Varna

Friday, July 1st, 2011

St. Maximus the Confessor Orthodox Christian icon

Today by God’s gracy I was blessed to go to Varna’s Cathedral Church (“Dorminion of the Theotokos”) on a small pilgrimage trip to venerate the Holy Relics of Saint Maximus the Confessor.

The saint relics which are there for veneration today 30/Jun and 01 of July are the saint’s right hand which was slaughtered in the 7th century. Today 14 centuries later, the saint right hand holy relic is still intact (the skin of the hand is dried but it’s intact!).
This is a great miracle of God who does clearly show the truthfulness of Orthodox Christian faith. The saint’s holy relics are temporary moved from Holy Mount Athos monastery St. Apostol Paul, where kept.
As one can read in saint Maximus biography, st. Maximus is one of the biggest Orthodox Christian martyr from the time before the great Church Schizm.

St. Maximus the Confessor was a Christian monk and a great Church scholar. He became a monk choosing willingly to abandon his great richness and political life because of Christ.

The Saint’s title The Confessor is given because of his great suffering for Christian faith.

Sv. Maxim Izpovednik many miracles icon

Because of the saint’s firm staying in faith during an icon fighting heresy emperor Hiraclious (Iraklii) slandered the saint and he was send to a trial where he was immediately vilified as a state traitor.
A severe beating was ordered to be done on the saint and the whole ground was sprinkled with his blood, the saint’s torturers also cut his tongue and his right hand was chopped off.
The heretical torturers were ordered to slay down his right hand and his tongue in order to prevent the saint to confess/preach and write down about the Orthodox Christian faith.

The descpile of the saint Anasthasius has also faced the same faith. After the butchery the two saints were walked around the city streets to mock them publicly behind the shocked crowds eyes.

Even though the sadistic torments by God’s providence saint Maximus the Confessor did not died immediately but was sent to exile in today’s Dobrudja (Dobrich) region in Bulgaria.

Saint Maximus has died in his old age, aged 82 in August 680 A.D. Even though being a disabled because of the martyrdom, during his exile the saint was able to write a lot of treatise books against heresies and especially against Monotheistic Christian heresy, and a lot of other writting concerning the proper spiritual christian life. The saint’s major works are titled, Ambigua An exploration of difficult passages in the work of Pseudo-Dionysius and Gregory of Nazianzus, focusing on Christological issues and Mystagogy – A commentary and reasoning on the Eucharistic liturgy.

According to Church tradition after the saint’s tongue was cut in order to prevent him to preach the Christian faith correctly, God did a miracle where even without a tongue he preached the Gospel to the masses and he heretical emperor who ordered his suffering and the saint tormentors were publicly disgraced.

Saint Maximus the Confessor is considered a saint also in the Roman Catholic Church.

The saint was canonized officially about 22 years after his death on the oecumenical Church saints assembly in year 682.
After Saint Maximus’s death on his tomb many healing miracles occured.
On the place where he was buried three bright lights looking like candlesticks could be seen burning (a clear miracle atteting of the Holy Trinity) as the thrurthful one God.
God’s great omen on his tomb is also a clear sign that Maximus the Confessor has been accepted in the eternal paradise with God with all the rightous.

Let God always strenthen us and help us, to all us who does venerate the saint. Let God by his Holy prayers deliver us from all heresies and grant us grace to stay firm in the true Orthodox Christian faith now and forever.
Amen!

What’s goin on recently

Sunday, June 15th, 2008

At Saturday I had my first driving license. The instructor let me drive on the road for Balchik. Happily the driving went smoothly of course I made a lot of mistakes which is pretty normal for a first time driving. In the afternoon we went out for a walk with Niki. We just went out when Vlado (Hellpain) called, he came back to Dobrich for a day, we met for a coffee after which we stayed for 2 hours in the central park. Today as usual I attended the liturgy at the orthodox Church. Today it’s a big Christian Orthodox holiday, it’s the day in which the Our Lord Jesus Christ send the Holy Spirit to the early Church fathers (the apostles). The apostles heard a great noise and they see the Holy Spirit descending from heaven in a form of burning tongues, each tongue coming above the head of each of the apostles and the rest of the first believers in our Lord and Saviour Jesus. I’m still in doubt should I decide to go or not to the Netherlands. I applied for a room there through http://vivare.nl yesterday. But still haven’t received a confirmation for approval and I haven’t send a deposit for a room. I made research about the Arnhem Business School (ABS) and talked and I’m talking with a friend who went to study in Holland the last year. In the afternoon I watched an old russian movie which is marked as a SCI-FI genre (Kin Dza Dza), I got the title from the top 20 in IMDB. Yeah I can say that the movie was pretty freaky :). Vladi did call me again and said one of the servers in the office had crashed I spoke with of my colleagues with a request to go to the office and restart the box but it seems the box isn’t booting. Tomorrow I’ll catch an early bus for Varna and went to the office to see what’s wrong with the machine (hope it’s not a serious hardware problem). That’s most of it. To be honest although God grants me a lot of his divine grace I still feel a bit of lost and pathless and struggle to fight my lack of faith, and bad habits. I’m praying everyday for a physical healing but I still haven’t completely recovered from my sickness. I have sinned badly in my past and I deserve to have that sickness but still I honestly I’m repenting day after day for my bad life in the past and the near present … Another think I should say is that a friend of mine has died I saw his obituary hanging on a tree 🙁 , His name was Alexander (Sashe) known among us by the nickname (Saketo), he was a drug addict and that killed him I hope he is with God know peace be upon him. END—–