Monday, April 14, 2008

Reaction/Comments on Russian Orthodox Church and Icons

The way religion is shared comes today as a blind belief handed down by family and the church chosen by family or neighbors. This presentation by Dr. John Tuthills, Medieval Church Historian, began with the year 985 AD relating well documented history of King Vladimir of Rus. This Scandinavian Viking ruler arrived without conflict to a pagan country to rule and after a hundred years researched religions and chose the Greeks method to adopt and improve the lives of the pagans – now known as Russian.

This presentation by Dr. John Tuthills and Fr John Atchison was a positive enlightenment on the study of the ancient theological roots of the church, which traces the lineage back to the twelve apostles. So much of the information does parallel with teachings in today’s church messages. The amazing translations have been handled by those close to the apostles.

Lengthy and difficult liturgy was written in the fourth century and condensed by John Christenson in the sixth century. Changes to these laws do not occur often – a thousand years of discussion before the ecumenical council will set a time to make questions more clear. For the previous nine centuries only eight councils have been held to make questions clear, like, is Jesus deity or simply a man. It was determined that Jesus is God, both a man and God. Some questions that may be listed for a next ecumenical council may surface would be to change the Gregorian calendar to the Julian calendar to be more accurate with solar time. Another question might be to standardize the unit of measurement to metric.

It is difficult today to imagine why icons could be important and do have a perception that these could be idols. Icons are allowed in the Russian Orthodox Church as indispensable not as idols, but images to learn about the teachings. Icons stand as proof of the physical arrival of Christ to be worshiped or in the glory of the saint it represents. Creation of an icon has layers of essential steps to follow that have been accepted by the church throughout history. Some icons have proven to be holy by weeping or dripping myrrh, which is an intervention to arrest our attention to a message from God.

This information intrigues me to feel more grounded to lessons taught in the past. There is more history linked that was missing prior to this presentation.
George Breslau

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