Why the old prohibition against “graven images” does not apply to authentic Catholic statuary and religious art

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From the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

476     Since the Word became flesh in assuming a true humanity, Christ’s body was finite. Therefore the human face of Jesus can be portrayed; at the seventh ecumenical council (Nicaea II in 787) the Church recognized its representation in holy images to be legitimate.

477     At the same time the Church has always acknowledged that in the body of Jesus “we see our God made visible and so are caught up in love of the God we cannot see.” The individual characteristics of Christ’s body express the divine person of God’s Son. He has made the features of his human body his own, to the point that they can be venerated when portrayed in a holy image, for the believer “who venerates the icon is venerating in it the person of the one depicted”.

Editor’s note: When the Eternal Word took on flesh and became the corporal image of a heavenly thing, the old prohibition against graven images became moot, since nobody with even a bit of sense would ever choose to worship a lump of stone or wood or clay … once they had actually seen the 2nd person of the Holy Trinity, made man for us … or his authentic, church approved, holy image.

Saint John says as much, here:

And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us (and we saw his glory, the glory as it were of the only begotten of the Father), full of grace and truth.  (John 1:14)

For people of grace, there is simply no mistaking it … and there also remains very little “room” for foolish and sinful idolatry.

On of the great joys of the Feast of Christmas … at least for faithful and properly educated Christians … is finally being able to identify (and personally address) the previously unknowable, ineffable God … who is Christ, the Lord.

To know him is to love him. And that is the primary thing!

Miraculous Icon produces copious amounts of heavenly oil for 17 weeks … and counting.

Fragrant myrrh filled the air. The encounters with the centers of attraction were quick, but the reactions were indelible. Some came away shaken and streaming tears. A few talked of a wave of peace and calm coming over them. Others described a sense of divine providence.

In uncertain times, people want something, anything, to believe in. The spiritually inclined often look to the heavens for answers, and when they get what they think is a sign, they embrace it wholeheartedly.

For the past 17 weeks, St. George’s Orthodox Greek Catholic Church in Taylor has been hosting services centered on two icons of the Blessed Mother of the Theotokos. The faithful believe the icons seep myrrh, a heavily perfumed oil, for reasons St. George’s officials are leaving unexplained.

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Just about everything you ever wanted to know about sacred images and icons

Saint John of Damascus (676-749)

Since the invisible One became visible by taking on flesh, you can fashion the image of him whom you saw. Since he who has neither body nor form nor quantity nor quality, who goes beyond all grandeur by the excellence of his nature, he, being of divine nature, took on the condition of a slave and reduced himself to quantity and quality by clothing himself in human features. Therefore, paint on wood and present for contemplation him who desired to become visible.

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Earliest known icons of Apostles Peter and Paul found


The earliest known icons of the Apostles Peter and Paul have been discovered in a catacomb under a modern office building in Rome.

The images, which date from the second half of the 4th century, were discovered on the ceiling of a tomb that also includes the earliest known images of the apostles John and Andrew.

They were uncovered using a new laser technique that allowed restorers to burn off centuries of thick white calcium carbonate deposits without damaging the dark colors of the original paintings underneath.

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Words worth remembering

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“The greatest danger in the modern world is the attack on man as the image of God. That God became man in order to unite man to God is the only sure Divine underwriting of human worth. We have value because of the image we bear.” – Orthodox Archbishop Dmitri of Dallas

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