Icon Research

Use this page to record your research on the icon you have chosen. Be sure to include references.

Esteban Garcia Garcia 1
Ms. Nancy
ESL 086
May 2007
Why Do You Need to Write and pray With Icons?
Icon (eikon) is Greek word that means image. Icons usually show religious images. The paintings are in Byzantine, Greek, and Russian styles (Guillerm 7). The icons are beautiful paintings that help us to pray. They are a celebration of the incarnation. The icons are like a mirror because they not only put us close to our own face; they put us close to God to see him face to face. They invite us to rest in the presence of God. Icons make room in our heart to feel the presence of God. Also, they can help us to appreciate one of our old friends and loves. Icons are God’s poem and song without words. With icons we can make a place in his or her home and create a small sanctuary there (Megan 17).
Icons are a good way to pray and to see God in them. They reflect a great history and tradition that makes them more interesting for people. The ancient tradition illustrates that the first icon’s painter was the Evangelist St. Luke (Guillerm11). The history of icons began in the middle of the third century. Then, a crisis came out because icons provoke different interpretations among the people. Some people could not believe in icons because they asserted that the icons were not the incarnation of Jesus. People thought that icons were made by human hands not by God. The Byzantine Emperor Leo declared that all holy images were unholy, and he ordered that all images were to be destroyed because he thought that those images were created to be worshiped and
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honored. During the period 726-843, most of the images were destroyed. After that, their legitimacy was established and people began to venerate them again. One of the principle arguments in defend of icons is the impression of the face of Christ. This impression was according to the legend of the first icon, Mandylion. Madylion reveals the origin of the face of Christ. Also, St. John Damascene was defender of icons (675-749) (Guillermo 8).
How to write an icon:
Creating a good atmosphere where the iconographer can feel peace and have deep concentration in his or her work without any distractions is a necessary condition for writhing icons. Sometimes the iconographers begins writing icons by listening to recordings of Byzantine Orthodox liturgy or chants; others listen to classical ecclesiastical music; finally, others begin by reading the scriptures, lighting a candle, and burning Church incense, With help to focus one’s concentration. Some painter begins with prayer and fasting (Guillermo 11).
The images are often painted by night because it becomes easier to become adsorbed in the symbols, colors, gold, and gesso at night. The iconographer has to be present before the icon. He has to use his mind and muscles with great effort and concentration. (Megan 15). Also, painting icons requires a good discipline and humble attitude. Painting icons is delicate. The spiritual exercises help to make a good painter (Guillermo11)

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Icons can only be writing on a saint who has been beatified. There are differences between iconography and regular painting. Most regular paintings are painted only for fun. Icons have to be painted with prayer and discipline. There is an example
by iconographer Brother Isidore Manuel who is a Benedictine monk. He has been painting icons since 2000. Brother Isidore said, that he always prays in silence when he is writing an icon because it is the best way to concentrate for writing icons. He said, that sometimes when he writes an icon the ink gets a kind of bubbles, and he feels that he has to pray more because that is a sing. Iconography began for use in Orthodox Churche and the early twenty-century icons are for Orthodox Churches, Catholic Churches, and even some protestant Churches as well as private (Jim).
How to pray with the Icons:
First one has to find one of them. When people start praying with an icon, they should perhaps chose one with the face of Christ. Then, they should find a place in their homes where they can feel relaxed. Afterwards that place is going to become their own little sanctuary. Now, when they are in their little sanctuaries, people have to be mindful that God should be the center of everything. People might be able to talk with icon as with a very good friend. The preference the prayer has to be in silence to make a good connection, and sometimes the icons help one to begin contemplation. During the prayer, one can give one’s own meaning to the icons. Many times when people are praying with icons they are able to find different meanings according to what kind of icons they are using (Jim).

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For example, the icon of Madylion was the first icon painted by Saint Nikolai Velimirovich Bishop. In this icon, I can see how the face of Jesus is looking at me, and I can feel how we are watching face to face, as I mentioned above. This icon reveals Christ after his resurrection, who I see as the most powerful man that rose from the dead. I see on him: love, peace and charity for humanity. I feel that there is more meaning than I could possibly imagine. I am aware that there is more meaning that St. Bishop Nikolai put in it when he painted that beautiful icon.
The icons are so beautiful, and they can help people get closer with God. If one prays to an icon, he or she has to be aware that the meaning one gives them is going to be best for him or her. In conclusion icons bring one closer to our Lord Jesus Christ.

Work cited
McKenna, Megan. The Eyes of God in the Eye of the Beholder .
Jim, Forest. Let an Icon Frame be Your Pyayer . Academic Search
Premier. U. S. (not data). 02 May . 2007
<http://wed.edscohost.com/ehost/delivery?vid=29&hid=103&sid=88…>
Ramos-Poqui, Guillerm. The technique of Icon Painting. Great Britain:
Search Press, 1991 .

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