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Strange icons

LBK

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intellectual, rational, scholarly Orthodoxy
There's your problem right there, Devin. We are neither scholastics nor protestants.
 

Shanghaiski

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88Devin12 said:
LBK said:
88Devin12 said:
LBK, you're displaying something more akin to a zealous, fanatical fundamentalism rather than Orthodoxy, which does usually tend towards a more moderate position.
On the contrary. I am simply articulating what the Church teaches and proclaims about iconography. You, in your zeal to defend an image which is not part of Orthodox tradition, and used for sociopolitical ends, who is being fanatical. You have even presumptuously declared "Therefore it is right and venerable for us to depict Christ, not just as an adult, but as a fetus as well". By what authority do you make this claim?

I am supposing, based on your current method of arguing and your justification, that you may also believe in a literal 7 day creation, that Mary literally lived in the Temple and was taken into the Holy of Holies, and that St George literally fought a dragon.
On creation: A literal seven-day creation is not a dogma of the Church. Even early Fathers did not subscribe to it. To God, a thousand years is as a day, and a day is as a thousand years.

On the dwelling of the Mother of God in the Holy of Holies: Do not force me to embarrass you further by showing the great error of your line of thought.
You should know better than to assume everything said in our hymns is being portrayed as historical reality. It's not.
It takes many years to develop any sense of discernment of what is literal and what is not. You're also forgetting that God is quite capable of overturning the laws of nature if He so wishes.

Same for our iconography, and depictions within it. It seems you want a mindset and mode of existence more akin to the Amish, where we literally never change and only repeat what's been given to us. I'm sorry, but that just isn't the case with the Orthodox Church, we've changed a lot /since the First Century, as has our iconography.
You still haven't answered my request for evidence that the earliest icons were not venerated.

You also seem to assume that the Seventh Century idea of icon veneration had existed since the First Century, which it had not, and this is extremely obvious unless you want to shut yourself off from all reason, intellect and logic.
The treatises of St John of Damascus and St Theodore of the Studion, to name but two iconophile saints, repeatedly quote their forebears, including very early Fathers, in terms which expose your assertion as false.

Devin, please don't embarrass yourself further. The image you are defending is not part of Orthodox tradition. Get used to it.
Your view is the extreme one, as I've said, your falling closer and close to the Old Believers and Old Calendarists than you are to historical & traditional Orthodoxy.

No, Mary NEVER dwelt in the Holy of Holies, that is a historical fact.

As for Christ depiction as a fetus, a fetus is still a FULL human person and the exact reason that Christ can and should be depicted is because of his incarnation, of him being human.

You are trying to impose an ultra-pious, fanatical ridgidity on the Church that, THANK GOD does not exist except in schismatic groups.
You used to be a shrill extremist on the conservative side. Now you are a shrill extremist on the liberal side. Either way, your problem is shrill extremism.
 

Shanghaiski

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88Devin12 said:
Asteriktos said:
Things sure are getting heated in here. And over an actual theological topic for once!
I don't feel any heat, except from my cup of tea. Which I'm casually sipping waiting to see if my shot in the dark was on the money.

I'd much rather fall in with the so-called "innovationists" and "intellectuals" of St. Vladimir's Seminary than with ROCOR or ultra-conservative Orthodoxy.

I know at least two of my Priests went to St. Vladimir's. If, like LBK suggests, they and those involved with them or in their tradition are wrong, I don't want to be right.
Father Alexander Schmemann and Father Seraphim Rose both agree, you need to be slapped.
 

LBK

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Shanghaiski said:
88Devin12 said:
LBK said:
88Devin12 said:
LBK, you're displaying something more akin to a zealous, fanatical fundamentalism rather than Orthodoxy, which does usually tend towards a more moderate position.
On the contrary. I am simply articulating what the Church teaches and proclaims about iconography. You, in your zeal to defend an image which is not part of Orthodox tradition, and used for sociopolitical ends, who is being fanatical. You have even presumptuously declared "Therefore it is right and venerable for us to depict Christ, not just as an adult, but as a fetus as well". By what authority do you make this claim?

I am supposing, based on your current method of arguing and your justification, that you may also believe in a literal 7 day creation, that Mary literally lived in the Temple and was taken into the Holy of Holies, and that St George literally fought a dragon.
On creation: A literal seven-day creation is not a dogma of the Church. Even early Fathers did not subscribe to it. To God, a thousand years is as a day, and a day is as a thousand years.

On the dwelling of the Mother of God in the Holy of Holies: Do not force me to embarrass you further by showing the great error of your line of thought.
You should know better than to assume everything said in our hymns is being portrayed as historical reality. It's not.
It takes many years to develop any sense of discernment of what is literal and what is not. You're also forgetting that God is quite capable of overturning the laws of nature if He so wishes.

Same for our iconography, and depictions within it. It seems you want a mindset and mode of existence more akin to the Amish, where we literally never change and only repeat what's been given to us. I'm sorry, but that just isn't the case with the Orthodox Church, we've changed a lot /since the First Century, as has our iconography.
You still haven't answered my request for evidence that the earliest icons were not venerated.

You also seem to assume that the Seventh Century idea of icon veneration had existed since the First Century, which it had not, and this is extremely obvious unless you want to shut yourself off from all reason, intellect and logic.
The treatises of St John of Damascus and St Theodore of the Studion, to name but two iconophile saints, repeatedly quote their forebears, including very early Fathers, in terms which expose your assertion as false.

Devin, please don't embarrass yourself further. The image you are defending is not part of Orthodox tradition. Get used to it.
Your view is the extreme one, as I've said, your falling closer and close to the Old Believers and Old Calendarists than you are to historical & traditional Orthodoxy.

No, Mary NEVER dwelt in the Holy of Holies, that is a historical fact.

As for Christ depiction as a fetus, a fetus is still a FULL human person and the exact reason that Christ can and should be depicted is because of his incarnation, of him being human.

You are trying to impose an ultra-pious, fanatical ridgidity on the Church that, THANK GOD does not exist except in schismatic groups.
You used to be a shrill extremist on the conservative side. Now you are a shrill extremist on the liberal side. Either way, your problem is shrill extremism.
You beat me to it, Shanghaiski.

Not too long ago, he was a strident conservative. IIRC, he expressed a wish that certain people in history could be posthumously excommunicated for their support for non-Orthodox practices, including Tsar Peter the Great. He is also on record for stating pews are not Orthodox, and advocating the replacement of western-style iconography in churches with those of more traditional style (the latter I agree with, though, in most cases, much care needs to be taken to convince people out of their sentimental attachment to them - not easy).

Now we see him attempting to defend an image which is not from Orthodox tradition, painted by a non-Orthodox artist, who painted it for the purpose of people using it as a mascot for a sociopolitical cause.

I can understand a tempering of overdone and misplaced zeal, be that more young converts would do so. But the pendulum seems to have swung too far in the opposite direction.
 

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i have only read page 4 (sorry), but in the coptic tradition we certainly do have an unbroken tradition of venerating icons, and were only minimally affected by the iconoclasm controversy and it's overturn. also in the ethiopian / eritrean tradition there have been found many very early icons.
eg. as early as 300's we find saint antony the great venerating the robe (woven from grass palm) of saint paul the first hermit, who had predeceased him. the dead boy on whom the robe was placed came back to life through the intercessions of saint paul and by the grace of God.

we have a less of a european 'renaissance' way of interpreting tradition than do some of the modern EO writers that 88devin12 (nice name by the way) quotes.
we are more asian / african in our approach to tradition, looking at what the Biblical and historical mysteries can teach us about our relationship with God, without stressing too much on the small details (for example; did saint mary really wear blue, or is it just symbolic?)

as someone raised in europe, i have found the less analytical approach to faith to be very helpful.
 

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well, i went back through the thread and found this point on early veneration of icons had already been made on page 1:

pensateomnia said:
Rosehip said:
A question that came to my mind recently was pertaining to the frequently depicted in the west image of Christ as the Good Shepherd. I don't know if I've ever seen this presented as an icon in the Orthodox Church-why is this?
I have seen several modern Orthodox icons of the Good Shepherd. In the Roman Catacombs, there are something like 114 documented representations of the Good Shepherd, dating from the 2nd through 3rd century. There's also a very famous late antique/early Byzantine version of the Good Shepherd in Ravenna. Reproduced below:



Images of a shepherd with a lamb over his back were very popular -- and very symbolic -- in the Greco-Roman world for a number of centuries, especially in the second century. Most of the philosophical schools (among which Christianity was sometimes numbered) taught that right-living consisted of (1) piety toward God and (2) philanthropy/benevolence toward neighbors.

Piety was depicted by a man in an orans position (lifting up hands in prayer). Philanthropy by a man with a sheep over his shoulders. These twin images appear on many pagan (and Christian) sarcophagi, and were even made part of the State's iconography by particularly philosophically inclined emperors like Marcus Aurelius.
 

88Devin12

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mabsoota said:
well, i went back through the thread and found this point on early veneration of icons had already been made on page 1:

pensateomnia said:
Rosehip said:
A question that came to my mind recently was pertaining to the frequently depicted in the west image of Christ as the Good Shepherd. I don't know if I've ever seen this presented as an icon in the Orthodox Church-why is this?
I have seen several modern Orthodox icons of the Good Shepherd. In the Roman Catacombs, there are something like 114 documented representations of the Good Shepherd, dating from the 2nd through 3rd century. There's also a very famous late antique/early Byzantine version of the Good Shepherd in Ravenna. Reproduced below:



Images of a shepherd with a lamb over his back were very popular -- and very symbolic -- in the Greco-Roman world for a number of centuries, especially in the second century. Most of the philosophical schools (among which Christianity was sometimes numbered) taught that right-living consisted of (1) piety toward God and (2) philanthropy/benevolence toward neighbors.

Piety was depicted by a man in an orans position (lifting up hands in prayer). Philanthropy by a man with a sheep over his shoulders. These twin images appear on many pagan (and Christian) sarcophagi, and were even made part of the State's iconography by particularly philosophically inclined emperors like Marcus Aurelius.
I don't think the ancient origin and presence of iconography is being disputed. I think we all know its existed since the Apostles since it was inherited from Judaism.

What I was saying earlier, was that the way iconography was viewed and treated evolved over the first few hundred years and that they weren't kissing and bowing before the iconography until a few hundred years later.

However, just because such a kind veneration wasn't there to begin with doesnt mean its wrong, I mean we almost had them ripped from our hands for good, and it makes sense that we'd hold it as more dear after almost losing it altogether.

I assure you LBK and Michal, I'm not an extreme liberal. You can find others out there, especially popular Orthodox scholars, writers and speakers who agree with me on many of those things.

My mistake was not taking their advice and not confronting someone with it when they don't agree. I just feel offended when I'm told that I have to hold a strict view of icons, or that I must not be fully Orthodox because of my views. But of course, this is, unfortunately how the Internet works, and anyone who brings up any Orthodox topic on the net can almost guarantee that someone will eventually question their Orthodoxy.

I was wrong to bring the subject into public rather than keeping it among like-minded folk, and confronting someone directly who I knew wouldnt agree with what I was saying. There is a place within Orthodoxy for scholarly study, inquisitive and critical analysis, logical reasoning and exercise of intellect. We have a long history of Orthodox Intellectuals going back to St. Basil and even before him, but my mistake is trying to push the views of those whose opinions I value onto those who I know may even be afraid of such line of thinking.

Lastly Michal, I didn't get these from books, or at least not entirely. With the hundreds of books in English out there, there are also hundreds of podcasts and talks that are available for free which are done by people who are well respected by the Orthodox community and who even may have had prominence in our seminaries and organizations.

I must, however, bow out of this discussion and attempt to limit my activity from here on. My spiritual guides have never told me I am un-Orthodox in the ideas I hold, but they've given some advice to avoid discussion websites because they can get so offensive and to the unhealthy point of even doubting the Orthodoxy of others in the church. I hadn't heeded their words until now, and I feel that I should finally make an effort wife it seems these Orthodox websites have done nothing but cause scandal whenever any opinion is expressed at all, no matter how okay it may seem. This is nothing against the creators of this site, but just a statement on how these sort of things always work, whether they are Orthodox or not.
 
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Apologies if this has been talked about already (couldn't see it skimming through), but has anyone else seen the Icon depicting Christ as a child learning to walk?
 

Shanghaiski

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AustralianDiaspora said:
Apologies if this has been talked about already (couldn't see it skimming through), but has anyone else seen the Icon depicting Christ as a child learning to walk?
It doesn't strike me that that would be a traditional icon, but rather a piece of art.
 

LBK

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Dominika said:
Just a little strange -I mean this beard :eek:

Every single icon I've seen (dozens) of St Maximus the Greek all show him with a gigantic beard. It's impossible to mistake him for any other saint. He must have been quite a sight when he was alive!  :eek:  :laugh:
 

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i bet he had to carefully wash and examine his beard on the last day before great lent, to make sure there were no particles of cheese or fish hidden inside!

:p
 

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Michał Kalina said:
88Devin12, I often argue with LBK, I agree in some cases she has unreal and idealistic views on iconography, however in this case I support her. You can't chose things from the Tradition you like or not, Orthodox faith is not some kind of jigsaw. Either you accept it, or not.

And please, read less books. They do not help learn faith either.
Just an English FYI: When you have a count noun like "books," you would use "fewer" instead of "less." "Less" is used for things that can't be exactly quantified, like "water," although you could have fewer liters of water. Native speakers screw this up pretty often, and it's not a huge deal,  but it's a personal annoyance, and I thought you might appreciate learning the distinction.
 

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That person said:
Michał Kalina said:
88Devin12, I often argue with LBK, I agree in some cases she has unreal and idealistic views on iconography, however in this case I support her. You can't chose things from the Tradition you like or not, Orthodox faith is not some kind of jigsaw. Either you accept it, or not.

And please, read less books. They do not help learn faith either.
Just an English FYI: When you have a count noun like "books," you would use "fewer" instead of "less." "Less" is used for things that can't be exactly quantified, like "water," although you could have fewer liters of water. Native speakers screw this up pretty often, and it's not a huge deal,  but it's a personal annoyance, and I thought you might appreciate learning the distinction.
ty
 

LizaSymonenko

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So, what about this one?

It seems strange to me only because Joachim and Anna are embracing....and above them is the Theotokos - as if she existed prior to them conceiving her.

It also looks like they are praying to her, in order to conceive a child.

Does it seem strange to anyone else?



Maybe, I am just reading too much in to it.



 

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LizaSymonenko said:
So, what about this one?

It seems strange to me only because Joachim and Anna are embracing....and above them is the Theotokos - as if she existed prior to them conceiving her.

It also looks like they are praying to her, in order to conceive a child.

Does it seem strange to anyone else?



Maybe, I am just reading too much in to it.
Yes, something's wrong with that.
 

LBK

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Michał Kalina said:
LizaSymonenko said:
So, what about this one?

It seems strange to me only because Joachim and Anna are embracing....and above them is the Theotokos - as if she existed prior to them conceiving her.

It also looks like they are praying to her, in order to conceive a child.

Does it seem strange to anyone else?



Maybe, I am just reading too much in to it.
Yes, something's wrong with that.
What is also problematic is the presence of the marital bed in the background. It is unnecessary, and a feature that is practically absent from the traditional historic iconography of this feast. It seems to have appeared only in recent years. I have also seen this feature in some contemporary icons of the Conception of St John the Baptist.
 

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NicholasMyra said:
I guess the Theotokos is their thought/desire bubble in that icon.
Or being cleansed from Original Sin at the moment of conception ;)
 

LBK

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LizaSymonenko said:
...as compared to this one...

The presence of Christ blessing, not the Mother of God, in the upper border is a great improvement on the first composition. However, there are a couple of errors in this one as well: St Joachim was an aged man at the time, so his hair and beard should be white or gray, not brown. The same error is seen in the first image, which also shows St Anna as youthful. The crowns above the buildings on the left and right are a motif expressing martyrdom (the expression "crown of martyrdom" is frequently used liturgically and in the lives of saints), such as seen in icons of the 40 Martyrs of Sebaste, or in icons of other martyrs where an angel is seen holding a crown above the saint's head. Sts Joachim and Anna lived to old age, they did not die as martyrs.
 

LBK

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NicholasMyra said:
I assumed the crowns represented that their house would become associated with royalty.
Understandable, but not the case. The usual iconographic way of showing someone is of noble birth is by their clothing: elaborate cuffs and necklines, and sometimes decorated outer garments. People of high birth who forsake their wealth and privilege for a life of poverty or monasticism are shown wearing plain outer garments in drab colors, while the neckline and cuffs of their inner tunic are decorated.
 

LizaSymonenko

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Wow!  LBK, you are so smart!  I never knew that about the crowns.

You are definitely my go-to person when it comes to icons!
 

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LBK said:
NicholasMyra said:
I assumed the crowns represented that their house would become associated with royalty.
Understandable, but not the case. The usual iconographic way of showing someone is of noble birth is by their clothing: elaborate cuffs and necklines, and sometimes decorated outer garments. People of high birth who forsake their wealth and privilege for a life of poverty or monasticism are shown wearing plain outer garments in drab colors, while the neckline and cuffs of their inner tunic are decorated.
However, were not Anna and Joachim of the line of David?
 

LBK

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Maria said:
LBK said:
NicholasMyra said:
I assumed the crowns represented that their house would become associated with royalty.
Understandable, but not the case. The usual iconographic way of showing someone is of noble birth is by their clothing: elaborate cuffs and necklines, and sometimes decorated outer garments. People of high birth who forsake their wealth and privilege for a life of poverty or monasticism are shown wearing plain outer garments in drab colors, while the neckline and cuffs of their inner tunic are decorated.
However, were not Anna and Joachim of the line of David?
Joachim was from David's line, Anna from Aaron's. Being that as it may, the crowns in the second image posted speak of martyrdom, not of noble birth. Their presence in the image distorts what the Church teaches about these two saints.

Here are examples of historic icons of the Forty Martyrs of Sebaste which show martyr's crowns floating in mid-air:





 

LizaSymonenko

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....so, what about this one?




....and is it okay for the Theotokos to wear the "crown"?  I've heard that is a RC invention, and that the Orthodox shun away from placing a crown on her head?

Is that true?



 

LBK

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That one was posted recently in the Schlock Icons thread, starting with this post:

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,47878.msg893114.html#msg893114
 

LizaSymonenko

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Got it!  Thanks!

I'm glad the "crown" is allowed.  We've got a really pretty icon in our church, where she's wearing a crown.



 

LBK

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LizaSymonenko said:
Got it!  Thanks!

I'm glad the "crown" is allowed.  We've got a really pretty icon in our church, where she's wearing a crown.
It's not that crowns are actually prohibited, but they are an unnecessary addition which adds nothing useful or edifying to what is being expressed in the icon. In some cases, the combination of an elaborately-decorated riza/oklad and sumptuous crowns on both the Virgin's and Child's heads, turns the icon into a gaudy, glittering bauble, rather than a work of gravitas, stillness, and spiritual power. The covering of all but the faces and hands of the Virgin and Child also robs the icon of much of the detail which expresses and proclaims what the Church teaches.
 

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...and one more that was just posted on Facebook by a priestly friend.



I understand it's Tzar Nicholas, but, why is he holding the world, and why the crown of thorns?  It's as if he's being depicted as Christ.    .... I did notice the tiny crown above his head, and now know what that means thanks to LBK's post above!  :D

LBK said:
The crowns above the buildings on the left and right are a motif expressing martyrdom (the expression "crown of martyrdom" ...
 

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I believe the globe thing with the Cross sticking out of it was a symbol of royalty in some countries. You see it in old tapestries of kings of England, for instance.
 

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LizaSymonenko said:
Here's another question I have - why is her cheek bleeding?

The Iveron (Iverskaya) icon, named after the Athonite monastery, also known as Portaitissa (of the Portal) has quite a colorful history. During the ninth century, Emperor Theophilus, who was an iconoclast, ordered the wholesale destruction of icons, wherever they were. His troops would raid churches, houses, and anywhere they thought icons could be found. A soldier saw this icon of the Mother of God at a woman's house, and stabbed it with his sword. The Virgin's face immediately began to bleed, and the soldier fled in fright.

How this woman's icon found its way to Mt Athos is another, and wonderful, story.  :)

There are other icons of the Mother of God which have bled after being attacked. The Cypriot Makhairas (Of the Dagger) icon is one, where, IIRC, a Saracen attacked the icon, which bled. This miracle not only led him to repent of his act, but he was also later baptized into the Christian faith.
 

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LizaSymonenko said:
...and one more that was just posted on Facebook by a priestly friend.



I understand it's Tzar Nicholas, but, why is he holding the world, and why the crown of thorns?  It's as if he's being depicted as Christ.    .... I did notice the tiny crown above his head, and now know what that means thanks to LBK's post above!  :D

LBK said:
The crowns above the buildings on the left and right are a motif expressing martyrdom (the expression "crown of martyrdom" ...
Ah, yes, another product of the fevered imaginations of Russian ultranationalist ultramonarchist brigade, who regard the assassination of Tsar Nicholas as a "redeeming sacrifice", in the same way Christ's sacrifice redeems mankind. Vile, heretical rubbish. Schlock of the worst kind.
 

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Wow!  Nice.

We have a similar icon in our church.  I was told the story, that a man was driving his cart along a back road, and encountered a woman carrying a child, walking in the mud.  Feeling sorry for her, he stopped and offered to give her a ride.  She and her little boy, got in the back of the cart.

As he was driving along the oxen slowed, and he pulled out his whip to give them some encouragement.  As he reached back to get some speed, he felt that he had hit the woman in the back.  Fearing he had hurt her, he immediately stopped and jumped out to take a look.....she was gone, and in her place was an icon of the Mother of God, holding the Christ Child....with a bleeding cheek, where the whip had snapped at her.

 

LizaSymonenko

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LBK said:
LizaSymonenko said:
...and one more that was just posted on Facebook by a priestly friend.



I understand it's Tzar Nicholas, but, why is he holding the world, and why the crown of thorns?  It's as if he's being depicted as Christ.    .... I did notice the tiny crown above his head, and now know what that means thanks to LBK's post above!  :D

LBK said:
The crowns above the buildings on the left and right are a motif expressing martyrdom (the expression "crown of martyrdom" ...
Ah, yes, another product of the fevered imaginations of Russian ultranationalist ultramonarchist brigade, who regard the assassination of Tsar Nicholas as a "redeeming sacrifice", in the same way Christ's sacrifice redeems mankind. Vile, heretical rubbish. Schlock of the worst kind.
Thank you.  I had thought the same thing....but, wanted to make sure it wasn't the Ukrainian in me imagining things.  :D
 
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