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What is the core difference in understanding the idea of Icon between the Orthodox and Catholics?

idahoon1

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This is a question I always wanted to ask - if you could list a few important differences in how the Orthodox and Catholics perceive icons.... - what would it be?

- if an Orthodox monk or priest expresses an oppinion that "The Catholics should not be paining icons - because they don't understand them" - why is it so? (a friend has asked me about it recently - and I could not find a good answer...
 

hecma925

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They have their own ecclesial arts.
 
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I would think that the western church was painting icons when we were both in communion. Obviously their earlier icons are probably fine whereas later ones must vary. If they have icons re the sacred heart ( no disrespect) for ex, those are not Orthodox to us.
 

J Michael

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Annunciation Byzantine Catholic Church, Homer Glen, Illinois
1616717894742.png


Nice icons, eh? Eastern Catholics understand icons pretty much as Orthodox do. In fact, I'm not really aware of any significant differences.

Yes, I get that the OP was probably referring to Roman Catholics.
 
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In theory, I would say that there is no difference in their understanding. We also have wonderworking icons, like the Polish Mary of Czestochowa. And the Eastern Rite churches do everything like the orthodox in terms of practice. Yet, SADLY, we western Catholics forgot so much in the course of the centuries and through very poor catechesis. I am always telling my fellow RC's that we must learn from the east.
 

Dominika

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Annunciation Byzantine Catholic Church, Homer Glen, Illinois
View attachment 20492

Nice icons, eh? Eastern Catholics understand icons pretty much as Orthodox do. In fact, I'm not really aware of any significant differences.

Yes, I get that the OP was probably referring to Roman Catholics.
Well some Eastern Catholics have Christ with Sacred Heart, Holy Family (yes, some Orthodoxtoo unfortunately) or a lot of experiments that are interesting but tehre is a question where are the borders (see Nowica, it's mainly by Greek Catholics). And see this Greek Catholic church in Warsaw, I think even Russian synodalists wouldn't accept this painitng of the "Dormition" of the Theotokos:


 

Stinky

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Well some Eastern Catholics have Christ with Sacred Heart, Holy Family (yes, some Orthodoxtoo unfortunately) or a lot of experiments that are interesting but tehre is a question where are the borders (see Nowica, it's mainly by Greek Catholics). And see this Greek Catholic church in Warsaw, I think even Russian synodalists wouldn't accept this painitng of the "Dormition" of the Theotokos:


So exposed, I want to cover her up.
 

LizaSymonenko

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So exposed, I want to cover her up.
I totally agree. Why would you depict a woman who has been covered up her whole life, in such an exposed manner?

I would have to look away out of respect for her modesty.
 

hecma925

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For the artist, she is just a dying old woman.
 

LizaSymonenko

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This is a question I always wanted to ask - if you could list a few important differences in how the Orthodox and Catholics perceive icons.... - what would it be?

- if an Orthodox monk or priest expresses an oppinion that "The Catholics should not be paining icons - because they don't understand them" - why is it so? (a friend has asked me about it recently - and I could not find a good answer...
There are many differences between EO icons and RC images. The EO focus on the spiritual. Each icon transcribes a meaning or a message. Often body parts are not truly proportional to life... some heads are too large (wisdom), lips too small (silence), etc. Often the Christ Child held in His mother's arms, has an older face - because He is God. Perspectives are off... buildings are tiny, curtains fly around, trees are scraggly... because each is included in the icon because it plays a role to what is being depicted... but, it does not detract from the main message - Christ.

Western art is often beautiful... touching.... sweet. However, it focuses on the earthly... a voluptuous body, ruby lips, chubby cheeks, etc. This has us focus on THIS world... unlike EO icons which have us focus on the SPIRITUAL world and eternity.
 

Alveus Lacuna

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In anecdotal encounters and conversations with Latin Catholics of varying degrees of education and piety, as well as station, I have observed that there seems to be a significant difference in the approach to the sacred "visual arts", if we want to use such terminology. The reception of the seventh ecumenical council by Rome framed it in terms of the inspiration and elevation that we receive from religious depictions, they they are helpful to us in our growth and development, to my best recollection. I could not easily find a text associated with Rome's acceptance or application of the council just now.

At least as imagery/iconography has developed in Eastern Orthodoxy, it is not a supplemental or a fundamentally inessential component, but the image/icon is utterly essential and is not only basically catechetical in nature, but it is rather a highly developed ecclesiastical discipline that communicates deep theological truths often by exacting standards when compared to the freedom and individual expression in church art in the West following the Great Schism. Likewise, statuary doesn't follow any canonical standards of composition, but are rather just a general expression of the acceptance of the use of images without much going beyond church ornamentation and elevation, and a general sense of indicating the presence of the saints among us.
 
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We should keep in mind that an artistic offensive from the Catholic Church started with the Counter Reformation. All the glorious baroque art did indeed evolve in opposition to the iconoclastic Protestantism which was on the rise in Europe. The RCC intensified and supported particular styles as a propagandistic weapon (well done, I think), whereas other domains - such as music - became more or less protestant territories (cf. Johann Sebastian Bach). Therefore I'd like to emphasize that one has to bear in mind the particular challenges which the RCC was facing when certain styles were developed.
 

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havent read any book on the matter, even didnt read an essay as matter of fact, but think that we had have same trajectory as Sacred Art eg. Mosaics and Frescoes till Saint Justinian I, later probably finance was in question in west till the emergence of the venetian republic which through the western universities revived the realistic art and lead to renaissance, in mean time some RCC Temples were painted some not , and think that when the architecture started to fractalize as styles experiments all accent fell to stone carving in the Cathedrals while Icons got usually side level, what is important from this aspect is the emergence of Iconostasis on the east what didnt happened on west and simply that fastened the need and place of Icons in OC Church ... not sure just whether till the schism the Icon and Fresco painters accepted as on east so as on west same canons for the artistic expression ...
 

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For what it's worth, I have always preferred Icons over statues or other imagery personally...and prefer Icons considered canonical and orthodox by both Catholic and Orthodox Christians. No sense in having more impediments and disagreements.
 
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