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DISCOVERING THE ICON

INTRODUCTION

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                                            Chapter One
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In recent years, I have come across many young members of the Orthodox Church who have been influenced by other western Christian organizations into thinking that venerating Icons is a form of idolatry. Because of their lack of knowledge, they do not know how to reply to these false allegations, and therefore become confused and the seeds of doubt are sown in their minds. They begin to accept the arguments put to them by these organizations, and this in turn reflects on their whole attitude toward the Church, her worship and her belief.

 

With the older generations, it was accepted that one should believe and not ask questions on how the Church had founded her beliefs and worship. Many of the older generation grew up in small towns or villages where the Orthodox Church was the national and state religion and had an important role in the whole life of the community. There was little outside influence to distract them from their simple lifestyles and even education was not considered as essential as it is today. Most of the people had a very basic education or none at all and those who went on to further education were very few. Their social and festive life was centred around the Church festivals and so the Church became the guiding force in their whole way of life. Their simple and innocent quality incorporated a steadfast faith, and whether or not they understood the full teaching of the Church, it was strong enough to accept everything the Church did without having the need to ask questions.

 

Nowadays with greater education, television, multi-racial and multi-religious societies, we have lost this simplicity of old. Our complex lifestyles have broadened our minds, and with this, there has arisen the need for logical explanations to understand and accept the teachings of the Church.

 

There are many good books in English covering the explanation of icons, but the majority cater either for the very young or for people who already understand something about Icons and the Theology of the Church. Often these books take on a very comprehensive and complex form, using terminology or words that the ordinary person cannot understand. In this small book, I have tried to keep to a simple language, and where I have found it necessary to introduce theological terminology, or words that are not often used in normal daily life, I have tried [where possible] to give an explanation in the text or in the appendix at the back of the book.

 

This book is not intended for the very young, but rather for practising Christians who wish to know more about the Icon, and more so, for the multitude of young adults who have been brought up in the west, and while still believing in God, have distanced themselves from the Church because of a language barrier or society’s general outlook on religion. I hope that it serves to answer some of the many questions that may have arisen in their youthful and inquiring minds and that it will help them to cross the bridge over the dangerous and rapid waters of our modern life, to discover the truth and wisdom of the Church.

 

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