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Crowns?


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#1 Ben Johnson

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Posted 02 November 2013 - 04:40 PM

Hello

 

     On another forum, there is a discussion about crowns in the afterlife, such as the Crown of Life, the Crown of Righteousness, the Incorruptible Crown, etc.  I have on occasion heard protestant pastors speak of this, but I have not heard of it in any of my Orthodox services or studies.  I was wondering if this is a uniquely protestant idea, or do the Church Fathers say anything about this?  To me it sounds protestant, but that is just a guess.



#2 Rdr Daniel (R.)

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Posted 02 November 2013 - 05:33 PM

The only thing which pops in to my head is the Troparion for the martyrs,

 

Thy Martyrs, O Lord, in their courageous contest for Thee received as the prize the crowns of incorruption and life from Thee, our immortal God. For since they possessed Thy strength, they cast down the tyrants and wholly destroyed the demons' strengthless presumption. O Christ God, by their prayers, save our souls, since Thou art merciful. - Holy Transfiguration Monastery

 

In Christ.

Daniel,



#3 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 02 November 2013 - 05:42 PM

Although these terms appear in the NT epistles, I have not heard the terms used as given in Orthodox spiritual reading.  The concept of the crown as something gained by struggle and martyrdom is, though, very common.  St John Chrysostom mentions crowns a number of times in his Homily on St Ignatius and counts five crowns.



#4 Herman Blaydoe

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Posted 02 November 2013 - 09:37 PM

Crowns are certainly not unknown to Orthodoxy. We talk about the crowns of martyrdom,  this is why crowns are a part of the marriage ceremony, as a symbol that the husband and wife are martyrs to each other. The bishop wears a mitre which is a crown to signify his authority. The Theotokos is often shown in iconography with a crown. But we realize this is merely a symbol. Orthodoxy realizes that neither crowns nor halos (which is also a sort of crown) are actually handed out at the "Pearly Gates". We don't talk all that much about what happens in Heaven beyond what is spoken of in Scripture, we are more concerned about getting there than what happens once we do.



#5 Lakis Papas

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Posted 02 November 2013 - 10:25 PM

The patristic language is using the term "wreath". In the ancient world, wreaths were used as an adornment that could represent a person’s occupation, rank, their achievements and status. Laurel wreaths were used to crown victorious athletes at the original Olympic Games, following a greek myth that Apollo wore a wreath of laurel on his head.
 
When ancient listeners listen church fathers presented saints as receiving a special precious wreath by God, they perceived a very familiar image with a very strong symbolism.


#6 Lakis Papas

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Posted 02 November 2013 - 10:28 PM

... halos (which is also a sort of crown) ...

 

I think that halos has to do with the "uncreated light" which is the Glory of God. I think it has no relation to crowns.



#7 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 02 November 2013 - 11:19 PM

'Crowns' may be taken to allude to theosis, the blessing conferred upon the victor in the contest either in this life or the next or both.  In that sense, the halo is a crown insomuch as it betokens God's grace bestowed upon one who has overcome and to whom the Lord has drawn nigh.



#8 Kosta

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Posted 03 November 2013 - 12:22 AM

Crowns are simply symbolic of victory. If you successfully finish the race you are rewarded with a crown. As Lakis points out athletes who were victorious were crowned with a wreath. Martyrs were the ultimate victors, dying in this life but receiving the royal crown in the next life.

#9 Olga

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Posted 03 November 2013 - 02:44 AM

'Crowns' may be taken to allude to theosis, the blessing conferred upon the victor in the contest either in this life or the next or both.  In that sense, the halo is a crown insomuch as it betokens God's grace bestowed upon one who has overcome and to whom the Lord has drawn nigh.

 

The Greek word for the halo in an icon is photostephanon - literally, "crown or wreath of light".



#10 Father David Moser

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Posted 03 November 2013 - 04:59 AM

Crowns are certainly not unknown to Orthodoxy. We talk about the crowns of martyrdom,  this is why crowns are a part of the marriage ceremony, as a symbol that the husband and wife are martyrs to each other.

The way I usually put it is that the husband and wife are martyred on the cross of their spouse.

Fr David



#11 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 03 November 2013 - 08:29 AM

The Greek word for the halo in an icon is photostephanon - literally, "crown or wreath of light".

 

Is there a word in Greek for the actual halo (itself from the Greek ἅλως) - the unnatural light - which may be seen around the face and head of a living person as opposed to the depiction in an icon?  I think the word 'halo' serves for both in English (though the Latin word 'nimbus' can be used).



#12 Olga

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Posted 03 November 2013 - 09:14 AM

Is there a word in Greek for the actual halo (itself from the Greek ἅλως) - the unnatural light - which may be seen around the face and head of a living person as opposed to the depiction in an icon?  I think the word 'halo' serves for both in English (though the Latin word 'nimbus' can be used).

 

The other English word which could be used for such luminescence is aura. Greek has two meanings for αύρα: a light breeze (the more common usage), and halo (φωτοστέφανον). Therefore, this word could be used for the mysterious illumination of both living people and holy ones departed from earthly life.



#13 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 03 November 2013 - 01:42 PM

I wondered about 'aura' but the OED has this:

 

A supposed subtle emanation from and enveloping living persons and things, viewed by mystics as consisting of the essence of the individual, serving as the medium for the operation of mesmeric and similar influences.

 

which is not, of course, an Orthodox understanding of that word.  (Perhaps OED should be informed!) 



#14 Bryan J. Maloney

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Posted 17 April 2014 - 05:35 PM

I'd like to note that, among Southern Baptists, at least, some use "crown" in a symbolic sense just like they do not believe that Christians need to lug around actual wooden crosses. There are others, however, who insist they will receive literal physical crowns, and they will be decorated commensurate with their meritoriousness.






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