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Icons in the bathroom


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#21 Lakis Papas

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Posted 17 March 2016 - 06:44 PM

I apologize for the repetitive post. Obviously something went wrong.

#22 Algernon

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Posted 17 March 2016 - 08:04 PM

Let me emphasize, there is a reason for not putting Holy Icon in inappropriate places.
 

Okay, but what I'm trying to get to is why a restroom is inappropriate. We're not talking about a brothel or a crack house or any other place that is specifically established to propagate sin. It's a bathroom, where natural, normal, not-sinful things take place. So why should there not be an icon there?



#23 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 17 March 2016 - 08:36 PM

Algernon, the rest of us know that it is a matter of simple propriety. I actually disagree with Lakis about taking an icon into and out of the bathroom; if a bishop removes his panagia at such a time, surely we must be equally respectful. Though natural functions are not sinful, they have no place in our efforts to approach theosis, and in scripture, the results of natural functions are used as a metaphor for uncleanness, filth, pollution, and defilement and by extension to moral and spiritual impurity; furthermore, the ancient equivalent of the bathroom was a metaphor for a wretched condition (for example as with Job). I think it is unseemly to labour the matter further: you should accept what has been said, though, as has been pointed out, ask your priest and see what he says. The topic is wholly unsuited to the first week of Great Lent.



#24 Rdr Daniel (R.)

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Posted 17 March 2016 - 10:07 PM

Okay, but what I'm trying to get to is why a restroom is inappropriate. We're not talking about a brothel or a crack house or any other place that is specifically established to propagate sin. It's a bathroom, where natural, normal, not-sinful things take place. So why should there not be an icon there?

I don't think there is a issue with sin here, the issue is with holiness. When we call something holy in a sense we are marking it out as being sacred, as a result there is a separation between the sacred and the profane - in the general sense of the word i.e. the non-sacred. Going to the toilet is a natural function of the body, albeit human nature is fallen, human waste is generally seen as related to corruption as it is by nature a waste substance and transmits disease ect... The issue then is the bathroom is a room set aside for dealing with waste, icons religious books ect... are set aside to God, it is a case of taking the sacred into a profane space, it is similar to taking waste into a church. Now in practice there may be instances where taking an icon in to a bathroom is appropriate -without going into too much details it could be necessary for some men suffering from certain temptations which manifest themselves in private-  likewise waste might enter a church -for example a baby might need changing- but this does not mean either situation is really appropriate. 


Edited by Rdr Daniel (R.), 17 March 2016 - 10:36 PM.


#25 Olga

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Posted 17 March 2016 - 10:09 PM

I apologize for the repetitive post. Obviously something went wrong.

 

No problem, Lakis. The extra posts have now been deleted. :)



#26 Father David Moser

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Posted 18 March 2016 - 02:09 PM


 

Okay, but what I'm trying to get to is why a restroom is inappropriate. We're not talking about a brothel or a crack house or any other place that is specifically established to propagate sin. It's a bathroom, where natural, normal, not-sinful things take place. So why should there not be an icon there?

 

But these things are not "natural, normal," things - nor are they even "not-sinful" things.  The excretion of waste products is only "normal" in the animal like bodies with which we were clothed as a result of the fall.  This is not "normal" to our created (and eventually to our restored) state.  That we do these things at all is a result of sin.  Agreed that these things are not "sins" but they are the exclusive result of sin, the consequences of sin.  When we do this, we are of necessity acting "like animals" which behavior is the direct consequence of the fall.

 

There are, I think, some enlightening comments in the commentary of St Thephan on Ps 118 Vs 3 where he includes comments regarding Rom 7:20 and 6:12:-13.  In these comments he makes the point that sin resides in us and acts in us, but we become participants of that sin only when we cooperate with us.  Thus we have passionate desires and urgings that arise in us "normally" that are sinful but unless we act in accordance with them with our will, we remain without sin.  In this case we have bestial behaviors acting in us that are the consequence of sin, but unless we willfully act in accordance with those bestial behaviors (we act "like a beast, nay worse than a beast") then we do not sin.  So one could thing of those things which are "natural, normal, not-sinful" things that are in us as a result of the fall as an expression of the sinful nature that lives within us (what St Paul might call the "old man" against which we struggle). 

 

We do not "sanctify" those things which belong to sin, rather we leave them behind so that we might sanctify that which is free from sin.

 

Fr David Moser



#27 Loucas

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Posted 18 March 2016 - 06:27 PM

So, I am lost. The objection to displaying an icon in the bathroom is with regard to sanctifying that room and the activities therein. What about having nothing to do with trying to sanctify a place, but wanting to make ALL places have something that brings the mind and heart back from wandering? It is sinful to place an Icon in a greasy automotive garage to glance at during the work day. Or in a greedy money making office to help one be humble, or any room in the house to remind you of what really counts?



#28 Lakis Papas

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Posted 18 March 2016 - 07:09 PM

Icons actually have a place in worship. Public places and private homes/offices are not suitable for Holy Icons. Unless, we extend the worship to these places.

Do not take me wrong. I have icons in my house and in my office, but this is not a decoration.

Icons are images of our friends. But we should not get too familiar with them. We should show respect, because our friends are carriers of the Spirit. Therefore, we should honor them. By honoring their images we honor the prototypes and actually we honor God.

And for my understanding this is important: icons are not useful. They are grace-full.

#29 Loucas

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Posted 18 March 2016 - 07:42 PM

So to my point, placing an icon in any room or in the garden on in the work place or where ever, not done with disrespect or as a piece of art or simply because it looks good there, but with deep respect KNOWING that if your mind and heart wanders and your eye catches the icon( in every place you have it) your mind and heart return to God. Maybe why the Fathers of the Church decreed the be in the homes and work places and roadsides.



#30 Loucas

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Posted 18 March 2016 - 07:44 PM

I don't have any Icon's in my bathroom, not even one, large or small. I know I defecate there, but I clean myself there also outside, so as the Lord said, can I not clean myself inside there as well?



#31 Algernon

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Posted 21 March 2016 - 09:07 AM

But these things are not "natural, normal," things - nor are they even "not-sinful" things.  The excretion of waste products is only "normal" in the animal like bodies with which we were clothed as a result of the fall.  This is not "normal" to our created (and eventually to our restored) state.  That we do these things at all is a result of sin.  Agreed that these things are not "sins" but they are the exclusive result of sin, the consequences of sin.  When we do this, we are of necessity acting "like animals" which behavior is the direct consequence of the fall.

 

There are, I think, some enlightening comments in the commentary of St Thephan on Ps 118 Vs 3 where he includes comments regarding Rom 7:20 and 6:12:-13.  In these comments he makes the point that sin resides in us and acts in us, but we become participants of that sin only when we cooperate with us.  Thus we have passionate desires and urgings that arise in us "normally" that are sinful but unless we act in accordance with them with our will, we remain without sin.  In this case we have bestial behaviors acting in us that are the consequence of sin, but unless we willfully act in accordance with those bestial behaviors (we act "like a beast, nay worse than a beast") then we do not sin.  So one could thing of those things which are "natural, normal, not-sinful" things that are in us as a result of the fall as an expression of the sinful nature that lives within us (what St Paul might call the "old man" against which we struggle). 

 

We do not "sanctify" those things which belong to sin, rather we leave them behind so that we might sanctify that which is free from sin.

 

Fr David Moser

Thank you, Father. I appreciate your comments and don't take issue with any of it. I would only ask, if we avoid placing icons in bathrooms because what happens in them is a result of sin, should we not also avoid placing icons in hospital rooms, police stations, military vehicles and other places that exist only because of sin?



#32 Jim McQuiggin

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Posted 21 March 2016 - 01:11 PM

First of all a disclaimer: my wife is an iconoclastic Evangelical Protestant so I don't have icons throughout the house - just a small shelf near my computer.

 

As I've read through this thread, I had to ask myself, "Would I invite my patron saint - if he were here in the flesh today - to join me in the bathroom?" Clearly not. So why would I want his icon there? However, I do agree that there is merit in placing something there as a reminder of one's faith - perhaps a simple cross, or maybe a mounted (and framed) print of the Jesus prayer or another short prayer, or maybe just a picture of a majestic view of earth or the heavens that declare the glory of God.



#33 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 21 March 2016 - 01:29 PM

How about a photo of an evaporating gaseous globule?



#34 Father David Moser

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Posted 21 March 2016 - 05:07 PM

Jim,

 

The image of the cross is indeed an icon in itself - so by all means use it as such, especially if your wife is accepting to its presence.  You can also certainly use framed printed prayers as decorations and reminders, however, to elevate them above "reminders" and to use them in place of icons is quite reminiscent to me of the Moslem practice of using elaborate calligraphy rather than pictures.

 

Algernon,

Perhaps it is because of need of God's especial help in these kinds of situations.

 

Fr David



#35 Jeremiah

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Posted 18 May 2016 - 02:49 PM

Converting from Orthodox Judaism to Orthodoxy Christianity, I have seen that there are a whole lot of things that we do that the Jews did in Temple times as well as today. 

 

This particular OT is one of those things that we "inherited" from Judaism. Even if one denies it because it's "Jewish" in origin, it doesn't change the uncanny similarity between the two. 

 

One of the first questions I asked my priest was about icons in the bathroom. Why I asked that question was because, as a Jew, we didn't bring holy things (Torah, tefillin, talits, etc.) into the bath/washroom. These things were forbidden around feces and urine based on the verses of Deuteronomy 23:13-15 ("And you should… cover up your excrement, and your camp shall be holy").

 

The Priest, answered my question, by saying, "No." No icons were to be in the bathroom. The priest didn't use the Bible or Judaism as support for his reasoning, he simply said "No." And, that was good enough for me, probably because of my background.

 

On a side note, because I was already used to kissing holy things, I asked if I should kiss the cross (necklace) when I take it off. He answered, "Yes. We kiss our pectoral crosses when we take them off and put them on." 

 

Some traditions have been carried out for so long, that we don't remember why we do them anymore. My opinion, based on my background, is that this is true about the OT.






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