The idea that there is a "few" fathers that interpreted the Ancient of Days in Daniel 7 is false. The website I provided clearly shows that in fact that extremely few if any at all interpreted the Ancient of Days in Daniel 7 as the Son. The few Church fathers you quote as saying the Ancient of Days was incarnate was not in reference at all to Daniel 7. That's like saying when we call Christ the Pantocrator, that's in reference to the Creed. That's a very troubling notion. We need to DIFFERENTIATE between calling Christ the Ancient of Days and the vision reported in Daniel 7, which according to "consensus Patrum" (which is somewhat a flawed concept in my opinion, as we have seen with the Nephilim in another thread, but entertaining that logic), is the Father, NOT the Son.
With that being said, I haven't seen Kosta use the argument of "consensus Patrum", but if that would be an argument, then you would be surprised to find there is no real consensus, and if there is, the burden of proof actually supports the Ancient of Days IN DANIEL 7 being the Father.
Naming of churches or feasts is an interesting argument. I would argue that the Trinity is celebrated in every feast. The Incarnation involved the Trinity (the Holy Spirit came upon her, and power of the Father overshadowing), the Nativity involved the Trinity, and the Resurrection as well (there are verses that say the Father raised the Son, another verse ascribing the Resurrection of Christ by the Holy Spirit, and another verse alluding to the fact that Christ rose Himself). The Pentecost also involves the Trinity, as the Holy Spirit, which proceeds from the Father is sent by the Son. We have prayers in the Coptic tradition, some fractions addressed as prayers to the Son while others are addressed as prayers to the Father, and in the rubric of our liturgies, our liturgies can either be prayed to the Father or to the Son. We have extremely few prayers addressed to the Holy Spirit. At the moment, I can only think of one.
I'd be interested to know if there are any ancient Churches named after an event of Christ, Christ, or the Holy Spirit? For us as Copts, we practically have none of that. We have churches named after saints only.
Bear with me. I know you've been very patient with me discussing this.
St. Cyril if you look closely in the Scholia really only talks about the Son of Man. He says here that it's not merely "man" He is called, but "Son of Man" to allude to his eternal existence before. St. Cyril is actually saying the phrase "Son of Man" alludes to something mysterious about this person as being more than "man", and in the context of the verse, what was given this Son of Man? "dominion and honour and a kingdom, and all peoples nations and languages shall serve Him: His Power a Power for ever which shall not pass, and His Kingdom shall not be destroyed". Here the Son of Man approaches the Kingdom of the Ancient of Days receiving the same Kingdom the Ancient of Days has, which shows indeed His equal and eternal nature with the Father. Yes, we can say by nature, the Son of Man, Christ that is, is also the Ancient of Days. So I agree with the Church fathers who say that the Ancient of Days was incarnate into a child. There is nothing wrong with saying that, and your quote from the Shephard of Hermes does not change anything in the argument. Just as there's nothing wrong with saying Christ is the Pantocrator. In fact, according to Isaiah 9:5, we can even call Christ "everlasting Father" even though He and the Father are distinct hypostases. But just because we call Christ (and possibly the Holy Spirit) Ancient of Days, Pantocrator, and everlasting Father, does that mean that Daniel 7, the Creed, and Isaiah talked about something other than what the Church fathers talked about?
Now you allude to two other arguments concerning why we shouldn't have the icon of the Father as Ancient of Days: absence of evidence and icons that depict symbols of the Holy Spirit within historical context.
Your argument concerning the non-existence of icons is interesting. As we know, icons were not a very popular commodity to have, either that or they were destroyed and we have little survived from before the fifth century. Very very very few icons or iconographic figures exist as good ancient of examples of "canonicity". I'd venture to say iconography evolved into the "canonical" forms we have today. What is there to say iconography won't evolve into something more? And just as Olga alluded to concerning absence of evidence, I'd like to know are there any ancient churches named after events of Christ, or Christ, or the Holy Spirit? If there aren't then this also calls into question the "canonical" practice of naming churches today. Should churches be named only after saints? Should churches be named after places? Just because there was no mention of icons does not mean it's uncanonical. There's no mention of how we should do the sign of the Cross before a certain time either. Should it be right to left, or left to right? Should we use the Christogram or three fingers?
You also allude to "historical fact" as exceptions to the rule of depicting certain figures in the icons. If that is true, then we shouldn't snip pieces of "historical fact" and put it icons, as you stated. We shouldn't depict the presence of the Holy Spirit as dove apart from the Baptism at Jordan. For consistencies sake, then the icon you showed me of the 11th Century is indeed questionable. But then what about revelatory icons? Christ the Pantocrator icons might be argued as uncanonical because this isn't a historical icon but a revelatory icon. The seven-horned, seven-eyed Lamb of God depicted in the book of Revelations, as you also mentioned in the Trullo canon, would also be condemned. Then, the Ancient of Days is also revelatory and just because we have plenty of Patristic evidence, NOT A FEW, that can interpret such revelation as the Father doesn't make it right to draw it either. So, really, then, ANYTHING revelatory is wrong. How can we draw Christ sitting on a throne, or "the right hand of the Father" if these are not historical but revelatory. Unless, you would argue that revelatory is historical, in which case, then once again, the rules of iconography would seem arbitrary. Should anything written in the Scriptures should be, excuse the inappropriateness of the phrase, "fair game"? Or only history?
I am optimistic as the population becomes more educated the NT Trinity icon will become extinct. (Notice how its called NT Trinity and not Daniel's Trinity). Its simply a mockery to the Holy Spirit to attempt to depict it as a bird. Its unsophisticated and theologically immature. By the way, it is forbidden to use symbols as substitutes for that which has a hypostasis in Canon 82 of Trullo and in the Synodikon.
Two things I'd like to comment on here. One, the perceived mockery of the Holy Spirit as a "bird". I think this is a poorly worded statement. If it's a mockery, why then was it pictured for us in the gospels in the Theophany at Jordan? Are the gospels mocking the Holy Spirit? Perhaps, we can say, theologically, anything we say about the divinity of the Trinity is a mockery in truth, for what we say will limit God, and silence would seem to be the best option for depicting the true essence of the divine nature. But inasmuch as we are limited in our natures, all we say and do have limitations. We can simply give depictions or say things about God with disclaimers of what our depictions or what we say is not, and so balance our depictions and writings with a cataphatic understanding of God.
Your argument concerning context of history is well-received, but your description of the depiction as a mockery only adds more questions as to whether you consider the gospels mocking the Holy Spirit.
The second thing: Trullo's Canon 82, which I find it both odd and interesting. Earlier, you argue the absence of evidence concerning icons of the Father, and now you argue for a canon that disallowed from henceforth any icons of a lamb depicting Christ, despite the fact that these icons have ancient precedence. This raises the question then why? Was it because of some perceived canonical rules of drawing icons that were passed down by oral tradition? Or was there something else going on, such as a wrongful veneration and interpretation of these particular icons? If the latter, then it only increases strength to the idea that iconography rules change based on the offenses it causes in its cultural and historical context, not some pre-perceived iconographical rules.
To leave no question unanswered, from what I understand, there is no Coptic icon of the Father in ancient history. There are ancient Ethiopian icons of the Trinity, as three "Ancient of Days" equal figures, giving the blessing with the Christogram in their hands. That's pretty much the extent of iconography I know with the Coptic Church and associated areas. Despite separation from Chalcedon, I do believe a lot of our iconographical tradition is consonant with Roman imperial rules, not because of a pre-Chalcedonian tradition, but in fact, post-Chalcedonian involvement with even Chalcedonian churches in understanding what our architecture should be. We also have the tradition of Christ the Pantocrator giving the Christogram, and we have iconostases, all of which are Roman imperial cultural expressions of Church internal architecture and iconographical style. Some of our iconostases on the other hand however seem to either have symbols rather than icons embedded in them, or in a few cases rather than Christ the Pantocrator icon on the right and Theotokos on the left, it would be the Theophany icon on the right, Theotokos on the left, and Christ the Pantocrator in the middle, forming a sort of "Deisis Iconostasis".
Perhaps, one can wonder what iconographical traditions were outside the empire, such as the Armenian and Syriac-associated churches which were on the edge of the empire.
As you can see, I value consistency more than anything. I believe our Church dogmas are consistent. But in the area of iconology, I find the "canons" arbitrary.
Edited by Mina Soliman, 26 February 2013 - 07:21 PM.