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Daniel 7:13: Is Christ the Son of Man AND the Ancient of Days?


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#41 Moses Anthony

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Posted 12 January 2015 - 04:36 AM

So there's been an ongoing debate over the depiction of, and, meaning of The Ancient of Days in icons, even among Church Fathers.  As Kostas (sp) would point out, since it is impossible to depict in writing an icon, what a "...voice from heaven...." would look like, any such representation would be invalid.  But then; if in point of fact "I and the Father are one.", and "He who has seen me has seen the Father", and "He is the radiance of his glory, and the exact representation of His nature", how are they to be refuted in defense of not depicting any image of God the Father in icons. Is The Holy Trinity not a depiction of the godhead?  I've read posts in this thread, but not all of them minutely; so, forgive me if I'm rehashing a point already covered. 


Edited by Olga, 12 January 2015 - 06:24 AM.
Changed font size for ease of reading


#42 Kosta

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Posted 12 January 2015 - 06:50 AM

We represent Christ in those very same images.  Depictions of God the Father only came into existence when the icon school of Novorgod was transfered to Moscow in 1500. You will not find icons depicting God the Father in the Byzantine sphere (Greek, Antiochan etc) that pre-date 1750.

 

   In fact many icons in which some believe are depictions of God the Father are simply mistaken to be (as I pointed out one example in my previous post. They are actually of Christ. For example ever notice that in many russian icons supposedly depicting the Father,  the design in the halo is identical to that other unusual russian icon called the Sophia of God?   Its basically a depiction of an angel symbolic of Christ in a pre-incarnate state:

 

P4976.jpg

 

 

Now here is another ancient russian icon supposedly depicting the Father:  Whatever happened to the white hair and beard? Why does he look exactly like Christ and why is the design of the halo the same as the above icon? Because its not a depiction of God the Father!

 

icon22.jpg



#43 Kosta

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Posted 12 January 2015 - 07:03 AM

There are also icons in the russian tradition known as Paternity icons. These icons were eventually mistaken to be depictions of the Father when the center of icon painting was transfered from Novgorod to Moscow. In reality this icon depicted Christ as a youth and as the Ancient of Days. In fact its similiar to the icon above where a youthful Christ is depicted right below Christ as Ancient of Days.  To find out what this icon is about see post #24 which explains it. Here is the earliest Novgorod image of this icon note the unmistakable cross in the halo :

 

 icon21.jpg



#44 Kosta

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Posted 12 January 2015 - 07:58 AM

Basically what I'm saying is all those that defend God the Father depictions are actually defending icons either NOT representing God the Father at all (or are defending icons that either don't exist or ones where the iconographer was simply mistaken as to the theme of the icon).

 

  Just look at the stjonah.org site of Fr John Whiteford who attempts to defend God the Father depictions.  He displays an icon depicting the 'vision of Daniel' in which both images are actually of Christ!  And that same image is the less popular image of the theme found in Daniel.  The better known image is the Last Judgement icon where the 'fiery stream' comes forth from the throne of Christ (DAN 7.10).  There is a 12th century version of this Judgement icon found in St Katherine's, all others follow the same pattern and its always Christ depicted even though its depicting the vision of Daniel 7.9-10:

 

 

10191-0.jpg (430×583)


Edited by Kosta, 12 January 2015 - 08:00 AM.


#45 Olga

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Posted 12 January 2015 - 09:21 AM

A note on the first image Kosta posted:

 

The imagery of a pre-incarnate Christ, depicted as an androgynous winged angel, and inscribed Angel of Blessed Silence or Holy Wisdom, is not suitable for veneration. Depicting Christ in prefigurative or symbolic form is deficient at expressing the fullness of the revelation of God as shown in the Incarnation.

 

The Church's position on such imagery is clear. Canon 82 of the Seventh Ecumenical Council has this to say:

In certain reproductions of venerable images, the Forerunner is pictured pointing to the lamb with his finger. This representation was adopted as a symbol of grace. It was a hidden figure of that true Lamb who is Christ our God, shown to us according to the Law. Having thus welcomed these ancient figures and shadows as symbols of the truth transmitted to the Church, we prefer today grace and truth themselves, as a fulfilment of the Law. Therefore, in order to expose the sight of all, at least with the help of painting, that which is perfect, we decree that henceforth, Christ our God be represented in His human form, and not in the form of the ancient lamb. We understand this to be the elevation of the humility of God the Word, and we are led to remembering His life in the flesh, His Passion, His salvific death, and thus, deliverance which took place for the world.

It is not only possible, but necessary, to represent Christ in His human form, not in any symbolic form, in order to repudiate Arianism, Nestorianism and other heresies which do not regard Him as fully human and fully God. Thus, while Christ is variously described in Scripture and liturgically in symbolic terms (one only has to look at the hymn God is With Us, sung at Great Compline for a good range of these), Canon 82 is clear on this. Christ is not to be portrayed as a "personification" of an attribute of His, such as Angel of Great Counsel/Blessed Silence, or Holy Wisdom, etc.

 

This post from an old thread is also useful.



#46 Dimitris

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Posted 12 January 2015 - 10:07 AM

Also, regarding the "icon" posted by Kosta: Even if it does not intend to portray God the Father, but claims to portray the Ancient of Days, let us not forget it is NOT right to depict the the Holy Spirit as dove, except in the Theophany icon.



#47 Olga

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Posted 12 January 2015 - 10:30 AM

Also, regarding the "icon" posted by Kosta: Even if it does not intend to portray God the Father, but claims to portray the Ancient of Days, let us not forget it is NOT right to depict the the Holy Spirit as dove, except in the Theophany icon.

 

Very true. The Holy Spirit has manifested in visible form in specific ways at specific times: like a dove at Christ's baptism, like tongues of fire at Pentecost, and as the blaze of uncreated light surrounding the transfigured Christ. More at reply #28 on this thread.



#48 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 12 January 2015 - 10:59 AM

The icon reproduced in post #43 has a cross in the halo, further confirming that the figure depicts Christ.



#49 Olga

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Posted 12 January 2015 - 11:04 AM

The icon reproduced in post #43 has a cross in the halo, further confirming that the figure depicts Christ.

 

The Slavonic inscription in the image reads Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The old man is not intended to be Christ as the Ancient of Days, but the Father, I'm afraid. Therefore it is unsuitable for veneration.



#50 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 12 January 2015 - 12:05 PM

Do we know why the Father's halo would have a cross in it?



#51 Olga

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Posted 12 January 2015 - 12:26 PM

Normally, the three letters of the name of God would be inscribed within the arms of the cross in icons of Christ. I have seen this in some "icons" of the Father as well. It is unclear whether the image that Kosta posted has these letters.



#52 Kosta

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Posted 12 January 2015 - 05:52 PM

Even if it is labeled as either 'Holy Trinity, or  'Father', they still either depict Christ as Ancient of Days or simply dont know what they are depicting and labeling:

 

imagewrap.img (309×382)

                                                                         

    icon2-f5-Holy-Trinity.jpg (394×480)

 

 

God the Father in brunette (or not?):

                                                                                                   

il_340x270.634816763_s24g.jpg (340×270)     

 

 

img_9495_popup.jpg (854×1000)



#53 Kosta

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Posted 12 January 2015 - 06:08 PM

I want to get back to this paternity icon where you can see the progression from the original image to what it became by the 16th century.  My entire point is God the Father images are modern, many painted by those that didnt know the historical and theological background of what was being depicted and for the most part are simply uncanonical.  And virtually all icons of Daniel's vision which depict the Ancient of Days is of Christ.

 

Original greek from the 12th century or so: (Clearly labeled as Christ with cross in halo)

 

koumbelidiki-kastoria (18).jpg (450×568)

 

 

From 1499 Novorgod:

icon21a.jpg (1017×1400)

 

 

Post 1500:  (notice how the halos are identical to the two images in post 42)

 

Paternity_icon_(Mstera,_19_c.).jpeg (738×1024)

 

Paternity_icon_(19_c.).jpeg (665×796)



#54 Olga

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Posted 12 January 2015 - 10:03 PM

Kosta, the Novgorod "icon" you posted is clearly inscribed Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. No amount of trying to say the white-haired figure is Christ can change this fact. It seems that you are trying to argue that the Paternity image is indeed suitable for veneration, and that the inscription on it is simply an error.

 

The 16th century in Russia, especially Moscow, saw the painting of all sorts of new imagery, much of it complex and didactic, much of it not suitable for veneration, and influenced by western religious art. Other regions of the Orthodox world were also beginning to come under western influence, such as the in the Cretan School, which produced some of the finest and sublime iconography in its earlier period, but sadly gradually became an imitation in composition and content to Renaissance art, retaining only a flavour of the abstracted, stylised painting style associated with iconography. In the Greek world, the uncanonical Trinity composition which took hold was not the Paternity composition, but this one, with Christ, the Father as an old man, and a dove hovering above and between them:

 

icon2-f5-Holy-Trinity.jpg

 


detail0.jpg

 

These compositions are unmistakeably representations of Father, Son and Holy Spirit, not Christ in two ages.

 

As for the Koumbelidiki fresco, it is indeed a Paternity image, not one of Christ as Ancient of Days and at a younger age. If it were, then what is the purpose of the dove in the medallion in Christ's hands?

 

 



#55 Kosta

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Posted 13 January 2015 - 12:38 AM

Olga,

No, I think all these icons are nonsense, modernisms all originating when Moscow became the center of art after 1500 . The standard renaissance halo for the Father is a triangle. I even recently came across an image here in a greek Church where the ancient of days has the triangular halo with the inscription IC XC. The inscription says one thing the cross in the halo says another.

Last time I was in Greece the more recently painted icons of the trinity clearly inscribe both the incarnate Christ and the Ancient of Days with IC XC, with crosses on the halos.

They really have no idea what there painting mixing and matching inscriptions and symbolisms. You really want to get confused look up the icon of Abraham's Bosom, identical to the paternity icon.

Edited by Kosta, 13 January 2015 - 12:51 AM.


#56 Olga

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Posted 13 January 2015 - 03:52 AM

Olga,

 You really want to get confused look up the icon of Abraham's Bosom, identical to the paternity icon.

 

The icon of Abraham's Bosom has canonical and uncanonical forms. This one is canonical (the Patriarchs from left to right are Jacob, Isaac and Abraham:

 

Bosom_of_Abraham_by_Daniel_Chorny.jpg

 

This one is not:

 

Attached File  children of abraham with XC mod2.jpg   235.29K   9 downloads (click on the thumbnail to see it full-sized)

 

Some icons show the white-clad soul of a generic child and bearing a halo in Abraham's lap. This uncanonical version clearly shows Christ instead, a major mistake.



#57 Kosta

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Posted 13 January 2015 - 06:16 AM

Some icons show the white-clad soul of a generic child and bearing a halo in Abraham's lap. This uncanonical version clearly shows Christ instead, a major mistake.

 

 

Which basically gets to what Ive been saying that many iconographers don't know what the themes mean, and are just copying what they see. If there is a version of Abrahams bosom icon (which i have seen) which depicts Christ in the bosom of Abraham, it means the iconographers simply goofed and interpreted the image to be that of John 1.18 (about Christ being in the bosom of His Father), basically turning it into a paternity icon. People are defending God the Father images based on ignorance at whats actually being depicted,  because the painters have no idea what the original depiction meant to be, confusing further whats passed down, drawing fancy halos that is meant for one thing but being used for another, adding inscriptions where they ought not be etc.. 

 

Look at this image found in a Greek church in Quebec Canada:   First thoughts is that this is an uncanonical image of God the Father. Look closer and see the inscription IC XC: My personal opinion is the iconographer wanted to depict  God the Father, when someone at the parish pointed out that its uncanonical and he simply added the inscription to transform it as Christ Ancient of Days.

 

AngeloAncienJours2.jpg

 

 

Here is another icon where Christ is seated on the throne, usually this russian originating icon will depict the ancient of Days above the Christ depiction, instead that androgynous angel appears with the fancy halo. Also seems the lower corners are depicting Abrahams bosom depictions?

ALLSAINT.JPG?1420302462


Edited by Kosta, 13 January 2015 - 06:25 AM.


#58 Olga

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Posted 13 January 2015 - 11:41 AM


 

If there is a version of Abrahams bosom icon (which i have seen) which depicts Christ in the bosom of Abraham, it means the  iconographers simply goofed and interpreted the image to be that of John 1.18 (about Christ being in the bosom of His Father), basically turning it into a paternity icon.

 

Yet the old man holding Christ in the second image I posted is not only clearly inscribed Abraham, but the presence of the other two patriarchs and the white-clad youths representing righteous souls removes any possibility that the figure holding Christ is the Father.

 

People are defending God the Father images based on ignorance at whats actually being depicted,  because the painters have no idea what the original depiction meant to be, confusing further whats passed down, drawing fancy halos that is meant for one thing but being used for another, adding inscriptions where they ought not be etc.

 

 

If there was simple confusion between Christ and the Father as the Ancient of Days, your point could stand. Yet in all these images, there is a dove present, representing the Holy Spirit. It is clear that these images are intended to be trinitarian. This is also the case with the Koumbelidiki fresco. If it were an attempt to show the "two ages" of Christ (as an adult as He was on earth, and as the eternal Ancient of Days, then only those two figures should be in the composition. Yet they are not. The younger Christ is indeed in the bosom of His Father, as spoken of in John 1:18, and He is holding the dove motif.

 

On the Quebec image:

 

The robes the figure is wearing, and his age are reminiscent of Melchizedek, the mysterious King of Salem. The icons I have seen of him also include him wearing some sort of headgear (either priestly or royal), and holding a dish bearing loaves:

 

8323.jpg

 

Given that Melchizedek is a type of Christ who is the great and eternal High Priest, it seems very likely that the iconographer who painted the Quebec image was attempting to use the Melchizedek typology and imagery to paint Christ. The "spanner in the works" is the triangular halo within the circular one. The triangular halo is a borrowing from western art, and is exclusively associated with non-Orthodox paintings of the Father. An unfortunate choice, as it adds further confusion as to who is being depicted.



#59 Kosta

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Posted 13 January 2015 - 08:01 PM

 

 

On the Quebec image:

 

The robes the figure is wearing, and his age are reminiscent of Melchizedek, the mysterious King of Salem. The icons I have seen of him also include him wearing some sort of headgear (either priestly or royal), and holding a dish bearing loaves:

 

 

 

Given that Melchizedek is a type of Christ who is the great and eternal High Priest, it seems very likely that the iconographer who painted the Quebec image was attempting to use the Melchizedek typology and imagery to paint Christ. The "spanner in the works" is the triangular halo within the circular one. The triangular halo is a borrowing from western art, and is exclusively associated with non-Orthodox paintings of the Father. An unfortunate choice, as it adds further confusion as to who is being depicted.

 

 

 

 

That Melchizedek looking image with the triangular headgear appeared in the Orthodoxartsjournal.org.   It shows a before and after picture of two icons how its meant to look like before painted in the church. The unfinished picture was labeled with  'ancient of days' inscription, the finished product is the above icon with the IC XC inscription. 

 

Personally looking at the photos on the link it seems that possibly both images in this church are of the identical 'Melchizedek' figure, one inscribed as Ancient of Days on the apse, the other as Christ found on the ceiling.  Furthering my claim that many iconographers are just mixing and matching everything due to poor understanding as to what their painting,  then the newer guys just copying what is passed onto them.  Hence why the dove is used so often and the reason it found itself in the paternity icon.  If the figure is indeed Melchizedek (definately looks it) thats further proof. You have Melchizedek in western triangle God the Father halo inscribed as Christ.  Here is the link to that article with the two icons and you can draw your own conclusion:

 

 Letter To an Iconographer on The Ancient of Days – Orthodox Arts Journal

 

 

 

By the way does anyone have the book Mary: the Untrodden Portal of God by George Gabriel?  He has a section on this subject with a greek icon from about the 12th century that is similar to the Koubelidiki image without the dove. I faintly remember it but cant seem to find it online anywhere. If someone can upload it.


Edited by Kosta, 13 January 2015 - 08:16 PM.


#60 Kosta

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Posted 20 January 2015 - 07:37 AM

I want to post up another uncanonical NT Trinity icon. This is the one that has been sprouting up in many churches in Greece:

From what I see both depictions are of Christ. They both have the same cross  in the halo. The Ancient of Days is labeled just that with no reference to the Father.  I also stand by my previous posts that many images of the Father are either mistaken as the Father or simply mislabeled.   

 

hehagiatrias.jpg

 

 

I'm quite convinced of it more than ever as I have found the patristic explanation as to why an iconographer would paint dual images of Christ one in incarnate form the other as Ancient of Days in a depiction with the Trinity label:

 

St Ambrose of Milan (Sermon against Auxentios parag 32):

 

. But in the church I only know of one Image, that is the Image of the unseen God, of Which God has said: “Let us make man in Our image and Our likeness;” that Image of Which it is written, that Christ is the Brightness of His glory and the Image of His Person. In that Image I perceive the Father, as the Lord Jesus Himself has said: “He that seeth Me seeth the Father.” For this Image is not separated from the Father, which indeed has taught me the unity of the Trinity, saying: “I and My Father are One,” and again: “All things that the Father hath are Mine.” Also of the Holy Spirit, saying that the Spirit is Christ’s, and has received of Christ, as it is written: “He shall receive of Mine, and shall declare it unto you.”

 

Also read the short chapter 7 of Ambrose Exposition of the Christian faith bk1:   NPNF2-10. Ambrose: Selected Works and Letters - Christian Classics Ethereal Library

 

 

 

St Gregory of Nyssa (Against Eunomius bk 6 ch3):

 

  For verily the Right Hand of God was God Himself; manifested in the flesh, seen through that same flesh by those whose sight was clear; as He did the work of the Father, being, both in fact and in thought, the Right Hand of God, yet being changed, in respect of the veil of the flesh by which He was surrounded, as regarded that which was seen, from that which He was by Nature, as a subject of contemplation. Therefore He says to Philip, who was gazing only at that which was changed, “Look through that which is changed to that which is unchangeable, and if thou seest this, thou hast seen that Father Himself, Whom thou seekest to see; for he that hath seen Me—not Him Who appears in a state of change, but My very self, Who am in the Father—will have seen that Father Himself in Whom I am, because the very same character of Godhead is beheld in both *


Edited by Kosta, 20 January 2015 - 07:43 AM.





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