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Statues of saints


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#1 Kusanagi

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Posted 08 March 2010 - 06:29 PM

I know Orthodox are not meant to have statues of saints but there are saints that were also royalty have statues, this is due to historical reasons for a country. But in Russia there are statues of Sts Seraphim, Andrei Rubelev and Sergius, would it be because its for historical reasons as well?

#2 Herman Blaydoe

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Posted 09 March 2010 - 02:00 AM

As long as they are not inside a Church and being reverenced, i don't see any big deal. It is just another secular monument.

#3 Olympiada

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Posted 09 March 2010 - 03:09 AM

I know Orthodox are not meant to have statues of saints but there are saints that were also royalty have statues, this is due to historical reasons for a country. But in Russia there are statues of Sts Seraphim, Andrei Rubelev and Sergius, would it be because its for historical reasons as well?

Does it matter? Orthodox have icons, Catholics have statutes. That's how you know the difference.

#4 Paul Cowan

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Posted 09 March 2010 - 06:33 AM

If we are to look at representative holy things, why do RC statues bleed and EOC icons exude myrrh or oil?

#5 Kosta

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Posted 09 March 2010 - 10:08 AM

Statues can be made, just not venerated or used in processions or other religious rituals. Some churches in greece have statues of certain popular secular and religious figures. A monastery in Serbia has a statue of the Theotokos and Christ Child. I believe the serbian statue was made at a time of certain western influence its also the only instance within Orthodoxy that i heard of people venerating it. But for the most part thats an exception in Orthodoxy, there basically ornamental and should not be associated as representing theology.

#6 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 09 March 2010 - 10:12 AM

Outside the walls of the Holy Trinity St Sergius Lavra, Sergiev Posad, there's a huge statue of St Sergius. Possibly, it's to counter a much smaller bust of Lenin which stands on a plinth about 25 metres away.

#7 Marie+Duquette

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Posted 09 March 2010 - 11:37 AM

Why put so much emphasis on the irrelevant? It just shows how much humans are looking for the sensational on the outside, when the most important in life is within; for it is life surging imperceptibly into the new Springtime, at least in the Northern hemisphere at present, that signifies God-present. He is a Living God! Seeing a crocus green peeking out of the ground is for me more important than all the exterior material things, statues or otherwise.

Edited by Marie+Duquette, 09 March 2010 - 12:17 PM.


#8 Paul Cowan

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Posted 10 March 2010 - 03:46 AM

Before the epistle reading, the priest goes to the High Place and kisses the crucified Christ on the Cross behind the altar. True, this is not a 3D statue, but a 2D Christ. Is this different than a statue? Is this Christ considered an icon instead? How is this veneration to be taken?

Paul

#9 Grace Singh

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Posted 10 March 2010 - 04:43 AM

i have a question : why the differentiation between icons and statues? both are images of reverenced / holy peoples. is it because the statue is literally "graven", whereas an icon is a painting?

#10 Kosta

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Posted 10 March 2010 - 06:24 AM

That a statue is literally graven is one factor. The church has never placed statues on par with icons. This is witnessed in the 7th ecumenical council which speak of painting and writing icons or makes reference to mosaics. Icons are windows into heaven representing the transfigured person something that would be difficult to do with statues. The icons represent theology in color, and follow certain rules and depict theological truths that are impossible to recreate with statues.

#11 Ben Johnson

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Posted 10 March 2010 - 06:58 AM

i have a question : why the differentiation between icons and statues? both are images of reverenced / holy peoples. is it because the statue is literally "graven", whereas an icon is a painting?

I read a book a while back which may help answer your questioin. It is entitled: The Icon: Window on the Kingdom by Michael Quenot. Page 72 begins a chapter on when the art of the East and West diverged. The author does not consider a realistic, 3-dimensional portrayal of people as sacred. This may be the reason that statutes are not considered sacred. I think I would stumble too much trying to say what the book does. I recommend trying to buy a copy or borrow a copy from the library. It's a great book.

#12 Olga

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Posted 10 March 2010 - 10:18 AM

Paul Cowan wrote:

Before the epistle reading, the priest goes to the High Place and kisses the crucified Christ on the Cross behind the altar. True, this is not a 3D statue, but a 2D Christ. Is this different than a statue? Is this Christ considered an icon instead? How is this veneration to be taken?


It is no accident that Orthodox crucifixes, including those in churches, are two-dimensional, as they are in keeping with iconographic canon and tradition. The figure of Christ in life-sized church crucifixes is removable from the cross, is placed on the structure representing the tomb of Christ which is set up within the church during Great Friday, and is venerated in the same way as an icon.

#13 Olga

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Posted 10 March 2010 - 12:01 PM

On why statues are not part of Orthodox devotion, here's a useful thread:

Statuary: A statue of Christ breaking bread - Page 2 - Monachos.net Discussion Community

http://www.monachos....ing-bread/page3

#14 Vasiliki D.

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Posted 11 March 2010 - 01:31 AM

JS commented on a post that statues not being Orthodox is a common misconception. He says, that the historian Eusebius talks about a miraculous statue of Jesus, and that the Romans often made statues. What is unusual in Orthodoxy and Ecclesiastical history is to have statues in churches (as stated by someone earlier) ... however, that said, there is a wooden statue of St George in Kastoria that is actively miraculous and is inside the church ... from Mystagogy the information goes:

One of the most unique churches in Greece dating to Roman times is the Church of St. George in the village of Omorfokklissia, 20 km from Kastoria. The name of the village means "beautiful church".

The church was established after 1292 during the reign of Emperor Andronikos II. The iconography dates to either 1296 or 1297. Some say the church building itself or an earlier one existed from the 11th century. The rocks from which the church is built are not local. It is traditionally held that this church was the katholikon of an old monastery.

The unique feature of this church is a large wood carved statue of St. George, 2.86m in height, that is of unknown origin. Some say the statue was the gift of the Emperor from Constantinople and either brought to Omorfokklissia or carved in the village from local trees. The most popular tradition says that two nuns brought the statue here from Ioannina in the 13th century in a carriage.

During the Turkish occupation the church was heavily damaged. Yet it is said that when the Ottomans went to burn the church, they allowed the locals to remove the wooden statue of St. George, ensuring its preservation.

The faithful claim the statue of St. George is miraculous. A Greek news report was done about the miraculous nature of this statue with many testimonies (see report here). These miracles especially are reported on the feast of the church, which is April 23. Along with miracles, visions of St. George are also said to have occurred in the church. At one point the faithful covered the statue with a glass casing to protect it from humidity and dust, but St. George appeared in the dreams of the faithful in the village to remove it.

An interesting folk belief, not associated with Orthodox belief, has arisen associated with this statue. Upon observation, one will see the statue covered with coins. The locals believe that if you approach the statue with firm faith in St. George, then your coin will stick as if magnets were holding it (this can be observed in the video linked above). Studies have shown however that there is nothing measurably magnetic about this wood carved statue. No one really knows why this occurs, but it is looked upon as something miraculous. And visitors are discouraged from believing that if their coin does not stick, as it often happens, that their faith is not strong enough. They say that St. George has his reasons for it to stick and for it to not stick.


http://2.bp.blogspot...orge statue.jpg

For a picture gallery of the church, see here.

#15 Grace Singh

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Posted 11 March 2010 - 04:31 AM

Kosta and Ben, thank you both very much. i have seen that book on icons somewhere, and would like to read it. paint certainly does capture something difficult to capture with sculpture. or impossible to capture.

while not Eastern Orthodox, there is a Coptic Orthodox inconographer, Isaac Fanous, who made some beautiful icons, of Christ, Mary, Coptic Saints, and more generally revered saints.

#16 Matthew Alan

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Posted 11 March 2010 - 05:13 AM

My best guess is that statuary is fine as long as it is not adored or venerated and is not in the churches or in devotional corners. Most statues are large public displays, and I have not seen Orthodox Christians kneeling and praying before these statues like I often see being done by Roman Catholics.

#17 Fr Raphael Vereshack

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Posted 11 March 2010 - 02:20 PM

My best guess is that statuary is fine as long as it is not adored or venerated and is not in the churches or in devotional corners. Most statues are large public displays, and I have not seen Orthodox Christians kneeling and praying before these statues like I often see being done by Roman Catholics.


Yes- this is very true from what I have seen. There is for example at the convent of Sts Mary & Martha in Moscow a beautiful all white statue of the Grand duchess Elizabeth who founded the convent before the revolution and then was martyred. This statue is in the middle of a little flower garden. People who go there do not venerate the statue but rather spend some quiet time in the garden which has a most lovely atmosphere of peace and tranquility.

In Christ- Fr Raphael

#18 Michael Astley

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Posted 23 March 2010 - 08:57 AM

And, of course, there is all of the magnificent bronze statuary on the exterior walls of Christ the Saviour in Moscow.

#19 Olga

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Posted 23 March 2010 - 09:12 AM

And, of course, there is all of the magnificent bronze statuary on the exterior walls of Christ the Saviour in Moscow.


Two things to remember about these statues, Michael: They are decorative, not intended for veneration (even if one could reach them), and their presence reflects tendencies in western church architecture. The original Christ the Saviour was built during the early to mid-19th century, and its baroque interior and paintings in both the original church and its faithful replica attest to this.

#20 Michael Astley

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Posted 23 March 2010 - 12:00 PM

Thank you, Olga. You're right, of course.

I wasn't very clear at all. I intended the example to be in support of those who were saying that the presence of statues does not necessarily imply their veneration after a western fashion. (And yes, the icons in the otherwise lovely cathedral do cause me concern as well, not least of which is the dome icon).

In Christ,
Michael




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