Если ты хочешь помочь Церкви, то старайся лучше исправить себя самого, а не других.
Если ты исправишь себя самого, то сразу же исправится частичка Церкви.
The Patriarchal Parish of the Russian Orthodox
Russian Orthodox Church
2513 W 4th St
Saturday, 7March 4pm – Vigil will
be held at Saint Michaels the archangel Russian Orthodox church
First Sunday of Great Lent, 8 March Sunday
10am - Divine Liturgy
On the first
Sunday of Great Lent, we observe the "Sunday of Orthodoxy." This day
is dedicated to the triumph of the veneration of icons over the heresy of
iconoclasm. The very concept "Orthodoxy" is tied with the age-old
struggle of the Church against those who opposed the veneration of icons. Why
does the Church venerate icons? Why is Orthodoxy so closely linked and
identified with the veneration of icons?
reproducing below some excerpts from an essay by L. A. Ouspensky entitled
"On the Way to Unity?", which was published in Paris in 1987 by the YMCA Press. In this
essay, which is a kind of last testament of Ouspensky who died in Paris in
1987, the icon painter and theologian demonstrates with extreme clarity how
closely the icon and its veneration are tied to Orthodox ecclessiology
(teachings about the Church). The major work of L. A. Ouspensky, The
Theology of the Icon, came out in French in 1960, and in English in 1978.
* * *
in our times has evolved in such a way that the question of the image in
Orthodoxy as well as in Roman Catholicism is acquiring a decisive significance
both in terms of the teaching of the faith and in terms of spiritual life.
Over the past
few centuries the view has grown within Christianity that the significance and
character of the icon is not decisive for the teaching of the faith. But the
history of the Church and her teachings demonstrate the opposite: it is not for
nothing that the bloody struggle against iconoclasm lasted for over 100 years.
The Orthodox liturgical calendar is full of the names of martyrs and confessors
for icons. And they didn't go to martyrdom, tortures and deaths for a work of
art (the icon was never viewed that way), nor for a painted board, but for the
confession of the faith through the icon, just as in the first century and
later people went to martyrdom for confessing the name of Christ (a strange
situation for the mind of contemporary man).
recognizes the dogma of the veneration of icons, not the veneration of works of
art. Within Christianity the dogma of venerating icons is rejected by some
(Protestants), among others it dissolves in the cloudy concept of "a
disciplinary measure" but in fact is replaced by the veneration of works
of art, that is, practically speaking, it is rejected (in Roman Catholicism),
and among a third group it is forgotten (by the Orthodox).
dogma of the veneration of icons is a phenomenon that is characteristic of our troubled
time. And estrangement from this dogma is not only a matter of forgetting, it
is an estrangement from the living Tradition of the Church, a disregard for the
Holy Fathers and for the decisions of one's own local and of ecumenical
The dogma of
the veneration of icons is a victory over the christological and, at the same
time, trinitarian heresies. (That is why the Church united liturgically the
commemoration of the First Ecumenical Council, against the arian heresy, with
the commemoration of the Seventh Council, against iconoclasm.) This dogma was
the culmination of an entire era of struggle for the Orthodox faith in the
Incarnation and, it follows, for the true confession of the image of the
building of the House of God in the world. It is an open truth, revealed by the
collective consciousness of the Church. In it the Church reveals the genuine
essence of the Christian icon as the visible and immutable witness of the
Incarnation (and not only as one in a series of Old Testament and New Testament
theophanies). This dogma is the result of the acceptance by Christianity of the
fullness of Christ's nature as both God and human. And one can say that if
during the period of iconoclasm the Church struggle for the icon, then in our
time it is the icon that is doing battle for the Church. It is called upon to
play a role that it has not played heretofore within Christianity. And if the
word has lost its value and has ceased to express the meaning that it carries
within it then its place is taken by the icon: it is called upon to bare
witness of the Church, to be the visible demonstration of her indestructible
of the contemporary world against the Church, inspired by "the spirit of
malice", the enemy of our salvation, is leading to the snuffing out the
consciousness of the Church in the entire universe, creating countless schisms
and divisions, which Christians join very easily these day.
exaggerating, we are living in a terrifying and dangerous era. It is terrifying
above all because of the rising rebellion against God and His Kingdom. Again,
it is not God, but man that has become the measure of all things. It is
not faith, but ideology, utopia that defines the spiritual condition of the
world. At a certain point Western Christianity seems to have excepted this
perspective: all at once the "theology of liberation' arose, and questions
of economics, politics, and psychology replace the Christian view of the world,
service to God. All over the world nuns, theologians, hierarchs are
demanding--from God?--some kind of right, defending abortions and
misinterpretations, and all of this is in the name of peace, agreements, the
unity of everyone." Everyone is striving toward unity, but with differing
conceptions of what unity is.
The Church has
always considered itself united because it is the image and likeness of God. It
"knows unity and therefore does not know union." And this unity,
insofar as it is a unity of God and man, cannot be destroyed. It is possible to
fall away from it, to fall out of it, which has happened and which continues to
happen. But that has never destroyed the unity of God and man that is embodied
in the Church. In the Christian world there has never been unity throughout its
entire history from the Apostolic times to our own time.
L. A. Ouspensky, "On the Way to Unity?",1987 Paris.
Address of Church: St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church 2513 W 4th St Chester, PA 19013