Lent Orthodox Week
The first week of Great Lent is dedicated to Orthodoxy. On Sunday, the rite of the Triumph of Orthodoxy is served – in memory of the victory over the iconoclasts and the victory of dogmatic truth. What is the connection between fasting and dogma? And why, in the first place, is iconography to be recalled – to a superficial glance, a thing, rather related to a cult, but not to dogma, not to theology?
Fasting is the time of repentance, metanoi, and in Greek, a change of mind. “Repent, for the Kingdom is at hand” – change your mind. God, being incarnated, revealed first of all the truth about Himself. Without repenting, without changing our inner mind, we will not open for ourselves the path to the knowledge of God.
The church teaches the truth about God in the form of dogma. So, for those who do not repent, dogmas will remain only ancient abstruse formulas. The saint is the true theologian. And fasting is a school of holiness. On the first week of Lent, the Church reminds us of this.
The dogma of icon-worship turns out to be the most important, affecting the very core of the Good News. “No one has ever seen God,” therefore the icon is impossible. But "the only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He revealed" – God became flesh, He became a man in all. Therefore, He can be depicted, and the icon is possible. The one who denies the icon, denies the very essence of the Good News: if the icon is impossible, then there was no God Incarnation. We need only to be able to hold onto the height of the biblical God-reading, not to make idols out of icons. “I saw the human face of God, and my soul was saved,” said the defender of icons, John of Damascus.
Orthodoxy is called Orthodoxy, orthodoxy, precisely because, as we believe, it has kept the teaching of the apostles intact. These days we celebrate the purity and fullness of Orthodox truth.
Let us see what the Church says in its worship these days.
"The condemnation of Eve's foremother was abolished, / for You, the Holy Mother of God, / bore inexplicably all the Lord, / Whose resemblance on icons / we are now kissing." – God, being embodied, dying on the Cross and rising, saved us – this is the shortest statement of what we believe. Saved from what? First of all – from original sin. And here we "kiss the likeness" of Him who saved us.
“The Unimaginable Word of the Father / when incarnated from You, the Mother of God, was portrayed, / and re-created the defiled image in its original form, / with Divine beauty connected. / And when we confess our salvation, we depict it by deed and word ”- This is the secret of salvation: The Unimaginable, that which no one has ever seen, has become the Image to restore our distorted image. It is good to remember here that, according to the teachings of John of Damascus, the icons not made by hands are first of all people created in the image of God. Icons, which should be honored – our loved ones. Therefore, according to Damascus, we should bow at the meeting.
God became a man completely – not a man’s appearance, not a ghost. Otherwise, human nature would not have been saved. “Restoring your image in the flesh, Lord, / we, as it should be, kiss it, / explaining the great mystery of Thy homebuilding; / for it is not illusory, as the god-sons of Manes say, / You have appeared to us, the Man-to-Man, / but it is true also in natural flesh, / and by that you raise us to Your love and to Your aspiration. ”
Who embodied? One of the Trinity. The Lord revealed to us the truth about Himself: He is the Trinity of Love. “We know the only Lord God, / in three Hypostases who receive worship, / and to Him only serve, / we have one uniform faith and one baptism / and are clothed with Christ. / And so, confessing our salvation, we depict him by deed and word. ”
And here we rejoice, confessing the truth of Christ. “A joyful day and joy filled today is revealed: / for the lordship of the dogmas of the most true shines, / and the Church of Christ shines, adorned with the now restored holy icons, / and the images, and the brilliance of their beauty, / and the faithful faith in God-pleasing is achieved”. Truth is beautiful, Beauty is true.
(Quotes are given on the Russian translation of the Triodion of the Fast).
This first week of Great Lent we read the Great Canon of Andrew of Crete, we prayed with the words of Ephraim Sirin. So the great saints teach us repentance.
You can listen to the Great Canon with us by the choir of the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra and the Patriarch Pimen.
The interpretation of the Great Penitential Canon can be found in Ignatius (Petrovskaya), the father of Alexander Schmemann, the lord of Vissarion (Nechaev).
We advise you to listen to or read the Book of Mournful Hymns by Grigor Narekatsi – “Armenian Andrei of Crete.”
“Interpretation on prayer Efrem Sirin ”contains the prayer itself, the poems of Pushkin and Lermontov, the interpretation of Valentine Sventsitsky and the extensive interpretations of Luke the Crimean and Innokenty of Kherson.
We offer several sermons in the Week of Orthodoxy:
Martyr Sergius (Mechev) 1929
Masters Anthony Surozhsky
Father Alexander Me
Father Dmitry Smirnov
ISSUE ON ICON READING
You can learn about the historical and dogmatic side of the veneration of icons from the following materials.
1) Five lectures by Irina Yazykovaya “Icon in the Secular World”.
2) Her own wonderful book "Theology of the Icon."
3) The classic work of Uspensky "Theology of the icon of the Orthodox Church."
4) You can read about the dispute between iconoclasts and icon-readers in the Ecumenical Councils of Kartashev.
5) Of course, the main dogmatic composition of the Church on the theme of icons – “Three words in defense of icon veneration” by John of Damascus.
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