Sunday, August 16, 2009
Patristic Quote of the Day
St. John Damascene--Against those who decry Holy Icons
We depict Christ as our King and Lord, and do not deprive Him of His army. The saints constitute the Lord's army. Let the earthly king dismiss his army before he gives up his King and Lord. Let him put off the purple before he takes honour away from his most valiant men who have conquered their passions. For if the saints are heirs of God, and co-heirs of Christ, (Rom. 8.17) they will be also partakers of the divine glory of sovereignty. If the friends of God have had a part in the sufferings of Christ, how shall they not receive a share of His glory even on earth? "I call you not servants," our Lord says, "you are my friends." (Jn. 15.15) Should we then deprive them of the honour given to them by the Church? What audacity! What boldness of mind, to fight God and His commands! You, who refuse to worship* images, would not worship the Son of God, the Living Image of the invisible God, (Col. 1.15) and His unchanging form. I worship the image of Christ as the Incarnate God; that of Our Lady, the Mother of us all, as the Mother of God's Son; that of the saints as the friends of God. They have withstood sin unto blood, and followed Christ in shedding their blood for Him, who shed His blood for them.
*The Orthodox Church makes a distinction between the honor, veneration paid to Holy Icons and the saints versus the worship (latreia) which is due only to the Triune God. Often, the Orthodox are accused of worshipping the icons when such is not the case.