"And Nathaniel said unto him, Can any good thing come out of Nazareth? Philip saith unto him, come and see." Today we commemorate the victory of the Orthodox over the heretical Iconoclasts, who condemned as idolatrous all images of Christ and His saints. By so doing, however, they denied the whole basis of our holy Orthodox Faith and the very means of our salvation: the Incarnation of our Lord, God and Savior Jesus Christ.
Thus unto our own day, our icons are a stumbling block to many (especially Protestants) who would otherwise embrace the fullness of Truth revealed in the one, true, apostolic Faith of the Orthodox Church. But the fact is, those who refuse to venerate the icons have already placed themselves outside the Ark of Salvation.
To deny the veneration of the icons is to deny that Christ really and truly became man, taking on our flesh from the pure blood of the Virgin. As the Holy Fathers confess, That which is not assumed cannot be saved. And if our Lord truly did assume our human form, then it is not only possible but indeed laudatory to depict and venerate His image, as well as all those saints that have become vessels of His grace. We do not, of course, honor the paint and wood of the material icon, but rather the prototype that is represented. Thus an icon becomes a "window to heaven" and a channel through which God bestows upon us His sanctifying grace.