Friday, March 6, 2015


Nathaniel said unto Philip, "Can anything good come out of Nazareth?"  And Philip replies, "Come and see."  Now it is obvious that what Philip invites Nathaniel to "see" is not the mere outward form of Jesus.  After all, the Pharisees and other religious rulers of the Jewish people likewise "saw" the human form of Jesus as He went about preaching and performing miracles.  They "saw" indeed, but truly they did not comprehend that this was the eternal Son of God, of one essence with the Father.

It is only through the eyes of faith--not the eyes of the flesh--that it is possible to behold the divinity of Christ concealed within and beyond His earthly form.  For surely Jesus Christ is not merely a "good man" or a prophet--He is in truth the Godman--fully human and fully God.  He is God made flesh,  Emmanuel--God With Us.

It is, for this reason, not only possible, but absolutely necessary that His human image be depicted in icons.  This is why all those who refuse to venerate the icons have placed themselves outside the Church of God.  For if it is not truly the case that our Lord took flesh from the pure blood of the Virgin, then all our hopes for salvation are in vain.

Heaven forbid that we should venerate the icon as a mere "religious picture," or even worse as some sort of idol.  An icon serves as a window into heaven, through which we behold--with the eyes of faith--the ineffable glory that shines forth from the prototype.  God became man, that the sons and daughters of God might become gods by grace, as the holy Fathers taught.  This is the true Orthodox Faith that has established the universe!

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