Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Questions and Answers, Part 6

Hey Laura,

Thanks. Just wanting to make sure I’m knowledgeable rather than just uncomfortable. Thanks again for your input on all of this stuff. What do you think about Saint's Days and Feast Days -- and the church calendar in general? I've read up on some of those things too and I'm just wondering.

Your Friend,


P.S. I’m sorry, but I just love those Icons. They’re so gosh-darn beautiful!

Hey Girl,

You are right. They are SO beautiful -- I think much more dramatic and evocative than a lot of Western sacred art, although that may just be since I wasn't exposed to Eastern art as much. I would feel comfortable personally with icons of "saints" and men and women of old in a church building. I think it'd be hard to argue that it's a sin to do so. Maybe unwise in certain settings (if there are a lot of former Orthodox folks who have conscience issues, etc.), but not a sin. It's the depictions of God that I think just blatantly violate the "no graven images" thing and that I think we should avoid using devotionally.

I think feast/saint's days are rad. They started off in the church as commemorations of the martyrdom days of martyrs, which is SO cool, and which I think we should still do (like lots of other things -- the church calendar, for example). And I agree that the "saints" interceded for God's people while they were on Earth.

I don't know why I didn't think of this before, but the Orthodox view of the "communion of saints" is that the living and dead believers exist together -- that the dead aren't dead in the way we think of them as, and so they intercede for us before God just like they would have done on Earth. They deny that the living church and the "dead" church are separated. This makes the idea of the intercession of the saints make total sense. I deny that there is no separation between living and dead -- again, this is an example of over-realized eschatology. The perfect unity we will have in the age to come is not here yet! We look forward to it, but we are not now experiencing it. Making any sense?


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