The Ruling Class Takes One on the Chin

immigrants-border Hurry up! I want to get my copy of The Federalist Papers!

imigrant-6 If there was any doubt that we are now ruled by hostile elites, these photos should lay it to rest. What we are witnessing is nothing less than an illegal invasion. There is no moral justification for this. None. Neither the ghost of Martin Luther King or Cesar Chavez can be conjured up to sanctify this outrage. This is Che Guevara territory. It is evil pure and simple. To believe otherwise is to hate this nation.

Is it too late? Maybe. However last week the good guys won a major victory. Last Tuesday, Eric Cantor, the House Majority Leader and major water-carrier for the hostile elite lost a primary election. And it wasn’t a squeaker. He got beaten like a red-headed stepchild, 56-44 percent. And by a newcomer who spent less than $500,000 to his $5,000,000. In other words, Cantor outspent him 10 to one. Unbelievable.

I’m not saying that Eric Cantor was a bad fellow. He was pretty much a conservative right down the line. In ordinary times he’d of been perfectly adequate for the job. But these aren’t ordinary times. And it was clear that he was also a tool of the Oligarchy, that evil hybrid of unfettered capitalism married to Cultural Marxism. That’s what we have all over the West for the most part and it’s been destroying the Christian nations through a slow rot.

Last Tuesday however the people of the seventh district of Virginia said “Enough!” Enough of the Chamber of Commerce plutocrats who want to turn America into a Third World country just so they can increase their profits. Enough of the Cultural Marxists who have always hated America and its founding principles. Enough of ungrateful criminals who are clogging our jails and making our cities unlivable.

Enough.

What happened to Cantor was unprecedented. It was also huge. The worm turned for Cantor when photos like those above got released. (Thank you Matt Drudge.) In the old days those photos would have been buried on page 18 of your local newspaper. More, probably they would have never been taken. There’s no going back to the only ABCBSNBC monopoly. (Thank you Al Gore for inventing the Internet.)

What else can we take away from Cantor’s defeat? Forget that nonsense about the Tea Party being dead. Forget that nonsense about “xenophobia” being the death knell of the GOP. Forget all the conventional wisdom, whether packaged by Chuck Schumer, Chris Matthews, Mark Zuckerberg or even Jeb Bush. They don’t know what the hell they’re talking about. They don’t live in the real world but in elite bubbles, surrounded by people who think and act just like them.

All things being equal, Tuesday’s election should be enough to derail any so-called immigration reform for at least until Obama is out of office. No sane Republican wants to touch this issue with a ten foot pole at this point. Still, I’m keeping my fingers crossed. It’s possible that President Obama can still do something by executive fiat; positively by Executive Order or passively by refusing to secure the border but his margin for action shrinks by the day. His popularity has plummeted to Bushian levels even though Bush’s popularity was pushed down by the elite media while Obama’s has been artificially sustained by these same bozos.

Regardless, he may gamble and face the wrath of the citizenry. He still is beholden to the evil oligarchs who put him in office in the first place. Maybe he feels that even if the furor doesn’t die down, he’ll be able to retire to a fortified bunker/palace somewhere in Hawaii where he will be kept safe from the wrath of the people whom he angered. Or maybe not. After all, who are they going to replace him with? Joe Biden? That guy’s such a joke that even the most inept Republican would shellac him in 2016.

In a better world, we’d be a nation whose people are confident of their history and place in the world. We wouldn’t always be apologizing for every injustice, perceived or real. And when it came to the nuts and bolts of how to run a confident country, we’d have a Congress willing to ensure the destiny of the Founding Fathers, so much so that they’d have wall-to-wall hearings lambasting the Cultural Marxists, hostile aliens and assorted America-haters, exposing their treasonous agendas. We’re talking the House Un-American Activities Committee on steroids. In a better world, every citizen would know what the names “Cloward-Piven” mean and would shudder upon hearing them. In a better world, Cloward and Piven would have been given the Julius and Ethel Rosenberg treatment and their writings burned on the electric chair with them. (OK, that’s a little harsh but I can dream, can’t I?)

But we don’t live in that world. We live in this one. That being said, is it possible that we turned the corner? That the people who play by the rules saw what our traitorous elite have in store for us? Is it possible that the average American looked at Greece, at the no-go areas of France, at the Islamified cities of Great Britain and Sweden and said, “This is not going to happen to the U S of A”?

One can only hope.

In the meantime, let us enjoy this unalloyed victory. We deserve it. But then let’s put away the champagne, sweep up the confetti, and dust ourselves off. This battle’s won but the war ain’t over yet.

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Comments

  1. Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says:

    George, if you are referring to Cruz, he took nothing on the chin. What an idea! He took a well-placed knee in the tender parts.

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  2. great satire, belongs on the "Onion."

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  3. Michael Bauman says:

    George, God bless you, but you are a might over the top here with an optimism that is almost delusional. The United States is heading toward collapse and one Congressional primary 'victory' does not change anything. No matter what Mr. Brat says, if he wins he will be co-opted by the oligarchy one way or another. Even if he is only isolated and ignored, his next opponent will brand him as ineffective for the citizens of the great state of Virginia because he didn't get any of the pork.

    We can't "throw the bums out" when the only replacement are other bums.

    Plus, American freedom and the American ideal is about as dead as it can get. Not that it was all that is was cracked up to be in the first place. We need to go beyond that jingoism. The fact is that democracy does not bring freedom, it brings tyranny, a tyranny all the more heinous because people think they have chosen it. Bread and Circuses. We are a bit like Rome in the time of Cicero without the Cicero.

    The U.S. Constitution gave too much power to the centralized government. It took awhile for the pols to realized what they had, but now there are no effective checks on the power of any branch of government.

    I can't help but think Brecht's play "The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui" was prophetic.

    "America" cannot hold back the wave of apostasy that is coming, in fact it may just make it come more quickly. It is not the Marxists or the Moslems that we need to worry about.

    The English ideal of the rule of law is dead, it cannot be resurrected. Egalitarianism and fairness have won the day and will likely rule until they collapse under the weight of their own internal excess.

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    • Will Harrington says:

      Actually, the Constitution did not give too much power to the central government. That power has been the result of a long erosion of the limits of the constitution. The Constitution did not set up a one person one vote democracy, that was created by judicial decree. We did not begin as a democracy but as a representative republic designed to limit democracy. Those limits are close to being gone. There is a movement to call a convention of the states and it is gaining ground and making progress with several states signed on. This is a potentially risky move until you ask the question, can it really make things any worse?

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      • Michael Bauman says:

        Will, I am trying to overcome being Charlie Brown expecting anything different than Lucy pulling the football away just as he is about to kick it, year after year after year.....

        If and when there is any substantial change, I will be cautiously optimistic....and yes it can get a lot worse.

        I have no hope in the political process to make it any better as the fundamental principals which were supposed to be the bedrock of liberty have long since been abandoned except in name only, regardless of party.

        The Republicans want to make a bunch of rich people so the Democrats can soak them so that the Libertarians can party, party, party while the rest of us proles get reality TV, football and McDonalds, "Free" health care that doesn't care for anybody and the honor of paying taxes for guns, bombs and bonuses for corrupt executives.

        Sooner or later, push 2 for Spanish, will turn into "If you speak English, please hold and we will try to find someone from India to help you.

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    • "The U.S. Constitution gave too much power to the centralized government."

      This is exactly right. Patrick Henry saw this day coming from the start, when he gave his speech to the Convention, rejecting the Constitution.

      As he rightly noted, it places too much power in federal (specifically presidential) hands, and it essentially bets on the good will of the one who holds the office. We have seen many times how that does not work, but the current president takes it to new levels.

      Quite literally we only have two options: 1) dissolve the union and let the states do what they will—unite regionally or forge their own path, or 2) significantly revise or replace the constitution with a new system that fixes the problems that have cropped up.

      Neither of these things will happen though. So America will ebb and flow, but generally drift towards what Europe has become. It would take either a coup or a revolution to change course; nothing will change from within the system. Americans simply don't have what it takes to do that.

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      • Michael Bauman says:

        Yup Ages, you nailed it. Patrick Henry's pithy comment: "I smell a rat." Not as often quoted as his "Give me liberty or give me death"; but still quite memorable.

        The antidote once the Constitution was constructed was the Bill of Rights. These were supposed to constrain the central authority, not empower it. That is why the first amendment starts with: "Congress shall make no law.... Originally intended to insure the non-interference of the federal government in matters of faith, the press, assembly and petition it is now routinely used to suppress faith.

        The checks and balances so lauded by many rely only on the good will of those holding the offices. The President, as we have seen, can pretty much do what he wants unless the Congress has the intestinal fortitude to impeach him. Same for the judges.

        As it stands now, the House of Representatives could take up most of its time with office holders who ought to be impeached.

        With elections being the only check on the "representatives" there is virtually nothing to stop them as the oligarchy continues to put up candidates that amounts to one bum after another or they are re-elected in what amounts to the American version of rotten boroughs. Both parties do it. So, term limits would not really help.

        That would just make the unelected bureaucrats in Washington even more powerful than they already are. They prepare the legislation and get the votes for passage or defeat. I doubt there is a single piece of legislation that is really understood by those who vote on it.

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  4. It is interesting that in some venues you see an odd little dynamic: Something bad happens, whether it's Obama's reelection or the passage of Obamacare, etc. It's the end of the world as we know it!!! America is finished.

    Then, when a bone is thrown by Providence, suddenly there is hope on the horizon. America may yet save itself!! Hope springs eternal.

    Yet I don't see a single candidate preaching traditional, Christian (patriarchal) morality. Nor do I see a map of the way to get from the dominance of the two-party system we have to a less representative form of government not a slave to the media and human passions.

    Let the dead bury their dead.

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    • A two-party system is the virtually inevitable result of a "first past the post" balloting model (i.e. one man, one vote, the most votes wins).

      There are other ways to conduct elections though, which both enable new parties to arise and enable people to choose candidates they prefer, and it would be interesting to see other balloting models tried in states around the country. But I don't give that much hope.

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    • Ladder of Divine Ascent says:

      It is interesting that in some venues you see an odd little dynamic: Something bad happens, whether it’s Obama’s reelection or the passage of Obamacare, etc. It’s the end of the world as we know it!!! America is finished.

      Things that make you go, "Hmmmm."

      June 12th, 2014. Perfect red heifer found and being raised for shipment to Israel:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=byAoFbA6cr8

      For the entire time that the Temple stood in Israel, a total of nine red heifers were used. Jews believe that the appearance of a perfect red heifer would usher in the appearance of the long-awaited Messiah. The 10th red heifer has been found in America, and preparations are now underway to bring the animal to Israel.

      “And the LORD spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying, This is the ordinance of the law which the LORD hath commanded, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, that they bring thee a red heifer without spot, wherein is no blemish, and upon which never came yoke:” Numbers 19:1,2

      Malik Obama, President Obama’s brother, wants to build the third Temple right next to the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5BSAKBIFAzM

      June 6th, 2014. Islamic prayers to be held at the Vatican:

      http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2014/06/06/Islamic-prayers-to-be-held-at-the-Vatican.html

      For the first time in history, Islamic prayers and readings from the Quran will be heard at the Vatican on Sunday, in a move by Pope Francis to usher in peace between Israelis and Palestinians.

      Peres, Abbas to attend Vatican prayer event Sunday:

      http://www.timesofisrael.com/peres-abbas-to-attend-vatican-prayer-event-sunday/

      The event will feature readings about PEACE by the clergy from the Tanach, the New Testament and the Quran. Francis will then read religious verses with Peres and Abbas, which the three will have selected for the ceremony.

      [ 1 Thessalonians 5:3, "For when they shall say, 'Peace and safety'; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape."]

      Francis' peace dove attacked after being released for Ukraine:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0YeOxTq9SDQ

      Russia is growing ever more furious about the ethnic cleansing and war crimes being committed by the Kiev Nazi junta (USA more hated than during USSR, and petitions to nuke us out of existence):

      http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-S-jQaTuT5Ak/U6HjUZldFXI/AAAAAAAAF2E/uJmCiWjTGgg/s1600/1g.jpg

      May 27th, 2014. Government Plan Would Transform Israel Into The World’s First Cashless Society:

      http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-05-27/government-plan-would-transform-israel-world%E2%80%99s-first-cashless-society

      May 9th, 2014: Noah announced as top US baby name for first time ever (On heels of the revionist Noah movie that remade Noah into an environmentalist and didn't mention God once):

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0nhEfCcUsJU

      Genesis 7:11:

      " In the six hundredth year of Noach’s life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, the same day were all the fountains of the great deep burst open..." [scoffers always said, hey there's not even enough water to flood the entire Earth...]

      June 16th, 2014. Study: Deep beneath the earth, more water than in all the oceans combined:

      http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2014/06/16/study-deep-beneath-north-america-theres-more-water-than-in-all-the-oceans-combined/

      June 17th, 2014. In Face of Islamist Terror, Senate Bill Makes LGBT U.S. 'Foreign Policy Priority':

      http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Peace/2014/06/17/In-Face-of-Increased-Islamist-Terror-Senators-Say-LGBT-is-U-S-Priority

      The Lord Jesus Christ, "But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of Man be." (Matthew 24:37)

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  5. Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says:

    I guess the central government, especially the Supreme Court, HAS grown too powerful.

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  6. From Luke says:

    Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

    New recordings of recent Sermons, a new Seminar for Inquirers, and the continuation of the Seminar on the Letter to the Romans are now available through the Holy Archangels Orthodox Foundation website.

    As many of you know, +Metropolitan Jonah (Paffhausen) is both offering sermons on weekdays and Sundays and leading a seminar series on the Letter of St. Paul to the Romans. He has also recently started a weekly seminar for Inquirers to Orthodoxy. The sermons and seminars are easily accessible through the Holy Archangels Orthodox Foundation website. Currently, the seminars are taking place at St. Mark Orthodox Church in Bethesda, Maryland and The Cathedral of St. John the Baptist in Washington, DC. The link to the website is:

    www.holyaof.org

    Please visit the website and scroll down to the listing of activities by Metropolitan Jonah. There you will find multiple buttons including a button entitled "Letter to the Romans." By simply tapping or clicking on any button, you will be taken to a site where the related recordings may be easily accessed. They may be download to your computer or mobile device and then listened to at your convenience.

    Once you are at the storage site, you may note that the recordings are generally preceded by a date that starts with the year of the recording and then the month and then the day. Example: February 6, 2014 is cataloged as 20140206.

    Please enjoy these new recordings. As more are obtained, they will be uploaded and accessible in the same manner. Prior seminars and current and past sermons are accessed using the relevant button.

    In Christ,

    Luke Wales

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  7. George Michalopulos says:

    Apropos of nothing at all, it seems that elections do have consequences. Please attend to the words of our esteemed former Secretary of State, Mdme Hillary as to what should happen to those thousands of child invaders:

    https://www.vdare.com/posts/the-brat-effect-hillary-says-send-them-back

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  8. OCA Primatial Cathedral, A Photo Opportunity says:

    Insider’s View of St. Nicholas Cathedral:

    Hiding in plain sight is another architectural gem in northwest DC: St. Nicholas Cathedral, seat of the Primate of The Orthodox Church of America, and offering great opportunities for interior and exterior photography work in a spectacularly colorful setting..

    The St. Nicholas community, founded as a Russian church in Washington DC in 1930, completed the present Cathedral in 1962. The church interior was painted with traditional Greco-Russian fresco icons in 1992-94.

    Our safari begins with an orientation by architectural photographer E. David Luria and by the Cathedral’s Archpriest, George Kokhno. We are then led by Father Kokhno to locations inside the Cathedral not open to the public, such as the upper balcony, and we teach you how to photograph church interiors without flash. We then move outdoors to catch architecturally correct views of the exterior.

    Saturday July 19, 2;30 to 5 pm Meet at 3500 Massachussetts Ave. NW entrance to the Cathedral, $79, includes $10 donation to Cathedral.. Closest Metro is Tenleytown, change to 30 Metrobus going downtown to Cathedral. Parking available in nearby streets. Tripods required

    E.David Luria, Photographer, Member ASMP, AIAP,REPAI, SPE
    Founder and Director, Washington Photo Safari

    Owner, E. David Luria Photography
    4545 Connecticut Ave. NW #620,
    Washington DC 20008
    cell:202-669-8468, Fax 815-333-0233
    visit us at www.WashingtonPhotoSafari.com
    and at www.edavidluriaphotography.smugmug.com
    email: david@washingtonphotosafari.com

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    • Tim R. Mortiss says:

      I had the great good fortune a couple of years back, on my first visit to D.C. in decades, to attend liturgies both at Hagia Sophia, the Greek OC cathedral, which is close to the "National Cathedral", and then, in walking back down Mass Ave, at St. Nicholas, which must have started divine liturgy about an hour later. Two beautiful, and totally different, churches!

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      • Hagia Sophia in D.C. has matins and then liturgy every Sunday 8:30 and 10:00 AM. (tad later on weekdays) Right now there is no choir, but there is an excellent protopsaltis (head chanter) and helping chanters. This is where Archbishop Demetrios attends when he is in Washington.

        As you noted, one block down on the other side of the street is Saint Nicholas, the head cathedral of the OCA. It has two services each Sunday excepting some great feasts, English at 9 AM and Slavonic with a Russian sermon at 10:45.

        In the Greek churches around here, Matins is done every morning before a liturgy except on specific designated Vesperal Liturgies (ex. Christmas Eve). In the Slavic tradition, Vespers and Matins are done the Eve of the Liturgy. Since Hagia Sophia conducts a lot fo its service in Greek, it might have been possible to hear Matins and a part of the liturgy and still go down the street to attend part of the Slavonic liturgy at St. Nicholas, which means, however beautiful the mosaics at Hagia Sophia (I personally love them) and great the fresoces on canvas that cover the walls and columns of the nave at St. Nicholas, it is entirely possible that little of each service might have been intelligible to you depending on your ancient and constructed liturgical language abilities

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        • colette says:

          "and great the fresoces on canvas"
          nope- acrylic right on the wall. . . .

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          • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says:

            Anyone who wants to see neither Greek commercial factory mosaics nor acrylic paintery, should go visit Santa Rosa where the wall iconography is slowly being completed in the ancient canonical wet fresco process..

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            • Johann Sebastian says:

              By canonical do you just mean traditional, or is there an actual ecclesial canon stipulating the technique by which an image may be manufactured?

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              • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says:

                In iconography, "canonical" usually means conformity with the methods and techniques laid down in the iconographers' handbooks. For example, egg tempera is spoken of as being "canonical", while oil paints, or, worse, acrylics. are considered "uncanonical.'
                Such canons or rules of iconography do not specify punishments or any other kind of epitimia for their violation. Any canon is just a ruler or rule (we used to speak of a twelve-inch stick with gradations as EITHER a rule or a ruler.
                One might also, i suppose, speak of failing to follow such a rule as 'missing the mark, no?
                If a technique is found to be in total conformity to such a rule as the way to paint church walls, then one may call it canonical. I don't think anyone would even carelessly call acrylics canonical.
                Considering music, rather than visual art, I find it interesting that there is an actual traditional canon against disorderly outcries. (Bezchinnye vopl') This is often a matter of taste. Some of us too, are in the habit of branding "Western" style holy pictures as 'uncanonical,' no? Raphael's "Madonna" and the like are often scorned by the scrupulous as "uncanonical." Are they?

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                • Johann Sebastian says:

                  Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says:
                  June 22, 2014 at 11:52 am

                  "Considering music, rather than visual art, I find it interesting that there is an actual traditional canon against disorderly outcries. (Bezchinnye vopl’) This is often a matter of taste. Some of us too, are in the habit of branding “Western” style holy pictures as ‘uncanonical,’ no? Raphael’s “Madonna” and the like are often scorned by the scrupulous as “uncanonical.” Are they?"

                  I would think that three-dimensional sculpted images would never be canonical, but I don't understand why an Italianate icon would be considered unacceptable, so long as it contained all the necessary "compositional material" that an icon of a particular subject should contain.

                  Moving to the the issue of liturgical music (and further off topic, but something that is of much personal interest), would, say, a Cherubikon or a Communion hymn in the style of the person I take my pseudonym from be forbidden? There are obviously theological implications to treating something like the Trisagion to such a setting, since the structure of the hymn is so fundamental to its meaning and would be lost in all the counterpoint.

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                  • There is nothing wrong with "Italianate" icons so long as they are created by Orthodox and treat Orthodox themes. There is a sad tendency in some quarters to treat Byzantine style iconography as the only acceptable form. Much of the iconography of Orthodox Central and Eastern Europe could be construed as "Italianate". This is no more defensible than saying that liturgies should always be served in Greek. Nonsense. Nonetheless, the Western "bearded lady" Jesus's are offensive regardless of where they are found and suggest that the artist had other issues.

                    Music is a difficult subject since Russian Orthodox music was reformed from the time of Peter the Great along Western lines. No one seriously challenges that it is thoroughly Orthodox, certainly not Byzantine, and that it has a reputation for being some of the most beautiful Christian music in existence.

                    Three dimensional sculpted images are usually considered uncanonical, in violation of the 7th Ecumenical Council. However, Rome only accepted that council to the extent that it did not conflict with then current Roman practice, so, at least on that issue there is an argument to be made on the other side, though I do not think it should carry the day.

                    Another meme out there, recently taken up by the neo-Patristic crowd, has to do with "God the Father" icons. There is a misperception that these are somehow uncanonical. Vladimir Moss and Fr. John Whiteford rather thoroughly refuted this argument several years ago.

                    http://www.saintjonah.org/articles/ancientofdays.htm

                    http://www.romanitas.ru/eng/THE%20ICON%20OF%20THE%20HOLY%20TRINITY.htm

                    I was often amused by this and the controversy surrounding the aerial toll houses when I chanted matins in church, given the references to Daniel 7 and to the toll houses in the selections from the Octoechos.

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                    • colette says:

                      "Just to cite two examples. And so, if we can accept this as icon of the trinity because it depicts a type of theTrinity, why can we not also depict the Ancient of Days as a type of the Father."

                      The reason we can't depict God the Father -even as a type-is because God the Father was not incarnate as a man. We depict Christ because He became a man.

                      Rublev's Trinity is a foreshadowing of the concept of the Trinity. It is Not literally The Trinity. It is 3 angels sitting at a table -the 3 guests in the OT.

                      The Ancient of Days is clearly confused by some of the fathers and later writings. But the Hundred Chapters in Russia, 1551 which states God The Father cannot be circumscribed clears all that up. We don't say anything about God the Father- He is a mystery. We say what he is not.

                      Clearly depicting God the Father as an old man came from the west.- as in God creating Adam with a touch of his finger- in the clouds . . . .this was one of many things we took into iconography that isn't consistant or make much sense.
                      In early images of the Ancient of days he has a cross bar in the halo-meaning Christ. Only Christ has a crossbar. Of course that's not in all icons and the starburst is seen more.

                      In Orthodox Christian hymns, the Ancient of Days is often identified with Jesus Christ.
                      "Thou hast borne incomprehensibly the Ancient of Days as a new Child Who showed us new paths of virtue upon the earth..." Teotokion, 1st Ode of Friday Matins in the 5th tone.
                      "Thou hast borne the Ancient of Days as a new Child unto us..." Theotokion, 8th Ode of Tues. Matins in the 6th tone.
                      "Thou hast surpassed the laws of nature, O pure Daughter, in bringing a new Child upon the earth Who is both the Lawgiver and the Ancient of Days..." Theotokion, 8th Ode, Matins, 5th Sunday of Lent.
                      In the writings of the Fathers
                      «The Ancient of Days became an infant». St. Athanasius of Alexandria. (Homily on the Birth of Christ).
                      "But what can I say? For the wonder astounds me. The Ancient of Days Who sits upon a high and exalted throne is laid in a manger." St. John Chrysostom (Homily on the Saviour's Birth).
                      "Let the earth bow down, let every tongue sing, chant, and glorify the Child God, forty-day old and pre-eternal, the small Child and Ancient of Days, the suckling Child and Creator of the ages." St. Cyril of Jerusalem (Homily on the Presentation of the Lord)
                      "The just Symeon received into his aged arms the Ancient of Days under the form of infancy, and, therefore, blessed God saying, ‘Now lettest Thy servant depart in peace...’" St. Methodius of Olympus (P.G.18, 3658)
                      http://orthodoxwiki.org/Ancient_of_Days

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                    • colette says:

                      "There is nothing wrong with “Italianate” icons so long as they are created by Orthodox and treat Orthodox themes. There is a sad tendency in some quarters to treat Byzantine style iconography as the only acceptable form. Much of the iconography of Orthodox Central and Eastern Europe could be construed as “Italianate”. This is no more defensible than saying that liturgies should always be served in Greek. Nonsense. Nonetheless, the Western “bearded lady” Jesus’s are offensive regardless of where they are found and suggest that the artist had other issues."

                      This is not what I would expect from Misha. To say "Byzantine Iconography" is to speak of a technique-how the paint is applied, form and color as well-which is found in all of the ancient Churches (even in Italy but only for a sort time) up to about the 17th century. But after that the different genres of painting crept into Iconography and created a different message. If you change impressionism for example-too much it is no longer of that genre. It becomes something else. And so it is with Iconography. It is symbolically a reflection of heaven and the transformation of matter. If we add realistic features, then we are leaving that language developed by the Church for the Church instead to reflect life here and now-not the transformed in heaven.
                      In the west they allowed religious art to go into all the changing cultural fads. Because with the Renaissance came the age of the glory of man. They focused on Christ as man and hence his suffereings-not His glory as in the east. That is why they began to sign their works too, because now man and his ability was the focus, not God glorified. So instead of that separation of the sacred and the profane in the west the sacred was immersed into the profane. We never fully went there but we did enough for about the last 300 years. We took elements of this thinking into the icon (and faith), which I don't think is all wrong, but we haven't thought about all the many changes that have happened because, well one; we aren't familiar enough with our own past practices and 2 ;the last 300 years have been rather hard on the Orthodox. So, now maybe we will.

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                    • collete,

                      The article you quote is actually pro-God the Father icons. You should re-read it. It is a rundown of Fr. John Whiteford's article which is based on Vladimir Moss's. You simply neglected to quote all the passages from the Fathers, et al that identify the Ancient of Days as the Father. In reality, the "Ancient of Days" is simply God, whether Father, Son or Holy Spirit.

                      Essentially here is a boiled down version of the reality behind the issue:

                      Though a few Fathers (most notably John of Damascus) may have disapproved of God the Father icons (though even this is not completely clear), this is not the Orthodox Tradition. Daniel 7 clearly refers to God the Father as the "Ancient of Days" and in his vision he saw an anthropomorphic rendition of God the Father, given to him by God, and a mystical representation of the Ascension of Christ. This is attested to by many Fathers and in the treatment of the passages in the Octoechos. You quoted passages where the Ancient of Days is identified as Christ. I have no argument with that. He is Christ . . . and the Father and the Holy Spirit. You omitted the other references which Fr. John provides:

                      *********

                      Of the meaning of the title "Ancient of Days", St. Dionysius says:

                      "...Almighty God is celebrated as "Ancient of days" because He is of all things both Age and Time,--and before Days, and before Age and Time. And yet we must affirm that He is Time and Day, and appointed Time, and Age, in a sense befitting God, as being throughout every movement unchangeable and unmoved, and in His ever moving remaining in Himself, and as being Author of Age and Time and Days. Wherefore, in the sacred Divine manifestations of the mystic visions, He is represented as both old and young; the former indeed signifying the "Ancient" and being from the beginning, and the latter His never growing old; or both teaching that He advances through all things from beginning to end,----or as our Divine initiator says, "since each manifests the priority of God, the Elder having the first place in Time, but the Younger the priority in number; because the unit, and things near the unit, are nearer the beginning than numbers further advanced. ...Almighty God we ought to celebrate, both as eternity and time, as Author of every time and eternity, and "Ancient of days," as before time, and above time; and as changing appointed seasons and times; and again as being before ages, in so far as He is both before eternity and above eternity and His kingdom, a kingdom of all the Ages. Amen."[2]

                      In Orthodox Hymns

                      The Octoechos, Tone 5, Midnight Office Canon to the Holy and Life Creating Trinity, Ode 4, first troparion:

                      "Daniel was initiated into the mystery of the threefold splendour of the one Dominion when he beheld Christ the Judge going unto the Father while the Spirit revealed the vision." [3]

                      “Μυείται τής μιάς Κυριότητος, τό τριφαές ο Δανιήλ, Χριστόν κριτήν θεασάμενος, πρός τόν Πατέρα ιόντα, καί Πνεύμα τό προφαίνον τήν όρασιν.” [4]

                      In the writings of the Fathers

                      The Fathers, commenting on Daniel 7, consistently see the Ancient of Days as specifically referring to the Father; and the Son of Man, who comes before the Ancient of Days, as being the God the Son:

                      "I saw in the night visions, and behold one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and was brought near before Him..."… He showed all power given by the Father to the Son, who is ordained Lord of things in heaven, and things on earth, and things under the earth, and Judge of all." [5]

                      In “The Ancient of Days: Patristic and Modern views of Daniel 7:9-14, by Wilfred Sophrony Royer, St. Vladimir’s Theological Quarterly 45:2 (2001), p 139 we read:

                      “One of the earliest patristic commentators on the Book of Daniel, Hippolytus (ca. 170 – 236) writes that the Ancient of Days “is for Daniel, nothing more than the Lord, God and Master of all, the Father of Christ himself.”

                      ******************

                      Again, though you quote Chrysostom regarding the Ancient of Days being at times a reference to Christ (and not with respect to Daniel 7), you omit:

                      What to Daniel? for he too saith, "The Ancient of days did sit" (Dan. vii. 9.) What to Moses himself, saying, "Show me Thy Glory, that I may see Thee so as to know Thee." (Ex. xxxiii. 13, Ex. xxxiii 13 partly from LXX.) And Jacob took his name from this very thing, being called3 "Israel"; for Israel is "one that sees God." And others have seen him. How then saith John, "No man hath seen God at any time"? It is to declare, that all these were instances of (His) condescension, not the vision of the Essence itself unveiled. For had they seen the very Nature, they would not have beheld It under different forms, since that is simple, without form, or parts, or bounding lines. It sits not, nor stands, nor walks: these things belong all to bodies. But how He Is, He only knoweth. And this He hath declared by a certain prophet, saying, "I have multiplied visions, and used similitudes by the hands of the prophets" (Hos. xii. 10), that is, "I have condescended, I have not appeared as I really was." For since His Son was about to appear in very flesh, He prepared them from old time to behold the substance of God, as far as it was possible for them to see It; but what God really is, not only have not the prophets seen, but not even angels nor archangels."

                      No one is attempting to depict or circumscribe God the Father in creating icons of Him any more than anyone is attempting to circumscribe the divine energy of the Theophany through that icon. By the logic of the anti-God the Father crowd, not only would Rublev's Trinity be forbidden, but also depictions of the Holy Spirit as a dove, since the scriptures do not say that the Holy Spirit took the physical form of a dove but that He appeared to St. John as a dove. No one believes or asserts that God the Father actually in reality looks like an old man any more than anyone asserts that the Trinity resemble three angels or that the Holy Spirit resembles a dove. Each of these are visions given to the righteous. Moreover, Nicodemos the Hagiorite in his comments regarding the 7th Council explicitly approves of God the Father icons:

                      "St. Nicodemos of the Holy Mountain (c. 1749 – 1809 A.D.):

                      “We must note that since the present Council [the Seventh] in the letter it is sending to the church of the Alexandrians pronounces blissful, or blesses, those who know and admit and recognize, and consequently also iconize and honor the visions and theophaniae of the Prophets, just as God Himself formed these and impressed them upon their mind, but anathematizes on the contrary those who refuse to accept and admit the pictorial representations of such visions before the incarnation of the divine Logos (p. 905 of Vol. II of the Conciliar Records) it is to be inferred that even the beginningless Father ought to have His picture painted just as He appeared to Daniel the prophet as the Ancient of Days. Even though it be admitted as a fact that Pope Gregory in his letter to Leo the Isaurian (p. 712 of the second volume of the Concilliar Records) says that we do not blazon the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, yet it must be noted that he said this not simply, but in the sense that we do not paint Him in accordance with the divine nature; since it is impossible, he says, to blazon or paint God’s nature. That is what the present council is doing, and the entire Catholic Church; and not that we do not paint Him as He appeared to the Prophet. For if we did not paint Him at all or portray Him in any manner at all to the eye, why should we be painting the Father as well as the Holy Spirit in the shape of Angels, of young men, just as they appeared to Abraham? Besides even if it be supposed that Gregory does say this, yet the opinion of a single Ecumenical Council attended and represented by a large number of individual men is to be preferred to the opinion of a single individual man. Then again, if it be considered that even the Holy Spirit ought to be painted in the shape of a dove, just as it actually appeared, we say that, in view of the fact that a certain Persian by the name of Xanaeus used to assert, among other things, that it is a matter of infantile knowledge (i.e., that it is a piece of infantile mentality or an act of childishness) for the Holy Spirit to be painted in a picture just as It appeared in the semblance of a dove, whereas, on the other hand, the holy and Ecumenical Seventh Council (Act 5, p. 819 of the second volume of the Conciliar Records) anathematized him along with other iconomachs from this it may be concluded as a logical inference that according to the Seventh Ecum. Council It ought to be painted or depicted in icons and other pictures in the shape of a dove, as it appeared… As for the fact that the Holy Spirit is to be painted in the shape of a dove, that is proven even by this, to wit, the fact that the Fathers of this Council admitted the doves hung over baptismal founts and sacrificial altars to be all right to serve as a type of the Holy Spirit (Act 5, p. 830). As for the assertion made in the Sacred Trumpet (in the Enconium of the Three Hierarchs) to the effect that the Father out not to be depicted in paintings and like, according to Acts 4, 5, and 6 of the 7th Ecum. Council, we have read these particular Acts searchingly, but have found nothing of the kind, except only the statement that the nature of the Holy Trinity cannot be exhibited pictorially because of its being shapeless and invisible”[22] "

                      The 7th Ecumenical Council plainly stated that any of the visions of the prophets were suitable for iconography and therefore based on Daniel's vision and that of St. Stephen, and possibly others, the Church has since time immemorial rendered God the Father icons. Much iconography was destroyed in the East during the iconoclastic period but God the Father icons in the Orthodox West date from the time of the catacombs. In the East, they date from much earlier than the period of Western influence alleged by their detractors.

                      This is a meme that is poorly argued in the anti-GTF icon side, mostly with tautology and deserves to end up on the ash bin of history.

                      So, the summary at the end of the article which you yourself cited reads:

                      "In Orthodox Iconography, we find the image of the Ancient of Days used in two ways:

                      1. Often, Jesus Christ is depicted as an old man, to show symbolically that he existed from all eternity, and sometimes as a young man to portray him as he was incarnate. This iconography emerged in the 6th century, mostly in the Eastern Empire.[24]

                      2. The Father is also often symbolically depicted as the Ancient of Days. We find this on many miraculous icons, including the Kursk Root Icon[25], the Reigning Icon of the Mother of God (Derzhavnaya icon)[26], and the Sitka Icon[27], just to name a few.

                      The Council of Moscow in 1667 declared that the Ancient of Days was the Son and not the Father [note, this is demonstrably false from the above quotations of the Fathers and the Octoekhos], and that the depiction of the Fathers as the Ancient of Days was forbidden.[28] This is however the same council that anathamatized the Old Rite, and like many of its decrees, this decree has generally been ignored ever since, and this image has been a regular element in Orthodox Iconography, both within Russia, and elsewhere in the Church. The above cited references to the standard "Painters Manual" of Dionysius of Fourna, as well the comments of St. Nicodemus of the Holy Mountain in "The Rudder" demonstrate that this was an accepted element of Orthodox Iconography. In the second half of the 20th Century, however, a movement to reject this element of Iconography arose from some of the representatives of the Neo-Patristic movement, and so this has become a matter of controversy in more recent times."

                      I recall perusing a book written by someone in the OCA and printed by St. Vladimir's, part of which was dedicated to opposing God the Father icons. The argument was not an argument at all and ignored almost all of the pro=GTF evidence. It was little more than tautology.

                      So, if you want to get rid of Rubliev's Trinity, the Holy Spirit depicted as a dove, most icons of the Theophany, the Kursk Root, Derzhavnaya and Sitka icons (all miracle working) and certain icons enshrined on the Holy Mountain . . . be my guest. Otherwise, it might be wise to let it go and accept these icons as Orthodox.

                      My personal theory, and no one should ascribe this to Fr. John or Moss, is that the semi-iconoclasm opposed to God the Father icons comes as a result of the influence of not only "Christian iconoclasm" but of Islam. Early on, Islam allowed Christians to keep icons of Christ and the Virgin Mary. Muhammad himself is described in one particular hadith stating that all the other pagan images were to be painted over, but not ones of Christ (since Muslims do not consider Him to be God) and the Virgin. So as far as Muslims were concerned, such images were acceptable for Christians under their rule. However, what Christians identify as God the Father would have been what Muslims identify as Allah (though Muslims never describe Allah with familial attributes). Images of Allah would not have been allowed to anyone.

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                    • Protopappas says:

                      Colette said: "We don’t say anything about God the Father- He is a mystery. We say what he is not. "

                      Hi Colette. You have to be careful here. When you say that we don't say anything about God the Father this is simply not true. We say, for instance, that He is "Creator of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible." We say that the He is the Arche of the Trinity? We say that He is the cause of the Son and Spirit? We say many things about Him in Liturgy, like "You brought us out of nonexistence into being..." and "You sent forth Your Only-Begotten Son, that all who believe on Him should not perish, but have eternal life..."

                      Also, we know from patristics that each person of the Trinity is the Ancient of Days, so while that is true of the Son and certainly expressly stated in the passages you have given, it is also clearly applied to the Father elsewhere.

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                    • I need to make a correction to what I wrote above. When I referred to icons about the "Theophany", what I actually had in mind were icons of the "Transfiguration", I simply had Theophany on my mind because of the dove.

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                    • Acts 7:54-60 (KJV)

                      54 When they heard these things, they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed on him with their teeth.

                      55 But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God,

                      56 And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God.

                      Daniel 7 (KJV):

                      9 I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire.

                      10 A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him: thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened.

                      ************

                      13 I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him.

                      14 And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.

                      The Seventh Ecumenical Council:

                      "Eternal be the memory of those who know and accept
                      and believe the visions of the prophets as the Divinity
                      Himself shaped and impressed them, whatever the chorus
                      of the prophets saw and narrated, and who hold to the written
                      and unwritten tradition of the Apostles which was passed on
                      to the Fathers, and on account of this make icons of the Holy
                      things and honour them."

                      "Anathema to those who do not accept the visions of the prophets
                      and who reject the iconographies which have been seen by them

                      (O wonder!) even before the Incarnation of the Word, but either
                      speak empty words about having seen the unattainable and unseen
                      Essence, or on the one hand pay heed to those who have seen these
                      appearances of icons, types and forms of the truth, while on the other
                      hand they cannot bear to have icons made of the Word become man
                      and His sufferings on our behalf."

                      Or, to put it another way, God made the first icons of God the Father in the vision He granted to Daniel, we merely depict Him as He depicted Himself through Daniel's (and others') descriptions.

                      I first encountered this controversy when I noticed a few icons of God the Father in my English copy of The Law of God, a Russian Orthodox catechism used in the Church Abroad. I think there were three or four of them in the rather large volume. However, in the original Russian edition which I acquired later, there were at least 19 God the Father icons and an explicit statement (I believe on p. 50) that such icons were fine and dandy and were created since God the Father revealed himself to certain prophets in the form of an old man. This is the same reason that the Greek Old Calendarists approve of such icons and probably the reason that the Russian council of 1667 disapproved of such icons, since the Old Believers venerated them. Nonetheless, even the 1667 council directed that icons of Rubliev's "Hospitality of Abraham" be labelled "The Holy Trinity" which they are to this very day. There is absolutely no difference between depicting God the Father as an angel [a form in which He chose to reveal Himself] and as an old man [another form in which He chose to reveal Himself]. No one asserts that God the Father, in His Essence, resembles either an angel or an old man.

                      However, I'm sure this controversy will not die out too quickly. What is necessary is that the truth be explicated and that those who venerate icons of the Father continue to do so. God will sort out the rest.

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                    • Misha:

                      However, I’m sure this controversy will not die out too quickly. What is necessary is that the truth be explicated and that those who venerate icons of the Father continue to do so. God will sort out the rest.

                      I wonder if Misha has an opinion about kissing the Lord's face on the plashchenitsa or an icon. What about the Last judgement? To kiss or not to kiss? These are VERY IMPORTANT MATTERS.

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                    • Misha:

                      No one asserts that God the Father, in His Essence, resembles either an angel or an old man.

                      When we get to heaven, Misha, we will know exactly what She looks like.

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              • colette says:

                There is nothing spelled out to address modern questions, but there is what's written in the 7th ecumenical council and there are descriptions of the process in pattern books- which tend to be written in the modern era. And there is the technique itself, from dark to light in -usually 3 -stages and hatching lines (all different sizes) that form the "lighting" on the face that can be traced all the way back to the Fayum portraits (1-3 centuries) which many scholars believe is the beginning of the icon. We have the canon of time, which we can see under the microscope if not with the plain eye. Other techniques came in and left (new ones coming in all the time) while this technique persisted to present day. Various materials were also used, some persisted and some faded out. Egg tempera was used with the Fayum Portraits and is still used today. It is a time tested medium and a medium which lends itself to the harmony the icon presents.

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                • colette says:

                  Protopappas-

                  We don't say anything about His description. We don't know what he looks like. In Iconography he was never described. The earliest Icon we have of God the Father is 14/15th c. in the East. I responded in more detail about this to Misha but my post was erased so, I'll say more later.

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                  • colette says:

                    Misha, Protopap-

                    Let's start with this-

                    http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/earl/summary/v007/7.1mckay.html

                    What's not talked about are the images-I am going to guess that the "camp" of anti images of God the Father are iconographers . .. be sure to read what the council says-

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                    • colette says:

                      It states "An unusual depiction of an aged man with white hair and beard emerges in post-Iconoclastic Byzantine art. Most commonly, this figure was identified as God the Father. However, the rulings of the Council of Nicea that ended the century-long Iconoclastic struggle declared that no images of God the Father were permitted in Byzantine art".

                      Also
                      http://all-photo.ru/icon/photos/23352-0.jpg 12thc.
                      http://all-photo.ru/icon/photos/23776-0.jpg, 12thc.

                      notice the cross bar in the halo-which is always on Christ

                      http://www.kurskroot.com/christ_greek_orthodox.jpg

                      The "I am" in Christ's halo refers to Christ in the burning bush. Christ that Moses is conversing with . . . .

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                    • collette,

                      The problem is that Nicea II says no such thing. In fact, it states the opposite: That icons of the visions of the prophets are entirely appropriate and that those who reject such images are anathema. Show me exactly where the 7th council prohibited God the Father icons. Nicodemos of the Holy Mountain was unable to find any such rule, just the opposite.

                      This is why I say that the anti-GTF position is usually very poorly argued. There are these legends that Nicea II did this, etc. When you get down to the actual evidence, it turns out to be founded on nothing.

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                    • "However, the rulings of the Council of Nicea that ended the century-long Iconoclastic struggle declared that no images of God the Father were permitted in Byzantine art."

                      There is no such ruling. I defy anyone to produce the text. What the Council did do is list a number of types of icons that are permissible. They specifically excluded none. However, they did say that any of the visions of the prophets were suitable and that those who opposed such images were heretics. I do not claim so much, I think there is a lot of fog surrounding the issue, but I would be very careful not to actively oppose such icons even if I chose not to keep them myself. The Council is quite clear about the anathema.

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                    • George Michalopulos says:

                      Misha, I'm with Collette on this one. Although I do not know what the rulings of Nicaea II state, it seems to me that any graphic portrayals of the Father are problemmatic at the very least. They open up a whole can of worms that (as proven here) that would be better left alone.

                      We are fortunate in that there are no Christological issues at stake in our theology but I can foresee some Triadological problems if we ignore the custom of prohibiting images of the Father.

                      Just my opinion.

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                    • Dn Brian Patrick Mitchell says:

                      One thing it might help to remember is that, with 2,000 years of tradition, a lot of things appear for a while and even endure that nevertheless do not become normative of Orthodox Christianity. They aren't necessarily wrong; they just aren't perhaps the best way to say or do things, and so they aren't said or done often.

                      Depicting the Father as an old man is one of those things. Erecting statues for veneration is another.

                      How about praising the Theotokos as the "Bride of God." Those words appear at times in our texts, but we don't hear them every day. The deacon doesn't say, "Calling to remembrance our most holy, most pure, most blessed and glorious Bride of God and ever-virgin Mary . . ." If he did that regularly, people might get the wrong idea. (What the deacon does say is less poetic and more precise theologically.)

                      Then there's the use of the theological term "Theanthropos" ("God-man"). St. Augustine of Hippo did this a lot, but hardly any other ancient saint did, perhaps because it sounds patently monophysite. It can, of course, be understood in an Orthodox way, but if we used it more, we might become monophysites. (I've seen evidence of this in the arguments of those who insist Christ was "man" but not "a man.")

                      The distinction between mortal and venial sins is another. As we argued about it recently, I happened to be reading the memoirs of a someone from my hometown, who described growing up Catholic in the 1950's. He identifies sins as either mortal or venial dozens of times. It was part of the catechism that every Catholic child learned, and it shaped their view of life. It's how they saw the world. But have Orthodox children habitually divided their sins that way? Yes, it's part of the tradition, as other have here proved, but it doesn't figure into Orthodox thinking nearly as much as into Catholic thinking.

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                    • colette says:

                      I can't reply again to Misha the one with the pictures-they are all very late images, great examples for my lecture though-in style and everything from the west very late even the last one which is earlier. There just are not very many examples of this thinking in the east until later. And the fleshy God the Father-really? You think that has anything to do with Orthodoxy/icons??Really? Boy that's a stumper.

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                    • Here are a couple more from Serbia:

                      http://www.splendorofthechurch.com.ph/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/icon2-f5-Holy-Trinity.jpg

                      This one apparently streams blood and myrrh from time to time:
                      http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_qpE5hNwi618/TNxD6wLmOVI/AAAAAAAALHE/9hekl0PEALk/s1600/s%2Bholy%2Btrinity.jpg

                      This one is from a Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Vancouver. Notice how the staff in the Father's hand is reminiscent of the angel in Rubliev's Trinity:

                      http://uocvancouver.com/church/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/holy-trinity.jpg

                      "nother Ukrainian one:

                      http://www.ukrainianchurchesofcanada.ca/images/icons_always_02_2009_19_sk_uoc_sturgis_trinity_04_patron%20icon_crop.jpg

                      Bulgarian hand painted one:

                      http://www.shopbulgaria.com/files/products/cache/w_1193263200_5000_4000_1193324488.gif

                      Here's one from holybyzantineicons.com:

                      http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_4OP6bg-zvEg/TAMh6a4wyUI/AAAAAAAAALM/-Z7o_LkEfQ0/s1600/Trinity+Icon.jpg

                      From Rila Monastery, Bulgaria:

                      http://thumbs.dreamstime.com/z/god-father-wall-icon-2732143.jpg

                      Anyway, you get the picture.

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                    • colette says:

                      Mesha,
                      These are all late, in my book they prove what Schmemann and Ouspenski, etc. were talking about with the western intrusion into the Eastern church.

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                    • colette says:

                      I did not write this . . . but I like it.

                      "That when taken all together there are three traditions with ties to Daniel 7 and all have something in common: 'Only He who ascended can descend".

                      1. Daniel's vision foreshadows the Incarnation. The Son of God descended into the womb and took on humanity. Secondly this economy shows the dichotomy of how Christ is ancient yet young. He is begotten eternally but born in time.

                      2, The Ascension- Christ the son of man is recieved and sits at the right hand of God the Father. The way he ascends is the same way he will return as witnessed by the martyr Stephen,

                      3. The last Judgement- He descends at the second coming where he sits in judgment. The river of fire is what tests and refines the virtues of Gold and silver, the vices burns the wood and hay (As Paul describes in Corinthians on what will happen "in that day")

                      That from the tradition of the Church only the interpretations which portrays Christ as the Ancient of Days can be depicted. This is not an opinion, but a historical fact. No mosaics or frescos exist in the ancient churches of Constantinople such as the Chora church depicting God the Father. No icons older than approx 400 years old exist on the Monastery of the Sinai depicting God the Father. I have never come across ancient depictions of God the Father in the Coptic tradition neither.

                      We know from the robber council of the iconoclasts that no mention of God the Father icons were ever mentioned in their council. No Father not even St Theodore the Studite ever had to tackle God the Father images because they did not exist. The Synodikon of Orthodoxy written in 843 a.d. makes clear that OT visions portraying God as the Father did not exist."

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                    • colette says:

                      Also interesting-
                      The earliest Ancient of Days icons were also refered to as Emmanuel icons. In fact the oldest Ancient of Days icon that we have in existence dates to the 7th century and is 'probably' of Coptic origin. Its found in the Sinai Monastery and this is it:

                      http://cnetworks.net/icon/photos/10284-0.jpg

                      If you look right above the gospel book held by Christ the two remaining letters H and the greek letter lambda. The inscription is greek for Emmanuel. The question then is why did Philochristos (the owners name with a prayer of foregiveness is on the border) paint an icon of Emmanuel which depicts Christ as the Ancient of Days? There must have been some tradition for this and possibly (especally if its of Coptic origin) it was influenced by St Cyril's scholia.

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                    • "And the fleshy God the Father-really?"

                      My God, that would be blasphemous wouldn't it, a scandal even, God in His Essence taking flesh?!!!

                      Like(0)Dislike(0)
                    • colette says:

                      Why not just be Catholic? They took art into all genras and put that in their churches. That genra you ONLY find in Othodoxy very late. It was NEVER part of our Tradition. IE. The fleshy Jesus, God the Father. . .

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                    • collette,

                      Just to summarize what has been established:

                      1. The 7th Ecumenical Council approved of iconography based on the visions of the prophets and anathematized those who condemned them:

                      From the Synodikon of Orthodoxy:

                      "Eternal be the memory of those who know and accept
                      and believe the visions of the prophets as the Divinity
                      Himself shaped and impressed them, whatever the chorus
                      of the prophets saw and narrated, and who hold to the written
                      and unwritten tradition of the Apostles which was passed on
                      to the Fathers, and on account of this make icons of the Holy
                      things and honour them.”

                      “Anathema to those who do not accept the visions of the prophets
                      and who reject the iconographies which have been seen by them
                      (O wonder!) even before the Incarnation of the Word, but either
                      speak empty words about having seen the unattainable and unseen
                      Essence, or on the one hand pay heed to those who have seen these
                      appearances of icons, types and forms of the truth, while on the other
                      hand they cannot bear to have icons made of the Word become man
                      and His sufferings on our behalf.”

                      From Nicodemos of the Holy Mountain's Commentary on the meaning of the 7th Council:

                      “We must note that since the present Council [the Seventh] in the letter it is sending to the church of the Alexandrians pronounces blissful, or blesses, those who know and admit and recognize, and consequently also iconize and honor the visions and theophaniae of the Prophets, just as God Himself formed these and impressed them upon their mind, but anathematizes on the contrary those who refuse to accept and admit the pictorial representations of such visions before the incarnation of the divine Logos (p. 905 of Vol. II of the Conciliar Records) it is to be inferred that even the beginningless Father ought to have His picture painted just as He appeared to Daniel the prophet as the Ancient of Days. '

                      2. Now, we also have the following Fathers and Orthodox sources (plus Augustine) attesting to the fact that the Ancient of Days as described in Daniel 7 is God the Father:

                      Hippolytus (c. 170 – c. 236 A.D.)
                      St. Cyprian of CathageApostolic Constitutions (ca. 350)Lactantius (c. 240 – c. 320 A.D.)
                      St. Cyril of Jerusalem (c. 315 – 386 A.D.)
                      Rufinus (c. 345 – 410 A.D.)
                      St. John Chrysostom (c. 347 – 407 A.D.)
                      Blessed Theodoret of Cyrus 393 –457
                      St. Ephraim the Syrian ca. 306 – 373
                      St. Epiphanius ca. 310 – 403
                      St. Augustine (354 –430 A.D.)
                      St. Cyril of Alexandria (d. 444)
                      Blessed Theophylact (c. 1050 – c. 1108 A.D.)
                      St. Gregory Palamas (1296–1359)
                      Dionysius of Fourna (ca. 1734)
                      Bishop Theophilos of Campania (1749–1795)
                      St. Nicodemos of the Holy Mountain (c. 1749 – 1809 A.D.)

                      All of the quotes from each of these sources are laid out in Fr. John's article:

                      http://www.saintjonah.org/articles/ancientofdays.htm

                      Now, I have no doubt you can produce many quotes from Church Fathers identifying Christ as the Ancient of Days. The point you seem to be unable to grasp is that the Ancient of Days is Yahweh, God of the Armies (of Heaven and of Israel); i.e., the Trinity in each person. This is simply a fact. Protopappas perhaps has two instances where the Ancient of Days is identified as the Holy Spirit, but there is not doubt that He is identified as the Father in Daniel.

                      According to Fr. John:

                      [beginning of quote]

                      "There is only one patristic source that references Daniel 7, and can possibly be understood as teaching that the Ancient of Days in Daniel 7 is the Son:

                      St. Ambrose of Milan (c. 339 – 397)

                      "Let Him [Jesus] therefore stand in your midst, that the heavens, which declare the glory of God, may be opened to you, that you may do His will, and work His works. He who sees Jesus, to him are the heavens opened as they were opened to Stephen, when he said: "Behold I see the heavens opened and Jesus standing at the right hand of God." Jesus was standing as his advocate, He was standing as though anxious, that He might help His athlete Stephen in his conflict, He was standing as though ready to crown His martyr. Let Him then be standing for you, that you may not be afraid of Him sitting; for when sitting He judges, as Daniel says: "The thrones were placed, and the books were opened, and the Ancient of Days did sit." But in the eighty-first [second] Psalm it is written: "God stood in the congregation of gods, and decideth among the gods." So then when He sits He judges, when He stands He decides, and He judges concerning the imperfect, but decides among the gods. Let Him stand for you as a defender, as a good shepherd, lest the fierce wolves assault you" (Letter 63:5-6, NPNF, vol. 10, p. 457).

                      It is not at all clear here that St. Ambrose was focusing on the distinct person of the Son in this passage, as opposed to speaking more generally of God. It is also clear that he is not focusing on Daniel 7, but rather alluding to it, and does so with reference to the final judgment… not to the incarnation.

                      ***

                      Even if this text is taken as proof that St. Ambrose believed the Son to be the Ancient of Days in Daniel 7, we still are left without a patristic commentary explaining what it would mean for the Son of Man (who is without question Jesus Christ) to come before Himself (as the Ancient of Days), and then to bestow upon Himself the Kingdom and dominion. And furthermore, to make for a Patristic consensus one would need to find more than one Father with this understanding of the text."

                      [end of quote]

                      3. Next, we also know from the hymnography of the Church that God the Father is the Ancient of Days as described by Daniel:

                      The Octoechos, Tone 5, Midnight Office Canon to the Holy and Life Creating Trinity, Ode 4, first troparion:

                      "Daniel was initiated into the mystery of the threefold splendour of the one Dominion when he beheld Christ the Judge going unto the Father while the Spirit revealed the vision." HTM Pentecostarion (which includes this text from the Octoechos), p. 270

                      4. As to dating, I do not know of an Eastern image of God the Father from before the schism. However, the Church in the West was Orthodox before the schism. So Western does not mean heterodox. If it were, Russian Orthodox music would certainly qualify as heterodox. That is another fatal flaw in the anti-GTF argument. Fr. John gives the examples of psalters and images dating back to the 9th century for these types of icons. As to what transpired earlier, bear in mind the unfortunate consequences of the rise of Islam and of iconoclasm. Many, many icons were destroyed.

                      5. Also, on the meaning of Rubliev's Hospitality, the Church has this to say:

                      “Of old thou didst clearly manifest Thyself unto Abraham in three Hypostases, one in the essence of
                      divinity; and in images thou didst reveal the utter truth of theology. Thee do we hymn with faith, the three Sunned God who alone hath dominion.: Octoechos, Tone 1, Midnight Office Canon, Ode 3.

                      “As a sojourner, Abraham was vouchsafed mystically to receive the one Lord in three Hypostases, made manifest in the forms of men.” Octoechos, Tone3, Midnight Office Canon, Ode 6

                      6. Next, the argument based on circumscribability:

                      As I have repeatedly pointed out, in order to be consistent in opposing GTF icons as attempting to circumscribe the uncircumscribable Father who has not become incarnate and thus "given us license" to do so, you also have to oppose depictions of the divine energies manifest to the Apostles at Transfiguration as well as depictions of the Holy Spirit as a dove in icons of the Annunciation and Theophany.

                      Specifically, God the Holy Spirit did not become incarnate as a dove. He appeared in a vision to St. John as a dove. Thus, depicting God the Holy Spirit as a dove is every bit as much an instance of attempting to circumscribe the uncircumscribable as is depicting an image of God the Father. Both images were revealed to prophets but neither is an instance of incarnation.

                      7. Such icons are ubiquitous and any supposed rule against them is often ignored or unknown among the Orthodox. I have provided many examples of such icons in Russian, Bulgarian, Ukrainian, Serbian and Greek churches (on Athos and in America). If it is a rule that GTF cannot be depicted, it is one of the most ignored rules in the religion. In context, this is unlikely. If Athos is ok with them and the Slavic churches are ok with them, I'm ok with them. Moreover, the reasoning given by each is consistent with the evidence above. The Greek Old Calendarists base their acceptance on the visions of Daniel and St. Stephen. The ROC bases its acceptance on the general principle that God the Father is depictable as He "revealed Himself to certain prophets". p. 50, Zakon Bozhiy, Fr. Seraphim Slobodskoy ["The Law of God", Russian edition]

                      So . . .

                      . . . the visions of prophets are depictable; the Ancient of Days can refer to any Person of the Trinity, often refers to Christ, and clearly refers to God the Father in Daniel 7; and, if you are going to prohibit God the Father icons and have an ounce of integrity, you will oppose depiction of the Holy Spirit as a dove, the Trinity as angels and the divine energies of the Transfiguration in every instance.

                      Or, you can let it go and move on.

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                    • M. Stankovich says:

                      Misha,

                      About five long, bleating, huffing, windy, exasperating, insulting, and self-righteous posts ago you insisted to me you were right. If that were the case, I would have fully expected you to shut up. High five, colette.

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                    • Just making it easy for collette to prove me wrong point by point. Now she has a convenient little outline so she can show me where I went astray.

                      Like(0)Dislike(0)
                    • M. Stankovich says:

                      Misha,

                      You have presented nothing more than a scholarly "picnic basket" of quotations from Patristic writings and hymnography, some centuries apart, that "prove" nothing definitively better than the basic texts available, nor have more authority that than this website in influencing the church in the real world. And you amusingly sum it all up with a ribbon of your comment, "If Athos is ok with them and the Slavic churches are ok with them, I’m ok with them." Well, there you have it.

                      You so emphatically and arrogantly propose to "summarize what has been established," when, in fact, much of the Church does not agree with you; learned hierarchs, theologians, monastics, scholars, and iconographers do not agree with you and with sound theological reasoning. You wildly speak as if you are the first person to "stumble" upon one side of this debate, when Google has done the work for you, and you outrageously "challenge" colette to "conveniently" critique Vladimir Moss!

                      Finally, I will say to you again, your need to "win" is relentless and vicious for no reason I can see. You have insulted and attempted to marginalize colette in her God-given vocation in the Church - for what? Boost your fragile masculine ego over a point you cannot win because it is unresolved in the Church itself? "No apology. I was right and I am right." This is not the talk of confidence, but of insecurity. You mocked her intelligence, you called her silly, and before everyone here who witnessed your crudeness, you need to apologize.

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                    • collette,

                      Yet nothing you stated above refutes or seriously challenges anything I said. You dismiss it with weak arguments, but you refute nothing. That long list of Fathers did say that the Ancient of Days in Daniel is God the Father. It's a fact. It's not an interpretation insomuch as we Orthodox follow the consensus of the Fathers. That point is proven completely. I never said that the Ancient of Days was not also a reference to the Son, so none of the rest of what you wrote on that point is relevant. I make no argument that sometimes, perhaps most of the time, Christ is the Ancient of Days. You have disproved a straw dummy, something I never asserted.

                      "The dove at Baptism and Toungues of Fire” are descriptions from NT Scripture."

                      Yes, and the description of God the Father given in Daniel 7, and attested to as such by all but one of the Fathers who comment on that passage, is from OT scripture. It is a vision, just like the vision of the HG as a dove which St. John received. You have demonstrated nothing other than that you are dodging the argument or do not understand it.

                      I could go on. But basically you just have this conviction, unsupported and contradicted by Tradition, that God the Father cannot be depicted. It is false yet you keep running back to it as evidence when you have nothing else. Your conviction is not evidence.

                      The hymnography of the Church is evidence
                      The opinion of a multitude of Fathers that God the Father is described in Daniel 7 is evidence
                      The plain words of the 7th EC are evidence
                      The ubiquity of icons of GTF is evidence

                      But what you are saying directly contradicts the statement of an Ecumenical Council, the opinion of the Fathers, the hymnography of the Church, etc. Nothing I am saying contradicts them. Your only recourse is to go on about how Christ is the Ancient of Days. No argument here. My point, supported wholeheartedly by the Fathers, is that the Ancient of Days is also God the Father. Ancient of Days simply is a title of God:

                      [begin quote]

                      "Early on in his treatise On the Divine Names, St. Dionysius explains his understanding of how names that refer to the Divine Nature, which all the persons of the Trinity share in common are applicable to all three persons:

                      ”Now, this, we have thoroughly demonstrated elsewhere, that always, all the God-becoming Names of God, are celebrated by the Oracles, not partitively, but as applied to the whole and entire and complete and full Godhead, and that all of them are referred impartitively, absolutely, unreservedly, entirely, to all the Entirety of the entirely complete and every Deity.” (Chapter 2, On the Divine Names)

                      And so, for example though the Scriptures tend to use the term “Lord” in reference to the Father, or the Son, it is also justly applied to the Holy Spirit:

                      "But, that the whole Deity holds the Lordship over the whole, one can scarcely say, as I think how many

                      times, in reference to the Paternal Deity, or the Filial, the word "Lord "is repeated in the Word of

                      God, as applied to Father and Son. But the Spirit also is Lord." (same chapter)

                      Among these Divine Names, St. Dionysius includes the title “Ancient of Days”, which as he explains, refers to God’s Eternality:

                      "Chapter 10: Concerning Sovereign Lord, "Ancient of days" in which also, concerning Age and Time.

                      SECTION I.

                      THE time, then, is come for our discourse, to sing the God of many Names, as "Sovereign Lord," and as "Ancient of days." For He is called the former, by reason that He is an all-controlling basis, binding and embracing the whole, and establishing and supporting, and tightening, and completing the whole. Continuous in itself, and from itself, producing the whole, as it were from a Sovereign root, and turning to itself the whole, as to a sovereign parent stock, and holding them together as an all-embracing basis of all, securing all the things embraced, within one grasp superior to all, and not permitting them, when fallen from itself to be destroyed, as moved from an all-perfect sanctuary. But the Godhead is called Sovereign, both as controlling and governing the members of His household, purely, and as being desired and beloved by all, and as placing upon all the voluntary yokes, and the sweet pangs of the Divine and Sovereign, and in dissolvable love of the Goodness itself,

                      SECTION II.

                      But Almighty God is celebrated as "Ancient of days" because He is of all things both Age and Time,--and before Days, and before Age and Time. And yet we must affirm that He is Time and Day, and appointed Time, and Age, in a sense befitting God, as being throughout every movement unchangeable and unmoved, and in His ever moving remaining in Himself, and as being Author of Age and Time and Days. Wherefore, in the sacred Divine manifestations of the mystic visions, He is represented as both old and young; the former indeed signifying the "Ancient" and being from the beginning, and the latter His never growing old; or both teaching that He advances through all things from beginning to end,----or as our Divine initiator says, "since each manifests the priority of God, the Elder having the first place in Time, but the Younger the priority in number; because the unit, and things near the unit, are nearer the beginning than numbers further advanced.

                      SECTION III.

                      But we must, as I think, see from the Oracles the nature of Time and Eternity, for they do not always

                      (merely) call all the things absolutely unoriginated and really everlasting, eternal, but also things imperishable and immortal and unchangeable, ' and things which are in like fashion, as when they say, "be ye opened, eternal doors," and the like. And often they characterize the things the most ancient by the name of Eternity; and again they call the whole duration of our time Eternity, in so far as the ancient and unchangeable, and the measurement of existence throughout, is a characteristic of Eternity. But they call time that concerned in generation and decay and change, and sometimes the one, and sometimes the other. Wherefore also, the Word of God says that even we, who are bounded here by time, shall partake of Eternity, when we have reached the Eternity which is imperishable and ever the same. But sometimes eternity is celebrated in the Oracles, even as temporal, and time as eternal. But if we know them better and more accurately, things spiritual are spoken of and denoted by Eternity, and things subject to generation by time. It is necessary then to suppose that things called eternal are not absolutely co-eternal with God, Who is before Eternity, but that following unswervingly the most august Oracles, we should understand things eternal and temporal according to the hopes recognized by them, hut whatever participates partly in eternity and partly in time, as things midway between things spiritual and things being born. But Almighty God we ought to celebrate, both as eternity and time, as Author of every time and eternity, and "Ancient of days," as before time, and above time; and as changing appointed seasons and times; and again as being before ages, in so far as He is both before eternity and above eternity and His kingdom, a kingdom of all the Ages. Amen.

                      [end quote]

                      So, yes, collette, the Ancient of Days in Daniel 7 is God the Father. It is not my interpretation but that of almost every Church Father who commented on the passage. And yes, collette, the Ancient of Days is a reference to the Eternal God, whether Father, Son or Holy Spirit and that also is not my interpretation, though I agree with it.

                      Now, that concludes my involvement in this little distraction. I will address Stankovich briefly under his comment. What I will say to you collette is this. When I use the word "silly" it was not a criticism of your intelligence. We're all silly sometimes. I do not retract what I said, but its intention is being misrepresented by Stankovich (the shining knight defending the damsel in distress, I assume). I have enjoyed the little back and forth we have engaged in. Though I am unpersuaded by your position, I encourage you to pursue it insofar as you wish. The truth has no enemy but the darkness. Light is always welcome.

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                    • colette says:

                      Misha, You are convinced of your own argument and it blocks you from seeing any differently. I think a better answer from you would be to admit God is a mystery. All of what you quoted above could as well be understood as Yes-God is One but only the Son became incarnate and is depictable. The Father, however is not depictable. There is no getting around that. Daniel had a vision but what could he comprehend? The Trinity? I don't think so. He could only understand Christ- and so he could only express that. The particulars of the Father are not known to us. Quote anway, that's all fine, but in reading the entire Council of NiceasII and St. John of Damascus more and more I understand that visions are only what we can comprehend, we can not go beyond that. The full God head is there with Christ always, but we can not say what that is.

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                    • Colette,

                      The problem you have is with Holy Tradition, not me. To illustrate this point, let's engage in a little logical exercise. First, we know that the decisions of Ecumenical Councils (i.e., a Great and Holy Synod received by the Church) are the highest and most reliable expression of Orthodox doctrine. Second, we know that such a Council said clearly that all things which fit in category X are permissible and anyone who contradicts that is anathema. Third, we know that the consensus of the Fathers clearly and unequivocally places thing Y in category X.

                      Now, if somehow you were able to overcome the fact that Y is mandated as permissible with sophistry or with this or that opinion offered by this or that theologian over the ages, no matter how prominent, what would be the state of Holy Tradition? It would be completely nebulous. The decisions of Councils and consensus of the Fathers are Holy Tradition.

                      I have proved beyond any serious doubt that at the very least all but one of the Fathers who commented on Daniel 7 identified the Ancient of Days in those verses as God the Father. You have offered absolutely nothing whatsoever to contradict that. Nothing. I have admitted that Ambrose may be the sole dissent but even that is far from clear. All but one of a multitude, the one being iffy, is a consensus. Face it.

                      As to the decision of the Council expressed in the synodikon, you have not offered anything at all - nothing - which would indicate that the Council did not intend to protect all of the images of the visions of the prophets as permissible iconography.

                      There is simply no way to overcome that. You state as if it were a self evident proposition that, "The Father, however is not depictable." Yet this is not true. What source could you possibly have that would overcome the consensus of the Fathers and the decision of an Ecumenical Council? There is no such source.

                      "Daniel had a vision but what could he comprehend? The Trinity? I don’t think so. He could only understand Christ- and so he could only express that."

                      Daniel could not "understand Christ". No one can understand God in His Essence. Christ is every bit as much God in His Essence as the Father is. They are of one Essence. No one, not in depictions of Christ, nor in depictions of the Father, are attempting to depict God in His Essence. That is the point you seem to fail to comprehend.

                      There are at least two avenues by which God has allowed us to derive iconography. One is from the physical manifestations of the Divine History. Such things are the lives of saints, stories from Scripture, Christ as God Incarnate, etc.

                      Another avenue by which God has allowed us to derive iconography as clearly expressed in the 7th EC is through all of the visions He granted to the prophets:

                      “Eternal be the memory of those who know and accept
                      and believe the visions of the prophets as the Divinity
                      Himself shaped and impressed them, whatever the chorus
                      of the prophets saw and narrated . . .“

                      * * *

                      "Anathema to those who do not accept the visions of the prophets
                      and who reject the iconographies which have been seen by them."
                      - 7thEC, Synodikon

                      Here are the quotations from the Fathers, Apostolic Constitution, Augustine, etc. to which I referred above. I have only listed the ones from the first millennium. You will notice that, contrary to your assertion above, many of these are post-Nicene (i.e., writing after 325 A.D.) sources. For your convenience, I have emboldened the pharases indicating decisively that Daniel 7 refers to the Father:

                      [Begin quotes]

                      Hippolytus (c. 170 – c. 236 A.D.)
                      "I saw in the night visions, and behold one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and was brought near before Him..."… He showed all power given by the Father to the Son, who is ordained Lord of things in heaven, and things on earth, and things under the earth, and Judge of all." - From: St. Hippolytus, Treatise on Christ and Antichrist, ANF vol. 5, p. 209

                      In “The Ancient of Days: Patristic and Modern views of Daniel 7:9-14, by Wilfred Sophrony Royer, St. Vladimir’s Theological Quarterly 45:2 (2001), p 139 we read:

                      “One of the earliest patristic commentators on the Book of Daniel, Hippolytus (ca. 170 – 236) writes that the Ancient of Days “is for Daniel, nothing more than the Lord, God and Master of all, the Father of Christ himself.

                      St. Cyprian of Cathage) (ca. 255 A.D.):
                      “Like things to these also says Daniel: "I beheld a throne placed, and the Ancient of days sat upon it, and His clothing was as it were snow, and the hairs of His head as it were white wool: His throne was a flame of fire, its wheels were burning fire. A river of fire came forth before Him: thousand thousands ministered to Him, and thousand thousands stood before Him: He sat to judgment, and the books were opened." And John still more plainly declares, both about the day of judgment and the consummation of the world, saying, "And when," said he, "He had opened the sixth seal, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the whole moon became as of blood; and the stars fell to the earth, even as a fig-tree, shaken by a mighty wind, casteth her unripe figs. And the heaven departed as a book when it is rolled up, and every mountain and island were moved from their places. And the kings of the earth, and all the great men, and the tribunes, and the rich men, and the strong men, and every slave, and every free man, hid themselves in the caves and in the caverns of the mountains; saying to the mountains and to the rocks, Fall upon us, and hide us from the sight of the Father that sitteth upon the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: because the day of destruction cometh; and who shall be able to stand?" (ANF, Vol. V, p. 663).

                      Apostolic Constitutions (ca. 350):
                      "And Zechariah says: "Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, just, and having salvation; meek, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt, the foal of an ass." Him Daniel describes as "the Son of man coming to the Father," and receiving all judgment and honour from Him." (The Apostolic Constitutions, Book 5, Chapter 20, ANF vol. 7, p. 448)

                      Lactantius (c. 240 – c. 320 A.D.):
                      "But when he had made arrangements with His disciples for the preaching of the Gospel and His name, a cloud suddenly surrounded Him, and carried Him up into heaven, on the fortieth day after His passion, as Daniel had shown that it would be, saying: "And, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days." (The Divine Institutes, Book 4, Chapter 21, ANF vol. 7, p. 123)

                      "...and then at length, on the fortieth day, He returned to His Father, being carried up into a cloud. The prophet Daniel had long before shown this, saying: "I saw in the night vision, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days; and they who stood beside Him brought Him near before Him. And there was given Him a kingdom, and glory, and dominion, and all people, tribes, and tongues shall serve Him; and His power is an everlasting one, which shall not pass away, and His kingdom that which shall not be destroyed." Also David in the 109th Psalm: "The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit Thou at my right hand, until I make Thine enemies Thy footstool." (The Epitome of the Divine Institutes, Chapter 47, ANF vol. 7, p. 241)

                      "But the prophet comprises both His advents in few words. Behold, he says, one like the Son of man coming with the clouds of heaven. He did not say, like the Son of God, but the Son of man, that he might show that He had to be clothed with flesh on the earth, that having assumed the form of a man and the condition of mortality, He might teach men righteousness; and when, having completed the commands of God, He had revealed the truth to the nations, He might also suffer death, that He might overcome and lay open the other world also, and thus at length rising again, He might proceed to His Father borne aloft on a cloud. For the prophet said in addition: And came even to the Ancient of days, and was presented to Him. He called the Most High God the Ancient of days, whose age and origin cannot be comprehended; for He alone was from generations, and He will be always to generations. But that Christ, after His passion and resurrection, was about to ascend to God the Father, David bore witness in these words in the 109th Psalm: "The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit Thou at my right hand, until I make Thine enemies Thy footstool." (The Divine Institutes, Book 4, Chapter 12, ANF vol. 7, p. 111)

                      St. Cyril of Jerusalem (c. 315 – 386 A.D.):
                      Commenting on the clause in the Creed which states that Christ shall come again to judge the living and the dead, St. Cyril writes:

                      "The Son of Man shall come to the Father, according to the Scripture which was just now read, "on the clouds of heaven," [Daniel 7:9] drawn by a stream of fire [Daniel 7:10], which is to make trial of men. Then if any man's works are of gold, he shall be made brighter; if any man's course of life be like stubble, and unsubstantial, it shall be burnt up by the fire. And the Father "shall sit, having His garment white as snow, and the hair of His head like pure wool" [Daniel 7:9]. But this is spoken after the manner of men; wherefore? Because He is the King of those who have not been defiled with sins; for, He says, I will make your sins white as snow, and as wool, which is an emblem of forgiveness of sins, or of sinlessness itself. But the Lord who shall come from heaven on the clouds, is He who ascended on the clouds; for He Himself hath said, And they shall see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory (Catechetical Lectures, Lecture XV, NPNF2, Vol 7, page 110).

                      “So there will be present at the judgment in that day, God, the Father of all, Jesus Christ being seated with Him, and the Holy Ghost present with Them; and an angel’s trumpet shall summon us all to bring our deeds with us. Ought we not then from this time forth to be sore troubled?” (Catechetical Lectures, Lecture XV, NPNF2, Vol 7, page 112).

                      St. John Chrysostom (c. 347 – 407 A.D.); Commentary on Psalm 110:

                      Let us, however, resume once more our theme. The Lord said to my Lord, Sit at my right hand. Do you see the equality of status? Where there is a throne, you see, there is a symbol of kingship; where there is one throne, the equality of status comes from the same kingship. Hence Paul also said, “He made his angels winds, and his servants flames of fire. But of the Son: Your throne, O God, is forever.” Thus, too, Daniel sees all creation in attendance, both angels and archangels, by contrast with the Son of Man coming on the clouds and advancing to the Ancient of Days. If our speaking in these terms is a problem for some, however, let them hear that he is seated at his right hand, and be free of the problem. I mean, as we do not claim he is greater than the Father for having the most honorable seat at his right hand, so you for your part do not say he is inferior and less honorable, but of equal status and honor. This, in fact, is indicated by the sharing of the seat.

                      St. Ephraim the Syrian ca. 306 – 373; Selected Works, Vol II. p. 511:
                      For when [God whom we have called] a mirror was incapable of old age, and the (Jewish) people incapable of the truth, He took to Himself old age for the instructing of the faithless: and since king and old man and child were become effeminate, He put on old age; as a venerable old man did He judge those iniquitous persons who were effeminate in sin. The Being that waxeth not old put on old age to teach by parables concerning His Son and His Beloved. By the mask of old age He shewed His Fatherhood to teach that He hath a Son, the Son of Man, Whom Daniel saw standing before the Ancient of Days, Who did away with mortal kings, and made Himself a King in the Son of the King Immortal. If it had been One only that was sitting, then had there been one seat; but for this reason he saw not one seat, but seats. He shewed that there was an Assessor with Him, and a Son to the Ancient of Days. The thousand thousands whom Daniel saw, them alone did he see standing: to the Son of Man he did not ascribe standing, because He is not a minister.

                      St. Epiphanius ca. 310 – 403; Panarion Vol. III
                      14,3 This Father, Son and Holy Spirit has always vouchsafed to appear in visions to his saints, as each was able to receive [the vision] in accordance with the gift which had been given him by the Godhead. This gift was granted to each of those who were deemed worthy, sometimes to see the Father as each was able, sometimes to hear his voice as well as he could. (4) When he said by the mouth of Isaiah, “My beloved servant shall understand,” this is the voice of the Father. And when Daniel saw “the Ancient of Days,” this is a vision of the Father. And again, when he says in the prophet, “I have multiplied visions and been portrayed by hands of the prophets,” this is the voice of the Son. And when, in Ezekiel, “The Spirit of God took me” and “brought me out unto the plain,” this refers to the Holy Spirit.

                      St. Augustine (354 –430 A.D.)
                      “I do not know in what manner these men understand that the Ancient of Days appeared to Daniel, from whom the Son of man, which He deigned to be for our sakes, is understood to have received the kingdom; namely, from Him who says to Him in the Psalms, "Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten Thee; ask of me, and I shall give Thee the heathen for Thine inheritance; and who has "put all things under His feet." If, however, both the Father giving the kingdom, and the Son receiving it, appeared to Daniel in bodily form, how can those men say that the Father never appeared to the prophets, and, therefore, that He only ought to be understood to be invisible whom no man has seen, nor can see? For Daniel has told us thus: "I beheld," he says, "till the thrones were set, and the Ancient of Days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of His head like the pure wool: His throne was like the fiery flame, and His wheels as burning fire; a fiery stream issued and came forth from before Him: thousand thousands ministered unto Him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before Him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened," etc. And a little after, "I saw," he says, "in the night visions, and behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of Days, and they brought Him near before Him. And there was given Him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him: His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and His kingdom that which shall not be destroyed." Behold the Father giving, and the Son receiving, an eternal kingdom; and both are in the sight of him who prophesies, in a visible form. It is not, therefore, unsuitably believed that God the Father also was wont to appear in that manner to mortals” (On the Trinity, Book II, Chapter 18, NPNF1, Vol. 3).

                      St. Cyril of Alexandria (d. 444)
                      “Behold, again Emmanuel is manifestly and clearly seen ascending to God the Father in heaven… The Son of Man has appeared in the flesh and reached the Ancient of Days, that is, He has ascended to the throne of His eternal Father and has been given honor and worship…” (Letter 55, in The Fathers of the Church, vol. 77, Washington: CUA Press, 1987, pp. 28, 29).

                      “"What is the meaning of 'he came unto the Ancient of Days' (Dan. 7:13)? Perchance it means coming to a place? But how could this be, it is stupid. The Divine would not be located in a place for it fills all things. What, then, is the meaning of 'he came unto the Ancient of Days?’ Plainly, it means that the Son came to the glory of the Father. And where is this seen? He [Daniel] speaks again and says the following, 'To Him was given honor and the reign.' For He heard the Father saying, 'Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies your footstool’.”(St. Cyril of Alexandria, PG 70, 1461B.

                      ALSO:

                      Regarding depicting God in His Essence and that even the visions of the prophets are not of the Essence of God:

                      St. John Chrysostom (c. 347 – 407 A.D.)
                      And this He hath declared by a certain prophet, saying, "I have multiplied visions, and used similitudes by the hands of the prophets" (Hos. xii. 10), that is, "I have condescended, I have not appeared as I really was." For since His Son was about to appear in very flesh, He prepared them from old time to behold the substance of God, as far as it was possible for them to see It; but what God really is, not only have not the prophets seen, but not even angels nor archangels. If you ask them, you shall not hear them answering anything concerning His Essence.

                      Blessed Theodoret of Cyrus (393 –457):

                      It is fitting for us to know that God is incorporeal, simple, and without form and that he admits no circumscription. Although it pertains to his nature not to be able to be circumscribed, very often to help us he makes use of visions, whenever he wills. And one can see that he appears to Abraham in one way, to Moses in another and to Isaiah in yet another; likewise he showed Ezekiel still a different appearance. Therefore, whenever you see the variety of revelation, do not think that God has many forms, but rather listen to God as he speaks through the prophet Hosea: “I multiplied the visions, and I was proclaimed symbolically by the prophets” (Hosea 12:10). He said, “I adopted likenesses,” not I appeared. He fashions in a vision however it suits him. So too blessed Ezekiel, whom he had seen to consists of God and fire, added as he narrated the vision, “These things are an image of the glory of the Lord” (Ezekiel 1:28), And he did not say that he had seen the Lord or even the Lord’s glory but rather something resembling the glory of the Lord. (Commentary on Daniel 7:9-10. PG 81:1421; WGRW 7:187; Ancient Christian Commentary, OT, Vol. XIII: Ezekiel, Daniel, p. 229f).

                      [End quotes]

                      So Collette,

                      You can quote Fathers and theologians all day who state that often the Ancient of Days is Christ. No argument here. What you really need is something authoritative that says that the 7th Ecumenical Council did not do what it said it was doing and/or statements from some multitude of Fathers that say that either a) the Ancient of Days is always Christ, or b) that the Ancient of Days in Daniel 7 is not the Father.
                      You will not find any of those things. I have already shown from Dionysios that the Ancient of Days is all three persons of the Trinity. Perhaps Protopappas could provide you with all the quotes you need to establish that.

                      You are simply arguing against Holy Tradition. I mean, if Scripture, the Fathers, the Councils, etc. are not Holy Tradition, I don't know what is.

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                    • Peter A. Papoutsis says:

                      Hi Misha:

                      I want to thank you and collette for this most invigorating discussion on the Ancient of Days issue. First, can you please comment, unless you already have and I missed it, as to the Decision of The Great Synod of Moscow of 1667 that declared Jesus Christ as the Ancient of Days?

                      Further both you AND collect may be right as I noticed something in my translation of the Septuagint that I found intriguing on this point in the "Original" version of Daniel from the Septuagint (Old Greek) version it reads: υιος ανθρωπου ηρχετο και ως παλιαος ημερων which is literally translated as "the son of man coming also as the ancient of days". Daniel 7:13

                      However, in Theodotion's version of the Septuagint it reads: υἱὸς ἀνθρώπου ἐρχόμενος ἦν καὶ ἕως τοῦ παλαιοῦ τῶν ἡμερῶν which is literally translated as "the Son of Man came as far as the Ancient of Days." Daniel 7:13

                      Different Septuagint version of Daniel could have influenced different Fathers at different times. TH Daniel was not officially accepted until I think the 3rd or 4th Century, and St. Jerome knew of these two version, but really didn't know what to make of them. The Orthodox traditionally prefer Theodotion's LXX Version, clearly supports Misha's position, but the "Original" version of the Daniel 7:13 (i.e. Old Greek Daniel) supports Collette's position of Jesus Christ being the Ancient of Days.

                      Misha is rights as to the Father's consensus, but that's because they, by and large, followed TH's LXX version in Daniel and not the "Original" LXX version, which would suggest otherwise.

                      Now what version were the Russians using during their council of 1667? What LXX biblical sources and other sources were they using to help them arrive at the conclusion that Jesus is the Ancient of Days? Were they not aware of the Father's consensus? IDK?

                      Being that TH LXX is the so-called "Official" version of the Book of Daniel Misha has the Biblical basis and that of the fathers to say that God the Father is the Ancient of Days.

                      However,

                      The "Original" Old Greek Version of Daniel 7:13 would seem to support Collette's position and those Moscow Synod of 1667 that agree that the Ancient of Days is Jesus Christ.

                      I would definitely love to see more discussion on this and how maybe different biblical textual traditions may have shaped the Church's outlook on this issue. Fascinating stuff.

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                    • Peter,

                      As you might read above, the council of 1667 was overturned by a later council (see Protopappas above, I believe it was in 1682 or thereabouts) and, on top of that, virtually nothing that it stated endured the test of time or reception. The patriarch it deposed was reinstated, the influx of God the Father icons only increased and the Old Believers' excommunication, which it renewed, was later rescinded and they were reconciled, with their rites, as completely Orthodox. The only thing that really stood from that council was that it ordered that Rubliev's Hospitality icon be labelled as "The Holy Trinity", which it generally is in Russia to this day. Paradoxical, no?

                      As to "as far as" changing anything, I don't see it. There are clearly two persons described. Whether Christ went "as far as" the Ancient of Days or "approached" the Ancient of Days, He was granted all power and authority by the Ancient of Days, another person, unless, of course, we're Nestorians.

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                    • M. Stankovich says:

                      The phrase to focus on is not "as far as," but rather "coming also as." This makes the tuoodifference between night and day. As I noted above, as I read the text, it did not seem to me feasible to assume that υιος ανθρωπου would refer to Him mentioned in Ezekiel! The original LXX text plainly identifies the son of man also as the Ancient of Days.

                      I believe it would be impossible to determine which version of the Scripture - if any - was sanctioned at the time of the Synod of Moscow, or if it was more likely that they relied upon Fathers influenced by the original LXX texts. Historical commentators indicate that this debate began nearly immediately following the conclusion of the Seventh Council: the Synodikon mentioned so frequently in this thread was first released sixty-six years after the Council! and continued to evolve through the time of St. Gregory Palamas; at least six versions of the final declaration and statement of the Seventh Council exist, helping us understand the evolution of their process. Secondly, the fact that <i

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                    • M. Stankovich says:

                      Holy Cow! I was so tired when I was composing this on a plane ride home, I hit "Post Comment" while nearly asleep! The rest of the argument escapes me!

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                    • The reading with "also as" seems unlikely to me. "Also as " what, besides being the son of man (a "mortal man")? And thus He is also with someone else, whom? And He is given power and authority by someone unidentified, whom?

                      Regardless, the Church adopted the Theodotion for some reason; it has been relied on since early in Christian history, and it agrees on this point with other versions, Hebrew, Syriac, Latin, etc. Moreover, Daniel 7 is not the only place where prophets had visions of the Father. St. Stephen also had such a vision.

                      Incorporations from Theodotion

                      "In most ancient copies of the Bible which contain the Septuagint version of the Old Testament, the Book of Daniel is not the original Septuagint version, but instead is a copy of Theodotion's translation from the Hebrew, which more closely resembles the Masoretic text. The Septuagint version was discarded in favour of Theodotion's version in the 2nd to 3rd centuries CE. In Greek-speaking areas, this happened near the end of the 2nd century, and in Latin-speaking areas (at least in North Africa), it occurred in the middle of the 3rd century. History does not record the reason for this, and St. Jerome reports, in the preface to the Vulgate version of Daniel, This thing 'just' happened.[29] One of two Old Greek texts of the Book of Daniel has been recently rediscovered and work is ongoing in reconstructing the original form of the book.[8]"

                      So what is the original "original" version of the Septuagint, when will the Church approve it, how does it compare with other translations? I.e., do you want Tradition to be a moving target?

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                    • Protopappas says:

                      Indeed. St. Jerome's opinion as to what is "original" is not "gospel." We only have two extant versions from the early period, hardly enough to draw a conclusion either way. However, the "Theodotian" version is quoted by St. Justin Martyr and the Shepherd of Hermas (150AD!). It is not like the Church switched in the 4th century. It was used by the Apostolic Fathers! It was never "not used" prior to that. It is the only form of Daniel used by the Church and it agrees with the Hebrew on the passage in question.

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                    • colette says:

                      Are you refering to Peter the Great reforms that removed the Patriarch?

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                    • colette says:

                      OHHH you just put a whole lot of work on my table, but I thank you for those questions. I will need a bit of time to look into it and I'll need to consult those that know Byz. Greek a lot better than myself. . . . I agree it is beautifully fascinating.

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                    • colette says:

                      This was a quick search-http://orthodoxwiki.org/Moscow_Sobor_of_1666%E2%80%931667

                      "One of the decisions during the sober was a specific ban on a number of depictions of God the Father and the Holy Spirit, which then resulted in a whole range of other icons being placed on the forbidden list.[1]
                      Also, the sober forbad the iconographic depiction of the Holy Trinity with God the Father as an old man and the Holy Spirit as a dove, because it transgressed the rules of Orthodox iconography as expressed by the Seventh Ecumenical Council, and because the form of this image is of unorthodox Western origin."

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                    • Roger Mann says:

                      Guys, from a theological perspective, 1) God the Father is pure Spirit, 2) in the Holy Trinity, nothing is done by just one person of the Trinity. The Father initiates all; accomplished by the Son via the Holy Spirit. So, although the "Ancient of Days" may be identified as the Father, the Son was also there with the Holy Spirit. In fact, the entire universe was created by the Son; initiated by the Father with the Holy Spirit. There was never a time when the Son was not!

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                    • Peter,

                      Let me see if I understand your argument right: The "original" version of the Septuagint is somehow more accurate than version approved by the Church so even though there is a consensus of the Fathers that a particular thing is true and that Tradition is essentially the consensus of the Fathers, yet the Truth is at odds with Tradition?

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                    • Peter A. Papoutsis says:

                      I didn't say that. What I said was that there are two different versions of Daniel in Greek one the "Original" Old Greek Version (i.e. Older Version), and the later Theodotion Greek Version. TH Daniel is the version officially adopted by the Orthodox Church, but only through usage and custom. There has been NO official decree as to ANY 'OFFICIAL" biblical version of either Old or New Testament.

                      It is said that the Orthodox Church "Officially" accepted the Septuagint, but in reality there has been no official decree by the Church on this matter. It has only been official by custom and usage, and several utterances by some Fathers of the Church. However, in the case of Daniel the Church does NOT accept the Septuagint version of Daniel but Theodotion's Greek Version of Daniel.

                      The Septuagint version of Daniel is the version that left the so-called 70 or 72 "Inspired" translators hands of the Septuagint in Alexandria, but the Church did not accept that version and opted for a later alternative version.

                      The same thing happened with the Book of Jesus (Joshua) son of Navi. there is a portion of that book that is in two different Greek version, but the Church accepted one version over the other. So I will always differ to the Church's decision on these matters when the church actually makes an official decision, but I don't see where the Church has officially made a decision on the present issue. And that's fine with me.

                      However, the Church should look at all version and come to some decision or consensus in regards to these versions or if it wants to except both as the Church has done with the Septuagint, minus Daniel, and the Peshitta. Also, the original Hebrew and Aramaic version of the Old testament was inspired, but we do not have that version. We have the Massoretic Hebrew, which IMHO is not necessarily a good start, but its a start nevertheless, but if you take the Massoretic Hebrew Text of the Old Testament and compare it with the LXX, Vulgate, Peshitto, Targums and the Dead Sea Scrolls, one can, theoretically reconstruct what the original Hebrew Old Testament was and what it said and even meant.

                      Also, there are portions of the Septuagint that are either commentary and not translation (i.e. Psalm 67 comes to mind with the Mountain of Bashan/Fat Mountain matter) or just simply unintelligible without keeping one eye on the Greek and another on the Hebrew. There are many places in Esaias that are like this.

                      In the final analysis its the Church that decides because its the Church that is led by the Holy Spirit - The Spirit of All Truth, and whatever the Church wants to use as its Biblical Text or Texts, and issue whatever decree it wants I and others as faithful Orthodox Christians should follow. However, we first must find these texts, review these texts, evaluate their quality against the Apostolic Tradition and then leave the Church to make whatever decree she wants to make as she is lead by the Holy Spirit in her evaluation and use of the various biblical texts.

                      That's pretty much it as it concerns the use of various biblical texts.

                      As to consensus I stick to the official decrees of the Church via councils and accepted doctrines and dogmas. Consensus is good, i like consensus, but what if the Church went against consensus, like Arianism, and spoke the truth, via St. Athanasios, and declared that the consensus was wrong and only one guy, i.e. St. Athanasios was right? Remember the old phrase: Athanasius contra mundi. St. Athanasios went against the consensus and stood up for Orthodoxy. So much for consensus.

                      So its whatever the Church officially decrees. Until then its a fascinating discussion like the one between you and Collette. Carry on.

                      Peter

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                    • Peter,

                      I want to make an observation about this that has little to do with the GTF question but has a lot to do with Tradition:

                      There is a tendency to want to revisit questions of Tradition and practice by attempting to reconstruct "original" texts" and "original practices" based on the latest archeological and anthropological evidence. This is probably a very, very bad idea. Yesterday's truth is tomorrow's ignorant misconception.

                      The problem is that our knowledge of such things is a moving target, not a faith to be held in the trenches. Moreover, if you look at what has happened to the Protestant churches, recourse to alleged first century or other early church practices, whatever limited and ambiguous evidence may exist, has been used to erase much of Tradition and to propagate much progressive mischief. Look at the debate surrounding women's ordination.

                      The Church has its own methods of determining what the Tradition is. God forbid it should have anything to do with higher criticism.

                      As to consensus, St. Athanasios followed the consensus of the Church as he received it. It was his contemporaries who deviated. One can be in the minority in a particular age but squarely within the consensus of the Church over the ages. Consensus of the Church over the ages as expressed in Scripture, Councils and the consensus of the Fathers, etc. is Holy Tradition since the Church is the "pillar and ground of Truth".

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                    • M. Stankovich says:

                      Misha,

                      I again direct you to Fr. Florovsky's commentary on the "Living Tradition":

                      Our theological thinking has been dangerously affected by the pattern of decay, adopted for the interpretation of Christian history in the West since the Reformation. The fullness of the Church was then interpreted in a static manner, and the attitude to Antiquity has been accordingly distorted and misconstrued. After all, it does not make much difference, whether we restrict the normative authority of the Church to one century, or to five, or to eight. There should be no restriction at all. Consequently, there is no room for any "theology of repetition." The Church is still fully authoritative as she has been in the ages past since the Spirit of Truth quickens her now no less effectively as in the ancient times.

                      "St. Gregory Palamas and the Tradition of the Fathers," in BIBLE, CHURCH, TRADITION: AN EASTERN ORTHODOX VIEW, p. 111

                      The favorite phrase of St. Irenaeus was "the rule of truth," κανων της αλιθειας. Now, this "rule" was, in fact, nothing else than the witness and preaching of the Apostles, their κηρυγμα and praedicatio (or praeconium), which was "deposited" in the Church and entrusted to her by the Apostles, and then was faithfully kept and handed down, with complete unanimity in all places, by the succession of accredited pastors: Those who, together with the succession of the episcopacy, have received the firm charisma of truth [IV. 26. 2]. Whatever the direct and exact connotation of this pregnant phrase may be, there can be no doubt that, in the mind of St. Irenaeus, this continuous preservation and transmission of the deposited faith was operated and guided by the abiding presence of the Holy Spirit in the Church. The whole conception of the Church in St. Irenaeus was at once "charismatic" and "institutional." And "Tradition" was, in his understanding, a depositum juvenescens, a living tradition, entrusted to the Church as a new breath of life, just as breath was bestowed upon the first man. The truth was, according to St. Irenaeus, a "well-grounded system," a corpus (adv. haeres. II. 27. 1) , a "harmonious melody" (II. 38. 3). But it was precisely this "harmony" which could be grasped only by the insight of faith. Indeed, Tradition was not just a transmission of inherited doctrines, in a "Judaic manner," but rather the continuous life in the truth. It was not a fixed core or complex of binding propositions, but rather an insight into the meaning and impact of the revelatory events, of the revelation of the "God who acts."

                      "The Authority of the Ancient Councils And the Tradition of the Fathers," Op. Cit., pp. 78-9.

                      St. Athanasius contended that the "correct" interpretation of particular texts was only possible in the total perspective of faith. "What they now allege from the Gospels they explain in an unsound sense, as we may discover if we take in consideration τον σκοπον της καθ ημας τους Χριστιανοθς πιοτεως [the scope of the faith according to us Christians], and read the Scripture using it (τον σκοπον) as the rule— ωσπερ κανονι χρησαμενοι" (III. 28) On the other hand, close attention must be given also to the immediate context and setting of every particular phrase and expression, and the exact intention of the writer must be carefully identified (I. 54). Writing to Bishop Serapion, on the Holy Spirit, St. Athanasius contends again that Arians ignored or missed "the scope of the Divine Scripture" (ad Serap., II. 7; cf. ad episc. Eg., 4). The σκοπος was, in the language of St. Athanasius, a close equivalent of what St. Irenaeus used to denote as υποθεσις — the underlying "idea," the true design, the intended meaning.

                      Op. Cit., p.77.

                      There are many other "unwritten mysteries of the Church," says St. Basil: τα αγραφα της εκκλησιας μυστηρια (c. 66 and 67). They are not mentioned in the Scripture. But they are of great authority and significance. They are indispensable for the preservation of right faith. They are effective means of witness and communication. According to St. Basil, they come from a "silent" and "private" tradition: απο της αδημοσιευτου και μυστικης παραδοσεως εκ της αδημοσιευτου ταυτης και απορρητου διδασκαλιας [From the silent and mystical tradition, from the unpublic and ineffable teaching]. This "silent" and "mystical" tradition, "which has not been made public," is not an esoteric doctrine, reserved for some particular elite. The "elite" was the Church. In fact, "tradition" to which St. Basil appeals, is the liturgical practice of the Church. [For example] the Catechumens were strongly urged not to divulge the Creed to outsiders and not to commit it to writing. It had to be inscribed in their hearts. It is enough to quote there the Procatechesis of St. Cyril of Jerusalem. In the West Rufinus and St. Augustine felt that it was improper to set the Creed down on paper. For that reason Sozomen in his History does not quote the text of the Nicene Creed, "which only the initiated and the mystagogues have the right to recite and hear" (hist. eccl. 1.20)

                      Op. Cit., p. 87.

                      It seems to me that you are sorely confusing "revelation" with "reconstruction." I firmly believe that, as any faithful Jew who studied the Scripture and awaited the Messiah, the God-inspired Fathers immediately recognized the portend of the text of the Book of Daniel, and it explains the only recent development of "depicting that which cannot be depicted." To describe the "revisiting" of practices or texts within our Tradition as a "moving target" and "probably a very, very bad idea" caused Fr. Alexander Schmemann to reflect:

                      In modern Church thinking, the past frequently oppresses and enchains rather than being creatively transformed into faithfulness to genuine tradition. This reveals an inability to evaluate the past, to distinguish the truth in it from mere bygone history and custom. Unless a distinction is made, true tradition becomes confused with all sorts of traditions that should themselves be judged in the light of the eternal truth of the Church. What is partial, one-sided, and even distorted is frequently proclaimed as the essence of Orthodoxy. And there is a sin of absolutizing the past which inevitably leads to the reverse extreme — to “modernism,” meaning essentially rejection of the past and acceptance of “modernity,” “science,” or “needs of the current moment” as the sole criterion.

                      and seems to me a failure to understand and appreciate the dynamic, "breathing," inspiring, enlivening, "Fire proceeding from Fire," that is the guidance of the Holy Spirit! We would be little more than a gift shop at the museum of antiquity.

                      And lest we forget, ultimately, the truth and consensus of the Church is Jesus Christ, who is the Truth revealed in the Scripture; the Spirit who instilled the Faith in the Apostles, to the Fathers, and the Fathers were the inspirers of the Councils. And from the Fourth Council they declared, "Joining with those Fathers before us," not simply in "agreement" with declarations of the past regarding the Faith, but in a "τό έκκλησιαστικόν φρόνήμα," a joining of the "mind of the Church," which has repeated itself, and will continue to repeat itself. Fr. Florovsky refers to this as a "charismatic" authority, as it appeals to the authority of the Fathers and "It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us." [ἔδοξεν γὰρ τῷ ἁγίῳ Πνεύματι καὶ ἡμῖν] (Acts. 15:28).

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                    • Michael C says:

                      In all this quoting of the Greek text, "original" vs the Theodotion LXX, what seems to have been missed here is in the Theodotion quotation itself: ὡς υἱὸς ἀνθρώπου ἐρχόμενος, καὶ ἕως τοῦ παλαιοῦ τῶν ἡμερῶν (Eng: "(one) like/as a son of man coming, and (even!) until (also?; up to) the ancient of days ..."

                      There is a verb that goes along with the τοῦ παλαιοῦ τῶν ἡμερῶν that has been excised from the quote. ἔφθασε (Eng: reached, arrived)

                      So, we've got several options:

                      1. "One like a son of man coming, (who) even reached unto the ancient of days."
                      2. "One like a son of man coming, also as the ancient of days arrived.
                      3. "One like a son of man coming up to the ancient of days (who had) arrived -or- (who was) present.

                      This is why the Lexham English LXX renders this passage thus:

                      "a being like a son of mankind came, and the ancient of days was present"

                      And the final clause? καὶ προσηνέχθη αὐτῷ (Eng: "and his attendants with him") ... presumably, they also "arrived" or "were present".

                      I wonder: why was the second verb excised from the original quote? There are two subjects (one like a son of man -and- the ancient of days) and two verbs (came/coming -and- arrived/were present). Actually, three subjects if you count the (presumably angelic) attendants (of the divine council).

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                    • colette says:

                      Ok Mesha, read the post below of Peter and let's you and me have a beer. Seriously-you live in the same area as me, I think.

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                    • Stankovich,

                      I have made no secret in the past of stating that I do not respect your opinion. Your attempt to browbeat me into an unnecessary apology only confirms my opinion that you are simply a nasty, vindictive person.

                      I never "wildly" or in any other way claimed that I was the first person to stumble upon one side of this debate. I did stumble upon it, I was far from the first. I coined practically none of the arguments involved. Consistently and repeatedly I have attributed almost every word of them to the Athonite monk who originally wrote the treatise and to Moss and Whiteford who expanded upon it in English. They also have given credit where credit is due.

                      You see arrogance everywhere but in the mirror where it exists.

                      So, I say it once again, though it is no credit to me that I stumbled upon the truth, just as it is no credit to any Orthodox person that they were born into the Church or happened to discover it and be persuaded to join it:

                      No apology. I was right and I am right.

                      "Finally, I will say to you again, your need to “win” is relentless and vicious for no reason I can see. You have insulted and attempted to marginalize colette in her God-given vocation in the Church – for what? Boost your fragile masculine ego over a point you cannot win because it is unresolved in the Church itself?"

                      Aside from the bs, thank you for the admission that this is "unresolved in the Church". I just happen to sincerely believe that the merit is with those who uphold the 7th Council and the consensus of the Fathers regarding Daniel's vision and that of other prophets.

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                    • colette says:

                      Thank you Stankovich. That's very kind of you, but I don't need an apology. I know what's in the record and I can see for myself Mesha's frailty. I don't like being patronized, but there is a lot of that that goes on here. One must have a thick skin.
                      Blessings upon you.

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                    • Tim R. Mortiss says:

                      This has been a most interesting discussion. Lots of cited authorities. Different conclusions etc. Why does it become personal and confrontational?

                      Even after having been here for quite a time now, I still am surprised at the personal tone so many posters take during discussions of issues of interest. And this doesn't include the handful who are always in that mode.

                      collette's tone, I note, always remains sober and reasonable.

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                    • colette says:

                      Here you are Misha,

                      Nothing clear and easy about it. God is not easily summed up. But to where you went off . . .

                      First, Daniel never says the Ancient of Days is the Father-that is interpretation. And no where in Scripture does it say The Ancient of Days is Yahweh. This is conjecture. And I know where you are getting that from, that is not what the Fathers are saying. No one therefore, is denying the vision of Daniel. That card is dead. You can’t play it.

                      2. List of Fathers that say the Ancient of Days is Christ

                      “Andrew of Caesarea,
                      Michael Akominatos,
                      Cyril of Alexandria,
                      St John of Damascus,St.
                      Ambrose of Milan (c. 339 – 397)

                      (Notice, this is important-Most of your list is before the Nicean II Council. And the last 3 people you list are inundated with images of God the Father as they are quickly following the fads of the west.

                      Councils
                      7th Ecumenical Council of Nicea II
                      The Great Synod of Moscow in 1667

                      Some other considerations, “The earliest Trinity icons from the 11th century or so depicts Christ as both; the Ancient of Days and in his adult incarnate form. This icon is from the Panagia Koumbelidiki Church of Kastoria Greece. There really is no earlier Trinity icon in existence (except for the hospitality of Abraham, and the primitive symbolic imagery depicting 3 identical men ).
                      . . . . No mosaics or frescos exist in the ancient churches of Constantinople such as the Chora church depicting God the Father. No icons older than approx 400 years old exist on the Monastery of the Sinai depicting God the Father. . . .nor is there ancient depictions of God the Father in the Coptic tradition.

                      We know from the robber council of the iconoclasts that there is no mention of God the Father icons mentioned in their council. No Father not even St Theodore the Studite ever had to tackle God the Father images because they did not exist. The Synodikon of Orthodoxy written in 843 ad. makes clear that OT visions portraying God as the Father did not exist.”

                      Scripture that points to the Ancient of Days being the Preincarnate Christ;

                      Revelations,
                      Daniel
                      See former post relating the NT to Daniel and Revelations-there are too many

                      Orthodox Hymns, the Ancient of Days is often identified with Jesus Christ.
                      "Thou hast borne incomprehensibly the Ancient of Days as a new Child Who showed us new paths of virtue upon the earth..." Theotokion, 1st Ode of Friday Matins in the 5th tone.
                      "Thou hast borne the Ancient of Days as a new Child unto us..." Theotokion, 8th Ode of Tues. Matins in the 6th tone.
                      "Thou hast surpassed the laws of nature, O pure Daughter, in bringing a new Child upon the earth Who is both the Lawgiver and the Ancient of Days..." Theotokion, 8th Ode, Matins, 5th Sunday of Lent.

                      Iconography that points to the Ancient of Days being Preincarnate Christ .
                      http://cnetworks.net/icon/photos/10284-0.jpg
                      Emanuel- Coptic 15thc
                      Rejoice, O Abode that the Wisdom of God fashioned as His dwelling place.
                      Rejoice, O Virgin who gave birth to Emmanuel.
                      Akathist to the Wonderworking Icon of the Most-Holy Theotokos Ikos 5

                      https://anopenorthodoxy.files.wordpress.com/2013/12/byzantine-icon-1220ad.jpg

                      http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-N9-sMQtSc0k/Ttar9cEhdeI/AAAAAAAAGdY/-Vm43wDx9oI/s1600/800px-Vittsko%25CC%2588vle-fresco-Gud_skaber_dyrene.jpg 15th c.

                      https://www.google.com/search?q=How+is+the+Ancient+of+Days+Christ&safe=active&espv=2&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ei=HsW6U6XpHNSyyATOk4LQDA&ved=0CAYQ_AUoAQ&biw=1292&bih=927#facrc=_&imgdii=_&imgrc=LV3kok-gVg_RUM%253A%3BaMiyr_AHX-10jM%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fupload.wikimedia.org%252Fwikipedia%252Fcommons%252F4%252F48%252FDamian._The_Ancient_of_Days.jpg%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fen.wikipedia.org%252Fwiki%252FAncient_of_Days%3B415%3B612Clearly Jesus cross bar ass, with” I Am” Found in story of Moses and the Burning Bush . . .

                      https://www.google.com/search?q=How+is+the+Ancient+of+Days+Christ&safe=active&espv=2&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ei=HsW6U6XpHNSyyATOk4LQDA&ved=0CAYQ_AUoAQ&biw=1292&bih=927#facrc=_&imgdii=_&imgrc=XDuteppkrYLHpM%253A%3B9CiikxOesg32KM%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fregelson.files.wordpress.com%252F2010%252F05%252Fjesus-christ-ancient-of-days-russian-fresco-

                      11991.jpg%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fregelson.wordpress.com%252Farticle%252Fone-who-sits-on-the-throne-1i7aar4mqflvt-34%252F%3B408%3B448 112thc.
                      No bird, only halo with –cross bar.
                      Many, many icons were destroyed and some survived but not that one. If it was so popular why wasn’t it in these earlier churches mentioned?

                      Cicumscribability-You should not be depicting the HS as a dove at the Annunciation- nowhere is it described as a dove appearing on Mary- and ”Toungues of Fire-is that what you are saying should not be depicted to be consistant? The dove at Baptism and Toungues of Fire” are descriptions from NT Scripture. As I have pointed out, the HS is described “like” many earthly things but IS not any of them. Where does it say God the Father is in the form of a man? The one hymn? Not enough.
                      We don’t continue depicting Christ as a Lamb either, although we did. Because now we know Him as a man. Decided at a council-.see previous posts.
                      These images you adhere to are only everywhere after the 17th C. They are sparse before then. And even then they point to Christ.The thinking in the Catholic Church was always different than the east. It’s become more so after the split, but they have always had a different understanding about Depicting God the Father. It is one of the many things that have always been there for them, not us.

                      7. We don’t do all things Mt. Athos. Mt. Athos fell into confusion just like everyone else and has made a comeback and don’t continue in their oil painting ways. (oil painting is sensuous. For example if I want to paint a realistic image of a person I use oil painting or if I want to paint fruit and make it look temptingly delicious, I paint in oil paints. Oils are not used for icons and Mt. Athos no longer uses them.)
                      And people ignoring Church teaching??!! Following the fads!! Why no one does that!

                      The beauty of Icons like the Transfiguration is they don’t display the energies of God, nor does the dove, the cloud, the fire on the heads of the disciples . . . .. They leave God the Father as a mystery. AS He should be.

                      I found this nice article-also by iconographers . . . he makes some good points.

                      http://www.orthodoxartsjournal.org/letter-to-an-iconographer-on-the-ancient-of-days/

                      “. . . .It is so convincing that for several centuries Orthodox people simply accepted it without question. But let’s take a look first of all at Daniel 7: 9-22. What is the scene? What is Daniel talking about? What is his dream a vision of? It is quite clear from reading carefully the passage that we have a vision of the final judgment, when all the bad guys, the beasts, will be destroyed and the saints of God will be established in peace. Verse 9: 7 starts out “The thrones were set up and the Ancient of Days sat down.” Where and in which capacity? As judge at the final judgment: “until the Ancient of Days comes and the judgment is given in favor of the saints of the Most High.” Now from the Orthodox point of view–I would even say from the general Christian point of view–who is the Judge who will judge all people at the Last Judgment? There is no question that it is Christ, the Son, the Logos of God, the second Person of the Holy Trinity. “The Father has given all judgment to the Son…” So right from the beginning, even before the Son of Man appears, we have to identify the eschatological Judge sitting on his throne of judgment as the Son.”

                      He goes on to distinguish the NT Christ and the OT Christ. Mentions the cross bar and the “I am” in the halo as well as pointing out the triangle-definitely from the west and very late . . Worth a read.

                      Conclusion.
                      As I see it, it’s a clear picture. The Fathers were working out our faith and working out how to read Daniel. They differed on that and many topics, but as time went on, wars in the Church took place and Councils clarified and our Hymnography was produced we began to form an understanding. Then had some hard times attacked from outside and in and our theology turned towards the new and enlightnd west and we began to get muddled. Some people didn’t go back far enough in their research and others didn’t put it all together. But when you put it all together you get the Ancient of Days as the Preexistant Christ, one approaching is the incarnate Christ, or the OT to the NT. That interpretation satisfies the Scriptures, the Councils, the Hymns, the Iconography and the Fathers. And to say that this representation -the Ancient of Days is a symbol of God the Father, you run into the problem of depicting or describing any part of Him which is uncircumscribable.

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                    • M. Stankovich says:

                      colette,

                      And such is the sound theological reasoning of the learned hierarchs, theologians, monastics, scholars, and iconographers who do not agree... I have on my Google drive a copy of Images of the Divine: The Theology of Icons at the Seventh Ecumenical Council by Ambrosios Giakalis that you might be interested in seeing. Leave your email address as a comment to any post on my site (no one will see it but me) and I'll send you a link.

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                    • colette says:

                      Yes I would like to read that. I'll be in touch,

                      Thank you.

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                    • Archpriest Alexander F. C. Webster, PhD says:

                      Thanks, Colette, for your impressive research. As they say in tennis, "Game. Set. Match."

                      As a footnote, I would add that for many years I have derided the so-called icon of the Holy Trinity that appears in many Orthodox churches as "Two Men and a Bird." Far from a coherent, traditional, authentic Orthodox window to heaven, such a crude depiction of the Father as an old, white-haired man, with his "younger" Son literally seated beside Him, signals a triumph of Arianism.

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                    • Father Alexander,

                      I'm at a loss as to what she has proved other than that the Son is the Ancient of Days. I have never once contested that. Perhaps we have been watching a different exchange. I mean, since every single Father who directly addressed the identity of the Ancient of Days in Daniel 7 stated that the Ancient of Days in that passage was God the Father - - every single one, and the list is long - - someone who calls himself Orthodox ought to admit that it is so. I mean, the consensus of the Fathers is a source of Holy Tradition.

                      Ambrose was probably referring to God generally, not necessarily a particular hypostasis and Fr. John points out that his comments are ambiguous. Other than him, there is not a single dissent. Sounds very much like "game, set, match" to me on that point at least.

                      What I think has happened is that everyone just roots for their team without reading and digesting everything. Also, there is an imperative among modernists against GTF icons since "those bad old traditionalists/'fundamentalists' defend them", and if those "bad old traditionalists" are right, well, what else are they right about?

                      Anyway, been fun, Ciao.

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                    • colette says:

                      Not every single Father -Oh you formally- known- as- one- who- is- finished- with- this- debate-Misha. I wish you would acknowledge that.

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                    • Archpriest Alexander F. C. Webster says:

                      You know, Misha, that I enjoy and respect your posts on this message board, and I hope you know also that neither Colette nor yours truly could be described as "modernists." It seems you and I shall have to disagree over the depiction of God the Father in Orthodox icons. However, can we agree that the so-called "icons" of the Holy Trinity of Western provenance that entered Orthodoxy since approximately the thirteenth century or later--that is, those which depict God the Father as an elderly white-haired male, a demonstrably "younger" incarnate Son of God seated on the Father's right side, and the Holy Spirit reified as an avian creature--are dubious, radical imaginations (phantasiai in Greek) of artists instead of genuine Orthodox icons--and perhaps blasphemous expressions of the ancient Arian heresy?

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                    • George Michalopulos says:

                      Fr, I thank you. I was born and raised in a church dedicated to the Holy Trinity and we had a very Westernized icon dated from the 1920s (from Mt Athos no less!) and even as a youngster its Arian tendancies bothered me. You have given eloquent argumentation to my unease. If in fact the "Old Man, Young Man, and Avian" is a relatively late (13th century) accretion, then my fears are indeed confirmed.

                      Others of course view that same icon as having Filioque tendencies. Either way, it's troubling.

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                    • Not at all, Fr. Alexander. In fact, the main argument against seeing the Ancient of Days in Daniel as Christ, besides the fact that it contradicts almost every Church Father that commented on the vision, is that doing so is essentially Nestorian.

                      Cheers

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                    • Protopappas says:

                      Colette, it is the dogma of the Church that all three members of the Trinity are the Ancient of Days, so everyone agrees with you that the Son is the Ancient of Days. We can all agree on all your posts about the Son as the Ancient of Days are thorough and very good. The problem is, that you are not addressing the dogma that the Father and the Holy Spirit are also the Ancient of Days, and that the passage in Daniel refers to the Ascension.
                      Daniel 7:
                      “I was watching in the night visions,
                      And behold, One like the Son of Man,
                      Coming with the clouds of heaven!
                      He came to the Ancient of Days,
                      And they brought Him near before Him.
                      14 Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom,
                      That all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him.
                      His dominion is an everlasting dominion,
                      Which shall not pass away,
                      And His kingdom the one
                      Which shall not be destroyed.

                      Only Nestorius contended that the Son of Man sat at the Son of God's right hand, because He contended that they were two distinct persons.

                      However, as I have already pointed out, the point of St. John in Revelation showing that the Son is also the Ancient of Days is to show that He could only have sat down at the Father's right hand and be given all the things reported in Daniel 7 because He is Himself the Ancient of Days and shares this with His Father.

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                    • colette says:

                      Protopappas,

                      I have never seen that "all three members of the Trinity are the Ancient of Days" in a Council and so I beg to differ with you. I have addressed the differing writings of the Fathers by saying I see they don't all say The Ancient of Days is The Father, that is why there is a "school" of Alexandria that sees all OT visions as Christ and another "school" that sees it as the Father. And yes I have read your quote many many times, on the face of it it seems clearly 2 figures, but these visions are foreshadows of what are revealed to us later, ie. Revelations. So the vision would have to be seen as both being Christ as Ancient of Days as no one would be able to comprehend the Father. And I don't notice a third "person" in this vision. . . . You speak of the Ancient of Days as though it's another entity that houses the Trinity. Which is why I would rather only speak of it as mysteries and speak and paint only what has been given to us to translate.

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                    • Protopappas says:

                      The 5th Ode of the Midnight Office, Canon to the Trinity, Tone 5, as found in the Octoechos and the Pentecostarion:

                      “Daniel was initiated into the mystery of the threefold splendour of the one Dominion when he beheld Christ the Judge going unto the Father while the Spirit revealed the vision.” Pentecostarion of HTM, p. 270

                      “Μυείται τής μιάς Κυριότητος, τό τριφαές ο Δανιήλ, Χριστόν κριτήν θεασάμενος, πρός τόν Πατέρα ιόντα, καί Πνεύμα τό προφαίνον τήν όρασιν.” Ωδή δ’ πλ. α’, ΤΟ ΜΕΣΟΝΥΚΤΙΚΟΝ

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                    • colette says:

                      ok that's very interesting. When was this Ode written?

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                    • Protopappas says:

                      The Ode (and the entire Canon in eight tones) was written in 867 (during the first period of the filioque controversy) to defend the traditional view of the Trinity. It is in every Orthodox service book of the eight tones (aka Octoechos, Paraklitiki).

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                    • It's not an "entity" that houses the Trinity, it's a title: He who is very, very old. Immeasurably old. I.e., God (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) who all are Eternal. Thus, there is no contradiction whatsoever in saying that both the Father and the Son (and the Holy Spirit for that matter) are the "Ancient of Days" any more than there is a contradiction in saying that all Three Persons are "Lord", another title.

                      That is one fundamental problem you are having, Colette, thinking that the appellation or title "Ancient of Days" applies to only one Person of the Trinity.

                      On a personal note, Colette, I am not unimpressed by your research ability. I'm not sure what you meant earlier about this being your life's work but if you are in academia researching iconography or in some related field I'm sure that you will do quite well.

                      It is difficult to express tone and emotion in writing without visual interaction so if anything I've said has come across as dry or condescending, then, except in the spirit of friendly opposition, it was unintentional. In short, it's nothing personal to you as a person or as a female, I'm like this with everybody (ask anyone or, easier still, read past posts of mine vs. others). Now, with Stankovich and Vladyka Tikhon, the lords of ad hominem, all bets are off.

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                    • colette says:

                      I'm not offended by you Misha. Thank you for the human note. I don't mind going head to head at all as I feel we are both trying to figure it out. We both want to know the fullness of the Faith. But we need to make sense of a very messy Tradition. And aspects are missing in our argument as Peter Pointed (out and I'm sure there is more where that came from). All in all though-you know I'm right "wink".

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                    • My dear, I am having trouble with the depiction of God the Father that is how I entered this discussion. Let me try to show this in another way . . . .

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                    • Exactly Protopappas,

                      That is what I have been waiting on. Something that refutes the consensus of the Fathers that the Ancient of Days in Daniel 7 is the Father, or that the 7th EC did not mean what it said when it approved of icons depicting the visions of the prophets and anathematized those who opposed them. Without that, she has no serious argument.

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                    • colette says:

                      Except at the time of the Council the icons were of Christ as the Ancient of Days. That is what YOU are not grasping. The Fathers were not contending with images of God the Father as Ancient of Days because this was not depicted yet.

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                    • colette says:

                      Now see with this you prove to me you are not getting what I've been saying . .

                      " that the 7th EC did not mean what it said when it approved of icons depicting the visions of the prophets and anathematized those who opposed them. Without that, she has no serious argument."

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                    • Johann Sebastian says:

                      colette says:

                      "Why not just be Catholic? They took art into all genras and put that in their churches. "

                      1. Because religion is not merely a matter of aesthetic tastes.

                      2. Doctrinal and dogmatic problems aside, Western Christian art and music reached an apex during the period between ca. 1500 and 1800, being somewhat static throughout the 19th Century, falling into a decline during the 20th, and rapidly accelerating in the last generation or two. As in many things, the tendency is to cater to the lowest common denominator--elevating the sensibilities of the masses is just not cost effective.

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                    • Yes, Johann,

                      There is some anti-Westernism masquerading as Orthodoxy. The really paradoxical thing is that those least likely to be persuaded that Roman Catholicism is a worthy endeavor are Old Calendarists of all varieties, "canonical" or not. The Russians are much less cozy with Rome than the "Byzantine" jurisdictions. The Athonite monks periodically take Pat. Bartholomew to task for dumping on canon law in his relations with Rome.

                      Go figure.

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                    • colette says:

                      Sebastion,
                      Neither is our Iconography of the Church just aesthetic tastes. Everything about it is theological. Including the Canon of Iconography taught from Master to pupil. Unfortunately not enough Orthodox understand that.

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                    • To each his own, George.

                      If I ever hear a reasonable explanation from Tradition against them, I will forsake them. Never have. I've also never once heard what lies in that "can of worms" that we should fear.

                      Happy Fourth!!!

                      PS: That's be my last word on it. OOM does have a point that it is not exactly the most pressing matter in the Orthodoxosphere.

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                    • M. Stankovich says:

                      Second Council of Nicæa

                      The Divine Sacra Sent by the Emperors Constantine and Irene to the Most Holy and Most Blessed Hadrian, Pope of Old Rome.

                      Session Six

                      Wherefore we thought it right, to show forth with all accuracy, in our present definition the error of such as make and venerate these, for it is the unanimous doctrine of all the holy Fathers and of the six Ecumenical Synods, that no one may imagine any kind of separation or mingling in opposition to the unsearchable, unspeakable, and incomprehensible union of the two natures in the one hypostasis or person. What avails, then, the folly of the painter, who from sinful love of gain depicts that which should not be depicted— that is, with his polluted hands he tries to fashion that which should only be believed in the heart and confessed with the mouth? He makes an image and calls it Christ. The name Christ signifies God and man. Consequently it is an image of God and man, and consequently he has in his foolish mind, in his representation of the created flesh, depicted the Godhead which cannot be represented, and thus mingled what should not be mingled. Thus he is guilty of a double blasphemy— the one in making an image of the Godhead, and the other by mingling the Godhead and manhood. Those fall into the same blasphemy who venerate the image, and the same woe rests upon both, because they err with Arius, Dioscorus, and Eutyches, and with the heresy of the Acephali. When, however, they are blamed for undertaking to depict the divine nature of Christ, which should not be depicted, they take refuge in the excuse: We represent only the flesh of Christ which we have seen and handled. But that is a Nestorian error. For it should be considered that that flesh was also the flesh of God the Word, without any separation, perfectly assumed by the divine nature and made wholly divine. How could it now be separated and represented apart? So is it with the human soul of Christ which mediates between the Godhead of the Son and the dulness of the flesh. As the human flesh is at the same time flesh of God the Word, so is the human soul also soul of God the Word, and both at the same time, the soul being deified as well as the body, and the Godhead remained undivided even in the separation of the soul from the body in his voluntary passion. For where the soul of Christ is, there is also his Godhead; and where the body of Christ is, there too is his Godhead. If then in his passion the divinity remained inseparable from these, how do the fools venture to separate the flesh from the Godhead, and represent it by itself as the image of a mere man? They fall into the abyss of impiety, since they separate the flesh from the Godhead, ascribe to it a subsistence of its own, a personality of its own, which they depict, and thus introduce a fourth person into the Trinity. Moreover, they represent as not being made divine, that which has been made divine by being assumed by the Godhead. Whoever, then, makes an image of Christ, either depicts the Godhead which cannot be depicted, and mingles it with the manhood (like the Monophysites), or he represents the body of Christ as not made divine and separate and as a person apart, like the Nestorians.

                      Moreover, we can prove our view by Holy Scripture and the Fathers. In the former it is said: "God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth;" and: "You shall not make you any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath;" on which account God spoke to the Israelites on the Mount, from the midst of the fire, but showed them no image. Further: "They changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man,...and served the creature more than the Creator." [Several other passages, even less to the point, are cited.]

                      The same is taught also by the holy Fathers. [The Synod appeals to a spurious passage from Epiphanius and to one inserted into the writings of Theodotus of Ancyra, a friend of St. Cyril's; to utterances— in no way striking— of Gregory of Nazianzum, of SS. Chrysostom, Basil, Athanasius of Amphilochius and of Eusebius Pamphili, from his Letter to the Empress Constantia, who had asked him for a picture of Christ.]

                      Supported by the Holy Scriptures and the Fathers, we declare unanimously, in the name of the Holy Trinity, that there shall be rejected and removed and cursed out of the Christian Church every likeness which is made out of any material and colour whatever by the evil art of painters.

                      Whoever in future dares to make such a thing, or to venerate it, or set it up in a church, or in a private house, or possesses it in secret, shall, if bishop, presbyter, or deacon, be deposed; if monk or layman, be anathematised, and become liable to be tried by the secular laws as an adversary of God and an enemy of the doctrines handed down by the Fathers. At the same time we ordain that no incumbent of a church shall venture, under pretext of destroying the error in regard to images, to lay his hands on the holy vessels in order to have them altered, because they are adorned with figures. The same is provided in regard to the vestments of churches, cloths, and all that is dedicated to divine service. If, however, the incumbent of a church wishes to have such church vessels and vestments altered, he must do this only with the assent of the holy Ecumenical patriarch and at the bidding of our pious Emperors. So also no prince or secular official shall rob the churches, as some have done in former times, under the pretext of destroying images. All this we ordain, believing that we speak as does the Apostle, for we also believe that we have the spirit of Christ; and as our predecessors who believed the same thing spoke what they had synodically defined, so we believe and therefore do we speak, and set forth a definition of what has seemed good to us following and in accordance with the definitions of our Fathers.

                      This is the traditional argument as to why we do not depict "that which is beyond depiction." If I am to accept your logic, will you defend the legitimacy of an icon of the "hinder parts" of God which He revealed as He passed before Moses on Sinai as a student at SVS logically deduced? The reasoning of the Fathers of Nicea II is abundantly clear and appeals to the authority of the Fathers before them, not a handful of the rationalizations of obscure saints and iconographers following them. You would do well to read Dionysius the Areopagite if you imagine "we know what God looks like, and what the Holy Spirit looks like, for better that you imagine absolutely nothing than verbalize such outrageousness.

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                    • Protopappas says:

                      M. Stankovich,

                      Your quotation is from the iconoclastic conciliabulum of 754 which is condemned by Nicea II. It is quoted in the Acts of Nicea II so as to condemn it. Therefore, you are presenting the words of an heretical council as being the teaching of the Church.

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                    • M. Stankovich says:

                      Protopappas,

                      I am well aware of the source of this quotation and I did not hold it out as the "teaching of the Church." I specifically said it constitutes "the traditional argument as to why we do not depict “that which is beyond depiction.” The Seventh Ecumenical Council says specifically:

                      To make our confession short, we keep unchanged all the ecclesiastical traditions handed down to us, whether in writing or verbally, one of which is the making of pictorial representations, agreeable to the history of the preaching of the Gospel, a tradition useful in many respects, but especially in this, that so the incarnation of the Word of God is shown forth as real and not merely phantastic, for these have mutual indications and without doubt have also mutual significations.

                      and then defines specifically what is proper to depict:

                      We, therefore, following the royal pathway and the divinely inspired authority of our Holy Fathers and the traditions of the Catholic Church (for, as we all know, the Holy Spirit indwells her), define with all certitude and accuracy that just as the figure of the precious and life-giving Cross, so also the venerable and holy images, as well in painting and mosaic as of other fit materials, should be set forth in the holy churches of God, and on the sacred vessels and on the vestments and on hangings and in pictures both in houses and by the wayside, to wit, the figure of our Lord God and Saviour Jesus Christ, of our spotless Lady, the Mother of God, of the honourable Angels, of all Saints and of all pious people. For by so much more frequently as they are seen in artistic representation, by so much more readily are men lifted up to the memory of their prototypes, and to a longing after them; and to these should be given due salutation and honourable reverence (ἀσπασμὸν καὶ τιμητικὴν προσκύνησιν), not indeed that true worship of faith (λατρείαν) which pertains alone to the divine nature; but to these, as to the figure of the precious and life-giving Cross and to the Book of the Gospels and to the other holy objects, incense and lights may be offered according to ancient pious custom.

                      At no time do they deviate from the opinion of the council of 754 that it is improper to "depict that which cannot be depicted," nor does it anathematize, let alone mention the vision of the saints or the prophets.

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                  • colette,

                    We do know the visage He used to reveal Himself to Daniel and to St. Stephen, that of an old man, old enough to be the father of a thirty-something year old Christ. We also don't know what the Holy Spirit looks like. However, we do have the image that He used to reveal Himself in a vision to St. John the Forerunner.

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                    • Protopappas says:

                      Look folks, speaking plainly, I used to be, for years, in the "no old man, Jesus and bird" group. However, the evidence is overwhelming, and the Acts of the 7th Ecumenical Council (unfortunately not included in the NPNF series, which only has a small portion of the acts of the council reported), DO state that all theophanies of Scripture can be produced in iconography, including Ancient of Days, which again, applies to all the Trinity, and while it applies to Christ in Revelation, in Daniel 7 applies primarily to God the Father, as it foretells the Ascension of Christ. The point of the image in Revelation is to show that indeed the Son is the exact image of the Hypostasis of the Father. Therefore, if we cannot portray the Father as Ancient of Days, we by no means could portray the Son as such. Keep in mind also that even the Holy Spirit in Orthodox hymnography is mentioned as the Ancient of Days at least twice, and so also could be portrayed as such in iconography.

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                    • M. Stankovich says:

                      Protopappas,

                      This may be your interpretation of what the Fathers of the Seventh Ecumenical Council state - and please feel free to quote them outright because the statement(s) do not exist - but apparently the Russian Orthodox Church never got the memo. Finding themselves "besieged" by what they believed were several unresolved issues from Nicea II, at the "Great Synod of Moscow," convened in 1667, they addressed this issue for the last time:

                      It is most absurd and improper to depict in icons the Lord Sabaoth (that is to say, God the Father) with a grey beard and the Only-Begotten Son in His bosom with a dove between them, because no-one has seen the Father according to His Divinity, and the Father has no flesh, nor was the Son born in the flesh from the Father before the ages. And though David the prophet says, "From the womb before the morning star have I begotten Thee" (Ps. 109:3), that birth was not fleshly, but unspeakable and incomprehensible. For Christ Himself says in the holy Gospel, "No man hath seen the Father, save the Son" (cf. Jn.6:46) And Isaiah the prophet says in his fortieth chapter: "To whom have ye likened the Lord? and with what likeness have ye made a similitude of Him? Has not the artificier of wood made an image, or the goldsmiths, having melted gold, gilt it over, and made it a similitude?" (Isa. 40:18-19) in like manner the Apostle Paul says in Acts (Acts 17:29) "Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold or silver or stone, graven by art of man's imagination." And John Damascene says: "But furthermore, who can make a similitude of the invisible, incorporeal, uncircumscribed and undepictable God? It is, then, uttermost insanity and impiety to give a form to the Godhead" (Orthodox Faith, 4:16). In like manner St. Gregory the Dialogist prohibits this. For this reason we should only form an understanding in the mind of Sabaoth, which is the Godhead, and of that birth before the ages of the Only-Begotten-Son from the Father, but we should never, in any wise depict these in icons, for this, indeed, is impossible. And the Holy Spirit is not in essence a dove, but in essence he is God, and "No man hath seen God", as John the Theologian and Evangelist bears witness1'—-1—1 and this is so even though, at the Jordan at Christ's holy Baptism the Holy Spirit appeared in the likeness of a dove. For this reason, it is fitting on this occasion only to depict the Holy Spirit in the likeness of a dove. But in any other place those who have intelligence will not depict the Holy Spirit in the likeness of a dove. For on Mount Tabor. He appeared as a cloud and, at another time, in other ways. Furthermore, Sabaoth is the name not only of the Father, but of the Holy Trinity. According to Dionysios the Areopagite, Lord Sabaoth, translated from the Jewish tongue, means "Lord of Hosts". This Lord of Hosts is the Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. And although Daniel the prophet says that he beheld the Ancient of Days silting on a throne, this should not be understood to refer to the Father, but to the Son, Who at His second coming will judge every nation at the dreadful Judgment.

                      I believe that, in effect, Monk James has essentially summarized this point somewhere in this thread - kudos to him - and colette has done a stellar job at explaining the rationale behind the decision of the Holy Fathers. "No man has seen God at any time, the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he has declared him." (Jn. 1:18)

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                    • Yes, Stankovich, but nothing done by the sobor of 1667 stood the test of time. Moreover, it was not an EC anyway and thus could not overrule one. Fr. John addressed this council in his essay. Perhaps you never read it.

                      In 1667 they deposed a righteous patriarch who was later reinstated, banned GTF images because they were beloved to the Old Believers, whom they once again anathematized, directed that Rubliev's Hospitality by labelled "Holy Trinity".

                      Now, the patriarch was reinstated, GTF images poured into Russia, and the Old Believers were reconciled. The one and only thing they got right was labelling Rubliev's work as "The Holy Trinity" since it was not the first icon of the Hospitality painted nor was it the first icon using the Hospitality to represent the Trinity.

                      There's actually more, but we're just wasting time here. Like for example, the work upon which Fr. John and Moss based their essays was written in Greek on Athos by a monk there. Also, what do all you who are hostile to Western religious art have to say about Russian Orthodox music. Heretical?

                      Just silly to the max.

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                    • George Michalopulos says:

                      Misha, I'm with Dr S on this one. Yes, the council of 1667 was not an Ecumenical one but its logic is superb. Why I side with Colette and Dr S is more than who has the better arguments but also prudential. Everywhere one looks --even in the West--we see a turn to Byzantine-style iconography. I've been in Protestant pastors' offices as well as Catholic ones and I've invariably seen this to be the case. That being said, why should we debase our iconography and bring in questionable (possibly Western-inspired) themes when it appears to my mind's eye at least, that ours is a more authentic and ancient hagiography?

                      Thus, representations of God the Father (GTF) may very well bring nothing to the table and even open up unnecessary conflicts in my estimation. Of course I realize that my saying this may be cause for scandal and I may have to answer for it on the Day of Judgment. As such I offer my opinion with all due humility. Perhaps if there is to be a Great Council in 2016 this issue can be addressed once and for all.

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                    • Protopappas,

                      Thanks, it is difficult to convince some people even when the evidence is so overwhelming as to be "beyond a reasonable doubt". To me, this is one such instance. I too held the anti-GTF opinion, though in a very, very mild form, until I read The Law of God in Russian. Then I researched it and came upon the articles to which I originally referred. Basically, the reasoning was so utterly inescapable that I became convinced almost before I finished the articles. I asked an OCA priest about the question. He said he would not feel comfortable blessing such an icon. I asked why and he said that it was not part of what he had received. Then he added, in a suggestive addendum, "of course, what I received could have been changed . . ." I think that's the long and short of it.

                      When I think of all the utterly outlandish unintended consequences of the anti-GTF position and the fact that even those who hold it simply have to say to certain "longstanding exceptions", "Well, that is ok, but . . .", I wonder what drives them. In my anti-GTF days I would have been very receptive to the opposite point of view. As a matter of fact, when I read that opponents of GTF icons routinely misrepresented the arguments of the pro-GTF crowd and almost never squarely address their points regarding "uncircumscribability", the Holy Ghost as a dove, the Transfiguration, etc., I suspected bad faith. This also is indicated from the way they misrepresent the decree of the 7th council as being somehow an exclusive list. I'm sure one could find accepted icons which do not exactly fit the list of examples the Council gave.

                      The remarkable thing to me is that both the Church of Russia and the Greek Old Calendarists seem to have considered this a long settled issue. Not only do the Russian and English versions of The Law of God (the most common catechism in ROCOR and increasingly used, I hear, in the ROC) have several such icons, but also several prayer books I have do as well. Moreover, in one Greek church I have attended, they had two such icons, one "Ancient of Days" with the Father in the background, Christ and the Holy Spirit (as a dove) in the foreground. It is like no other one I've seen and seems to be quite Greek, especially as the parish was very "Greeky" at the time. The other one is one of the Last Judgment with the Father looking down on the whole scene.

                      Fascinating how this brings out the worst in people. Better left to osmosis. GTF icons certainly aren't going away and since the argument for them is out there, in meticulous detail, and really shows the absence of merit in the opposing point of view, I assume these icons will continue to be common, at least in the Slavic world.

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                    • George,

                      That's fine. I was never out to convince anyone of anything in the first place, just to show the full truth in the light. As with most things which I believe, I don't feel like there is much jeopardy at play so nothing at all is riding on who agrees with me. History and the God behind it have their own dynamic.

                      I would suggest the following though. Each and every time you see an icon with a rendition of the Holy Spirit as a dove (Theophany, Annunciation), or an icon of the divine energies represented in the Transfiguration, if you venerate it then you are committing at the least an extracanonical act and at most heresy if you really believe your own reasoning.

                      We who have no such misconceptions can do so with a clear conscience. The dove and the divine energies were visions, not incarnations, therefore "uncircumscribable".

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                • colette says:

                  Misha,

                  I am answering your very long response here as there is no reply button . . .

                  You say-
                  "The article you quote is actually pro-God the Father icons. You should re-read it. It is a rundown of Fr. John Whiteford’s article which is based on Vladimir Moss’s. You simply neglected to quote all the passages from the Fathers, et al that identify the Ancient of Days as the Father. In reality, the “Ancient of Days” is simply God, whether Father, Son or Holy Spirit."

                  Right Misha, I quote a little from Fr. John then I say why I don't agree with it. Then I went to another sight and lifted what I saw as both supporting my argument and not and gave the web site info so you all can read the whole thing if you chose.

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                  • In your first post there was no site except orthodoxwiki/ancient of days, which supports what I asserted. However, somewhat schizophrenically, on their page regarding "God the Father" icons, they take the opposite view. Right hand doesn't know what the left hand is doing, I suppose.

                    These Icons are common in Eastern Europe. I've attached a few. Some from Russia, some from Greece, etc. My favorite one, which is in the center of my icon corner just above Christ, is the one titled "Господь Саваоф" with Holy Spirit depicted as a dove emerging from God the Father. Beautiful, very Orthodox theme.

                    http://www.ic-xc-nika.ru/texts/2009/apr/gracheva/bog_savaof.jpg

                    http://kubarev.ru/images/upl/8876.jpg

                    http://www.cirota.ru/forum/images/108/108708.jpeg

                    http://cs608621.vk.me/v608621586/375d/fx4vUvBOv5c.jpg

                    http://photo.russian-church.ru/3d/d0/3b/9e/33/1000-865-3258bd304adae1acde3c4e8cc8.jpg

                    http://iconreader.files.wordpress.com/2011/10/moni_vatopediou_fresco_1000ad.jpg

                    http://russianicons.files.wordpress.com/2012/07/gsb.jpg

                    The last site states that "Господь Саваоф" is the "standard representation of God the Father in Eastern Orthodox iconography". Most images of God the Father I have seen have either had that inscription or have been images of the Trinity and described as such. Each is common enough to be an archetype in Eastern Europe.

                    "And ascended into heaven, and sits at the right hand of the Father"

                    Of course, this is where we get icons of Christ seated at the right hand of a person who appears like an old man, aged enough to be His Father. Why use "Father"? Why say "seated"? Why say, "at the right hand"? What images are elicited by using these words? Exactly why should they not be depicted?

                    The Seventh Council already answered this question: They should be depicted if they were visions revealed to the prophets.

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                    • M. Stankovich says:

                      Having a relatively quiet night of work, I have been reading the proceedings of the Second Council of Nicea, and while they are very explicit as to their opinion of what may be depicted, I find no reference to "visions revealed to the prophets." And I would note they provided a section referred to as "Definitions" (and I have not had the opportunity to cross-check against Migne PG). I would appreciate a citation to your assertion.

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                    • colette says:

                      This is Part 1 of the response to the book Misha wrote above with no reply button-hopefully it will address some of this other stuff too.

                      You say,
                      “ Daniel 7 clearly refers to God the Father as the “Ancient of Days” and in his vision he saw an anthropomorphic rendition of God the Father, given to him by God, and a mystical representation of the Ascension of Christ.”

                      Me-It’s not about denying the Visions of the Prophets, but how to interpret them . . .

                      First it is not just St. John of Damascus who disapproves-why? Don’t brush that over since it’s largely his theology that we maintain for the icon.
                      The Decision of the Council
                      the teaching of icons
                      Venerating icons, having them in churches and homes, is what the Church teaches. They are "open books to remind us of God." Those who lack the time or learning to study theology need only to enter a church to see the mysteries of the Christian religion unfolded before them.
                      Concerning the doctrinal significance of icons
                      Icons are necessary and essential because they protect the full and proper doctrine of the Incarnation. While God cannot be represented in His eternal nature ("...no man has seen God", John 1:18), He can be depicted simply because He "became human and took flesh." Of Him who took a material body, material images can be made. In so taking a material body, God proved that matter can be redeemed. He deified matter, making it spirit-bearing, and so if flesh can be a medium for the Spirit, so can wood or paint, although in a different fashion.
                      I do not worship matter, but the Creator of matter, who for my sake became material and deigned to dwell in matter, who through matter effected my salvation... —St. John of Damascus
                      I’ll expand this later-

                      Where is it stated that the Ancient of Days is the Holy Spirit?

                      I would say St. Dionysius is explaining something more to do with “Time” as is Hyppolytus-hold that thought.
                      You quote- “Show me Thy Glory, that I may see Thee so as to know Thee.” (Ex. xxxiii. 13, Ex. xxxiii 13—
                      Ok-who was in the Burning Bush? Who was being shown? How about this icon
                      http://www.ramos-poqui.com/virginofthesign/wburningbush.jpg it’s Christ! Just like the Theotokos who contained Christ in her womb and was not consumed, so the Burning bush contained God-Christ and was not consumed.
                      And how about the Transfiguration Icon? Where Moses see’s His Glory-Christ in Glory! Ok I’m going to argue with myself-but Colette it’s the Trinity. You have Christ, the cloud as the H.S. and the voice of God. Yep, yet no Image of God the Father-only Christ . . . . beeeecause we don’t depict God the Father. Certainly not as a man, for He did not become a man. We see the Father through the Son and that’s it.

                      (Hos. xii. 10), that is, “I have condescended, I have not appeared as I really was.” My book says”,
                      . . .For I will speak to the prophets. And I have multiplied visions, And by the authority of thy prophets I was represented.”
                      Again, I ask- who is speaking and it doesn’t say these visions are God. Visions of what?
                      You say- “not only would Rublev’s Trinity be forbidden, but also depictions of the Holy Spirit as a dove, since the scriptures do not say that the Holy Spirit took the physical form of a dove but that He appeared to St. John as a dove. No one believes or asserts that God the Father actually in reality looks like an old man any more than anyone asserts that the Trinity resemble three angels or that the Holy Spirit resembles a dove. Each of these are visions given to the righteous. “
                      I agree and already stated Rublev’s Trinity is not a depiction of God the Father but a foreshadowing of a concept that we now understand. But what do we understand that God is an angel? This is not even a symbol of God, but of the whole concept. The dove is not a depiction of the HS, or I should say the HS is in many forms and In Iconography it is in many forms-the “burst” for example in the Nativity icon. In these different expressions of the HS, it breaks any kind of particular image of it because of It’s many forms. With God the Father if you portray Him as a man- you are saying He is a man like Christ. There are other ways of referring to God the Father in Iconography without going so far as to depict Him as Christ-the Hand for example-although pushing it. The Hand often refers to God the Father’s voice.
                      You state-“Moreover, Nicodemos the Hagiorite in his comments regarding the 7th Council explicitly approves of God the Father icons: ( Me- that falls late into the zone of confussion. . . . by the way, where we need to relook . . .)
                      “ . . . . but have found nothing of the kind, except only the statement that the nature of the Holy Trinity cannot be exhibited pictorially because of its being shapeless and invisible”[22] ” Hmmmm and what do you do with that?
                      Really? See above.

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                    • colette says:

                      Part Duo-NOT JUST ST. JOHN OF DAMASCUS . . .

                      A similar description occurs in Revelation 1:14-15, wherein Christ is described as having snow-white hair and blazing eyes. In Revelation, God the Son is depicted with the same power of judgment over His church as the Ancient of Days is described as having in judging Israel. In fact, His sharp gaze judges all seven of the churches in Revelation 1–3

                      St. Ambrose of Milan (c. 339 – 397)

                      "Let Him [Jesus] therefore stand in your midst, that the heavens, which declare the glory of God, may be opened to you, that you may do His will, and work His works. He who sees Jesus, to him are the heavens opened as they were opened to Stephen, when he said: "Behold I see the heavens opened and Jesus standing at the right hand of God." Jesus was standing as his advocate, He was standing as though anxious, that He might help His athlete Stephen in his conflict, He was standing as though ready to crown His martyr. Let Him then be standing for you, that you may not be afraid of Him sitting; for when sitting He judges, as Daniel says: "The thrones were placed, and the books were opened, and the Ancient of Days did sit." But in the eighty-first [second] Psalm it is written: "God stood in the congregation of gods, and decideth among the gods." So then when He sits He judges, when He stands He decides, and He judges concerning the imperfect, but decides among the gods. Let Him stand for you as a defender, as a good shepherd, lest the fierce wolves assault you" (Letter 63:5-6, NPNF, vol. 10, p. 457).

                      Again I state-
                      In Orthodox Hymns

                      In Orthodox Christian hymns, the Ancient of Days is often identified with Jesus Christ.
                      "Thou hast borne incomprehensibly the Ancient of Days as a new Child Who showed us new paths of virtue upon the earth..." Teotokion, 1st Ode of Friday Matins in the 5th tone.
                      "Thou hast borne the Ancient of Days as a new Child unto us..." Theotokion, 8th Ode of Tues. Matins in the 6th tone.
                      "Thou hast surpassed the laws of nature, O pure Daughter, in bringing a new Child upon the earth Who is both the Lawgiver and the Ancient of Days..." Theotokion, 8th Ode, Matins, 5th Sunday of Lent.
                      In the writings of the Fathers
                      «The Ancient of Days became an infant». St. Athanasius of Alexandria. (Homily on the Birth of Christ).
                      "But what can I say? For the wonder astounds me. The Ancient of Days Who sits upon a high and exalted throne is laid in a manger." St. John Chrysostom (Homily on the Saviour's Birth).
                      "Let the earth bow down, let every tongue sing, chant, and glorify the Child God, forty-day old and pre-eternal, the small Child and Ancient of Days, the suckling Child and Creator of the ages." St. Cyril of Jerusalem (Homily on the Presentation of the Lord)
                      "The just Symeon received into his aged arms the Ancient of Days under the form of infancy, and, therefore, blessed God saying, ‘Now lettest Thy servant depart in peace...’" St. Methodius of Olympus (P.G.18, 3658)

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                    • colette says:

                      Part three-o

                      Perhaps this also has something to do with it . . .From Revelations . . . .

                      Daniel 7:9 I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire.
                      Daniel 7:13 I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him.
                      Daniel 7:22 Until the Ancient of days came, and judgment was given to the saints of the most High; and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom.
                      The Ancient of Days has a very familiar description. This description can be seen again in the book of Revelation.
                      Revelation 1:12-18 12 And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks; 13 And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle. 14 His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire; 15 And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters. 16 And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword: and his countenance wasas the sun shineth in his strength. 17 And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last: 18 Iam he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.
                      In the book of Revelation Jesus is given the very same description as the Ancient of Days in the book of Daniel.
                      In Daniel, the Ancient of Days is described as the judge. In the New Testament, Jesus is the judge.
                      Matthew 25:31-32 31 When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: 32 And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats:
                      John 5:22 For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son:
                      John 5:27 And hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man.
                      Romans 2:16 In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel.
                      2 Corinthians 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it begood or bad.
                      In Revelation, Jesus is the one seen sitting on the throne.
                      Revelation 21:5-7 5 And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful. 6 And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely. 7 He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.
                      Compare with Revelation 1:8, 17, 18.
                      Revelation 1:8 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.
                      Revelation 1:17-18 17 And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last: 18 I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.
                      Daniel shows that the antichrist makes war until the arrival of the Ancient of Days.
                      Daniel 7:21-22 21 I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them; 22 Until the Ancient of days came, and judgment was given to the saints of the most High; and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom.
                      In Revelation we see that it is Jesus that arrives to fight the antichrist.
                      Revelation 19:11-21 11 And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. 12 His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. 13 And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. 14 And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. 15 And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. 16 And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS. 17 And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God; 18 That ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great. 19 And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army. 20 And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone. 21 And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of his mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh.
                      It is clear from these comparisons that Jesus is the Ancient of Days in the book of Daniel.
                      If Jesus is the Ancient of Days, then who is the son of man?
                      The Son of Man, the human manifestation of Jesus, didn’t exist until he was born in Bethlehem. Furthermore, Daniel does not say ‘the Son of Man”.
                      Daniel 7:13 I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him.
                      This verse describes ‘one like the son of man’. The NIV says ‘a son of man’.
                      Daniel 7:13 “In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. NIV
                      There is nothing in this passage that suggests this is anything other than a human representative of mankind. In the Old Testament the phrase ‘son of man’ was used to refer to either an individual or mankind in general.
                      Ezekiel 2:1 And he said unto me, Son of man, stand upon thy feet, and I will speak unto thee.
                      Psalm 8:4 What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?
                      Psalm 80:17 Let thy hand be upon the man of thy right hand, upon the son of man whomthou madest strong for thyself.
                      Psalm 146:3 Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help.
                      Isaiah 51:12 I, even I, am he that comforteth you: who art thou, that thou shouldest be afraid of a man that shall die, and of the son of man which shall be made as grass;
                      The phrase ‘son of man’ in Daniel 7 could be referring to the church. If this passage is referring to Jesus, then it is referring to Jesus prophetically in his redeeming role as the lamb slain from the foundation of the world, just as we see in Revelation.
                      Revelation 5:6-7 6 And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth. 7 And he came and took the book out of the right hand of him that sat upon the throne.
                      Revelation 13:8 And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.
                      The phrase ‘son of man’ in Daniel 7 could refer to the church, or prophetically to the redeeming role of Jesus as the lamb slain from the foundation of the world. Regardless of the interpretation of the ‘son of man’, Jesus is the Ancient of Days. We see clearly from comparing the descriptions of the Ancient of Days in Daniel and Jesus in Revelation that they are one in the same. Jesus is the Ancient of Days, the one on the throne, our judge, our redeemer.

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                    • You all are silly, almost like you're defending your favorite ball team.

                      Buzzing right by the facts:
                      That Nicea II never says a word against GTF icons.

                      That Nicea II actually protects icons created from visions given to the prophets.

                      That Daniel 7 is clearly attested in the Fathers and the Octoechos as being a vision of God the Father.

                      That the argument regarding "uncircumscribability" would necessarily ban the Kursk icon, any images of the Holy Ghost as a dove, the Transfiguration, Rubliev's Hospitality which is usually titled "Holy Trinity" and which was intentionally created to represent the Trinity at a time when the doctrine was being called into question in Russia,

                      and

                      That a number of other wonder working icons would also have to be banned.

                      Despite all that, you persist at this nonsense, doing backflips to explain away Daniel's vision and the Council's words.

                      Be my guest. I'm sure it is irrelevant. They're not going to whitewash Christ the Savior Cathedral and Vatopedi on Athos because a few neo-patristic "experts" object to "Western looking" icons.

                      Nuff said by me. I didn't mean to start a conflagration with comments about this and toll houses (please, no bs about them one way or another either!!). You can see the debate out there. I know where I find the weight of the evidence. I leave you to your own judgments.

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                    • M. Stankovich says:

                      colette,

                      The problem is that Nicea II says no such thing. In fact, it states the opposite: That icons of the visions of the prophets are entirely appropriate and that those who reject such images are anathema.

                      I have read the entire proceedings of the Second Council of Nicea and there is no reference to the vision of the prophets. Not one. Of the 19 specific Anethemas issued by the Council only one mentions images:

                      (9) If anyone ventures to represent in human figures, by means of material colours, by reason of the incarnation, the substance or person (ousia or hypostasis) of the Word, which cannot be depicted, and does not rather confess that even after the Incarnation he [i.e., the Word] cannot be depicted, let him be anathema!

                      which is exactly as I posted above, There are exactly 22 Canons issued by the Second Council of Nicea; not one of them refers to the controversy of the images at all.

                      Misha states, "Show me exactly where the 7th council prohibited God the Father icons," the Fathers instead are more emphatic and more demanding in their condemnation of those who would depict "that which is beyond depiction": “They changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man,…and served the creature more than the Creator.” While I have enjoyed your argument - and have actually learned a considerable amount - I mean no pejorative by saying it is unnecessary.

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                    • 13th c. frescoes located in modern day Serbia says:

                      I couldn't respond to Collette's excellent posts below so I'm doing that here.
                      Here is an interesting ancient of days icon located in Ohrid. Notice the strong resemblance to the prototype of Christ but with white hair. http://www.orthodoxy-icons.com/frescoes/108-the-frescoes-of-the-church-perivlepty-ohrid-macedonia-1295-part-v.html (second from the top)

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                    • colette says:

                      Part 4

                      From Journal of early Christian Studies, Spring 1999 Vol.7 #1
                      Andrew of Caesarea, (563-614) Commentarius in Apocalypsin 1:12-16 and Michael Akominatos 12thc., Commentary in Apocalypsin;
                      ‘Andrew states that, “although he (Christ) appeared for us recently, He is shown ancient, or rather eternal; the symbol for His eternity is His white hair. . . .

                      Michael Akominatos states that the Ancient of Days . . . recently became a child for us and received flesh.
                      Cyril of Alexandria-interprets the old man in Daniels vision as a prefiguration of the 2 states of the same Son of God. In his chapter that discusses whether or not God the Father could be portrayed in an image like that of the Ancient of Days, Ouspensky notes that Cyril’s view reflects a tendency in the Alexandrian School to interpret all OT visions of God as revelations of Christ-not the Father. Cyril interprets the statement, “the Son attained the glory of the Father,” as an indication that the Son, in the humanity assumed in the incarnation, shared in the glory of the Father from whom he was never separated. For Cyril, the 2 figures in the vision of Daniel prefigure the 2 states of the same Son of God, specifically his state of pre-existence and Incarnation. Thus, the account of anthropomorphic images of the Godhead, here the Ancient of Days and One Like the Son of Man, can only refer to Christ, either in the Context of the Incarnation (Son of Man) or in the pre-existence that he shares with the Father (the Ancient of Days). . . .According to Ouspensky-Cyril would never have identified the Ancient of Days as God the Father. . . . . . P. 158-159.

                      “Cyrils views and St. John of Damascus views are similar in that any vision in the OT is a revelation of an aspect or form of the Incarnate Word, who is yet to come.” P. 160. “From these examples, it is clear that identifying the Ancient of Days as a specific person leads to contradictory interpretations.”
                      Much more agreement is in the reflection and meaning of the aged features. They almost all interpret the aged features as indicative of power over and independence of time. Pseudo-Dionysius alludes to old age as a reflection of one who created time stating that the Ancient of Days is one who is the cause of time and yet exceeds time. St. Andrew of Caesarea, Michael Akominates also ascribe the white hair of Ancient of Days to a symbol of eternity. Chysostom notes that the Phrase Ancient of Days does not connote an aging figure, but symbolizes something else. . . . .a wise person who has the power of final judgement. P.160.
                      So power, eternity, one who Judges, control and even created time, pre-existence over time/eternity . . . are all attributes that the Fathers say together about this the Ancient of Days.
                      There is a better answer than just saying the Ancient of Days is the Trinity or a symbol. The Fathers were working out the faith and the fact that they don't agree shows the Tradition was not fully formed. Iconographers were also working out the Tradition. You can find almost anything in an icon, there are fads and strange techniques and odd people in icons. The fact that a particular group uses God the Father images does not make it Tradition. The Great Synod of Moscow in 1667 was a confirmation of the 7th ecumenical council, which was trying to stop at least one of the oddities that had become normalised in Iconography. But if people throw out Councils . . . well. The 8 Pointed star around the head of The Ancient of Days shows that He is outside of Time-timeless. This coupled with the cross-bar states that Christ who is outside of time and Lord of time, subjects Himself to Time in the Incarnation.

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                    • colette says:

                      This is to Stankovich- thanks for posting that. But I think the question is why did the Fathers come to the decision of the 2 Council of Nicea. We have a reasonable faith we don't just turn it off because we were told it's so. It's reasonable and consistent to not depict God the Father with our faith, that's why I believe it. Not because I was told to.

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                    • Monk James says:

                      The main point of the 7th Ecumenical Synod's theology of ikonography is that anyone/anything ever visible to the human eye can be represented in our ikons.

                      At the same time, the authentically orthodox catholic christian tradition insists that all the prechristian occasions when God visibly revealed Himself (messengers, a burning bush, a rock, etc.) are all christophanies, or manifestations of our Lord Jesus Christ, the only one of the three Persons of God Who appeared in human form. The fathers of The Church are unanimous in this.

                      Did we see the Holy Spirit as a dove, or as flames? NO! We saw a symbol of His presence and activity.

                      Whatever OT prophets saw as an old man in their visions cannot be God the Father, since He has never appeared in human form, and so cannot be depicted except by analogy -- but even then, such paintings are misleading since God is eternal and will never be old.

                      God is eternally NOW.

                      But we did see Jesus, the incarnate Son of God.

                      Let's aspire to share His divinity as completely as He shared our humanity.

                      That's the whole point, isn't it?

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                    • colette says:

                      "13th c. frescoes located in modern day Serbia says:
                      July 4, 2014 at 4:01 pm
                      I couldn’t respond to Collette’s excellent posts below so I’m doing that here.
                      Here is an interesting ancient of days icon located in Ohrid. Notice the strong resemblance to the prototype of Christ but with white hair. http://www.orthodoxy-icons.com/frescoes/108-the-frescoes-of-the-church-perivlepty-ohrid-macedonia-1295-part-v.html (second from the top)"
                      strong>

                      That is interesting-instead of the 8 points in the halo, you have the 8 rays in the mandorla= Time, outside of time, Lord of time . . . .-there it is! Excellent.

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                    • Protopappas says:

                      M.Stankovich can pretend like he did not misrepresent a pseudo-synod as if it were the words of the 7th council, but his very words bear witness.

                      However, the Synodikon of Orthodoxy itself bears witness:

                      "To those who accept the visions of the prophets, albeit unwillingly, but who do not - O wonder! - accept the images seen by the prophets even before the Incarnation of the Word, but vainly say that the intangible and unseeable essence was seen by the prophets, or [those who] even concede that these truly were revealed to the prophets as images and types and forms but still cannot endure to depict in icons the Word become man and His sufferings for our sake, Anathema

                      "To those who know and accept and believe concerning those things which the choir of the prophets saw, and narrated, that the Divinity Himself formed and imprinted these prophetic visions, and to those who hold them fast by the venerable icons, and that hold fast both the written and unwritten tradition which extends from the apostles to the fathers, and who for this cause depict and honor holy things in icons... Eternal Memory (3)"

                      If you wanna look it up, be my guest, as there are plenty of sources such as the following:

                      http://www.johnsanidopoulos.com/2010/02/synodicon-of-orthodoxy.html

                      Also, St. Nikodemus of the Holy Mountain remarks in his Prolegomena, regarding Nicea II: "The present Council, in the letter which it sent to the Church of Alexandria, on the one hand blesses those who know and accept, and therefore make icons of and honour, the visions and theophanies of the Prophets, as God Himself shaped and impressed them on their minds. And on the other hand it anathematizes those who do not accept the iconographies of such visions before the incarnation of God the Word. It follows that the Beginningless Father must be represented in icons as He appeared to the Prophet Daniel, as the Ancient of Days."

                      Also, the council of 1666-7 was overturned by the Pan-Orthodox council of 1682 unanimously accepted by all the Orthodox Patriarchates.

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                    • M. Stankovich says:

                      Round and round the mulberry bush the monkey chased the weasel... only to depend on the authority of our father among the saints, Vladimir Moss. Both you and Misha have emphatically represented that it was the Seventh Ecumenical Council at Nicea that declared

                      (Misha)
                      The problem is that Nicea II says no such thing. In fact, it states the opposite: That icons of the visions of the prophets are entirely appropriate and that those who reject such images are anathema.

                      (You)

                      The evidence is overwhelming, and the Acts of the 7th Ecumenical Council (unfortunately not included in the NPNF series, which only has a small portion of the acts of the council reported), DO state that all theophanies of Scripture can be produced in iconography, including Ancient of Days, which again, applies to all the Trinity, and while it applies to Christ in Revelation, in Daniel 7 applies primarily to God the Father, as it foretells the Ascension of Christ. The point of the image in Revelation is to show that indeed the Son is the exact image of the Hypostasis of the Father. Therefore, if we cannot portray the Father as Ancient of Days, we by no means could portray the Son as such.

                      They are not included in the proceedings available to us. If you are drawing from material not included in the proceedings available to us, it essential for you to provide them and cite from where they can be found.

                      As to your comments regarding my "misrepresentation" of a pseudo-council as the teaching of the Church, I was relying on the commentary of Ambrosios Giakalis in his exceptional study Images of the Divine: The Theology of Icons at the Seventh Ecumenical Council", to juxtapose the statements of the council of 754 forbidding the "depiction of that which cannot be depicted," against the similar reasoning of the Seventh Ecumenical Council, and against the similar reasoning of the Synod of Moscow. I agree, my words bear witness.

                      Finally, your conclusion seems to seat yourself next to Misha, across the table from me, at the World Championship of Orthodox Theological Poker. Misha, as always, bets himself and raises with audacity, pointing out that a "local council" can't "overrule" an Ecumenical Council. You immediately "overturn" the local council by "unanimous" acceptance by all the Orthodox Patriarchates, and raise with hymnography & single saint. Hmm. Risky move. Well, I have in my hand the statement of the Fathers of Nicea II that, "To make our confession short, we keep unchanged all the ecclesiastical traditions handed down to us," fidelity; their specific definitions as to whom and what may be depicted; and Fr. Florovsky's essay on the complete intolerance of St. Gregory Palamas for any notion that men would attempt to "harness" the Divine Energy of the Father or "limit" the movement of the invigorating Holy Spirit, such that all revelations have been given and all questions answered as of the year 787. Blessed Gregory would declare us a "museum," not a living, vigorous, inspired, and dynamic vehicle driven by "Fire sourced from Fire," the Holy Spirit.

                      Round and round the mulberry bush... You call it boys. Misha has a very ugly need to "win," and resorts to a vulgar form of insult and condescending "dismissal." Spare us the rudeness. A lot of people put a lot of legitimate effort into investigating this issue, and hopefully others not commenting learned something about the controversy of the Holy Images.

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                    • "At the same time, the authentically orthodox catholic christian tradition insists that all the prechristian occasions when God visibly revealed Himself (messengers, a burning bush, a rock, etc.) are all christophanies, or manifestations of our Lord Jesus Christ, the only one of the three Persons of God Who appeared in human form. The fathers of The Church are unanimous in this."

                      Sorry, Monk James,

                      You are just dead wrong about that. Almost all of the Fathers who commented on Daniel 7 identified the Ancient of Days there as God the Father. Go back to Moss's and Fr. John's articles and bother reading them. There is a rather long list of quotes from the Fathers on that issue.

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                    • "(9) If anyone ventures to represent in human figures, by means of material colours, by reason of the incarnation, the substance or person (ousia or hypostasis) of the Word, which cannot be depicted, and does not rather confess that even after the Incarnation he [i.e., the Word] cannot be depicted, let him be anathema!"

                      Seriously, Stankovich, were you drinking or otherwise indulging when you quoted this? You clearly meant to quote it as an authoritative statement of the 7th council. You do realize that it would ban all images of Christ and is flat out heresy, no?

                      Gospodi!!!

                      Well, this explains a lot . . .

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                  • M. Stankovich says:

                    Misha,

                    As is typical, you would have me accept your argument based upon "evidence [that] is so overwhelming as to be “beyond a reasonable doubt,” which includes your statement that the Seventh Ecumenical Council declared "icons of the visions of the prophets are entirely appropriate and that those who reject such images are anathema." Further, you support Protopappas' contention that

                    the evidence is overwhelming, and the Acts of the 7th Ecumenical Council DO state that all theophanies of Scripture can be produced in iconography, including Ancient of Days, which again, applies to all the Trinity, and while it applies to Christ in Revelation, in Daniel 7 applies primarily to God the Father, as it foretells the Ascension of Christ. The point of the image in Revelation is to show that indeed the Son is the exact image of the Hypostasis of the Father. Therefore, if we cannot portray the Father as Ancient of Days, we by no means could portray the Son as such.

                    though he notes, "unfortunately not included in the NPNF series, which only has a small portion of the acts of the council reported." In the either case, fortunately or unfortunately for you and Protopappas, such statement do not exist in the record of the proceedings of the Seventh Council. And finally, it is your "opinion" that the conclusion reached by the Synod of Moscow of the Russian Orthodox Church is somehow "invalid" because it is not an "ecumenical" council and cannot "over-rule" the Seventh Ecumenical Council, likening it to a theological game of poker. "Just silly," you conclude. Fr. Florovsky has written several essays regarding the writing of St. Gregory Palamas directed at the delusion of those who would attempt to limit the energy of the Father and limit the operation of the Holy Spirit to the year 787, but apparently you did not read them.

                    Your arguments are a combination of the contrived, the false and misleading, and the projection of your own prideful assumption you are dealing with idiots is really quite astonishing. You seriously owe colette an apology for investing the time in attempting to convince you, while you chose to "convince" her with arguments of the Fathers you created.

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                    • Stankovich,

                      No apologies. I was right and I am right. But being right doesn't mean much, I've found. As to your insufferable arrogance, we've addressed that before - - end-stage pride.

                      http://www.johnsanidopoulos.com/2010/02/synodicon-of-orthodoxy.html

                      Protopappas found the original text in the synodikon. The translation Sanidopoulos uses is different. "Eternal" at the beginning of the first paragraph and "Anathema" at the beginning of the second paragraph are titles in Sanidopoulos' site but translated as part of the initial sentences in Moss's quotation. The "Eternal" is under a list of eternal memories to X,Y and Z. The "Anathema" is under a list of anathemas. So it is clearly part of the decisions of the 7th EC.

                      Better luck with some other facet of the argument. Try again on Daniel not having a vision of the Father. That seems to be popular despite the witness of the Fathers and the Oktoechos.

                      Really, don't people have anything better to do with their time than beating their heads against a wall? The quote from the synodikon has been quoted in academic literature as well. You probably shouldn't have stuck your neck out denying it.

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                    • colette says:

                      Dear Misha,
                      It's surprisingly refreshing for me to say this but, the argument is stacked for myself and Stankovich. We have Fathers, Councils, icons, logic and a longer Tradition in our court.
                      High five Stankovich.

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                    • colette says:

                      This is to Misha,

                      You seriously believe I should do something else with my time? This is my life's work-again, a puzzling statement by you. Well, I believe I can get to the bottom of the textual problem you and protopappas are stating by using my own little greek scholar :-)

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                    • Good luck, collette. Knock yourself out. You should bear in mind though that the work behind Fr. John's and Moss's essays was originally written in Greek and its title made clear that it was in defense of such icons.

                      Nonetheless, if you feel you are correct, by all means pursue it.

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                    • colette says:

                      Oh I forgot "Scripture" to my list. That's Tradition! Where each of the categories we have to check our beliefs ( the Fathers, the Councils, Scripture, Orthodpraxis, and Reason) all come together. The cream on top of fresh milk-all the best stuff rises to the top.
                      You asked what do we do with these icons that contain "God the Father"? We treat them with economia, like we treat every other exception. And we teach the earlier consistency, that which was maintained more or less up through the 17th c. So that we don't continue to produce them . . . .

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                    • colette says:

                      Misha, the OT saw things dimly, through the Church those visions were revealed like this one--

                      "It is ironic, therefore, that the specific prohibition of images of the Lamb of God came not from the iconoclasts (image-smashers), but from an Orthodox council which predated the whole controversy.

                      At the Council of Trullo, held in 692, the 82nd canon declared:

                      In certain reproductions of venerable images, the precursor [John the Baptist] is pictured indicating the lamb with his finger. This representation was adopted as a symbol of grace. It is a hidden figure of that true lamb who is Christ, our God, and shown to us according to the Law. Having thus welcomed these ancient figures and shadows as symbols of the truth transmitted to the Church, we prefer today grace and truth themselves as a fulfillment of this law. Therefore, in order to expose to the sight of all that which is perfect, at least with the help of painting, we decree that henceforth Christ our God must be represented in His human form but not in the form of the ancient lamb."

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  9. Tim R. Mortiss says:

    The head chanter at the time at HS (this would have been February 2012) was a woman, and was outstanding.

    I have no ancient and constructed liturgical language abilities. I just remember that I attended most of the service at HS and then walked into St. Nick's for about 20 minutes or so. The architectural contrast was most striking and captivating. This was the first time I had been into an OCA church with the frescoes all over and up the walls!

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    • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says:

      St. Nicholas like almost all Russian Orthodox style churches does not have anything but real flames burning before its icons while Greek Churches often use little electric bulbs inside their vigil lights...fake flames. The earlier editions of Ware's "The Orthodox Church" also pointed out that the Greeks, especially in America, have developed a "penchant for the harmonium".

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      • Tim R. Mortiss says:

        On this point, those early editions are rather out of date. I've never seen anything but real flames at the GOC I've attended over the last 30 years and now belong to, but I can attest to the fact that there was a harmonium-type organ there back then, but that it vanished sometime in the mid-80s, never to be seen again....

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    • Other other Matthew says:

      Tim R. Mortiss says:

      The head chanter at the time at HS (this would have been February 2012) was a woman, and was outstanding.

      An excellent example of how the modern church has rejected an apostolic teaching: "Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law."

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      • She's not talking, she's chanting and she is under obedience to her priest and her husband . . . .

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        • Other other Matthew says:

          Colette apparently believes a woman psalti is traditional and according to the norms of the Orthodox church.

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          • colette says:

            Yes, she does-been to any women's monastery's lately?
            I gave you a positive vote . . . By accedent.

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            • Dn Brian Patrick Mitchell says:

              Chanting in women's monasteries is one thing; chanting in "city" churches is another. Having women serve as solo chanters or readers in city churches is a modern innovation inconsistent with apostolic tradition and tending to undermine the Church's teaching on male and female. After all, if women can be chanters and readers, why can't they be deacons and priests? The liturgical role of the deacon is not that diferent from that of a reader. In fact, it often includes the role of reader, as when a deacon reads the Epistle.

              To avoid the slippery slope toward radical feminism, modern Christians invent new rationales for drawing the line between male and female other than where the Fathers drew it. The Apostles and Fathers believed and taught that there is an order to nature, and that women taking a leading role among men was inconsistent with that order. That's all the rationale they needed. They were men of great faith.

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              • colette says:

                Actually, I think ordination makes all the difference, as does submission. For example, we know there were women deacons, but they were not ordained (there may have been one exception somewhere, but that hardly makes it Tradition). There ministry was to the women only especially during baptism.. That makes a lot of sense and I think it would help us today to have such a place for women. I see it already in the Monastery's.
                For submission, the verse alluded to by OOM is because women were speaking during the service. . . kind of like now. So they needed to keep quite and submissive to their husbands and or another male authority. This is not in reference to chanting.
                I see the need for men to have a place for just men. I like that about the Orthodox Church. In serving- men have that. But women have always pretty much had the final say in parishes one way or another. And there are many ways for women to serve. I agree they should be separate from the men in serving and in ordination. No ordination for women.
                I don't know when women began to chant in the services outside of monasticism? Anyone? I believe it's earlier, not later.

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                • It is my understanding that formerly women were not allowed to chant or sing in choirs, that this is a modern innovation resulting from the deficit of men in church these days:

                  "The Greek Orthodox Church in America introduced choral music on a permanent basis during the first quarter of the twentieth century. This was soon followed by the inclusion of young girls and women in the choirs, which even though unheard of in Greece, raised no objection from either the communities or the clergy. The inclusion of women into the choirs did however, pose another problem, in that the music used by the choirs to this point, which was brought over from Europe, had been written for four-part male choirs and was now deemed inappropriate. The rewriting and composition of new liturgical music influenced by non-Hellenic sources was inevitable." - http://www.saintbarbara.org/our_faith/orthodox_christian_worship/liturgical-chant

                  It is not true that, "women have always pretty much had the final say in parishes one way or another." In fact, before the modern era they had very little say, if any, and were subject to corporal punishment for disobedience to their husbands. The difference from today is actually black and white. There is no reason to ordain or appoint women to the diaconate or as deaconesses today. Formerly there was a taboo about men teaching classes of women catachumens and baptism was often admistered completely or nearly nude. In those circumstances, women serving in some office to minister to women for these particular needs makes sense.

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                  • colette says:

                    When I mentioned women having the final say, I did not mean legal power. If you watched the series Rome that's more what I meant. They made things happen but very differently than today. Much more round a bout. Besides that -In the church, widows who owned land had plenty of sway.

                    To state this again-I do not believe women should be or were ordained. But I think you are incorrect to say that there is no reason to have the position of deaconesses today. Women often prefer to seek advice or care from other older, wiser women. Women understand women. It's a different relationship -a man to a woman from a woman to a woman. You find this today being addressed in the monastery's, and so female monks have been said to take the place of the deaconess. There are women who already fit this role but are not acknowledged with the title or honor. It might be a wise move to recognize this role today officially. I don't think it would lead to the ordination of women, because it already existed in the Church and did not lead to the ordination of women. Rather I think it would lead to more balance within the Church and less discontent from those who think the Orthodox Church is too Male top heavy.

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                    • George Michalopulos says:

                      Colette, I very much appreciate your insight as to this matter. I for one think that widows should be given a special --and prominent--place in the parish, especially if they are godly women. They would be there not only to serve as an example to younger girls, as well as give them counsel, but ever-ready to offer counsel to the pastor.

                      I have seen this dynamic in black churches, where the elderly widows are invariably dressed in white. The rule of thumb is this: if the pastor defers to their counsel then they remain in his corner and he's pretty much invincible. If they don't take a shine to his posturing however he's pretty much done for.

                      We need to invigorate the female leadership making use of their talents in a feminine way.

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                    • If we're talking babushki, you have a real point. In Russia, they practically saved the Church from extinction. Of course, they didn't have to be ordained to do so, or to have any official title. In fact, in Russian churches at least, the babushki are still a serious force to be reckoned with, but really only amongst the women.

                      For instance, if a woman has problems controlling her children, or if she doesn't cover herself, or if she even doesn't cover and dares to go up for communion, most likely one of the babushkas will intervene and nicely, or sometimes briskly, explain what is done or throw a scarf on her head, or whatever is appropriate.

                      Having a "handmaiden's society" is also not a bad idea. While you don't have the same necessity regarding baptism or catechism, etc., still there should be some vehicle for women to congregate and for wisdom to pass from the elders to the youth. Calling it "deaconess" just opens up an unnecessary can of worms. We can all agree that if that title were handed out, there would be those whose next order of business would be to challenge the Church to come up with reasons acceptable to this little caucus (who are inherently insatiable) why these "deaconesses" can't serve at the altar, and so on and so on.

                      Once feminism has been laid in the grave for some considerable time, then, if there is a perceived need, a hundred years from now, maybe resurrection of deaconesses might be wise. Now, it's just meeting a demon half way.

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                    • Dn Brian Patrick Mitchell says:

                      All ranks within the Church are defined by their sacramental role—what they do in the liturgy, when the Church is most itself, doing what it exists to do. What would the sacramental role of the deaconess be today? And where would the rank of deaconess fit within the ranking order of the Church?

                      These questions have troubled the Church before.

                      In the early centuries, the sacramental role of the deaconess was to assist women in baptism for the sake of modesty, mind the women’s doors, act as a go-between between clergy and women, and possibly also to take the Holy Gifts to women who could not receive them in church—in a day when female modesty was much more guarded and men and women were much more segregated in both public and private.

                      Yet even these purposes did not lead to the universal adoption of the office of deaconess. Everywhere the Church was there were bishops, priests, and deacons; the same cannot be said of deaconesses. The office appears to have existed in Egypt only as a lay office for senior widows and was known in the West only among heretics. (Sulpicius Severus alleges around 400 that it was introduced in the West by the heretical Priscillianists.) The ordination of deaconesses was forbidden in the West by three early councils: Orange in 441, Epaon in 517, and Orleans in 533.

                      The office flourished mainly in Constantinople in the fourth, fifth, and sixth centuries as an honor bestowed on high-ranking women whose patronage was much appreciated or as a consolation to the wives of men elevated to the episcopacy. In the early sixth century, Severus of Antioch wrote:

                      “In the case of deaconesses, especially in convents, ordination is performed less with regard for the needs of the mysteries than exclusively with regard to doing honor.”

                      Besides performing charitable works, deaconesses in Constantinople administered female monasteries, regulated the women’s section of the Great Church, and possibly sang together in church, but their duties and status varied with time and place, diminishing quickly from the seventh century onward. Valerie Karras writes:

                      "Especially outside the capital city of Constantinople and holy city of Jerusalem, there is almost no indication of a female diaconate beyond a seal and a few passing references emanating from Byzantine Italy in the liminal seventh and eighth centuries."

                      The office disappeared entirely sometime after the early twelfth century. By then it had long since lost its sacramental raison d’etre. The ancient practice of the Church in the West—having non-ordained widows and virgins perform the duties of deaconesses—became the standard practice of the Church in the East.

                      Another likely factor was the tension between the Church's respect for the natural order and the elevated status of some women. Appointing deaconesses or presbytides (senior women given charge of women) in parishes might have tended toward the establishment of a separate “chain of command” for women, at odds with the headship of husbands over their wives. It might also have resulted in the formal or informal subjection of laymen and minor clergy to the authority of women.

                      Acting on its experience, the Church forbad the appointment of presbytides at the fourth-century Council of Laodicea, relegated the office of deaconess to honorary status, and eventually abolished it by decree of Patriarch Athanasius I of Constantinople in the first decade of the fourteenth century.

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                • Dn Brian Patrick Mitchell says:

                  Whether deaconesses were "ordained" depends on which text you read. But what does "ordained" mean except "ranked in order," with God giving everyone the spiritual gifts appropriate to his or her rank?

                  The fourth-century Apostolic Constitutions specifies the order of communion as bishop, "then the presbyters, and deacons, and subdeacons, and the readers, and the singers, and the ascetics; and then of the women, the deaconesses, and the virgins, and the widows, and then the children, and then all the people in order." This means that only men were ranked as readers and singers (i.e., cantors, chanters, psalts), since no readers or singers are named among the women.

                  Many early texts show that 1 Cor. 14:34 ("Let your women keep silent") was commonly understood quite broadly, to prohibit talking, teaching, preaching, reading, and even eventually singing by women. Several of the earliest speak of women singing "the necessary responses" of the liturgy (St. Gregory the Theologian), and some also speak of women singing as part of small groups or choirs, but I have yet to find any that speak approvingly women as readers or chanters. Greater modesty was required of women in those days. Sending women to the ambo or kleros (for clerics) to chant or read would have violated that modesty.

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                  • colette says:

                    I'll give you the argument that women were not chanters, cantors or psalts early on-as I don't know much in the area of "singing". I just know I have come across the mention of women singing in earlier texts, but it may have been in small groups/choirs as you mention.

                    I also wanted to emphasise that the word "ordained" is used sometime in texts when that's not exactly what is in the text-- which I think you were kind of alluding to. . . .

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                  • colette says:

                    This is to your post at 10:25 above

                    Dn., consider this, choir directors, chanter, iconographers, readers, etc. . . . are not ordained, but are recognised within the church. If they step away from the church life in any way or fall into sin or heresy, they can be unrecognised by the church as would a deaconess-unordained as the others. Bringing back that rather late departure of the deaconess actually puts the Church in more control, not less.

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                    • how about St. Nectarios of Aegina? says:

                      I'm amazed that in the discussion concerning deaconesses that no one has mentioned St. Nectarios. He tried to reestablish the use of deaconesses in administering to his female monastery. The practice was never formally done away with in the church of Greece but only fell into disuse. There has been serious discussion about reinstating it's use in women's monasteries at least to assist with the needs of individual monastic communities.

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                    • colette says:

                      In reply to the St. Nectarios reply,

                      My understanding is there are deaconesses in Greece presently.

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                    • Dn Brian Patrick Mitchell says:

                      Why does an abbess need to be a deaconess?

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              • Michael Bauman says:

                Dn. Brian, what about in small mission churches in which a woman is the only person who can do it, or is the wife of the priest?

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                • Dn Brian Patrick Mitchell says:

                  I hear this all the time. You tell people what is the tradition, what was the rule, and what was the reason for the rule, and immediately they come back with a question based on an extreme case that seems to demand an exception.

                  Well, some cases do warrant exceptions, but they want you to agree to the exception before they agree to the tradition, the rule, and the reason, and all too often what they really want is to use the exception to ignore the reason, dismiss the rule, and thus end the tradition.

                  I don't suspect you of that motive, Michael. You're probably just wondering how reasonable I'll be. So this is really a personal question: What would I do if I were the bishop or the priest responsible for the hypothetical parish or mission?

                  Here's what I'd do: I'd start by teaching the tradition, including the rule and the reason for it, and then I'd see if it were really true that there were no men available to act as readers and chanters. As every parish priest knows, identifying a need if often enough to get people to volunteer to fill it. So you identify the need and see if any man responds. If no one does, you do what you have to do, but with everyone understanding that there's a better way to keep in mind for the future, when men do become available. Sound reasonable?

                  It doesn't have to be a big issue. It can be handled in a few brief conversations. Of course, it helps if the people you're dealing with do respect Church tradition and aren't already in the grip of heresy.

                  By the way, I've written a book on the subject, including a chapter on silence. Frank Schaefer published it in his earlier days. The title was The Scandal of Gender: Early Christian Teaching on the Man and the Woman (Regina Orthodox Press, 1998).

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                  • Michael Bauman says:

                    Read the book. Its on the bookshelf right next to me. My wife likes it too. It was not trick question. I've just seen several such parishes in different jurisdictions. Even in larger parishes women choir directors seem to be quite common and generally quite good.

                    I'm just exploring the way such things really fit and where. I'm confident the truth will prevail.

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                • how about St. Nectarios of Aegina? says:

                  http://americamagazine.org/node/147165

                  The article at this link describes the formal decision of the Church of Greece to reinstitute the office of the female diaconate. I was not aware that there was a female ordained as recently as 1986 by the late Archbishop Christodoulos.

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                • how about St. Nectarios of Aegina? says:

                  In response to Dn. Brian's question about why make an abbess a deaconess:

                  In the Church of Greece most woman's monastery's do not have a chaplain assigned to them on a permenant full time basis. If they are fortunate they have Liturgy once per week, otherwise they perform reader services as a community. Difficult to say the least for people who's focus and purpose of existence is Divine Worship. A deaconess can go where a visiting priest can not. Into the cells of nuns who are bedridden for one. I personally would love to see them ministering in women's prisons.

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                  • Dn Brian Patrick Mitchell says:

                    My question hasn't been answered, so I'll ask it again: Why does an abbess need to be a deaconess? What can a deaconess do that an abbess can't?

                    From what you've said so far, it sounds like what you really want is a priestess, a woman who can celebrate the Holy Mysteries, which neither deacons nor deaconesses have ever been able to do.

                    This is why the revival of the deaconess has not caught on. There is no real need for it, and it can't but become a stalking horse for challenging the male priesthood, which is why some people are so keen on it.

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                    • how about St. Nectarios of Aegina? says:

                      Dn. Brian, It appears to me that in Greece at least there are not all these hang ups concerning gender roles that are influencing the discussion on this page. People seem to be more comfortable with the roles assigned to them and just "go with the flow". The church in Greece is an intrinsic part of the culture even if all people aren't partakers or believers. The Pandora's box you are fearful of opening is the result of American Orthodoxy trying to work the kinks out of it's unique cultural situation. It is as I understand it, how does one Holy Catholic (Universal) and Apostolic Church express itself in a culture which it is not Universally accepted or even viewed with hostility (as opposed to a country like Greece). Failing to address this issue as a Church will condemn the Orthodox Church in the USA to permanent mediocrity as we continually spin our wheels arguing with each other on how to best protect the traditions handed to us rather than moving forward and making all the nation Orthodox.

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                    • how about St. Nectarios of Aegina? says:

                      No Dn. Brian I do not want a priestess. I would like to see the role of the deaconess reinstituted to it's proper social and liturgical function within the life of the ecclesia.

                      en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deaconess

                      please read the section entitled "early christian period".

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                    • how about St. Nectarios of Aegina? says:

                      Dn. Brian,

                      Perhaps a more relevant question is why NOT ordain an Abbess as a deaconess.

                      Please see this web site:

                      www.orthodoxdeacons.org/node/15

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                    • Dn Brian Patrick Mitchell says:

                      Seriously? If you believe what you read on Wikipedia, the early Church had female bishops.

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                  • J. Paul Ford says:

                    OK Dn. Brian. See how you're responding right there? THAT'S what an ad hominem looks like without saying anything substantial.
                    When you poo poo the source BECAUSE it is Wikipedia rather than see where it is consistent with other reaserchers like Kyriaki Fitzgerald, Archdeacon John Chrysavgis, Lewis Patsavos, and Valerie Karras (just to name a few) and where it deviates. Even the way you relay what was reported on Wikipedia was biased.

                    The paragraph referring to a female bishop makes reference to an icon discovered with the inscription Episcopa Theodora (feminine endings on both the title and the name). Someone tried to change the title to the male form episkopos implying in someone's mind a conspiracy to cover up the existence of a female something or other. When I read that I just laughed, knowing that at one time Bishops were married. It could have been a bishop's wife, or a woman who was set to be the overseer of an area ("episkopos" means literally someone who over sees eventually it came to be used interchangeably with Despota). So really it's all about how one chooses to interpret (and with what agenda) the historical evidence.

                    Your repeated question was why does an abbess need to be a deacon? Let's rephrase it because as "what about St.Nectarios" pointed out through a link that they were kind enough to provide there is an organized inter Orthodox movement underway to reestablish the permanent diaconate and training programs to go along with it which are offered through Orthodox Seminaries. I saw nothing about studies being limited to males or ordinations to diaconate for that matter. For the priesthood at least they write explicitly on the HC/HC website that only men are candidates for the priesthood,but that's a no brainer I hope. So your question needs to be rephrased why ordain women to the diaconate? As the diaconate website pointed out they would not be monastics but be ambassadors of their local bishop reporting directly to the bishop in whatever ministry he assigns them. Which could range from parish administration, to running a soup kitchen, counseling, running camps, philanthropic works, hospital visitations, prison ministry, etc. If the bishop thinks they should be in the altar, that is his right as well and he will answer to God for it.

                    As I said previously all the hierarchy of the church of Greece does see a need. Just because you can't or don't want to see it doesn't mean that need doesn't exist.

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                    • Dn Brian Patrick Mitchell says:

                      Everyone seriously interested in the history of the female diaconate should read these two works:

                      http://www.academia.edu/2247420/_Female_Deacons_in_the_Byzantine_Church_

                      http://www.amazon.com/Deaconesses-Historical-Aime-G-Martimort/dp/0898701147

                      The first is a scholarly and generally positive review of the subject by Valerie Karras; the second is a scholarly and generally negative analysis in much greater depth by Aimé Georges Martimort, a leading French liturgical scholar.

                      Together they substantiate what I have already said:

                      (1) The female diaconate was never normative throughout the whole Church;
                      (2) Its duties were liturgically based (like all Church orders) but very limited;
                      (3) Even then, the Church had trouble saying just what deaconesses were needed for and just how they fit within the hierarchy of the Church;
                      (4) These questions were resolved, a long time ago, by the whole Church ceasing to ordain women to the diaconate;
                      (5) Recent efforts to make women deacons are motivated by feminist passion (see Ford) to see women vested with authority and given important positions; and
                      (6) A "revival" of the female diaconate will prompt further challenges to any limits put on them.

                      The female diaconate is indeed a stalking horse. That's how feminists work. They demand limited concessions with assurances of being satisfied, only to use those concessions later to demand more.

                      In the U.S. military, they pushed and pushed to open supposedly "non-combat" jobs to women, and then when women were admitted to those jobs, they changed their story to say that those "non-combat" jobs were really combat jobs, so why not open other combat jobs to women?

                      They will do the same with the female diaconate. They will push to invest female deacons with greater and greater honor and authority, till they are doing things that priests but not male deacons normally do, and then they will say, "What was the reason women can't be priests? They already are."

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                    • J. Paul Ford says:

                      This is useful for me . Thankyou. I will read the articles you provided and get back to you.

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              • colette says:

                One point-have you been to Bulgaria or Russia or . . .ect? The monastery's are in the city. The cities grew around (literally) the monks, which might be another reason why deaconesses were no longer needed-you had the female monks. Here that is not the case and won't be for awhile.

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              • colette says:

                Chanters and readers are not stepping-stones to the priesthood. For that matter neither does the diaconate need to be. We read of many deacons who were called to be deacons. They never went any further. Even today I know a few. . . .

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                • Dn Brian Patrick Mitchell says:

                  Even if the ranks of reader and chanter aren't just stepping stones to higher ranks, they are still steps toward the altar, initiations into the service of the altar, and entries into the ranks of clerics (presently for reader and formerly for chanter).

                  The same cannot be said of choir director, iconographer, parish council member, church school teacher, or any other nonclerical role, office, or duty.

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                  • colette says:

                    Iconographers paint in the altar.

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                    • Dn Brian Patrick Mitchell says:

                      Not as part of the celebration of the Holy Mysteries.

                      But what exactly is your point, Colette? The Church as a body is made of many parts. St. Paul speaks very eloquently on the subject. But headship within the Church is reserved for men because the man is the head of the woman, as Christ is the head of the man, "and the head of Christ is God." (1 Cor. 11:3) Ergo, all priestly offices are reserved for men.

                      Deaconesses were tried, but they were never fully accepted, and in time the whole Church stopped ordaining them. That's the way it's been for many centuries now. The only reason the issue it has come up again is that people no longer believe what the Apostles and Saints taught.

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                • colette says:

                  I should say they are not only stepping stone. Today it seems that all we think they are.

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                  • P. Jacob Ford says:

                    I can't help but get the impression that Dn. Brian Patrick Mitchell is either ignorant of the widely available (and easily accessible) plethora of information available via a simple Google search or he is willfully misrepresenting historical facts, or yet another possibility, he is choosing to offer an alternate interpretation of the available evidence in order to profer support to the false god that he worships which is disguised as his ideology. No matter how you slice it, Dn. Brian is truly worthy of pity and in desperate need of prayer.

                    That you imagine, Dn. Brian, that reinstituting the female diaconate would create a "stalking horse" (???!!!???) causing people to demand a female priesthood in the Orthodox Church indicates that you comprehend the following: ordination to holy orders in the Orthodox Church must be given upon demand to any person who requests it irregardless of the blessing and discernment of the local bishop and that a bishop can be forced to ordain someone against his will. Did this happen in your case? Did you force your bishop? Is this why you imagine that flood gates will open and Bishops will be forced to ordain women to higher orders? How much sillier can this discussion or your reasoning get? If your bishop decides to ordain a woman to the priesthood, my advice to you is go pack it in and run to the highest mountain you can find. Cause if the Orthodox Church reaches that point, there ain't no help but from the Lord God.

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                    • Dn Brian Patrick Mitchell says:

                      P. Jacob Ford, it amazes me how quickly you resort to sheer ad hominem on this subject. Have you nothing substantive to say?

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                    • colette says:

                      Well, it's not that I don't have the same fear. But I am a Traditionalist. I came to Orthodoxy by studying the Church Chronologically. So when I see changes in the church (which are constant) I ask if that change disrupts how the Church works as a whole to help us work out our salvation. Because we had Deaconesses from the beginning and they lasted past the 12 c., that's a long tradition. How has that loss weakened the Churches process? Where there is a strong Monastic influence I don't think it has, because the female monastics took up the need. Where that is not the case I see a hole. It makes sense to me to fill it with what was already there, or with monastics. Either is fine. But I also see that the current situation is explosive. I have met women pushing for the Priesthood within the Church and I wonder why they think we need that? I tend to think it's more about them than the good order of the Church. I like order. So if it means by restoring the diaconate here to women disruption of the very frail order we have right now, then I would say, now is not the right time for this. Perhaps what we need to do for now is work at strengthening the Church in general so when the time is right we can then acknowledge this role again here without confusing it with an order that in anyway leads to the Priesthood.

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                    • Dn Brian Patrick Mitchell says:

                      The Church has not had deaconesses "from the beginning." It hasn't even had bishops, priests, or deacons from the beginning. All of these offices were instituted by the Apostles, and you can read about their institution in the Acts and the Epistles.

                      Not so with female deacons. We are told nothing in Holy Scripture about their institution. Their existence is read into the single use in one epistle (Rom. 16:1-2) of the word that over time acquired the more restricted use of deacon, but this reading could be an anachronism.

                      For the Church's first two centuries, all supposed references to female deacons are interpretive (including Pliny's mention of ministrae). Neither St. Ignatius, nor St. Polycarp, nor St. Justin Martyr, nor Tertullian, nor St. Hippolytus mentions female deacons, and it is not until the third century that they appear with any certainty, in the Didascalia Apostolorum.

                      The first mention of "deaconesses" (diakonissa) appears in Canon 19 of Nicea, but it refers to Paulician heretics, followers of the renegade bishop Paul of Samosata, and what it says is that these "deaconesses" are to be amerced like laymen when they return to the Church, an indication that they were not thought to have had any kind of ordination.

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                    • J. Paul Ford says:

                      I like the way you express your reasoning on the issue of the female diaconate Collette. It is concise without being alarmist and doesn't entirely throw the proverbial baby out with the bath water.

                      As expressed in another comment, part of the larger issue may be how to preach the Orthodox faith and live an Orthodox ecclessiology in a society which is heterogeneous in it's value system and consequently relativizes truth.

                      The entire issue of feminism and same sex issues (IMHO) are flip sides of the same coin. They are pastoral issues resulting from a wrong comprehension of personhood. If a person has a mistaken perception of Orthodox Soteriology, Christology and personhood, quite naturally they will have great difficulty trying to comprehend their own place in relation to the rest of creation.

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                    • J. Paul Ford says:

                      Dn. Brian, thank you for your exegesis of the historical facts. So what precisely is the point you are trying to make? As mentioned previously the female diaconate was never dissolved, it just fell into disuse. This isn't my opinion or interpretation this is a fact. Bishops in whom have been vested with the authority and power to bind and loose on heaven and earth have disagreed with your interpretation. That tells me someone is misinformed. Figure it out between yourselves and let the rest of us know. 'Kay?

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            • Other other Matthew says:

              colette:

              I gave you a positive vote . . . By accedent.

              Your candor and accidental approval are touching.

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  10. cynthia curran says:

    Well, George the people like yourself so against illegal immigration like Texas a lot which uses a lot of illegal immigrants in construction about 60 percent of construction workers in Texas are Hispanic and many foreign born. Also, a lot of conservative counties use Hispanic immigrants as day labors. In fact the states with the least illegal immigrants like Maine, Republicans don't want to help out. They don't like Maine since it more liberal on the social issues but its a rural state several times more white as a percent of the population than Texas.

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    • DC Indexman says:

      George M., it now seems several sources have called for the impeachment of President Obama by the U.S. House of Representatives: including the Republican Party of South Dakota, several U.S. Senators and now a Congressman from Pennsylvania. What do you think? If this occurs, would it restore your confidence in some of our elites?

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      • George Michalopulos says:

        My feeling is that though the hue and cry for impeachment will wax, the fact remains that Obama is the Magic Negro. There's too much white guilt still left in America for us to treat him by the same standards we apply to others. I think the determining factor won't be the GOP but how much heat the Dems feel. Look to Hillary and also to Biden. If Biden has another aneurysm, you'll know the way for Hillary to the vice presidency has been paved. Then Obama will remain in office and Hillary will have a massive leg up on the GOP.

        That's basically the only hope the Dems have now. Unless the GOP does something really stoopid like cave on Amnesty.

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      • Michael Bauman says:

        DC Indexman: It would not restore my confidence one whit. It is just the elites eating their own to maintain power. Now, if they had done it his first year in office like they should have, that might have helped.

        Unfortunately, our government is tied to the nihilist vision of the age and all political parties are part of it.

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  11. 13th c. frescoes located in modern day Serbia says:

    Oops..apparently my brain cells misfired in my previous post. Ohrid is not in modern day Serbia. No offense intended.

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  12. J. Paul Ford says:

    I'm concerned with the way Dn. Brian Patrick Mitchell is presenting his arguments and the historical facts concerning the female diaconate. There are so many resources easily and readily available online with a simple Google search which are written by well known Orthodox Theologians and canonists and yet he offers generalizations of the historical records inconsistent with these same professors and then draws the alarming conclusion that if the female diaconate were restored on a full scale througout the church the way that it is being attempted in Greece the natural offshoot will be the opening of feminist flood gates en masse. I can see it now... angry hordes of shirtless she-males with fiercely gelled and spiked hair will invade the bishop's office and demand to be ordained. The bishop? He can't say no. Right? Because in reality he is just a slave to the will of his flock and has absolutely ZERO discernment when it comes to stuff like ordinations. Right? That is what Dn. Brian meant when he wrote about a stalking horse challenging the male priesthood.

    Dn. Brian did you just waltz into your bishop's office and demanded ordination? How much sillier can reasoning or an argument get? The entire Church of Greece disagrees with your assessment that there is no need for the female diaconate. Their Holy Synod voted unanimously to reinstate it. You get it deacon? One of the oldest autocephalous Orthodox Churches disagrees with you categorically. There is indeed a need. What they have been unable to figure out is how to implement the office effectively and the precise form it will take. That you don't see or understand the need only indicates that you lack vision and insight in this particular matter and prefer to view the issue through the goggles of your passions and ideologies.

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    • George Michalopulos says:

      Mr Ford, even though I am not in principle opposed to deaconesses (and thus not in agreement with Dn Mitchell), I do share his concerns. You have a too-sanguine view of the strengths of our bishops as well as the piety/orthopraxy of our laity. Butch women with spiky hair is not beyond the realm of reality in our present day land. A country which has been debased in character and which has no understanding of the difference between good and evil. In short, nothing surprises me any more.

      Example #1: If, after 9/11, I told you that our next president would be a mulatto of Islamic descent, you would have called me insane.

      Example #2: If I told you that the Anglican Church in the US would be governed by a woman bishop, you would have called me insane.

      We could go on: If I told you that the OCA would have as its primate a man whose mother was an Anglican priestess you...get the picture.

      In short, Dn Mitchell's concerns are far from illegitimate or far-fetched. (Of course he can speak for himself. I just wanted to give you my insights such as they are.)

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      • J. Paul Ford says:

        Mr.Michalopoulos,
        I understand your concerns completely, although truthfully I don't see what the Metropolitan's mommy's personal faith affiliation and occupation has to do with his ability to lead. By your reasoning the previous Metropolitan was also comprised because his parents were adherents of another faith and his sister of blessed and beloved memory only was received into the Orthodox Church prior just prior to her falling asleep.
        Such inconsistency in your reasoning is hitting below the belt on your part Micholopoulos. I would like to believe that you don't do it intentionally. The Church can not be ruled by fear and paranoia. It must be guided by the Holy Spirit. Of course Bishops are flawed,but if we don't trust the Holy Spirit to intervene through our fervent prayers then we blaspheme it and then for sure there is no hope for us.

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        • George Michalopulos says:

          St Paul's parents were both pharisees. Constantine the Great's father was a pagan as was Chrysostom's. I didn't mean anything about Tikhon's adherence to Orthodoxy just the sheer incongruity of it all. An Orthodox primate whose mother is a priestess. That's it.

          My point was to alert my readers that spiky-haired deaconesses, altar-girls, etc. are not beyond the pale of possibility. Y'all may remember about 3 years ago how this blog in real-time mind you, derailed the blessing of female acolytes in the GOA. The priest of that parish in Arizona had them ready to go. Arb Demetrios and Met Gerasimos were both there for that.

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      • M. Stankovich says:

        All of this is to suggest that what you are observing is some "new" phenomenon we face in the ultimate debasement of our moral character.

        I noted here previously that I was once being taken through a cathedral by an Archbishop of the Russian Orthodox Church when 3 or 4 older women quietly exited the altar carrying cleaning supplies, approached the Archbishop for his blessing, and quietly left for home. He told me that is a very old Russian custom to bless "post-menopausal" women to clean the altar, wash the linens, and launder and repair the vestments.

        I very distinctly recall that in a Russian Church under the Ecumenical Patriarch in Paris, a Russian Metropolitan who was visiting specifically asked the iconorapher, a woman, who was painting on a high scaffold in the altar, to continue painting during the Vigil and Liturgy. He said to those attending that "she joined with the angels who invisibly served with us."

        Likewise, I have seen in women's monasteries in Europe and the US, women monastics "assisting" a priest or Bishop in the altar - when I was the only male in the church, helping to sing - drawing the curtain, handing the censor, opening the door, removing the Bishop's Omophor, etc. They did not make the entrance. They did not hold candles, etc. While I am no judge of age, many did not appear "post-menopausal" to me.

        And finally, we celebrate the Entrance of the Theotokos into the Temple. Not only is she led into the Temple - accompanied by virgins with lamps in their hands and the word "dancing" is mentioned at least 5 times - but she "led by the Holy Spirit, the holy Maiden without blemish is brought to dwell in the Holy of Holies." For her father announces, "Gate of the Lord, to you I open the gates of the Temple," and her mother instructs, "Go into the inner sanctuary which none may enter." Not one word of description is contained in the Holy Scripture, and we know of this only by Tradition! Yet it is so significant, that following the Baptism and Chrismation of a newborn, the priest will carry a male child into altar and circle the altar table while reciting the Prayer of St. Symeon, but by custom will not carry a female child into the altar - a child "washed, sanctified, justified, sealed, and illumined" - simply because of her gender. "οὐκ ἔνι ἄρσεν καὶ θῆλυ· πάντες γὰρ ὑμεῖς εἷς ἐστε ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ." (Gal. 3:28)

        To suggest that monasteries are the "gateway" to the undermining of Tradition and authority belies either a significant paranoia or too much time to worry about other people's business. Thanks to God that all cultures do not pattern after the US, still believe in obedience, and are impervious to anyone with an "agenda" or a book to sell.

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      • Example #1: If, after 9/11, I told you that our next president would be a mulatto of Islamic descent, you would have called me insane.
        George, the problem with Obama is not his ethnic heritage or his father's religion but his policies.

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        • George Michalopulos says:

          Granted, his politics are abominable. My point was not his politics but the sheer incongruity of his background. Nobody would have believed that. And yet that is what we have.

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          • OK; I thought you were venturing into unsavoury territory, George - I'm relieved that was not the case. Granted, Obama's background is remarkable by the standards of older generations, and its cosmopolitan nature has undoubtedly shaped his worldview. But being of mixed race and/or having a Muslim father or step-father do not in themselves necessitate a Leftist worldview.

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            • George Michalopulos says:

              My point was merely historical. It matters not a whit to me what Obama's ancestry and/or cultural affiliations are, just his policies --which are treasonous to the extreme. I would much rather a more authentically American black man had been elected president (e.g. Herman Cain, Alan West, Ben Carson, etc.)

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              • Well, ethnic identity is an interesting thing, George. I gather a lot of people of "mixed race" have a hard time as young people working out what their identity is and feel compelled to choose one or another of their ethnic heritages as their identity. I imagine this is especially so in the US which has always had a fixation on "race". If Obama thus chose "African-American" as his ethnic identity, I'm not sure that makes him inauthentic as a black man, unless, of course, he did so simply for personal advantage. It's a pity we can make such an issue of race; cultural allegiance (which of course includes religion) is much more crucial in forming character, imho. Carson is a good example of that.

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                • Johann Sebastian says:

                  Basil says:

                  "I gather a lot of people of “mixed race” have a hard time as young people working out what their identity is and feel compelled to choose one or another of their ethnic heritages as their identity."

                  We don't have a hard time working out anything. In their "magnanimous" attempt to sort things out for us, some people have a hard time accepting that it is fully possible to identify with more than one race. The problem is exacerbated by those (again, typically those in the progressive camp) who attempt to shoehorn us into a position where we are forced to choose one group over the other.

                  That "all or nothing" approach is rarely consistent either--our self-identification is typically ignored, and the fluidity of our classification tends to change with the circumstances, fitting the aims of whatever agenda happens to be the flavor of the month.

                  To choose one group over another is to dishonor one's forefathers.

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                  • Quite a few "mixed race" people I know have felt compelled to so choose, JS, and it seemed to be an inner conflict. Why do you think you can speak for all such people?

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                    • Johann Sebastian says:

                      Those who believe otherwise have felt a compulsion to speak for those of us who see things as I do.

                      Like many I've participated in my share of surveys, filled out forms, or submitted answers to any of a variety of questionnaires where one is asked to indicate race and ethnicity. In some cases, one is permitted to "choose all that apply," but in the majority of instances, one is instructed to "choose one." Where it is offered as an option, I choose "other" or "mixed" or just bypass the section altogether.

                      A somewhat long-winded story, if I may...

                      I recall one particular instance maybe a dozen years ago where I received a telephone call (I believe it may have been a political survey from a reputable organization) and an indication of race was sought. The usual--Asian, Black, Hispanic, White, Other--were presented. I chose "Other." The fellow on the other end asked me to clarify, so I went ahead and told him what my constituent races were. He then proceeded to tell me to "choose one." I told him to record "Other" as I indicated previously.

                      We continued on with the rest of the interview for about five minutes and he returned to the issue of ethnicity, once again asking me to indicate which one I "identified with more." The conversation was admittedly interesting to that point, so I was friendly and didn't mind entertaining the question, so I proceeded to tell him that I was of "mixed ethnicity," identifying the two relevant ethnic groups, and informing him that I identified strongly with both.

                      He then asked me, politely, to choose one of the two. Feeling that he was just being an a**hole, I reminded him that "Other" was presented as a viable option, bid thanks to him, and excused myself from the interview.

                      I got a call back a few minutes later--same person--again asking me to clarify my response. My response involved a string of four-letter words, obscenities, curses, maledicta, maternal insults, and a firm blow to the mouthpiece of the telephone I was using, which I had hoped would cause injury to the caller's eardrum.

                      A few hours later there was a message on the answering machine with an apology, as well as an explanation that the surveyors had specific instructions to probe responses involving race and ethnicity. I don't know whether I'd been punked or was part of a "legitimate" survey, but I believe what I was subjected to is a manifestation of an undercurrent in the prevailing attitude toward those of mixed race.

                      It's not like I'm 1/32 this, 1/4 that, and 23/32 something else. I have two very distinct cultural affiliations that are part of two geographically disparate ethnicities belonging to two very different races that historically were part of nation-states that never had any interaction with each other, although it is possible that avenues of contact may have been made indirectly through trade routes. Both are "Old World" cultures.

                      So again, Basil, to answer your question, I believe your perspective arises from having accepted that attitude of those who have taken it upon themselves to speak for all of us who are of mixed race. I present a counterpoint to that: it is my birthright to identify with both, and no one can force their idea of what constitutes a particular classification on me. Perhaps my own children (should the good Lord bless me with them) will take my line in any of a number of directions that, in four or five generations, could continue this very distinct bi-ethnic combination, mix with other groups, or further on down the line, make identification with a single race justifiable. God knows that answer. A surveyor with a particular agenda does not and has no right to speculate on it or force me to choose between my mother or my father.

                      While we're on the subject, perhaps someone can tell me why someone like George Zimmermann is classified as "white" and someone like Obama is identified as being "black." As physiognomy will attest, both are visibly of mixed race--do we know what they identify as, personally? Barring their respective personal identifications, does anyone care to speculate why, given the circumstances of their notability, they are classified the way they are?

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                    • "perhaps someone can tell me why someone like George Zimmermann is classified as “white” and someone like Obama is identified as being “black.” "

                      To answer Johann Sebastian's very good question, American state and society long had the "one drop rule" which stated that anyone with any African descent was considered to be Negro/black/African-American/etc. Homer Plessy of Plessy v. Ferguson fame was 7/8 white but still told to sit in the "colored" section. It was possible to "pass" as white but many of mixed ancestry lived in fear of being "discovered."

                      This same standard has never been applied to Hispanics (who the Census Bureau considers an ethnicity, not a race).

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  13. colette says:

    Hope this deletes-wrong date

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  14. Dn Brian Patrick Mitchell says:

    I'm surprised no one has mentioned John 14:

    6 Jesus saith unto him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. 7 If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him."

    8 Philip saith unto him, "Lord, show us the Father, and it sufficeth us."

    9 Jesus saith unto him, "Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? He that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Show us the Father?"

    This speaks volumes on how God manifests Himself to us -- and on why icons of Christ sufficeth.

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    • Yes, volumes. On the other hand, God has revealed Himself as Father using icons of His own choosing revealed to prophets whose reported visions are suitable for iconography. When we have disputes, we have Councils. One settled this long ago. Christ also said, "Call no man 'father'". That is construed by some to "speak volumes".

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      • Dn Brian Patrick Mitchell says:

        Misha, the fact is that Orthodox Christians very rarely, almost never, depict God the Father as an old human male, consistent with their belief that God is beyond that and ultimately unknowable. That is the Tradtion, too, and it ought to count for something.

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        • colette says:

          And to say that both 17th c. Councils confirms Rublev's Trinity is telling and the fact that Rublev never depicted the Trinity "Ancient of Days", but rather used angels to reflect on the OT story, not men.

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      • Dn Brian Patrick Mitchell says:

        I should also ask which prophet reported seeing God looking like an old man, with a long white beard? I must have missed that one.

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        • Dn.,

          I think at this point we're just spinning our wheels. Nothing anyone is raising hasn't been addressed already in this thread, ad nauseum, with quotes of the Fathers or Scripture to back it up. I think it's safe to say that everyone is settled on their respective opinions.

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          • Dn Brian Patrick Mitchell says:

            Misha, the wheel-spinning was all about who the Ancient of Days is, which was not the main issue. The main issue was whether it is appropriate to depict God the Father anthropomorphically.

            You have argued that it is appropriate, appealing to the authority of councils, fathers, and prophets and claiming that the prophets report actually seeing the Father. But what did they actually see? They don't actually say they saw an old man, do they? So whether the Father is the Ancient of Days is irrelevant, and saying that He is does not support an argument for anthropomorphic depictions of Him.

            I'm not much bothered by icons depicting the Father as an old man, but I do see great sense in the actual practice of the Church of regularly depicting the Son as a man, because He did take flesh, and almost never depicting the Father as a man, because He did not take flesh. After all the wheel-spinning, can we not at least agree on that point?

            Or do you think old-man icons are completely appropriate and we should have more of them?

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            • The latter, but I don't care whether we have more of them. Daniel saw Him as a hairy old man. Stephen saw Him with Christ seated at His right hand. He was envisioned as a Father. However, no one of whom I am aware believes that God the Father actually looks like an old man any more than they believe that the Holy Spirit actually looks like a dove.

              Nothing new under the sun . . .

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        • colette says:

          I'm having trouble finding images left from the prophets at all. There are images left by the Jews, lots. But can't find the old man and a second one like the son of man- one from Daniel. Maybe that's because they were using the older Septuagint (especially around 2c BC-2nd c. AD) that reads like this- vs 13-

          "I was seeing in a dream at night and beheld up in the clouds of heaven [ ] came as a son of man and as ancient of days he was present, and those standing beside were present with him."

          That's very literal and I may have missed something in the very messy handwriting of my husband.. . .

          But what I find in the Church depicted record from about 1100-1300 -including the west is Christ as the son of man as the ancient of days, with no implication of God the Father or the HS. Why do I say that? Because after looking at about 30 or so images from the Christian Index of Art-that's Harvard and Yale, etc. . . . compilation of all Christian art to date (they may be 3 year back) what I find is imagery that fits that scripture. Not only is this "son of man who is ancient of days" dressed in the color of clothing of Christ-Red underneath, blue on top, the reverse by the way of the Theotokos clothing, but in almost all of the imagery is the crossbar and in most is inscribed-the ancient of days- and in some along with that is ICXC on either side of the image. There are 2 images that stand out as different;one is the Trinity Ancient of Days as we see much later and the other is Just White haired man with bust of Child again crossed nimbus and "O WN" or "I am" inside the cross, which is inside the nimbus. All of the rest of the images produced would go along with the reading which denotes only one person as the Ancient of Days, above.
          I am wondering if the Theodotion was the Liturgical text commonly used but the old Septuagint was still in circulation and used in most monastic circles? There really isn't a reason given as to the switch. And if nothing was declared . . .??

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          • Peter A. Papoutsis says:

            Hi Collette:

            This is from the introduction of Daniel from the New English Translation of the Septuagint:

            "The Book of Daniel with its so-called Additions has a special place in the Septuagint because, along
            with a few other books, it is extant in two complete, ancient versions. The (earlier) OG translation, of
            which few witnesses remain, had been supplanted by the TH version by the first or second century CE. A brief introduction to both, and some discussion about their relationship, will be offered. The first six chapters are comprised of narratives about Daniel and his three friends in the courts of Babylonia. The last six chapters are reports of Daniel’s apocalyptic visions, written in the first person. A precise statement on the relationship between the OG and TH translations is complicated by the fact that they do not reflect the same relationship consistently. Furthermore, one’s conclusions have to be tempered by the available evidence. The best place to begin is chapters 4–6 where the differences are most numerous."

            "Chapters 7–12
            It is not until chapters 7–12 that one generally finds the common vocabulary in the two Greek ver-
            sions to run around 50% and portions (e.g., 7.10, 25; 8.11–17, 21–23; 9.3–4, 11–12, 19–20, 27; 10.3–6, 19–20; 11.38) where there is extensive agreement for a verse or more. Some of the places where there is agreement can be demonstrated to be due to textual corruption, while others are incidental agreements that would be expected from two independent translators working from a similar source text. However, the portions of the Greek versions in these chapters where the verbal agreements between the texts are strong give the appearance that the TH text is a revision of the OG (i.e. Old Greek).

            Further:

            Theodotion (ca. AD 200) was a Hellenistic Jewish scholar, perhaps working in Ephesus, who in ca. AD 150 translated the Hebrew Bible into Greek. Whether he was revising the Septuagint, or was working from Hebrew manuscripts that represented a parallel tradition that has not survived, is debated. In the 2nd century Theodotion's text was quoted in the Shepherd of Hermas and in the Christian apologist Justin Martyr's Trypho.

            His finished version, which filled some lacunae in the Septuagint version of the Book of Jeremiah and Book of Job, formed one column in Origen of Alexandria's Hexapla, ca. AD 240. (The Hexapla, now only extant in fragments, presented six Hebrew and Greek texts side-by-side: two Greek versions, by Aquila and Symmachus, preceding the Septuagint, and Theodotion's version following it, apparently reflecting a contemporary understanding of their historical sequence.)

            Theodotion's translation was so widely copied in the Early Christian church that its version of the Book of Daniel virtually superseded the Septuagint's.Jerome (in his preface to Daniel, AD 407) records the rejection of the Septuagint's version of that book in Christian usage. Jerome's preface also mentions that the Hexapla had notations in it, indicating several major differences in content between the Theodotion Daniel and the earlier versions in Greek and Hebrew. However, Theodotion's Daniel is closer to the modern Hebrew Masoretic Text version (the Hebrew text said to have been finalized ca. AD 130), that is the basis for most modern translations. Theodotion's Daniel is also the one embodied in the authorised edition of the Septuagint published by Sixtus V in 1587.

            What is interesting about this is Justin Martyr's use of TH version early in the 2nd century. The so-called original version of the Septuagint was not used and Theodotion's version was used by Justin Martyr.

            What is further fascinating is that there was an explicit rejection of the Septuagint version of Daniel in favor of TH Greek Version were Theodotion was an Ebionite!

            Even further fascinating is that the Church adopted a version that was more closely related to the Hebrew than the Greek. That Origen was so intrigued by all these textual differences that he wanted to categorize them in his Hexapla.

            Can you imagine the field day Origen would have with the Dead Sea Scrolls?

            In the final analysis I stand by what I said before - We must start with the Hebrew Text of the Old Testament, review and inspect all ancient versions (Peshitta, LXX, Vulgate, etc.) as well as the findings of the Dead Sea Scrolls, to arrive at an Old Testament text that is as authoritative as possible.
            Yes, this comes via critical examination and investigation, but the Church has nothing to fear from honest critical and academic examination because we have the Apostolic Tradition that was handed to us and which, via the Holy Spirit, lives and breathes in the Church preventing her from error.

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            • colette says:

              Thank you Peter, that was insightful. If I remember correctly didn't the Jews abandon the Septuagent because of all the new sects that it saw as coming from it --like the Christians?

              On a slightly different speed-have you read Studies in Iconography Vol 31, 2010;" Illustrating the Gospel of John:The Exegesis of John Chrysostom and Images of the Ancient of Days Eleventh-Century Byzantine Manuscripts, by Gretchen Kreahling McKay?

              It states in The Incomprehensible Nature of God, "Chyrsostom makes the same point as he does here as in his homily on John:if the true essence of God were revealed in the OT visions, they would all be identical, since the essence of God is unchanging. However, since the OT prophets all saw a different vision of God, it could not have been the pure essence of God that was revealed, hence God was not seen. Chyrsostom is saying that no true sight of God was possible until the entrance of Christ into the world through the mystery of the Incarnation." p.59

              and in the letter written by Pope Gregory in 787 at the Council of Nicea, he explains that no image of God the Father is possible because, "if we had seen and known the Father as we have seen and known the Son, we would have tried to describe Him and represent Him in art." This statement suggests that images of the Father had never been attempted since no one had ever seen the Father in the way that the Son had been seen. . . . ."

              Further John of Damascus in his 3rd oration interprets Daniels and other OT prophet visions as revelations of Christ's Incarnation. specifically, he interprets the Ancient of Days as a revelation of the preexistent Word-- this taken from John 1:1.

              the article is worth a read . . .

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          • https://www.facebook.com/natafromruss/photos/a.354571494618824.86598.209626112446697/663657837043520/?type=1&theater

            Even in Buenos Aires!!!

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          • J. Paul Ford says:

            Hi Colette,

            I know that Fotis Kontoglou is very recent within the iconographic tradition (modern) in fact, but as you are more than likely aware, he is credited with returning modern iconography to it's more traditional roots through the publication of his version of the " painter's manual" of Dionysios of Fourna in two volumes. It is extensive and written with painstaking detail while also containing beautiful drawings done in ink. The painter's manual was also supplemented with what was observed by Kontoglou himself in various historic churches (the placement of icons within the church, use of colors, etc.).

            I had the great fortune recently to look through a first edition of this two volume set. This is what Fotis Kontoglou has to say concerning the ancient of days: "it is painted in the vault opposite of the proskomidi (on the right hand side of the altar as you face it) and resembles in all manners the Pantokrator with the exception that the hair, beard, and eyebrows are white. The right hand may be depicted holding the Holy Spirit, but it is not always the case. The inscription should read " ancient of days". "

            I recall seeing a similar icon in the position as described by Fotis Kontoglou in an ancient Church in Mistras in Greece some years ago. From the 10th century if I recall correctly. Sorry , I don't remember the name of the church.

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  15. M. Stankovich says:

    When I was looking at verse 9 for παλαιὸς ἡμερῶν and saw ὡς υἱὸς ἀνθρώπου at verse 13, I thought this cannot be THE Son of Man, can it? Professor Papoutsis is back!

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  16. M. Stankovich says:

    And with his question, "do you want Tradition to be a moving target?" Misha has reminded me of what I began to write on the plane home! The Tradition of the Church is frequently a dynamic process - and I again refer to the essays of Fr. Florovsky examining the "radical" theology of St. Gregory Palamas and his intolerance for those who attempt to "corral" the Energy" of the Father or "limit" the movement and revelation of the Holy Spirit - or as Met. Kallistos (Ware) analogized in the words of the 14th century Byzantine statesman Theodore Metochites, "All things in our theology that needed to have been said, has already been said." All of this is to suggest that with the "closing of the books" of Nicea II, the final ecumenical council, everything thereafter is "trumped." Fr. Florovsky notes, "then we are a museum" to an otherwise living, breathing, energizing, fortifying challenging, knowable but unknowable God Who is revealed in His Son, and "Fire proceeding from Fire," the ever-inspiring and enlivening, invigorating Spirit. And while we, indeed, sing that on Pentecost "all gifts have been given," there seems to be no implication whatsoever that they have all been revealed or understood. And unlike any other Truth of the Church, Tradition is neither proclaimed, declared, nor voted upon; it is revealed and manifest to us by time and the Holy Spirit. That the ultimate truth of the properness of depicting Him who declared to Moses, " I will take away my hand, and you shall see my back parts: but my face shall not be seen," (Ex. 33:17) remains a dilemma in the Church centuries after Nicea II and The Synod of Moscow seems to suggests the dynamic nature of the revelation, however compelling each side determines their respective argument to be. I, for one, am overjoyed at the return of a true scholar, my much-missed friend Peter Papoutsis, who loves nothing more than the beauty and content of the Holy Scripture, and whose presence always reminds me to seek the greater things!

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    • Peter A. Papoutsis says:

      Thanks Michael. However, these days I am going to try very hard to just commit myself to a more robust prayer life, bible reading and study, fasting, which is difficult for me as a hypoglycemic, but I attempt to do it as best as I can, and spending more time with my wife and two kids. If I do comment on anything it will be vey infrequent.

      The rest I will leave to God. Take care and we'll talk soon.

      PS. My RSV W.E.A. that I've had since 2001 finally gave up the ghost and fell apart on me. However, I sent it out to Ace Book Binders in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma for rebinding so it can be as good as new. You can check out their work on YouTube where they actually rebound an RSV! This is my second RSV. My first RSV with Expanded Apocrypha (The Red Hardcover) I had from 1988 to 2001 died on me so profoundly that I actually lost pages that I could no longer keep together with scotch tape as well as losing the cover. I also didn't know about Ace back then. Oh Well, waiting patiently for my bible to come back from Ace with new binding and hopefully a new lease on life.

      Take care

      Peter

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