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The Images of the Saints

Another indication of the significance of the resurrection in Eastern Churches is evident in the adornment of the church. In ancient times, as can still be witnessed in many old Basilicas in Rome and elsewhere, it was customary to depict Christ in glory in the apse at the eastern end of the church, alongside the Mother of God and the saints. This arrangement ensured that the congregation's gaze was always directed towards the Risen Christ and the splendor of the Resurrection. These depictions, whether in painting or mosaic, aimed to draw attention to the Risen Christ and his Mystical Body rather than to venerate individual saints. Later, as the veneration of individual saints grew in prominence in the Eastern Church, they were depicted on painted icons, which were highly esteemed, but not in three-dimensional sculptures. This illustrates another of the differences in tradition between the East and the West, both of which have their place in the Church and merit preservation.

Note: The use of statues as objects of veneration emerged in the Western Church during the late Middle Ages. Within the liturgical movement in the West, which seeks to restore both the liturgy itself and the arrangement of Christian worship to their original form, there have been suggestions to revert to using paintings for the decoration of the sanctuary, aligning with the liturgical spirit. Statues, then, could be kept in shrines in other parts of the church for veneration purposes.

holy_qurbono/the_images_of_the_saints.txt · Last modified: 2024/02/18 20:21 by smcc