Posted tagged ‘Icons’

Stations of the Cross booklet

February 26, 2014

Reminders, information, and inspiration!

We had a question about the symbolism on the cover of our Stations of the Cross booklet and learned all sorts of great stuff about the history of this image.

First of all, the information and inspiration:

The image on our booklets is an icon, written by parishioner Joan Czaia.   The image is known as The Holy Face or  Image Made Without Hands.

Holy Face

You can learn more about icons and about this particular icon at her site, Daystar Design.

Regarding the symbolism, “the IC XC are the first and last letters of Christ’s name in Greek (in our language Iesous Christos but the C is actually X in Greek). The Greek letters in Christ’s halo (O W N) mean The Being or He Who Is, to emphasize that Christ is the same God who said those exact words to Moses in Exodus, I am or He Who Is.”

As for the reminder part of this post:

We’ll be using these booklet to pray the Stations of the Cross together at our March Family Formation classroom meeting, so it would be helpful if you remember to bring yours.  Thanks for your help.

And thanks again to Joan Czaia for sharing her talent and all the information and visit her site to see more of her work..

Disposing of blessed objects

December 30, 2012

If you take a look at the back of the Virgin of Vladimir icon from this week’s Home Lesson, you’ll notice the “Blessed Icon” sticker on the back.  When a priest or deacon prays over an object in a particular way with the intent of blessing it, that object becomes a sacramental and we say it has been “blessed.”  Because of this sacred character, it is customary to dispose of objects in a respectful way when they are no longer usable.  Typically, items that can be burned should be and items that will not burn should be buried.

While you are welcome (and even encouraged) to keep this icon and display it in your home, when you are done with it please either dispose of it properly or just return it to the Family Formation office and we’ll be glad to take care of it for you.


(Sacramentals are sacred signs, objects, or actions that lead us closer to the graces to be had through the seven sacraments.)

The Nativity of Our Lord

December 25, 2012

Your upcoming Home Lesson on Mary, Mother of God includes a section on reading icons, and since this Nativity Icon intersects so nicely with both Christmas and that lesson, I wanted to offer this opportunity to give you a little more practice.

Nativity Icon

  • One of the many traditions Christians celebrate for Christmas is the Icon of the Holy Nativity. For East and West, Catholic and Orthodox, the icon is a rich declaration of the true meaning of Christmas. The eternal Light (center top) proceeds from Heaven to the tomb-shaped manger.
  • (Center) Animals are peacefully present, showing that creation yearns for the restoration of all things in Christ. Jesus is wrapped up in burial cloth, revealing that from the beginning He came to die on the Cross for our salvation.
  • (Upper Corners) Angelic choirs watch over the Nativity, announcing the holy birth to the lonely shepherds. Romans, or Kings, are approaching because Jesus has come for the whole human race. But the harsh mountains remind us that the world is not at peace with God yet and our condition needs the salvation offered by the Son of God.
  • (Center) Mary, the Theotokos, is large and central. She attends Jesus.
  • (Lower Left) Most icons show Mary watching Joseph resisting the temptation of the evil one. Joseph is troubled about the origin of the child. She intercedes for those who are seeking to understand the person and natures of Jesus. (Lower Right) Women bathe the infant Jesus, who needs help and food and protection. He has become fully human without diminishing His divinity. He brings dignity to our earthly life and sanctifies the material universe. He has come to bring us new life and new hope in Himself.


December 10, 2009

As Sue mentioned previously, for Family Formation this month we will be using an icon.  Icons come to us from the Eastern Catholic Church.  However icons are not haphazardly located in an Eastern Catholic Church but rather the placement of icons in the church relates to the hierarchical nature of the earthly and heavenly community of the Church.  Where sanctuary and nave meet, where heaven and earth come together in terms of Eastern Catholic Church structure and liturgy is the iconostasis.  The iconostasis, besides merely being a place on which one may rest icons, is the meeting point between God and humanity.  It separates the earthly community from the heavenly community, as is evidenced by the fact that the icons set on the iconostasis are representative of the heavenly community.  Each iconostasis is made up of three doors.  The most important doors are the double doors in the center of the iconostasis.  These are known as the Holy Doors.  Only an ordained priest may enter these doors.  When the Holy Doors of the iconostasis are open, one knows that heaven is open and the barrier between heaven and earth has temporarily passed away.  What is interesting to note is that the imagery on the Holy Doors bespeaks how humanity has access to  Jesus Christ.   The Holy Doors typically have an icon of the Annunciation on them.  Through the message of the angel Gabriel and Mary’s fiat, humanity was given the Word Incarnate.  The Holy Doors are open during consecration and communion so that parishioners may receive the same Word Incarnate.   Through the four evangelists, humanity received the good news through the Word of God in the words of God.  One of the few times other than at consecration and communion that the Holy Doors are opened is when the Gospel is read, also known in the Byzantine rite as the Little Entrance.  Therefore, not only are heaven and earth united in the Eucharist but also in the Liturgy of the Word.

Yours in Christ,

Matthew Brounstein

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