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Iconography and Hand painted icons

We are all living icons of God, and this lays upon us a great responsibility… we must not give the lie to what we proclaim by the way in which we live. Anthony Bloom of Sourozh

Θεοφάνης ο Γραπτός_Θεόδωρος_οι Γραπτοί_Theophanes Graptus_the Branded_Феодор и Феофан Начертанные_feodor-i-feofan-nachertannye-kopiya-starinnoj-ikonyHoly Apostle Philip of the Seventy Disciples, one of the seven deacons (1st century)
Martyrs Zenaida (Zenais) and Philonilla of Tarsus in Cilicia, relatives of St. Paul (1st C)
Venerable Theophanes Graptus (“the Branded”), Confessor and Hymnographer, Bishop of Nicaea (850)
Venerable Æthelburh of Barking (Ethelburga), foundress of Barking Abbey, England (c. 676) – St. Kenneth (Cainnech), abbot of Aghaboe (7th C)
Saints Theophanes, Soleas and Jonah of Pergamos, Cyprus (12th century)
Venerable Philotheus Kokkinos of Mount Athos, Patriarch of Constantinople (1379
Commemoration of the Miracle from the Icon of Our Lord Jesus Christ in Beirut of Phoenicia (7th century)
Synaxis of the Elders of Optina: St. Leonid (repose) (1841), St. Macarius (1860), St. Moses (1862), St. Anthony (1865), St. Hilarion (1873), St. Ambrose (1891), St. Anatole (the “Elder”) (1894), St. Isaac I (1894), St. Joseph (1911), St. Barsanuphius (1913), St. Anatole (the “Younger”) (1922), St. Nektary (1928), St. Nikon the Confessor (1931), New Hieromartyr Archimandrite Isaac II (1937)

Commemorated on October 11

Hymn of Praise
The Venerable Theophanes the Branded
by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič

Theophanes of St. Sava’s, a great ascetic,
Profound theologian and glorious hymnographer,
A sufferer for Christ, a confessor of the Faith,
An adornment of the Church, a Father of Orthodoxy:
He left his cell for the sake of obedience,
And from his silence, stepped out into the world once again,
To persuade the evil emperor of the truth;
And he witnessed that truth to the emperor.
St. Theophanes traded a quarter century for true happiness,
Though he passed this time in suffering most dire,
And in the dank prison
Wore the brand of suffering on his face.
But, inspired by the Spirit, this saint of God
Also infused these years with chants sublime,
Glorifying the Lord and the saints of God
With fervent hope, love and faith.
The Prologue from Ohrid: Lives of Saints by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič
http://prologue.orthodox.cn/October11.htm

Θεοφάνης ο Γραπτός_Theophanes Graptus_the Branded_ΘΕΟΦΑΝΗΣ ΓΡΑΠΤΟς ag-Theofanis-Graptos-Theofanous-Nerezi, Saint Theophanes Graptos34564645645 - ΑντιγραφήThe Venerable Theophanes the Branded
by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič

Theophanes was a confessor and writer of canons. He was born in Arabia of wealthy and pious parents. With his brother Theodore (December 27), he was tonsured a monk in the Monastery of St. Sava the Sanctified. As they were very educated monks, Patriarch Thomas of Jerusalem sent them to Emperor Leo the Armenian, to justify and defend the veneration of icons. The iniquitous emperor harshly tortured these holy brothers and cast them into prison. Later, the iconoclastic Emperor Theophilus resumed their torture and commanded that words of mockery be branded on their faces, to expose them to the ridicule of the world. When the iconoclastic controversy was resolved, Theophanes was freed, and shortly thereafter was consecrated a bishop. He died peacefully in the year 847, having suffered for the holy icons for a total of twenty-five years. He wrote 145 Canons. He entered into the eternal joy of his Lord.
The Prologue from Ohrid: Lives of Saints by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič
http://prologue.orthodox.cn/October11.htm

***

The emperor Theophilus commanded twelve Iambic verses, composed for that purpose by an Iconoclast courtier, to be inscribed on their foreheads. The sense of the verses was as follows:
Πάντων ποθούντων προστρέχειν προς την πόλιν,
Όπου πάναγνοι του Θεού Λόγου πόδες
Έστησαν, εις σύστασιν της οικουμένης,
Ώφθησαν ούτοι τω σεβασμίω τόπω,
Σκεύη πονηρά δεισιδαίμονος πλάνης.
Εκείσε πολλά λοιπόν εξ απιστίας,
Πράξαντες δεινά αισχρά δυσσεβοφρόνως,
Εκείθεν ηλάθησαν ως αποστάται.
Προς την πόλιν δε του κράτους πεφευγότες,
Ουκ εξαφήκαν τας αθέσμους μωρίας.
Όθεν γραφέντες ως κακούργοι, την θέαν,
Κατακρίνονται και διώκονται πάλιν.
Απ’ αυτή την αιτία ονομάστηκαν και οι δύο Γραπτοί.”

Translation:
 “All long to run to the city [Jerusalem],
Where the all-pure feet of God’s Word
Stood as a support of the ecumene,
These men were seen in this revered place
Wicked vessels of superstitious delusion.
There due to unbelief
They did many woeful, shameful and ungodly-minded things
They were banished from there as apostates.
Towards the city [Constantinople] of the empire they fled
They did not abandon their lawless folly.
Thus they were branded to be seen as evil-doers
They are again condemned and prosecuted.”
From the inscription cut in his forehead he is surnamed Grapt, which signifies in Greek, marked or engraved. The twelve iambic verses, which were written on their foreheads, with a red-hot steel pencil, are recited in the Greek Synaxary on this day.

The miraculous power of icons

Θεοφάνης ο Γραπτός_Theophanes Graptus_the Branded_ΘΕΟΦΑΝΗΣ ΓΡΑΠΤΟς ag-Theofanis-Graptos-2ib1252Just as, by God’s providence, the power of miraculous healing is given to blessed water or sanctified oil, so this same power is also given to icons. St. Athanasius the Great cites one wonderful example of the miraculous power of holy icons: In the town of Beirut, there lived a Christian in a rented house. In moving out of the house, he forgot an icon of the Savior. Then a Jew moved into that house. There were many Jews in that town who were particularly embittered against the Christian Faith. Consequently, when the icon was found in the house, the Jews carried it to their gathering place and mocked it, as their ancestors had once mocked the living Savior. The Jews also did to the icon what their ancestors had done to the Savior: they pierced the hands and feet with nails, wiped vinegar on the lips of the image on the icon, and mocked the image of the Savior in every way possible. Finally, one of them took a spear and struck the divine image under the rib.

But oh, the wonder-blood and water flowed from the image’s wound as they had from the living body of the crucified Lord. The Jews’ terror cannot be described. However, they brought a vessel to catch the blood, and brought many of the sick, blind, deaf, lame and insane to the icon. As soon as the Jews anointed the ailing with this blood, they were healed. The whole town gathered to see this miracle and all glorified Jesus Christ, the true God; and all the Jews in that town came to believe in the living and life-giving Lord Jesus Christ.
The Prologue from Ohrid: Lives of Saints by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič
http://prologue.orthodox.cn/October11.htm

Ζηναΐδα και Φιλονίλλα-_Зинаида и Филонилла0_316538679789464 - ΑντιγραφήWe are all living icons of God
Anthony Bloom of Sourozh

Each of us, all men, were created in the image of God. We are all living icons, and this lays upon us a great responsibility because an icon may be defaced, an icon may be turned into a caricature and into a blasphemy. And we must think of ourselves and ask ourselves: are we worthy, are we capable of being called “icons”, images of God? A western writer has said that meeting a Christian, those who surround him should see him as a vision, a revelation of something they have never perceived before, that the difference between a non-Christian and a Christian is as great, as radical, as striking, as the difference there is between a statue and a living person. A statue may be beautiful, but it is made of stone or of wood, and it is dead. A human being may not at first appear as possessed of such a beauty, but those who meet him should be able, as those who venerate an icon – blessed, consecrated by the Church – should see in him the shining of the presence of the Holy Spirit, see God revealing Himself in the humble form of a human being.

As long as we are not capable of being such a vision to those who surround us, we fail in our duty, we do not proclaim the Triumph of Orthodoxy through our life, we give a lie to what we proclaim. And therefore each of us, and all of us collectively, bear every responsibility for the fact that the world meeting Christians by the million is not converted by the vision of God’s presence in their midst, carried indeed in earthen vessels, but glorious, saintly, transfiguring the world.

What is true about us, simply, personally, is as true about our churches. Our churches were called by Christ as a family, a community of Christians to be a body of people who are united with one another by total love, by sacrificial love, a love that is God’s love to us. The Church was called, and is still called, to be a body of people whose characteristic is to be the incarnate love of God. Alas, in all our churches what we see is not the miracle of love divine.

From the very beginning, alas, the Church was built according to the images of the State – hierarchical, strict, formal. In this we have failed – to be truly what the early, first community of Christians were. Tertullian writing in defence of the Christians said to the Emperor of Rome: “When people meet us they are arrested and say: ‘How these people love one another!’” We are not collectively a body of people about whom one could say this. And we must learn to recreate what God has willed for us, what has once existed: to recreate communities, churches, parishes, dioceses, patriarchates, the whole church, in such a way that the whole of life, the reality of life should be that of love. Alas, we have not learned this yet.

Readings:
Ephesians 1:22-2:3; Luke 7:36-50

Troparion of the APOSTLE PHILIP ― Tone 3

O holy apostle Philip/ entreat the merciful God// that He grant to our souls remission of transgressions.

Martyrs ZENAIDA and PHILONILLA Apolytikion ―Tone 3

The greatly-honored Tarsus let us honor, which blossomed forth the precious flowers: Zenais the Wise and Philonilla, for they possessed the unassailable crypt of the faith, and deposed all the ranks of the demons. They therefore rejoice with the Angels, and ever intercede for us.

Troparion of ST THEOPHANES — Tone 5

Having attained an angelic state, / you sounded forth as a golden trumpet of revelation / and nourished the chosen people with your words. / The singing of your hymns gladdens the Church, / for which you struggled, O Theophanes.

Troparion of ST THEOPHANES — Tone 8

O instructor of Orthodoxy, teacher of piety and purity,/ beacon for the whole world, divinely inspired adornment of hierarchs./ O most wise Theophanes by thy doctrines thou hast illumined all.// O harp of the Spirit, entreat Christ God that our souls be saved.

Troparion of ST CAINNECH — Tone 8

In honour thou dost rank with Ireland’s Enlightener,/ O Lover of the Desert, Composer of sacred verse,/ Father of Monks and Founder of Monasteries, O Father Cainnech./ Labouring for Christ, both in thy native land and in Scotland,/ Thou art a tireless intercessor for the faithful./ Pray for us who hymn thee, that despite our frailty we may be granted great mercy.

VENERABLE FATHERS OF OPTINA Troparion ― Tone 1

Abiding in unceasing prayer,/ and embrac­ing the wicked as well as the good with love,/ O venerable elders of Optina,/ ye served God and your neighbors,/ and through vigils, tears and. fasting/ received the gift of divers miracles./ Glory to Him Who hath given us such media­tors!/ Glory to Him Who hath glorified you!// Glory to God Who is wondrous in His saints!

Kontakion of ST THEOPHANES — Tone 2 “Seeking the highest”

Thundering forth the divine incarnation of Christ,/ thou didst utterly denounce the incorporeal foe,/ O wondrous Theophanes./ Wherefore, we all piously cry out to thee with faiths:/ Pray thou unceasingly in behalf of us all!

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