The History of the Icons Book Published

The History of the Icons is a story of emotion, inspiration and fascination. It is a story filled with love for faith, deep and difficult mysteries to be solved, frauds, quarrels, intrigues, and also peace. The History of the Icons will take us back to the time of the apostles and first Christians and bring us to the present day.

The Icons of the Orthodox Church are very precious items. Because of their importance, the Seventh Ecumenical Council officially supported the veneration of icons in the Orthodox Church. It is stated that the icons deserve the same respect and veneration as the Cross and the Holy Scripture. And, just like the Cross and Scripture are considered holy, so are the icons.

Some people show respect and veneration for the icons but do not understand them. They do not even know their purpose. This has led to incorrect use of the sacred icons. For example, in some Orthodox houses the icons hang on the walls simply as a decoration. Although their presence adds beauty to the house, the icons are made to fit in places like prayer corners where people pray to God. It is also advisable to light a candle or kandili (vigil lamp) in front of the icons. Icons and light remind us of the presence of God at home.

Another example of improper use of icons is their purchase by people who use them simply for financial purpose. Many icons, especially the old ones, are costly. Like any precious item, icons should be treated with care. There are also many good people who buy icons and either sell them to churches or give them as a present or place them in their prayer corner at home. However, buying and selling icons for profit only does not show the respect and veneration that they deserve.

Although some people say that it is difficult to understand the icons, this is not true at all. In order to know and realize the true meaning of icons, let's go back to their origin. Their story starts at the time of the first Christians.

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How did icons come to play? Why are there icons in the Orthodox Church? Why are they different from other paintings? What does an icon tell us?

In order to answer these questions and many others, the "History of Icons" book is a great contribution to understanding the use of icons in the Church, as well as the role they play in Christian worship.

Mary Paloumpis Hallick, the author of the book, presents in her work the story of icons, from the time of catacombs to the iconoclastic struggle and the triumph of icons, which is proclaimed on the Sunday of Orthodoxy. She also explains why icons are presented in the way we see them. The second part of the book refers to the icons which depict the feasts related to Christ and Virgin Mary where we are taught to read and understand the events presented in them.

Mary Paloumpis Hallick, Ed.D has been a teacher and director of elementary school. She is the author of "The Book of Saints" and co-author of "Sowing Seeds for Christ" book. She has also been a member of the Curriculum Commission in the Department of Christian Education in the US, which has developed the series of “Living our Orthodox Faith” textbooks.

 Source: Albanian Orthodox Church