THE ICON OF TRIUMPH OF ORTHODOXY
The word <TRIUMPH> means the victory over iconoclasm (7 - 8 century, when the Church was one, undivided,) the word <ORTHODOXY> means the right and lawful way to glorify God by venerating (not worshiping!) icons. By doing this, one venerates the inner (mystical) image of the depicted holy personage and subsequently the Image of God which man was created in. It has nothing to do with contemporary understanding of this word as the name of certain earthly institutions, like, for example, Orthodox Church.
There are four Teachings/Disciplines, which define the concept of Icon, they are:
Iconoclasm with its cruelty and barbarism lasted more than a hundred years. In 787 A.D. the Empress Irina and Patriarch Tarasii called the 7th Ecumenical Council, on which the decision was made to elevate the Icon on the same level of importance and sacredness with the Gospel and the Cross, and it was confirmed that icon veneration corresponds to the church Dogma and the Teaching of the Church Fathers.
In 843 A.D. the Empress Theodora and Patriarch Mefodii call another Council on which the decision of the 7th Ecumenical Council about icon veneration was reconfirmed. At the end of the council, on March 11, 843 (it was the first Sunday of the Great Lent) a special Liturgy with the procession with the icon of Christ was served in St. Sophia Cathedral of Constantinople. Since that event the first Sunday of the Great Lent is dedicated to the commemoration of the Triumph of Orthodoxy.
Interesting fact is that both times (in 787 and 843) the ruling persons were women. Two Empresses, Irina and Theodora, who established the feast of icon veneration, which is called The Triumph of Orthodoxy. Three sacred things, the Gospel, the Cross, and the Icon bear the fullness of the mystical content of the Church of Christ.
The fact of “martyrdom for icon” confirms the Triumph of Orthodoxy – the victory over iconoclasm and the veneration of the living icon within a human being.
<Triumph> is also can be understood as <thanksgiving>, radiance of the divine Light, and manifestation of the grace giving energy of the Glory of God.
<Orthodoxy> is also understood as “direct” believe in Trinitarian and Christological dogma and the corresponding teaching and glorification of Logos of God in the hypostatic Trinity.
The Icon represents the teaching about the “image of actions” of God in man and in mankind. Man is a “mystical mirror” of the divine iconography. God is invisible, but He “icon-writes” within man and by this makes visible His Image (Logos-Emmanuel, meaning “God is with (and within) us”), and this is a form of Theophany.
Iconography is a visual symbolic language, by means of which the religious content of belief in God is manifested.
In the icon of the Triumph of Orthodoxy the central vertical contains five levels, on which Logos is depicted as a Gift of Communion. Five corresponding horizontals depict those, who receive the Eucharistic Gift of Logos. The vertical and horizontal make the iconographic Cross (key) for understanding of the context of the whole icon of Triumph of Orthodoxy.
The vertical contains five iconographical types of Logos:
1.Semenal Logos-Lamb of God in the Challis of Communion
2.Iconographic Logos of incarnation on the altar table of the earthly Church (“…and was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary and became Man “)
3.Logos-Light in discos on the noetic (angelic) altar table (angel Ophanim) of the heavenly Church
4.Logos-Name of God, as a “heart” of Shekhina-Glory of God (the symbol is eight- pointed star on the halo), depicted in sphere on the chest of the Angel (icon) of God’s Countenance (read Isaiah about the Angel). On both sides of the divine Angel there are Cherub and Seraph as personifications of two energies of created Wisdom and created Love.
5.Logos-Hypostasis, the icon of “Christ made not by hand” in the mandorla of eight- pointed star of the New Jerusalem. Two enthroned Angels on both sides personify His creative energies of Wisdom (Sophia) and Love (Agapia)
Horizontally in the icon there are also five levels (from the bottom):
1.Eartly (view from the altar)
The Hierarchal Liturgy (thanksgiving service to God) and the communion of the Logos-Lamb of God
People are in the state of prayer before the Communion. The icon of Mother of God placed on the altar table means that every man represents an “icon”, and like Mother of God, bears a seed of Christ-Emmanuel.
Logos established in angelic energies of glorification of His Name. Eight Archangels symbolize the eight-step color Ladder of the Heavenly Kingdom. In the Church Tradition Angels are called Minds or Second Lights, they represent a paradisiacal state of the New City Jerusalem, in which already and now the Logos Christ administers the Gifts of Holy Communion.
This level depicts the “iconology of the Prototype” (the Archetype of the Kingdom of God, Prosopon of the whole iconography.) The Angel of God’s Countenance or the Angel of the Light and Name of God personifies Shekhina - the Glory of the whole Trinity (Exodus, 23:20). Two attending Archangels, Barahiel and Jeremiel proclaim ”Agios” and “Axios”, meaning “Holy” and “Worthy”.
This level depicts the Son of God and Son of Man, Jesus Christ, who is the Head of the Church. On both sides there are two of His creative and hypostasized energies, personified by the Angel Sophia (Wisdom – Alfa) and the Angel Agapia (Love – Omega).
Iconology is a teaching about the uncreated paradigms, incarnated through iconography. The teaching about “icon” is the teaching about Theophany. Icon is always an image of Theophany, and therefore an “image of Action” (of God). Logos is a center of Theophany, and therefore a “state (tropos) of Being” (of God). Because Theophany is also an action of grace giving energies of deification, therefore Iconology is also a teaching about the Deification, in which Logos acts in His three aspects:
1.Emmanuel, seminal Logos acting in man; 2.Christ Logos of the Church, the Savior; 3.Lord of Sabaoth – the iconological image of the whole Trinity (not to confuse with the image of God the Father), Lord of divine and angelic powers, and Logos the All Mighty.
The Iconology of the icon of the Triumph of Orthodoxy shows that “icon” is not only a form of art, but in significant measure it is an ontological depiction of religious many-folded Life, which contains of physics, metaphysics, noetics, and divine mysticism of contemplation of the Trinity.
Iconology explains five ontological types of iconography of icons:
1.”Hand written” on wooden board; 2.”Not made by hand” – man himself, created by the image of God; 3.”Noetic” – angelic Hierarchy; 4.”Prosopon” – grace giving Prototype, Divinity of God; 5.”Hypostatic” – speculative-theological (Holy Spirit – the Image of the Son, the Son – the image of the Father, the Father – the image of One God.)
Recognition of the terms:
<Prosopon> - Godhood, Divinity, the Light of Revelation of the creative energies
<Hypostasis> - God – Creator – Lord
Theology is a teaching about incomprehensible and indescribable God, whose Icon of Essence is Logos of thri-hypostatic Divinity, the unapproachable Light and life giving Seed of the Most Holy Trinity.
Contemplation of the icon, from theological point of view:
The icon “Triumph of Orthodoxy” shows: 1.Logos-Lamb of God (Body and Blood) which man partakes in the name of “all one in essence Trinity”; 2. Hand written icon as the prophesy of the incarnation and becoming man of the Son of God and Logos of the Trinity; 3.Noetic icon – Logos of the uncreated Light and Glory of God the Father in the Kingdom of Heaven; 4.Prosopon icon – the unknown name of the Son of God and the name of God the Father, which will be inscribed on the foreheads (minds) of the believers. (Apocalypse, 2:17; 3:12; 14:1); 5.Hypostatic icon of Jesus Christ depicts the consubstantial Image and Logos of the Trinity. This icon symbolizes the uncreated Countenance of One Tri-Hypostatic God and His three actions of Will of God the Father, Wisdom of the Son, and Love of the Holy Spirit.
This icon of “Savior made not by hand,” has its mystical meaning in the economy of future “salvation”, “transfiguration”, and “resurrection”. Jesus Christ is the head of heavenly and earthly Church. He also is iconological Archetype of all “images of action” depicted in icons and faith.
The icon of Triumph of Orthodoxy expresses fullness of liturgical action of the Christian Church and shows the mystical ladder/way which leads to the Deification of man “according to the likeness” of Logos, the Son of Man and Lord Jesus Christ.
© PROSOPON SCHOOL Of ICONOLOGY 2016