Sunday, January 21, 2007

Regarding the use of icons...

This was part of my response to an emailed question regarding the use of icons and the general Anglican position. I confess that I do not pretend to know the general Anglican position these days...but I do value the traditional Anglican position as a creedal and conciliar Church. Thus, I find this snippet of Bishop Grafton's, which follows, helpful.

Contra Rome...

...The belief of the East is different. "The Eastern cense Icons, but they never pay either dulia or hyperdulia to them, neither does the work of any Eastern divine of authority advocate more than due reverence." In the Orthodox Catechism these questions are asked:
"Q. Is the use of holy Icons agreeable to the second Commandment?
"A. It would then, and then only, be otherwise, if anyone were to make Gods of them; but it is not in the least contrary to this commandment to honor Icons as sacred representations, and to use them for the religious remembrance of God's works and of His saints; for when thus used, Icons are books, written with the forms of persons and things instead of letters.
"Q. What disposition of mind should we have, when we reverence Icons?
"A. While we look on them with our eyes we should mentally look to God and to the Saints, who are represented in them."
At the Reformation the Anglican Church, while repudiating the "Romish doctrine," never repudiated the Seventh Council, but continued to pay reverence and honor to holy persons and sacred things. She has never yielded to Puritanism or Quakerism in their rejection of the reverence and titles to be given to the saints. She formally sets buildings apart from all common and secular uses by solemn acts of consecration. Unlike Protestants, she, with Episcopal benediction, hallows her churches and treats them by outward signs with reverence. We bless our fonts, altars, instruments of music, bells, holy vessels, and vestments We place the holy sign of our redemption and the representations of the Saviour and the Saints on our Church walls, over our altars, and on the church windows. We bow, according to our old English custom, towards the altar, kiss the word of God, sign our children with the sign of the Cross. By the permissible use of incense in our churches they are censed, and so all that is within them.....