Eastern Orthodox: Celebrate icons on Sunday of Orthodoxy

Icons hold a very important—and very distinct—place in Orthodox ChristianitySUNDAY, MARCH 13: Orthodox Christians rejoice in the triumph of the iconodules today. An iconodule might also be called an iconophile—someone who appreciates icons and, thus, someone who might have lived in the 8th or 9th centuries when the iconoclasts were trying to stomp out the veneration of these sacred images. Throughout Eastern Christendom, the men and women who appreciate icons won that historic battle—a victory that defines the experience of entering an Orthdox church to this day.

Today is called the Sunday of the Triumph of Orthodoxy—or sometimes just Sunday of Orthodoxy. (Get today’s historical background, plus other details, at GOArch.org. Or, check out the Orthodox Wiki article.)

In celebration, devotees march around their churches today, holding high the icons of patron or parish saints. Each Sunday related to Great Lent also has an special theme and today it’s “True Faith,” which believers see represented in the spiritual breadth and depth of iconography.

In 843 AD, the Seventh Ecumenical Council ended a controversy that had caused fury for more than a century; the iconodules emerged victorious over the iconoclasts and Eastern Orthodox believers were free to preserve and venerate their icons. (Learn more about icons through interviews, sermons and more, available at the site for the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America.)

(Originally published at readthespirit.com, an online journal covering religion and cultural diversity.)

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