Archbishop Elpidophoros of America on Sunday 11, October 2020 presided over the Divine Liturgy at Saint Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church in Bristol, Connecticut. On the occasion of the Sunday of the Fathers of the 7th Ecumenical Council delivered a sermon to the attending flock.
The Archbishop said that the last Ecumenical Council was the one that affirmed the dignity, grace, and dogmatic validity of the Holy Icons. Nowadays the holy icons are being taken for granted but there was a time in the history of the Orthodox Faith that there were persecutions – even unto death – of those whose faith clung to the affirmation of the faith that the holy icons teach.
Some historians have said that this was due to pressure from the new religion of that age: Islam, which has a very strong teaching against images. Some believe that it was a misunderstanding of the Second Commandment of Judaism that states:
“You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or worship them….”
Archbishop Elpidophoros of America highlighted a foundational, to the Holy Orthodox Faith, difference between an idol and an icon, both of which are images. An idol has no corresponding reality in the heavenly realm. But an icon partakes in the spiritual reality of what is represented in it. They are ἔμψυχες – literally “ensouled,” “animate,” “living” objects of devotion and piety. And they are so because, as per the definition of the Holy Fathers states: “the honor accorded to the icon passes over to its prototype, and whoever venerates the icon venerates in it, the reality of what is there represented.”
Concluding the Archbishop stressed that “the grace of the icon is given to us through the operation of the Holy Spirit, Who is always present with us, and brings to us, through the Holy Icons, the “Great Cloud of Witnesses” as the Scripture says.”
Homily on the Sunday of the Fathers of the 7th Ecumenical Council
Gepostet von Archbishop Elpidophoros of America am Montag, 12. Oktober 2020