37 Ouspensky, 1992, p. 125.
38 Ibid, p. 125)
39 Ibid, p. 127)
40 Gennadios Limouris, [Blancy]. Icons, Windows on Eternity: Theology and Spirituality in Colour. (Geneva: WCC Publications, 1990), p. 41)
Latreia vs Proskynesis
There is a significant distinction, in Orthodox theology, between the act of veneration (proskynesis) and worship (latreia). Alan Blancy suggests that there was a fatal translation error between the Greek and the Latin in the translating of the Greek word proskynesis as adoratio (adoration).41 This caused many of the problems with the idea of veneration. Adoration is reserved for God alone yet proskynesis is a commonly used word to describe acts between people. This resulted in a misunderstanding of the idea of veneration. Of course, through the history of the icon, there was widespread abuse and actual inappropriate worship.42
St. John of Damascus distinguishes between veneration and adoration using the terms absolute worship (adoration) and relative worship (veneration).43 He identifies five kinds of absolute worship:44
1. Adoration – we give this to God alone
a. All will eventually worship, willingly or unwillingly (Phil 2)
2. The awe and yearning we have for God
a. He is perfect and good
b. He is admired, worshipped, glorified and desired
3. Thanksgiving for all good things
4. Beseeching God to listen to our needs and desires
5. Repentance and confession
In addition, he identifies seven kinds of relative worship.45 This kind of worship may be offered to created things.
1. Places where God has rested – Holy Places
a. Includes people – Theotokos and the Saints
b. God dwells in them
41 Ibid, p. 35.
42 Ibid, p. 35.
43 St. John of Damascus, 1980, p. 9.
44 Ibid, p. 82-84.
45 Ibid, p. 84-88.