The Orthodox Church in “The Triumph of Orthodoxy” celebrates the victory of this council annually. This occurs on the first Sunday of Lent.
82 Giakalis, 1994, p. 32.
84 Ibid, p. 31.
It is a remembrance of the replacing of sacred images in Hagia Sophia (a church in Constantinople) on March 11, 843 CE.85
85 Orthodox Tradition, Vol. IV, No. 3, pp. 49-64.
Themes and Examples of Icons
The work of an iconographer is very unique in the world of art. This is especially true when icons are compared to the visual art of the west. In the West, self-expression became the ultimate goal. In the Orthodox tradition, there were serious personal and spiritual expectations for one who desired to paint icons. Self- expression was not the goal. An iconographer was not merely an artist. In fact, the Byzantines cast the artist in a priestly light.86
Icon painters “…are not considered to be religious artists but rather as persons who have a religious vocation. They are missionaries preaching visual theology. The icon, like the Word, is a revelation, not a decoration or illustration. It is theology in color. More important than being a good artist is the fact that the icon painter be a sincere Christian who prepares himself for his work through fasting, prayer, Confession, Communion and has the feeling that he is but an instrument through whom the Holy Spirit expresses Himself.”87
It was expected that the icon painter have significant spiritual maturity. Icons were not to be painted lightly. This involved long periods of preparation and contemplation. It was not a frivolous exercise.88 In sharp contrast to Western ideas of self-expression in art, the iconographer was to work in service to the church. Personal expression was not only inappropriate but actually forbidden.