Icon Corners

I heard that icons (not pictures) are not to be placed in homes but instead to only be consecrated and put in a church. Is this statement true?


  • An ICON is a picture that is consecrated with Holy Myron and since it is consecrated, the spirit of the saint lives in that Icon.

    A PICTURE is just a printed photograph or drawing of any saint (ancient or contemporary).

    Icons = Church
    Pictures = Homes, Etc.
  • The confusion is in the wording. I have tons of, "icons" in my home, but they are not consecrated. So, I suppose we would say they're pictures. I believe it's based more on a misuse of the term, "icon." You cannot have consecrated icons in your home.
  • Only consecrated paintings are Icons.
    That’s why THEY are the ones to be placed at Church.
  • @Jojo You're kind of splitting hairs here. It's something called vernacular, or a misnomer. It's a term used indirectly, but the context of the term becomes a general description.
    No one says they have a, Pope Kyrillos painting in their house, or a St. Moses the Black painting. You're overemphasizing the term. If you want to get that particular, start trying to be specific to Deaconate Rankings to the average Deacon. You can have, "Copies" of icons in your home. Perhaps we should be saying copy instead or painting. Theoretically, all icons are painted or drawn.
  • ***written
  • All icons are ***written
  • edited August 2019
    Thank you all for your help.
    So if I buy an icon from say, orthodoxbookstore, and keep it in my home without it getting consecrated, it’s fine?
  • I didn't want to get in this argument earlier because my English is not as good as other members here but you both are right @Jojo_Hanna and @ItalianCoptic. Basically in the English language an icon and a painting can be synonymous terms mainly I believe because the West were Christian one day (still are) and therefore the expressions are OK to be used in a Christian or a non-Christian context. However, technically speaking as @Jojo_Hanna says ϩⲓⲕⲱⲛ is neither an Arabic or a Coptic word, it is Greek and was taken for its Christian connotations to be used as a description for the consecrated paintings in the church as opposed to ⲗⲓⲙⲏⲛ the word we say in a Virgin Mary praises hymn, or صورة in Arabic rather than أيقونة. So you are both right, don't worry and I hope I am clear..
    Ⲟⲩϫⲁⲓ ϧⲉⲛ Ⲡϭⲥ
  • Oh and another thing as @Jojo_Hanna rightly alluded to consecrated icons in the church "ought to" have certain criteria to qualify as Coptic icons (I guess let me not dwell on this now because it is sad) whereas your icons at home need not follow any criteria, as they can be Russian art, Western art, hand drawn, or Coptic if we are still zealous enough. That is why @Jojo_Hanna rightly describes church icons as written rather than painted, because the principle behind it is that they should tell a story and send out a particular message. Icons are not there to make churches look nice. The church is nice through the prayers and the angels and saints who live in it.
    Ⲟⲩϫⲁⲓ ϧⲉⲛ Ⲡϭⲥ
  • "An ICON is a picture that is consecrated with Holy Myron and since it is consecrated, the spirit of the saint lives in that Icon."

    Excuse me, what?

    Does the Coptic Church actually believe that the souls of Saints dwell within these icons? How can this be? And isn't the big idea in the Old Testament and New Testament that idols are lifeless, can't move or talk, and yet people think there is some spirit present within these idols?

    The Eastern Orthodox Church often states that icons are representations of the Eternal, and they give direct access to the Saints as windows to Heaven. Kind of like how if I press a print icon on my computer and my printer prints something directly, interactions with icons are similar.

    But the souls dwell within icons....I mean, aren't icons ultimately lifeless in of itself?
  • An example would be Saint Boniface of Germany, a Chalcedonian Saint who noticed that Pagans were preparing to offer a sacrifice (human?) on a Tree that was said to be a relic of Thor, and had the strength of Thor such that nobody could break the tree. Before the sacrifice begun, Saint Boniface took an axe and chopped down the tree violently, to prove the Pagans that their beliefs were superstitious and false, ascribing supernatural qualities to an ordinary tree. From there, he convinced many Pagans of the falsehood of Norse Paganism, and converted them.
  • @ioannesAthanasius

    As you can see, this is an interesting topic and a great one to bring up. I'm not an authority, but I'd like to add my understanding to the mix. I'm sorry to say, but I disagree with a lot of what has been said here. 

    An Icon is not a painting or a picture. It is a piece of Orthodox tradition. As Jojo_Hanna mentioned, Icons are not painted, they are written. A good artist can't simply paint a nice picture and call it an Icon. An Icon is made according to specific rules and traditions.

    I don't think it's quite as simple as an Icon is in the church and a picture is in the home. I think there are properly written Icons that can be bought and brought to a person's home. There are also copies and/or reprints of Icons that are available and perfectly acceptable for a person to bring home. I think it is highly desirable that an Icon in a church should be properly written and consecrated, but I actually think it's not completely mandatory. I'm pretty sure I've seen some nice reprints hanging in churches. I also have some old Icons that came from my church, some are prints, some look properly written, I can't say for sure how many were up in the church, but they are on my wall.

    Saying that the spirit of the Saint lives in the Icon isn't that terrible of a statement as long as it is clear that this is meant figuratively. Icons are as important to our Orthodox tradition as hymns, but we don't believe they have special life of their own, and we definitely don't pray to them. We honor the Icon as a way to honor the saint depicted; we honor the Saint as a way to honor God; we only pray to God.
  • Thank you very much for that explanation.
Sign In or Register to comment.