This morning, the first Sunday of Lent, is the Sunday of Orthodoxy which celebrates the defeat in 778 BCE of the forces who believed that graven images had no place in Christianity.
Imagery in early Christianity served as an education tool, to tell the stories of the new religion to the illiterate masses. The style evolved from what we know of Greek and Roman popular imagery painted on wood panels or onto architectural plaster. Over time icons became objects to be venerated and this veneration was objected to by the iconoclast Byzantine Emperors Leo III (from 717-741) and Constantine V (741-775). However, the custom of venerating icons was codified by the Second Council of Nicaea in 778.
The ups and downs of early Christianity is a fascinating yet complicated story. Let’s leave it there.
You can read about veneration of icons and the arguments against considering this veneration as idolatry here…
…the a brief outline of the Greek Orthodox position on idolatry here…
Today the Skopelitan faithful will head over to Panagia Livadiotissa church for services and will bring their personal icons with them.
I posted back in October 2016 briefly about the Panagia Livatiotissa here at this link (klik)