Skip to comments.Iconic Icon Supplements: The Symbols of Icons
Posted on 06/26/2012 7:03:28 AM PDT by marshmallow
Icon of Our Lady of Mount Carmel (Mother of Carmel) by the Sisters of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Terre Haute, IN
One of the biggest difficulties Western Christians have in appreciating icons is a lack of understanding. I have previously discussed some of the theology behind iconography, but in this post I will discuss another big difficulty: the symbolism of iconography. Even if one can understand the theology of the icon and why one should venerate it, it is still difficult to venerate something that seems to be such a strange mess of non-understood symbols. This post will hopefully clear up some of that difficulty so that others can better understand icons and venerate them more worthily.
The language used in iconography is often difficult by itself, since it is usually written in either Greek or Russian, often with a strange script that combines letters on top of each other or uses less common forms of letters. Even after getting past that, there are still some strange writings on icons. The most prominent of these are the two monograms of Jesus' Name and the title of the Theotokos.
In the West, IHS is the main monogram of the name of Jesus, often seen especially in Jesuit churches and institutions. In the East, the monogram IC XC is used, with a bar (which looks like a squiggly line) over each pair of letters, showing that it represents a name. The monogram is simply the first and last letters each of Jesus and Christ in Greek, Ιεσους and Χριστος. The final letter of each word, the sigma, is usually capitalized as Σ (often mistakenly used in advertisements as a Greek-style E, though it's truly an S), but in the script used in iconography, it is usually written.......
(Excerpt) Read more at thesaurostesekklesias.blogspot.com ...
I give Catholic faith communites in the west credit that they are saving this form of prayer.
An icon is venerated not for itself but because of the window it opens. It reveals divine truth, much as a secular portrait is said to reveal a persons soul.
I’ve been looking for a repository of this information for some time.
thanks so much for posting.