His Beatitude Patriarch Daniel was impressed by the exhibits of an exhibition of Orthodox icons opened for the second time in Bucharest last week at the Palace of the Patriarchate.
Patriarch Daniel said the exhibition had ‘a special significance’, because during the Paschal cycle ‘we are more receptive to the message transmitted by the holy icons.’
The Patriarch of Romania offered his opening remarks at the Palace’s Europa Christiana Hall marking this year’s Europe Day.
‘The icon in the Church is a visual witness of faith, just like the Creed is a verbal witness of faith,’ His Beatitude said May 9.
The Patriarch listed three liturgical purposes icons have, stressing that the first purpose is ‘to confess the Jesus of Nazareth is not just a simple man, that He is the Son of the living God who became a Man for us and for our salvation.’
‘In the New Testament, the Lord Jesus Christ is called the Word of God and the Icon or the Image of God. Therefore, the image and the word are complementary; they are two forms of expressing the same content of faith.’
Secondly, the icon is a call to prayer.
‘The purpose of the embodiment of the Son of God is the deification of the man through grace and only through prayer one can gain the grace of the purification of sins, of sanctification and deification. The icon that aims at calling to prayer must be painted naturally in a state of prayer so that the spirit of prayer may be conveyed.’
Third, the patriarch pointed to the prophetic role of the icon saying that ‘Orthodox iconography is the sight of the Kingdom of Heaven.’
The icon helps us perceive the glory of the Kingdom of Heaven since it differs to a religious painting full of ‘shadows and lights’ that keep us in this tridimensional telluric world.
His Beatitude ended his speech by explaining the icon of the Transfiguration of the Lord, noting that ‘the uncreated, eternal and unperceivable light is the aim to which the icon directs us.’
The over 50 icons depicting Jesus Christ, the Mother of God and several Saints will be on display at the Patriarchate’s Palace until Friday, May 17, 2019.
Photography courtesy of Basilica.ro / Raluca Ene