minima maxima sunt

The Small things are the Great things; as in a grain of mustard seed.

An afterthought


Just an after thought on my recent post about the Black Madonna of Czestochowa. A friend was asking about the icon and I mentioned that several years ago, my late grandmother who knew a priest that wrote icons, had one made. It was a very special gift and holds a very special place in our home.

The term for icon is derived from the Greek eikōn which means image. But an icon is much more than a mere image. In iconography the intent is to teach through image and symbol. The making of an icon is not called painting but writing. This is because the use of symbology to convey ideas and spiritual concepts is really what is at the heart if an iconographer. As such almost everything in an Icon is a symbol for something, whether it be halos or the use of colors. Gestures and even the letters can mean something. As mentioned concerning the Black Madonna, the use of a gesture pointing to Christ is right at the center of the scene which classifies this icon as a hodegetria (she who shows the way). But there is more here to view. Mary is dressed in blue, and the Christ child is dressed in red. Blue is a symbol of humanity and red of divinity. Gold is symbolic of heavenly radiance.

It may be lost on our modern sensibilities, but in a world that was illiterate, pictures, images and symbol played a very big part in conveying information. Even today we know people learn better if they can see, than they can by just reading or hearing alone. This is why we still use pictures, graphs, videos and other visual aids. In the early church art and symbol were used frequently. Being found in catacombs, graves and eventually on church walls. One of the earliest symbols was that of the good shepherd. Used as a symbol of christianity even before the Cross, the good shepherd not only symbolized Christ but tells us something about Him.


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One thought on “An afterthought

  1. marieagrace on said:

    Hi,This is a great post because it brings back memories for me Mike:) The picture of the Shepard is in a beautiful form and has great significance to me and others who know the story of the Shepard and why he carries the sheep over his shoulders,what Jesus talked about the lost sheep it meant that a good Shepard will go after even that one because there is hope that in time that sheep will listen and follow him and thus his life will be saved from the wolves outside the fold. Well some sheep like me:),go out there and come back and go out and this is making the shepherd a little annoyed so what does he do?? He breaks the sheep’s legs or one of them and then the sheep can’t go any where until he is healed.While he is on the shepherds shoulders he gets to hear the beating of his heart and feel the closeness of his body love:) He hears his call every day and get to really know this Shepard so well in a year of hanging around him that when he is healed and let go he never wonders ever again far from his masters side.This is love this is like taking time pout with your kids because they need it and separation only makes them worst.Together we are strong alone we are lost.This is why sometimes god has to put you in a place of holding so he can speak to you and carry your burdens around his neck for his yoke is easy and his burdens light:) I love you! Have a wonderful day:) Psalms 96

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