Venerating Icons – It’s So Much Other Than You Think

Glory to God for All Things | 11/18/2019 | Staff
roxy2707roxy2707 (Posted by) Level 3
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In 1991, I sat in a room at Duke University with Geoffrey Wainwright, Stanely Hauerwas, and Susan O’Keefe. The purpose was the defense of my thesis, “The Icon as Theology.” I was an Episcopal priest, who was turning his doctoral work in Systematic Theology into an M.A. and heading back to parish life (a long story, that). The defense was friendly, thorough, with few surprises. The one major surprise, of course, came from Hauerwas. His question caught me off-guard in that it left behind academic questions and became intensely personal (that’s typical Hauerwas – there are no hiding places). His question was straight-forward:

“Do you believe the veneration of icons to be necessary for salvation?”

Part - Question - Part - Priests - Oath

The loaded part of the question was quite intentional on his part. Anglican priests take an oath at their ordination that “I believe the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments to contain all things necessary to salvation.” It had been drilled into me at a certain point in my life and my answr should have been a knee-jerk repetion of my vow. Instead, I was mute. What he had done was to bring me to see something my soul had pushed into the background. What was interesting and academic was suddenly revealed to be a matter of existential authenticity. What did I believe?

After a time of quiet, I stammered out my answer:

Oath - Ordination - Scriptures - Old - New

“I know that my oath of ordination says that the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments contain all things necessary to salvation. However, I believe that the veneration of icons is necessary to its fullness.”

It was the first time the thought had occurred to me. In truth, it would be some years before I fully understood what I had just said. My response was more a matter of instinct than understanding. I knew it...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Glory to God for All Things
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