Statues and images

 

 

The venerable and holy images should be set forth in the places of worship, in houses and by the wayside in order to be honored and revered

 

 

 

The Second Council of Nicaea (787 A.D.) stated the following things about the so called holy images: ‘We, therefore, following the royal pathway and the divinely inspired authority of our Holy Fathers and the traditions of the Catholic Church (for, as we all know, the Holy Spirit indwells her), define with all certitude and accuracy that just as the figure of the precious and life-giving Cross, so also the venerable and holy images, as well in painting and mosaic as of other fit materials, should be set forth in the holy churches of God, and on the sacred vessels and on the vestments and on hangings and in pictures both in houses and by the wayside, to wit, the figure of our Lord God and Saviour Jesus Christ, of our spotless Lady, the Mother of God, of the honourable Angels, of all Saints and of all pious people. For by so much more frequently as they are seen in artistic representation, by so much more readily are men lifted up to the memory of their prototypes, and to a longing after them; and to these should be given due salutation and honourable reverence (aspasmon kai timhtikhn proskunh-sin), not indeed that true worship of faith (latreian>) which pertains alone to the divine nature; but to these, as to the figure of the precious and life-giving Cross and to the Book of the Gospels and to the other holy objects, incense and lights may be offered according to ancient pious custom. For the honour which is paid to the image passes on to that which the image represents, and he who reveres the image reveres in it the subject represented. For thus the teaching of our holy Fathers, that is the tradition of the Catholic Church, which from one end of the earth to the other hath received the Gospel, is strengthened’ (The Seven Ecumenical Councils of the Undivided Church, trans H. R. Percival, in Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, 2nd Series, ed. P. Schaff and H. Wace, (repr. Grand Rapids MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1955), XIV, page 550)

 

Confutation

 

God forbids us to make for ourselves any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth, and also to bow down before them and to serve them. For it is written: “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments” (Exodus 20:4-6).

Therefore, in the light of what the Word of God says, the so called holy images spoken of in the decree of the Council of Nicaea are nothing but idols, and the honour which is paid to these images is nothing but idolatry. No matter how is called this honour paid to the images, it is idolatry in the sight of God. So, brethren, keep yourselves from idols and flee from idolatry, lest you provoke the Lord to jealousy and to wrath.

Do not become idolaters as many of the children of Israel were in the wilderness, as it is written: “And when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down out of the mount, the people gathered themselves together unto Aaron, and said unto him, Up, make us gods, which shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him. And Aaron said unto them, Break off the golden earrings, which are in the ears of your wives, of your sons, and of your daughters, and bring them unto me. And all the people brake off the golden earrings which were in their ears, and brought them unto Aaron. And he received them at their hand, and fashioned it with a graving tool, after he had made it a molten calf: and they said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt. And when Aaron saw it, he built an altar before it; and Aaron made proclamation, and said, To morrow is a feast to the LORD. And they rose up early on the morrow, and offered burnt offerings, and brought peace offerings; and the people sat down to eat and to drink, and rose up to play” (Exodus 32.1-6).

Hold fast the Word of God, and continue to worship God in spirit and truth for “those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth” (John 4:24 – NKJV). Let no one deceive you with empty words.

I conclude by saying this: if you have some so called holy statues and images in your houses or places of worship I urge you to destroy them.

 

 

 

 

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