Question of the Day List 3-4 reasons that people might light a candle in a Church? (Above: People light candles in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem) Christianity in Russian Culture An Introduction to Icons in Russian Culture Russia Christianity comes to Russia
City of Kiev became the center of the first Russian state blended with Varangians (Vikings) Olga, Princess of Kiev, converted to Byzantine Christianity in 957 Her Grandson, Vladimir, would also convert to Byzantine Christianity which made the religion popular throughout Russia
Christianity is in Russia Russian rulers, like the Byzantine Emperors, control the Russian Orthodox Church which means Russian rulers would use the Church as a way to extend their power over the people As one obeys the Church one should also obey the Prince/Czar
Religious Power: East vs. West In Western Europe, Monarchs and the Pope constantly battled for religious and/or political power In the Eastern Orthodox Church, the Emperor/Czar controlled the Church In the East the power of the Emperor/Czar was second only to God
Icons Icons are defined most simply as holy images Every Russian family would receive a special icon for milestone life events and family
traditions such as: Baptisms, marriages and the familys patron saint Every Russian home had an entire room devoted to their Icons Icons were also a way to explain Bible stories to illiterate Russian serfs Orthodox Christians believe that the homes of believers are a type of Church Icon corners existed in the homes
of the rich and the poor Old Testament Trinity by Andrei Rublev Rublev painted the old testament story of 3 Angels visiting Abraham He removed Abraham from the icon but kept the Angels In this way, he could explain the concept of one God in three bodies Both the literate and
illiterate could understand icons Other popular icons which also relate to Bible stories are Image Not Made By Hands This was the first icon made This icon refers to the story of an ancient King of Edessa The King suffered from Leprosy
According to the story, the King was healed when a cloth, which Jesus had dried his own face with, and bore the image of Jesus, was pressed to the Kings face Each Russian town had its own Mother of God Icon, honoring Mary St. Nicholas St. Nicholas is a very important Saint in
Russia He is believed to be the protector of sailors He is believed to have enjoyed giving gifts to children, especially the poor; that is the basis for Santa Claus Three handed Mother of God
Iconoclasm is the act of attacking or destroying icons An iconoclast is a person who attacks or destroys icons In the 700s a Byzantine Emperor outlawed Icons St. John of Damascus continued to encourage people to pray to icons
In retaliation, the Emperor ordered that Johns hand be cut off After praying to a Mother of God icon, Johns hand was healed In order to thank God for this miracle St. John fashioned a third hand onto the mother of God icon Visual Thinking Skill Question of the Day In the next slide, examine the Russian Painting The Sick Man by Vasili Maximov (1881) What is the woman doing in the painting?
Why might she be doing this? What might this image reveal about the place that icons held in Russian culture? The Power of Icons? Russian Christians believed that icons were a spiritual doorway The icons themselves held a power which could grant the grace of God to a persons life In our world today, what might be considered icon
type entities? Consider any entities which people might consider to be supernatural Sources
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