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"Welcome" Page > Home Page. > What we do > May we help you? > Icons >
Some people find that icons can help with prayer, meditation or their understanding of God, and a selection is offered here for you to use.
The word 'icon' (or 'ikon') comes from the Greek word 'eikon', which strictly just means an image, although it is usually taken to mean a holy image to which special veneration is given. Icons have been used by the Christian community since the third century. Their use has not been without controversy, mainly because the second Commandment, 'You shall not make for yourself an idol...you shall not bow down to them or worship them....", (Exodus 20:4-6) has sometimes been interpreted as forbidding any representation of God and indeed any form of religious art.
The controversy is by no means resolved even today, and the issue is not clear cut. Even the Jewish Law, in the chapters following the Ten Commandments, required artistic representations, e.g., in the construction of the Ark and the Tabernacle (Exodus 25:10ff). It could be argued that venerating - or just looking at - an icon which pointed towards or taught about God was not the same as worshipping an idol that was claimed to be God. Arguments raged in the early centuries of the Christian era, but by the middle of the ninth century most parts of the church accepted and used icons and they are particularly important in the Orthodox (Eastern) churches. However, if you don't feel comfortable using them, don't worry - leave this page for others that do!
The icons on this page were introduced at our Retreat in 2005 and are very early and mediaeval works. It is hoped to add others in due course. As well as those on this page you may like to look at the pages which describe what we have in Immanuel Church - our banners, and our cross, which are, of course, modern examples.
Click on the icon images below and a new window will open with an enlarged version, centered in the window.
You can resize the window as you wish and then close it when you have finished to return to this page or your main browser window.
'The Hospitality of Abraham' by the great Russian icon painter Andrei Rublev (c1360-1430). It is also regarded as an icon of the Trinity and is one of the world's most famous icons. A copy hangs in the chapel at Immanuel and St Andrew. The icon depicts the story in Genesis chapter 18, when God appeared to Abraham in the form of three men, for whom he provided food.
One of the earliest existing icons of Christ, dating from the 6th Century - 'Christ the Pantokrator' (Ruler of all). From the Monastery of St Catherine, at Mount Sinai. It shows Christ with a traditional halo, his left hand holding a Gospel Book and his right hand making a gesture of blessing.
Another icon of 'Christ the Pantokrator' - artist unknown. As with the icon above, Christ has a halo, holds a Gospel Book and makes a gesture of blessing. The halo incorporates a cross - something which may have faded from the icon above over the years.
An icon of St Paul by Andrei Rublev.
A Coptic icon of the Annunciation. The Coptic Church is the Orthodox Church of Egypt, traditionally founded by St Mark the Evangelist in the 1st Century.
Note - Copyright. The icon images on this page are believed to be public domain. Apologies are offered if any copyright has been infringed. Please notify the webmaster if you are aware of any infringement. Note also that the copyright applying to this and other pages on this site does not extend to the icon images above.
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Page last updated 17 August 2006.
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Page design by David Gray 2006
© Copyright David Gray and PCC of Immanuel and St. Andrew Streatham 2006. Photographs (not icons) copyright David Gray 2005 except where otherwise stated.