Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Iconoclasts versus iconophiles

Iconophile central (also known as iconolaters and iconodules). The Antiochian Orthodox church reveres its icons

happy mother and daughter
What exactly is an iconoclast? I knew the general meaning, someone who sets themselves apart from general conventions but where did the word come from? But the word evolves from the original schism between the Roman Catholic Church (the West and the Latin sector) and the Orthodox (the East and the Greek sector) concerning the veneration of icons (many other issues were involved too). So no icons per se in the Catholic church, though saints are definitely recognized and revered (especially versus Protestant religions that I am more familiar with. The Islamic faith is the most literally iconoclastic in how they interpret 'thou shall not worship graven images' in that here is absolutely no reproduction of human or animal forms allowed in their places of worship.

Tessa's baptism took place in an Antiochian Orthodox church the other day. It is very akin to the Greek Orthodox Church except the language spoken is Arabic, not Greek. By orthodox, they mean 'original and the right way". It is based on the very early Christian churches and has not changed much versus other forms of Christianity. Most of the congregation is either of Syrian or Lebanese descent with a few Palestinian Americans too. The "Christian Valley of Syria" is home to 1.8 million Christians in Western Syria. This area is where St. Peter  converted the locals to Christianity, the first Christians. This area is obviously in danger from Islamic fundamentalists. The priest asked all to pray for them, even though he says he tries to stay apolitical at baptisms, as the situation is so dire. (fortunately for Ramy's relatives, the terrorism is very localized and not in their area)

The baptism was lengthly and full of rituals Tessa seemed confused as to what was going on but was quite angelic. Some of the rituals included the priests blowing on her hair to save her from Satan along with spitting on the floor (which also deters Satan). Although the prayers were in Arabic and possibly Greek, they would be explained in English to us non-speakers. Tessa was anointed with oil and then immersed nude in the baptismal font.

Right before immersion. Tess is wrapped in a towel and is clinging for dear life to the Godmother. You can see the incense smoke.

Down she goes

And she's out. She was very quiet through. out the ceremony
Shanna was baptized there too but I was not invited to that ceremony. It was very important to Ramy's family that the children be raised in this faith. This all is very foreign to me who sang in a choir in a Presbyterian church and ultimately decided after much pondering the meaning of various Bible stories and whether God was mad at me, I came to the following conclusion:

"You're nothing but a pack of cards!"

(Alice finally decides not to fret over her trial by the Queen of Hearts)
 Alice in Wonderland by  Lewis Carroll

Back to reality, the torrential rains of two days ago caused severe flooding in Detroit such that many expressways are still under water complicating Josh and Julie's commutes, though she was allowed to stay home during the worst of it. Ann Arbor got much less rain though I've been cutting away rotten, water soaked blossoms from my garden. It also was difficult for me to drive in that heavy downpour with me hydroplaning all over the place. Today is cool and beautiful. Perfect for running though kind of windy for bicycling.

Yesterday, I was confined to the ambulatory surgical unit while Steve had his procedure (all is well). I was told I couldn't leave because what would happen if I had an accident? I guess they didn't want to become stuck with Steve. I did learn a potentially useful fact while reading outdated waiting room magazines: a thin coating of oil deters wasps from hummingbird feeders. Well when it's wasp season, we'll see about that.

And later Shanna had a consultation with a color expert on what colors to paint various rooms (my job: keep the kids from being underfoot). This consultant completely contradicted everything I had said. Hmph! Oh well, I guess I really don't have any taste.

And even later: a visit with one of the Mom's grandchild who is a couple of months younger than Allie. What a cutie! And she is a miniature version of my friend's child. Maybe someday I will have a grandchild that actually looks like one of my kids.

1 comment:

Elephant's Child said...

Fortunately with a little tolerance there is room for the iconoclasts and the iconophiles.


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