Friday, June 09, 2006
Are Western Christians Iconodules? Part I
Since I am on the topic of iconography, let me propose an hypothesis regarding one aspect of the iconographical differences between the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church.
The Latin Bishops of the 8th century did not finally reject the canons of the Second Council of Nicea. The Roman church at the time of the Reformation reiterated its condemnation of iconoclasm. And yet, the use of images in public and private worship never became in the West what it became in the East. Its seems then that the tem 'iconodule' is more approprately given to Orthodox Eastern spirituality than to Roman Catholic spirituality. Perhaps the latter communion can best be described as not, on the one hand, icononclastic and yet, on the other hand, not iconodulic.
It is difficult to imagine the Orthodox liturgy without icons, whereas the Roman rite was never dependent upon sacred images. In fact, the medieval Cistercian sanctuary was as imageless as a Calvinist chapel.