Icons and the Concept of Imitation of God: A Mystical Interpretation of the Rites in the Orthodox Church

Religious rites are usually the first expressions of a religion which an observer comes in contact with and therefore, researchers on religions study them as the most important mainfestations of a religion. In Christianity too, rites and particularly the Holy Communion enjoy a prominent place. In the Orthodox church by differentiating between the “Theological” and “non-theological” elements, the importance of the icons is specially emphasized. The icons as the loci of deification, are also considered as an inseparable part of the Orthodox theology. In this paper, we are trying to elucidate the Orthodox church’s interpretation of the icons and their function as symbols with spiritual significance. The basic aim of performing the rites in this church, is simulating God and Christ and therefore, deification. This teaching as the most fundamental principle of Eastern Orthodox church’s theology and mysticism, signifies the realization of the unity with God and receiving the gift of deification.
Journal of Religious Studies, Volume:7 Issue: 2, 2014
97 to 118
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