3 Reasons Why Orthodox Icons Are Not Idols

An icon is an integral part of the faith perception for the Orthodox Christians. Icons go with the vast majority of believers all their life, from childhood to old age. The homes of the Orthodox Christians usually have, at least, one image to pray with. But what is an icon exactly? Can it be an idol? Icons are sacred images of Jesus Christ, the Mother of God, angels, saints, and different events telling biblical stories. They give a strong connection between the believers and God, providing a sense of mystery. They are not idols, but, unfortunately, sometimes, a false hypothesis about the motivation of Orthodox icons is considered a true one. Here are the most compelling reasons that will convince you otherwise.

3 Reasons Why Orthodox Icons Are Not Idols


1. The Incarnation of Christ. The invisible God became visible through the image of Christ who took all the physical attributes of a man, including flesh and blood, at His incarnation. Christ gave faith to people, showed them God and His deeds. For this reason, we can see His images today. Thus, an icon is a personification of the image of God, to whom the prayer and the words of gratitude are addressed.
2. People depicted in the icons were real. There is no chance to have the image of the fantastic figure or creature in the icon; the second commandment keeps this prohibition. The icons always depict real figures and stories that happened to people in the past. Their main goal is to bring faith to people.
3. Worship vs. veneration. Worship and veneration have different meanings. The Orthodox Christians worship God, and they venerate icons and saints depicted in them. An icon, in such a case, is a tool that helps people focus on the prayer and turn to God in thoughts.

Hopefully, these 3 reasons will help you understand why Orthodox icons cannot be called idols, and why there are so many of them in the homes of the Orthodox Christians.

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