How the Image of God Is Manifest in the Holy Icons

Icon “Not Made By Hands” (Simon Ushakov, 17th c.) – J58

According to Saint Basil (S37), Christ is the image of God the Father, Whom no man hath ever seen.  We can see God by beholding Jesus Christ manifest inwardly when He becomes the very Light of our life and our very means of perception, and then seeing all other things through Him.  We can see God outwardly by looking at His Holy icons which are a direct revelation of Him as He was in the flesh.  Then, however, we must look through those icons as “windows into the Heavenly Realms”: where Christ is the very light of perception of the Next World. (J36)

Saint John the Theologian (17th c.) – S382This Light is the light of all men, as Saint John the Evangelist says.  We need to learn how to see everything at all times through this light “…which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.” (John 1:9)  Heaven is filled with this Light which warms the heart, illumines the mind, and fills all those living there with ineffable sweetness and love.

The Holy Icons also help us in another way as we are always included in the act of beholding an icon and are a living part of each icon that we behold. This “window into Heaven” is a two-way window. When we see Him with love and compassion, the image of God that was planted in us becomes alive and luminous, for we are essentially made in His Image from our conception. (J40) The word Icon is the Greek translation of the Hebrew word for Image, so we are made as the icons of Him.

Creation of Adam & Eve & The Fall - CF957

This word is used to describe the beginning of Creation of people, and defines us as essentially related to Him from the very first moment of our being. We are not just children of God, but in some sense have the possibility of becoming so infused with Him that we can shine with His grace and love, lit up in reflection by showing forth His image cleansed and enlightened then by Him. Let us reach out to Him ardently now so that He reaches back to us today in love!