Iconography

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The Byzantine iconography throughout the Cathedral, uses mosaic tiles and painted artwork to depict many of the stories of the Bible

Icons date from early Christianity, long before the average person could read. Along with our hymns, originally they were created to convey what we believe to people who couldn't read.

Orthodox Christians do not 'worship' icons; worship is reserved for God alone, in accordance with God's law, going back all the way to the Ten Commandments. We 'venerate' icons by standing or bowing before them, making the sign of the cross, and kissing them, gestures of pious respect and love. We have icons of Jesus Christ and of His mother, Mary, whom we call the Theotokos, from the Greek for 'God Bearer', or 'One who gives birth to God'. The individuals depicted in icons are saints; they are prototypes for Orthodox Christians. They were actual human beings who struggled (as we all do) with human weaknesses, but were able, through prayer and ascetic practices, humility and the grace of the Holy Spirit, to achieve great feats on behalf of God and in accordance with His will. When we venerate the icons, we may ask the Saint depicted to intercede for us with God, or to assist us in our lives, in accordance with His will. Since human beings are made in the image and according to the likeness of God (Genesis 1:27) - we are icons, too! Icons may also remind us of a significant event or miracle, most often in the life of Jesus Christ or of the Theotokos.

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