Provided by Union of Catholic Asian News,
SINGAPORE -Icons Speak of Profound
Theology, Says Orthodox Archbishop
SG9785.1153 October 10, 2001 30 EM-lines (317 words)

SINGAPORE (UCAN) -- Icons communicate a "deep theology," a visiting Orthodox archbishop told a gathering at an art exhibition in Singapore.

"Icons are books for the uneducated. They tell a story. They speak of deep theology," said Archbishop Nikitas of the Orthodox Metropolitanate of Hong Kong and Southeast Asia on Sept. 22.

He told some 60 people at the Drama Centre that icons "tell us things beyond logic and reason." Icons are texts, not simply images, which is why they are said to be written rather than painted, Archbishop Nikitas explained in his talk on "Icons and the Orthodox Church."

Icons of Jesus, Mary and the saints are venerated to show "our love, our respect, our support," he said, adding that through them, Christians also request the blessings of God and the saints.

Archbishop Nikitas noted that in the Orthodox tradition, icons of Jesus, Mary and the saints are depicted according to strict guidelines. An icon of Christ has the colors gold for kingship, blue for humanity and red for divinity, and must have three stars.

Orthodox icons may also be "written" according to the cultures of the believers, the archbishop added, noting there are icons in Georgian, Greek, Russian and Chinese styles.

Referring to the somber mood of subjects depicted in icons, he said icons do not "depict and show our natural world, they depict the future world."

They are not art pieces meant to be shown in galleries or museums. They are for veneration in churches and homes, he said.

Most of the icons at the exhibition were created by Nana Quparadze, a Georgian national residing in Singapore.

The archbishop is head of the largest Orthodox diocese. His Metropolitanate comes under the spiritual jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople.

The Orthodox Church of the Resurrection in Singapore holds liturgy service on Sundays at the Drama Centre and vespers on Saturdays at St. Nicolas Chapel.