It is always fascinating to explore the development of cultures and cultural art and to see how one evolves from and into the next. In classical antiquity, the veneration of the cult statue was common; the cult statue occupied a niche in the temple to which only priests and guests of the priests had direct access. The statues were not simply symbolic· they were instead holy objects, manifesting a direct path the the cult deity they depicted. The image itself, in other words, was the authority; the image itself had power. The forms and authority of the cult deities and of their priests merged· to anger a priest was to risk angering the deity. In the later Byzantine era, through Caesaropapism we see the same pattern. The spiritual becomes the temporal and the temporal becomes the spiritual. Art, including iconic art, becomes a way by which viewers and worshippers expe1ience and explore the conditional c-0ncem and care of the Church and of the temporal authorities who acted in its name. Before and after the iconoclastic dispute, icons were not simply viewed as decorations. Rather, they were holistically experienced as divine instruments and were, as Bisser V Pentcheva notes, "meant to be physically experienced" because the icon itself was "matter imbued with charis or divine grace_' 1 The representation and veneration of icons, particularly icons of the saints Christ and the Christ Pantocrator, and the Virgin Hodegetria, served several ecclesiastical functions; specifically they spread the word of the emergent faith they reinforced ecclesiastical. authority, and they provided an individualized and therefore more committed and fervent faith.
Schnellmann, Ana, "Doorways to Divinity and Function in the Form: Icons and Ecclesiastical Enforcement" (2014). Student Scholarship. 17.
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