The Diocesan Youth Cross Icon of the New Evangelisation What is an Icon? An icon is more than just a pretty religious picture. The word Icon translates as Image . For almost 2000 years followers of Jesus Christ have created images that record their faith and help them to think and reflect about the central mysteries of life. An image points to a reality but will never exhaust the reality to which it points. The Bible gives us many images when thinking about God. It talks of God as a shepherd, a fortress, a rock and so on. It does not mean that God is literally these things of course, but rather that God is like a shepherd, like a rock and a fortress etc. Throughout history, icons have been described in numerous ways. They have been referred to as hymns, prayers clothed in colour, pictorial theology, sermons, images of faith to name but a few. One popular and helpful definition of an icon is a ‘window to heaven’. They are “tangible affirmations of the incarnation that offer us moments of sacramental encounter with the Source of holiness.” (Peter Pearson ‘A Brush with God’, 2005) Icons are part of the Church’s rich living tradition, although their role has been more central in the Eastern Church. The Council of Nicea stated that: “Icons are necessary and essential because they protect the full and proper doctrine of the Incarnation. While God cannot be represented in His eternal nature ("...no man has seen God", John 1:18), He can be depicted simply because He "became human and took flesh." Of Him who took a material body, material images can be made. In so taking a material body, God proved that matter can be redeemed. He deified matter, making it spirit-bearing, and so if flesh can be a medium for the Spirit, so can wood or paint, although in a different fashion.” - Council of Nicea 787 AD “I do not worship matter, but the Creator of matter, who for my sake became material and deigned to dwell in matter, who through matter effected my salvation...” — St. John the Damascene Praying with Paint: the creation of the Icon in pictures “Young people from across East Anglia worked throughout the night, praying and painting this icon into existence.” Fr Luke Goymour “And the Word became flesh… …and we saw his glory” John 1:14 The Cross explained: Christ’s arms are opened in a gesture of welcome and embrace. “When I am lifted up from the earth I shall draw all men to myself.” Jn 12:32 All Icons can be considered windows to heaven. These windows are always framed in the redemptive blood of Christ. The red edge reminds us that it is through Christ’s death and resurrection that we can have access heaven. Jesus projects the life of divine nature in a body pierced by nails in the hands and feet, and by the soldier's lance in his side. As with the gold of the halo the yellow represents the divine light of heaven. Above the head of Christ is the abbreviated inscription in Latin which stands for: Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews. The halo of Jesus is marked with a cross and within the cross are the Greek letters O W V which mean "He who is" the divine name revealed to Moses on Mount Sinai. Jesus is identified as the Son of God who offers Himself for us. The white of the loin cloth reminds us Christ is the Divine, Holy and Pure One. Jesus Christ is represented both as wounded and strong. Although dead on the cross he appears graceful and resting. resolute. His halo already symbolises the glorified cross. Many of the brushstrokes are individual prayers of the people who painted the icon. The Diocesan Prayer for the New Evangelisation God our Father, as we offer you our sacrifice of prayer, we ask you to pour out afresh your Holy spirit upon our Diocese and so help us to be faithful witnesses of your Gospel. May the power of the Cross inspire the young people of our Diocese, that they may live the life of faith boldly and courageously May we be a people generous in offering ourselves in the service of the Church as priests, deacons and religious. May the whole of your people in East Anglia burn with love for your Son so as to become ever more the holy people you have called us to be. This we ask through your crucified and Risen Son, who lives and reigns for ever and ever. Amen Once Again Jesus Christ, I think upon your sacrifice, you became nothing poured out to death. Many times I’ve wondered at your gift of life and I’m in the place once again, and I’m in that place once again. And once again I look upon the cross where you died, I’m humbled by your mercy and I’m broken inside. Once again I thank you, Once again I pour out my life. Now you are exalted to the highest place, King of the heavens where one day I’ll bow. But for now, I marvel at your saving grace and I’m full of praise once again. I’m full of praise once again. Thank you for the cross, thank you for the cross Thank you for the cross my friend, (repeat) Be Still for the Presence of the Lord Be still for the presence of the Lord, the Holy One is here. Come, bow before Him now, with reverence and fear. In Him no sin is found, We stand on holy ground. Be still, for the presence of the Lord, the Holy One, is here. Be still, for the glory of the Lord is shining all around; He burns with holy fire, with splendour he is crowned. How awesome is the sight, our radiant King of light! Be still, for the glory of the Lord is shining all around. ‘At Prayer’ by Fr Luke Goymour Be still for the power of the Lord is moving in this place, He comes to cleanse and heal, to minister His grace. No work too hard for Him, In grace receive from Him; Be still, for the power of the Lord , is moving in this place Be still ©1986 Kingsway’s Thankyou Music and Once Again lyrics © EMI Music Publishing, Universal Music Publishing Group, Warner/Chappell Music, Inc. “Every form of catechesis would do well to attend to the “way of beauty” Proclaiming Christ means showing that to believe in and to follow him is not only something right and true, but also something beautiful, capable of filling life with new splendour and profound joy, even in the midst of difficulties…Each particular Church should encourage the use of the arts in evangelization, building on the treasures of the past but also drawing upon the wide variety of contemporary expressions so as to transmit the faith in a new “language of parables. We must be bold enough to discover new signs and new symbols, new flesh to embody and communicate the word, and different forms of beauty which are valued in different cultural settings, including those unconventional modes of beauty which may mean little to the evangelizers, yet prove particularly attractive for others. Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium: 167 "In order to communicate the message entrusted to her by Christ, the Church needs art. Art must make perceptible, and as far as possible attractive, the world of the spirit, of the invisible, of God.“ Bl. John Paul II, Letter to Artists For an pdf version of this resource please visit www.iconministries.net © Icon Ministries 2013 Produced by Icon Ministries for the Diocesan Youth Service of East Anglia. Photography © of Fr Luke Goymour and Lissi Schwarz, used with permission.