The following excerpt is from an interview with the famous iconographer,  Archimandrite Zinon, taken during his residence at the Pskov-Caves Monastery. For full text, see: Liturgical Renewal.

Fr. Victor: What place should the icon have in liturgical renewal?

Fr. Zinon: In speaking about the icon, one could say that today it does not occupy its rightful place in the divine service, nor is there a proper attitude towards iconography. It has long ceased to be regarded as “theology in color”; people don’t even suspect that it is capable of conveying the teaching of the Church just like the word, and that it can likewise give false witness instead of witnessing to the Truth.

Tragically, the icon has become a mere illustration of the celebrated event, and for this reason it doesn’t matter what form it takes, because nowadays even photographs are venerated as icons.

Properly speaking, an icon does not depict; it reveals. It is the revelation of the Kingdom of Christ, a revelation of the transfigured, renewed, deified creation. An icon is born from the living experience of Heaven, from the Liturgy, and therefore iconography was always regarded as church service, as Liturgy.

High moral demands were placed on iconographers, the same as clergy. Iconographers were highly regarded; in ancient Rus’ iconography was a matter of state importance.

The influence of Western theology, and various irregularities in Eucharistic life led to the fact that the icon often became a picture of a religious subject, and veneration of the icon ceased being Orthodox, in the full sense.

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