2.20.2013

The Icon of Friendship

I know it's not the greatest photo, but I love the earthy feel and the light below it.
This is the Icon as it hangs in the main church of Taizé.

Another great Icon used often at Taizé is the Icon of Friendship. As Brother Jean-Marc describes, this icon is different from many of the others. I still think it's beautiful and I love using art in prayer and worship as a way to enter deeper into the mystery of faith and spiritual connection. Here's more from Brother Jean-Marc's writing on icons

"This unique icon, dating from the seventh century, is not from the Byzantine tradition like the icons of Greece and Russia, but from the Coptic Church of Egypt. It is painted in the clear and naïve-seeming Coptic style. It shows Christ and an early Egyptian saint called Menas – the names are written in Coptic letters near the top of the icon. But Menas can be seen as standing for every believer: the icon tells something about the friendship that Christ offers to everyone who will accept it. This is why Brother Roger particularly liked this icon, and why it holds a special place at Taizé. Christ has his arm on his friend’s shoulder, as a sign of his love. The initiative in this gesture is with Christ: 'This is love,' says St. John, 'not that we loved God, but that he loved us' (1 John 4:10). Receiving this love of Christ, his friend is able with his right hand to bless others. This is one of the essential movements of the Gospel: letting ourselves be loved by God leads naturally and simply to transmitting a blessing to other people. love between Christ and the believer is not a closed circle: it opens out more and more widely. This is also reflected in the position of the two figures: they are not sitting looking at each other, but they are walking forward in the same direction. Christ, as we have seen before, carries the book of the Word of God. The believer carries a small scroll – a suggestion, perhaps, that Christ alone understands the fullness of God’s wisdom, but that the very little we understand is enough to enable us to go forward with him."

The original was s discovered in 1902 after lying hidden in the ruins of the monastery of Bawit for many centuries. It is now preserved in the Musée du Louvre, Paris.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Steph! Just wanted to say that it's one of my favourites icons. I wanted to ask you about another one but I suddenly saw that your last posts are from the 2013! I hope this message will get to you so we can maybe get in touch. Kisses from Spain, Agata.

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