In the Orthodox Church the first Sunday of Great Lent, the Triumph of Orthodoxy is observed. “What is the Sunday of the Triumph of Orthodoxy?” you may ask. It is the commemoration of the restoration of Icons for the veneration of the faithful ending forever the Iconoclastic Period of the byzantine church. The Iconoclastic Period being the time during the eight and ninth centuries when the byzantine emperors banned the veneration of the painted images of Christ, his mother and the saints.
As we had a blizzard on last Sunday and I was not able to get to church, I was contemplating the commemoration. I was thinking about what a simple and natural thing it is for us Orthodox Christians to venerate and show respect to the images of Christ, Mary and the saints in painted form. What would the church be like if we were banned from owning icons. I guess those that lived through the Soviet Period in Russia could tell us a thing or two about that. If you were caught owning icons during the iconoclastic period what was the punishment? Many kept icons and venerated them in secret, including St. Theodora. She was the emperor’s wife and mother of the heir to the byzantine throne. When her husband died and her son became emperor she became his regent and seized the opportunity to change the wrong. She struck down the ban and called an ecumenical council to answer the question forever whether image should be allowed in the church and it life of piety.
So these are just a few ramblings of an iconographer who has devotion to St. Theodora.