Using religious icons: Art and religion

High School ・Art ・APA ・1 Sources


An icon is an image, although christians in the earlier times refered to them as images that pass some kind of religious meaning, content and use. One of the little things that contribute to making an "icon" is the way people percieve it or the way they use it. Most times, they are often refered to as copies since they basically image representation of the person or diety. The idea behind "copying" the images of religious personalities was to enhance perpetuity of the religion. For Christians, the representation of Jesus, his mother, and his disciples was the foundation of the relationship after Jesus ascended to heaven. Some people believe that icons were either the doors to heaven or heaven's doors to earth. An icon was the medium of communication between the mortal human beings to their spiritual creator[1].

Relic icons are images of objects that are deemed holy due to their sacred contact[2]. There are two forms of relic icons. The first one is the pilgrim eulogiai (blessings) which include water, wax, oil or portion of the earth that was sanctified after being in direct contact with a holy person or a relic[3]. The second type of relic-icons are the ones that have not been made by human beings or what is known as the acheiropoieta[4].


In the contemporary world, the term icon refers to a representation of a religious image[5]. In Byzantium, an icon was a highly respected image that people revered. It was considered sacred since it resembled a very holy image. Reverence to the icon was perceived as reverence to the person being represented in the image[6].


Vikan Gary. Sacred Image, Sacred Power in Icons. Baltimore: Walters Art Gallery, 1988.

[1] Ibid., 12

[2] Ibid., 13

[3] Ibid., 13

[4] Ibid., 13

[5] Ibid., 6

[6] Ibid., 6

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