Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Iconography. . .

Holy Ascension in Charleston, South Carolina, consecrated in 2008, and the painting of the iconography and dome by three artists. Dmitri Shkolnik designed the composition and many of the specific details, such as the ornamental borders and inscriptions. His assistant, Aleko Mchedlishvile, painted the borders, backgrounds, and other details. The bulk of the work was accomplished by Vladimir Grygorenko, who worked for many weeks, drawing and painting all the figures. Their collaboration worked well, combining Dmitri’s particular skill with ornamental designs and colors with Vladimir’s virtuosic abilities at figure painting in a 12th-century-inspired style.

I was also particularly struck by the iron work on the light fixture.  Interesting and profound!

From this. . .



To this. . .

























32 comments:

Deacon Nicholas said...

There's room for all of us, brother.

Unknown said...

And less anyone assume/think that confessional Lutherans would never think of such "ornamentation" they just have to go visit:

St. Paul Lutheran Church, Fort Wayne
St. John Lutheran Church, Amelith, MI
St. John Lutheran Church, Frankenmuth, MI
Hope Lutheran Church, Saint Louis, MO

etc.

It is always sad when Lutherans forget their own unique confessional artistic history and begin to think a "bare" wall is somehow "more Lutheran" than a richly ornamented space set aside for Divine Service of Word and Sacrament, and almost wear it as a badge of honor and piety.

Paul McCain
Saint Louis, MO

Anonymous said...

Rev. McCain, you are to be held in esteem in the LCMS for putting the most readable Book of Concord (Triglotta) in the hands of the laity. The LCMS is richer for your labors. Not sure any in the synod are fighting for bare walls, though. Despite the hue and cry from the right, pretty much all LCMS liturgical worship looks the same. We have altars, candles, felt banners, LSB, albs and stoles (hey! How about going really confessional and moving to cassocks and long surplices? Seriously! With a clause to allow just cassocks for the few Gnesios...). Our churches continue to be sparsely decorated due to economics. I'm sure we'd all love to worship in a church like St. John the Divine in NYC, but nobody has that kind of money.

What's objected to is pushing the creative envelope liturgically, as Rev. Peters does in encouraging all LCMS churches to buy an inexpensive monstrance. Not only is this practice condemned in the Apology of the Book of Concord, it has no Lutheran doctrinal or liturgical tradition behind it.

Chris said...

Paul McCain came out in defense of religious imagery? The sky must be falling. For every encounter I had with that dimwitted excuse for a Lutheran pastor (especially a self-styled "confessional" one), I would never suspect he would actually endorse the use of icons in the church.

Carl Vehse said...

Lutheran churches may also have painted images. For example, here is St. Nicolai in Jessen (north of Leipzig and Dresden). The first Lutheran service was held on February 14, 1522.

Above the altar is the Lord's Supper. In the front of the Kanzelaltar is Christ, with Andrew and james the Younger on the left, James the Elder and John. On the left is Moses, and above him are Peter and James. On the right, above John the Baptist, are the Apostle John and Martin Luther. At the top is Christ between two angels.

Carl Vehse said...

Painted images also appear in the Roskilde Cathedral, in the city of Roskilde on the Island of Zealand (Sjælland) in eastern Denmark. Roskilde is a cathedral of the Lutheran Church of Denmark (which is more Lufauxan nowadays).

Here is the altar and pulpit. I have no idea who is represented on either side of the door to the pulpit.

Anonymous said...

I don't believe that we don't have the money. We find the money for all sorts of non-essential things.

Maybe I'm using a different translation, couldn't find the word "monstrance" in the AAC.

Are you referring to Pr. Peters' recent comment on Gottesdienst? If so, did you listen to that episode of the podcast?

Joanne said...

A recurrent daydream of a CPH publication titled, "Lutheran Iconography, 1500 to the present." It's a large, full-color, coffee table sized picture book. It is in five volumes, one each for the 5 centuries of Lutheran art. A work commissioned of the arts faculties of all the Concordias. Accompanied by a dedicated website of Lutheran liturgical art. Articles on the influence of the Swiss Reformation iconoclasm, the Counter-Reformation, the 30 Years War, Pietism, Rationalism, Napoleon, Unionism, American sectarianism, etc. Featuring the art styles of the Late Gothic (the remarkable Lutheran retention of the received art of the High Gothic), German Renaissance, Baroque, Rococo, Classical, Neo styles, Jugendstil, modern, American vernacular, etc. Would make a great core for a serial publication. It's just a dream.

Pastor Peters said...

To Anonymous: like St. John the Divine. . .
My Comment: I have been there several times and it is not all that ornate; other churches in NYC are much more elaborate. . .

To Anonymous: nobody has that kind of money. . .
My Comment: We have plenty of money for what we value -- look at the parking lots of our churches and you will find $$$$ spent on vehicles that do more than get us where we need to go. I am not suggesting that we go broke on ornamentation but good liturgical art will last for generations and will be a blessing and witness to all who see it. We find the money for what we value. If we don't value liturgical art, we won't find the money for it.

To Anonymous: pushing the creative envelope liturgically, as Rev. Peters does in encouraging all LCMS churches to buy an inexpensive monstrance. . .
My Comment: What??? When have I ever suggested any Lutheran purchase a monstrance? I am not at all sure you know what a monstrance or a luna holder is but you will never find Larry Peters suggesting that any Lutheran purchase one. . .

To Chris: Paul McCain came out in defense of religious imagery? The sky must be falling. For every encounter I had with that dimwitted excuse for a Lutheran pastor (especially a self-styled "confessional" one), I would never suspect he would actually endorse the use of icons in the church.
My Comment: I do not know which Paul McCain you are talking about but my friend Paul is hardly a dimwit, in fact one of the most knowledgeable people I know and a great friend of confessional Lutheranism in liturgy, worship, liturgical art, music in service to the Word, and accessible theological works of the great Lutheran fathers for our time (I think perhaps single handedly here). I think you do a disservice to Paul and his great contributions not only to our own Synod but for Lutheranism as a whole. More people read his Concordia: The Lutheran Confessions than any other printed copy of the Lutheran Symbols. My own parish has sold dozens and dozens to our people at a great price, too, by the way.

To Joanne: A recurrent daydream of a CPH publication titled, "Lutheran Iconography. . .
My Comments: You betcha! That would be my dream as well. No pix but you can look over a fine CPH reprint on the subject: Christian Art: In the Place and in the Form of Lutheran Worship by Kretzmann. Check it out! They have a couple of coffee table size books on the Reformation with scads of pictures. If people would buy it, I just know Paul McCain and CPH would be interested. Who could put it together???? Got any suggestions???

Anonymous said...

"Wooden tabernacles are available with locking doors and worthy symbolism for a few hundred dollars and others at cost points nearly every congregation can afford."

"They will not...make us into Papists who teach that consecrated wafers should be locked up in the pyx or be carried about in procession and presented for everyone to worship. We fundamentally and bluntly condemn that."
(ABOC, 443)

Anonymous said...

The big box non-denoms love their “nothingburger” worship space that harkens back to the OT prohibition against graven images which led to the doctrine of iconoclasts.

“You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.”

Andreas Karlstadt is alive and well in much of American Christianity. What a pity.

Pastor Peters said...

Quote: "They will not...make us into Papists who teach that consecrated wafers should be locked up in the pyx or be carried about in procession and presented for everyone to worship. We fundamentally and bluntly condemn that."
(ABOC, 443)

Presented for worship is the key phrase you are missing. First of all, a pyx is simply a host box and is not a synonym for tabernacle. The pyx is what held the host as it was distributed to the sick. While some interpolate the two, a distinction should be made. Second, the issue being addressed is not the taking of the sacrament to the sick but the practice of adoring the sacrament apart from its use, indeed, to replace that use or reception with adoration. This is what it means that apart from the use there is no sacrament. In other words, if the host is adored but not received, the use or intention of Christ is left unfulfilled and therefore it is no sacrament. Finally, it is a mad stretch to make the huge jump between reservation for use (for distribution to the sick, for example) and carrying it around in procession to be adored but not received.

Furthermore, what is the reliquae? What is that which has been set apart by the Word of Christ but not yet consumed? Luther insists that it is not just bread anymore. So what is more faithful, keeping the consecrated hosts not consumed in the distribution in an old cool whip container in the sacristy marked with a post it note or setting it aside FOR USE in a more worthy place? Either way, we are reserving the sacrament by keeping the consecrated and unconsecrated distinct. The question is better set in how we should do this and what is worthy of Christ.

It is a fool's errand to make anything impossible for it to be abused and the best remedy for abuse is faithful use and faithful teaching to preserve that faithful use. Apparently we have not been so successful in this since Jesus is kept in Tupperware or Rubbermaid or some used food container in many Lutheran sacristies.

But you have missed the whole point of this particular post and have insisted upon turning it into a discussion of something neither mentioned nor intimated by what I wrote.

Unknown said...

I have spent many years studying the use of the visual arts by Luther and his colleagues and continuing into the age of the Lutheran Confessions and Lutheran Orthodoxy and, by far, the very best book, so far, written on these issues is this one:

A Magnificent Faith: Art and Identity in Lutheran Germany by Bridget Heal

It is absolutely a remarkable tour de force, and fascinatingly, proves beyond any shadow of doubt that there was one image in particular, represented graphically in paintings and then in sculpture, that identified and marked a confessional Lutheran congregation: the Crucifix.

Here is a link to the book on Amazon:

https://www.amazon.com/Magnificent-Faith-Identity-Lutheran-Germany/dp/0198737572/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1538568764&sr=8-1&keywords=lutheran+art+bridget

Highly recommended!!

P.T. McCain
STL, MO

Lutheran Lurker said...

So, Pastor Peters, are you saying that the cool whip container you mentioned is itself a pyx?!

Anonymous said...

It's really sad that some are so afraid of Papism that they would rather either be Receptionists or desecrate the Holy things. Or worse, the belief in the Real Presence is lip service covering Sacramentarianism. Lord, have mercy.

Anonymous said...

Rev. Peters, here is the Book of Concord on the matter of tabernacles, pyxs, etc.

SD VII:
"15]For apart from the use, when the bread is laid aside and preserved in the sacramental vessel [the pyx], or is carried about in the procession and exhibited, as is done in popery, they do not hold that the body of Christ is present."

The historic Lutheran practice is to count out the wafers beforehand to match the announced communicants, and/or to consume what is left over.

Jacob Andreae:

"And when it is not eaten nor drunk, then we believe that the bread and the wine have not been united mystically with the body and blood of Christ, for without this utilization the bread and wine in themselves are not sacraments."

Anonymous said...

When Simon Wolferinus, pastor in Eisleben, mixed the remainder of the consecrated elements with unconsecrated elements in 1543, Luther wrote him two very serious letters of reprimand and even remarked in them: "Perhaps you want people to think that you are a Zwinglian," so that it almost seems that Luther believed the consecrated elements are still the body and blood of Christ even outside of their appointed use. However, that it only appears this way [and] that Luther instead reprimanded this procedure so seriously only because it gave an evil appearance and could cause offense—this is shown by Luther's judgment in a different case. Specifically, when hosts were burned in the following year because a preacher had mixed consecrated ones with unconsecrated ones and used them, Luther wrote to Amsdorf: "It would actually have been unnecessary to burn them, because nothing is a Sacrament apart from the actual use, just as baptismal water is not Baptism apart from its use."

(C.F.W. Walther, Pastoral Theology, Concordia Publishing House, 2017, p. 221)

Anonymous said...

Re: SDVII, did you miss "Apart from the use"?

Those who reverently reserve for the homebound are NOT laying aside the bread APART from the use. They are laying aside FOR the use.

To deny this possibility is to deny the universal practice of the church from at least 155 A.D. (Justin Martyr, 1st Apology) to reserve for those not in attendance.


Re: Andreae, not relevant either way. Those reserving are reserving for eating and drinking.

Re: Walther, what an idiot the old Luther was then to lap up mere wine off the floor. Indeed worse than idiotic, this act taught more visibly and viscerally than any words to those present a doctrine obstensibly at odds with the proper understanding of the Sacrament.

Walther a receptionist? Didn't know that, but not that surprising.

Unknown said...



I checked the German word in FC SD VII which was rendered "pyx" in the Triglotta and hence the Concordia edition. It is "Sakramenthäuslein," literally translated: "Little Sacrament House" which is incorrectly translated as "pyx" by the Triglotta.

It is better rendered "Tabernacle" ... that ornate little "house" used in the Roman Church as a part of their altar where they reserve and store consecrated hosts for the purpose of worship and adoration outside the proper use of the Sacrament, the practice condemned in the Formula of Concord.

We will note this for the next printing of the Concordia Edition and correct the mistranslation.

PTMcCain

Unknown said...

Pr. Peters,

I can understand that Paul McCain is a friend of yours and a brother clergyman. But I stand by my appraisal of him. In years past whenever I have engaged him and some of his ridiculous stances, he doesn't debate, he just hurls invective and yells like a little kid who knows he can't win so he just tries to be loud. I'm glad your congregation has bought CPH editions of the Confessions, but that's not due to anything he contributed. He is dimwitted. And when he was head of CPH his presence did a lot of damage to the Lutheran brand. --Chris

Pastor Peters said...

Chris,

Paul was head of CPH at a difficult time but, no matter whatever personal animosity you may have toward him, it is impossible to deny that he is one of the primary people responsible for the rebirth of Lutheran identity at a time when many were predicting CPH would become the Lifeway of the LCMS. I remain ever so thankful for his leadership in restoring CPH as the leading publisher of confessional Lutheran resources for church, school, and home.

I appreciate Paul's clarification on the matter of pyx. Even then, the issue clearly addressed by the reformers has been abuse. The tabernacle and reservation for us has a long history in Christendom dating back to the first century and thereafter (Irenaeus, Justin Martyr, and Tertullian). The abuse, in which adoration came to substitute for reception, dates later, perhaps well into the Middle Ages. Like Lutherans did in separating abuse from the Mass, abuse can be separated from reservation FOR USE.

Anonymous said...

Interesting that Franz Pieper in CD vol. 3 also equates Sakramenthaeuslein with pyx:

F. C. 649,15: „Außer der Nießung (extra usum ), so man das Brot beiseits legt und behält's im Sakramenthäuslein (in pixide) oder in der Prozession ...

The 1983 CTCR Lord's Supper document states that the words of institution must be spoken over the elements in the presence of the home bound recipient, so I'm not sure the theology of reservation is even Lutheran anyways.

Luther was perfectly consistent in lapping up the spilled wine, since it was during the "use" (from consecration to reception) of the sacrament. As in Walther's example above, it also piously avoids giving offense to 16th century Christians used to transubstantiation that the Lutherans were somehow Zwinglians.

Pastor Peters said...

The issue is use -- does use mean reception at that moment (receptionism), reception within the Divine Service (time limited presence) or reception itself -- whenever that occurs. By the way, saying that outside the use there is no sacrament does not necessarily mean Christ is not present in the element set apart by His Word but only that there is sacrament -- no benefit -- without reception it is watching a meal that you do not eat and therefore you do not benefit from the food.

Funny how this, which has nothing to do with post above, has become quite the topic of conversation. I have no quarrel with consumption at the end of the service but I cannot see how reservation for reception is an abuse of the sacrament, especially in light of its consistent history in East and in West from the earliest of days. Of course, you would use the Words of Institution -- because in this day and age a goodly number of Christians believe and confess that there is nothing of what the Lord promises, merely bread and grape juice. We want there to be confidence that this is what His Word declares.

I might suggest that having hundreds or thousands or perhaps millions of private masses a week in which a pastor (who typically does NOT commune) has a Divine Service for one communicant alone -- well, that is not exactly salutary either. Do those pastors cleanse the vessels and consume what remains? Do they give in the home the attendant respect and honor due those precious means of grace? Much concern is given about the potential for abusing reservation FOR USE (how many times do I need to note that) but how much concern for the abuse of the private mass with a single communicant (and a non-communing celebrant)?? For some oldies, that was, sadly, a common malady even on Sunday mornings in some Lutheran churches. Pastors presided but did not commune at all. We have plenty of goofiness to repent of and yet reservation for use has history and theology on its side as a legitimate and authentic practice -- even for a confessional Lutheran.

Unknown said...

It is interesting that Pieper chose to put the word "pixide" next to the German "Sakramenthäuslein" I'm not sure why he would do this since the word in the Latin translation of the Formula is"sacrario," the Tabernacle. It is odd to me that Pieper would not use the actual vocabulary of the Latin translation of the Solid Declaration.

Is it possible Pieper was looking only at the German text? He may have only had either a Dresden 1580 German BOC (the original) or a later German edition in front of him, as I suspect he did.

The word "pyx" is clearly incorrect, as is easily demonstrated by its usage in contemporary sermons by Lutherans condemning the Papist practices of carrying the Sacrament around in elaborate Tabernacles and Monstrances, etc.

PTM
STL

Anonymous said...

"The 1983 CTCR Lord's Supper document states that the words of institution must be spoken over the elements in the presence of the home bound recipient, so I'm not sure the theology of reservation is even Lutheran anyways."

Consecration that took place at the Altar on the previous Sunday does not preclude saying the Words of Institution with the homebound.

Even if the Verba weren't spoken, are you saying this would not be the Sacrament, when these elements were consecrated with the intent of them being consumed by the communicant?

I really don't honestly see how you refuse to see that reserving for a homebound communicant is within the intended use of the Sacrament.

So you are a receptionist. You say Luther lapped up wine just so those present wouldn't think we were Zwinglians.

Besides all that, are we more worried about being "Lutheran" (read non-Papist, non-Zwinglian) or of one holy, Catholic, Apostolic church? I'll stick with Justin Martyr etc., and not the CTCR.

Anonymous said...

"Luther was perfectly consistent in lapping up the spilled wine, since it was during the "use" (from consecration to reception) of the sacrament. As in Walther's example above, it also piously avoids giving offense to 16th century Christians used to transubstantiation that the Lutherans were somehow Zwinglians."

This doesn't work. This makes the Real Presence contingent on our opinions. Think it through.

According to your logic, had Luther not lapped *it* up, *it* wouldn't have been according to the proper use, therefore, no Presence. He then could've mopped *it* up later (this pains me to even write). But since he did lap *it* up, you say it was within the use, therefore, Presence.

This isn't some sort of quantum mechanical uncertainty principle. Verbum Dominum manet in æternum.

Anonymous said...

Lutherans quote the fathers when they are correct. Justin Martyr is not Jesus. I am no receptionist, since the CTCR wisely notes that both consecrationism and receptionism are incorrect. Listen to Jakob Andreae, the author of the Book of Concord:

"Wherefore, just as in baptism the substance of the water is not changed but the grace of the Holy Spirit is present together with the water and acts to regenerate, so it also occurs in the Lord’s Supper. The substance of the bread and wine remains unchanged; but together with the bread and wine the body and blood of Christ are present and distributed not only to those who are worthy, but also to those who are unworthy. Indeed, in this manner it is done so that (as the Apostle witnesses) both receive the body and blood: the former, the worthy ones to salvation, while the latter, the unworthy ones to condemnation. In addition, it is indeed known by everyone that the Word of God receives His own body from the flesh and from the blood of the most blessed Virgin Mary. If, however, the bread should be changed into the body of Christ and the wine into the blood of Christ, the Lord might run the risk of having two bodies, the one received from the flesh and the blood of the Ever-Virgin and the other which was transubstantiated from bread and wine. Moreover, if such a change should happen to occur, it would follow from this that whatever might happen to the bread and the wine in the Holy Supper, it would be imperative that the same change might happen to occur in the body and blood of Christ.

"Certainly in the same manner, as we say, if indeed a part of the bread which was sanctified should be thrown into the fire (which has been maliciously done by impious persons, as is witnessed by history), the body of Christ would be consumed by fire. However, if the wine should be poured out from the cup and swallowed up by the earth, the blood of Christ would be spilled [sacrilegiously] and swallowed up by the earth; and in either case it is an absurdity. Yet by expressing it in this manner, we in no way deny that the body and blood of Christ is truly present in the Holy Eucharist. For in this, being supported by the Divine Word, we vehemently oppose those among us who speak against it. For we truly believe that the bread and wine are present together with the body and blood of the Lord and are distributed to all the communicants. For then, indeed, at that time the Lord’s body and blood are distributed when we conform to this commandment of Christ: “Eat ye, drink ye.” And when it is not eaten nor drunk, then we believe that the bread and the wine have not been united mystically with the body and blood of Christ, for without this utilization the bread and wine in themselves are not sacraments."

Anonymous said...

So you're pro Semper Virgo?

Daniel G. said...

Yes Virgin before, during, and after the birth of our Lord.

Anonymous said...

Daniel, thanks for your comment, but it was addressed to the Anonymous commenter who quoted Andreae.

Anonymous said...

I would encourage Rev. McCain to do a series of guest posts on A Magnificent Faith: Art and Identity in Lutheran Germany, by Bridget Heal. Rev. McCain is correct in pointing out that Lutherans emphasized imagery of the crucifix and the Last Supper in art, since the chief article of Christianity is justification by faith alone, accomplished by Christ on the cross. Rather than posting images of Orthodox imagery and inviting Lutherans to admire/emulate another tradition, why not educate Lutherans on the vast richness of Lutheran art? And it's not just Durer and Cranach, just as all Lutheran music is not just Bach. Heinrich Hofmann's "Christ in Gethsemane" from the 19th century (reproduced in stained glass in my childhood church) is arguably the greatest Lutheran painting. Also a tour de force is Joseph Koerner's "The Reformation of the Image." Koerner studies Lutheran art from Durer to Friedrich, and is a professor of art history at Harvard University. Both books do a ton of research into German language sources that are often inaccessible to the majority of American academics.

Joanne said...

Paul McCain brought my attention to this Lutheran church in Germany, many years ago:
https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marienkirche_(Wolfenbüttel)