Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Stunning Icon Exhibit

From GetReligion:

Here’s a curiosity, to say the least, and more: an exhibit  in Moscow, that is very high tech — watch the video here — that celebrates the Revival of Orthodoxy in Russia. (You will see very Orthodox piety on the part of the Russians. The icon venerated near the beginning is the “miraculous Tikhvin icon”–which between 1949 and 2004 the icon was stored in Chicago! It was taken out of Russia for safety by a bishop. It was returned to Russia in 2004. The picture on the official website (in Russian) has a medieval look, and the Orthodox have a reputation for being stuck in time and antiquated, but the exhibit uses the latest video technology to present the story of Russian Orthodoxy. So far, hi-tech has not invaded Orthodox worship space.

What is most moving about the video, perhaps, is the inclusion of footage of Communist church demolitions, and the shocked looks in the eyes of onlookers, especially children.  25 years ago the scene in this video, right in Moscow, was unthinkable. Things do change. How and why? The Soviet Union was not invaded by an enemy, but somehow 70 years of repression of the church, including killings tens of thousands, if not more, because they were Christians, ended almost overnight and one is free to worship and build churches. Before, believers risked arrest and death in the camps by even hanging an icon in their homes; now people openly cross themselves in public whenever they choose, and many do by custom whenever they pass by a church.

Critics of the exhibition complain that this shows Orthodoxy as merely a museum piece, but many churches, like the exhibition, are visited my many young people today and many are living communities of believers.

No comment here.... just go and look... it is amazing!


Anonymous said...

It is an amazing video. An exhibit portraying touch screen technology alongside Orthodox iconography.

Stalin was not able to kill the Christian faith carried in the hearts of believers even when that faith was forced underground.

I, too, was moved by the faces of the children as they saw history of which they were too young to be a part. God bless them.


Janis Williams said...

Amen, Christine.

Terry Maher said...

The last thing Russia needs is a revival of the Russian Orthodox Church. A better picture of what this "revival" is actually like comes from the experience of Lutherans, or for that matter any other religion, at the hands of the ROC as it cozies into a similar relationship to the current Russian state that it once hand under the Tsars.

James said...

I found this video to be profound. To view the destruction of their churches, icons, and holy books was gut wrenching. Yet, the church survived.

I hope Mr. Maher's accusations of the ROC are wrong. I personally don't know. I consider the Orthodox church as part of the Christian church on earth. May our Lord protect them from future persecution.

Chris said...

Terry Maher's bigotry is on full display yet again. Surprise, surprise. Perhaps he looks too much with ease as to the Lutheran church's collaboration with the Third Reich.

But that's not the point either. Men fail--that's a fact. Lutheran men, Orthodox men all fail. Maher's assertion that because Orthodox men may have collaborated with the Tsars or the Communists, then Orthodoxy is itself damaged goods. Do not confuse the faith with the men who fail to practice it. Remember what our Lord said, "By their fruits, you will know them." He did not say, "By their fruits, you will know their religious affiliation or church." But then again, Terry Maher has never let common sense or human decency stop him from impugning the Orthodox Church or the Roman Catholic Church in favor of his own egocentric view as to what the church should be--a vision which, by the way, has never existed in the history of Christendom.

Anonymous said...

From what I've heard it seems to me that the ROC is struggling to defend herself from aggressive proselytizing by Pentecostal/Baptist groups more than Lutherans. I'm not so sure that the old structures that existed under the Tsars are going to be revived.

It is true that men can fail, no matter what tradition they are grounded in. The Lutheran church had some experience with that as well under the Hitler regime which led to the Confessing Church of which Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a member and the Barmen declaration under which faithful German Christians, Lutheran and Reformed, gave witness to the centrality of Jesus Christ against the claims of the state.

God knows his own, no matter what denominational name they claim.


Anonymous said...

Christine wrote:

"From what I've heard it seems to me that the ROC is struggling to defend herself from aggressive proselytizing by Pentecostal/Baptist groups more than Lutherans. I'm not so sure that the old structures that existed under the Tsars are going to be revived."

I have always thought that the Lutherans in Tsarist Russia were not persecuted, but allowed to thrive. Perhaps one day we will see confessional Lutheranism make a huge comeback. I am glad that Russian Pentecostal/Baptist groups are small. Getting in someone's face and telling him that he is going to hell probably doesn't sell well in Russia.

Terry Maher said...

Maybe it would help to stick to the point, or if you want to criticise what I said, then stick to that, instead of musing on what I think about something else.

"Oh yeah well HE did THAT" is playground stuff.

A state church loses the state that formed it, suffers under the state that followed it, now cozies up to the state that followed that one.

"Men fail" and "God knows his own" have nothing to do with it. Of course he does. Nothing was said about that, or to the contrary.

And, if the ROC is the church of Christ, it has Christ's guarantee and does not need to "struggle" against anything with repressive measures.