Thursday, October 22, 2009

A Russian Icon

Russian Icon, at the Saint Louis University Museum of Art, in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - Saints Zosim and Savvatti

Saints Zosim and Savvatti are depicted on this Russian Orthodox icon, at the Saint Louis University Museum of Art. These Saints founded the Solovetsky monastery on the White Sea in the 15th century.

7 comments:

  1. I just don't get why Catholics would have put an Icon in a museum, seems rather, umm, well, its just plain sacrilegious.

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  2. I am sure Mark can speak for more authoritatively about this than I but a little simple research finds that this Icon is from a collection owned privately by a Doctor in St.Louis and who is allowing his collection to be displayed at the Museum so its not a "what Catholics do" issue in my opinion.

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  3. Saint Louis University is supposed to be a Catholic university, hence by statment about why Catholics do these things.

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  4. As ordinary people are encouraged to have icons in their homes for veneration, certainly there would seem not to a prohibition against the sale and purchase of icons.

    Canonically, Catholics are prohibited from selling blessed objects, and selling a blessed object removes any indulgences attached to their sacramental use. Of course, they could be re-blessed. Whether this is divine law or merely disciplinary law I do not know. I don't know the situation in the Orthodox Churches.

    Obviously, these are sacramental objects worthy of veneration, and so a museum is probably not the highest and best place for these. It may be a good thing that these are exposed to the general public who otherwise would never see an icon: but this is certainly a more liberal view. A major problem is that museums often have an implied historicism: anything in a museum is considered 'dead' and of no relevance to viewers, which is not the case for the holy icons.

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  5. Having interned at the university museum during my time at SLU, I can assure you that those in charge of the museum fully appreciate the works in their collection both sacramentally and artistically. I agree that it would be best if it were in a sacred place for veneration, but both the director and curator of the museum from my experience realize the importance of icons such as this one. Through their exhibits and collections they seek to highlight the beauty of icons and other sacramental objects while emphasizing their sacramental, historical, and cultural significance.

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  6. The SLU museum(s) clearly do not appreciate the "works" in their collection, as the Jesuit missions collection has relics of the true cross and of many Holy Saints in plain glass cases with no call for those in the museum to observe respectful silence or to venerate the relics therein. Clearly, Holy objects belong in reliquaries and rooms for veneration rather than museum halls.

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  7. Are Russian Orthodox saints properly referred to as Saints by Roman Catholics? Just asking.

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