John-of-Damascus_01St Basil says: “Honouring the image leads to the prototype”.

If you raise churches to the saints of God, raise also their trophies.

[…] From the time that God the Word became flesh He is as we are in everything except sin, and of our nature, without confusion.

He has deified our flesh forever, and we are in very deed sanctified through His Godhead and the union of His flesh with it.

And from the time that God, the Son of God, impassible by reason of His Godhead, chose to suffer voluntarily He wiped out our debt, also paying for us a most full and noble ransom.

We are truly free through the sacred blood of the Son pleading for us with the Father.

And we are indeed delivered from corruption since He descended into hell to the souls detained there through centuries and gave the captives their freedom, sight to the blind, and chaining the strong one.

He rose in the plenitude of His power, keeping the flesh of immortality which He had taken for us.

And since we have been born again of water and the Spirit, we are truly sons and heirs of God.

Hence St Paul calls the faithful holy; hence we do not grieve but rejoice over the death of the saints.

[…] We are not held by the letter of the law, nor do we serve as children, but, grown into the perfect estate of man, we are fed on solid food, not on that which conduces to idolatry.

The law is good as a light shining in a dark place until the day breaks. Your hearts have already been illuminated, the living water of God’s knowledge has run over the tempestuous seas of heathendom, and we may all know God.

The old creation has passed away, and all things are renovated.

[…] Of old they who did not know God, worshipped false gods. But now, knowing God, or rather being known by Him, how can we return to bare and naked rudiments?

I have looked upon the human form of God, and my soul has been saved. I gaze upon the image of God, as Jacob did, though in a different way.

Jacob sounded the note of the future, seeing with immaterial sight, whilst the image of Him who is visible to flesh is burnt into my soul.

The shadow and winding sheet and relics of the apostles cured sickness, and put demons to flight. How, then, shall not the shadow and the statues of the saints be glorified?

John Damascene (c.675-749): Against Those Who Deny Holy Images, pp 24-27.

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