Christain Wall Icons
At home, icons play an important role in Eastern Orthodox Christain spirituality. On entering an Orthodox home, icons act as a greeting. They are honored on a wall, the icons extend an invitation to lift ones heart toward heaven. Icons can help you stay focused when you are praying to God. They are like windows to Heaven or making the invisible visible and are directly connected to the actual presence of God.
Icons tell a story just like a book dose but only if you
will read it or you have been told about it. If you know nothing about a certain book it is only a book with pages but if you have read the book and understand the book it becomes more than a book made of paper. This is like an Icon, it tells a story and if you have never heard this story or ever even heard how you can use a Icon, it could seam as to someone as only a piece of wood or object just as the book you know nothing about.
Same with an Icon of a Saint if you do not know about this saints life and why they are a saint it would appear to be just a unknown picture to someone who only looks at it with no knowledge of what you are seeing. If most everyone saw a Cross you would most likely know the story and what it stands for even if your not a Christian because the Cross is the most popular Icon and you know the story. So when you understand a certain icon, it will help you to start to understand how a Christian can use a Icon in their Christian Life.
A Icon is a Christian tool just like the Bible and both were put together by the Church to help Christians on their Christian journey thru this earthly life. An Icon simply means image and it refers to sacred images, specifically those made in the Orthodox Christian tradition with set rules and as a visual expression of the Word of God.
Prayer Icons in the Home
Icons have been said to be "portals into heaven," but to an Orthodox Christian, an Icon is much more and this. They create a sacred space. The definition of the word "Icon" extends to not just the traditional way we think of Icons but can be fresco's on walls, or even coins and medallions. Icons have provided great spiritual aid to Christian believers and are vessels, whereby we can have communion in the broad sense of the word with the Divine. Icons require great respect and honor. Icons are created for liturgical use and private prayer. Icons project an intense psychological presence.
In an Orthodox Christian home, Icons are never placed "around" the house, but are reserved to a special corner and that is called the "beautiful corner" (Krasniy Ugo). In a Russian Orthodox Christian home, one corner, called the krasny ugol, the "red" or "beautiful" corner displays icons. Here, by tradition, a large central icon is draped by a colorful embroidered cloth and graced with a lampada, or vigil lamp burning before it. An analoy, or icon stand, would support a small icon and a bible, or cross. The beautiful corner is on the east wall of a room.
The life of an Orthodox Christian is one of prayer. The purpose of all life is to be filled with the Holy Spirit and to become one with Christ. As St.Peter told in his letter that we are to become partakers of the Divine Nature. When an Orthodox Christain prays at their beautiful corner there are ikons, a palmbranch or pussywillowis from Palm Sunday, a red egg from Pascha, and a bottle of holy water from the Church. There is a prayer book, an open Bible with a set of Byzantine prayer beads and a lampada, or vigil lamp burning before it. You will see an Icon of Jesus or the Holt Trinity include in an Orthodox Christain Prayer Corner with our Saviour elevated above the others and the Mother of God below Him. Most Theotokos Icons have baby Jesus with her.