Why Romanian Hand-Painted Icons Are Treasured by Byzantine Catholics
Some of the most beautiful artwork on earth involves religious paintings. Take the amazingly beautiful frescoes painted by none other than Michelangelo. These are the reason that literally millions of visitors have made the journey to Rome over the centuries. They depict biblical scenes as viewed through the eyes of one of the world’s most renowned artists and have even led many non-believers to the faith. This is also why Romanian hand-painted icons are treasured among the faithful.
Romanian hand-painted icons are a labor of love
One of the things that many Byzantine Catholics understand is that every icon hand-painted by Romanian artists is a labor of love. Yes, those icons are for sale and sometimes the more popular icons are copied and sold to the masses. With that said, original Romanian hand-painted icons are treasured because love and inspiration went into each and every one. This is something only a believer tends to see. Hand-painted icons are seldom painted for their monetary value and are almost always painted through the eyes of faith.
What is the difference between icons and statues?
This is where it can get a little confusing. An icon is a two-dimensional representation of a biblical event or person whereas statues are three-dimensional and are carved, chiseled, or sculpted. Over the years, there has been a lot of misunderstanding as to why Eastern rites use mostly icons whereas Western rites heavily rely on statues with a good mix of icons as well. Somehow it was rumored that all Eastern rites say statues are sacrilegious because people worship them. That isn’t the case at all. It is their worry that people might tend to worship the statue rather than the saint they depict but it has never been ruled that statues are not allowed. Eastern rites like the Byzantines often use both statues and icons as symbols of their faith.
Byzantine Catholics in union with the Roman Catholic Church
Here is something else that many people don’t quite understand. Although the Byzantine church is an Eastern rite, they are still in communion with the Roman Catholic church. They are in union with the Pope and not the Eastern (Orthodox) patriarch and as such can receive Holy Communion in Roman Catholic masses. Conversely, Roman Catholics can participate in Eucharist in the Byzantine church as well. They are different rites but united under one pope, the pope of the Vatican, the pope of the Roman Catholic Church. Both recognize the bread and wine as the body and blood of the Lord Jesus Christ and not as a mere remembrance like so many of the protestant faiths believe it to be.
Are you looking for the perfect gift for a Byzantine friend? If so, hand-painted religious icons would make a perfect choice. They represent the life of Christ and other biblical saints and angels. While a mass-produced copy would be okay, a hand-painted icon as a labor of love would be highly treasured.