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On the Miraculous Images. Chapter 8: Image-Worship And Other Superstitious Practices Of The Graeco-Russian Church
It is almost superfluous to observe that a church which has such a hold on the national mind of Russia must be a powerful engine in the hands of her Imperial Pope, whose political authority is thus immensely strengthened by the influence of religion. But I think it will be, perhaps, not uninteresting to my readers to compare this baptised idolatry of the modern Russians with that which had been practised by their unbaptised ancestors about a thousand years ago, and the following account of which is given by Ibn Foslan, an Arabian traveller of the tenth century, who saw Russian merchants in the country of the Bulgars, a Mahometan nation who lived on the banks of the Volga, and the ruins of whose capital may be seen not far from the town of Kazan.
47 min read
On the Miraculous Images. Chapter 7: Analysis Of The Pagan Rites And Practices Which Have Been Retained By The Roman Catholic As Well As The Græco-Russian Church
In Candles, Church History, Corruption, Eastern Orthodoxy, Emperors, Forgeries, Hierurgia, History, Holy Water, Idolatry, Images, Incense, Julian the Apostate, Martyrs, Paganism, Roman Catholicism, Syncretism, The Temple, Valentinian I
There is scarcely any ceremony in the Western as well as in the Eastern church, the origin of which cannot be traced to the Pagan worship. I shall limit my observations on this subject to the three following objects, which constitute the most important elements in the divine service performed in those churches, namely,—1. The consecrated water; 2. Lamps and candles; and, 3. Incense; giving the Roman Catholic explanation of their origin, as well as that which I believe to be true.
21 min read
On the Miraculous Images. Chapter 6: Origin And Development Of The Pious Legends, Or Lives Of Saints, During The Middle Ages
It must be admitted, that many saints, whose lives are disfigured by absurd stories of their miracles, were men of great piety, adorned with the noblest virtues, and who gave proofs of the most exalted charity and self-devotion. Unfortunately the honours of saintship have been often bestowed upon such sanguinary monsters as St Dominic, whose shrine would be the most appropriately placed in a temple where human sacrifices are offered.
20 min read
On the Miraculous Images. Chapter 5: Reaction Against The Worship Of Images And Other Superstitious Practices By The Iconoclast Emperors Of The East
Charlemagne says, that there is no harm in having images in a church, provided they are not worshipped; and that the Greeks had fallen into two extremes, one of which was to destroy the images, as had been ordained by the Council of Constantinople, under Constantine Copronymus, and the other to worship them, as was decided by the second Council of Nice under Irene. He censures much more severely this latter extreme than the former, because those who destroyed images had merely acted with levity and ignorance, whilst it was a wicked and profane action to worship them. He compared the first to such as mix water with wine, and the others to those who infuse a deadly poison into it; in short, there could be no comparison between the two cases. He marks, with great precision, the different kinds of worship offered to the images, rejecting all of them.
19 min read
On the Miraculous Images. Chapter 4: Infection Of The Christian Church By Pagan Ideas And Practices During The Fourth And Fifth Centuries
I could produce other evidences to show that the worship of images was condemned by many bishops and priests of the period which I have described, though they approved their use as a means of teaching the illiterate, or tolerated them as an unavoidable evil.
22 min read
On the Miraculous Images. Chapter 3: Position Of The First Christian Emperors Towards Paganism, And Their Policy In This Respect
I have given this sketch of the state of Paganism after the conversion of Constantine, and of the policy which was followed towards it by the first Christian emperors, because it seems to explain, at least to a certain degree, the manner in which Christianity was rapidly corrupted in the fourth and fifth centuries by the Pagan ideas and practices which I shall endeavour to trace in my next chapter.
16 min read
It was easy for the modern reformers to condemn, by an unjust blame, the leaders of the church; they should, however, have acknowledged, that the principal interest of Christianity was to wrest from error the greatest number of its partisans, and that it was impossible to attain this object without providing for the obstinate adherents of the false gods an easy passage from the temple to the church. If we consider that, notwithstanding all these concessions, the ruin of Paganism was accomplished only by degrees and imperceptibly,—that during more than two centuries it was necessary to combat, over the whole of Europe, an error which, although continually overthrown, was incessantly rising again,—we shall understand that the conciliatory spirit of the leaders of the church was true wisdom.
11 min read
On the Miraculous Images. Chapter 1: Origin Of The Worship Of Relics And Images In The Christian Church
It was also very natural that various objects which had belonged to the martyrs were carefully preserved as interesting mementoes, since it is continually done with persons who have acquired some kind of celebrity, and that this should be the case with their bodies, which have often been embalmed. It is, however, impossible, as Calvin has justly observed, to preserve such objects without honouring them in a certain manner, and this must soon degenerate into adoration. This was the origin of the worship of relics, which went on increasing in the same ratio as the purity of Christian doctrines was giving way to the superstitions of Paganism.
10 min read