Pictures, Worship of in Churches

Pictures, Worship Of In Churches The use of paintings and images in churches was introduced as early as the commencement of the 4th century, but was speedily condemned by a council held at Illiberis, in Spain, A.D. 305. Individual writers also dulrig this century bore their testimony against the practice in question. Eusebius of Caesarea, at the beginning of the century, and Epiphanius of Salamis, towards the close of it, denounced the practice as heathenish and unscriptural (see Milner's Hist. of the Church. volume 4, chapter 13, page 423). Nevertheless the practice of hanging up pictures of saints and martyrs, as well as symbolical representations of Scripture histories, prevailed in the 5th century. No images of God or representations of the Holy Trinity were tolerated in churches till after the second Nicene council. Pictures of Scripture scenes were hung on the walls of churches at first to aid those who could not read. The idolatrous devotion with Which the Papists bow down before the images and paintings of the dead is a consequence of this practice. SEE IMAGE-WORSHIP. Besides, the pictures are used by the Romanists for working upon the superstitious belief of the masses. Thus Seymour tells us the following in: his Pilgrinmage: "There is scarcely an incidenlt in the life of our Lord that has not its rival incident or parallel in the legendary life of Mary. For example, a picture represents an angel announcing to Mary the miraculous conception of the Messiah; it is rivalled by another representing an angel alnnouncing to Anna, the legendary mother of Mary, the miraculous and immaculate conception of Mary in the womb. A picture represents the birth of our Lord; it is paralleled by another representing the nativity or birth of the Virgin Mary. If there is one representing our Lord sitting on the throne and bearing the crown as King of kings, there is a rival picture representing Mary sitting oil the same throne, bearing the sceptre, and wearing the crown as Queen of heaven. There are two classes of miraculous pictures. One class comprehends those which are said to have had a miraculous origin; that is, to have been painted in part or in whole by no human hands, lbut by an angel, or some mysterious visitant from the world of spirits. The second class of miraculous pictures is far more numerous, and comprehends all those which have performed miracles. At the church of St. Giovanni e Paolo, near Rome, is a small picture of the Virgin Mary, which is said to have shed tears on the French invasion of Italy. At Arezzo we were shown a picture in the cathedral church, which wept many tears at the language of some drunkards. It was a Madonna, and the bishop made it the means of collecting sufficient flunds to build a new chapel to commemorate it. In the church of St. Pietro Ale Montorio is a singularly ugly representation of Mary and our Lord. Indeed, it is positively hideous; but an inscription on a marble slab announces that 'this sacred likeness of the mother of God, holding her son and a book, is illustrious for miracles more and more every day.' In St. Peter's, however is a very important one, not only for the miracle, but for its authentication. It is in the subterranean chapel, usually called the Grotto. It is a picture of the Virgin with a mark under the left eye, and the following is the inscription: 'This picture of the Most Holy Virgin Mary, which stood between the pillars of the porch of the ancient Basilica, having been struck by an impious hand, poured forth blood (sanguinem fudit) on the stone, which is now protected by a grating.' On one side is a large stone, on the other are two small stones. All three are covered with a strong iron grating, to preserve them, as on them the blood of this miraculous picture is said to have fallen." See Riddle, Christian Antiquities; Coleman, Christian Antiquities.

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