Christian Humanist Profiles 98: Icons in the Western Church

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The difference between Eastern and Western traditions of Christianity is made visible by many marks, but none more distinctly than the Eastern icon. Their regular visual style, following ancient and set patterns, pulls against the instinct of Western art toward originality and novelty. The responses they evoke from Eastern Christians push beyond what Western sensibilities permit. Yet often icons may now be seen in Western Christian spaces, in churches and in homes. What might the icon mean in a Western Christian setting? Do we need to adopt Eastern doctrines or categories along with the icons? Or might there be ways that Western Christians—Roman Catholics, but also Protestants—can find points of contact in their own theological traditions to make their encounter with icons more spiritually fruitful? In this episode of Christian Humanist Profiles, David Grubbs interviews Sr. Jeana Visel, Dean of School of Theology Programs at St. Meinrad Seminary and School of Theology in St. Meinrad, ID, and author of Icons in the Western Church: Toward a More Sacramental Encounter (Liturgical Press, 2016).

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