Pagan beauty vs Christian beauty

  • Christian Chat is a moderated online Christian community allowing Christians around the world to fellowship with each other in real time chat via webcam, voice, and text, with the Christian Chat app. You can also start or participate in a Bible-based discussion here in the Christian Chat Forums, where members can also share with each other their own videos, pictures, or favorite Christian music.

    If you are a Christian and need encouragement and fellowship, we're here for you! If you are not a Christian but interested in knowing more about Jesus our Lord, you're also welcome! Want to know what the Bible says, and how you can apply it to your life? Join us!

    To make new Christian friends now around the world, click here to join Christian Chat.

Simona1988

Active member
Mar 15, 2021
192
133
43
#1
Marcus Aurelius și Iisus Hristos.png

Hi everyone!

Since this Sunday we (the orthodox Christians) will celebrate the triumphant entry of Jesus Christ into Jerusalem, I wanted to submit to your eyes the images above which depict the equestrian statue of Marcus Aurelius (a pagan Roman emperor that lived in the 2nd century A.D.) and the icon of Jesus Christ entering into Jerusalem on a colt. They have been put together by the Romanian icon painter Sorin Dumitrescu in the book Noi și icoana (tr. The icon and us).

Orthodox Christianity is essentially visual: the unseen God of the Jews is finally revealing Himself into the man Jesus Christ; Jesus Christ is for us both God and man. He is God incarnated. Jesus Christ is the icon (John 14:9) and the Word of God. Also, Jesus Christ is the second person of the Holy Trinity. The Holy Trinity is One God, Three Persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

I know that most Christians in here agree with these two statements (1. that God is Holy Trinity and 2. that Jesus Christ is the second person of the Holy Trinity incarnated), but I felt the need to explain this for those who do not know (people who call Jesus Christ "the son of God", without believing that He is God the Son).

The title of the thread could have been "How we expect our leader to look like versus how God chose to present Himself to the world".

Marcus Aurelius' statue is the projection of our (worldly) aspirations: power, success, dominance, confidence, intelligence, sex-appeal, adoration from other people etc. He is the summa of qualities we expect in a leader, a deified (idolized) emperor. Even the horse is parading and seems to be aware of its worth and is showing off.

Jesus Christ, on the other hand, is humble and peaceful, he doesn't show the same skills of riding a horse as Marcus Aurelius. He doesn't ride the colt, He sits on his back in a feminine way. He doesn't greet, doesn't do any gesture to win the people, to conquer/seduce them; compared with Marcus Aurelius, He completely lacks the allure of an emperor. He is the anti-emperor. With the right hand He blesses them and in the left hand he is holding a paper scroll containing the greatest news for the world. The colt is innocent, eating grass, unaware that on its back sits the King of kings.
The throne of God has been temporarily replaced by the back of a colt and soon after, it will be replaced by ... the cross. The same people who yell "Hosanna!" will yell a few days later "Crucify Him!"

Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ enters into Jerusalem, the Lamb of God is carried towards His sacrifice.

"O Thou who ridest on the cherubim and art praised by the seraphim, thou hast sat, O gracious Lord, like David on a foal, and the children honoured Thee with praise fitting for God; but the Jews blasphemed unlawfully against Thee. Thy riding on a foal prefigured how the Gentiles, as yet untamed and uninstructed, were to pass from unbelief to faith. Glory be to Thee, o Christ, who alone art merciful and lovest mankind." (The Triodion).
 

HeIsHere

Well-known member
May 21, 2022
3,297
1,310
113
#2
He sits on his back in a feminine way.

Interesting post, but I disagree with the above statement, I do not think scripture mentions how He sat while ridding the colt just that He did.

And if He did ride side ways then it wasn't because He was being feminine but more likely due to the nature of His clothes.
 

Simona1988

Active member
Mar 15, 2021
192
133
43
#3
The icon represents how the Church sees and understands the entry of Jesus Christ into Jerusalem. It isn't merely a tautologic visual version of the biblical verses depicting the event, but there is more to it. It is full of theological meaning. It is not (only) about an event that took place 2000 years ago, it's about how we receive Christ in our hearts. It has to do with us.

Look how the church expresses this in the liturgic book called the Triodion:

"O Lord, Thou hast raised from the tomb Lazarus who was four days dead, and then has taught us all to cry to Thee with palms and branches: Blessed art Thou that comest."

"With our souls cleansed and in spirit carrying branches, with faith let us sing Christ's praises like the children, crying with a loud voice to the Master: Blessed art Thou, O Saviour, who hast come into the world to save Adam from the ancient curse; and in Thy love for mankind, Thou hast been pleased to become spiritually the new Adam. O Word, who hast ordered all things for our good, glory to Thee."

This way of praising the Lord while at the same time confessing theological truths about Him is called in my church "doxology".

So, the icon has more purposes than just the catechetic one (that of teaching us about the entry of Jesus Christ into Jerusalem); it has the purpose to praise the Lord (and engage us, Christians, in the praising) and it also has an eschatological purpose (to show us the ultimate purpose of Jesus Christ: salvation of mankind).
 

Simona1988

Active member
Mar 15, 2021
192
133
43
#4
As for the way he sits on the colt, the canonic way of representing it is with both feet on one side. Images that represent Him otherwise are rejected by the Church.
 

Niki7

Well-known member
Feb 21, 2023
1,497
534
113
#5
Jesus Christ, on the other hand, is humble and peaceful, he doesn't show the same skills of riding a horse as Marcus Aurelius. He doesn't ride the colt, He sits on his back in a feminine way.
Jesus entered Jerusalem on a young DONKEY. This icon is someone's idea of Jesus? Nonsense

As for the way he sits on the colt, the canonic way of representing it is with both feet on one side. Images that represent Him otherwise are rejected by the Church.
People who were not there have decided how it went down. Of course and since women rode side saddle at a certain time, then of course Jesus must have also. Who cares what the church dictates when they get so much wrong
 

Simona1988

Active member
Mar 15, 2021
192
133
43
#6
Jesus entered Jerusalem on a young DONKEY. This icon is someone's idea of Jesus? Nonsense
As opposed to the religious imagery existing nowadays which represents how people imagine God, the icon represents how God chooses to present Himself to the world.

People who were not there have decided how it went down.
Moses wasn't present at the creation of Adam and Eve, yet, we, the Church, believe him.

Who cares what the church dictates when they get so much wrong
Depends what church we talk about. I care about the Church One (i.e. the unseparated one). I care very much about what they have to say about God because there is no way one can sing in an arena full of lions unless he has the Almighty by his side. So, yes, I care very much about their way of believing.
 

Niki7

Well-known member
Feb 21, 2023
1,497
534
113
#7
"Simona1988, post: 5054169, member: 305956"]As opposed to the religious imagery existing nowadays which represents how people imagine God, the icon represents how God chooses to present Himself to the world.

That is simply not true. Jesus was not effeminate for one thing...are you not aware of the fact that effeminates will not enter heaven?

9 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,

10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. I Cor. 6: 9-11

Why then, does someone paint an icon with an effeminate Jesus?

Moses wasn't present at the creation of Adam and Eve, yet, we, the Church, believe him.

yes, well, neither you nor the church can pull out Moses as contemporary.

Depends what church we talk about. I care about the Church One (i.e. the unseparated one). I care very much about what they have to say about God because there is no way one can sing in an arena full of lions unless he has the Almighty by his side. So, yes, I care very much about their way of believing.

In the Bible, we are not told to please the church. Of course one should the effort to help the church, while realizing that Christ is actually the head of the church.
 

Simona1988

Active member
Mar 15, 2021
192
133
43
#8
That is simply not true. Jesus was not effeminate for one thing...are you not aware of the fact that effeminates will not enter heaven?
I think there's a misunderstanding here. I never said Jesus Christ was effeminate...

Why then, does someone paint an icon with an
effeminate Jesus?
I really don't know what to reply to this... :unsure:. You mean why do they represent him with long hair and both feet on the same side?

yes, well, neither you nor the church can pull out Moses as contemporary.
We consider Moses, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob to be our spiritual contemporaries. During the Holy Liturgy, we believe we, humans, are contemporary with the saints and with the angels. They are part of the victorious church and we are the fighting church.

In the Bible, we are not told to please the church. Of course one should the effort to help the church, while realizing that Christ is actually the head of the church.
The Church is Jesus Christ' project of entering into a new mode of existence. The prefiguration of the kingdom that is to come. I wouldn't despise it if I were you...
 

Eli1

Well-known member
Apr 5, 2022
3,040
996
113
46
#9
Hello @Simona1988 . I see that you’ve been registered here for a while but maybe took a break from posting.
Welcome.
I hope that you will enjoy many of the Protestants here.
 
L

Locoponydirtman

Guest
#10
As opposed to the religious imagery existing nowadays which represents how people imagine God, the icon represents how God chooses to present Himself to the world.



Moses wasn't present at the creation of Adam and Eve, yet, we, the Church, believe him.



Depends what church we talk about. I care about the Church One (i.e. the unseparated one). I care very much about what they have to say about God because there is no way one can sing in an arena full of lions unless he has the Almighty by his side. So, yes, I care very much about their way of believing.
I am so glad to read that someone else also lobes the church; not just the present visible denomination and local congregation, but the whole church, from Saints of old, and martyrs of the faith. We are one with them if we are in the faith.
Jesus sat passively upon a colt rather than to ride as a soldier. Interesting bit of history there.
 

ResidentAlien

Well-known member
Apr 21, 2021
7,430
3,087
113
#11
Since this Sunday we (the orthodox Christians) will celebrate the triumphant entry of Jesus Christ into Jerusalem,
What do you mean by "orthodox Christians?" You said in your post #6: "I care about the Church One (i.e. the unseparated one)." What church are we talking about here exactly?
 

Simona1988

Active member
Mar 15, 2021
192
133
43
#12
What do you mean by "orthodox Christians?" You said in your post #6: "I care about the Church One (i.e. the unseparated one)." What church are we talking about here exactly?
I belong nominally to the Eastern Orthodox Church. The Church One is the Church before the Great Schism.

I am ecumenical and believe we should all (this includes my Orthodox Christian brothers and sisters) return to the sources of Christianity in order to understand our faith and know the real, living God.
 

ResidentAlien

Well-known member
Apr 21, 2021
7,430
3,087
113
#13
I belong nominally to the Eastern Orthodox Church. The Church One is the Church before the Great Schism.

I am ecumenical and believe we should all (this includes my Orthodox Christian brothers and sisters) return to the sources of Christianity in order to understand our faith and know the real, living God.
Ahh, okay. By orthodox Christian then you apparently mean Orthodox Catholic. This is quite a different thing than orthodox Christianity.
 

Simona1988

Active member
Mar 15, 2021
192
133
43
#14
Ahh, okay. By orthodox Christian then you apparently mean Orthodox Catholic. This is quite a different thing than orthodox Christianity.
No, it's not. When the Church separated, the western one took the name "catholic" and the other one (the eastern one) took the name "orthodox".

Catholic means "universal" and orthodox means "correct worship".
 

ResidentAlien

Well-known member
Apr 21, 2021
7,430
3,087
113
#15
No, it's not. When the Church separated, the western one took the name "catholic" and the other one (the eastern one) took the name "orthodox".

Catholic means "universal" and orthodox means "correct worship".
A lot of people call it Eastern or Greek Orthodox to distinguish it from Roman Catholicism but the official name is Orthodox Catholic Church.
 

posthuman

Senior Member
Jul 31, 2013
36,359
13,013
113
#16
Interesting post, but I disagree with the above statement, I do not think scripture mentions how He sat while ridding the colt just that He did.

And if He did ride side ways then it wasn't because He was being feminine but more likely due to the nature of His clothes.
People who were not there have decided how it went down. Of course and since women rode side saddle at a certain time, then of course Jesus must have also. Who cares what the church dictates when they get so much wrong
you guys are misunderstanding. Simona pointed out an aspect of the iconography -- this type of art communicates in a language of symbols. the artist deliberately chose a meek & lowly riding posture to communicate our Lord's character when He humbled Himself to become a man and serve us, rather than come in glory and power to be served.

it is not meant to be representative of how Jesus actually physically sat nor is it in any way meant to challenge His manhood, but to teach through imagery things about His person and works.
 

Simona1988

Active member
Mar 15, 2021
192
133
43
#17
Exactly! He doesn't seek to comply to our worldly ideas and expectations of how a king should look like. Although Jesus Christ is being loyal to the prophecy of Zechariah (Zechariah, 9:9), it looks like His own people forgot it or believe it's just... I don't know... a verse to be commented in synagogues, not a reality to be fulfilled.
 

Niki7

Well-known member
Feb 21, 2023
1,497
534
113
#18
I think there's a misunderstanding here. I never said Jesus Christ was effeminate...
From your op which was what I picked up on and responded to:
Jesus Christ, on the other hand, is humble and peaceful, he doesn't show the same skills of riding a horse as Marcus Aurelius. He doesn't ride the colt, He sits on his back in a feminine way.

I really don't know what to reply to this... :unsure:. You mean why do they represent him with long hair and both feet on the same side?
yeah pretty much

We consider Moses, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob to be our spiritual contemporaries. During the Holy Liturgy, we believe we, humans, are contemporary with the saints and with the angels. They are part of the victorious church and we are the fighting church.
That is your view then

The Church is Jesus Christ' project of entering into a new mode of existence. The prefiguration of the kingdom that is to come. I wouldn't despise it if I were you...
That's interesting. You are not me, but there has been no indication I despise (very strong word you used) anything. Icons are simply
paintings that idealize representations...such as the Jesus in your example. I understand they are shown great respect...or venerated.
 

Simona1988

Active member
Mar 15, 2021
192
133
43
#19
From your op which was what I picked up on and responded to:
Jesus Christ, on the other hand, is humble and peaceful, he doesn't show the same skills of riding a horse as Marcus Aurelius. He doesn't ride the colt, He sits on his back in a feminine way.


Yes. I did say that. I used "feminine" as an adverb for the verb "to sit", not as a qualificative adjective for Jesus Christ...
 

Niki7

Well-known member
Feb 21, 2023
1,497
534
113
#20
you guys are misunderstanding. Simona pointed out an aspect of the iconography -- this type of art communicates in a language of symbols. the artist deliberately chose a meek & lowly riding posture to communicate our Lord's character when He humbled Himself to become a man and serve us, rather than come in glory and power to be served.

it is not meant to be representative of how Jesus actually physically sat nor is it in any way meant to challenge His manhood, but to teach through imagery things about His person and works.
No I am not misunderstanding. I don't have to agree with how these items are venerated, which does not mean I do not understand. I appreciate art, but religious art not so much.