Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Things Every Orthodox Should Know...

This is for the birds…..

Symbols of the church include among other things, a 2 headed eagle and a peacock.
Double-headed eagle emblem.  The head on the left (West) symbolizes Rome, the head on the right (East) symbolizes Constantinople. The cross and orb in the claws symbolize, respectively, spiritual and secular authority.
The Peacock is a symbol of Paradise, Resurrection and immortality from ancient times. It frequently appears carved on the iconostasis and in icons of Paradise.
An ordinary egg, for example, is a symbol of the Resurrection of our Lord.  On the Feast of Pascha, we bless baskets of food containing, among other things, eggs. Just as the egg appears to be lifeless, so too did the body of Christ appear to be a mere corpse. But just as the egg can contain life, so does Christ contain the life we receive through His Resurrection!  This is the symbolic meaning behind the use of the egg as a symbol of Resurrection.

Peacock Theories

  • There was an ancient Greek tradition that a peacock's flesh did not decay; hence it was a particularly potent symbol of eternal life.
  • Over the life of a peacock, its grows new feathers each year; and each year these are more brighter than those of the past. As such, there is an image in this of newness of life and lustre.
  • The 'eye' patterns in the peacock's tail feathers, when the tail is spread open, have often been taken to represent the vault of heaven bespeckled with the sun, moon, and stars, giving the bird the symbolic significance of the cosmos.
  • More commonly, the 'many eyes' of the peacock's tail are taken to symbolise the all-seeing vision of God.
  • Following an old Persian and Babylonian custom, the peacock was associated with Paradise and the Tree of Life (which is why it is so often seen next to the Tree of Life in religious depictions, as in those from the catacombs, above), and hence associated with immortality.

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