The Seventh Ecumenical Council and the veneration of icons in Orthodoxy
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In the Orthodox Christian tradition, icons are not regarded as works of art; they are rather a visual gospel and windows into the spiritual realm. They are intended to assist believers to be more contemplative and prayerful. They guide believers into a life of prayer. There are, however, those who consider them to be idolatrous. Such a belief is erroneous, since the honouring of created beings does not detract from being totally devoted to the Creator in whose image they were created. Icons portraying God's grace are sanctifying and help affirm the faith of Orthodox believers. Icons are a concrete theology that instructs and leads believers to a spiritual reality and ultimately sanctify them as they transform them. They ultimately serve as conduits to the healing of body and soul through the grace of God and are essentially a prelude to the final transfiguration of the world.