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He is most famous as one who defended and favored the veneration of sacred images, holy pictures, statues and icons. His writings in the Eastern Church are what the Summa of St Thomas Aquinas are to the West. John guarded the Church's faith and traditions zealously. His dedicated life of prayer afforded him to put his literary and preaching talents at the service of God. He was a recipent of many miracles. Praying changed everything into beauty for him. St Damascene spent all his life under Moslem rule and, like all the doctors, had an extraordinary devotion to the Mother of God. It was reported that John received a total healing from a wound inflicted on him through the intercession of St. Mary. The Pope, in defining the dogma of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, called St. John Damascene “the interpreter of this tradition par excellence”. He quoted St. John below. This is taken from Father Renger’s book. (noted elsewhere) There was need of her who in childbirth had preserved intact, be preserved incorrupt after death. There was need that she who had carried her Creator as a babe on her bosom, would linger lovingly in the dwelling of her God. There was need that the bride whom the Father had betrothed to Himself should live in the bridal chamber in heaven, that she who had looked so closely upon her own Son on the Cross, and who there felt in her heart the sword-pangs of sorrow which in bearing Him she had been spared, should look upon Him seated with His Father. There was need that God’s Mother should enter into her Son’s possessions, and as a Mother of God and handmaid, be reverenced by all creation. (Par. 21).
St John Damascene 676-749. The Icon or Image Doctor, Feast Dec 4th. Christians worldwide are greatly in debt to St John. His holy life and heroic courage is monumental. He defended and safeguarded the veneration of sacred images, statues and icons for us. His example provides us an opportunity to honor images of God everywhere.
John's passion toward holy images gave him great consolation and we should be reminded that God too is mysteriously consoled when we do God's holy will in all things and turn to him in devout prayer. There is a profound and powerful story told through the Shroud of Turin in a link that you can view in this section when you scroll down. John’s life and bravery helped save our images and icons. The church greatly honors him as the Icon or Image Doctor for his efforts in safeguarding our traditions and in defeating the oppressive Iconoclasm. For over one hundred years, this pernicious heresy raged. The Iconoclasts (the name means breakers of icons) were a religious group who opposed the veneration of images. They belonged to the Eastern Christians. Ironically, John lived and belonged to the Eastern Christians having lived in Damascus, Syria. He lived under Moslem rule most of his life. Eminent scholars state that John lived closed to one hundred years old. I have used dates from tradition that indicated seventy-three years. He followed his father in government under Arabs but resigned after a few years and spent most of his life in a monastery near Jerusalem. He wrote exclusively about Eastern Christians and is considered the last of the Greek Fathers. Poetry was one of John's strengths and he had a deep devotion to Jesus' blessed Mother. His sermons on Mary and her feasts are well known. St John Damascene defended and guarded the church's understanding of images and explained the faith of the church in several other controversies. His main, daily goal was to practice daily prayer, obedience and virtue. He accepted everything including any suffering and united it to Mary's Son who died for all. John's book, Exposition of the Orthodox Faith, is to the Eastern Church what the The Summa Theologica of St Thomas Aquinas became to the West. His service, achievements and contributions to the church and its members are matchless and extraordinary. His defense of the icons caused him to be hated by the persecuting emperors. The Iconoclast were not content with making their case with word and pen. They rampaged about, entering churches, knocking down and defacing sacred images. John felt obliged to challenge this destructive heresy and its accompanying violence. He did so in a series of treatises defending the church's longstanding tradition. He encouraged the veneration of icons, not obviously as objects of divine worship, but as aids to devotion and sanctification. Due largely to his work, the Iconoclast heresy retreated into history. Officials in Damascus were enraged by John's public disdain for wealth and power. Trumped-up charges where leveled against John's honesty to discredit him with the people when he worked for them. It is said that the caliph ordered John's right hand to be severed and hung up in the marketplace as an example to all. It was told that it was done.
Icons tell us a story and were originally used before print. They are full of symbols, meaning and truths for you to enjoy and cherish. Icons, especially of Jesus and Mary, are powerful and provocative and reveal many godly virtues and attributes. What marvels Mary does for her true servants who surrender to God in all things. The rejoining of John’s hand to his arm is a reminder of how God united Mary’s body and soul after her dormition (holy sleep). As God’s mother was united body and soul through supernatural power, so to, does God, especially through his Mother, have the power to unite any separations of body or soul here on earth and certainly afterwards in heaven. Faith and prayer unite our body and soul gloriously wherever we practice sincere, faithful prayer, charity, and love. Some may say that John's hand restoration is a legend but faith, too, results in achievements and gifts that are considered impossible. Shall we call miracles legend or impossible? Perhaps some legends may be faith filled? John's petitions and prayers to the holy Mother of God moved God to restore his hand to full use. This was in spite of the long, red scar that wrapped around his right wrist and lower arm. It did not happen immediately. It was painful. But it happened. Oh! The extraordinary favors God bestows through his Mother. John's example is but one listed in Janice Connell's superb book entitled, Meeting Mary. Prayer conquers God. God is defenseless by our prayers and if you get his Mother on your side, all prayers are unquestionably answered. Health and zeal for God's glory consumed this faithful son of the Blessed Virgin Mary especially after his healing. St John’s writings have always been a source of inspiration. Damascene fell in love looking at images of Jesus, Mary and the saints. He was enthralled about them. The holy face of Jesus mesmerized him. The sensuous body, face and especially the eyes of Mary enraptured him. He was in ecstasy when he looked at icons, pictures, and sacred objects. He prayed as he looked. That is the triumphant secret! Faith is as having eyes-mystical eyes. Even if one is physically blind, they are able to perceive stupendous sights. How is this possible? It is a scientific fact that believing is a form of knowing and thus of seeing or understanding. It can not be proven. It is like seeing the sun. We can not actually see the sun. It is too far and bright. We only see the light of the sun. Similarly, understanding is a spiritual gift gained by virtue and grace and provides sight and light. Sin results through lack of virture and graces and causes our understanding to becom spiritually blind, obfuscated, and confused in darkness. Those who are spiritually blind, understand and know God and creatures on limited level. They miss much. Prayers can change everything into beauty and spiritual sight. The things themselves do not change. We see with new depths as we look. Our vision
is enhanced and dimensionalized. Our perception is more acute. We begin to see things and understand tremendous, new truths from God’s perspective. We grasp things supernaturalized. In short, prayer opens vistas in untold dimensions. We can say that prayer gives us a new depth perception-both spiritual and actual. Since God is omnidirectional, the Almighty is constantly sending and receiving graces in all directions unlimitedly and unremittingly. As God is omnificient, his love is infinitely creative resulting in fullness of varieties, categories and forms. God is revealed in the visible and invisible world. The holy One is without and within. God is ubiquitous. God is also omnipresent. The Supreme Being is both operatively active and existentially active. His thought is his presence and his presence is omnivorous-taking in, absorbing and holding everything in existence. The Spirit teaches us this and the saints confirm it. Thanks to St John, the church enables us to find God in all representations. This is especially true in religious images, pictures, icons, symbols, mosaics or statues. The material can be in gold, silver or any precious material or substance. No matter its exterior, fine or crude. Because of our faith, we believe God became man and we find God in our flesh. The Word became Flesh. The Infinite wants to soothe and excite us. The Almighty can calm us and arouse us. We have God's built-in feelings but they are often disarrayed, out of order and unfocused because of our human condition. Virtue, grace and gifts help to harmonize, fine-tune and elevate our feelings and our seeing. Dostoevski, the famous Russian novelist, exclaimed that the world would be saved by beauty. What did he mean? The church illuminates our hearts and minds through St John. He knew the answer. He was enraptured by holy beauty: the beauty of holy objects. Dostoevski stated it. John saved it. When we supplicate John to capture his message, we can be sure that we will appreciate what both men said. Beauty, we all know, is in the eyes of the beholder. There is external beauty and interior beauty. One flows into the other as the rivers into the oceans. One can receive as much excitement, if not more, by looking at a statue, even an unattractive one, with the eyes of faith than a beautiful sunset, jewel or charming model. Excitement and joy can come from within or without. They can both be spiritual and natural. They are from inside and outside. Enjoyment and pleasure flow back and forth, enriching and captivating us every second. We do not have to be an art connoisseur to appreciate beauty. It's in nature, secular objects and everywhere, not only religious representation. Governments throughout the world place statues in public places to help us appreciate not only art and beauty but to inspire us with themes of patriotism and religion. In Washington DC as one example we can see religious statues of St Vincent de Paul, Buddha, Joan of Arc, John Wesley, the prophet Daniel, Mohandas K. Gandhi and Martin Luther to name but a few. These sights have the power to enable us to turn to the Creator in praise and thanksgiving for their heroic lives and examples.
Because prayer is so powerful and beneficial, the church, scripture and God’s Mother encourages us to pray until our praying becomes joy and joyous. That’s how long we should pray. The saints had to tear themselves away from prayer because it became a holy intoxication that prevented them from doing God’s will (if they didn’t control it). Remember that God is an intense and jealous Lover and God plays for keeps. God doesn’t let us go. However, he gives us the wisdom to know where, when, and how frequently we should pray. Obviously, God wants our life to become a prayer and we have to determine set times when we should set aside for him based upon our responsibilities, duties and mission in life. Faithful prayers will eventually be graced with God’s presence continually according to the holy will of God. Through the eyes of faith we see and unearth heavenly beauty. It can excite, enrapture and seize us profoundly. God can truly “turn us on.” We may have to politely inform God to stop it. It can be too much, too often, and our senses cannot handle God's beauty. It could drive us deliriously mad. Our soul can handle it because it is God's domain. Our bodies just get in the way. Holy Scriptures states clearly: "No one can see God and live." God's beauty is so vibrant and powerful that it overpours and overpowers itself into the interior of our soul out into the body. However, it can also flow in the reverse directions: body into the soul. We generally are not equipped to handle it except through long practice. Practice makes perfect with patience. It follows that those who have written about John and his contributions, especially in the area of images, also profoundly inspire the faithful. Joan Carroll Cruz, among other gifted writers, has written two beautiful books entitled, Miraculous Images of Our Lady followed by Miraculous Images of our Lord. The images and pictures contained in these books are utterly magnificent and indescribable! Jesus and Mary are represented in art, images, pictures, icons and statues in nearly every country in the world, regardless of religion. These images truly inspire us as we gaze into these pages of breathtaking beauty. Obviously, those who write about Our Lord and Lady provide for the Church’s members a most fitting tribute to Jesus and his Mother. The next time you look at a holy object, remember to thank John. Next time you see something that is not holy, ask John to help you substitute something holy in its place which is not obvious to you. God has made our bodies not only good but very good. Married couples, consecrated in marriage, are suppose to see their beautiful, naked bodies, at appropriate times. That is a holy and beautiful site. But to look at gorgeous, naked bodies in porn magazines or other visible or imaginary forms can be the direct opposite of holiness and detrimental to the soul's orientation which is God's holiness. The eyes must follow the soul and not the soul follow the eyes. Faith gives us pure vision. Sight is blind before God. When holy men, women and children mortify their eyes on certain occasions, they act upon the impulse and direction of God's Holy Spirit dwelling within them to stay holy and live in the holy fear of God which is
a special gift of the Spirit. We do not have total free reign to indulge in lewd or immodest thoughts, sites, touches or sounds if we care to please God who is perfect, Beauty and wants our hearts, feelings, eyes, and ears for himself. God is holy and until we draw our last breath there is always something sacred within us even though we are imperfect or sinful. Nothing stays in existence except to help us love and grow in charity. Pray that you may perceive according to the holy will of God in all things as John. From John's writings: "Since there are certain people who find great fault with us for honoring images of our Savior and our Lady, let them listen to the inspired (St) Basil, so versed in Theology: The honor paid to the image rebounds to the original, and the original is the thing imaged from which the copy is made. Honor given to holy fellow servants gives proof of love for the common Master. This is our written tradition”. See Saint Basil, Doctor of the Church below. St. Basil 1/2 Images of God are copious in the written word especially the Bible. God is the eternal Triune Being and reveals the divine Persons, in many various images and expressions. They express the intense reality of God. Jean Danielou's book, Prayer , listed in the sources under The Discovery of God, describes God's existence, reality and images so intensely that we find it almost too beautiful to bear. Our flesh is not able to cope with it. It devours us. We are not able to handle it because it terrifies us. We do not need pictures in our imagination to stagger us. God imprints omnipotence in our souls through his grace and not only through our senses. Wherever there is reality, there are traces of God. All flesh and creatures reflect God to some degree. God's traces and images superabound in all creation whether we are conscious of it or not. God inspired Job to marvel: "these are but the outlines of his ways and how faint is the word we hear but who could endure the thunder of his power?" Thus, we may already find the beauty of the world unbearable at times. How much more unbearable it would be if the very Creator of this beauty were to manifest the Infinite. The presence and beauty of God disconcert and disorient us so much that it arouses in us holy fear. If the impressionist painters such as Vincent Van Gogh, Claude Monet, Edouard Manet or Paul Cezanne can stir in us such magnificent feelings and emotions when we gaze upon their human paintings, how much more can their Creator imprint, impart and impress his beauty in our soul and senses when God touches us with almighty touches? Scripture tells us that eye has not seen nor ear heard the things that God has prepared for those who love him. It appears that it is love, which stirs us to see God's beauty and perfect image. The more we understand or ‘see’ God’s ways in creation and in us, the more we understand or ‘see’ God’s beauty. If a picture is worth a thousand words, what is that telling us other than beauty is blissful, incomparable and inexplicable. And if that
truth is obvious of earthly realities how much more must it be of eternal truths. If gorgeous paintings can move us to ecstasy how much more can God touch us? God doesn't use a brush to effect his touch. God’s use his very self in His Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity that he bestows through the church's sacraments, sacramentals, signs and wonders. We are the images of God. We are marred but through Christ we have been retouched to become marvelous and beautiful again. Jesus’ disfigurement during his passion and death has restored our stateliness and innocent when we live justly and practice virtue. In the beginning and through the first book of Genesis, God states that we are made in the image and likeness of God. The Image Doctor, St John, reminds us that our life is sacred. Jesus has sanctified us and restored our beauty to a higher state more exalted than before our fall. The church's prayer and ours too is a daily reminder: "Oh, God, who in a wonderful manner has created and endowed human nature but more wonderfully has renewed it..." Every catholic mass reminds of this extraordinary re-creation as she says through the priest: "By the mystery of this water and wine may we come to share in the divinity of Christ, who humbled himself to share in our humanity." Our saint is most fittingly called the Icon Doctor. An icon is a sacred image created to awaken people’s faith. That’s exactly how God has used St John Damascene: to awaken our faith. Faith awaken is delight, joy and ecstasy. God’s love can arouse in us intense exaltation of mind and feelings. Is it any wonder that holy people have experienced rapture and transport? If they do not, it would be unusual considering that God draws us out of ourselves through overmastering movements and emotions. Let us petition John that the same spirit that touched him to safeguard icons may direct us to watch over those people and things which God allows us to encounter daily. Let us be reminded that what Mary did for John through his healing, she can do for us if we recourse to her in holy prayer and trust. Let us be reminded that God’s beauty is so vibrant and powerful that it overwhelms and overpowers us. Generally, we are not equipped to handle this beauty except through God’s graces and long practice. Practice makes perfect with patience and perseverance. St John, the image and icon doctor of the world and the church, would want all to explore one of the most holy and adorable images and icons that anyone will ever see. The church treasures, honors and values immensely the Shroud of Turin as an icon and holy relic among thousands of other sacred pictures and icons. The link is below. Click on the top icon marked SCIENTIFIC ROUTE Face of Jesus Christ Regardless of our belief, all creatures are made in the image of God because God is everyone’s Maker. Jesus, too, is the Image of the invisible God who empowers us to reveal God as he did. Despite our human weaknesses, scars and reckless failures and sins, God pursues us gently and vehemently. As a generous Lover who wants to show his humanity to
us, Christ’s Body and Image are displayed on pieces of wood, metal and ceramic in thousands of art representations. As a gentle reminder, the church too displays those sacred images, icons and crosses in appropriate places. Christians everywhere, knowingly or unknowing, wear his signs of our redemption. The eternal Lover's body hangs around our necks as pendants and decorations to alert everyone that God is as close to us as the crosses and crucifixes that press against our bodies. Our Lord told Sister Pierina, a nun that fostered the Holy Face devotion that: "Whoever gazes upon my face already consoles Me." see link above. We are appreciative of John's contributions. We can also be appreciative to Dostoevski and his comments on beauty. He knew that all beauty belonged to God. Helen Keller, who was blind and deaf, told us that the most beautiful thing in the world is neither what our eyes behold nor what we touch. It is rather what touches our heart and moves our heart and mind. The writer, storyteller and artist in all of us discover this beauty and truth. The Romantic poets described beauty as truth and truth as beauty. Poets like Father Gerard Manley Hopkins intoxicate us with his poetry: http://www.catholic.net/RCC/Periodicals/Dossier/0506-96/literar2.html Hound of Heaven by Francis Thompson inebriates us. The beauty, simplicity and radical poetry of Emily Dickinson can be found in her disjointive yet entirely unitive lines. Whoever is your favorite ‘artist’ that ‘turns you on’ reveals something of the beauty and holiness of God. Each of us, with John, is a unique writer, poet or lover in our particular manner. Beauty and truth abound not only in poetry, images, nature and light. All creation sings and shouts of God’s glory to those who have faith. Again, it is faith that is a revealer, an enlightner and an imperishable light on earth. Our surrender to the mystery of God in faith, infinitely pleases God, plunges us in patiences and prepares us for divine touches. We can indirectly obtain this faith from our seeing, feeling, smelling, touching or hearing. However, our senses stop at the ‘door’ of the eternal Lover. Faith alone is direct and unitive. Senses can not penetrate or bridge the gap into the Infinite. The only way to embrace the Divine is to allow the Divine to embrace us in our spirit. God is pure Spirit. The only and immediate manner to bridge the gap is faith. The gap can be three inches or three miles. It can be three thoughts or three feelings. It doesn’t matter. It is impossible to please God without faith. The exercise of this faith wears down and breaks the separation between God and us. Some people call it a ‘God-gap’. This gap challenges and tests us to give up the natural for the supernatural. It requires goodwill, cooperation and dependency on something other than what we possess. We can’t possess God if we don’t pass through the God-gap. There is an infinite distance between God and us because we are finite and God is infinite. It is very simple.
Our precious faith bridges the gap from the finite to the infinite. Interestingly enough, faith can be apart from any religion. Therefore all creatures are God’s domains. As every computer that is registered must have a domain name, every creature that is born is registered, marked and sealed with the divine touch. That touch is the divine Image in our soul. Faith is also the vital part of any religion or we could almost say that religion is a part of faith for it is the very substance of life. See the Doctor of the Church, St Cyril of Jerusalem, who is the Doctor of Faith, to ponder the lifestreams of faith in the link below. St. Cyril of Jerusalem 3/18 As swimming is best learned not by books but by plunging in, we too can eliminate, reduce or forget the God-gap by plunging into the Divine Sea. Go ahead and venture out. It takes courage and it’s a tremendous challenge but we have precedents that it can be achieved. The gospel tells us the story and example of our first Pope, St Peter, leaving his boat and trying to walk on water. Everything was going fine until fear crept into his consciousness. It is ok to sink ‘into the water’ when we exercise our faith. Christ held up Peter. He will do the same for you too. The main thing is to go out to meet God in faith without fear following the example of Peter, St John Damascene and the saints. God is relentlessly pursuing creatures with unabated and unbounded designs to ravish them. And how does the Almighty want to enamour us? Nothing else but with all of the attributes of God. Beauty and truth are only an infinitesimal part of the divine attributes. There are centillions more. However, the distribution of these exquisite gifts and favors must be according to the divine plan and not our human plan. We please God tremendously with faith and virtue for it reflects God. Faith is a precious gift and we should strive for it, cry for it and constantly beg for it. We can not earn it. But we should seek it and also be very thankful, grateful and appreciative for the degree that we have. We can lose faith, hide it, be ashamed of it and not use it. God wants us to practice our faith daily and be proud of it-whatever type we have. Faith is a form of belief and we can not learn or know of God (Love) intimately unless we believe. Only with the continual practice of faith, hope and charity can we flourish and please God in the manner that human nature was originally intended. There is always a hunger and a thirst for God in our souls for we are made in the image and likeness of God. It is a built-in-yearning that we can not see but our soul senses it profoundly and faith awakens it. When we seek our Creator, the Creator returns the favor immensely and we gain a "natural-supernatural" awareness because grace becomes, as it were, second nature, if that is possible. We may not discern it clearly or be aware of it keenly. This turning to God is grace that human beings are
never without according to the justice of God. The more we respond to God the more God responds to us with love and tender care. St John Damascene defended, guarded and empowers us, even today, through his holy intercession, to appreciate the image of God not only in holy icons but in God's holy image in our soul. His godly example and devotion to God and his holy Mother, that his surrender, trust, and confidence inspired, empowers us to pray with greater devotion and faith. Father Luigi Gambero's, S.M., book listed in the sources informs us "that the three homilies on the Dormition reveal the exceptional importance of Damascene's teaching for the development of doctrine on the Assumption. John explicitly teaches the truth of Mary's bodily Assumption into heaven." For that reason John is also called the Doctor of the Assumption. Father Gambero goes on to tell us, "with regard to Marian devotion, a very practical part of Christian life, it is particularly interesting to revisit the thought of St John Damascene. He introduces the fine distinction between the cult of adoration, or latria, owed to God alone, and the honor or veneration that ought to be given to the holy Virgin. Later on the term dulia was introduced for this, but it was unknown to our doctor." His book on Mary and the Fathers of the Church (The Blessed Virgin Mary in Patristic thought) covers sixteen of the church's doctors and is most exciting and scholarly but easy to read. Fr. Christopher Rengers writes marvelously about John in his fascinating doctor's book: 33 Doctors of the Church and is listed in the sources. He states about John: "But the point that seems most striking and endearing about St John Damascene is his constant gratitude for being able to serve God and sing the praises of his Lady, the Theotokos or 'God-bearer'. Perhaps he expressed this best when he said: We know that in celebrating her praises we pay off our debt, and that in so doing, we are again debtors, so that the debt is ever beginning afresh." In the gospel on the feast of St John, the church reminds us of Jesus' words about seeing, hearing and revealing and how God imparts these precious gifts to all including mere children. No explanation or comments can enhance our Lord's words. However, because Jesus speaks so profoundly, so succintly and so Spirit filled, it is impossible to capture the power, beauty and truth of his glorious words. Paul Fohlin, OCD, an iconophile for over thirty years, has given many retreats on the spiritual meaning of icons and authored "Standing in the Light: Meditation and the Icon" ( Spiritual Life, Quarterly, Summer 1993found in Resources). He is presently, 11/02, the Superior of the Discalced Carmelites Friars at Holy Hill, Wisconsin. Father recently wrote a review on : "The Mystical Language of Icons" written by Solrunn Nes. Alba House (St Paul's Publishing) He tells us that: "Nes consistently points out that spiritual beauty and
truth are one in the icon." Paul continues quoting the author:"Orthodox iconography has a form which inspires serenity and a content which invites meditation". Again: "The icon is a holy object, the form being merely a receptacle for the content. The content is determined by the Holy Scriptures and the Traditions of the Church. That is why the painting of the icons is marked more by discipline than by inspiration.(p12)" Father Paul quotes Nes again: "The icon is never complete in itself. It can never stand alone as an autonomous work of art, but refers to a spiritual dimension and forms part of a concrete, religious practice". It is a full Christian expression of the mystery of the Incarnation. The Carmelite informs us that more remarkable than Nes' description of technique are her ideas about icons. Her thoughts on iconography flow gently with much beauty and didactic purpose. In conclusion Paul says that Nes' "Mystical Language of Icons" is an easy course in visual spirituality. The below links relate to John and his wise and inspiring writings: http://www.catholic-forum.com/saints/saintj45.htm http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/08459b.htm http://sunsite.berkeley.edu/OMACL/Barlaam/ http://www.balamand.edu.lb/theology/WritingsSJD.htm http://www.catholic.org/saints/saints/johndamascus.html St John Damascene, Father and Doctor, Exposition of the Faith: http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/ Thanks to St John Damascene we have many approved medals, images and icons of the Catholic Church. They merit close attention and devotion. The Miraculous Medal and the appearances of Mary to St Catherine can be explored by this link: http://www.virginoftheglobe.com/ Our Lady is constantly urging us to have close union with God through approved sacramentals and the holy sacraments. The powerful presence and sign of the cross as image: http://www.imagesofthecross.com/ St John encourages us to honor, respect and love images of Mary, his singular fascination with God. The below link is another example of an image of the Miraculous Medal and one of their many websites. This is based upon an approved apparition and a noble saint St Catherine Laboure: http://www.cmphila.org/camm/pages/home.html The most perfect, indisputable and authentic Icon of Mary in the world is the picture she gave to Blessed Juan Diego of herself and remains to this very day in her Shrine in Mexico City. http://www.users.qwest.net/~slrorer/MotherOfAmericas.htm http://wwwladyofguadalupe.org
Other icons and images. http://www.homebusinesslink.com/mary.html http://www.sancta.org/ Icons are the perfect gift for the people you respect and love. Please take a look and click the link to visit beautiful icons: http://www.karavokiris.com/ Unique hand made products from the Holy Land and other religious items that include: crosses, crucifixes, crown-of-thorns, rosaries and others sacred objects from where our Lord worked out our redemption and salvation. http://www.crown-of-thorns.com> Observe the unique skills used in Icons by clicking below: http://www.iconboards.com/ There is a joyful and merry image-mirage during the Christmas Season about Santa Claus. I call it an image-mirage not because it is makebelieve but because there is a real Santa Claus but much of it is based upon legend and that's not too bad. Legend can be believed if it is credible enough. The church has enough authentic documentation to substantiate how Santa Claus came to exit based upon a famous saint named St Nicholas of Bari. Thus, the make-believe of Santa Claus can be really seen as making or helping one believe in the spirit of Christmas. Additional information on St Nicholas can be found at: http://www.catholic-forum.com/saints/saintn01.htm St John Damascene taken from the website of the ministry of Dr Marcellino D'Ambrosio
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