The following article was published in the Arlington Catholic Herald:

Children hold their icons during a special blessing at Epiphany of Our Lord Byzantine Catholic Church in Annandale March 5 on the Sunday of Orthodoxy.

Children hold their icons during a special blessing at Epiphany of Our Lord Byzantine Catholic Church in Annandale March 5 on the Sunday of Orthodoxy.

CatholicHerald.com - Imagine you are a Christian living in the eastern part of the Roman Empire in the eighth century, and your essential instrument of prayer is an image of Jesus, Mary or a saint. Suddenly, the emperor bans the veneration of icons. Soldiers strip holy images from churches, and those caught with an icon are punished. Nearly 100 years later, icons and holy images were welcomed back.

Orthodox and Eastern Catholic Christians commemorate the restoration of holy images on the first Sunday of Lent when they were returned to the empire in 843. The celebration is known as the Sunday of Orthodoxy, and parishioners of Epiphany of Our Lord Byzantine Catholic Church in Annandale marked the day by bringing icons and holy images to be blessed March 5.

Children stood in the church’s aisle during Divine Liturgy, holding icons of Jesus, the Virgin Mary, St. George and other saints to be blessed by Father John G. Basarab, the pastor.

In his homily, Father Basarab told the history of the Iconoclastic Controversy that began when Emperor Leo III took the first commandment literally, “You shall not make for yourself a carved image … ”

The emperor commanded his soldiers to remove and destroy icons from all places. The debate of venerating images of Christ led to the Second Council of Nicaea in 787.

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Teachings of Christ

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied." (Matthew 5:6 ESV)

Transfiguration

You were transfigured on the mountain, O Christ God, * showing Your glory to Your Disciples as far as they were able to bear it. * Through the prayers of the Mother of God, * let Your everlasting Light shine also upon us sinners. * O Giver of Light, glory to You! (Troparion, Tone 7)

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.

Upon the mountain You were transfigured, O Christ God, * and Your Disciples beheld Your glory as far as they could receive it, * so that when they would see You crucified, * they would understand that You suffered willingly; * and they would preach to the world * that You are truly the radiance of the Father. (Kontakion, Tone 7)

Random Proverb

"Take my instruction instead of silver, and knowledge rather than choice gold, for wisdom is better than jewels, and all that you may desire cannot compare with her." (Proverbs 8:10,11 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

Let us go forward with the heart completely attentive and the soul fully conscious. For if attentiveness and prayer are daily joined together, they become like Elias' fire-bearing chariot, raising us to heaven. What do I mean? A spiritual heaven, with sun, moon and stars, is formed in the blessed heart of one who has reach a state of watchfulness, or who strives to attain it.

St. Philotheus of Sinai