Sunday, April 19, 2009

(2) The Pantocrator

The icons of the Pantocrator proliferated in Greece, in Orthodox
Christianity, And in the West the Pantocrator morphed into what is
deemed the "Christ of Majesty." Essentially these icons or images
most often depict Christ as a teacher, holding a book, and raising
his right hand that portrays both blessing and authority, As for
background, there's the halo (or solar crown), sometimes with fire
shooting out, and sometimes the Pantocrator is positioned in the
center of a flashing cross, or even sitting atop a rainbow. Most
often this icon was situated in the dome of a cathedral, the
commanding position over all,

I was tremendously struck by this icon. It drew me to it like a firefly
into flame. So my first summer off from Oxford I decided to tour
Greece, its islands, as well as parts of Turkey, It was my first trip
abroad away from home. There was a certain excitement being
really on my own, alone in foreign lands. Yet I had this focus, the
Pantocrator, and I felt an added energy in this quest.

And, yes, it was a quest. I had reached a point where old traditional
concepts of my religion no longer seemed to fit the conditions of my
life. Of course, looking back, my situation then would seem no
different than multitudes of others at my age and stage. But being
a fledgling student of philosophy and theology does sometimes make
it more difficult. After all, we were prompted to *think.* And eventually
sometimes the traditionally stock answers in religion don't measure
right, don't sometimes make sense. And in light of any professional
investigation, the situation often can be exacerbated. That is kind of
where I found myself when I happened upon the Pantocrator.

Perhaps I was looking more towards the idea of a universal concept
when it came to the Christ. Though I was not schooled in Science,
I was aware of the constant new discoveries when it came to our
understanding of the universe. The world in which we lived today
was a far more deep complexity than the one in which the ancients
lived. It boiled down to *information.*

The mind of the ancients was similar to the mind of moderns.
However, the big difference was their and our access to information.
The ancients' world was a layered world, eventually built into a
hierarchical system that corresponded with the hierarchical layout
of the early Western Church--and even, eventually, into the feudal
system of the "Divine Right of Kings." What an eye-opener this
was for me, still nearly too young to grasp it all.

It was a miracle that I didn't just bug-out, if you will. There's a deep
disappointment when you make such a historical discovery--that
Truth isn't always set in concrete. I knew my own particular
"Childhood Lost." Disappointed, I was close to declaring another
major, anything but Theology. But it was exactly at this point that
I turned the page and there standing out before me was the

So off I went to Greece.

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