November 24, 2012

Holy Fathers on the Name of God: St. Theodore the Studite

Heretics: “Is the inscription to be venerated,” the heretics ask, “or the icon, of which the title is inscribed? Is it exclusively one or the other, and not both? How?”

The Orthodox: That is rather like asking, “is it right to venerate the Gospel book or the title on it?” The representation of the Cross or the inscription on it?” I might add also in the case of our kind, “the man, or his name?” perhaps Peter and Paul and each of the individuals of the same species. Would that not  be stupid, not to say ridiculous? What is there, of all things before our eyes that is nameless? How can the thing which is named be separated in honour from its own appellation, so that we may offer veneration to the one and deprive the other of it? These are relationships, for the name is by nature the name of something which is named, and a kind of natural icon of that to which it is applied. Therefore the unity in veneration is not divided.

St. Theodore  the Studite, Against the Heretics, Book I, 14.