Icons: The Transfiguration of Humanity

“If in Christ ‘those who have gone to do their rest’ are not dead but alive in him, then communion in Christ is communion, also, in the fellowship of this body. This is symbolized in Orthodox churches first of all by the iconography of the temple: one is surrounded, on entry into the church, by the images of those persons transfigured in Christ, understood as mystically present in the communion of his body. The continual commemoration of the saints throughout the services (nearly every litany ends with a commemoration of the Mother of God, together ‘with the saints’) unites in liturgical memory the whole human race, brought to the sacrifice of Christ, who offered himself ‘for the life of the world.’ ” (Matthew Steenberg in The Cambridge Companion to Orthodox Theology, pp 127-128)

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