Fr. Nikon of New Skete talks about the joy of the Faith, as it appears in the whole art of the Orthodox Church.
Wisdom from Mount Athos (WMA) Series – S01E08
Transcript (adapted after the Romanian version provided by Elena Dinu):
“No, it’s not the same with us. Our faith is the faith of joy, the faith of peace, the faith of love.
In our case, in our icons, nothing is ugly. Not even Judas is ugly.
Look at the paintings of Hieronymus Bosch or someone else to see how monstrous and ugly he paints Judas.
Not like that! We paint Judas beautiful, like the other apostles. He was the victim of the devil and was deluded… Even so, he receives our love and affection. He has been a victim.
Nowhere in the Orthodox iconography will you see a ugly face. Not even in Judas’ case.
Such a peace envelops the whole art of the Orthodox Church.
On Plagal First tone we sing at the wedding: “Rejoice, O Isaiah!” [see Isaiah 7:14]
On the same Plagal First tone we sing at funerals: “Blessed are You, O Lord, teach me Your statutes.” [see Psalm 119(118):12]
The same tone at the wedding and at the funerals. The same peace, the same serenity that flows from our Orthodox faith is spreading everywhere and envelops everything.
This is our faith! The faith of joy!
How the Gospel begins? What does “Gospel” mean? The Gospel [evangelium], ie, the Good News.
This is what “Gospel” means: the Good News!
What is the Good News?
It starts with: An angel said unto the shepherds: “I bring you good tidings of great joy!” [Luke 2:10] This is how the Gospel begins.
And this is how it ends:
When Christ was resurrected the apostles rejoiced, then He began to tell them that He had to go again.
The ascension took place, and He told them, comforting them, “I will send you another Comforter, do not grieve, do not weep”. [John 14]
And then He ascended to Heaven.
And the apostles returned to their homes rejoicing with great joy.
This is how the Gospel begins and it ends.
This is our faith!”