From the walls of the Monastery of St. John near Athens, Greece, comes this brightly-colored icon depicting the Restoration of the Holy Icons by the Empress Theodora and her son the Emperor Michael in a.d. 843, ending the Iconoclast (icon-smashers) heresy which had troubled the Church for about 120 years. Leo the Isaurian was the first East Roman Emperor to begin the persecution of those who venerated icons in about 726, not understanding that this practice had been handed down to us by Christ, Who made the first icon Himself by pressing His face to a cloth while still teaching in Israel. St. Luke painted the next icons of the Virgin from life, so this love and respect of the icons was also Apostolic. Icons are a window to look through to reveal Heaven.
The Seventh Ecumenical Council in 787 had solemnly declared that the use of icons was not only good, but needed by the Faithful to help and develop their spiritual life and practice to draw near God. Another wave of persecution had followed in spite of this council. Today there are those who cannot distinguish the icon from an idol. May God open our eyes to see Him truly as He is.