Can I "pray" the icon? Discourse of the icon painter.
As it often happens, coming from unbelief or occult mysticism in the Church, we in the heartfelt simplicity of the neophyte take on faith everything that we will first see, hear or read.
Time passes, and some things start to cause us doubts. And how often, not wanting to part with such a familiar and cozy picture of the world, we begin to pick up some "pious" explanations or justifications for all dubious moments. Although, a doubtful subject, perhaps requires critical examination and comparison with genuine church teaching. Here is one of such items.
From the very word combination it is quite clear that the prayer icon is an icon that was prayed for. It would be difficult to apply another reading here. But what does this mean? For an occultist, a person practicing magic, etc. in this case, everything is very simple - people pray for the icon, developing some spiritual energy, which eventually accumulates in the substance of the icon and can later be converted to the person praying (for example, they explain the cases of miracle-working from icons). In occultism, for example, the so-called teraphim, a special fetish, capable of accumulating magical energy, plays such a role. Of course, this has nothing to do with the teaching of the Church about the icon. The icon is holy not because they pray before it. It does not need to be "charged" with prayer. Just the opposite. She is already holy with one of her attitudes to the Original Image and that is why the One who is depicted is praying before her. In the deeds of the Seventh Ecumenical Council this is stated as follows: "Over many of such objects, which we recognize as saints, sacred prayer is not read, because they are full of holiness and grace by their very name ... denoting [the icon] with a known name, we attribute the honor of it to the prototype; kissing her and worshiping her with reverence, we receive sanctification "(Acts of Ecumenical Councils, with .541).
Therefore, all attempts to give a Christian explanation of the term "namolennost", look rather awkward.
Here, for example, one of the iconic sites had to see such an explanation: "The prayer icon is a sacred image. Like any image made with the help of a line and color, the icon should have a certain degree of skill. After all, in the icon everything is important: both the inner content, and the perfect external form. And if this is achieved, then such an icon attracts the worshipers, near this icon the parishioners of the temple are delayed, it is especially easy to pray before such an icon. And prayer receives a certain response: the icon becomes a source of grace - a special action of God in the world. And people who are sensitive to such an effect, this icon is called namolennoy. "
In fact, it is said that the icon should be of high quality ("to have a certain degree of mastery"). That before such an icon it is easy to pray. What exactly, thanks to this icon, prayer receives a response, and the icon itself becomes a source of grace, and a certain contingent of people who has special sensitivity, feels this grace and therefore this icon is called "namolennaya."
How satisfactory is this answer? I just want to note that only God can be a source of grace, an image icon can in some sense translate this grace (just like a window can transmit sunlight into a room, but the sun will certainly be the true source of light). And in this explanation of God, as it were, no. There are quality products that evoke a response from the consumer, as a result of which there is grace, there is a certain select group that is able to feel it. And, granting the grace of God, no.
Petrov Icon of the Theotokos, XIV century
Yes, of course, the icons are not the same. There are those who make a special contribution to prayer.
Although this is not so simple. After all, feelings are always subjective. At what, subjective among different groups and at different times. And now someone is evoked by the Vladimir Icon of the Virgin, and some have academic icons of the XIX century, etc.
Moreover, it is strange to perceive the argument that "near such an icon, the parishioners of the temple are delayed." This indicates the popularity of the icon, nothing more, but popularity is not necessarily associated with grace.
Again, what about miraculous icons? In principle, any icon is miraculous, but there are icons marked with concrete facts of miracles and these images are honored by the Church especially. Interestingly, not all of them are distinguished by "a certain degree of skill", but the Lord through them decided to show special grace in the form of a miracle.
But one way or another, where does "pampering" come from?
Obviously, you can not "pray" for an icon. But what if this word is considered a tradition? Let me remind you that the very word "tradition" in Latin is translated as a tradition. And the Orthodox know that there is the Tradition of the Church (with a capital letter), but there are local legends (with a lowercase letter), which are far from always pious. From the Gospel, we know the attitude of Christ to such "traditions of the elders".
As for the icons of a good highly artistic letter, clearly showing us the image of Christ, the Virgin and saints and those who contribute to prayer, then for them, in the end, there is a good Russian word - prayerfulness.