Saturday, February 28, 2015

Now that's ICONIC!

I have seen this icon of the 21 Coptic martyrs on many websites, so I assumed the writer of it (that's the term for the artist) wanted it seen widely. This interview on NRO confirms my assumption

KATHRYN JEAN LOPEZ: What was your purpose and intention when you painted an icon of the Egyptian Copts martyred last week by the Islamic State? 

TONY REZK: My ultimate purpose was to honor them and the sacrifice that they made. Tertullian, a Christian apologist from the third century, before he joined a non-Orthodox Christian sect, said, “The blood of martyrs is the seed of the Church.” We believe that their martyrdom will help the Church grow stronger. My other purpose was to take out my frustrations on something, as I find that the process of making any kind of art is a relaxing experience.   

LOPEZ: You offer the icon for anyone’s use. Would you or the Coptic Church ever make it available for purchase? Perhaps to raise funds for Copts in Egypt or other persecuted Christians? 

REZK: It is actually in the hands of the Coptic Church in Egypt now. His Grace Bishop Macarius has the high-resolution picture and was given permission to do what he wanted with it. His Grace is the bishop of the El Minya province in Upper Egypt where most of the martyrs were from. I’m still trying to figure out a way to get it out there for all to use.

At the same time I have seen this beautiful icon, representing the martyrs as icons of Jesus, I have read the term "iconic" applied to everything from Wellington boots to Frank Sinatra. Iconic has been called one of the most overused words in many publications, but people just keep on (over)using it. This website discusses the problem and offers some solutions:

Originally, iconic meant “characteristic of an icon” — an image or representation, often of a saint or other sacred personage. The adjective, perhaps aided by marketers and publicists, evolved into an all-purpose term for making people or things seem more important or desirable.

These days, iconic is used to describe just about anything, even commonplace objects. (Prell is an “iconic shampoo,” according to news reports earlier this year.) As the examples above demonstrate, the word has become a tool for exaggeration and is now a cliche. In fact, iconic is often nominated for annual lists of “words that should be banned.”

If something truly merits an accolade, consider such synonyms as celebrated, distinctive, famous, inimitable, legendary, original, peerless, and singular.

These true icons of Jesus have already been honored as saints and martyrs in the Coptic Church and their feast day is February 15. Coptic Martyrs, pray for us! As windows to Jesus, show us the way this Lent!

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