Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Chesterton’s fumble: dissing the Orthodox
A great man but fallible, he made the same observations against modernity that Fr Seraphim Rose did 40-50 years later but in a much shorter and funnier way
Byzantium slowly stiffened into a sort of Asiatic theocracy, more like that which served the Sacred Emperor in China.
Sounds like another, more widespread voice from about 40 years later: ‘give up that artsy-fartsy old-fashioned stuff and have nave altars and guitars’. No thanks, Gilbert.
But even the unlearned can see the difference, in the way in which Eastern Christianity flattened everything, as it flattened the faces of the images into icons. It became a thing of patterns rather than pictures; and it made a definite and destructive war upon statues. Thus we see, strangely enough, that the East was the land of the Cross and the West was the land of the Crucifix. The Greeks were being dehumanized by a radiant symbol, while the Goths were being humanized by an instrument of torture.
Hate to break it to you, old boy, but the other side uses the crucifix.

From Stephen Hand.

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