A question about the Church of Rome
#1
Hello, everyone.

for some time, I went to mass, read all I could, etc. about Roman Catholicism.  I deeply believed it was the truth (not saying it's not).  I wonder where that went.  I can remember my heart lifting from inside my chest when the priest held up the sacrement of communion, although I couldn't take part.  but then a friend led me to the Orthodox Church.  I really love it, don't get me wrong.  but sometimes I miss the Catholic church.  I just have a few things I'd like cleared up, If you'd all be so kind.

1. If Christianity is eastern in origin, why are (non- eastern rite) Catholic churches so western?  Like, (and I mean NO offence) why are Jesus, Mary, people who were Jews from Palastine, portrayed as caucasian?  one of the things that drew me into Orthodoxy was that in icons, we have them as darker skinned people.  not that race matters to me, but this is just an interesting observation.

[Image: 02268_vladimir_theotokos_luke_dingman.jpg]


vs.



[Image: la_vierge_au_lys.jpg]
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#2
[Image: Our-Lady-of-China.jpg]

[Image: our-lady-of-guadalupe.jpg]

[Image: 1120800693_cea58ec409.jpg?v=0]

[Image: LadyOfVailankanni%20(1).bmp]

[Image: LadySalambao.jpg]

[Image: Our-Lady-of-La-Veng.jpg]

[Image: LadyAkita.jpg]

One......could guess.

(Some of these, the ones you'd least expect, are depictions of actual apparitions)

Also, some Eastern Orthodox Icons:

[Image: ut000013.jpg]

[Image: IR_09_1b.jpg]

[Image: IR_11_1b.jpg]

[Image: icon%2B3.jpg]

[Image: lot0145B.jpg]

[Image: milkfour010408.jpg]



Localization, not just a western thing.
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#3
Well, the Church certainly knows the ethnic background of these Scriptural characters, but it largely has to do with the part of the world in which the depictions originated. I think it is meant as more of a cultural appeal - people are more able to relate to something that looks like them - than of actual historical accuracy. Plus, as WanderingPenitent pointed out, Our Lady has appeared in various ways to different people. She is not "stuck" with one "look"; she can appear as a Mexican, Asian, or African if she wishes in order to more directly appeal to the people.
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#4
(04-14-2010, 11:53 PM)trevor72694 Wrote: 1. If Christianity is eastern in origin, why are (non- eastern rite) Catholic churches so western?  Like, (and I mean NO offence) why are Jesus, Mary, people who were Jews from Palastine, portrayed as caucasian?  one of the things that drew me into Orthodoxy was that in icons, we have them as darker skinned people.  not that race matters to me, but this is just an interesting observation.

The images posted by WanderingPenitent just scratch the surface of the variety in Christian art, but INPEFESS's observation is nonetheless worth underscoring. The Catholic Church has always permitted a certain amount of inculturation and syncretism between transnational norms and local custom/tradition/style when it comes to art and architecture (and liturgical music, I guess, at least these days), not least because the Church aims to be universal, and art that makes as immediate a connection with people as possible serves that aim. To try and adjudicate the competing claims of Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy based on what you see in the way of church decor in any particular place (Pueblo, CO, for instance), is almost pointless. And honestly, when I look at the most celebrated Byzantine icons--like Rublev's Old Testament Trinity, the Vladimir Madonna, or the Theotokos from the Monastery of Saint Catherine in the Sinai--I don't see Near Eastern physical traits in the figural representation.

Anyway, the art is worth studying, but it's not going to help you distinguish the one, true faith from its apparent rivals.
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#5
"To try and adjudicate the competing claims of Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy based on what you see in the way of church decor in any particular place (Pueblo, CO, for instance), is almost pointless."

Pueblo, Colorado?

Roman Catholicism left that diocese along time ago.
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#6

when i was a kid in the Fifties, i lived in the Philippines, where i saw a great many Filipino Jesuses, Filipino Marys, etc., and more than a few Chinese ones.  you didn't have to go in churches to see it, either, it was street art at Christmas.  and the Philippines was like 99% Catholic then.  since then the Muslim population has grown and Protestant missionaries have made a lot of inroads and it's only about 78% Catholic.  there were always Buddhists and Confucians, too. i don't know if there are any Orthodox there.

BTW, the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe is loaded with imagery that was instantly recognized by the Aztec people.  she's wearing an Aztec maternity belt, rabbit fur cuffs denoting royalty.  the color of her gown and mantle are significant, the stars on the mantle show the exact position the stars were in on the day her image appeared on St. Juan Diego's tilma, the flowers on the gown have special significance, etc.

an excellent site about OLG is

http://sancta.org/



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#7
(04-14-2010, 11:53 PM)trevor72694 Wrote: 1. If Christianity is eastern in origin, why are (non- eastern rite) Catholic churches so western?  Like, (and I mean NO offence) why are Jesus, Mary, people who were Jews from Palastine, portrayed as caucasian?  one of the things that drew me into Orthodoxy was that in icons, we have them as darker skinned people.  not that race matters to me, but this is just an interesting observation.

Also keep in mind, eastern and western is relative.  The Syriac Christians consider the Greeks to be too scholastic and Western.  They're even more mystical than we Byzantines!  All of Christianity is western compared to hinduism.
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#8
(04-15-2010, 12:17 AM)WanderingPenitent Wrote: [Image: Our-Lady-of-China.jpg]

[Image: our-lady-of-guadalupe.jpg]

[Image: 1120800693_cea58ec409.jpg?v=0]

[Image: LadyOfVailankanni%20(1).bmp]

[Image: LadySalambao.jpg]

[Image: Our-Lady-of-La-Veng.jpg]

[Image: LadyAkita.jpg]

One......could guess.

(Some of these, the ones you'd least expect, are depictions of actual apparitions)

Also, some Eastern Orthodox Icons:

[Image: ut000013.jpg]

[Image: IR_09_1b.jpg]

[Image: IR_11_1b.jpg]

[Image: icon%2B3.jpg]

[Image: lot0145B.jpg]

[Image: milkfour010408.jpg]



Localization, not just a western thing.
well that shut me up! :laughing:

thanks!
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