Alabaster, Onyx, and Marble Mandylion (Towel) Iconostasis Mosaic – St. Sophia Orthodox Church, Canada
Jesus Christ is our precious and chief cornerstone… in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit. ~ Ephesians 2:19-22
God is Beautiful, and His House reflects this Beauty as a sacramental image of the Heavenly Jerusalem here on Earth… Our Door to Paradise.
Beautifying the House of God is pleasing to Him. Traditional stylized toweling has a very long history in church iconography. Frescoed borders of stylized fabric of “towels, or mandylion” represent the original linens from Old Testament times used within the original Portable Tabernacle.
Decorative wall mandylion run along the walls of many Orthodox churches, and are covered with adorning emblems. These also recall the Scriptural theme of linen napkins and towels as cited in the New Testament. And God was doing extraordinary miracles by the hands of Paul, so that even handkerchiefs or aprons that had touched his skin were carried away to the sick, and their diseases left… ~ Acts 19:11-12.
A Living Stone and a Holy People. So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander. Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation – if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good. As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. For it stands in Scripture: “Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a cornerstone chosen and precious, and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.” ~ 1 Peter 2:1-6
Having made us in His own image, God has given us an indelible love for beauty. We worship Him with body and soul, using all the beauty of His creation to move us to prayer and worship – through icons, beautiful ancient singing, sweet-smelling incense, and majestic holy services.
Behold, I lay in Zion a stone for a foundation, A tried stone, a precious cornerstone, a sure foundation… ~ Isaiah 28:16
Jesus Christ is our Precious Cornerstone.
May our hearts build on God’s Beauty and Wisdom to become proper temples and dwelling places for the Holy Spirit.
Glory to God for all things!