“I am an Image of Your Glory”: Exegesis and Theology in a Byzantine Funeral Hymn

In: Vigiliae Christianae
Bogdan G. Bucur St Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary Yonkers, NY USA

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Εἰκών εἰμι τῆς ἀρρήτου δόξης σου: the opening of one of the Eulogētaria hymns in the Byzantine funeral service – a highly interesting composition with roots in Late Ancient Jerusalem – invites a connection with Genesis 1:26. However, even though the allusion to the story of creation, Eden, and the Fall is undeniable, this hymn does not speak of the human being as κατ᾿εἰκόνα, but straightforwardly as the εἰκών of God’s glory. A first step in interpreting this line should therefore be the consideration of another set of biblical references, dealing not with “image” but with “glory.” We can then, as a second step, make sense of the resulting interpretation within the larger theological context of Byzantine Christomorphic anthropology, with its rich biblical and extra-biblical sources.

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