Ansikte mot ansikte; Ikoner i Svenska kyrkan - varför det?
Sammanfattning: This essay studies the frequent habit of using Orthodox icons in the Church of Sweden. Over the last 30 years, these icons have become very popular. How come a symbol, traditionally foreign to the Swedish, Lutheran tradition, has become so accepted? Is the use of icons an expression of a shift of religious practice in Sweden today? Interviews were conducted with people employed by the Church, who encounter icons in their daily work. What does the icon mean to the informants? And: how are icons being used, according to informants, and according to the literature? Informants describe the use of icons as a tool in situations of prayer, at retreats and in individual worship. They ascribe to the icon qualities that give it an important role in people’s religious experiences. In situations of secluded worship, in church or at home, the icon is prefered as a holy symbol instead of, for example, the traditional crucifix. According to sociological theories, religion in the West is undergoing change. There is a shift from religion to spirituality, reflecting a diminishing trust in authorities and institutions. Many people today turn away from the common Sunday mass, and seek their spiritual experiences in places more private or secluded rooms: in smaller, separate rooms in church, or at home, the icon fills a role as a guidance into the spiritual world. Throughout history it has seemed an impossible mission to prohibit art and holy pictures from being a part of the church’s religious life and the church room. Today they are needed more than ever: when religions in the West become more individualized, the icons fill a gap in the seek for a spiritual life outside authorities and institutions.
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