Harry Potter Illustration Offends Many Orthodox

Fr. Gregory sent this email out on his mailing list September 2, 2009

Harry Potter Illustration Offends Many Orthodox
by The Editor on August 30, 2009

The front page of the August 30th Dallas News Points section featured an illustration which is offending many area Orthodox Christians. The illustration accompanies an article by Michael Paulson, a religion reporter for the Boston Globe. Many Orthodox Christians are deeply saddened or even outraged at this depiction.

Many who do not hold icons sacredas the Orthodox domay not see this as a big issue. To the Orthodox though, this is sacrilegious and offensive in the extreme. Orthodox Christians are trained from an early age to “read” icons, and the halo with a cross background surrounding a figure is iconography’s way of saying: “This person is God.” Picking up the Points section of the paper, many Orthodox react as if the headline reads, “Harry Potter is God.”

The article is available online at the Dallas News <http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/dn/opinion/points/stories/DN-paulson_30edi.State.Edition1.2385323.html> . The article itself is fairly innocuous, but the illustration is detestable to many.

While the illustrator may not understand the theological ramifications of this image, educated Orthodox do. Icons are sacred, and a blasphemous illustration is, wittingly or unwittingly, a mockery of Christianity.

Take a moment to speak to your church leaders about this topic and consider writing the Dallas News <http://www.dallasnews.com/cgi-bin/lettertoed.cgi>  to let them know your thoughts on the matter.

A RocorMP iconography student shared this comment:
... my daughter asked me how the illustrator knew enough about Orthodoxy to make an icon. I said it wasn't a very good icon. She mentioned the artist probably didn't know the Pantocrator pattern with the halo with the cross was only for Lord Jesus, but I told her I can prove the artist did know. Whose Face did they replace with Harry's? ... 

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