Images have always been a vital part of the Church. This was especially true when most people weren’t able to read or write. Through the use of images, the Gospel of Christ could be taught and understood by all.
Icons represent events from the life of Jesus Christ, historical events in the life of the Church, and portraits of the saints. They are usually two-dimensional images that don’t employ western techniques for simulating depth and perspective. They may be made of paint, mosaic, embroidery, weaving, carving, engraving, or other methods. A person who practices the art of iconography is called an iconographer.
Icons are meant to be understood in a manner similar to Holy Scripture—that is, they are not simply artistic compositions but rather are witnesses to the truth. They are not creations from the imagination of the iconographer; instead, they are more like scribal copies of Holy Scripture. Thus an icon is said to be “written” rather than drawn or painted.