Although Christianity prohibited the worship of idols, the use of icons in the
proper way was not banned due to the reasons mentioned before. History relates
that the use of icons in the Church has its Christian roots from the time of
Christ. There is a number of historical documents for these. First, it is
known that the Evangelist Luke was a talented painter [how is this "known?"]
as well as a physician.
He painted an icon presenting the Virgin Mary holding the Child Jesus, which
many churches all over the world later on copied. Also, in a reference
mentioned that the historian "Van Celub" found an icon of the Archangel
Michael during his visit to a Cathedral in Alexandria, that was made by the
Apostle Luke. Second, an icon the Savior made without hands, goes back to the
first century when king Abagar of Edessa (located between the two rivers,
Euphrates and Tigris, an area in eastern Iraq) sent a message with his envoy
Ananius to the Lord Jesus Christ to ask if He could visit the king to heal
him. The king suffered from diseases and he wished to the Lord would come and
live in his kingdom. Ananius the envoy was a talented artist, and tried to
paint a picture of the Lord, however the glory and the perfect appearance of
the Lord was so great that he was unable to do so. The story says that the
envoy went back to the king with a piece of cloth that had an image of
Christ's face. The image of the Holy Face of Christ healed the king of his
diseases in the absence of Christ himself, the Holy image had power to effect
the healing of the king. The legend is saying virtually the same as St Paul
says "But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass of the Lord, are
changed into the same image from glory even as by the spirit of the Lord"
[2-Cor 3:18]. This story and the two letters were copied word for word and
published (in pages 56 and 57) in the book of "The History of the Church" by
the early Christian historian Eusebius of Caesaria [264-340 A.D.].
another story of early icon use involves the woman in [Luke 8:43] that Jesus
Christ healed from a twelve year bleeding. The woman had drawn on the door of
her house (in village of Banias, near the source of the Jordan river) a
representation of Christ and another of herself lying prostrate at his feet. The historian Eusebius of Caesaria has cited this in his book "The History of
the Church" after he saw the image at the woman's house which was still intact
at the time of his visit in the 3rd century.