Are there any rules for painting (or praying) Orthodox Christian icons that disallow depictions of violence or conflict?

For example: Would an icon depicting a murder be a problem?

  • 2
    Why would you want a depiction of violence or conflict on a painting that's intended to lift your mind to God? Dec 22, 2015 at 19:15
  • @MattGutting Exactly.
    – Stephen
    Jan 29, 2016 at 15:09
  • 1
    @Stephen If the fraternal slaying of Abel by Cain is put on an icon, being a profound lesson in Scripture, what problem to you see arising from it? I am trying to understand your question's context. Feb 4, 2016 at 17:43
  • @KorvinStarmast I'm not sure there is a problem. I am curious as to the "rules" of writing icons. Turns out, there really aren't any, save for the existing body of iconography. Violence in scripture is a fascinating study for me. Kind of the key, really. Thank you.
    – Stephen
    Feb 4, 2016 at 19:56
  • Were that the case, then there would be no crucifixes, or icons depicting Christ's passion and crucifixion.
    – user46876
    Nov 12, 2021 at 2:24

1 Answer 1


There are no such problem to show the violence in icons in orthodoxy. There are many icons of martyrs, which shows their suffers on. Like behading or quartering. The sample the that kind of icons are: Icon of Daniel the Prophet and the three children:

Icon of Daniel the Prophet and the three children

and St.Sebastian of Mediolan:

St.Sebastian of Mediolan

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