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Such images functioned as powerful relics as well as icons, and their images were naturally seen as especially authoritative as to the true appearance of the subject.

Like other icon types believed to be painted from the live subject, such as the Hodegetria (thought to have been painted by Luke the Evangelist), they therefore acted as important references for other images in the tradition.

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The Church did not infallibly define these books until the Council of Trent, when it was called into question by Martin Luther and other Protestant Reformers, in 1556., "made without hand"; singular acheiropoieton) — also called Icons Made Without Hands (and variants) — are Christian icons which are said to have come into existence miraculously, not created by a human.Invariably these are images of Jesus or the Virgin Mary.In its place – everything from annihilation of the soul to universal salvation.Apparently the doctrine of hell is so scary even annihilation – eternal nonexistence – is preferable to the Biblical doctrine of hell.

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