Byzantine icons have a distinctive style that's immediately recognizable. These religious paintings show Heavenly figures with elongated and exaggerated fingers and facial features.
These paintings of Christ, the Blessed Virgin Mary, as well as the angels and saints, are purposely made to look two dimensional, unlike the three-dimensional statues found in most Catholic churches. That's because the icons are designed to appear like you're looking out a window into Heaven. Since we're still here on earth, we can't see the full glory of God's kingdom. The icons are just a foretaste.
Byzantine icons are found inside the 22 Eastern-Rite churches in communion with Rome and subject to the Pope. But many Roman Catholics enjoy these exquisite images as well.
Flickr photo by bobosh_t