I have to admit to being very much intrigued by the idea of exploring such a theology and setting it to paper, even in the midst of my studies in canon law and possibly even taking a look at the history of the artistic depictions of the face of Jesus in light of the Volto Santo (everyone needs a good intellectual distraction to keep from going insane, and all the better if it involves the sacred at the same time!). My friend recognized this interest and said, "I don't want to distract you from your studies, but you're already distracted." I couldn't argue with that.
A couple of days ago I read somewhere an intriguing aspect of the ancient emperors of Byzantium, and possible or Rome (or perhaps the other way around): If the emperor himself could not go to a particular location, his image would be sent and it was received as if the emperor himself had come. My curiosity being peeked, I went back into the library this afternoon to read again the encyclopedia entries for "Face" in the Anchor Bible Dictionary and The Theological Dictionary of the Old Testament because I was all but certain I read it one of those entries. In the midst of my - unsuccessful - search a simple thought occurred to me (maybe by divine inspiration): look in On the Divine Images by Saint John of Damascus [N.B.: Previous spelling mistake in the title corrected].
Since I'd read this short book many years ago and did not recall such a passage (and because I hadn't read or even picked up this book recently), I went to the shelves to retrieve it with a bit of self-doubt (I knew just where it was because it had caught my attention as I walked by it one day last week). Imagine my delight when I read a brief passage of Saint Basil the Great which the Damascene quoted:
The image of the emperor is also called the emperor, yet they are not two emperors. Power is not divided, nor is glory separated. Just as He who rules us is one power, so the homage He receives from us is united, not divided, for the honor given to the image is transferred to the prototype. Therefore, the One whom the image materially represents is He who is Son by nature.Now I just need to track down Saint Basil's Thirty Chapters to Amphilochius on the Holy Spirit.