Leo next appointed a "commission" of monks "to look into the old books" and reach a decision on the veneration of images. Byzantine Iconoclasm. After Leo IV too died, Irene called another ecumenical council, the Second Council of Nicaea, in 787 CE, that reversed the decrees of the previous iconoclast council and restored image worship, marking the end of the First Iconoclasm. Because an icon which depicted Jesus as purely physical would be Nestorianism, and one which showed Him as both human and divine would not be able to do so without confusing the two natures into one mixed nature, which was Monophysitism, all icons were thus heretical. Traditional explanations for Byzantine iconoclasm have sometimes focused on the importance of Islamic prohibitions against images influencing Byzantine thought. In 754 CE, Constantine summoned the first ecumenical council concerned with religious imagery, the Council of Hieria; 340 bishops attended. Some iconophiles, people who loved and supported icons, wanted the icons to remain. Emperor Leo V instituted a second period of iconoclasm in 814 CE, again possibly motivated by military failures seen as indicators of divine displeasure, but only a few decades later, in 842 CE, icon worship was again reinstated. Iconoclasm, Greek for “image-breaking,” is the deliberate destruction within a culture of the culture’s own religious icons and other symbols or monuments. The Byzantine term for the debate over religious imagery, "iconomachy," means "struggle over images" or "image struggle". iconoclasm. Main article: Iconoclasm (Byzantine) As with other doctrinal issues in the Byzantine period, the controversy over iconoclasm was by no means restricted to the clergy, or to arguments from theology. This interpretation is now in doubt, and the debate and struggle may have initially begun in the provinces rather than in the imperial court. If anyone shall endeavour to represent the forms of the Saints in lifeless pictures with material colours which are of no value (for this notion is vain and introduced by the devil), and does not rather represent their virtues as living images in himself, he is an adversary of God"[41], "Satan misled men, so that they worshipped the creature instead of the Creator. [39] A first debate followed between Leo's supporters and the clerics who continued to advocate the veneration of icons, the latter group being led by the Patriarch Nikephoros, which led to no resolution. That practice continued from beginning to end of the Iconoclast controversy and beyond, with some emperors enforcing iconoclasm, and two empresses regent enforcing the re-establishment of icon veneration. On the other hand, the people is not entirely excluded as a political factor. Because of the persecution that followed Christians who supported icons, Byzantine religious art shrunk to focus mainly on the cross and symbolic birds and plants (“The Byzantine Empire”). The “First Iconoclasm,” as it is sometimes called, lasted between about 730 CE and 787 CE, during the Isaurian Dynasty. The Byzantine Empire was influenced by the Latin, Coptic, Armenian and Persian cultures. [31] In both cases, efforts to persuade these men of the propriety of image veneration had failed and some steps had been taken to remove images from their churches. It was accompanied by widespread destruction of images and persecution of supporters of the veneration of images. Images in the form of mosaics and paintings were widely used in churches, homes and other places such as over city gates, and had since the reign of Justinian I been increasingly taking on a spiritual significance of their own, and regarded at least in the popular mind as capable of possessing capacities in their own right, so that "the image acts or behaves as the subject itself is expected to act or behave. Earlier scholarship tried to link Byzantine Iconoclasm directly to Islam by arguing that Byzantine emperors saw the success of the early Caliphate and decided that Byzantine use of images (as opposed to Islamic aniconism) had angered God. The role of women and monks in supporting the veneration of images has also been asserted. Surviving letters Germanos wrote at the time say little of theology. He apparently forbade the veneration of religious images in a 730 edict, which did not apply to other forms of art, including the image of the emperor, or religious symbols such as the cross. On October 13, 787 the Second Council of Nicaea decreed that 'venerable and holy images are to be dedicated in the holy churches of God, namely the image of our Lord and God and Saviour Jesus Christ, of our immaculate Lady the holy Theotokos, and of the angels and all the saints. He also declared, "But I also venerate the matter through which salvation came to me, as if filled with divine energy and grace." According to the traditional view, Byzantine Iconoclasm was started by a ban on religious images by Emperor Leo III and continued under his successors. For example, Constantine is accused of being obsessive in his hostility to images and monks; because of this he burned monasteries and images and turned churches into stables, according to the surviving iconophile sources. The chief theological opponents of iconoclasm were the monks Mansur (John of Damascus), who, living in Muslim territory as advisor to the Caliph of Damascus, was far enough away from the Byzantine emperor to evade retribution, and Theodore the Studite, abbot of the Stoudios monastery in Constantinople. The movement was triggered by changes in Orthodox worship that were themselves generated by the major social and political upheavals of the seventh century for the Byzantine Empire. The First Iconoclasm, as it is sometimes called, existed between about 726 and 787. [8] One notable change came in 695, when Justinian II put a full-faced image of Christ on the obverse of his gold coins. On behalf of the church, the council endorsed an iconoclast position and declared image worship to be blasphemy. [25][26], The classic account of the beginning of Byzantine Iconoclasm relates that sometime between 726 and 730 the Byzantine Emperor Leo III the Isaurian ordered the removal of an image of Christ, prominently placed over the Chalke Gate, the ceremonial entrance to the Great Palace of Constantinople, and its replacement with a cross. The Iconoclasm is the period in Byzantine history when the validity of icons were debated. The continuing cultural confrontation with, and military threat from, Islam probably had a bearing on the attitudes of both sides. Iconoclastic Controversy, a dispute over the use of religious images (icons) in the Byzantine Empire in the 8th and 9th centuries. The period of Iconoclasm decisively ended the so-called Byzantine Papacy under which, since the reign of Justinian I a century before, the popes in Rome had been initially nominated by, and later merely confirmed by, the emperor in Constantinople, and many of them had been Greek-speaking. Further, in their view idols depicted persons without substance or reality while icons depicted real persons. Opposition to icons seems to have had little support in the West and Rome took a consistently iconodule position. [citation needed], The surviving sources accuse Constantine V of moving against monasteries, having relics thrown into the sea, and stopping the invocation of saints. would often pray or ask an intermediary, such as the saints or the Theotokos, or living fellow Christians believed to be holy, to intercede on their behalf with Christ. He does not seem to refer to a factional split in the church, but rather to an ongoing issue of concern, and Germanos refers to the Emperor Leo III, often presented as the original Iconoclast, as a friend of images. By the end of the controversy the pope had approved the creation of a new emperor in the West, and the old deference of the Western church to Constantinople had gone. Thus, although the rise of Islam may have created an environment in which images were at the forefront of intellectual question and debate, Islamic iconoclasm does not seem to have had a direct causal role in the development of the Byzantine image debate, in fact Muslim territories became havens for iconophile refugees. The use and abuse[citation needed] of images had greatly increased during this period, and had generated a growing opposition among many in the church, although the progress and extent of these views is now unclear. The Byzantines had suffered a series of humiliating defeats at the hands of the Bulgarian Khan Krum. Related to this was the observation that it was foolish to deny to God the same honor that was freely given to the human emperor, since portraits of the emperor were common and the iconoclasts did not oppose them. Leo died in 741 CE, and his son and heir, Constantine V, furthered his views until the end of his own rule in 775 CE. However, the Byzantine Iconoclasm refers to two periods in the history of the Byzantine Empire when the use of religious images or icons was opposed by religious and imperial authorities. But only a few decades later, in 842 CE, the regent Theodora again reinstated icon worship. Monks were forced to parade in the Hippodrome, each hand-in-hand with a woman, in violation of their vows. A number of large monasteries in Constantinople were secularised, and many monks fled to areas beyond effective imperial control on the fringes of the Empire.[35]. Literally translated as “image breaking,” iconoclasm involved the destruction or desecration of religious imagery for the sake of preventing idolatry, as illustrated in a ninth-century drawing from the Chudlov Psalter. But only a few decades later, in 842 CE, the regent Theodora again reinstated icon worship. Despite his successes as an emperor, both militarily and culturally, this has caused Constantine to be remembered unfavourably by a body of source material which is preoccupied by his opposition to image veneration. As Constantine's father, Leo also became a target. A large mosaic of a church council in the Imperial Palace was replaced by lively secular scenes, and there was no issue with imagery per se. Relics, a firmly embedded part of veneration by this period, provided physical presence of the divine but were not infinitely reproducible (an original relic was required), and still usually required believers to undertake pilgrimage or have contact with somebody who had. [49] The Image of Camuliana in Constantinople appears to have been destroyed, as mentions of it cease.[50]. John declared that he did not worship matter, "but rather the creator of matter." What accounts of iconoclast arguments remain are largely found in quotations or summaries in iconodule writings. The popular co-operation in the government was not regulated by set forms. After an apparently successful attempt to enforce the baptism of all Jews and Montanists in the empire (722), he issued a series of edicts against the veneration of images (726–729). The Second Iconoclasm was between 814 and 842. These important sources are fiercely iconophile and are hostile to the Emperor Constantine V (741–775). He banned religious images in about 730 CE, the beginning of the Byzantine Iconoclasm. To the royal iconoclastic decrees, Saint John replied with vigor, and by the adoption of a simpler style brought the Christian side of the controversy within the grasp of the common people. The theological arguments of the iconoclasts survive only in the form of selective quotations embedded in iconodule documents, most notably the Acts of the Second Council of Nicaea and the Antirrhetics of Nikephoros. 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