February 26 - Icons and Iconoclasm

February 26 - Icons and Iconoclasm - History 205 Byzantium:...

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History 205 Byzantium: Imperial Age February 26, 2007 Icons and Iconoclasm 730-843 – Iconoclast Controversy Icon – image (Greek) o An icon can be any image or representation of someone o They can be on any type of material Usually they are images of sacred individuals painted on wooden panels Most early Christians were opposed to images of Christ o Old Testament seems to forbid the creation of graven images o Creating icons was seen as idolatry By the 3 rd century AD, Christians start to use images o Ex. in the catacombs in Rome By the 4 th century, there is a cult of relics o Ex. Cult of the cross People who believed in the “true cross” o There are reports of Christians venerating holy people Most historians agree that there was an increase in the veneration of images after the death of Justinian in the late 6 th century o People use them to cure evil, in devotional services, to defend against evil, etc o Images start to pop up with unknown origin People believe there are images created by holy intervention Ex. there is a cloth that people said Christ placed on his face and the image of his face was transferred to the cloth 720s – Patriarch of Constantinople, Germanos, writes letters to two bishops rebuking them for telling people not to venerate images o Germanos tells the bishops that telling people venerating images is wrong now would mean the church has been in error for hundreds of years o Germanos is basically telling the bishops not to cause problems 717 – Leo III becomes emperor
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February 26 - Icons and Iconoclasm - History 205 Byzantium:...

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