Icons and Their Role in the Byzantine (Eastern Orthodox) Church Chapter 6 of The Story of Art, entitled “A Parting of Ways,” relates the controversy that arose in the 600’s and 700’s AD about the role of images— paintings, mosaics, and statuary — in the Christian church. At that time “the church” was one church: there was no separation, as there is today, between the Roman Catholic (western) and Eastern Orthodox (eastern) major Christian churches, nor were there any significant non-Catholic denominations which arose only with the Protestant Reformation of the 1500’s AD. But there were definitely different ideas in different parts of the church about the role images should be allowed to play in church and in people’s lives. Pope Gregory the Great (pope from 590 to 604 AD) governed the church in the troubled times following the fall of the Roman Empire. Among the many accomplishments that rank him as a saint in both the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches is his position on the use of images. He is
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Christian terms, Eastern Orthodox Church, Eastern Orthodox