Finally under pressure he resigned on or about 13 March and went into exile on

Finally under pressure he resigned on or about 13

This preview shows page 32 - 34 out of 241 pages.

was then removed from the diptychs. Finally under pressure he resigned on or about 13 March and went into exile on the Asian side of the Bosphorus. Though an exponent of moderation, and 32
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where possible compromise (oeconomia), when his basic principles were opposed to those of the Emperor no one could taunt him with being 'Caesar's steward'. On Easter Day (1 April 815) a new patriarch, Theodotus Mellissenus Cassiteras, was en- throned. He was reputed to be of some virtue though of unclerical habits, and he was inevitably an iconoclast. Leo would have liked to appoint John the Grammarian but was dissuaded on the grounds that he was not old enough nor of sufficiently distinguished lineage. Soon after Easter a synod was held in Hagia Sophia. The acta of this council were destroyed on the restoration of or- thodoxy but something of the content can be gathered from the detailed refutation made by the Patriarch Nicephorus in his Refutatio et Eversio. 61 The synod reaffirmed the iconoclast council of Hieria-Blachernae (754) and annulled the act of Nicaea II (787) specifically censuring the folly of the Empress Irene and the Patriarch Tarasius. The florilegium of the iconoclast commit- tee was read and accepted. The dogmatic Definition (Horos) drawn up by the council had a flori- legium appended, but it is not clear whether this was identical with that of the committee. The Horos condemned the untraditional veneration and the unedifying manufacture of icons, but ab- stained from calling them idols, 'for there are many degrees of evil'. This ninth-century revival of iconoclasm was in effect less harsh and uncompromising than that of Leo III and Constantine V. Unlike the council of 754 it did not introduce the argu- ment from idolatry. But to judge from the content of Nicephorus's Refutatio the Christological implications raised by Constantine V were still important, since he deals with these at some length. The ninthcentury iconoclasts also set store by the 'ethical theory of icons' 62 linked with the 'argument from holiness', 63 again not a new line of thought. It was maintained that the only real and living icon of the saint was the reproduction of his virtues in the soul of the individual, rather than some meaningless figure in material colours which could only express the mortal body and not the saint's real inner holiness. Dead matter could not reveal the glorious state of the saint enjoying eternal life with God. The revived iconoclasm may have provided more precise, or fuller, references for sources cited at the 754 council, but it was essentially based on the eighth- century movement. 64 It is difficult to assess to what extent obstinate iconophiles suffered persecution in the ninth century because accounts of this derive from partisan and probably exaggerated sources, such as the Vita Nicephori or the letters of Theodore Studites. In the 815 council an attempt was made to win over certain orthodox bishops and when this failed they were then and there sub- jected to unseemly physical assault and then exiled. The ex-Patriarch Nicephorus persistently re-
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