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A Hstory Of The Councils Of The Church Volumes 1 to 5 by Charles Joseph Hefele D.D.

SEC. 332. Origin of the Controversy about Images

THE Old Testament forbade images (Ex. 20:4), because through the weakness of the Jewish people, and their strong inclination to imitate the idolatrous worships of the neighbouring peoples, they had brought the spiritual and Monotheistic worship of God into danger. This prohibition was, like all ritual ordinances, no longer binding, in itself, in the New Testament. On the contrary, it was the business of Christianity to lay hold of and ennoble the whole man in all his higher powers; and thus not only all the other noble arts e.g. music and poetry, but also to draw painting and sculpture into the service of the most holy. It was, however, natural that believers who came out of Judaism, who hitherto had cherished so well-founded a dislike for images, should bring over with them into the new dispensation the same, and that they should maintain this feeling so long—and properly—as they saw themselves surrounded and threatened by heathens who worshipped images. But the teacher’s consideration for the newly converted heathen forbade also the early Church to set up religious pictures, in order to remove possible temptations to fall back into paganism. Moreover; the old Church, for the sake of its own honour, had to refrain from pictures, especially from representations of our Lord, so that it might not be regarded by those who were without as only a new kind of heathenism; and, besides, the old believers found, in their opinion of the bodily form of Christ, no inducement to the making of images of Christ. The oppressed Church represented to herself her Master only in the form of a servant, despised and having no comeliness, as Isaiah (53:2, 3) describes the Servant of God. But the natural impulse to fix and support the memory of the Lord, and the thankful remembrance of the salvation procured by Him by means of pictorial forms, called out substitutes and symbols instead of actual pictures, especially as those were partially allowed in the Old Testament. Thus arose the use of the symbolical pictures of the Dove, the Fish, the Lyre, the Anchor [the Lamb]; specially frequent and favourite was the Cross, on account of which Christians were often called cross-worshippers (religiosi crucis, Tertull. Apolog. c. 16). A. decided step forwards to greater liberty is shown in the human symbolical figure of the Good Shepherd, which, according to Tertullian (De Pudicit. c. 7), was often found in the second century upon the chalices. Such representations, however, were mostly found in private use, and their use in ecclesiastical places was greatly disapproved and forbidden. With the orthodox, pictures as objects of veneration were not found so early as with heretics, particularly with the Carpocratians and with eclectic heathens, like the Emperor Alexander Severus. The celebrated Synod of Elvira, A.D. 306, spoke out strongly and severely against the use of pictures in the churches. But held at the entrance of the time of Constantine, it stands at the boundary of two periods. In the new time we find, as in other things, so also an important change in regard to Christian art. Jewish Christianity had come to an end, and its speciality and narrowness were extinguished. On the other side, even with heathens, any great relapse was no longer seriously to be feared; and thus the two principal reasons, which previously spoke against pictures, no longer existed. Thus there could no longer arise an evil report against the Church if she made use of pictures for the embellishment of her worship, for her Monotheistic character and her spiritual worship were now placed beyond all doubt. Thus it happened that in the victorious Church there came naturally another representation of the bodily form of the Lord than that which was found in the oppressed Church. Christ was from this time regarded as the ideal of human beauty, e.g., by Chrysostom (Opp. t. v. p. 162, ed. Montf.) and Jerome (Opp. t. ii. p. 684, ed. BB.), and this representation attached itself to Psalm 44:3 [45:2]. From this time very numerous representations of Christ, and also of the apostles and martyrs, in the form of pictures, mosaics, and statues, were fashioned, and, partly by Constantine himself, were put up in churches and in public places.

Where the ancient Fathers speak of the aim of these pictures, they find it in the instruction and cdification of the faithful, and in the appropriate decoration of churches. Thus writes Pope Gregory the Great to Bishop Serenus of Marseilles, who, in imprudent zeal, cast the pictures out of the Church: “You ought not to have broken what was put up in the churches, not for adoration, but merely for the promotion of reverence. It is one thing to worship an image, and another to learn from the history represented in the image what we ought to worship. For that which the Scripture is for those who can read, that a picture is for those who are incapable of reading; for in this also the uneducated see in what way they have to walk. In it they read who are not acquainted with the Scriptures” (lib. ix. Ep. 9). Still earlier, S. Basil, in his eulogy of the martyr Barlaam, called, in oratorical strains, upon the Christian painters to represent the glory of this great saint, as they could show this better in colours than he could in words. He would rejoice if he were surpassed by them, and if painting here triumphed over eloquence.

The customary use of pictures, since Constantine the Great, in the whole Church, with the Greeks even more than with the Latins, Leo the Isaurian, in the eighth century, determined again to root out. His early history and his career are very differently related by the ancients. According to some, he was a poor workman from Isauria in Lesser Asia, who carried his few wares with him on an ass, and subsequently entered the imperial army as a common soldier, and rose in it, on account of his bodily strength and dexterity, from step to step. According to Theophanes, on the other hand, he sprang from Germanicia, on the border of Isauria, was forced, in the reign of Justinian II., to remove to Mesembria in Thrace (why, is not known), once made this Emperor a present of 500 sheep, when he and his army were in some need, and was for that reason made imperial Spatharius; and afterwards, under Anastasius II., became general of the army in Asia Minor. When the latter Emperor, in consequence of a mutiny, A.D. 716, resigned and retired into a convent, in order to give place to the kindly but weak Theodosius, whom the insurgents had proclaimed Emperor, Leo refused obedience to the latter, beat him, and compelled him also to retire into a convent, and now ascended the throne as the founder of a new dynasty. Absolutely without education, rough in manner, a military upstart, he found in himself no understanding of art, and no æsthetic feeling that could have restrained him from Vandalism. Undoubtedly he was in all seriousness of the opinion that the veneration of images was a relapse into heathenism, and that the Old Testament prohibition of them was still in full force. How he came to this view, however, whether it arose in himself or was infused into him from without, must remain undecided, on account of the partly incomplete, partly improbable statements of the authorities. It is quite certain, however, that the forcible carrying through of his plans, even in religious matters, without regard to the liberty of conscience, lay quite as much in the character of Leo as in the practice of the Byzantine Emperors. This he showed as early as the sixth year of his reign, when he compelled the Jews and Montanists to receive baptism. The former submitted in appearance, but the Montanists themselves set fire to the house in which they were assembled, and rather died in the flames than comply with the command. Thus relates the chronographer Theophanes († 818), who from here forms one of our chief sources, and, in the later phase of iconoclasm, was a confessor and almost a martyr for images. All the others who have left us information respecting the controversy about images drew from Theophanes: Cedrenus (cent. xi.), Zonares (cent. xii.), Constantine Manasses (cent. xii.), and Michael Glycas (cent. xv.); also the Latins. Anastasius (cent. ix.), in his Historia Ecclesiastica, and the unknown author of the Historia Miscella commonly ascribed to Paul the deacon, for the most part only translated faithfully the words of Theophanes. On the other hand, Paul the deacon, in his treatise, De Gestis Lombardorum, and Anastasius, in his biographies of the Popes, have given some important information of their own. To authorities of the first rank John Damascene would belong, who at the very beginning undertook the defence of the veneration of images against the assailants; but his writings unfortunately contain extremely little that is historical. Somewhat more of this we find in the biography of the Abbot S. Stephen, of the ninth century, who was martyred under Leo’s son, Constantine Copronymus, on account of the images, as well as the Patriarch Nicephorus, who, like his contemporary Theophanes, in the second half of the storm about images, was compelled to go into exile in consequence of his resisting the storm. Some other less important authorities we shall mention as occasion offers; but it is superfluous to mention that the letters of Popes and other authorities which belong to this period, and the Acts of the various Synods, are of highest importance for the history of the controversy about images. The later literature on the subject is uncommonly drawn out, and from the confessional point of view a good deal coloured. The relationship of the reformers to the old iconoclasts lay so near as to change the historical theme into a polemical one, and to lead to attacks against the Catholic Church. The subject has been handled, among Protestants, especially by Goldart, in his collection of Imperialia decreta de cultu imaginum, 1608; Dallæus [Daillé], De imaginibus, 1612; Friedrich Spanheim junior, in his Restituta Historia imaginum, 1686; Bower, in History of the Popes, 1757, vol. iv.; Walch, in his Ketzerhistorie, 1782, Bd. x.; and Friedrich Christoph Schlosser (of Heidelberg), in his history of iconoclastic Emperors, Frankfort 1812. On the Catholic side we name, besides Baronius, Pagi, Natalis Alexander, specially Maimbourg, S. J., Histoire de l’heresie des iconoclastes, Paris 1683, 2 vols, (not quite trustworthy); Assemani, Historia Italicorum Scriptorum, t. iii.; and Marr, Der Bilderstreit der byzantinischen Kaiser, Trier 1839. Almost every one of the scholars named has formed a theory of his own on the chronology of the first lustrum of the controversies on, images. This was occasioned by the uncertainty and indefiniteness in the information given by the authorities. A fresh examination of these led us to several new results, which we will communicate in the proper place.

As the attack of the Emperor Leo on the images was preceded by one quite similar, which the Caliph Jezid II., only three years before, attempted to make in the Christian provinces ruled by him, it was quite natural that the Emperor’s contemporaries should charge him with having imitated the Mahometan, and accuse him of Saracen leanings. So particularly, Theophanes (l.c. pp. 618, 623), who mentions the renegade Beser and Bishop Constantine of Nacolia (in Phrygia) as the principal assistants of the Emperor in this affair. This Constantine, in particular, he calls an ignorant man, full of all uncleanness; of Beser, however, he relates that he, from birth a Christian, had denied Christ among the Arabs, and had come into great favour with the Emperor Leo. He had probably returned to Christianity.

Further information respecting Constantine of Nacolia we receive from two letters of Germanus, then patriarch of Constantinople. One of them is addressed to Bishop Constantine himself, the other to his metropolitan, John of Synnada. From the latter it appears that Constantine had personally come to Constantinople, and this gave occasion for his metropolitan himself to write to the patriarch, and to make him acquainted with his views in opposition to images. In consequence of this, Germanus had a conversation with Bishop Constantine on the subject. The latter appealed to the Old Testament, which forbade the images; but the patriarch explained the true state of the matter, and Constantine at last fell in with his view with the assurance that henceforth he would confess the like, and give offence to no one. We learn this distinctly from the letter already mentioned of the patriarch to the archbishop of Synnada, which he put into the hands of Bishop Constantine to take care of, when he returned to his home. Constantine, however, disappointed this confidence, detained the letter, and kept at a distance from his metropolitan, pretending fear of being persecuted by him. The patriarch therefore issued a powerful letter to Constantine himself, and pronounced him excommunicated until he should deliver that letter.

We do not doubt that the presence of Constantine in Constantinople belongs to the preliminary history of the image trouble. Bishop Constantine had, as we learn from these letters, first begun, in his own country, the battle against the images, and was thereupon driven into opposition on the part of the metropolitan and the comprovincial bishops. He went then to Constantinople, and sought the protection of his higher ecclesiastical superior, the patriarch, whilst in appearance he agreed with the explanation which he had given. That he was not serious in this we may infer from his subsequent behaviour. The Patriarch Germanus, however, does not in the least indicate that the Emperor had then already taken steps against the pictures, whether it was that nothing had yet actually taken place on the part of the Emperor in this direction, or that the patriarch ignored it from prudence. I should prefer the previous supposition; for the ignoring of it could have been possible only if at least so far nothing that was important or that excited notice had been undertaken by the Emperor.

Besides Beser and Constantine of Nacolia, Bishop Thomas of Claudiopolis and Archbishop Theodosius of Ephesus, the son of the former Emperor Apsimar or Tiberius II., also belonged to those who shared the opinion of the Emperor. We hear of the first of these from the letter of the Patriarch Germanus, who explained to him at great length the Church view in regard to the veneration of images, and complained that he had been compelled to hear much that was so unfavourable, or even incredible, of Bishop Thomas. The archbishop of Ephesus named, however, is pointed out by Pope Gregory II. as the secret counsellor of Leo.

Another ancient witness places Bishop Constantine of Nacolia in relation with the Caliph Jezid. This is the monk John, representative of the Oriental patriarchate, who read, in the fifth session of the seventh Œcumenical Council, a short essay, in which he states: “After Omar’s death, Ezid, a frivolous and stupid man, became chief of the Arabs. There lived at Tiberias a leader of the Jews, a magician, a soothsayer, and a servant of demons, named Tessaracontapechys (= 40 ells long; according to other MSS., his name was Sarantatechos), who gained the favour of Ezid, and told him: You will live long, and reign for thirty years more … if you immediately destroy all the images, pictures, and mosaics, all the pictures on walls, vessels, and cloths, which are found in the Christian churches of your kingdom; and so also all other pictures, even those which are not religious, which here and there in the towns are put up for ornament. The latter he mentioned in order to remove the suspicion that he was speaking only out of hatred against the Christians. The tyrant lent him a hearing, destroyed the pictures, and robbed the Church of all ornament, even before this evil came into our neighbourhood. As the Christians fled, and would not themselves destroy the holy images, the emirs who were charged with the business made use of the Jews and common Arabs for the purpose. The venerable pictures were burnt, the walls of the churches smeared or scratched. When the pseudo-bishop of Nacolia and his friends heard this, they imitated the wickedness of the Jews and Arabs, and caused great disfigurement of the churches. Ezid, however, died after 2½ years, and the images were restored again in his kingdom. His successor, Ulid (Walid), even ordered the Jewish leader to be executed, because he had brought about the death of his father (as a judgment of God).”

According to this, the bishop of Nacolia, who moreover did not stand alone, but must have had associates (perhaps also in the episcopate), appears as intermediary between Jezid and the Emperor Leo, as the man who induced the Emperor to become successor of the Caliph in the assault on the images. Another intermediary, however, has been introduced by the later Greek historians, and, according to their statement, the same Jews who misled Jezid won over the Emperor to their side. Fleeing, after the Caliph’s death, they came to the borders of Isauria, and lighted upon a young man of distinguished form who lived by merchandise. They seated themselves by him, prophesied to him the imperial throne, and took an oath of him that, in case of his elevation, he would everywhere remove the pictures of Christ and Mary. Leo promised it; some time afterwards entered the army, became under Justinian II. Spatharius, and finally even Emperor. Then came the Jews, reminded him of his promise, and in the tenth year of his reign Leo attacked the images.

Thus related, with several variations in detail, but in fundamental agreement, Cedrenus, Zonaras, Michael Glycas, Constantine Manasses, and two anonymous writers, the authors of the Oratio adv. Constantinum Cabalinum, and of the Epistola ad Theophilum. The time of the two latter cannot now be determined, probably they lived some centuries after Leo the Isaurian, and the whole narrative bears so clearly the character of a later story, that it would be superfluous, with Bower (Hist. of the Popes, vol. iv.) and Walch (l.c. S. 205 ff.), to collect all kinds of grounds of suspicion against it. To mention only one, the Jews would have bargained with Leo for something more useful to themselves than the destruction of images; and how little the Emperor was grateful or well-disposed to the Jews, is shown by the circumstance that, as we have already seen (p. 264), he forcibly compelled them to receive baptism. Perhaps, however, the experience which he gained later on may have brought him to the reflection, that the conversion of the Jews, which he so greatly desired, would be made much easier by the removal of the images. Many suppose that, in this way, he endeavoured to make his Saracen neighbours more favourable, and to pave their way into the Church.

If we add to these political grounds the narrow view of Leo already noticed, that all veneration of images was idolatrous, and also the insinuations of Beser, Constantine of Nacolia, and others, the reasons for the rising against images lie before our eyes.—That this was connected with the Monothelite controversies, and dated from the fact that the Emperor Philip Bardanes caused to be removed a picture of the sixth Œcumenical Synod (see p. 257), is a mere capricious assertion of some older Protestants, particularly Daillé and Spanheim.

According to Theophanes (l.c. p. 621), whom Anastasius (Hist. Eccles.) and Paul the deacon (Hist. Miscell. lib. xxi.) followed, Leo began in the ninth year of his reign (A.D. 725) λὸγον ποιεῖσθαι of the taking away of the sacred pictures, i.e. not merely in general to speak, to publish an ordinance, a command; for a few lines lower down Theophanes says: The Pope wrote on this subject to the Emperor, μὴ δεῖν βασιλέα περὶ πίστεως λόγον ποιεῖσθαι. Pope Gregory II., on the contrary (Epist. 1 ad Leonem), as well as Cedrenus and Zonaras, remove the beginning of the controversy about images into the Emperor’s tenth year; and this has also the greatest probability. So it comes that in this year, 726, that convulsion of nature took place which, according to the unanimous testimony of the ancients, brought the plan of the Emperor to maturity. Between the islands of the Cyclades group, Thera and Therasia (north-east from Crete), a volcano arose suddenly under the sea, which for several days vomited fire and stones with such violence, that the coasts of Asia Minor, and even those of Lesbos, Abydos, and Macedonia, were covered with it. There immediately arose a new island which united with the island of Hiera. The Emperor and his associate Beser professed to see in this a judgment of God on account of the veneration of images, and now set to work.

That the Emperor at his first steps against the images either did not consult Germanus, the patriarch of Constantinople, at all, or did not follow his counsel, is clear from the first letter of Gregory II. to Leo, in which he reproaches him that Sapientes non percontatus es. In opposition to this, the biography of Abbot Stephen, martyred under Constantine Copronymus on account of the images, speaks of an assembly which the Emperor held, and in which he declared: “As the making of images is an idolatrous art, so may they not be venerated (προσκυνεῖσθαι).” The old Latin translation departs from the Greek original in the rendering of this: “Accita et coacta senatorum classe absurdum illud et impium evomuit (Leo): imaginum picturas formam quamdam idolorum retinere, neque iis cultum esse adhibendum.” In accordance with this, Schlosser (l.c. p. 166) has assumed that the Emperor Leo now held a consultative assembly on account of the images, but I fear mistakenly, for Pope Gregory II. knows nothing of any such assembly in the year 726, nor Theophanes or the Patriarch Nicephorus, nor I the oldest authorities generally; and the biographer of Stephen had, in his expressions, nothing else in view but that Silentium (assembly of clergy and secular grandees) which first took place on the subject of the images in the year 730, as Theophanes and others testify.

Cedrenus, Zonaras, Constantine Manasses, and. Glycas relate that the Emperor summoned the twelve professors who were appointed over the great library (of 36,000 volumes) in the neighbourhood of the Church of S. Sophia, with their director, and endeavoured to gain them over to his views. As this did not succeed, he caused the library to be burnt, together with the thirteen scholars named shut up within it. As this is not mentioned either by Gregory II. or by Theophanes or Nicephorus, or indeed any of the ancients, who yet fully describe Leo’s cruelty, this story must be removed into the realm of fable. Schlosser thinks (S. 163 f.) so much is clear, that the Emperor spoke with those scholars, but did not gain them over; and then that the burning of the library, which took place six years later, was connected with this. But the fact of this burning is by no means sufficiently attested, and indeed rests on a confusion with the subsequent burning of that library which took place A.D. 780, under the Emperor Zeno. In particular, the celebrated copy of the Iliad and Odyssey, written upon a dragon’s skin, according to the testimony of Suidas, was burnt under Zeno, and not, as Constantine Manasses asserts, under Leo. Occasion for the fable of the burning, however, was perhaps given by the circumstance that Theophanes (l.c.) tells us that Leo specially persecuted the learned, so that the schools had been destroyed.

That the Emperor Leo published an ordinance, an edict against images (A.D. 726), is perfectly clear from the words of Theophanes quoted above (p. 271), and is by no one denied. But it is more difficult to arrive at the contents of this first edict. We shall discover hereafter that several of its principal passages are preserved in the letter of Gregory II. to Leo; but it was just here that they were not sought, because this letter was assigned to a later time. People founded rather upon the old Latin translation of the biography of Abbot Stephen, according to which the Emperor, in order to please the people, declared: “He would not destroy the pictures, but only hang them higher, so that people might no longer touch them with their mouths”; and they inferred from this, that the first edict merely forbade the kissing and veneration of images, and that it was the second, in 730, which first ordered their destruction. But, apart from the fact that this Latin translation has very little authority, this assembly, in accordance with what has already been said (p. 272), in which the Emperor made this declaration, belongs to the year 730. It appears, too, that a number, perhaps the most of the old pictures in the churches, were wall pictures or wall mosaics, which could not easily be disturbed, and, besides, were mostly fixed at a considerable height. Moreover, the incidents now to be narrated would be quite inexplicable if the Emperor had only required the pictures to be hung higher. Theophanes relates, at the year 718 of his reckoning, i.e. the tenth year of Leo, or A.D. 716: “The inhabitants of Constantinople were much disturbed by the new doctrines (the prohibition of images), and provoked to insurrection. When some servants of the Emperor destroyed the figure of the Lord over the great brass gate, they were killed by the populace, whereupon the Emperor punished many for their piety (adhesion to the images) with mutilation, blows, and exile.” On the same occurrence Pope Gregory II., in his first letter to the Emperor Leo, says: “When you sent the Spatharocandidatus (i.e. Spatharius and Candidatus at once; see Du Cange) Jovinus to Chalcoprateia (a division of Constantinople where metal wares were sold), in order to destroy the figure of Christ which is called Antiphonetes, some pious women who stood there besought the workman not to do so. He, however, paying no attention to this, climbed a ladder and struck with an axe three times the face of the figure of Christ. (It was not, then, merely that he wanted the figure to be hung higher: it hung already so high that he required a ladder.) The women, profoundly indignant, overturned the ladder, and struck him dead; but you sent your servants and caused I know not how many of the women to be executed.” The like is related by Cedrenus and others, and small variations in the particular accounts are of no great moment.

The biographer of S. Stephen transfers this incident to the time after the deposition of the Patriarch Germanus, and adds: These women, after they had upset the ladder of the image-breaker, drew off in front of the residence of the new patriarch, Anastasius, in order to stone him, and shouted, “You shameful enemy of the truth, have you been made patriarch for this purpose, that you might destroy the sanctuaries?” Resting upon this, Pagi removed this incident to the year 730, and regards it as a consequence of the second edict. Almost all the later scholars agreed with him; but Theophanes and Cedrenus—not to mention Anastasius and Paul the deacon—place this occurrence expressly in the tenth year of Leo (= 726), and Pope Gregory II. clearly refers it to the beginning of the controversy about images. The first intelligence, he says, of the iconoclasm of the Emperor came to the West through those who had been witnesses of the incident at Chalcoprateia; and before an imperial edict against the images had stirred up a ferment in the West, the news of that occurrence had caused incursions of the Lombards into the imperial provinces of Italy.

Thence it further appears that between the destruction of that figure of Christ and the composition of the papal letter a considerable interval must have elapsed. We could not, however, account for this if we removed that event to the year 730, for Pope Gregory died on February 11, 731, and we cannot assign the letter in question to his last days, as he received an answer to it from the Emperor, and even addressed a second letter to him.

The assumption that the brutal destruction of the celebrated figure of Christ gave occasion, so early as the year 726, to violent outbreaks in the West, need not be a matter of doubt, since, in the same year, elsewhere disturbances and even insurrections arose for the same reason. Theophanes (p. 623) and Nicephorus (p. 65) and others relate that the inhabitants of Greece and of the Cyclades did not receive the impious error, revolted against the Emperor, fitted out a fleet, and proclaimed a certain Cosmas as rival Emperor. Under the guidance of two officers, Agallianus and Stephanus, they sailed to Constantinople, and arrived there on April 18 of the 10th Indiction (727). But their ships were destroyed by Greek-fire, Agallianus flung himself in complete armour into the sea, Cosmas and Stephanus were executed, and the Emperor proceeded so much the more decidedly in his iconoclasm. Soon afterwards, about the time of the summer solstice of the 10th Indiction (June 21, 727), the Arabs besieged the city of Nicæa, which was defended by an imperial army. A soldier of the latter, named Constantine, at this time threw a stone at a picture of the blessed Virgin (θεότοκος), which had been set up in the city, and shattered its feet; but next day he himself was killed by a stone in an assault by the Arabs. Moreover, as Theophanes (p. 625) says, Nicæa was saved “by the intercession of Mary and other saints, whose images were venerated there, for the wholesome instruction of the Emperor. But instead of repenting, Leo now also cast off the intercession of the saints and the veneration of relics. From this time (i.e. since the controversy about images began), he hated the Patriarch Germanus, and declared (practically) that all previous emperors, bishops, and Christians were idolaters.”

We mentioned above the letter which the Patriarch Germanus of Constantinople addressed to Bishop Thomas of Claudiopolis, blaming him for his attacks on the images. As Germanus, among other things, says here: On account of this affair whole cities and peoples were in no slight tumult, we may assume that the letter of Germanus falls in this time, and that some bishops, as Thomas, Constantine of Nacolia, and others, reformed in the sense of the Emperor. They naturally also cast the images out of their churches. In other cities, on the contrary, whose bishops held with Germanus, the attack on the images ordered by the Emperor seems hitherto to have touched the interior of the churches less than the images set up in public places. Of this kind was that over the brazen gate at Constantinople, and that destroyed by the soldier at Nicæa, whilst the latter city, according to the testimony adduced of Theophanes, was at that time rich in sacred pictures. If the crusade against the images was to make powerful progress, and the interior of the churches was also to be cleared, it was necessary finally to gain over the Patriarch Germanus, or to remove him. Theophanes (p. 625 sqq.) relates that, in the year 721 (according to his reckoning = the thirteenth regnal year of Leo, beginning March 25, 729), the Emperor summoned the patriarch to him, and gave him first very friendly words. Germanus replied: “An ancient prophecy says that certainly an assault on images will be made, but not in your reign.” “Under what reign, then?” asked the Emperor. “Under Conon.” “I myself,” said the Emperor, “in baptism received the name of Conon.” Thereupon the patriarch: “Far be it from you, my lord, that under your government this evil should come to pass. For he who does this is a forerunner of antichrist.” The tyrant, embittered by this, sought in the words of the patriarch material for a charge of lese-majesty, in order that he might depose him the more decently. A helper in this he found in Anastasius, the pupil and companion of the patriarch, who wished to thrust him from his see. Germanus remarking this, exhorted the new Judas gently, in the spirit of Christ; but as he would not listen to him, and once, when the patriarch was visiting the Emperor, followed in the train of the former, Germanus spoke to him: “Do not hasten so; you will soon enough come into the circus.” He prophesied to him in those words the destiny which happened to him, after fifteen years, under the next Emperor (he was set upon an ass and carried round in the circus). Hereupon the Emperor, on Tuesday, January 7, of the 13th Indiction (730), held a Silentium or consultative assembly in the hall of the nineteen accubiti or cushions, and again endeavoured at this to bring the patriarch, who had been summoned to it, to fall in with his scheme. When he had boldly resisted, and had set forth [his views of] the truth in a powerful and lengthy speech, but saw no result, he laid down his episcopal dignity, and took off his pallium, with the words: “If I am Jonah, cast me into the sea; without the authority of an Œcumenical Council, O Emperor, nothing may be altered in the faith.” Thereupon he withdrew into his private residence, where he spent his remaining days (he was already over ninety years of age) in perfect peace. Anastasius was consecrated as his successor on January 7 (or, as other MSS. give it, January 22).—Thus relates Theophanes (l.c.), and the Patriarch Nicephorus agrees with him. Only, he speaks with his accustomed brevity merely of the Silentium which the Emperor held (Nicephorus calls it an assembly of the people), without mentioning the preceding negotiations with Germanus; but adds very well that Leo wanted to induce him to put forth a document in favour of the destruction of the images. We see from this that the patriarch would have had to publish an edict against the images, corresponding with that of the Emperor, or else to join in subscribing a new imperial edict.

Theophanes (l.c. p. 629) says quite precisely that this Silentium was held on Tuesday, January 7 (ζʹ). But in the year 730, January 7 fell on a Saturday, and therefore we must here assume a slip of the pen. Petavius, in his notes to Nicephorus (l.c. p. 128), proposed either to put January 3 instead of 7, or instead of ἡμέρᾳ γʹ (Tuesday) to put ζʹ (= Saturday). But more probable is perhaps the suggestion, instead of January 7 (ζʹ) to read 17 (ιζʹ). The different statements will then agree, that the new patriarch, Anastasius, had been ordained on January 22, for this was a Sunday, and indeed the next Sunday after Tuesday, January 17,—and it is on Sundays that the consecrations of bishops did and do ordinarily take place.

As we saw above, there was a considerable interval between the interview spoken of between the Emperor and Germanus and the holding of the Silentium. To this interval belong the attempts to entangle the patriarch into a trial for lese-majesty, and also the warnings given by Germanus to the faithless Anastasius, and his visit to the Emperor connected with the prophesying. Moreover, so at least we suppose, Germanus now wrote also to Pope Gregory II., in order to make him acquainted with the demand of the Emperor and his own refusal. This letter is lost, but we still know it from the answer of the Pope, which is preserved among the Acts of the seventh Œcumenical Council. Gregory in this letter greets the patriarch as his brother and champion of the Church, whose deeds he is bound to praise. “Moreover,” he proceeds, “we might fitly declare that these deeds will be still more proclaimed by that precursor of impiety, who to thee, O fortunate man (felicitati tuæ), has returned evil for good. He thought that he could revolt against Him who came from above (Christ), and triumph over godliness. But he is now hindered from above, and robbed of his hopes, and has heard from the Church what Pharaoh was forced to hear from Moses, that he was an enemy of God. But he heard also the word of the prophet: God will destroy thee. So is he hindered in his undertakings, deprived of power by the God-given strength of your opposition, and his pride has been wounded almost to annihilation. The strong, as Holy Scripture says, has been overcome by the weak. Have you not fought on the side of God, and as God has directed you, since HE ordained that in the camp of the kingdom of Christ the labarum of the cross should stand first, and then the sacred picture of His Mother! The honour shown to the picture goes, over to the prototype (that which is represented in the picture), as the great Basil says; and the use of pictures is full of piety, as Chrysostom expresses himself.… And the Church does not err when she asserts that God permits the veneration of images, and this is not an imitation of heathenism. When the woman with the issue of blood (S. Matt. 9:20) set up a statue of Christ at Paneas in remembrance of the miracle wrought on her, she was not for that rejected (by God); on the contrary, a quite unknown medical plant grew up, by the grace of God, at the foot of that statue. This is for us a proof that we may place before the eyes of all the human form of Him who took away our sins, so that we may thereby know the greatness of the self-humiliation of the divine Logos, and call to remembrance His life on earth and His sufferings. The words of the Old Testament are no hindrance to this; for if God had not become man, we should not represent Him in human form.… Only the images of things which do not exist are called idols! as, e.g., the images of non-existent deities feigned by the Hellenic mythology. The Church of Christ has no fellowship with idols, for we worship no calf, etc., never sacrificed our children to demons, etc. Did Ezekiel see (8:14, 16) that we bewailed Adonis, and brought a burnt-offering to the sun? If, however, anyone, in Jewish fashion, misusing the words of the Old Testament which were formerly directed against idolatry, accuses our Church of idolatry, we can only hold him for a barking dog, and as a Jew of later times he shall hear that it so happened that Israel brought worship to God by means of visible things which were prescribed to him, and commemorated the Creator by means of types! He would have asked for more at the holy altar than at the calves of Samaria, more at the rod of Aaron than of Astarte! Yea, Israel would have seen more at the rod of Moses, at the golden pot, and the ark of the covenant, and the throne of grace (cover of the ark), and the ephod, and the table, and the tabernacle, and the cherubim, which are merely works of men’s hands, and yet are called the most holy. If Israel had thought of these things, it would not have fallen into idolatry. For every image which is made in the name of God is worthy of veneration and sacred.… The mistress of Christendom fought with you, the Mother of God, and those who have long rebelled against her have experienced an opposition as strong (from her) as a contradiction (from you).”

The contents of this letter, as we believe, by themselves point to the time immediately after the powerful opposition which Germanus maintained against the Emperor (A.D. 729), and before the Silentium, when, despairing of the result of his effort, he laid aside the episcopal mantle. The words of the Pope, so far the echo of those of the patriarch, show that the latter had written in the consciousness of a spiritual victory over the Emperor, and at that time had not the intention of resigning. On the contrary, he was hoping, by his opposition, to put an end to the controversy about images. After that Silentium, on the contrary, and after the elevation of Anastasius, it was natural that the latter should draw up the συγγραφή against the images desired by the Emperor, as Nicephorus (p. 65) tells us, or as Theophanes will have it (p. 929), subscribed the edict published by the Emperor. Whether this was different from that of the year 726, as Walch (S. 225) and others assume, or whether that which was new in it consisted only in the subscription of the patriarch, may remain doubtful. The original authorities do not require us to assume an entirely new edict. The assault on the images, however, had now, in any case, obtained an ecclesiastical sanction, and with the well-known servility of the Greek bishops, after the opposition of the prima sedes had been broken, the Emperor henceforth made sure of important advances.

It was otherwise in the West. It is indeed unfortunately most difficult to reconcile the accounts of what happened there with one another, and with facts otherwise known. Theophanes informs us that, in the ninth year of the Emperor, “after Pope Gregory of Rome had learnt this (the λόγος of the Emperor on the removal of the images), he wrote to Leo a doctrinal letter, to the effect that the Emperor should issue no ordinance in regard to the faith, and should alter nothing in the ancient dogmas; that, in consequence, he prevented Italy and Rome from paying taxes (φόρους).”

Theophanes speaks of the same affair for the second time (p. 628 f., at the year 729–730) in the words: “The Patriarch Germanus withstood the Emperor Leo at Constantinople, like the apostolic man Gregory at Rome, who separated Rome and Italy and the whole of the West from political and ecclesiastical obedience to Leo and from his Empire … and censured him in his universally known letters.” The third passage (p. 630) runs: “Gregory, however, the holy bishop of Rome, rejected (the new patriarch) Anastasius with his letters (the litteræ inthronisticæ, which he had sent to Rome), reprimanded the Emperor Leo, in a letter, for his impiety, and made Rome and the whole of Italy separate from his Empire.”

The Latins were naturally better informed on this subject than Theophanes. Anastasius relates, in his biography of Gregory II., in Mansi, t. xii. p. 229 sqq.: “The Longobardi made an incursion into the imperial domain of Italy (before the imperial decree against the images arrived in Italy), took Narnia (in the Duchy of Spoleto) and Ravenna, and secured large booty. After some days, the Dux Basil, the Chartular Jordanes, and the sub-deacon John Luxion, conspired to put the Pope to death, and the imperial Spatharius, Maximus, who then administered the Duchy of Rome, agreed with them; but they found no occasion suitable for this. Subsequently, when the Patriarch Paul came to Italy as exarch, they again formed their scheme, but the affair was discovered, and the Romans killed Luxion and Jordanes, whilst Basil took refuge in a monastery. On the other hand, the exarch Paul, at the command of the Emperor, now endeavoured to kill the Pope, “eo quod censum in provincia ponere præpediebat, et cogitaret suis opibus ecclesias denudare, sicut in cæteris actum est locis, atque alium in ejus ordinare loco,” i.e. because the Pope prevented him from oppressing the province with an (unjust) tax, and because the Emperor had the intention to strip the churches of their property, as it had happened elsewhere, and to put another Pope in Gregory’s place. Thereupon the Emperor sent another Spatharius with the command to remove the Pope from his see, and Paul sent for the execution of this outrage as many people (soldiers) from Ravenna and the camps to Rome as he could get for the purpose. But the Romans and Lombards rose up to defend the Pope, took possession of the bridge Salario in Spoleto, surrounded the boundaries of Rome, and prevented the accomplishment of the attempt.

In a decree which was afterwards sent, the Emperor had ordered that no one should make the image of any saint or martyr or angel; these things were all accursed. If the Pope should agree with this, the favour of the Emperor would be granted to him; if, however, he opposed, he should lose his office. The pious man, however, rejected the heresy, armed himself against the Emperor as against an enemy, and wrote in all directions to warn Christians to be on their guard against the new impiety. Upon this all the inhabitants of Pentapolis and the Venetian army offered opposition to the imperial command, declaring that they would never agree to the murder of the Pope, but, on the contrary, would boldly fight in his defence. They now anathematised the exarch Paul, and him who had given him the commission, as well as all his associates; and discharging themselves from obedience to him, the Italians generally chose their own leaders, and on learning of the Emperor’s wickedness, the whole of Italy decided to choose a new Emperor, and conduct him to Constantinople. But the Pope quieted them, and induced them to give up this design, hoping that the Emperor would still amend. In the meantime, the Dux (imperial viceroy) Exhilaratus of Naples and his son Hadrian had led away the inhabitants of Campania to obey the Emperor and to make an attempt on the life of the Pope. The Romans, however, followed him up, and put him and his son to death. They also drove out the Dux Peter (from Rome), because he was suspected of having written to the Court against the Pope. In Ravenna, however, because one party was on the Emperor’s side and the other with the Pope and the faithful, controversies broke out, and the Patriarch Paul (the exarch) thus lost his life. The Lombards about this time took the cities of Castra Æmilia, Ferorianus, Montebelli, Verablum, with Buxum and Persicetum, also Pentapolis and Auximanum. After some time, the Emperor sent the patrician Eutychius, the eunuch, who had formerly been exarch, to Naples, to carry through the plan against the Pope which had previously miscarried; but it was soon evident that he would violate the churches, and ruin and plunder all. When he sent one of his subordinates to Rome with the command to kill the Pope and the nobles of the city, the Romans endeavoured to kill the envoy, but the Pope prevented them. They now anathematised Eutychius, and pledged themselves by oath to the protection of the Pope. Eutychius now promised to the King and the dukes of the Lombards great presents if they would desist from protecting the Pope; but the Lombards united with the Romans, and declared themselves ready to lay down their lives for the Pope. The latter thanked the people for such attachment, but sought his chief protection in God by abundant prayers and fasting and rich almsgiving. At the same time he exhorted them all ne desisterent ab amore vel fide Romani imperii. About the same time, in the 11th Indiction (from September 1, 727–728), the Lombards got possession, by stratagem, of the castle of Sutri (in the neighbourhood of Rome, to the north), and held it for 140 days, until the Pope, by entreaties and gifts, received it back as an offering for the Apostles Peter and Paul. Soon afterwards, in the January of the 12th Indiction (729), a comet appeared in heaven. Now also Eutychius and Luitprand, King of the Lombards, entered into the shameful league, to unite their armies and subject to Luitprand the Lombard vassal dukes of Spoleto and Benevento (who perhaps were endeavouring to make themselves independent), and to seize the city of Rome for the Emperor, and to deal with the Pope according to his instructions. Luitprand in fact compelled the two dukes to subjection, and then drew towards Rome. But the Pope met him and spoke so earnestly to him that the King cast himself at his feet. Only, he petitioned that the Pope would again receive Eutychius in peace. This was done, and the reconciliation took place.

Whilst the exarch was residing in Rome, a deceiver, Tiberius Petasius, set himself up in Italy as rival Emperor, and received homage from several cities. The exarch was greatly troubled about this, but the Pope comforted him and supported him so powerfully, that the insurrection was speedily suppressed, and they were able to send the head of Tiberius to Constantinople. Notwithstanding this, the Emperor remained unfavourable to the Romans. Moreover, his evil disposition became ever clearer, so that he compelled all the inhabitants of Constantinople everywhere to take away the pictures of the Redeemer, of His holy Mother, and of all the saints, to burn them in the middle of the city, and to smear the painted walls with whitewash. As a good many of the inhabitants resisted, several were executed and others mutilated. The Patriarch Germanus was deposed by the Emperor, who made over the see to Anastasius. The latter sent a Synodica to Rome, but Gregory found that he assented to the heresy, and threatened him with excommunication if he did not return to the Catholic faith. And to the Emperor he gave wholesome counsels in letters.

From all this we learn (1) that even before the imperial edict against images was published in Italy, a violent division between Pope Gregory II. and the Emperor had taken place. How and why it arose, Anastasius does not relate, he only says: The Pope prevented the exarch from imposing a tax on the (Roman) province. By this tax we have to think of an unusual and unjust import, probably similar to the poll-tax which the Emperor Leo, somewhat later, imposed on Calabria and Sicily. Anastasius indicates that it had been directed chiefly to the plundering of the churches, and perhaps it is here that we are to find the ground of the papal resistance. As to the manner in which this was exercised, its legal character can no longer be ascertained, on account of the quite defective account of Anastasius (and Theophanes). It is only clear from the subsequent behaviour of the Pope (which we learn from Anastasius), that he endeavoured to preserve carefully his loyalty to the Emperor and to discharge his duties as a subject. It was an opposition to unrighteous demands from authority, and within the bounds of right and duty. But that the Pope did not hinder the payment of legal dues and taxes, nor was guilty even of great disloyalty towards the Emperor, is quite sufficiently clear (a) from the principles which he himself set forth on the relation of the priesthood and the imperial power in his letters to the Emperor Leo. We shall shortly ascertain their contents more exactly (pp. 293 and 297). Witnesses for us are also (b) the zealous efforts of Gregory to prevent any kind of rebellion against the Emperor, and all acts of violence against his officials. This is clear from the details which Anastasius gives, and from the letter of the Pope to Duke Ursus in Venice (p. 287). But moreover (c), Paul the deacon is a powerful witness on the same side, since he writes (De rebus gestis Longobard. vi 49): “Omnis quoque Ravennæ exercitus et Venetiarum talibus jussis (for the destruction of the images) uno animo restiterunt, et nisi eos prohibuisset Pontifex, imperatorem super se constituere fuissent aggressi.” When, therefore, the Greeks, who were often badly instructed in Western affairs, assert that the Pope had occasioned the revolt not merely of Italy, but the whole of the West (!) from the Emperor, such an assertion cannot weigh in the balance against the words of Gregory himself, and against the testimony of Anastasius and Paul the deacon. When, however, Zonaras says, “The Pope and his Synod had anathematised the Emperor,” seeing that no other of the ancients mentions it, this must be only a misunderstanding arising out of an expression in the second letter of Gregory to the Emperor Leo (see p. 296 f.), when the Pope, applying the words of S. Paul (1 Cor. 5:5), wishes the Emperor a demon for the destruction of his flesh that his soul may be safe. On another misunderstanding rests the assertion of the same Zonaras, that Pope Gregory II. had endeavoured to form a union with the Franks against the Emperor. That the Pope did make efforts for such a union is quite correct, and Anastasius in his Vita Stephani II. (III.) speaks of it; but it was directed against the Lombards, not against the Emperor.

(2) We remember that Theophanes represents the hindering of the imposition of that tax as a consequence of the controversy about images of the year 726. Anastasius, on the other hand, brings these two events into no connection with one another.

(3) He says expressly, the imperial officers had, with the previous knowledge of the Emperor, repeatedly made attempts on the life of the Pope. Some explain this to mean that the Emperor Leo had only given orders that the Pope should be taken and conveyed to Constantinople, of which Gregory himself speaks in his first letter to Leo (see p. 293 f.), and that report had exaggerated the matter, and made the order to imprison a command to murder.

(4) Anastasius speaks of two principal incursions of the Lombards into the imperial domain. The one, in which they seized the city of Narnia, and even Ravenna, the capital of the exarchate, with the harbour of Classis, and carried off much booty, he places before the arrival of the edict against the images; the other incursion, in which Castra Æmilia, etc., were plundered, later. To the same effect, Paul the deacon (De gestis Longobard. vi. 48, 49) tells of the pillaging of Narnia and Ravenna, before he mentions the prohibition of the images; but speaks of Castra Æmilia, etc., falling into the hands of the Lombards after the appearance of the imperial edict. For full light on this subject, however, we are indebted to the first letter of Gregory II. to the Emperor Leo, in which it is said that many Westerns had been present at the time of the destruction of the figure of Christ in Chalcoprateia in Constantinople, and by telling of this outrage, and of the cruelties connected with it, they had filled the whole of the West with anger against the Emperor, so that the Lombards invaded Decapolis, and even seized Ravenna.

We see that the Lombards made use of the disagreement of the Italians with the Emperor which had been occasioned by those relations, and invaded his domain, which had long been desired by them. The capture of Ravenna etc., certainly was connected with the prohibition of images, and was a consequence of it; and yet Anastasius and Paul the deacon were right when they put this incident before the publication of the imperial edict in Italy. Undoubtedly those witnesses of the destruction of the figure of Christ in Chalcoprateia brought the first certain intelligence of the attack on the images to Italy.

(5) Among the letters of Gregory II. there is one to Ursus, the Dux of Venice. Gregory says in it: The city of Ravenna was taken a non dicenda gente Longobardorum, and, as he hears, the exarch fled to Venice. The Dux should remain faithful to him, and co-operate with him, so that Ravenna may again be restored to the Emperor. That this was actually realised we learn from Paul the deacon (De gestis Longdobard. vi. 54), who says: In his many wars against the imperialists, the King of the Lombards, Luitprand, was only twice unfortunate—once at Ariminum; the second time, when his nephew Hildebrand, whom he placed over Ravenna, was surprised by a sudden attack of the Venetians, and taken.

That Pope Gregory used the expression of horror, A non dicenda gente, in reference to the Lombards, is clearly shown by the fact that this letter was written before the Lombards had come nearer to him, and made themselves serviceable to him. Indeed, the recovery of Ravenna must have taken place before, for the exarch Paul was able soon again to send out from Ravenna an army against Rome and the Pope, as Anastasius and Paul the deacon concur in relating. This was that army which was opposed by the united Romans and Lombards at the Pons Salarius (p. 281 f.).

(6) Pagi, Walch, and others assume that the imperial edict against the images, of the publication of which in Italy Anastasius speaks, was that of the year 730; but Anastasius gives us quite another chronological turning-point. After describing the disturbances which this edict caused in Italy, and the indestructible fidelity of the much ill-used Pope to the Emperor, he thus proceeds: “About the same time (i.e. some time after the publication of the imperial edict), the Lombards, in the 11th Indiction (September 1, 727, 728), got possession of the castle of Sutri, and in January 729 a comet appeared.” According to this, the publication of the imperial decree must have happened some time before the year 728, so that the first decree of the year 726 must here be meant.

(7) Theophanes, immediately after the mention of the first edict against the images, adds that the Pope sent a letter against it to Leo, setting forth “that it was not the Emperor’s business to issue an ordinance on the faith, or to alter anything in the old dogmas.” In two other places also Theophanes speaks (see above, p. 281 f.) of letters of Gregory to the Emperor, and Anastasius also refers to them. But it was not until the sixteenth century that these letters were discovered by the learned Jesuit Fronton le Due in the library of the Cardinal of Lorraine, and translated from the Greek into Latin. From him Baronius received them, and had them printed for the first time ad ann. 726. Pope Gregory bears in the superscription of these letters, by confusion with Gregory the Great, the surname of Dialogus, the latter on account of his famous work of that name being often so entitled. These letters soon found their way into the Collections of Councils, and were placed before the Acts of the seventh Œcumenical Council. That they were not, like other similar documents e.g. the letter of the same Pope to the Patriarch Germanus, presented and read at the seventh Œcumenical Council, is certainly remarkable, as Rösler observes; but is explained by the fact that the Emperor Leo had probably caused the copy which came to Constantinople to be destroyed, and thus the Synod had none in hand. Labbe was mistaken in thinking that these two letters should not be ascribed to Gregory II., but to his successor Gregory III., and the doubts which Semler and a Rösler have raised as to their genuineness are of no importance. As to the time of the composition of these letters, we can form a judgment only after we have communicated their contents.

The first runs: “Your letter, God-protected Emperor and brother, we received through the imperial Spatharocandidatus, when you were reigning in the 14th Indiction. We have preserved safe in the church your letter of this 14th Indiction, and those of the 15th, and of the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, and 9th, at the foot of the grave of Peter, where those of your predecessors are also kept. In ten letters you have, as is becoming in a Christian emperor, promised faithfully to observe the doctrines of the Fathers. And above all, the most important is, that they are your own, furnished with the imperial seal, and none interpolated. You write in these: If anyone removes the ordinances of the Fathers, let him be anathema. After receipt of these letters we offered hymns of thanksgiving to God that He had given you the empire. And as you did run well, who has rung the falsehood into your ears and perverted your heart? Ten years by God’s grace you have walked aright, and not mentioned the sacred images; but now you assert that they take the place of idols, and that those who reverence them are idolaters, and want them to be entirely set aside and destroyed. You do not fear the judgment of God, and that offence will be given not merely to the faithful, but also to the unbelieving. Christ forbids our offending even the least, and you have offended the whole world, as if you had not also to die and to give an account. You wrote: ‘We may not, according to the command of God (Exod. 20:4), worship anything made by the hand of man, nor any likeness of that which is in the heaven or in the earth.’ Only prove to me, who has taught us to worship (σέβεσθαι καὶ προσκυνεῖν) anything made by man’s hands, and I will then agree that it is the will of God. But why have not you, O Emperor and head of the Christians, questioned wise men on this subject before disturbing and perplexing poor people? You could have learnt from them concerning what kind of images made with hands (χειροποίητα) God said that. But you have rejected our Fathers and doctors, although you gave the assurance by your own subscription that you would follow them. The holy Fathers and doctors are our scripture, our light, and our salvation, and the six Synods have taught us (that); but you do not receive their testimony. I am forced to write to you without delicacy or learning, as you also are not delicate or learned; but my letter yet contains the divine truth.… God gave that command because of the idolaters who had the land of promise in possession, and worshipped golden animals, etc., saying: These are our gods, and there is no other God. On account of these diabolical χειροποίητα, God has forbidden us to worship them. As, however, there are also χειροποίητα for the service and honour of God, … God chose and blessed two men from the people of Israel, that they might prepare χειροποίητα, but for the honour and service of God, namely, Bezaleel and Aholiab (Exod. 35:30, 34). God Himself wrote the Ten Commandments on two tables of stone, and said: Make cherubim and seraphim, and a table, and overlay it with gold within and without; and make an ark of shittim wood, and in the ark place the testimonies for the remembrance of your tribes, namely, the tables of the Law, and the pot, and the rod, and the manna (Exod. 25:10–24). Are those objects and figures made by man’s hand or not? But for the honour and the service of God. Moses wished to see the Lord, but He showed Himself to him only from behind. To us, on the contrary, the Lord showed Himself perfectly, since the Son of God has been made man.… From all parts men now came to Jerusalem to see Him, and then depicted and represented Him to others. In the same way they have depicted and represented James, Stephen, and the martyrs; and men, leaving the worship of the devil, have venerated these images, but not absolutely (with latria) but relatively (ταύτας προσέκυνησεν οὐ λατρευτικῶς ἀλλὰ σχετικῶς). What think you now, O Emperor, that these images are venerable or those of the diabolical illusion? Christ Himself sent His portrait to Abgar, an ἀχειροποίητον. Look on this: many peoples of the East assemble at this, in order to pray there. And also other images made by men’s hands are venerated by pious pilgrims till to-day. Why, then, do we make no representation of God the Father? The divine nature cannot be represented. If we had seen Him, as we have the Son, we could also make an image of Him. We adjure you, as a brother in Christ, turn back again to the truth, and raise up again by a new edict those whom you have made to stumble. Christ knows that so often as we go into the Church of S. Peter, and see the picture of this saint, we are moved and tears flow from us. Christ has made the blind to see: you have made the seeing blind.… You say: We worship stones and walls and boards. But it is not so, O Emperor; but they, serve us for remembrance and encouragement, lifting our slow spirits upwards by those (persons) whose names the pictures bear, and whose representations they are. And we worship them not as God, as you maintain; God forbid! For we set not our hope on them; and if a picture of the Lord is there, we say: Lord Jesus Christ, help and save us. At a picture of His holy Mother we say: Holy God-bearer, pray for us with thy Son, and so with a martyr. And this is not correct which you say, that we call the martyrs gods. I adjure you, leave off the evil thoughts, and save your soul from the wrath and execration with which the whole world visits you. The children mock at you. Go now into the schools of the children, and say: I am the enemy of images, and they will immediately throw their tables at you. You wrote: As the Jewish King Uẓziah (it should be Hezekiah) after 800 years cast the brazen serpent out of the temple (2 Kings 18:4), so I after 800 years cast the images out of the churches. Yes, Uzziah was your brother; and, like you, did violence to the priests (2 Chron. 26:16 ff). That brazen serpent David brought with the Ark of the Covenant into the temple, and it was an image of brass, sanctified by God for the use of those who had been bitten by the serpent (Num. 21:9 ff.). We might punish you in accordance with the power which the power which has come down to us from Peter; but you have pronounced a curse upon yourself, and may now have it with your counsellors. What a great edification of the faithful you have destroyed! Christ knows that, as often as we went into the church, and saw the representation of the miracles of Christ, or the picture of His Mother, the divine Suckling in her arms, and the angels standing round in a circle and acclaiming the Trisagion, we did not go out again without emotion.… It would have been better for you to have been a heretic than a destroyer of images. The dogmatisers fall easily into error, when they are lacking in humility, partly from ignorance, partly because of the darkness of the subject; and their guilt is not so great as yours, for you have persecuted that which is open and clear as light, and stripped the Church of God. The holy Fathers clothed and adorned them; you have stripped them and laid them bare, although you have (ἔχων) so excellent a high-priest, our brother Germanus. Him you ought to have taken into your counsels as father and teacher, for he has great experience, is now ninety-five years old, and has served many patriarchs and Emperors. But, leaving him aside, you have listened to the impious fool from Ephesus, the son of Apsimar (Archbishop Theodosius, see p. 266), and people like him. The Emperor Constantine (Pogonatus) behaved quite differently when he wrote to Rome about the holding of the sixth Œcumenical Synod. You see that the dogmas of the Church are not a matter for the Emperor, but for the bishops. As these may not intrude into civil affairs, so should not the Emperors into the ecclesiastical. You wrote that an Œcumenical Synod should be called. This seems to me superfluous; for if you are peaceful, all is peaceful. Think: if I had responded to your wish, and the bishops of the whole world had been assembled, where is the God-fearing Emperor who, in accordance with custom, should assist at these assemblies, since you destroy the peace of the Church and imitate the barbarians (Jezid)?… While the churches of God had deep peace, you have occasioned conflicts, controversies, and troubles. Cease and be peaceful, and there is need of no Synod. Write to all the countries which you have disquieted, that Germanus of Constantinople and Pope Gregory of Rome had erred in regard to the images, and we who have the power of binding and loosing will pardon your false step. God is witness that I communicated all your letters to the Kings of the West, and made them your friends, commending and praising you. Therefore they accepted and honoured your laureata (likenesses) before they heard of your evil undertaking against the images. When, however, they learnt that you sent the Spatharocandidatus Jovinus to Chalcoprateia, to destroy the miraculous figure of Christ, which is called Antiphonetes, pious women, followers of those who anointed the Lord, cried to the Spatharocandidatus: Do it not; and when he paid no regard to them, but mounted a ladder and struck with an axe three times on the face of the figure, the women enraged upset the ladder and killed him; but you sent soldiers and caused I know not how many women to be killed in the presence of many distinguished men from Rome, France, from the Vandals, Goths, and from Mauritania, almost from the whole of the West. When these returned back, and every one told in his home your childish acts, then they destroyed your laureata, and the Lombards, Sarmatians, and others who dwell in the North, made incursions into the unhappy Decapolis and took the metropolis Ravenna, deposed your rulers, put their own in their place, and wanted to do the same with the imperial cities in our neighbourhood, and even with Rome itself, unless you can protect us. There you have the fruit of your folly. But you will alarm me and say: I will send to Rome and destroy the picture of S. Peter, and carry off Pope Gregory a prisoner, as Constantine (Constans II.) did with Martin. You must know that the bishops of Rome, for the sake of peace, sit as middle walls between the East and West, and are promoters of peace. If you wish to lay snares for me, as you say, I have no need to contend with you. The Roman bishop will merely remove twenty-four stadia to Campania; and then come you and persecute the winds. The Emperor Constantine (Constans II.) ill-treated and banished our predecessor, Martin I. But the Emperor was murdered in his sins, whilst Martin is honoured as a saint. Willingly would I bear the same fate as Martin; but for the benefit of the people I am willing to remain in life; for the whole West turns its eyes on me, although unworthy, and hopes in me and in S. Peter, whose image you threaten to destroy. If you venture upon that, the Westerns are ready to take vengeance upon you for the Easterns whom you have wronged. But I adjure you by the Lord to leave off from such foolish things. You know that your throne cannot defend Rome, the city alone, not to think of that which is outside; and if the Pope, as we said, removes himself twenty-four stadia, he has no more to fear from you.… If the picture of S. Peter is really destroyed, I call God to witness that I am innocent of the blood that will then be shed. Let it fall on your head. A prince from the interior of the West, named Septetus, has prayed me to come to him and administer baptism to him, and I shall do so. May the Lord again place in your heart the fear of God, and bring you back to the truth! Would that I might soon receive from you letters with the news of your conversion.”

We saw that Pope Gregory, in this letter, repeated quite or almost verbally several passages from the edict which the Emperor had sent on the subject of the images to Italy. We have quoted those passages above in italics, and since, as we have shown, this edict was not published in Italy in the year 730, but before 728, our desire to be acquainted with the tenor of the first edict, at least in outline, is satisfied. At the same time, we see how Walch and others have gone astray, who regard the first edict as mild, and would ascribe to it only the prohibition against the kissing of the pictures. The passages extracted from the edict itself prove its already fully iconoclastic character.

That the Emperor answered the Pope, we learn from the second letter of Gregory: “I have,” says the Pope here, “your letter, God-protected Emperor and brother in Christ, by your messenger Rufinus, and it has quite overshadowed my life, because you have not altered your disposition, but persevere in evil, and refuse to follow the holy Fathers. And yet I make my appeal not to strangers, but to Greek Fathers. You write: I am Emperor and priest at the same time. Yes; your predecessors were so in fact, Constantine the Great, Theodosius the Great, Valentinian the Great, and Constantine (Pogonatus). They reigned as Emperors religiously, and held Synods in union with the bishops, and built and adorned churches. They showed by their works that they were Emperors and priests at the same time; but you have … not observed the decisions of the Fathers, but have plundered and stripped the churches of their ornament.… Men and women instruct their children, and the new converts from heathenism, pointing with their fingers to the histories which are painted in the churches, they edify them therewith, and give thereby to their hearts the tendency to go upwards. But you have taken this from the people, and left them nothing but foolish discourses, fables, and musical farces. Hear me, the lowly one, O Emperor; leave off and follow the holy Church, as you have known it as handed down to you. Doctrines are not matters for the Emperor, but for the bishops, because we have the mind (νοῦν) of Christ.… There is a difference between the palace and the Church, between Emperors and bishops. Recognise this, and save yourself! If you were to be deprived of the imperial robes, the purple, the diadem, etc., you would seem before men to be treated with disrespect. In the like condition you have placed the churches, in robbing them of their adornment. As the bishop has no right to mix himself with the business of the palace, and to give away the offices, so it does not belong to the Emperor to mix in the inner affairs of the Church, to choose the clergy, to administer the sacraments, etc. Let each one remain in the place to which God has called him. Do you know, O Emperor, the difference between Emperor and bishop? When anyone fails in his duty towards you, O Emperor, you take from him his house and property, perhaps also his life, or you banish him. Not so the bishops. If anyone sins, and he confesses, instead of a rope, they lay upon his neck the gospel and the cross, and instead of casting him into prison, they bring him into the Diaconia or Catechumena of the Church, and impose upon him fasting, etc. If he has repented, they administer to him the body and blood of the Lord.… You persecute and tyrannise over us with military and physical force; but we, without weapons or earthly army, invoke the Leader of the armies of the whole creation, Jesus Christ, that He may send you a demon, according to the words of the apostle (1 Cor. 5:5): (‘I will) deliver him to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.’ Behold, O Emperor, into such misery you plunge yourself. How unhappy are we compared with our forefathers, who, on account of their good influence on the Emperors, will obtain praise in the day of judgment, while we shall be forced to blush because we cannot present our Emperor before God glorious and rich in renown. Behold, even now we exhort you: repent and return to the truth, and honour the holy Fathers. You wrote: How comes it that in the six Councils nothing is said of images? But there is nothing said there, O Emperor, of bread and water, whether it shall be eaten and drunk, or not, because here the custom stood fast. So also the custom of the pictures; and the bishops themselves brought pictures with them to the Councils, as no pious man travelled without pictures. We exhort you to be at once bishop and Emperor, as you wrote. If you are ashamed, as Emperor, to ascribe the guilt of your mistake to yourself (αἰτιολογῆσαι ἑαυτόν), then write into all the places which you have troubled, that Pope Gregory of Rome and Germanus of Constantinople made a mistake in regard to the images, and we forgive you your false step, by virtue of our power to bind and loose.… As we must give account to Christ, we have exhorted you; but you have not listened to our lowliness, nor to Germanus, nor to the holy Fathers, but have followed the perverters and falsifiers of the true doctrine. As we have written, we shall travel into the interior of the West, in order to administer holy baptism. I have already sent bishops and clergy thither, but the leaders of these countries are not yet baptized, and prefer to be baptized by me. God grant to you insight and a change of mind.”

When we compare the expressions of Theophanes, adduced above (p. 281), in the letters of Gregory to the Emperor Leo, with the contents of the two now quoted, there can be no doubt that Theophanes had these very letters, and no others, in his eye. That which he presents as the chief contents of the papal letters, “It does not belong to the Emperor to issue ordinances in regard to the faith, or to alter anything in the old doctrines,” we find not only verbally in our two letters, but it is even a leading argument there. If, notwithstanding, it is attempted to distinguish the latter from those which Theophanes mentions, and to declare them considerably later, this rests upon a false assumption which proceeded from Pagi, which has perforce made its way through almost all later books, and with this we come to the examination into the time of the composition of the two papal letters.

Baronius had placed them at the beginning of the controversy, thus in the year 726, and had regarded them with Theophanes as an answer to the imperial edict. This was contested by Pagi (ad ann. 726, 3–6; 730, 7). Supporting himself upon the life of the Abbot S. Stephen (p. 273), Pagi removes the breaking of the figure of Christ over the χαλκῆ πύλη, or in Chalcoprateia, into the time after the deposition of Germanus, and after the consecration of Anastasius, thus into the year 730. Of this event, so Pagi further argues, Pope Gregory speaks in his first letter, consequently this must be placed deeper into the year 730, and accordingly the second at the end of the year 730 or the beginning of 731, for Gregory II. died February 11, 731.

As already remarked, we contest the foundation of this whole argument, since, with Theophanes and others, we refer the incident at the χαλκῆ to the year 726; and the first letter of Gregory himself confirms us in this, since he informs us that the first information of the Emperor’s attack on the images (thus before the arrival of his edict) was given by witnesses of that act of violence who had come into the West. But that the first edict was published in Italy before the year 728 we learnt from Anastasius (p. 288).

Pagi appeals a second time to the fact that Pope Gregory, in his first letter to Leo, speaks of Germanus as former patriarch, in the words: “Tametsi talem habebas pontificem” (Pagi, ad ann. 726, 3). But this Latin translation is well known to be only a work of Fronton le Due, and the Greek text has ἔχων (p. 292), and in neither letter of Gregory is there any indication that Germanus had then been deposed. Pagi, in the third place, refers to the short chronological indications which are found at the beginning of the first papal letter to the Emperor Leo. Gregory says in it that he has received the letter of the Emperor of the 14th Indiction. As Leo became Emperor on March 25 of the 15th Indiction, as Theophanes says, the 14th Indiction would go from the 1st of September 730 to the 1st of September 731, and accordingly the answer of the Pope must be referred to the year 730 (Pagi, ad ann. 730, 7). But this argument, which Pagi brings forward with such confidence, we must turn against himself. If the Emperor, in the 14th Indiction, thus after September 1, 730, wrote to the Pope—and that the Emperor did write in the 14th Indiction, not that the Pope answered in this Indiction, the words of Gregory declare expressly—if the Emperor wrote so late, after September 1, 730, then a good many weeks would elapse before this letter arrived in Rome, and weeks again before the Pope despatched his answer, which would not only be well considered, but undoubtedly discussed in council with his clergy. The year 730 must now have come to an end. But the papal answer is now sent to Constantinople, and again weeks were necessary for this. The Emperor answers it, sends the answer to Rome, and the Pope writes to him the second time, and all this must have taken place in the year 730 or in January 731 (Pagi, ad ann. 730, 10). Such despatch in official and diplomatic intercourse would be a rare thing even in the times of railways and telegraphs. I think, then, we may venture to maintain: If Gregory II. died on February 11, 731, and Pagi throws no doubt upon this, then the facts so often mentioned above—the letter of the Emperor, its conveyance to Rome, the answer of the Pope, its conveyance to Constantinople, the reply of the Emperor, its conveyance to Rome, and the second letter of the Pope following upon this—could not be pressed into the brief time between September 1, 730, and the death of the Pope.

Pope Gregory places the letters which he received from the Emperor in the following order:—That of the 14th, that of the 15th, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th Indiction. Pagi thinks here that the letter placed primo loco of the 14th Indiction was the latest of the year 730, the one following the earliest of the year 717, and so the series would go on; only, there is a gap between the 9th Indiction and the 14th, i.e. from 725 to 730, as the Emperor, in these five years, apparently had not written to the Pope. To me it seems more natural that Pope Gregory referred to all the letters which he received from the Emperor in chronological order, beginning with the earliest and ending with the latest. This latest would then be that of the 9th Indiction, or of the year 726, and this we regard as the one which contained the offensive remarks on the images. This agrees perfectly with the date of the beginnings of the controversy on the images, and with the expression of Gregory, that Leo had begun his follies in the tenth year of his government. This tenth regnal year bears the Indiction number IX. Gregory adds: Ten letters of the Emperor had been quite right, and this number of ten we obtain, even if we take away from the series given above the last letter of the 9th Indiction. Moreover, we shall be constrained, by what has been said, to the same inference as Baronius. Thus, if the first or earliest letter of the Emperor Leo to Pope Gregory belongs to the 14th Indiction, then the beginning of his reign must be placed in the year 716, and not, with Theophanes, in 717. And we are not afraid to do this, in spite of the express statement of Theophanes, for the latter reckons the regnal years of Leo from the day of his solemn entrance into Constantinople, and therefore ascribes to the Emperor Leo a government of 24 years 2 months and 25 days. Nicephorus, on the contrary, gives in his Chronicon, 25 years 3 months and 14 days, reckoning from the moment at which Leo rose against the weak Theodosius, and was proclaimed Emperor in the camp. It is not, therefore, improbable that the Emperor Leo, at the very beginning of his elevation, and so still in the 14th Indiction, i.e. in the year 716, sought also to win for himself, in the West, so powerful a Pope, and assured him, by letter, of his orthodoxy, knowing well that the Italian provinces of the Empire would recognise him much more readily if the Pope spoke for him.

Thus do we believe that we have placed the occurrences of the first Lustrum of the controversy about images in their true light, and, at the same time, in the correct chronological order.

SEC. 333. The first Synods on the Controversy about Images

We assumed before, in the discussion of the chronological question, that Pope Gregory II., after the arrival of the imperial edict against the images, did not immediately return an answer, but only after mature reflection and consultation. This supposition finds itself confirmed, not only by the statements of Cedrenus and of the Libellus Synodicus, which speak of a Synod which Gregory now held at Rome, but also Pope Hadrian I. refers to such an assembly in his letter to Charles the Great. He says that Pope Gregory II. gave an address on the permissibility of the veneration of images, and he produces several of the arguments used, e.g., in regard to the ark of the covenant, the cherubim, to Bezaleel and Aholiab, which have so great a similarity with some passages of the two letters of Gregory to the Emperor, that we may suppose that Gregory had also delivered in the Synod the principal part of that which he wrote to the Emperor. Naturally, this Roman Synod was contemporaneous with the first letter of Gregory to the Emperor Leo, and may therefore properly be placed in the year 727.

In immediate connection with this Roman Synod, the Libellus Synodicus places a Council at Jerusalem under the Patriarch Theodore, which anathematised the new heresy of the “burners of the sanctuary.” As, however, Theodore demonstrably had possession of the see of Jerusalem after the middle of the eighth century, and despatched a Synodica to Pope Paul I. (757–767) in favour of the images, our Synod cannot be earlier than 760.

In Rome, after the death of Gregory II., the excellent priest Gregory III., by birth a Syrian, was raised to the papal throne, March 18, 731. The whole people, says Anastasius, at the funeral procession, as he was following the bier, called him with one consent to be Pope, and constrained him to receive this dignity. Soon he too endeavoured to turn the Emperor away from his iconoclasm; but the priest George, whom he had sent with a letter to Constantinople, had not the courage to deliver it, and returned back with the business undone. The Pope wanted to depose him, but the Synod which he had convoked at Rome on this account, A.D. 731, interceded for him, so that he was merely subjected to penance, and then was sent anew with the same letter to Constantinople. When he came on his journey to Sicily, Sergius, the viceroy there, at the Emperor’s command, had him seized, and kept him a whole year long in prison. The Pope, however, full of indignation at this, immediately celebrated a new Synod at the grave of S. Peter, at which ninety-three Western bishops were present, among them the Archbishops Anthony of Grado and John of Ravenna, with the priests, deacons, and clerics of the Roman Church, and many distinguished laymen. It was decreed: “If anyone, for the future, shall take away, destroy, dishonour, or revile the pictures of the Lord or of His Mother, he shall be excluded from the body and blood of the Lord and the communion of the Church.” They all solemnly subscribed this. That this Synod was summoned on November 1, 731 (Indict. xv.), we see from the letter of invitation which Pope Gregory III. addressed to Archbishop Anthony of Grado and his suffragans.

The Pope then sent again a letter in favour of the pictures through the Defensor (sc. pauperum, an office among the Roman clergy) Constantine to the Emperor. But he was also imprisoned in Sicily, and the letter taken from him. The same happened to the deputies of the Italian cities, who had to bring similar letters to Constantinople. On the result of a fourth attempt which the Pope made to send letters, by the Defensor Peter, to the Patriarch Anastasius and the two Emperors, Leo and Constantine (Copronymus, the son of Leo), our authorities are silent.

In order to punish the Pope, Rome, and Italy for their opposition to iconoclasm, the Emperor Leo sent out a powerful fleet against them. It suffered shipwreck in the Adriatic Sea, and Leo now raised the taxes in Sicily and Calabria, and confiscated the patrimonies of the two apostle princes, i.e. the 3½ talents of gold coming annually to their churches (at Rome) for the exchequer. Besides, Leo now separated, besides Calabria and Sicily, also the Illyrian provinces which hitherto belonged to the patriarchate of Rome, namely, Old and New Epirus, Illyricum, Macedonia, Thessaly, Achaia, Dacia Ripensis and Mediterranea, Mœsia, Dardania, and Prævalis (with its metropolis Scodra), and subjected them to the patriarchate of Constantinople, an act of violence which in great measure became the cause of the later unhappy schism.

SEC. 334. John of Damascus

Besides and along with Pope Gregory II. and Gregory III. and the Patriarch Germanus of Constantinople, John of Damascus belonged to the first and most powerful defenders of images. Theophanes (l.c. p. 629) says of him: “Then (729) lived at Damascus, John Chrysorrhoas, the son of Mansur, priest and monk, distinguished for holiness and knowledge.… In union with the bishops of the whole East, he pronounced anathema on the Emperor Leo.” This account is very summary, for, at the outbreak of the controversy on images, John was not yet either priest or monk, but he occupied then one of the highest offices of State with the Caliph who ruled over Syria. At the news of the transactions in Constantinople, he prepared three discourses in defence of the images (λόγοι ἀπολογητικοί), the first at the very beginning of the controversy, when it might still be hoped that the Emperor would be brought by reason to a change in his conduct; the other two after the deposition of the Patriarch Germanus. His ancient biography relates that the Emperor Leo, in order to revenge himself on John, got up and caused to be sent to the Caliph a false letter, in which John invited him to surprise the city of Damascus. Not suspecting the deception, the Caliph caused the right hand of the supposed traitor to be hewn off; but, at the intercession of Mary, the piece which had been cut off grew on again during the night, and the Caliph, astonished at this, asked forgiveness of the saint, and wished to appoint him again to his high office. But John preferred to become a monk, and withdrew to Palestine, into the Laura of S. Sabas. That he did the latter is beyond doubt.

SEC. 335. The Emperor Constantine Copronymus

What the Emperor Leo the Isaurian did in the last years of his reign (†June 18, 741) in regard to the images is unknown; but it is certain that the conflict was carried on by his son Constantine Copronymus. The widespread disaffection towards the new Emperor, whom his contemporaries depict in the darkest colours, encouraged his brother-in-law Artabasdus, who had married the Princess Anna, and at that time commanded in Armenia against the Arabs, to make an attempt upon the crown for himself. Constantine pretended to take no notice, and invited his brother-in-law and his sons to him, to consult about plans for war, but in truth to seize him. But Artabasdus saw through the trick, took to arms, struck and killed the renegade Beser, who first opposed him, and marched to Constantinople, where he had himself solemnly proclaimed Emperor. The governor Theophanes, to whom Constantine had entrusted the capital, did his best for Artabasdus, especially by circulating the false report that Constantine was dead, and that his brother-in-law was recognised as Emperor in the whole of the East. Partly from his own inclination, partly to gain the people over more to himself, Artabasdus soon restored the veneration of images, and the Patriarch Anastasius of Constantinople, the same who had been the tool of the departed Emperor in his attack on the images, and had so basely supplanted Germanus, now took the side of the images and for Artabasdus, and solemnly and publicly declared the Emperor Constantine to be a detestable heretic, who had even impudently denied the Godhead of Christ.

There were now two Emperors, since Artabasdus ruled in Europe, Constantine in Asia; but each intended, as far as possible, soon to supplant the other. Schlosser, in his history of the iconoclastic Emperors (S. 205), writes: “The Pope (Zacharias), however, acknowledged the protector of the images (Artabasdus), and entered into friendly intercourse with him.” This is incorrect, for in truth Zacharias, soon after coming to the see, sent legates to Constantinople with a letter to the Emperor Constantine, and with the commission to deliver the customary papal letter of enthronisation, which was addressed to the Church at Constantinople, but not to the excommunicated patriarch. When the papal, legates arrived in Constantinople, as we are told by the Roman Vitæ Pontificum, they found the invasor and rebellis Artabasdus in possession of the imperial power, then waited until Constantine had regained the Empire, and were now by him quite friendly received, and sent back to Rome with presents. In particular, the Emperor confirmed to the Roman Church the perpetual possession of the two properties of Nymphæ and Normiæ, all which would certainly not have been done if the Pope had taken part with the usurper. The fact that in Rome, after Artabasdus was practically master of Constantinople, the documents were dated according to the years of his reign, in noways proves that his side was taken. More correct than the judgment of Schlosser was that of Walch (l.c. Bd. x. S. 359, A. 3).

With the restoration of Constantine came the following events. After the great attack which Artabasdus, in union with his son Nicetas, made upon Constantine, in order to assail him from two sides, from the east and from the west, and to crush him, had entirely failed through the delay of Nicetas, Constantine marched across the Bosporus, blockaded Constantinople, and, on the 2nd of November 743, captured the city, weakened by terrible famine, and took a horrible revenge on his opponents, particularly on his brother-in-law, his adherents and friends. The Patriarch Anastasius also was blinded, and led through the streets seated backwards upon an ass. Nevertheless Constantine replaced him, probably because he could find no more servile tool, and immediately with his assistance removed again the images which had been restored under Artabasdus. His contemporaries regarded the terrible plague which then raged, specially in Constantinople (A.D. 746), as a punishment of this outrage. Whether special acts of violence now took place against the friends of the images is unknown. In any case they were afterwards frightfully persecuted.

SEC. 336. The Mock-Synod at Constantinople, A.D. 754

The Emperor Constantine Pogonatus now formed the plan of having the veneration of images forbidden also ecclesiastically by means of a great Œcumenical Synod, and a preparation for this was made by several Silentia (assemblies for consultation), which he caused to be held (A.D. 752) in several cities, principally in order to mislead the people and gain them over to his impiety, as Theophanes says (p. 659). About this time the Lombards under King Astolph rent off and took possession of one piece after another of the still Byzantine provinces of Italy, and very seriously threatened Rome itself. In vain Pope Stephen III. entreated that the Emperor, in accordance with his oft-given promise, would send a distinguished commander to Italy, as the need had become very great; but Copronymus, without disturbing himself, gave an evasive answer, and preferred to fight the images rather than the Lombards. Thus shamefully abandoned by their own master and protector, Pope Stephen had recourse to Pipin, King of the Franks, and, whilst with this purpose he remained in France, and anointed Pipin with his sons as Kings, the Emperor, after the death of the Patriarch Anastasius (A.D. 753), summoned the bishops of his Empire to a great Synod in the palace Hieria, which lay opposite to Constantinople on the Asiatic side of the Bosporus, between Chrysopolis and Chalcedon, a little to the north of the latter. The vacancy of the patriarchate facilitated his plans, since the hope of succeeding to this see kept down, in the most ambitious and aspiring of the bishops, any possible thought of opposition. The number of those present amounted to 338 bishops, and the place of president was occupied by Archbishop Theodosius of Ephesus, already known to us as son of a former Emperor Apsimar, from the beginning an assistant in the iconoclastic movement (see above, sec. 332). Nicephorus (l.c. p. 74) names him alone as president of the Synod; Theophanes, on the contrary (l.c. p. 659), mentions Bishop Pastillas of Perge as second president, and adds, “The patriarchates of Rome, Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem were not represented (the last three were then in the hands of the Saracens), the transactions began on February 10, and lasted until August 8 (in Hieria); on the latter date, however, the Synod assembled in S. Mary’s Church in Blachernæ, the northern suburb of Constantinople, and the Emperor now solemnly nominated Bishop Constantine of Sylæum, a monk, as patriarch of Constantinople. On August 27, the heretical decree (of the Synod) was published.”

We see from this that the last session or sessions of this Conciliabulum were held no longer in Hieria, but in the Blachernæ of Constantinople. We have no complete Acts of this assembly, but its very verbose ὅρος (decree), together with a short introduction, is preserved among the Acts of the seventh Œcumenical Council. In its sixth section a document in six tomi was read, bearing the title, “Refutation of the patched-up, falsely so-called decree of the heap of accusers of the Christians,” which contained both the words of the Conciliabulum itself and their complete refutation, by an anonymous writer. Bishop Gregory of Neo-Cæsarea read the ὅρος to the Synod, and the deacon John its refutation.

In the superscription of these Acts, the Conciliabulum entitles itself “the seventh great and Œcumenical Synod,” and says: “By the grace and command of the Emperors Constantine and (his four-year-old son) Leo, the Council assembled in the imperial residence city, in the temple of the holy and inviolate Mother of God and Virgin Mary, surnamed, in Blachernæ, have decreed the following.” Then follows their ὅρος, which, in its leading points, runs thus:—

“Satan misguided men, so that they worshipped the creature instead of the Creator. The Mosiac law and the prophets co-operated to undo this ruin; but in order to save mankind thoroughly, God sent His own Son, who turned us away from error and the worshipping of idols, and taught us the worshipping of God in spirit and in truth. As messengers of His saving doctrine, He left us His apostles and disciples, and these adorned the Church, His Bride, with His glorious doctrines. This ornament of the Church the holy Father and the six Œcumenical Councils have preserved inviolate. But Satan could not endure the sight of this adornment, and gradually brought back idolatry under the appearance of Christianity. As then Christ armed His apostles against the ancient idolatry with the power of the Holy Spirit, and sent them out into all the world, so has He awakened against the new idolatry His servants our faithful Emperors, and endowed them with the same wisdom of the Holy Spirit. Impelled by the Holy Spirit, they could no longer be witnesses of the Church being laid waste by the deception of demons, and summoned the sanctified assembly of the God-beloved bishops, that they might institute at a Synod a scriptural examination into the deceitful colouring of pictures, which draws down the spirit of man from the lofty worship of God to the low and material worship of the creature, and that they, under divine guidance, might express their view on the subject.

Our holy Synod therefore assembled, and we, its 338 members, follow the older synodal decrees, and accept and proclaim joyfully the dogmas handed down, principally those of the six holy Œcumenical Synods at Nicæa, etc. After we had carefully examined their decrees under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we found that the sinful art of painting blasphemed the fundamental doctrine of our salvation, namely, the Incarnation of Christ, and contradicted the six holy Synods. These condemned Nestorius because he divided Christ into two sons, and on the other side, Arius, Dioscurus, Eutyches, and Severus, because they maintained a mingling of the two natures of the one Christ. It is the unanimous doctrine of all the holy Fathers and of the six Œcumenical Synods, that no one may imagine any kind of separation or mingling in opposition to the unsearchable, unspeakable, and incomprehensible union of the two natures in the one hypostasis or person. What avails, then, the folly of the painter, who from sinful love of gain depicts that which should not be depicted, that is, with his polluted hands he tries to fashion that which should only be believed in the heart and confessed with the mouth? He makes an image and calls it Christ. The name Christ signifies God and man. Consequently it is an image of God and man, and consequently he has in his foolish mind, in his representation of the created flesh, depicted the Godhead which cannot be represented, and thus mingled what should not be mingled. Thus he is guilty of a double blasphemy, the one in making an image of the Godhead and the other by mingling the Godhead and manhood. Those fall into the same blasphemy who venerate the image, and the same woe rests upon both, because they err as did Arius, Dioscurus, and Eutyches. When, however, they are blamed for undertaking to depict the divine nature of Christ, which should not be depicted, they take refuge in the excuse: We represent only the flesh of Christ which we saw and handled. But that is a Nestorian error. For it should be considered that that flesh was also flesh of God the Logos, without any separation, perfectly assumed by the divine nature and made wholly divine. How could it now be separated and represented apart? So is it with the human soul of Christ which mediates between the Godhead of the Son and the human flesh. As the human flesh is at the same time flesh of God the Logos, so is the human soul also soul of God the Logos, both together, since the soul is made divine, and the divinity of both, of body and soul, cannot be separated. Just as the soul of Christ separated from His body by His voluntary death, so the Godhead remained as well with the soul as with the body of Christ. How, then, do the fools venture to separate the flesh from the Godhead, and represent it by itself as the image of a mere man? They fall into the abyss of impiety, since they separate the flesh from the Godhead, ascribe to it a subsistence of its own, a personality of its own, which they depict, and thus introduce a fourth person into the Trinity. Moreover, they represent, as not being made divine, that which has been made divine by being assumed by the Godhead. Whoever, then, makes an image of Christ, either depicts the Godhead which cannot be depicted, and mingles it with the manhood (like the Monophysites), or he represents the body of Christ as not made divine and separate and as a person apart, like the Nestorians. The only admissible figure of the humanity of Christ, however, is bread and wine in the holy Supper. This and no other form, this and no other type, has He chosen to represent His humanity. Bread He ordered to be brought, but not a representation of the human form, so that idolatry might not arise. And as the body of Christ is made divine, so also this figure of the body of Christ, the bread, is made divine by the descent of the Holy Spirit; it becomes the divine body of Christ by the service of the priest.

The evil custom of assigning false names to the images (e.g., to say: That is Christ) does not come down from Christ and the apostles and the holy Fathers; nor have these left behind them any prayer by which an image should be hallowed or made anything else than ordinary matter. If, however, some say, we might be right in regard to the images of Christ, on account of the mysterious union of the two natures, but it is not right for us to forbid also the images of Mary, of the prophets, apostles, and martyrs, who were mere men and did not consist of two natures; we may reply, first of all: If those fall away, there is no longer need of these. But we will also consider what may be said against these in particular. Christianity has rejected the whole of heathenism, and so not merely heathen sacrifices, but also the heathen worship of images. The saints live on eternally with God, although they have died. If anyone thinks to call them back again to life by a dead art, discovered by the heathen, he makes himself guilty of blasphemy. Who dares attempt with heathenish art to paint the Mother of God, who is exalted above all heavens and the saints? It is not permitted to Christians, who have the hope of the resurrection, to imitate the customs of demon-worshippers, and to insult the saints, who shine in so great glory, by common dead matter.

Moreover, we can prove our view from Holy Scripture and the Fathers. In the former it is said: “God is a Spirit: and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth” (S. Jno. 4:24); and: “Thou shalt not make thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath” (Deut. 5:8); on which account God spoke to the Israelites on the Mount, from the midst of the fire, but showed them no image (Deut. 5:4). Further: “They changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, … and served the creature more than the Creator” (Rom. 1:23, 25). (Several other passages are even less to the point.)

The same is taught also by the holy Fathers. (The Synod appeals to a spurious passage from Epiphanius, and to one inserted into the writings of Theodotus of Ancyra, a friend of S. Cyril, to utterances—in no way striking—of Gregory of Nazianzus, of SS. Chrysostom, Basil, Athanasius, of Amphilochius and Eusebius Pamphili, from his letter to the Empress Constantia, who had asked him for a picture of Christ.) Supported by the Holy Scriptures and the Fathers, we declare unanimously, in the name of the Holy Trinity, that there shall be rejected and removed and cursed out of the Christian Church every likeness which is made out of any material whatever by the evil art of painters. Whoever in future dares to make such a thing, or to venerate it, or set it up in a church or in a private house, or possesses it in secret, shall, if bishop, priest, or deacon, be deposed, if monk or layman, anathematised and become liable to be tried by the secular laws as an adversary of God and an enemy of the doctrines handed down by the Fathers. At the same time we ordain that no incumbent of a church shall venture, under pretext of destroying the error in regard to images, to lay his hands on the holy vessels in order to have them altered, because they are adorned with figures. The same is provided in regard to the vestments of churches, cloths, and all that is dedicated to divine service. If, however, the incumbent of a church wishes to have such church vessels and vestments altered, he must do this only with the assent of the holy Œcumenical patriarch (of Constantinople) and of our pious Emperors. So also no prince or secular official shall rob the churches, as some have done in former times, under the pretext of destroying images. All this we ordain, believing that we speak apostolically, and that we “have the Holy Spirit” (1 Cor. 7:40).

To this ὅρος they added immediately a series of anathematisms, in the first of which the orthodox doctrine of the six Œcumenical Councils is briefly and accurately set forth. Then, passing on to their own subject, they declare: “(1) If anyone ventures to represent the divine image (χαρακτήρ, Heb. 1:3) of the Logos after the Incarnation with material colours, let him be anathema! (2) If anyone ventures to represent in human figures, by means of material colours, by reason of the Incarnation, the substance or person (ousia or hypostasis) of the Word, which cannot be depicted, and does not rather confess that even after the Incarnation He (the Logos) cannot be depicted, let him be anathema! (3) If anyone ventures to represent the hypostatic union of the two natures in a picture, and calls it Christ, and thus falsely represents a union of the two natures, etc.! (4) If anyone separates the flesh united with the person of the Logos from it, and endeavours to represent it separately in a picture, etc.! (5) If anyone separates the one Christ into two persons, and endeavours to represent Him who was born of the Virgin separately, and thus accepts only a relative (σχετική) union of the natures, etc.! (6) If anyone represents the flesh made divine by its union with the Logos in a picture, and thus separates it from the Godhead, etc.! (7) If anyone endeavours to represent, by material colours, God the Logos as a mere man, who, although bearing the form of God, yet has assumed the form of a servant in His own person, and thus endeavours to separate Him from His inseparable Godhead, so that he thereby introduces a quaternity into the Holy Trinity, etc.! (8) 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 erroneous and introduced by the devil,—and does not rather represent their virtues as living images in himself, etc.!”

After they had added some orthodox sentences on the veneration and invocation of the saints, etc., they conclude thus: “If anyone does not accept this our Holy and Œcumenical seventh Synod, let him be anathema from the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost, and all the seven Œcumenical Synods! Let no one set forth another faith!… Thus we all believe; this we voluntarily subscribe; this is the faith of the apostles. Many years to the Emperors! They are the lights of orthodoxy! Many years to the orthodox Empress! God preserve your Empire! You have now more firmly proclaimed the inseparability of the two natures of Christ! You have banished all idolatry! You have destroyed the heresies of Germanus (of Constantinople), George, and Mansur (μανσούρ, John Damascene). Anathema to Germanus, the double-minded, and worshipper of wood! Anathema to George, his associate, to the falsifier of the doctrine of the Fathers! Anathema to Mansur, who has an evil name and Saracen opinions! To the betrayer of Christ and the enemy of the Empire, to the teacher of impiety, the perverter of Scripture, Mansur, anathema! The Trinity has deposed these three!”

The Libellus Synodicus states that the Emperor Constantine at this Synod also denied the intercessions of the saints and burnt the relics. Similarly, it is said in the history of the life of the Abbot S. Stephen, that the Synod uttered blasphemies against the saints and the immaculate Mother of God, as if they could not help us after their death; but, as we saw above, everyone was expressly anathematised by the Synod, who rejected the invocation of Mary and denied her intercession. On the other hand, it seems true that the Emperor, in his own person, subsequently did that which those two documents ascribe to the Conciliabulum, and that their statement rests only upon an interchange of names.

SEC. 337. Carrying out of the Synodal Decrees. Abbot Stephen

The immediate consequence of this Synod was that the images were everywhere removed from the churches, many were burnt, the wall-pictures and mosaics smeared over with chalk. In a special manner the Vita S. Stephani complains of the devastation of the splendid Church of S. Mary in Blachernæ, on the walls of which were represented the Incarnation of Christ and His miracles and acts, until His ascension into heaven and the pouring out of the Holy Spirit. In order not to leave the walls bare, they were now decorated with landscapes, with pictures of trees and birds, or, as the Vita Stephani says, turned into a bird-cage and fruit magazine. The same took place in all the public buildings and palaces, e.g. that of the patriarch. The sacred pictures were destroyed, but “satanic representations of ridings, hunts, plays, horse-races, and the like, were held in honour and beatified.”

At the same time, the Emperor demanded of all the bishops and of the most distinguished monks a written assent to the decree of his Synod. We do not learn that one single man among the bishops and secular clergy of the whole [Byzantine] kingdom refused; but so much the more earnestly was opposition made by many monks. That the bishops of the East, who were no longer under Byzantium, in no way assented, we shall see later on (sec. 340). Alarmed by the demand of the Emperor, the monks of the neighbourhood of Constantinople and from Bithynia gradually betook themselves to the celebrated Abbot S. Stephen, on the mountain of S. Auxentius, in order to take counsel with him. Born in the year 715, Stephen was, while still quite young, brought by his parents to the anchorite John on the mountain of S. Aurelius over against Constantinople. After he had spent a long time in this monastery, and had already obtained a great fame for holiness, he obtained, as a recluse, a cave on the top of this mountain, above the monastery, and hither came now the monks from the neighbourhood of Constantinople. Stephen counselled them to give way before the violence of the Emperor, and to go into neighbourhoods which had not yet been infected by heresy, namely, into the mountains on the Pontus Euxinus, which were the boundary of Scythia, the neighbourhoods of the Bosporus, Cherson, Nicopsis, those on the Parthenic sea (east end of the Mediterranean), to Reggio, Naples, Italy, etc. Abbot Stephen added: Of Rome, Alexandria, and Antioch he will not make mention, as the bishops of these cities have declared themselves in writing as opposed to the Emperor, and have called him an apostate and heresiarch (see below, sec. 340). So also S. John of Damascus has not ceased to oppose him as a second Mahomet, burner of images, and enemy of the saints.

The monks followed the counsel of S. Stephen, and in great numbers forsook the residence and its neighbourhood. Those left behind concealed themselves. Many came to Rome, and the new Pope, Paul I. (since 758), for this reason ordered that in Rome the Psalms should also be sung in Greek, i.e. that the Greeks who had come there might say their office in their own manner.

SEC. 338. The States of the Church threatened from the beginning by the Greeks

The greater acts of violence on the part of the Emperor, in destroying the images and persecuting those who venerated them, meet us generally for the first time from the years 761 and 763. Apparently the two unlucky wars against the Bulgarians in the years 756 and 760, and the anxieties respecting Italy, had from prudential reasons made a temporary pause in the iconoclastic fury. In Italy, in the year 755, this great change had taken place, that the King of the Franks, Pipin the Short, took away from the Lombard Astolph the exarchate of Ravenna and Pentapolis, and had made of these provinces, formerly subject to the Byzantines, a present to S. Peter, i.e. to the Roman Church. The attempt of the Emperor Constantine Copronymus, by means of two ambassadors whom he sent to Pipin, to get back those lands, miscarried; since Pipin, as is well known, declared: “The Franks had not shed their blood for the Greeks, but for S. Peter and the salvation of their souls, and he would not, for all the gold in the world, take back his promise made to the Roman Church.” Whether the Pope at this time came into the secular possession of the city and the Duchy of Rome is a contested point, the decision of which we are not required to settle. It is certain, on the contrary, that the Byzantine Emperor, in the years 757 and 758, sent ambassadors both to Pipin and to Desiderius, the new King of the Lombards, and presented the former with an organ, the first that came into the West, in order, by the help of these two princes, to come again into possession of the exarchate and of Pentapolis. With the same object, his emissaries cultivated the people of Ravenna and the neighbourhood, and a fleet, which he fitted out either at this time or somewhat later (A.D. 764), was intended to give effect by force to his demands. Pope Paul I., who then occupied the holy see, took every pains to work in opposition to the Byzantines, and to obtain as a perpetual adherent King Pipin, who, with the title of Patrician, had undertaken the duty of protection over the Roman Church. His position was in this respect so much the more difficult, as his own legate in France, the Cardinal Priest Marinus, had then concluded a serious friendship with the Byzantine ambassador. In one of the letters which Pope Paul now addressed to Pipin, he assured him that it was the affair of the images that was the principal cause of the great anger of the Greeks against Rome.

SEC. 339. The Cruelties of the Emperor Constantine Copronymus

From the year 761 the venerators of images were persecuted with a cruelty which recalls the times of Diocletian, and there goes through all our historical sources a cry of horror on account of it. Some new light was brought into the history of these persecutions, particularly a later chronological arrangement, by the new volume of the Bollandists, which appeared, A.D. 1853, in the treatise de S. Andrea Cretensi, dicto in Crisi, by which several errors, which from early times had passed into all the books, were corrected. The Bollandists discovered two hitherto unprinted and mutually independent martyrologies of S. Andrew, whilst hitherto only a Latin translation of the second of them (in Surius) had been known. From these two martyrologies and several ancient Greek Synaxaria (= festal kalendars), compared with the Vita S. Stephani, it results that Theophanes confounded two of the most distinguished martyrs of the time of Copronymus, Andrew and Peter; or, more exactly, not themselves, but only their names, for everything else which he tells respecting them is perfectly right, if only we exchange the names.

As earliest martyr he mentions, in the twenty-first year of the Emperor, 6253 of the world, “the venerable monk, Andrew Kalybites,” whom “Constantine caused to be put to death by scourging in the Blachernæ, in the circus of S. Mamas, reproaching him with impiety. His corpse was cast into the water; but his sisters brought him up and buried him in the market of the Emporium. Instead of Andrew Kalybites, we should here read Peter Kalybites (i.e. inhabitant of a καλύβη or hut), of whom it is said in the Vita S. Stephani (l.c. p. 507): “I make mention of that holy monk Peter, who dwelt as a recluse at Blachernæ, and was frightfully beaten with the tendons of oxen, and killed in the presence of the Emperor, because he had spoken of him as a Dacian (Julian) and a sacrilegious man.” To the same effect say the Synaxaria: “Peter, who dwelt in the Blachernæ, dies, beaten with the tendons of oxen.” That this martyrdom is to be placed at the 16th of May 761, and not in the year 762, as might be inferred from Theophanes, is shown by the new Bollandists (l.c. p. 129), by reference to the eclipse of the sun mentioned by Theophanes himself (p. 665), which preceded that martyrdom about a year, and, according to the astronomical tables, took place, not in August 761, as Theophanes states, but in the year 760.

The Bollandists might have found another proof on their side on the same page of Theophanes, since Easter fell on the 6th of April, not in the year of the world 6252 (= 761), but in the year before, and the execution of the Kalybites belongs to the year immediately following. The day of the month of his martyrdom the Bollandists found in the old Synaxaria.

Soon after Peter Kalybites, probably on the 7th of June 761, John, the superior of the monastery of Monagria, was fastened into a sack and cast into the sea, because he would not tread under foot a picture of the Mother of God. This is also related by the Synaxaria and the biography of S. Stephen.

The most famous martyr of the time of Copronymus was the Abbot S. Stephen (see sec. 337), generally designated as ὁ νέος, with reference to the protomartyr Stephen. His ancient biographer (in the Analecta, l.c. p. 546 ff.) says: Soon after the end of the Conciliabulum held by Constantine (in fact, not until the year 763), the Emperor sent the patrician Callistus, a man of ability, but one who was zealously devoted to the new heresy (iconoclasm), to the mount of S. Auxentius, in order to induce Stephen to subscribe the synodal decree. Callistus accomplished his commission; but Stephen declared: The Synod having brought forward a heretical doctrine, it was impossible that he should assent to it, and he was ready to shed his blood in defence of the veneration of the images. He was then, at the command of the Emperor, dragged away from his cave by a party of soldiers, and carried to a monastery which lay lower down under the mountain (as, being quite enfeebled through fasting, he was unable to walk); and here he remained imprisoned prisoned along with the other monks for six days without food. As, however, the Emperor made an expedition against the Bulgarians, June 17, 763, the action against Stephen was interrupted, and he was taken back again into his cell. During the absence of the Emperor, Callistus managed, by money and promises, that two accusers should appear against Stephen. His own disciple Sergius declared that he had pronounced anathema on the Emperor as a heretic; and a female slave testified that her own mistress, the distinguished widow Anna, who was a spiritual daughter of Stephen, and dwelt as an ascetic in the monastery below on the mountain of S. Auxentius, had lived in sinful intercourse with the saint.

The news of this was conveyed to the Emperor by express messengers, and he immediately ordered the arrest of Anna. After the end of the Bulgarian war by the successful battle on June 30, 763, Anna was examined and even scourged, although no accusation against Stephen could be forced from her. Another means for his overthrow was, however, found. The Emperor, from hatred towards the monks, as being his principal opponents, had forbidden the reception of novices; but, with the Emperor’s foreknowledge, says the Vita Stephani (p. 468 sq.), a young man holding a situation at the Court, George Syncletus, talked over S. Stephen by false representations, so that he received him into the number of his monks. Scarcely had this been done when the Emperor openly complained, in an assembly of the people, that the accused ones, whose names must not be pronounced (so he ordinarily designated the monks), had again decoyed away from him one of his best and most beloved young men, and thereby so goaded the people that they uttered violent maledictions against the monks. A few days later, George escaped from the monastery and hastened to the Emperor. He was, at a second assembly of the people, solemnly girded again with a sword by the Emperor, and received anew into favour, whilst the people tore up the monastic habit which had been taken off him, and bellowed murder and death against the monks. Taking advantage of this state of mind, the Emperor sent a strong detachment of soldiers to the mountain of S. Auxentius. The disciples of Stephen were driven away, the monastery and church were burnt down, the saint dragged from his cave, beaten and tortured in every way, … and at last banished to the island of Proconnesus in the Propontis, because he refused utterly to subscribe the decrees of the false Synod, and even censured it by remarking: The Synod called itself holy, but the most holy Virgin and the apostles would withhold that predicate from it.

Here in Proconnesus the scattered monks assembled themselves around him; they lived together monastically, and commended to the people the veneration of images. Stephen was therefore, after a lapse of two years, bound hand and foot, and brought back to Constantinople. Here, in the great prison of the Prætorium, he met with 342 monks from different lands. Many had their ears or nose cut off, others their eyes put out or their hands chopped off; many still bore the scars of previous scourgings, others had their beard smeared with pitch and set on fire. Stephen soon turned the prison into a kind of monastery, since day and night he sang psalms and hymns with his fellow-prisoners, and exhorted the people, who assembled from the neighbourhood, to the veneration of images in order to their edification. He was consequently brought to trial and condemned to death. About the same time the Emperor commanded that everyone who had a relation among the monks, and concealed him, or wore a black coat (i.e. was himself suspected of monasticism), should be banished, which caused great excitement in the city (Vita Stephani, p. 512).

Stephen was already led forth by the executioner; but the Emperor resolved to make one more attempt to gain him over to his view, for if Stephen came in, then would the victory of the opponents of images be fully assured. He was therefore brought back to prison, and two servants of the Emperor sent to him, instructed either to talk him over, or, if he were obstinate, to give him such a flogging that he should soon afterwards die. The two servants were, however, deeply moved by the appearance of S. Stephen, and were won by him for the orthodox faith. They left him covered with cushions, and told the Emperor that they had beaten him so that he could hardly live another day. In the following night the Emperor learnt through a demon how the matter had fallen out, and, at his bitter complaint that he was not obeyed, and that Stephen was really Emperor, a great number of his bodyguards dashed at the prison of the Prætorium, dragged the saint on to the street, and killed him with innumerable blows and stones on November 28, 767. So it is related in the biography composed forty-two years afterwards (l.c. p. 521), which, along with a good deal of evidently legendary ornament, contains undoubted historical truth.

While Stephen still sat in the prison of the Prætorium, he conversed with the other monks respecting the men who, before him, had died as martyrs on behalf of the veneration of images. Two of these, Peter at Blachernæ and John of Monagria, we have already mentioned (p. 320). Besides, we learn here that the monk Paul of Crete (not Cyprus) preferred to be tortured to death (March 17, 767) rather than tread under foot an image of Christ, as the prefect had required of him. The priest and monk Theosterictus, however, of the monastery of Peleceta, on the Hellespont, who had his nose cut off and his beard burnt by the iconoclasts, relates that the prefect of Asia, named Lachanodracon, on the evening of the previous Thursday in the week of the Passion of Christ, while the mysteries were being celebrated, had, by command of the Emperor, penetrated with soldiers into the monastery, and had chained thirty-eight monks, carried them off to Ephesus, and then killed them, ill-treated all the rest, burnt some of them, cut off the noses of the rest, as of Theosterictus himself, and set fire to the whole monastery, together with the church.

About a month before Stephen (October 20, 767), Andrew in Crisi also obtained the crown of martyrdom; but the monks in the prison of the Prætorium seem to have heard nothing of this, since they did not refer to him in their conversations. This is the man whom Theophanes (p. 683 sq.) erroneously designated as Peter (instead of Andrew) Stylites (cf. p. 319), adding that the Emperor, on account of Andrew’s resisting his doctrine, had him bound by the feet, dragged through the streets of Constantinople, and cast into a kind of skinning house called Pelagia. The same is related by the two Martyria of S. Andrew, recently published by the Bollandists, in which it is further told that some pious believers had afterwards buried his body in a holy place called Crisis. That he came originally from Crete, and travelled to Constantinople expressly to make voluntary representations to the Emperor on account of his cruelty towards the friends of the images, we learn from the same source and the ancient Synaxaria; and if Baronius had followed them (ad ann. 762, 1), he would not have confounded this Andrew with the somewhat earlier Bishop Andrew of Crete, as Pagi (ad ann. 761, 2) erroneously did, and all followed him. In his annotations to the Martyrology (ad 17 Octobr.), Baronius expressly distinguishes the two, as the Bollandists have remarked, and gives proofs of his view.

Another monk, who had formerly been an officer, Paulus Novus, was executed A.D. 771; and also many laymen, even of the highest civil and military offices, suffered banishment or death, partly on account of their inclination for the images, partly because they had become politically suspected. The Emperor and his deputies contended together in bloody zeal; and with peculiar prominence, Michael Lachanodracon, already well known to us, who, after having ill-treated many monks and nuns, blinding and killing them, sold all the monasteries in his province (Thrace), together with the sacred vessels, books, and all the church furniture, and sent the proceeds to the Emperor. If he found anyone using relics as amulets, the relics were burnt, the person using them punished, and if a monk, put to death.

As the Emperor was resolved entirely to root out monasticism, he turned many monasteries into taverns and the like, caused others to be entirely destroyed, required that the monks should wear secular attire and marry, gave places and offices to the obedient, and caused the steadfast to be led round the circus in great numbers with nuns (some say, harlots) on f their arm, to the great sport of the populace. That under such persecutions and oppressions some monks overstepped the bounds of righteous opposition, we will not deny; indeed, it would rather be wonderful if it were not so. It is, however, quite wrong, on the part of Walch (l.c. S. 405 f.), to try to make out that the fault of the monks was very great and that of the Emperor as small as possible. Of the latter, he goes so far as to say (S. 301): “He must have been a chaste prince, for no one attributes to him sensual excesses.” Walch, besides many other allusions in the original documents, must have known the decisive passage in Theophanes (l.c. p. 685), where the Pæderastia of the Emperor is spoken of. But he thought good to omit this passage and (at S. 325) to translate only the remaining portion of this section.

In the course of the contest over the images, the Emperor came to the idea of requiring of all his subjects an oath on this matter. He therefore assembled first the inhabitants of Constantinople, “had the life-giving body and blood of Christ, and also the holy cross, publicly set forth, and all swore on the holy Gospels that henceforth they would reverence no image, and regard every such thing as an idol, have no fellowship with a monk, but rather would persecute every such worthless black-coat with insult and with stones.” This oath was first taken, as an example to all the people, by the Patriarch Constantine in the Ambo, the holy cross in his hand; and although he had once been a monk, from that time he began a quite secular kind of life. The time at which this oath was required and taken is doubtful. Theophanes places it in the 4th Indiction, i.e. between September 1, 765–766; on the one hand, he himself, as well as Nicephorus, places this occurrence after the martyrdom of S. Stephen, and this gave occasion to Pagi (ad ann. 765, 1), holding by this latter statement, to ascribe the taking of the oath to the year 767, whilst the new Bollandists (l.c. pp. 127, 12 and 131, 26), taking no notice of this, hold firmly to the 4th Indiction, and thus to 766.

From the images the Emperor extended his persecution to the relics of the saints, which he caused everywhere to be removed. In particular, Theophanes mentions (l.c. p. 679) that the body of the highly venerated S. Euphemia was torn out of her splendid church at Chalcedon, in which the fourth Œcumenical Council had been held, and with the coffin cast into the sea. Moreover, of the church the Emperor made an arsenal. But the waves bore the venerable coffin to the coast of Lemnos, where pious believers concealed it, until, later on, the Empress had it brought back to the restored church at Chalcedon. Even prayers to the saints were forbidden, and ejaculations, as, for example, “Mother of God, help us,” were followed by severe punishments. The Emperor is even said to have fallen into the Nestorian heresy, and to have asked the Patriarch Constantine whether it would not be well, instead of “God-bearer,” in future to make use of the expression “Christ-bearer.” But the patriarch had adjured him to keep away from this, and had promised the Emperor silence. Whether it was, as Cedrenus states, that he broke this promise, or that he fell under suspicion of other kinds of disloyalty, especially political, he was, in the year 766, deposed and banished, and subsequently shamefully ill-treated and beheaded; and Nicetas, a eunuch and a man of Slavonian or servile origin, raised to be his successor, who manifested his zeal immediately by effacing the pictures in the patriarchal residence, and elsewhere, and crowned Eudoxia, the third wife of the Emperor, as well as his two younger sons, Christopher and Nicephorus.

SEC. 340. Three Patriarchs in the East are in favour of the Images

During these occurrences in the Byzantine kingdom, the patriarchs of Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem declared themselves with all decision for the ecclesiastical veneration of images. As their cities were in the hands of the Saracens, and they were no longer politically dependent upon the Byzantine Emperor, they could express themselves more freely than the Greek bishops (cf. p. 316). One of them, Theodore of Antioch, had been exiled in the year 757 by the Caliph Selim, because he became suspected of having conducted a correspondence, dangerous to the State, with Constantine Copronymus; but his restoration must have speedily followed, for in the year 764 we meet him again in Antioch. Theophanes (l.c. p. 669) relates: Bishop Cosmas, named Comanites, from Epiphania in Apamea in Syria, had been accused by his diocesans, before the Patriarch Theodore of Antioch, of having taken the sacred vessels from the church. In order that he might not be compelled to replace them, he had gone over to the doctrine of the Byzantine Emperor, but the Patriarchs Theodore of Antioch, Theodore of Jerusalem, and Cosmas of Alexandria had, in agreement with their suffragans, pronounced against him a sentence of deposition and anathema.

The Libellus Synodicus and the biography of the Gothic Bishop John, published by the Bollandists, speak of a Synod held about that time by the Patriarch Theodore of Jerusalem, at which he anathematised iconoclasm. This Synod is said to have sent to the above-named Bishop John, who had formerly taken part in the false Council of the year 754, but had amended, a biblical and patristic proof in behalf of the veneration of images. That the Libellus Synodicus places this Synod of Jerusalem before the false Council of the year 754 is not of significance, for it is clear from the biography of the Gothic Bishop John that it must have taken place a good deal later, and we conclude from the words of Theophanes that every one of the three patriarchs, with the bishops under him, held such a Synod on the question of the images and on account of Cosmas of Epiphania. It is therefore very probable that the Synodica of the Patriarch Theodore of Antioch, which is found among the Acts of the seventh Œcumenical Council (Act iii.), had been drawn up on this occasion. But this document bears quite evidently the character of an enthronisation letter (also called Synodica), and therefore contains (a) a copious confession of the orthodox faith generally, united with a very complete assent to the decrees of the six Œcumenical Synods, whilst, at the close, only a relatively quite small space is dedicated to the defence of the images. (b) With the idea of an enthronisation letter the last words also agree: “May the two colleges of Alexandria and Antioch receive this Synodica in a friendly manner, and if anything in it is to be corrected, kindly make him acquainted with it.” (c) On the other hand, there is no word in it relating to Cosmas of Epiphania, and the initiative in an investigation in regard to him did not belong to the patriarch of Jerusalem, but to him of Antioch. I cannot, therefore, agree with those who would bring this Synodica into connection with the matter of Cosmas, but, on the contrary, regard it as older, and believe that we should recognise it as the letter of enthronisation which the Patriarch Theodore of Jerusalem sent out on taking possession of his see.

Thus the doubts of Walch (Ketzerhist. Bd. x. S. 379 f.) drop away of themselves, as to why the patriarch of Jerusalem had taken the chief part in the affair against Cosmas. This hesitation rests merely on a confusion of that Inthronistica [epistola] with the sentence of the three Oriental patriarchs against Cosmas. On the other hand, our Inthronistica is perhaps identical with that Synodica which Theodore of Jerusalem, after receiving the decision of his two colleagues of Alexandria and Antioch, sent to Pope Paul, in which he set forth his orthodoxy in general, and his agreement with the Roman Church in regard to the images. This Synodica arrived in Rome in August 767, when Paul was already dead, and the intruding Antipope Constantine sat on the throne. He sent this document immediately to King Pipin, “that they might see in Gaul what zeal for the images prevailed in the East”; and even Pope Hadrian I. afterwards appealed repeatedly to this Synodica, and certainly describes it in a manner which does not quite harmonise with the copy which has come down to us, and must therefore raise a doubt as to the identity of the two documents. In particular, the Synodica which Hadrian had before him appears to have contained patristic proof for the images, which is wanting in the other. But it may be that the Synodica sent to Rome is nothing else than an elaboration and expansion of this Inthronistica of Jerusalem drawn up in consequence of the counsel of the patriarchs of Antioch and Alexandria.

SEC. 341. The Franks and the Synod of Gentilly, A.D. 767

In the meantime, Constantine Copronymus did not abandon the hope of attaining, with the Franks, by diplomatic arts, two important results which were for him of the highest importance, namely, their assent to the rejection of the images and the restoration of the former Byzantine provinces of Italy. Several embassies were interchanged between the two Courts in reference to this matter, and one such in particular is referred to in that letter of Pope Paul I. to Pipin which is given as No. 26 in the Codex Carolinus. We learn from this that ambassadors of the Byzantine Emperor had come to the Frankish Court, and had, by fine words (suasionis fabulatio) and all kinds of promises (inanes promissiones), obtained from King Pipin a favourable answer to their wishes. The latter explained to them, however, his wish, first of all, to take counsel, on so important a matter, with the bishops and nobles of his kingdom in an assembly (concilium mixtum), and at the same time made the Pope acquainted with this, with the assurance of his unaltered adhesion to the Roman Church and the orthodox faith. Pope Paul replied, he was sure that Pipin’s answer to the Greeks tended only to the exaltation of the Roman Church, which was the head of all the Churches and of the orthodox faith, that he would never draw back what he had offered to S. Peter for the salvation of his soul, and that the suasionis fabulatio of the Greeks would be of no avail with him, since the Word of God and the doctrine of the apostles was deeply fixed in his heart.

The assembly of the Frankish bishops and nobles here referred to is, in our judgment, no other than the Synod of Gentilly (in Gentiliaco), a spot in the immediate neighbourhood of Paris which King Pipin held in the year 767, when he celebrated Easter there. The Acts of this assembly have not been preserved, and the many ancient Frankish chroniclers who refer to them, e.g. Einhard, remark quite briefly that they discussed the questions of the disputes about the images and of the Trinity, whether the Holy Spirit proceeded also from the Son. Pagi supposes (l.c.) that, as the Latins reproached the Greeks with heresy on account of the destruction of the images, these, in return, had accused the Latins of adding the filioque. Schlosser, on the contrary (S. 239), holds it for proved, but without the slightest support from the original authorities, that the papal legates who were present at the Synod brought up the discussion on the doctrine of the Trinity in order to excite dislike for the Greeks.

Further information respecting the Synod of Gentilly is found in the twentieth section of the Codex Carolinus, if we may assume that this letter of Pope Paul to Pipin was written a little later. The Pope says, in this letter, that Pipin had never given audience to the Byzantine ambassadors except in the presence of the papal legates, that no suspicion might arise; moreover, that these legates had disputed concerning the faith with the Byzantine ambassadors in the presence of Pipin, and that the letter of the Byzantines to Pipin, as well as the answer of the latter, had been communicated to the Pope. The Pope here praises the zeal of Pipin for the exaltation of the Church and the defence of orthodoxy, and we see from this that the Synod of Gentilly had also made a declaration in regard to the veneration of images which was agreeable to the Pope.

SEC. 342. Contests for the Holy See

Soon after the holding of the Synod of Gentilly, Pope Paul I. died, June 28, 767. Even during his illness, Duke Toto of Nepi (a city somewhat to the north of Rome) wanted to kill him. But Christopher, the Primicerius of the notaries, prevented it by his watchfulness, and brought it about that the Duke, in union with the other men of influence, took an oath that the future Pope should be elected only by common agreement. As soon, however, as the Pope died, Toto violated his oath, penetrated into the city with armed peasants, took possession, of the Lateran, and had his brother Constantine, who was still a layman, receive, in a few days, ordination and the papal consecration at the hands of the three intimidated cardinal bishops of Palestrina, Albano, and Portus. That this Antipope Constantine wrote to King Pipin, and sent him a Synodica of the Oriental bishops, we have already seen. In a still earlier letter to Pipin, he attempted to gain him over and to excuse the irregularities of his election, as he had, against his will, been chosen by the enthusiasm of the Romans. But after a year’s respite he was overthrown. The discontented, who had gone abroad with the Primicerius and papal counsellor Christopher and his son Sergius (treasurer of the Roman Church) at their head, slipped into the neighbourhood of the city by night, on July 28, 768, and, supported by a company of Lombard volunteers, got possession of the Salarian bridge, and on the following morning forced their way through the gate of S. Pancratius, which was opened to them by a relation inside the city. Duke Toto, who hastened up to force them back, fell, and his brother the Pope was taken prisoner. Whilst they were preparing for his deposition, the Lombard party, who had been assisting, under the guidance of the Lombard priest Waldipert, by their own authority caused a pious monk, Philip, to be proclaimed Pope; but Christopher and his friends did not give assent, and, hearing of this, Philip resigned immediately, in order not to give occasion for further contests. Thereupon, on August 5, 768, in a great assembly of the Roman clergy and laity, Constantine was declared an intruder and an antipope, and on the following day Stephen IV., hitherto priest in the Church of S. Cecilia, a learned and virtuous man, who besides had enjoyed in a high degree the confidence of Pope Paul, was unanimously elected. Constantine and his adherents, however, were treated by the embittered people with frightful acts of violence, having their eyes put out and the like. The new Pope seems to have been powerless in this confusion, and immediately wrote to King Pipin and asked for his assistance, in order to the holding of a great Synod at Rome, so as to restore order. When his ambassadors arrived in Paris, Pipin was already dead († September 24, 768); but his two sons and heirs, Charles the Great and Carlmann, responded to the petition of the Pope, and sent twelve Frankish bishops to the proposed Synod.

SEC. 343. The Lateran Synod, A.D. 769

The new Synod was held in April 769, in the Basilica of S. Salvator in the Lateran palace, under the presidency of the Pope, and besides the Frankish bishops, there were also present bishops from Tuscany, Campania, and the other parts of Italy,—altogether fifty-two bishops or representatives of bishops, together with several priests, monks, secular grandees, officers, citizens, and many of the laity. A short history of what they did is given in the Vita Stephani III. (IV.): see Mansi, t. xii. p. 685 sq. Besides this, there were formerly only a few small fragments of the minutes of the Synod; but in A.D. 1735, Cajetan Cenni edited, from an ancient codex of the chapter library at Verona, a larger fragment containing the beginning of the minutes of the first session, so that we now possess at least one or another fragment of four sessions. At the same time, he elucidated the publication by a Præfatio and an extensive ecclesiastico-geographical dissertation. The whole bears the title: Concilium Lateranense Stephani III. (IV.) ann. DCCLXIX. nunc primum in lucem editum ex antiquissimo codice Veronensi MS. Rom. 1735, and is reprinted at length in Mansi’s first supplementary volume to Coleti’s edition of the Councils. In his own larger collection of the Councils, however, Mansi has omitted the dissertation on ecclesiastical geography, because he intended to publish it along with several other dissertations in a separate supplementary volume which never appeared.

The fragment edited by Cenni shows that the first session took place on April 12, 769, that at that time, however, they no longer dated at Rome by the years of the Byzantine Emperors, and thus apparently no longer recognised their sovereignty. It was through this fragment that we first received a list of all the bishops and clergy present. The names of the twelve Frankish bishops had previously been discovered by J. Sirmond in Schedis Onuphrii, but neither completely nor correctly. We now learn that, first after the Pope, the representative of the archbishop of Ravenna (as the first metropolitan in the West) had his seat, and after him Wilichar, archbishop of Sens. He was followed by the Cardinal-bishop George of Ostia; but immediately after him, and before all the other Italians, came the eleven remaining Frankish bishops: Wulfram of Meaux, Lullus of Mainz, Gabienus of Tours, Ado of Lyons, Herminard of Bourges, Daniel of Narbonne, Hermenbert of Joahione (according to Cenni = Juvavia, Salzburg), Verabulp of Burtevulgi (= Burdegala, Bordeaux), Erlulf of Langres (the founder of the monastery of Ellwangen), Tilpin of Reims, Giselbert of Noyon. Bishop Joseph, whom Sirmond reckons among the Frankish bishops (whilst he omits the bishop of Meaux), was, according to Cenni, of Dertona in Italy.

It must naturally strike us that of these Frankish bishops, only Wilichar of Sens is designated archbishop, whilst the bishops of Mainz, Tours, Lyons, Bourges, Narbonne, Bordeaux, and Reims (genuine metropolitan sees) were present. But Cenni shows that in the eighth century the metropolitan constitution had almost entirely become extinct, and was not again restored until the time of Pope Hadrian I. and Charles the Great. Thus, e.g., Lullus had occupied the see of Mainz for a long time before he received from Pope Hadrian the pallium, and therewith the archiepiscopal dignity. Thus, in the opinion of Cenni, at that time only Wilichar of Sens, among the Franks present, possessed the pallium and the title of archbishop.

The Italian bishops were: Joseph of Dertona, Lanfried of Castrum (subsequently united with Aquapendente), Aurinand of Tuscana (subsequently united with Viterbo), NN. of Balneum-regis (Bagnarea), Peter of Populonium (subsequently united with Massa), Felerad of Luna (removed to Sarzana), Theodore of Pavia, Peter of Cære (Cervetri, no longer a diocese), Maurinus of Polimartium (subsequently united with Bagnarea), Leo of Castellum (Città di Castello), Sergius of Ferentino, Jordanes of Segni, Ado of Orti, Ansualdus of Narni, Nigrotius of Anagni, Agatho of Sutri, NN. of Centumcellaa (now united with Viterbo), Theodosius of Tibur, Pinius of Tres Tabernæ (united with Viterbo), Boniface of Piperno (decayed), NN. of Alatri, Valeran of Trevi (decayed), Bonus of Manturanum (decayed), Gregory of Silva Candida or S. Rufina (united by Calixtus II. with Portus), Eustratius of Albano, Pothus of Repi, Cidonatus of Portus, Antoninus of Cæsena, John of Faenza, Stabilinus of Pesaro, Maurus of Fano, Juvian of Gallese (subsequently united with Castellum), George of Sinigaglia, Sergius of Ficoclæ (Cervia), Tiberius of Rimini, Florence of Eugubium (Gubbio), Temaurinus of Urbino, Cidonatus of Velletri (subsequently united with Ostia).

Pope Stephen opened the Synod with the declaration that its aim was to take counsel respecting the usurpation of the papal see by Constantine, and to determine the canonical punishment for this according to his deserts. Thereupon Christopher, the Primicerius of the notaries, informed them of what had happened at the appointment of that antipope, how he had himself gone in danger of his life, but had fled with his sons into the Church of S. Peter, and finally had obtained permission to go into a monastery.

So far goes the fragment of Cenni. From Anastasius, however, we learn further that at the same first session the deposed and blinded Antipope Constantine was brought forward, and asked how he had dared, as a layman, to aspire to the papal chair, a thing hitherto unheard of in the Church. He replied that he had been constrained by the people, and brought against his will into the Lateran, because they had hoped from him the abolition of the evils which had been complained of under Pope Paul. Thereupon he cast himself on the ground, with outstretched hands, and acknowledged himself as guilty. He said his sins were more in number than the sand of the sea, but he trusted that the Synod would have compassion upon him. They raised him up from the ground, and on this day came to no resolution concerning him. In the second session he was brought forward again, and once more asked how he had ventured to do anything so new and unheard of. He replied: “I did nothing new, for Archbishop Sergius of Ravenna (who was represented by a deacon at this Synod) and Bishop Stephen of Naples were also elected when laymen.” The further course of his speech embittered those present so far that they caused him to be beaten and taken out of the church. Then the Acts of a Conciliabulum which the antipope had held were burnt in the presbytery of the Church of the Lateran. Pope Stephen, moreover, and all the Roman clergy and laity present, cast themselves on the ground, intoning the Kyrie Eleison, and confessed themselves sinners, because they had received the communion at the hands of the antipope. They all had penance imposed upon them (by whom?); and finally, after careful consideration of the ancient canons, the elevation of a layman to the papal see was forbidden, under pain of anathema.

In the third session it was positively ordained that in future only a cardinal-deacon or cardinal-priest was to be elected Pope, and all participation in the election was forbidden to laymen. A certis sacerdotibus atque proceribus ecclesiæ et cuncto clero ipsa pontificalis electio proveniat. Before, however, the elect should be conducted into the patriarchal abode (Patriarcheion), all the officers and the whole army, as well as the citizens of distinction and the assembled people, should greet him as Lord of all. In the same manner, the elections of bishops for other churches should take place. From the armies stationed in Tuscany and Campania, no one was to come to Rome at the time of an election, and neither the servants of the clergy nor military persons, who were present at the election, were to bring weapons or sticks with them. In the same third session it was also decided what was to be done with those ordained by the antipope. If a priest or deacon has been consecrated bishop by him, he is to become priest or deacon again; but he may be elected bishop anew by the laity and clergy, and be consecrated by Pope Stephen. The like holds of those whom Constantine ordained as priests and deacons. They are to be put back to the degree which they had before, but Pope Stephen may ordain them again as priests or deacons. But they are not to be further advanced. If, however, a layman has been ordained priest or deacon by the antipope, he must do penance throughout his whole life. Finally, all sacraments which have been administered by the antipope must be repeated, except baptism and confirmation (chrisma).

The fourth session was occupied with the question of the veneration of images. Patristic testimonies for this were presented, the Council of Constantinople of the year 754 was anathematised, and that veneration recognised for the images which had been shown to them until this time by all Popes and reverend Fathers. In this session, too, that Synodica of the Patriarch Theodore of Jerusalem, with which we made acquaintance above (see p. 329), was read and approved. At the same time, Pope Stephen appealed to the picture of Agbarus (see above, p. 291), since by that Christ Himself had confirmed the veneration of images.

After the session was ended, all present betook themselves barefooted from the Lateran to the Church of S. Peter. The decrees adopted were solemnly read, and every departure from them threatened with anathema.

SEC. 344. The Emperor Leo IV

The Emperor Constantine Copronymus, who, by unheard-of cruelties towards those who venerated the images, had stained his government, which in political and military respects was not without glory, died on September 14, 775, in a ship near Selymbria (in Thrace, lying on the Propontis), in consequence of a very violent and painful inflammation of the feet, and is said to have understood his error before his death, and to have ordered hymns of praise to be sung to the holy Virgin and Mother of God. He was succeeded by his eldest son, Leo IV., surnamed the Khazar, because his mother, Irene, the first wife of his departed father, was a Khazar princess. But Leo’s own wife also bore the name of Irene. She was born an Athenian, distinguished for beauty and intelligence, but also for cunning and ambition. At her marriage she had been compelled to swear to her father-in-law, Copronymus, henceforth to abandon the veneration of images, which she had hitherto practised in Athens, and was afterwards crowned Empress on December 17, and on January 14, 771, bore her only son, Constantine. Four years afterwards, her husband Leo, by the death of his father, became actual governor, and soon gained great popularity by the liberality with which he distributed the large savings of his father and lightened the burdens of the people.

They therefore asked permission to proclaim his five-year-old son as co-emperor (and successor); but the Emperor Leo was afraid that, in case of his too early death, this title might lead to the murder of his only son, whilst, without this title, he might be, permitted to live in a private condition, and only gave his assent to the wish of the people after they had sworn that they would preserve the crown to his family. Thereupon the young Constantine VI. was crowned at the Easter festival in 776 by the Patriarch Nicetas.

The Emperor Leo IV. saw without doubt that his father had gone too far in the matter of the images, and therefore at first leaned decidedly to tolerance. The monks were allowed to return, many of them were even raised to episcopal sees, and the hard old laws against the veneration of images seemed, if not formally abolished, yet to be forgotten. We do not know whether this or something else was the reason why a discontented party, so early as May 776, particularly among the officers, attempted to overthrow the Emperor and to set his younger brother, Nicephorus, on the throne. The matter was, however, discovered, and the people loudly demanded the heads of the criminals. But the Emperor Leo only had the guilty shorn and banished. He does not seem even to have punished his brother Nicephorus.

When the Patriarch Nicetas died, February 6, 780, the Lector Paul was designated as his successor by the Emperor. He hesitated at first to accept the position, because the Emperor required of him a promise on oath that he would not restore the veneration of images. But at last he took the oath, and was invested on the second Sunday in Lent 780.

By the middle of the Lenten season, six of the most distinguished Court officials, the Protospathar James, Papias, Strategius, and the chamberlains Theophanes, Leo, and Thomas, were denounced and imprisoned as actual venerators of images. At the same time they found two sacred images in the bed of the young Empress, Irene. According to Cedrenus, the courtiers just mentioned had hidden them in the notion that no search would be made there; but undoubtedly this was betrayed, and was made use of by the iconoclasts in order to the overthrow of the Empress. Although Irene protested that she had not known the least of the hidden images, yet Leo made the bitterest reproaches against her, that she had broken the oath which she made to his father, and sent her into exile. Those Court officials, however, were publicly shorn and flogged, then led in disgrace through the city, and cast into the prison of the Prætorium, where one of them died. All the others became monks, when, after Leo’s death, they again obtained liberty. And this happened soon, for the Emperor Leo IV. died on September 8 of the same year, 780. Theophanes, and those who follow him, relate that the Emperor, from his great fondness for precious stones, had taken a crown belonging to the principal church which the Emperor Maurice had founded, and set it on his own head and retained it for himself. He says that this crown was set with beautiful carbuncles, and that now, as a punishment, he had got similar red ulcers on his head, and had died of them. Some recent historians have, without any original authority, wanted to accuse the “friend of the images,” Irene, of poisoning her own husband, but even Walch (S. 501) and Schlosser (S. 259) declare themselves against the accusation.








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