Iconoclasm

   Greek for the "breaking of images," referring to any attempt to destroy religious images (icons [q.v.]), and referring more specifically to the attempt by certain eighth and ninth-century emperors (q.v.) to cleanse Byzantium (q.v.) of what they perceived as religious idolatry. Hostility toward religious images was not new. Old Testament prohibitions against idolatry had a continuing influence on the church and probably account for church-supported Iconoclasm prior to 726, when Emperor Leo III (q.v.) ordered that the image of Christ above the Chalke of the Great Palace (qq.v.) be removed. What was new was imperial support of such prohibitions. A silentium (q.v.) in 730 ordered the general destruction of religious images. The Patriarch Germanos I (q.v.) was forced to resign, and Leo III, intent on demonstrating his control over the church, replaced him with the Iconoclast Anastasios (q.v.). Real persecution began during the reign of Constantine V (q.v.), who rejected the veneration of relics (q.v.), and who argued that the Eucharist was the only true image of Christ. Persecution declined during Leo IV's (q.v.) reign, and it was condemned in 787 at the Second Council of Nicaea (q.v.), convened by Irene (q.v.) to restore icons. With this the first period of Iconoclasm (726-787) came to a close. Its revival in the ninth century under Leo V and Theophilos (qq.v.) constituted a second period (815-843). Theophilos's widow Theodora and her minister Theotikstos (qq.v.) condemned Iconoclasm for the last time in 843. Thus, from 726-843 the Iconoclast movement was a potent and disruptive force in Byzantium. Usurpers and rebels like Artabasdos (q.v.), Michael Lachanodrakon, and Thomas the Slav (q.v.) championed the cause of images against Iconoclast emperors who stripped the church of its Iconophile bishops (qq.v.), persecuting those, like Euthymios of Sardis (q.v.) who resisted. During Constantine V's reign, it seemed as if the state was at war against the institution of monasticism (q.v.), which supported icon production and veneration. The last Iconoclast emperor Theophilos singled out monks for punishment, including the two icon-painters Theodore and Theophanes Graptos (q.v.). The failure of Iconoclasm was partly due to the widespread popularity of icons, expressed in the intense devotion of ordinary citizens, many of whom venerated small icons in private, as did Theophilos's own wife Theodora (q.v.). But monks suffered the most, had more cause for celebration in 843, and were themselves most celebrated in the history and hagiography (qq.v.) about Iconoclasm.

Historical Dictionary of Byzantium . .

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  • Iconoclasm — • The name of the heresy that in the eighth and ninth centuries disturbed the peace of the Eastern Church, caused the last of the many breaches with Rome that prepared the way for the schism of Photius, and was echoed on a smaller scale in the… …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • iconoclasm — ICONOCLÁSM s.n. Mişcare socială, politică şi religioasă din sec. VIII IX, în Imperiul Bizantin, care, sub forma luptei împotriva cultului icoanelor, a fost îndreptată împotriva aristocraţiei laice şi ecleziastice. – Din fr. iconoclasme. Trimis de …   Dicționar Român

  • Iconoclasm — I*con o*clasm, n. [Cf. F. iconoclasme. See {Iconoclast}.] The doctrine or practice of the iconoclasts; image breaking. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • iconoclasm — index blasphemy Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

  • iconoclasm — (n.) 1797 in reference to breaking of idols; 1858 in reference to beliefs, institutions, etc.; see ICONOCLAST (Cf. iconoclast) + ISM (Cf. ism) …   Etymology dictionary

  • iconoclasm — [ī kän′ə klaz΄əm] n. [< ICONO + Gr klasma, a breaking < klaein: see ICONOCLAST] the actions or beliefs of an iconoclast …   English World dictionary

  • Iconoclasm — Reformation iconoclasm in the 16th century. Relief statues in St Stevenskerk in Nijmegen, the Netherlands, attacked in the Beeldenstorm …   Wikipedia

  • iconoclasm — /uy kon euh klaz euhm/, n. the action or spirit of iconoclasts. [1790 1800; ICONOCL(AST) + asm on model of such pairs as enthusiast: enthusiasm] * * * Destruction of religious images. In Christianity and Islam, iconoclasm was based on the Mosaic… …   Universalium

  • Iconoclasm — ♦ The destruciton of icons; iconoclasm was a policy of some Byzantine emperors between 725 and 842; eventually repudiated by the Christian churches of the medieval east and west. (Lynch, Joseph H. The Medieval Church: A Brief History, 362) …   Medieval glossary

  • iconoclasm —    This word (from the Greek eikōn, meaning image, and klastēs, meaning breaker ) refers to a movement that began in the eighth century in the Eastern Churches in opposition to the use of images in worship. The Second Council of Nicaea (787)… …   Glossary of theological terms

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