Iconodulism

Iconodulism (also Iconoduly or Iconodulia) designates the religious veneration of icons. The term comes from Neoclassical Greek εἰκονόδουλος (eikonodoulos), meaning "one who serves images". It is also referred to as Iconophilism (also Iconophily or Iconophilia) designating a positive attitude towards the religious use of icons. In the history of Christianity, Iconodulism (or Iconophilism) was manifested as a moderate position, between two extremes: Iconoclasm (radical opposition to the use of icons) and Iconolatry (idolatric adoration of icons).[1]

History

Triumph orthodoxy
Late 14th-early 15th century icon illustrating the "Triumph of Orthodoxy" under the Byzantine empress Theodora over Iconoclasm in 843. (National Icon Collection 18, British Museum).

Veneration of icons was common practice in Early Christianity.[2] In contrary to the moderate veneration, various forms of adoration of icons (iconolatry) were also starting to appear, mainly in popular worship. Since adoration was reserved for God only, such attitude towards icons as objects was seen as a form of idolatry. In reaction to that, the idolatric misuse of icons was criticized and by the beginning of the 8th century some radical forms of criticism (iconoclasm) were also starting to emerge, advocating not only against adoration of icons, but also against any form of veneration and use of icons in religious life.[1]

The iconoclastic controversy emerged in the Byzantine Empire and lasted during the 8th and the 9th centuries. The most famous iconodules (proponents of the veneration of icons) during that time were saints John of Damascus and Theodore the Studite. The controversy was instigated by Byzantine Emperor Leo III in 726,[3] when he ordered the removal of the image of Christ above the Chalke Gate of the imperial palace in Constantinople.[4] A wider prohibition of icons followed in 730. St. John of Damascus argued successfully that to prohibit the use of icons was tantamount to denying the incarnation, the presence of the Word of God in the material world. Icons reminded the church of the physicality of God as manifested in Jesus Christ.

Veneration of icons was restored by the Second Council of Nicaea (Seventh Ecumenical Council) in 787. The Council decided that icons should not be destroyed, as was advocated and practiced by the iconoclasts, nor worshiped or adored, as was practiced by icoolatrists, but rather venerated and respected as symbolic representations of God, angels or saints.[5] Such position was approved by Pope Adrian I, but due to some bad translations of conciliar acts from Greek into Latin, a controversy arose in Frankish kingdom, resulting in the creation of Libri Carolini.[6] The last outburst of iconoclasm in the Byzantine Empire was overcome at the Council of Constantinople in 843, which reaffirmed the veneration of icons in an event celebrated as the Feast of Orthodoxy.[7]

See also

References

  1. ^ a b Ostrogorsky 1956.
  2. ^ Meyendorff 1989, p. 80, 334.
  3. ^ Ostrogorsky 1956, p. 143.
  4. ^ Lowden, John. (1997) Early Christian and Byzantine Art. London: Phaidon Press, p. 155. ISBN 0714831689
  5. ^ Ostrogorsky 1956, p. 158.
  6. ^ Ostrogorsky 1956, p. 163-165.
  7. ^ Ostrogorsky 1956, p. 189.

Sources

Catholic art

Catholic art is art related to the Catholic Church. This includes visual art (iconography), sculpture, decorative arts, applied arts, and architecture. In a broader sense, also Catholic music may be included. Expressions of art may or may not attempt to illustrate, supplement and portray in tangible form Catholic teaching. Catholic art has played a leading role in the history and development of Western art since at least the 4th century. The principal subject matter of Catholic art has been the life and times of Jesus Christ, along with people associated with him, including his disciples, the saints, and motives from the Catholic Bible.

The earliest surviving artworks are the painted frescoes on the walls of the catacombs and meeting houses of the persecuted Christians of the Roman Empire. The Church in Rome was influenced by the Roman art and the religious artists of the time. The stone sarcophagi of Roman Christians exhibit the earliest surviving carved statuary of Jesus, Mary and other biblical figures. The legalisation of Christianity with the Edict of Milan (313) transformed Catholic art, which adopted richer forms such as mosaics and illuminated manuscripts. The iconoclasm controversy briefly divided the Western Church and the Eastern Church, after which artistic development progressed in separate directions. Romanesque and Gothic art flowered in the Western Church as the style of painting and statuary moved in an increasingly naturalistic direction.

The Protestant Reformation in the 16th century produced new waves of image-destruction, to which the Catholic Church responded with the dramatic, elaborate emotive Baroque and Rococo styles to emphasise beauty as a transcendental. In the 19th century the leadership in Western art moved away from the Catholic Church which, after embracing historical revivalism was increasingly affected by the modernist movement, a movement that in its "rebellion" against nature, counters the church's emphasis on nature as a good creation of God.

Council of Frankfurt

The Council of Frankfurt, traditionally also the Council of Frankfort, in 794 was called by Charlemagne, as a meeting of the important churchmen of the Frankish realm. Bishops and priests from Francia, Aquitaine, Italy, and Provence gathered in Franconofurd (now known as Frankfurt am Main). The synod, held in June 794, allowed the discussion and resolution of many central religious and political questions.

The chief concerns of the council were the Frankish response to the Adoptionist movement in Spain and the Second Council of Nicaea (787), which had been held by the Byzantine Empress Irene of Athens and had dealt with iconoclasm and with which Charlemagne took issue because no Frankish churchmen had been invited. Ultimately, the council condemned the Adoptionist heresy and revoked the Nicene Council's decrees regarding holy icons, condemning both iconodulism (veneration of icons) and iconoclasm (destruction of icons), "allowing that images could be useful educational devices, but denying that they were worthy of veneration."

Epeolatry

Similar to idolatry and iconodulism, epeolatry literally means the worship of words. It derives from ἔπος (épos), which unlike λόγος (lógos) more specifically means word in Greek, and was apparently coined in 1860 by Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr.

History of the Byzantine Empire

This history of the Byzantine Empire covers the history of the Eastern Roman Empire from late antiquity until the Fall of Constantinople in 1453 AD. Several events from the 4th to 6th centuries mark the transitional period during which the Roman Empire's east and west divided. In 285, the emperor Diocletian (r. 284–305) partitioned the Roman Empire's administration into eastern and western halves. Between 324 and 330, Constantine I (r. 306–337) transferred the main capital from Rome to Byzantium, later known as Constantinople ("City of Constantine") and Nova Roma ("New Rome"). Under Theodosius I (r. 379–395), Christianity became the Empire's official state religion and others such as Roman polytheism were proscribed. And finally, under the reign of Heraclius (r. 610–641), the Empire's military and administration were restructured and adopted Greek for official use instead of Latin. Thus, although it continued the Roman state and maintained Roman state traditions, modern historians distinguish Byzantium from ancient Rome insofar as it was oriented towards Greek rather than Latin culture, and characterised by Orthodox Christianity rather than Roman polytheism.The borders of the Empire evolved significantly over its existence, as it went through several cycles of decline and recovery. During the reign of Justinian I (r. 527–565), the Empire reached its greatest extent after reconquering much of the historically Roman western Mediterranean coast, including north Africa, Italy, and Rome itself, which it held for two more centuries. During the reign of Maurice (r. 582–602), the Empire's eastern frontier was expanded and the north stabilised. However, his assassination caused a two-decade-long war with Sassanid Persia which exhausted the Empire's resources and contributed to major territorial losses during the Muslim conquests of the 7th century. In a matter of years the Empire lost its richest provinces, Egypt and Syria, to the Arabs.During the Macedonian dynasty (10th–11th centuries), the Empire again expanded and experienced a two-century long renaissance, which came to an end with the loss of much of Asia Minor to the Seljuk Turks after the Battle of Manzikert in 1071. This battle opened the way for the Turks to settle in Anatolia as a homeland.

The final centuries of the Empire exhibited a general trend of decline. It struggled to recover during the 12th century, but was delivered a mortal blow during the Fourth Crusade, when Constantinople was sacked and the Empire dissolved and divided into competing Byzantine Greek and Latin realms. Despite the eventual recovery of Constantinople and re-establishment of the Empire in 1261, Byzantium remained only one of several small rival states in the area for the final two centuries of its existence. Its remaining territories were progressively annexed by the Ottomans over the 15th century. The Fall of Constantinople to the Ottoman Empire in 1453 finally ended the Roman Empire.

Iconolatry

Iconolatry (Greek εἰκών eikon, "picture or image," and λατρεία latreia, "worship or adoration") designates the idolatric worship or adoration of icons. In the history of Christianity, iconolatry was manifested mainly in popular worship, as a superstitious belief in the divine nature of icons. It was practiced as a direct adoration of icons, and other objects representing various saints, angels and the God. One of extreme practices of iconolatry was scraping parts of icons into the Holy Communion.

Iconolatry is the opposite of iconoclasm, and also should not be confused with iconophilia, designating the moderate veneration of icons. Both extreme positions, iconolatry and iconoclasm, were rejected in 787 by the Second Council of Nicaea, being the seventh Ecumenical Council. The Council decided that holy icons should not be destroyed, as was advocated and practiced by the Byzantine iconoclasm, nor worshiped or adored, as was practiced by iconolatry, but rather venerated and respected as symbolic representations of God, angels or saints.

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