Iconoclastic Controversy (Chronology of European History)
Article abstract: The Iconoclastic Controversy, a major religious crisis, divides Byzantium and causes a split between the Christian centers of Constantinople and Rome.
Summary of Event
The Iconoclastic Controversy (726-787, and 815-843) constituted a profound religious and political crisis within Christendom. It divided the religious worlds of the Western Roman Catholic Church from Eastern Orthodoxy, and it shook the religious, political, and military foundations of Byzantium.
First, the controversy concerned the use and religious significance of icons. They became very popular in the sixth century c.e., when imperial images were replaced by those of Jesus. Icons were perceived as more than simply paintings. They were holy objects, capable of working miracles to heal the sick or to offer divine protection against foreign invasion. They represented the Christian belief in intercession, offering a way by which human fears and aspirations, suffering and pain, joy and faith, and common superstition could reach God. Icons stood at the intersection of the human and divine worlds. The difficulty, however, was that icons might appear as objects of idolatry, thereby violating one of the sacred Ten Commandments.
The problem of idolatry was compounded by the rise of Islam in the seventh and early eighth centuries. Islam adhered to a strict monotheism and rejected the concept of intercession and the use of...
(The entire section is 1442 words.)
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