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Council of Hieria  of 754 AD 


Byzantine Roman Emperor Constantine V -

was against idol,  icons and religious statues. He was in fact an iconoclast that is he believed in the forced destroying of statues, icons and paintings, and was opposed to the quote "spiritual and liturgical use of iconography" believing they are heretical. Please note the word "heretical" as that is a Christian term from the bible not a political term.

Council of Hieria  of 754 AD - 

The iconoclast Council of Hieria was a Christian council of 754 which viewed itself as ecumenical, but was later rejected by the medieval Catholic Church (what would later fracture into the Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic communions). It was summoned by the Byzantine, Eastern Roman Emperor Constantine V in 754 in the palace of Hieria opposite Constantinople. The council supported the emperor's iconoclast position in the Byzantine iconoclasm controversy, condemning the spiritual and liturgical use of iconography as heretical.

Opponents of the council described it as the Mock Synod of Constantinople or the Headless Council because no patriarchs or representatives of the five great patriarchates were present: the see of Constantinople was vacant; Antioch, Jerusalem and Alexandria were under Islamic dominion; while Rome was not asked to participate. Its rulings were anathematized at the Lateran Council of 769 before being overturned almost entirely by the Second Council of Nicaea in 787, which upheld the orthodoxy of and endorsed the veneration of holy images.


(research = were all councils either anti or pro images? Were any more like "neutral" ? )


Constantine V's support of iconoclasm[edit]


Soldiers deface or demolish an iconudule church on the orders of Constantine V (left), Manasses Chronicle - 14th century manuscript

Further information: Byzantine iconoclasm

Like his father Leo III, Constantine supported iconoclasm, which was a theological movement that rejected the veneration of religious images and sought to destroy those in existence. Iconoclasm was later definitively classed as heretical. Constantine's avowed enemies in what was a bitter and long-lived religious dispute were the iconodules, who defended the veneration of images. Iconodule writers applied to Constantine the derogatory epithet Kopronymos ("dung-named", from kopros, meaning "faeces" or "animal dung", and onoma, "name"). Using this obscene name, they spread the rumour that as an infant he had defiled his own baptism by defaecating in the font, or on the imperial purple cloth with which he was swaddled.[15]

Constantine questioned the legitimacy of any representation of God or Christ. The church father John Damascene made use of the term 'uncircumscribable' in relation to the depiction of God. Constantine, relying on the linguistic connection between 'uncircumscribed' and 'incapable of being depicted', argued that the uncircumscibable cannot be legitimately depicted in an image. As Christian theology holds that Christ is God, He also cannot be represented in an image.[16] The emperor was personally active in the theological debate, writing no less than thirteen treatises, two of which survive in fragmentary form.[17] He also presented his religious views at meetings organised throughout the empire, sending his own representatives to argue his case.[18] In February 754 Constantine convened a synod at Hieria, which was attended entirely by iconoclast bishops. The council agreed with Constantine's religious policy on images, declaring them anathema, and it secured the election of a new iconoclast patriarch. However, it refused to endorse all of Constantine's policies, which were influenced by the more extremist iconoclasts and were critical of the veneration of Mary, mother of Jesus and the saints. The council confirmed the status of Mary as Theotokos, or 'Mother of God', upheld the use of the terms "saint" and "holy" as legitimate, and condemned the desecration, burning, or looting of churches in the quest to suppress icon veneration.[19][20][21]

The synod was followed by a campaign to remove images from the walls of churches and to purge the court and bureaucracy of iconodules. Since monasteries tended to be strongholds of iconophile sentiment and contributed little or nothing towards the secular needs of the state, Constantine specifically targeted the communities of monks. He also expropriated monastic property for the benefit of the state or the army. These acts of repression against the monks (culminating in 766) were largely led by the Emperor's general Michael Lachanodrakon, who threatened resistant monks with blinding and exile. In the hippodrome he organised the pairing of numerous monks and nuns in forced marriage, publicly ridiculing their vows of chastity.[22] An iconodule abbot, Stephen Neos, was beaten to death by a mob at the behest of the authorities. As a result of persecution, many monks fled to southern Italy and Sicily.[23] The implacable resistance of iconodule monks and their supporters led to their propaganda reaching those close to the emperor. On becoming aware of an iconodule influenced conspiracy directed at himself, Constantine reacted uncompromisingly; in 765 eighteen high dignitaries were paraded in the hippodrome charged with treason, they were variously executed, blinded or exiled. The patriarch Constantine was implicated and deposed from office, the following year he was tortured and finally beheaded.[24]

By the end of Constantine's reign, iconoclasm had gone as far as to brand relics and prayers to the saints as heretical, or at least highly questionable. However, the extent of coherent official campaigns to forcibly destroy or cover up religious images or the existence of widespread government-sanctioned destruction of relics has been questioned by more recent scholarship. There is no evidence, for example, that Constantine formally banned the cult of saints. Pre-iconoclastic religious images did survive, and various existing accounts record that icons were preserved by being hidden. In general, the culture of pictorial religious representation appears to have survived the iconoclast period largely intact. The extent and severity of iconoclastic destruction of images and relics was exaggerated in later iconodule writings.[25][26]

Iconodules considered Constantine's death a divine punishment. In the 9th century, following the ultimate triumph of the iconodules, Constantine's remains were removed from the imperial sepulchre in the Church of the Holy Apostles.[27]



Question -  How many "apostolic church" members accepted the Council of Hieria  of 754 AD? And thus were supposedly apostates because of that?

Three hundred and thirty-three bishops attended the 754 council of Hieria. It endorsed Constantine V's iconoclast position, with the bishops declaring:



"the unlawful art of painting living creatures blasphemed the fundamental doctrine of our salvation--namely, the Incarnation of Christ, and contradicted the six holy synods. . . . 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 vain and introduced by the devil), and does not rather represent their virtues as living images in himself, etc. . . . let him be anathema."'


This council declared itself the 'Seventh Ecumenical Council'.'[1]

After the later triumph of the Iconodules, th Council of Hieria  became known as a robber council, i.e. as uncanonical..


Edward J. Martin writes,[3] "On the ecumenical character of the Council there are graver doubts. Its president was Theodosius, archbishop of Ephesus, son of the Emperor Apsimar. He was supported by Sisinnius, bishop of Perga, also known as Pastillas, and by Basil of Antioch in Pisidia, styled Tricaccabus. Not a single Patriarch was present. The see of Constantinople was vacant. Whether the Pope and the Patriarchs of Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem were invited or not is unknown. They were not present either in person or by deputy. The Council of Nicaea [II] considered this was a serious flaw in the legitimacy of the Council. 'It had not the co-operation of the Roman Pope of the period nor of his clergy, either by representative or by encyclical letter, as the law of Councils requires.'[4] The Life of Stephen borrows this objection from the Acts and embroiders it to suit the spirit of the age of Theodore. It had not the approval of the Pope of Rome, although the modern day Catholic theologians assert that there is a canon that no ecclesiastical measures may be passed without the Pope.'[5] The absence of the other Patriarchs is then noticed."[4]


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