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date: 20 September 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Nicaea II in 787 was ‘the council of the Icon’. Iconomachia, the battle against images, stemmed from the conviction that the veneration of images is doctrinally intolerable. Iconophobia became a matter of imperial policy. There were four great Iconophile theologians: Germanus of Constantinople argued that whether or not one can venerate images is not a matter to be tackled in a purely theoretical way: historically, God has become Incarnate in Christ, and the Church venerates images of him. John of Damascus wrote in defence of images and icons on the grounds of the generally imagistic character of biblical revelation, and distinguished between veneration and worship: through veneration of icons, honour is done to God. The third great iconophile, Theodore of Studios defended the teaching of Nicaea II, observing that worship passes from the image to its prototype. Nicephorus of Constantinople showed the extent to which iconology is inseparable from Christology.

Keywords: icons, iconophiles, iconophobia, iconomachia, veneration, worship, Nicaea II

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