Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Reinhart Staats - "Macarius-Symeon in the Iconoclastic Struggle? Some observations"

The Macarian homilies and logoi had a high spiritual value in Byzantine 
church-history. Research in last century discovered in the Corpus Macarianum a 
number of parallels to the so called Messalian-heresy (4 th and 5th century). 
Later on the standard polemic against Messalians was that they were 
iconoclasts like Paulicians and Bogomiles. Is the Byzantine iconoclastic 
struggle also rooted in the Messalianism of the early church?

Sources fort his thesis are a letter of bishop Heraklidas of Nyssa (5th
century) and mainly the "Fifty spiritual homilies" and the Logoi of Makarios-
Symeon. Topics are: The importance of visions (cf. Ezekiel ch.1) and the 
vision of a light-crucifix in heaven; the opposition against idolatry 
(cf.Daniel ch.3); the bread in holy communion as the unique picture of Christ; 
the church in heaven and in the soul. Further: The macarian texts are less 
hellenistic and not at all platonic, but have a more syriac and judeo-
christian background. Finally: The emperor Leo III., who in the year 726 was 
the initiator of the iconoclastic struggles, was of syriac descent.

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