Sunday, 10 February 2019

KONSTANTINOS GEORGIADIS: Reexamining the origins of Byzantine Iconoclasm: Docetism in Hieria Council’s Florilegium and Definition (754AD)

Before Martin Luther's ‘Sola Scriptura’, hardly could be found any Christian denomination that would not consider itself as genuine, if not the exclusive, successor of the ‘one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church’. Nothing was to be considered in accordance with the Christian faith, unless it was based as much on the Scripture as on Church tradition. This is the reason why in the Council of Hieria (AD 754) Iconoclasts showed particular interest in repeating constantly and explicitly the Definitions, Creeds and Αnathemas of all their previous Oecumenical Councils. According to Hieria Council’sDefinition and Florilegium, iconoclastic dogma had to be proved on the basis of the Triadological and Christological dogma. Similarly, iconoclast policy of Isaurian emperors would have been justified by the predominant theology. Here a crucial question arises whether nonorthodox beliefs through a series of textual sources like those of Apocrypha could be interpolated into authentic patristictestimonia. In reality, a number of those texts, especially in Hieria Council’s Florilegium, were examined thoroughly in the fifth and sixth sessions of the 7th Oecumenical Council. Additionally, proclamations such that of ‘indescribable [Christ] even after the Incarnation’ are found in Hieria’s Definition. Through this evidence, a dominant docetism, which presupposes the annihilation of Christ’s ‘flesh’ after Resurrection, is eventually revealed. That’s why Fathers of Nicaea II call Iconoclasts ‘Manicheans’. Only Christ’s human nature could be describable compared to his indescribable divinity, unless humanity was considered as something unreal or absorbed by divinity, and consequently co-indescribable.

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