Sunday, March 4, 2012

This is the Faith of the Fathers…

In the history of the “One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church: which existed until the Great Schism in 1054 AD, there were 7 occasions when the hierarchs of the Church deemed it necessary to convene what is now referred to as an “ECUMENICAL COUNCIL.” By and large, these gatherings were called to order to deal with important theological matter that posed threats to its unity and well-being.

The seventh and final Ecumenical Council was convened in the year 787 AD during the reign of the Empress Irene. Patriarch Tarasius occupied the Ecumenical Throne inConstantinopleat the time. Some 350 bishops gathered in the city ofNiceato deal with an extremely volatile question: Was it proper to pray before and to venerate icons?

For centuries, sacred images of Christ, His Blessed Mother and the Saints adorned churches everywhere. In 726 AD. However, a faction in the Church called “iconoclasts,” felt that paying homage to icons was a form of idolatry, and in direct conflict with the second Commandment:” Thou shall not make unto thyself any graven image.” With the blessing of Emperor Leo III, icons were often forcibly removed from their place of prominence in churches and destroyed. When the 7th Ecumenical Council met, it was St. John of Damascus who made a passionate plea in defense of the use of icons: “Concerning the charge of idolatry, icons are not idols, but symbols. Therefore, when a Christian venerates an icon, he is not worshipping the symbol, but merely venerating it. Such veneration is not directed towards wood, paint or stone, but towards the person depicted. Therefore, relative honor is shown to material matter.” I do not worship matter, but the Creator of matter.” The words of St. John of Damascus touched the hearts of the other Church Fathers. The Council decreed that the veneration of icons was not idolatry.

No comments:

Post a Comment