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in his stead, and the decrees of the Seventh Ecumenical Council were confirmed. The list of heretics who had been anathematized at that Council was augmented by the names of the prominent iconoclastic leaders who had since troubled the Church, but the name of the Emperor Theophilus was omitted. We can easily divine that to spare his memory was the most delicate and difficult part of the whole business. Methodius himself was in temper a man of the same cast as the Patriarchs Tarasius and Nicephorus; he understood the necessities of compromise, he appreciated the value of economy," and he was ready to fall in with the wishes of Theodora. We may suspect that it was largely through his management that the members of the Council agreed, apparently without dissent, to exclude the late Emperor from the black list; and it is evident that their promises to acquiesce in this course must have been secured before the Council met. According to a story which has little claim to credit, Theodora addressed the assembly and pleaded for her husband on the ground that he had repented of his errors on his death-bed, and that she herself had held an icon to his lips before he breathed his last.1 But it is not improbable that the suggestion of a death-bed repentance was circulated unofficially for the purpose of influencing the monks who execrated the memory of the
himself is described. See also Acta Davidis, 248 (where the instrument is a knife used for paring nails). In the contemporary De ex. S. Niceph. of Theophanes, another motive is alleged : the revolution threw John into such despondency that he almost laid violent hands on himself. It is impossible to extract the truth from these statements; but Schlosser and Finlay may be right in supposing that John was really wounded by soldiers, and that his enemies invented the fiction of self-inflicted wounds. In any case, so far as I can read through the tradition, there is no good ground for Uspenski's conclusion (op. cit. 39) that "the process against John was prior to the Council." This view (based on Cont. Th.), also held by Hergenröther (i. 294) and Finlay (ii. 163), is opposed to the other older sources (besides those cited above): Vita Meth. (1253) and Vita Ignatii (221); cp. Hirsch, 211.
1 Cont. Th. 152-153. One way of mitigating the guilt of Theophilus
was to shift the responsibility to the evil counsels of the Patriarch John; see e.g. Nicetas, Vit. Ign. 222 and 216. According to the Acta Davidis Theodora had a private interview with Methodius, Simeon the Stylite saint of Lesbos, and his brother George, and intimated that some money (evλoyia, a douceur) had been left to them by the Emperor, if they would receive him as orthodox. Simeon cried, "To perdition with him and his money," but finally yielded (244-246). This work characteristically represents Simeon as playing a prominent rôle in the whole business, as disputing with John in the presence of Theodora and Michael, and as influential in the election of Methodius. It is also stated that he was appointed Synkellos of the Patriarch (νεύματι τῆς Αὐγούστης, 250). On the other hand the biographer of Michael, synkellos of Jerusalem, claims that he was made Synkellos (Vit. Mich. Sync. 250).
last imperial iconoclast. It seems significant that the monks of Studion took no prominent part in the orthodox reform, though they afterwards sought to gain credit for having indirectly promoted it by instigating Manuel the Magister.1 We shall hardly do them wrong if we venture to read between the lines, and assume that, while they refrained from open opposition, they disapproved of the methods by which the welcome change was manoeuvred.
But the flagrant fact that the guilty iconoclast, who had destroyed icons and persecuted their votaries, was excepted from condemnation by the synod which abolished his heresy, stimulated the mythopoeic fancy of monks, who invented divers vain tales to account for this inexplicable leniency.2 The story of Theodora's personal assurances to the synod belongs to this class of invention. It was also related that she dreamed that her husband was led in chains before a great man who sat on a throne in front of an icon of Christ, and that this judge, when she fell weeping and praying at his feet, ordered Theophilus to be unbound by the angels who guarded him, for the sake of her faith. According to another myth, the divine pardon of the culprit was confirmed by a miracle. Methodius wrote down the names of all the Imperial heretics, including Theophilus, in a book which he deposited on an altar. Waking up from a dream in which an angel announced to him that pardon had been granted, he took the book from the holy table, and discovered that where the name of Theophilus had stood, there was a blank space.*
Of one thing we may be certain: the Emperor did not repent. The suggestion of a death-bed repentance was a falsification of fact, probably circulated deliberately in order to save his memory, and readily believed because it was edifying. It helped to smooth the way in a difficult situation, by justifying in popular opinion the course of expediency or "economy," which the Church adopted at the dictation of Theodora.
After the Council had completed its work, the triumph of
1 See above, p. 145, n. 4.
2 Cp. Uspenski, op. cit. 47 sqq.
3 Narr. de Theophili absol. 32 sq. Ibid.
5 A death-bed repentance is one of
those suspicious phenomena which, even when there is no strong interest for alleging it, cannot be accepted without exceptionally good evidence at first hand.
orthodoxy was celebrated by a solemn festival service in St. Sophia, on the first Sunday in Lent (March 11, A.D. 843). The monks from all the surrounding monasteries, and perhaps even hermits from the cells of Athos, flocked into the city,1 and we may be sure that sacred icons were hastily hung in the places from which others had been torn in all the churches of the capital. A nocturnal thanksgiving was held in the church of the Virgin in Blachernae, and on Sunday morning the Empress, with the child Emperor, the Patriarch and clergy, and all the ministers and senators, bearing crosses and icons and candles in their hands, devoutly proceeded to St. Sophia.3
1 Gen. 82 mentions Olympus, Ida, Athos, and even τὸ κατὰ Κυμινᾶν σvμrλnpwua, monks from Mt. Kyminas in Mysia. This passage is important as a chronological indication for the beginnings of the religious settlements on Mount Athos, which are described in K. Lake's The Early Days of Monasticism on Mount Athos, 1909. He seems to have overlooked this passage. As he points out, there were three stages in the development (1) the hermit period; (2) the loose organizations of the hermits in lauras; (3) the strict organization in monasteries. In A.D. 843 we are in the first period, and the first hermit of whom we know is Peter, whose Life by a younger contemporary, Nicolaus, has been printed by Lake. Peter had been a soldier in the Scholae, and was carried captive to Samarra (therefore after A.D. 836, see below, p. 238) by the Saracens, possibly in Mutasim's expedition of A.D. 838; having escaped, he went to Rome to be tonsured, and then to Athos, where he lived fifty years as a hermit. The first laura of which we know seems to have been founded at the very end of the reign of Michael III. (see Lake, p. 44), by Euthymius of Thessalonica, whose Life has been edited from an Athos MS. by L. Petit (Vie et office de Saint-Euthyme le Jeune, 1904). The earliest monastery in the vicinity was the Kolobu, founded by John Kolobos in the reign of Basil I.; it was not on Mount Athos, but to the north, probably near Erissos (Lake, 60 sqq.), and there were no monasteries on the mountain itself till the coming of Athanasius, the friend of the Emperor Nicephorus II.-There was a Mount Kyminas close to Akhyraos
(George Acrop.i. 27-28. ed. Heisenberg) which corresponds to Balikesri in Mysia, according to Ramsay, Asia Minor, 154, and Tomaschek, Žur historischen Topographie von Kleinasien im Mittelalter, 96. But the evidence of the Vita Michaelis Maleini (ed. Petit, 1903) and the Vita Mariae iun. (cited by Petit, p. 61) seem to make it probable that Mount Kyminas of the monks was in eastern Bithynia near Prusias ad Hypion (Uskub; cp. Anderson, Map), and Petit identifies it with the Dikmen Dagh.
2 New icons soon adorned the halls of the Palace. The icon of Christ above the throne in the Chrysotriklinos was restored. Facing this, above the entrance, the Virgin was represented, and on either side of her Michael III. and Methodius; around apostles, martyrs, etc. See Anthol. Pal. i. 106 (ep. 107), 11. 14, 15 :
ὅθεν καλοῦμεν χριστοτρίκλινον νέον τὸν πρὶν λαχόντα κλήσεως χρυσωνύμου. πрbedрos, 1. 10, is the Patriarch as Ebersolt has seen (Le Grand Palais, 82). Coins of Michael and Theodora were issued, with the head of Christ on the reverse. This had been introduced by Justinian II., and did not reappear till now. The type is evidently copied from coins of Justinian. Wroth, xliv. 3 Narr. de Theoph. absol. 38. An official description of the ceremony, evidently drawn up in the course of Michael's reign (with later additions at the end), is preserved in Constantine, Cer. i. 28. The Patriarch and the clergy kept vigil in the church at Blachernae, and proceeded in the morning to St. Sophia, dià Toû dnμoriov ἐμβόλου (from the church of the
It was enacted that henceforward the restoration of icons should be commemorated on the same day, and the first Sunday of Lent is still the feast of Orthodoxy in the Greek Church.
All our evidence for this ecclesiastical revolution comes from the records of those who rejoiced in it; we are not informed of the tactics of the iconoclastic party, nor is it hinted that they made any serious effort to fight for a doomed cause. We can hardly believe that the Patriarch John was quiescent during the year preceding the Council, and silently awaited the event. But the only tradition of any countermovement is the anecdote of a scandalous attempt to discredit Methodius after his elevation to the Patriarchate. The iconoclasts, it was said, bribed a young woman to allege publicly that the Patriarch had seduced her. An official inquiry was held, and Methodius proved his innocence, to the satisfaction of a curious and crowded assembly, by a cynical ocular demonstration that he was physically incapable of the offence with which he was charged. He explained that many years ago, during his sojourn at Rome, he had been tormented by the stings of carnal desire, and that in answer to his prayer St. Peter's miraculous touch had withered his body and freed him for ever from the assaults of passion. The woman was compelled to confess that she had been suborned, and the heretics who had invented the lie received the mild punishment of being compelled every year, at the feast of orthodoxy, to join the procession from Blachernae to St. Sophia with torches in their hands, and hear with their own ears anathema pronounced upon them.1 There was some
mother of Metrophanes, afterwards bishop of Smyrna, who was prominent in the struggle between Photius and Ignatius. There must have been some link of connexion between her and Methodius. A second motif probably was the impotence of the Patriarch. The story had the merit of insulting the repentant iconoclastic clergy, who, as a condition of retaining their posts, were obliged to take part in the anniversary procession. We cannot put much more faith in the anecdote that the ex-Patriarch John, who was compelled to retire to a monastery at Kleidion on the Bos
kernel of truth in this edifying fiction, but it is impossible to disentangle it.
It would seem that the great majority of the iconoclastic bishops and clergy professed repentance of their error and were allowed to retain their ecclesiastical dignities. Here Methodius, who was a man of moderation and compromise, followed the precedent set by Tarasius at the time of the first restoration of image-worship.1 But the iconoclastic heresy was by no means immediately extinguished, though it never again caused more than administrative trouble. Some of those who repented lapsed into error, and new names were added, twenty-five years later,2 to the list of the heretics who were held up to public ignominy on the Sunday of Orthodoxy, and stigmatized as Jews or pagans.3
The final installation of icons among the sanctities of the Christian faith, the authoritative addition of icon-worship to the superstitions of the Church, was a triumph for the religious spirit of the Greeks over the doctrine of Eastern heretics whose Christianity had a more Semitic flavour. The struggle had lasted for about a hundred and twenty years, and in its latest stage had been virtually confined to Constantinople. Here the populace seems to have oscillated between the two extreme views, and many of the educated inhabitants probably belonged to that moderate party which approved of images in Churches, but was opposed to their worship. Of the influence of the iconoclastic movement on Byzantine art something will be said in another chapter, but it must be noticed here that in one point it won an abiding victory. In the doctrine laid down by the Council no distinction was drawn between sculptured and painted representations; all icons were legitimized. But whereas, before the controversy began, religious art had expressed itself in both forms, after the Council of phorus (Simeon, Cont. Georg. 811), ordered a servant to poke out the eyes of an icon in the church of that cloister, and for this offence received 200 stripes by the command of the Empress (Gen. 82). Cont. Th. 151 says that he was banished to his suburban house called
τὰ Ψιχά (there was another place of this name near the Forum of Constantine, Cont. Th. 420). Probably Psicha was at Kleidion, which is the modern Defterdan Burnu, a little north of
Ortakeui, on the European side of the
1 For the policy of Methodius and the disapproval which it aroused, see below, p. 182.
2 Condemned by the Council of A.D. 869 (Mansi, xvi. 389).
3 ἑαυτοὺς τῇ τῶν Ιουδαίων καὶ Ἑλλήνων μερίδι καθυποβαλλομένοις, Uspenski, op. cit. 98. "EXλn is here used for pagan.
Cp. Bréhier, 40.