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allow that Nicephorus had wisely consented lest the Emperor should do something worse.1 And after the Emperor's death he showed that his consent had been unwillingly given.
If the Emperor Nicephorus asserted his supreme authority in the Church, it could not be said that he was not formally orthodox, as he accepted and maintained the settlement of the Council of Nicaea and the victory of Picture-worship. But though his enemies did not accuse him of iconoclastic tendencies, he was not an enthusiastic image-worshipper. His policy was to permit freedom of opinion, and the orthodox considered such toleration equivalent to heresy. They were indignant when he sheltered by his patronage a monk named Nicolas who preached against images and had a following of disciples. The favour which he showed to the Paulicians gave his enemies a pretext for hinting that he was secretly inclined to that flagrant heresy, and the fact that he was born in Pisidia where Paulicianism flourished lent a colour to the charge. These heretics had been his useful supporters in the rebellion of Bardanes, and the superstitious believed that he had been victorious on that occasion by resorting to charms and sorceries which they were accustomed to employ.3 Others said that the Emperor had no religion at all. The truth may be that he was little interested in religious matters, except in relation to the State. He was, at all events, too crafty to commit himself openly to any heresy. But it is interesting to observe that in the policy of toleration Nicephorus was not unsupported, though his supporters may have been few. There existed in the capital a party of enlightened persons who held that it
1 Michael, Vit. Theod. Stud. 268 ᾠκονόμησεν μὴ βουλόμενος ἀλλὰ βιασθεὶς ὑπὸ τοῦ ἄνακτος. Ignatius in his Life of Nicephorus completely omits this passage in his career. Theophanes touches on it lightly in his Chronography, and we know otherwise that he did not blame the policy of the Patriarch and therefore incurred the censure of Theodore, who describes him as a Moechian, i.e. one of the adulterous party. See Theodore, Epp. ii. 31, p. 1204, where you ở Tou σχήματος ἀνάδοχος refers to Theophanes, who had been Theodore's sponsor when he became a monk, as Pargoire has shown (Saint Théophane, 56 sqq.). See also ib. ii. 218, p. 1660.
2 Theoph. 488. In writing to the monk Simeon (i. 21) Theodore Studites himself speaks thus of Nicephorus: οἱ δεσπόται ἡμῶν οἱ ἀγαθοὶ μεσῖται καὶ κριταὶ τοῦ δικαίου. φιληταὶ τῶν παρρησιαζομένων ἐν ἀληθείᾳ· ὡς αὐτὸ τὸ τίμιον αὐτῶν στόμα πολλάκις διαγορεύει.
3 Theoph. ib. He is said to have slaughtered a bull in a particular way, and to have ground garments of Bardanes in a mill.
4 Anon. Vit. Theod. Stud. 153: he was "nominally a Christian, really an enemy of Christianity." Ignatius, Vit. Nicephori Patr. 153, admits thathe was orthodox.
was wrong to sentence heretics to death,' and they were strong enough in the next reign to hinder a general persecution of the Paulicians.
But for the most part the policy of Nicephorus was reversed under Michael, who proved himself not the master but the obedient son of the Church. The Patriarch knew the character of Michael, and had reason to believe that he would be submissive in all questions of faith and morals. But he was determined to assure himself that his expectations would be fulfilled, and he resorted to an expedient which has a considerable constitutional interest.
The coronations of the Emperors Marcian and Leo I. by the Patriarch, with the accompanying ecclesiastical ceremony, may be said to have definitely introduced the new constitutional principle that the profession of Christianity was a necessary qualification for holding the Imperial office.2 It also implied that the new Emperor had not only been elected by the Senate \ and the people, but was accepted by the Church. But what if the Patriarch declined to crown the Emperor-elect? Here, clearly, there was an opportunity for a Patriarch to do what it might be difficult for him to do when once the coronation was accomplished. The Emperor was the head of the ecclesiastical organization, and the influence which the Patriarch exerted depended upon the relative strengths of his own and the monarch's characters. But the Patriarch had it in his power to place limitations on the policy of a future Emperor by exacting from him certain definite and solemn promises before the ceremony of coronation was performed.3 It was not often that in the annals of the later Empire the Patriarch had the strength of will or a sufficient reason to impose such capitulations. The earliest known instance is the case of Anastasius I., who, before the Patriarch crowned him, was required R. Empire, 27-29. In later times a regular coronation oath (we do not know at what date it was introduced) rendered special capitulations less necessary. In the tenth century the Patriarch Polyeuktos was able to extort a concession from John Tzimisces as a condition of coronation. It must always be remembered that coronation by the Patriarch, though looked on as a matter of course, was not a constitutional sine qua non (ib. 11 sq.).
1 Theophanes calls them кaкоTPÓTWV συμβούλων (495). They argued on the ground of the possibility of repentance, ἐδογμάτιζον δὲ ἀμαθῶς μὴ ἐξεῖναι ἱερεῦσιν ἀποφαίνεσθαι κατὰ ἀσεβῶν θάνατον, κατὰ πάντα (adds the writer) ταῖς θείαις γραφαῖς ἐναντιούμενοι περὶ τούτων.
2 The case of Marcian is not quite certain.
Cp. Bury, Constitution of Later
to swear to a written undertaking that he would introduce no novelty into the Church.
Nicephorus obtained from Michael an autograph assurance -and the sign of the cross was doubtless affixed to the signature-in which he pledged himself to preserve the orthodox faith, not to stain his hands with the blood of Christians, and not to scourge ecclesiastics, whether priests or monks.
The Patriarch now showed that, if there had been no persecutions during his tenure of office, he at least would not have been lacking in zeal. At his instance the penalty of capital punishment was enacted against the Paulicians and the Athingani,1 who were regarded as no better than Manichaeans and altogether outside the pale of Christianity. The persecution began; not a few were decapitated; but influential men, to whose advice the Emperor could not close his ears, intervened, and the bloody work was stayed. The monk, to whom we owe most of our knowledge of the events of these years, deeply laments the successful interference of these evil counsellors.2 But the penalty of death was only commuted; the Athingani were condemned to confiscation and banishment. The Emperor had more excuse for proceeding against the iconoclasts, who were still numerous in the army and the Imperial city. They were by no means contented at the rule of the orthodox Rangabé. Their discontent burst out after Michael's fruitless Bulgarian expedition in June, A.D. 812. We shall have to return to the dealings of Michael with the Bulgarians; here we have only to observe how this June expedition led to a conspiracy. When the iconoclasts saw Thrace and Macedonia at the mercy of the heathen of the north, they thought they had good grounds for grumbling at the iconodulic sovran. When the admirers of the great Leo and the great Constantine, who had ruled in the days of their fathers and grandfathers, saw the enemy harrying the land at will and possessing the cities of the Empire, they might bitterly
1 The Athingani, if not simply a sect of the Paulicians, were closely related to them. The name is supposed to be derived from ȧ-0yɣável, referring to the doctrine that the touch of many things defiled (cp. St. Paul, Coloss. ii. 21 undè Olyns). They seem to have chiefly flourished in Phrygia. It has been supposed by some that
Zigeuner (gipsy) is derived from the Athingani; since aliyyavos means gipsy in Modern Greek.
3 It may be noted that Michael made no changes, significant of orthodoxy, in the types of the coinage; cp. Wroth, I. xli.
remember how heavy the arm of Constantine had been on the Bulgarians and how well he had defended the frontier of Thrace; they might plausibly ascribe the difference in military success to the difference in religious doctrine. It was a good opportunity for the bold to conspire; the difficulty was to discover a successor to Michael, who would support iconoclasm and who had some show of legitimate claim to the throne. The choice of the conspirators fell on the blind sons of Constantine V., who still survived in Panormos, or as it was also, and is still, called Antigoni, one of the Prince's Islands. These princes had been prominent in the reign of Constantine VI. and Irene, as repeatedly conspiring against their nephew and sister-in-law. The movement was easily suppressed, the revolutionaries escaped with a few stripes, and the blind princes were removed to the more distant island of Aphusia.1 But though the iconoclasts might be disaffected, they do not seem to have provoked persecution by openly showing flagrant disrespect to holy pictures 2 in the reigns of Nicephorus and Michael. Michael, however, would not suffer the iconoclastic propaganda which his father-in-law had allowed. He edified the people of Constantinople by forcing the iconoclastic lecturer Nicolas to make a public recantation of his error.
The Emperor and the Patriarch lost no time in annulling the decisions of those assemblies which the Studite monks
stigmatised as "synods of adulterers." The notorious Joseph, who had celebrated the "adulterous" marriage, was again suspended; the Studites were recalled from exile; and the schism was healed. It might now be alleged that Nicephorus had not been in sympathy with the late Emperor's policy, and had only co-operated with him from considerations of "economy." 3 But the dissensions of the Studite monks, first
1 Theoph. 496. Aphusia, still so called, is one of the Proconnesian islands, apparently not the same as Ophiusa, for Diogenes of Cyzicus (Müller, F.H. G. iv. 392) distinguishes Φυσία καὶ ̓Οφιόεσσα. The other chief islands of the group are Proconnesus, Aulonia, and Kutalis; the four are described in Gedeon, IIρoιкóvνησos, 1895. Cp. Hasluck, J.H.S. xxix. 17.
2 The fact that Theophanes only records one case in Michael's reign (ib). is significant. A vagabond (ẻμπερí
aкTOS) hermit scraped and insulted a picture of the Mother of God, and was punished by the excision of his tongue.
3 It is not known whether the Emperor or the Patriarch was the prime mover. It is interesting to note that the Emperor Nicephorus had given the brothers of the Empress Theodote quarters in the Palace, thus emphasizing his approbation of her marriage, and that Michael I. expelled them (Scr. Incert. 336).
with Tarasius and then with Nicephorus, were more than passing episodes. They were symptomatic of an opposition or discord between the hierarchy of the Church and a portion of the monastic world. The heads of the Church were more liberal and more practical in their views; they realized the importance of the State, on which the Church depended; and they deemed it bad policy, unless a fundamental principle were at stake, to oppose the supreme authority of the Emperor. The monks were no politicians; they regarded the world from a purely ecclesiastical point of view; they looked upon the Church as infinitely superior to the State; and they were prepared to take extreme measures for the sake of maintaining a canon. The "third party" and the monks were united, after the death of Michael I., in a common struggle against iconoclasm, but as soon as the enemy was routed, the disagreement between these two powers in the Church broke out, as we shall see, anew.