« PrethodnaNastavi »
Theodore took up his abode somewhere on the Asiatic shore of the Propontis,1 the image-worshippers deliberated how they should proceed.
Their first step seems to have been the composition of a letter2 which Nicephorus addressed to the Emperor, admonishing him of his religious duties, and holding up as a warning the fate of his impious predecessor. In this document the arguments in favour of images were once more rehearsed. But Michael was deaf to these appeals. His policy was to allow people to believe what they liked in private, but not to permit image-worship in public. When he received the letter of Nicephorus he is reputed to have expressed admiration of its ability and to have said to its bearers words to this effect: "Those who have gone before us will have to answer for their doctrines to God; but we intend to keep the Church in the same way in which we found her walking. Therefore we rule and confirm that no one shall venture to open his mouth either for or against images. But let the Synod of Tarasius be put out of mind and memory, and likewise that of Constantine the elder (the Fifth), and that which was lately held in Leo's reign; and let complete silence in regard to images be the order of the day. But as for him who is so zealous to speak and write on these matters, if he wishes to govern the Church on this basis, preserving silence concerning the existence and worship of images, bid him come here."
But this attempt to close the controversy was vain; the injunction of silence would not be obeyed, and its enforcement could only lead to a new persecution. The Emperor
1 Michael, Vit. Theod. c. 59, names the monastery, and seems to imply it was on the Gulf of Nicomedia. But in Vit. Nicol. Stud. 900, the place of Theodore's abode at this time is described as a παρακόλπιος τόπος τῆς Προύσης, which would naturally mean on the bay of Mudania.
2 Ignatius, Vit. Niceph. 209, where Michael's reply πρὸς τοὺς τὸ γράμμα διακομισαμένους is given. George Mon., without mentioning Nicephorus or his letter, cites Michael's reply (from Ignatius), referring to it as a public harangue, ἐπὶ λαοῦ δημηγορήσας (792). The texts of Simeon have ἐπὶ σελεντίου instead of ἐπὶ λαοῦ (Leo Gr. 211; Vers. Slav. 92, na selendii). There
presently deemed it expedient to essay a reconciliation, by means of a conference between leading representatives of both parties, and he requested the ex-Patriarch and his friends to meet together and consider this proposal.1 The imageworshippers decided to decline to meet heretics for the purpose of discussion, and Theodore, who was empowered to reply to the Emperor on behalf of the bishops and abbots, wrote that, while in all other matters they were entirely at their sovran's disposition, they could not comply with this command,2 and suggested that the only solution of the difficulty was to appeal to Rome, the head of all the Churches.
It was apparently after this refusal that, through the intervention of one of his ministers, Michael received in audience Theodore and his friends. Having permitted them to expound their views on image-worship, he replied briefly and decisively: "Your words are good and excellent. But, as I have never yet till this hour worshipped an image in my life, I have determined to leave the Church as I found it. To you, however, I allow the liberty of adhering with impunity to what you allege to be the orthodox faith; live where you choose, only it must be outside the city, and you need not apprehend that any danger will befall you from my government.
It is probable that these negotiations were carried on while the Patriarchal chair was vacant. Theodotos died early in the year, and while the image-worshippers endeavoured to procure the restoration of Nicephorus on their own terms, the Emperor hoped that the ex-Patriarch might be induced to yield. The audience convinced him that further attempts to come to an understanding would be useless, and he caused the
1 Theodore, Epp. ii. 86.
They based their refusal on an apostolic command, sc. of Paul in Titus iii. 9-10.
3 So Schneider, 89; Grossu, 147. C. Thomas places the audience almost immediately after Theodore's return from exile, and before the letter of Nicephorus (136). The difficulty as to the order arises from the fact that the three negotiations-(1) the letter of Nicephorus, (2) the proposal for a conference, (3) the audience-are recorded in three sources, each of which
mentions only the one transaction. We can, therefore, only apply considerations of probability.
Michael, ib. c. 60 (cp. Vita Nicol. Stud. 892). The Patriarch was not present (ib.; and Theodore, Epp. ii. 129, p. 1417; from which passage it appears that at this audience the Emperor again proposed a conference between representatives of the two doctrines, and offered to leave the decision to certain persons who professed to be image-worshippers—TOÛTOV κἀκεῖνον τῶν δῆθεν ὁμοφρόνων ἡμῖν).
vacant ecclesiastical throne to be filled by Antonius Kassymatas, bishop of Syllaion, who had been the coadjutor of Leo V. in his iconoclastic work. By this step those hopes which the Imperial leniency had raised in the minds of Theodore and his party were dissipated.
The negotiations, as they were conducted by Theodore, had raised a question which was probably of greater importance in the eyes of Michael than the place of pictures in religious worship. The Studite theory of the supremacy of) the Roman See in the ecclesiastical affairs of Christendom had been asserted without any disguise; the Emperor had been admonished that the controversy could only be settled by the co-operation of the Pope. This doctrine cut at the root of the constitutional theory, which was held both by the Emperors and by the large majority of their subjects, that the Imperial autocracy was supreme in spiritual as well as in secular affairs. The Emperor, who must have been well aware that Theodore had been in constant communication with Rome during the years of persecution, doubtless regarded his Roman proclivities with deep suspicion, and he was not minded to brook the interference of the Pope. His suspicions were strengthened and his indignation aroused by the arrival of a message from Pope Paschal I. Methodius (who was afterwards to ascend the Patriarchal throne) had resided at Rome during the reign of Leo V. and worked there as an energetic agent in the interests of image-worship. He now returned to Constantinople, bearing a document in which Paschal defined the orthodox doctrine.3 He sought an audience of the Emperor, presented the Papal writing, and called upon the sovran to restore the true faith and the true Patriarch. Michael would undoubtedly have resented the dictation of the Pope if it had been conveyed by a Papal
1 Theodotos was Patriarch for six years (Theoph. 362; Zonaras xiv. 24, 14, p. 350: Zonaras probably had a list of Patriarchs before him, see Hirsch, 384). As he became Patriarch at Easter 815, his death occurred in 821. Cp. Andreev, Konst. Patr. 200. His successor Antonius was already Patriarch at Whitsuntide (see above, p. 80 n. 5); we may conjecture that he was inaugurated at Easter. See further Vasil'ev, Pril. 147-148.
envoy; but it was intolerable that one of his own subjects should be the spokesman of Rome. Methodius was treated with rigour as a treasonable intriguer; he was scourged and then imprisoned in a tomb in the little island of St. Andrew, which lies off the north side of the promontory of Akritas (Tuzla-Burnu), in the Gulf of Nicomedia.1 His confinement lasted for more than eight years."
After the outbreak of the civil war Michael took the precaution of commanding Theodore and his faction to move into the city, fearing that they might support his opponent, who was said to favour images. The measure was unnecessary, for the iconolaters of the better class seem to have had no sympathy with the cause of Thomas, and the ecclesiastical question did not prove a serious factor in the struggle.3 On the termination of the war, the Emperor made a new effort to heal the division in the Church. He again proposed a conference between the leading exponents of the rival doctrines, but the proposal was again rejected, on the ground that the question could be settled only in one of two ways-either by an ecumenical council, which required the concurrence of the Pope and the four Patriarchs, or by a local council, which would only have legal authority if the legitimate Patriarch Nicephorus were first restored.4
1 Vit. Meth. 1 § 5. For the island see Pargoire, Hiéria, 28.
2 Vit. Meth. 1 § 6, says nine years. As he was imprisoned in spring 821, and released (ib.) by Michael just before his death (Oct. 829), eight and a half would be more accurate.
3 Michael, Vit. Theod. c. 61. Vit. Nicol. Stud. 900. Grossu (149) and others think that Theodore, while he was in the city, was probably reinstalled at Studion. I doubt this. During the latter part of the war (Grossu omits to notice) he was in the Prince's Island, as we learn from å letter written there, Epp. ii. 127, p. 1412. (Nicephorus, it would seem, was allowed to remain in his monastery on the Bosphorus.) From Epp. ii. 129, p. 1416, we learn that Theodore had no sympathy with the rebel: φονίσκος ἐπὰν κρατηθῇ δικαίως ἀποτίσει πρὸς τοῦ νόμου τὴν ἀντισηκοῦσαν ποινήν.
4 The source is Theodore's letter to
Leo, the Sakellarios (whom Michael had charged with the negotiation), rejecting the proposition on behalf of his party (Epp. ii. 129). The writer refers to the audience which the Emperor had accorded to him and his friends in 821 as πрò тpiŵv ¿Tŵv. This enables us to assign the date to the first months of 824. At the same time Theodore addressed a letter directly to the Emperors Michael and Theophilus (ii. 199), setting forth the case for pictures. At the end of the war Theodore retired (along with his disciple Nicolaus) to the monastery of St. Tryphon, close to the promontory of Akritas, in the Gulf of Nicomedia (Michael, Vit. Theod., ib.; Vit. Nicol. Stud. 900), where he lived till his death, Nov. 11, 826 (Vit. Nicol. 902; Naukratios, Encyclica, 1845; Michael, Vit. Theod. c. 64). He was buried in Prince's Island, but the remains were afterwards removed to
The Emperor was convinced that the obstinacy of the image-worshippers rested largely on their hopes that the Roman See would intervene, and that if he could induce the Pope to assume a cold attitude to their solicitations the opposition would soon expire. In order to influence the Pope he sought the assistance of the Western Emperor, Lewis, to whom he indited a long letter, which contains an interesting description of the abuses to which the veneration of images had led.1 'Lights were set in front of them and incense was burned, and they were held in the same honour as the life-giving Cross. They were prayed to, and their aid was besought. Some used even to cover them with cloths and make them the baptismal sponsors for their children. Some priests scraped the paint from pictures and mixed it in the bread and wine which they give to communicants; others placed the body of the Lord in the hands of images, from which the communicants received it. The Emperors Leo V. and his son caused a local synod to be held, and such practices were condemned, It was ordained that pictures which were hung low in churches should be removed, that those which were high should be left for the instruction of persons who are unable to read, but that no candles should be lit or incense burned before them. Some rejected the council and fled to Old Rome, where they calumniated the Church." The Emperors proceed to profess their belief in the Six Ecumenical Councils, and to assure King Lewis that they venerate the glorious and holy relics of the Saints. They ask him to speed the envoys to the Pope, to whom they are bearers of a letter and gifts for the Church of St. Peter.
The four envoys who were sent on this mission met with a favourable reception from the Emperor Lewis at Studion in 844 (Michael, ib. c. 68). During his last years he continued his epistolary activity in the cause of orthodoxy, and many people came to see and consult him (ib. c. 63).
1 Mich. Ep. ad Lud. 420. It is dated April 10, A.D. 824.
2 "Propterea statuerunt orthodoxi imperatores et doctissimi sacerdotes locale adunare concilium.' This statement, which of course refers to the synod of A.D. 815, seems to have led to
the false idea of some historians that Michael held a council in 821. He simply adhered to the acts of 815.
3 Theodore, a stratêgos of protospathar rank; Nicetas, bishop of Myra; Theodore, oekonomos of St. Sophia; Leo, an Imperial candidatus. The Patriarch Fortunatus of Grado (who had fled to Constantinople in 821) accompanied them (Ann. r. F., sub 824).