Catholic Culture Dedication
Catholic Culture Dedication

2.8 Picture This: Iconoclasm and Second Nicaea

By Mike Aquilina ( bio - articles - email ) | Sep 28, 2022 | In Way of the Fathers (Podcast)

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The last of the classic councils was, like so many of the others, a comic production worthy of the Marx Brothers—and simultaneously a tragedy worthy of Tolstoy. In the eighth-century run-up to the Second Council of Nicaea we encounter an emperor known as “Poopyhead,” who summons a synod known as the “Headless Council”—all for the sake of forbidding the use of devotional images. That’s where it started anyway. Eventually the emperor got around to condemning any honor paid to saints, and then he desecrated their relics, removing their bodies from tombs and casting them into the sea. He tried to ban celibacy, and he closed monasteries and turned them into hotels. Second Nicaea, in 787, was called to repair all that damage.


Acts of the Second Council of Nicaea

Canons of the Second Council of Nicaea

St. John of Damascus, Apologia Against Those Who Decry Holy Images

Paul Senz, Church Councils: 100 Questions and Answers (foreword by Mike Aquilina)

Mike Aquilina’s website

Mike Aquilina’s books

Theme music: Gaudeamus (Introit for the Feast of All Saints), sung by Jeff Ostrowski. Courtesy of Corpus Christi Watershed

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Mike Aquilina is a popular author working in the area of Church history, especially patristics. He is executive vice-president and trustee of the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology, a contributing editor of Angelus (magazine) and general editor of the Reclaiming Catholic History Series from Ave Maria Press. See full bio.

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