Iconoclasm

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Peter

Puritan Board Junior
The 1st great iconoclastic backlash to image worship began with Emperor Leo III of Byzantium (717"“41). Earlier church council's had forbade idols before then though (Synod of Elvira, 3rd Council of Constantinople). Pope Gregory II stood against the Emperor in defense of image worship. The east opposed the images while the west generally supported them, though the Frankish Kings were for a time an exception. The Pope's opposition to the Emperor also gave him the opportunity to rebel from his lawful superior and assert his own civil independence and soveriegnty in Italy. The iconoclasts also turned their anger to relics and condemned prayers to the saints. Image worship was finally resored in the east by the Emperess Irene and the 2nd council of Nicea, though there were later bouts of iconoclasm, perpetrated mostly by the Byzantine Army.
http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/07620a.htm

Iconoclasm was revived during the Protestant Reformation. Where ever the reformation spread so did mobs of image breakers. For example, in the Netherlands, where decades of persecution were beginning to stir the oppressed, iconoclastic zeal swept across the Low Lands on August 14 1566. An estimated 400 churches were ransacked. The Reformers unanimously condemned such acts of unrestrained violence, yet they certainly felt no sympathy for the idols and often directly instigated the riots. John Knox's example is well known: May 11, 1559 Perth, Scotland, Knox preached a sermon against idolatry and the Christian's duty to destroy idols, that same day the towns people broke into a frenzy of image breaking.
http://www.reformation.org/wylie2.html
http://home.comcast.net/~graypj/iconoclasm.rm
 
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