The Cultural And Religious Traditions Of The European Continent

3078 Words13 Pages
In an eastern Mediterranean province, a group of pious individuals pray before the elaborate portrait of a local saint and hero, hoping the image will bestow upon them some semblance of safety and secure for them a good harvest and protection from the aggressive invaders who continue to threaten their lands to the south. The individuals know little about the movement stirring in the large city to the north, which seeks to remove the holy image to which they so ardently pray. From the west, rumors of a new Creed have made their way to the town, but the grand political and historical implications of this document are unknown the laity, who, illiterate, have never read the creed to which their church adheres.
In such an environment, the
…show more content…
Though such controversies alone have many theological and religious implications, they can only be truly understood in the political and historical context in which they arose.

Religious icons, or images, may include paintings, murals, portraits, or mosaics, which, in the seventh through ninth centuries, commonly depicted Christ, the likeness of a saint, or a particular scene from scripture. The dispute over the use of icons and religious imagery in the Church, and the nature of this use amongst the laity, began in the Eastern Roman Empire, or Byzantine Empire, in the late seventh century, with the movement against icons, or the iconoclasm movement, reaching its height in the mid ninth century. The use of Icons in Christian practice began in the Coptic Church in Egypt, and spread throughout the Byzantium Empire, developing into a vital form of religious education and communication for the laity throughout the East. Those who opposed religious iconography, did so on the basis of scripture, as the practice of icon use was clearly condemned in Old Testament text. As the use of every religious icon could not be explicitly regulated, it was difficult for religious and imperial authorities to determine how such icons were used by the public. Thus, as it was unknown whether the laity prayed before or to the icons in their community, all religious icons were removed to prevent the risk of unorthodoxy and the potential practice of idolatry (Brubaker et al., 2011).
Get Access