726    Iconoclastic Controversy

  • Occurred in the East
  • Arts have always viewed with different opinions by Christians

- Only “Christian” art 

- No art at all

- Avoid visual representations

  • Example: Painting Mary

-1-To capture the idea of flesh being given God’s splendor Mary (flesh) was crowned in Gold (promised redemption) sitting under gilded arches being approached by a shining winged creature.

-2- To show the unfavorable way this portion of Christianity occurred in history one would paint Mary as ordinary in ordinary surroundings.

  • 680      A new controversy broke out:  The use of icons or images.
  • It was a debate over what was sacred or holy and deserved worship.
  • The clergy were set apart and so holy.  Also, church buildings, martyrs and heros of faith such as hermits and monks were set apart.
  • Martyrs were set apart and so holy or “saints.”
  • The holiness of a saint was evaluated on the miracles that took place at their tomb, relics, or icon (image)
  • 700’s   By the 700’s every city had at least one famous saint that was worshipped and became the protector of that city.
  • The government and church encouraged this.
  • Icons began to multiply
  • Christians then limited their devotion to one location such as:

*  St. Demetrius of Thessalonica

*  The miraculous Christ-icon of Edessa, Syria

* Miracle working icon of Mary in Constantinople

  • Most Christians placed faith in the icon and made no spiritual connection, thus idolatry.
  • Christ’s image began to replace the image of the emperor on coins (685-711)
  • Emperor Leo III (717-741) attacked the use of icons
  • In Eastern Asia Minor bishops preached against icons.
  • 726 - Leo held off the Muslim attack on Constantinople and then declared his oppositioin to icons
  • A mob murdered the messenger sent to replace the icon of Christ at the imperial gates
  • Whole sections of the empire rebelled againsts Leo
  • 730 – Leo issued an edict to destroy public icons
  • The Bishop of Rome condemned those who destroyed the images.  The destroyers were called iconoclast.
  • The Roman Bishop got military support from the Franks
  • Leo wanted the cross, the book, and the elements of Lord’s supper to be holy along with clergy and dedicated buildings.
  • Leo’s son argued the only true icon’s were the bread and wine because they were the same substance as Christ.

754   Iconoclastic Synod of Constantinople

·         During this council a three fold anathema was pronounced on the advocates of    image-worship.

·         The clergy submitted, but the monks who manufactured the pictures denounced the emperor and were subjected to imprisonment, flagellation, mutilation and death.


SEE INSERT: Picture’s of Crucified Christ


787   Nicean Council II

  • The eighth church council
  • Sanctioned Image worship
  • Leo the IV kept the laws against icon worship but his beautiful wife from Athens, Irene tolerated and then favored icon worship.
  • Irene raised the persecuted monks to the highest dignities removed the iconoclastic imperial guard with one agreeing to her views.
  • Irene convened the eighth church council.  It consisted of eight sessions from September 24-October 23 in 787.
  • The Nicene Council nullified the decrees of the iconoclastic Synod of Constantinople in 754 (which later was rejected as a true church council)
  • Acceptable images were: the cross, pictures of Christ, pictures of the Virgin Mary, pictures of angels, pictures of saints, the gospel books, relics of saints.
  • They could be drawn in color or composed of Mosaic materials.
  • They could be in churches, houses in streets, on walls, tables vessels and vestments.
  • Homage may be paid to them by kissing, bowing burning incense, saying prayers, burning candles.
  • The honor paid to the image was a representation of the honor paid to the true reality in heaven.
  • The scriptures used for defense were Ex.25:17-22; Ezek. 41:1,15,19; Hebrews 9:1-5.
  • Also alleged testimonies of now dead church fathers, mostly falsified and alleged miracles performed by images was used to defend the practice.
  • Large numbers of former iconoclast repented and prayed together, “We all have sinned, we all have erred, we all beg forgiveness.”  And they worshipped the images.
  • During this council an image was brought in and kissed by all the delegates.  At the conclusion of the council the delegates said together:

“Thus we believe.  This is the doctrine of the apostles. Anathema upon all who do not adhere to it, who do not salute the images, who call them idols, and who charge Christianity with idolatry.”

  • The Second Council of Nicea is far below the first both morally and doctrinally.
  • It determined the character of worship in the Eastern church for all time and so is still significant.
  • It’s decision is binding on the Roman church which had sent two papal delegates and is defended in its writings.
  • The protestants disregard this council because:
    • It violates the second commandment
    • It violates the practice of apostolic Christianity
    • The superstitions that accompanies it.
    • The miracle-workings done by the Madonnas in the 19th and 20th centuries.


      The positive affects of this council is that it has saved Christian art.  If the iconoclast would have been successful in their extreme methods there would be no Christian painting, sculpture, ect.  It would have affected music and other expressions of the Christian faith.


To prevent her son from being capable of reigning and to maintain her power in the East Irene had her son’s plucked out one night as he slept.  She ruled for five more years and then was overthrown and exiled.  She spent the rest of her life working for a living.


800  Charlemagne Crowned Emperor

  • The divided kingdom consisted of an Emperor in the East and a ruling pope in the West.
  • The Popes claimed power in 590 and continually increased their claim.
  • Arian Christians called Lombards attacked Rome several times.  The pope needed military support and called on the Franks to be his ally.  This union would shape Christianity in the Middle ages.
  • The Franks had invaded Gaul from their homeland along the Rhine River.  The Gaul’s had adopted Roman culture after Julius Caesar’s invasion.  This Roman culture now went to the Franks upon their invasion of Gaul.
  • Clovis (466-510) united the territory from the Rhine down into France.  This helped bring stability to the area.
  • Clovis accepted Christianity (496) due to:

* His wife                   *  Supernatural aid in battle

  • Clovis’ sons were weak and just partied in the palace when they came to power so the kingdom was run by the mayor’s of the palace.
  • Pepin was the first mayor (687-714)
  • It was handed to an illegitimate son of his called Charles Martel (689-741)
  • Charles Martel as the warrior saved the West for Christianity and the pope knew it.
  • Muslims had taken Spain and were threatening Europe but were defeated at the battle of Tours in 732.


SEE INSERT: Map – “Muslim Expansion, 622-900


  • Martel supported Boniface’s work in evangelizing the tribes beyond the Rhine
  • Martle’s two sons reigned after him.  One joined a monastery leaving Pepin the Great to rule as king.
  • Pope Zacharias needed help against the Arian Lombards  in 754 and 756.
  • Pepin donated land in central Italy to the pope.   This was known as the Donation of Pepin.  It remained the pope’s until 1870.
  • About this time a book appeared called the “Donation of Constantine.”  Which tells the story of Constantine’s conversion and how the grateful Constantine made a huge land grant and special rights to the Bishop of Rome.
  • It was a forgery but it was not proven until several centuries later.  The popes did and still use it to defend their claim on land, power and position.
  • In the book Constantine was healed of leprosy and baptized by the bishop Sylvester. In return Rome was to have precedence over all the other churches and this bishop was to be the supreme bishop.  Constantine left the imperial palace, imperial clothing, and imperial rank to the pope.  Constantine then moved East so as not to interfere with the Pope and his gift.


SEE INSERT: Picture of Constantine with Leprosy.


  • The next ruler was Pepin the Great’s son Charlemagne (742-814).
  • Charlemagne began to reign in his father’s place in 768.
  • Charlemagne was crowned Emperor of the Roman’s by the Pope in 800.
  • Charlemagne would influence everything in Western Europe.
  • Charlemagne was 7 feet tall.  He had a large strong body, a bright face and long white hair.


SEE INSERT: “Church and State, 754-1309”

SEE INSERT: Map – “Empire of Charlemagne”


869   Constantinople Council IV

  • The Ninth Church Concil
  • It brought about the final schism between the East and West
  • Between 800 – 1054 the Western church experienced an inner renewal that gave it strength to deal with its existence in the shadow of the Holy Roman Empire
  • The Eastern church became conscious of this and other differences between the East and West.
  • The renewal of the Western church was not always spiritual, but often strength:

A.  Donation of Constantine – a forgery credited to Constantine tells the story of Constantine being healed of leprosy and baptized by the Bishop of Rome.  In return Constantine gave the Bishop central Italy, the palace, clothing and the imperial symbol.  Constantine then moved East.

B.  A collection of false decrees by earlier roman bishops.  These asserted the roan Bishop (Papa) was supreme over all bishops.  Also, it claimed that the church was free from secular control. 

C.  Doctrine of Mass.  A controversy reguarding the nature of Christ’s presence in communion upset the Western church.   Any claim that the Lord’s super was a sacrifice by the priest was additional power to the pope, the priesthood and their hierarchy.  They alone had power to perform this miracle.  (In 1215 at the Council of Trent the church officially accepts this view.)  In 831 Paschasius Radbertus began to teach that by a miracle the substance of the bread and wine were changed into the body and blood of Christ.  The book: “Of the Body and Blood of the Lord.”

D. Monastic Reform carried out by the Cluniac monasteries.




909   Abbey of Cluny Founded

  • Monastic reforms by the founders of the abbey of Cluny called Cluniac Reforms.
  • These monasteries contributed to the supremacy of the papacy.
  • By the 900 the monasteries had become wealthy and corrupt.
  • The earlier ideas of service had been replaced with:

1)  ideal of individual salvation

2)  an easy life of wealth in the monastery

  • In Eastern France at Cluny in 909 a monastery was founded that was free from secular or episcopal control.  It was self-governed and under the pope’s protection.
  • Two leaders (Abbots) did their work so well in this monastery that many others reorganized along the same line.  The leaders were:                                                                       1)  Berno (910-926)                2) Odo (927-944)
  • These Abbots would appoint the leaders in new monasteries and oversee them.
  • This organized all the monasteries under the Abbot of Cluny who worked with the pope.
  • The Cluniac leaders called for reform:

1)  The condemned simony (buying and selling of church offices for money)

2)  They condemned nepotism (the practice of showing favoritism to relatives in    appointments to church positions.)

3)  Celibacy – the clergy could no longer keep concubines nor could they marry.    Their attention was not to be to family but to the church.

4)  Ascetic life was restored.

5)  Good schools were formed.  These schools made Latin the common language   of the middle ages.

  • The Cluniac monasteries resulted in:

a)  Missionary Efforts             b)  Crusades against Muslims in the Holy Land

  • This order of monasteries came to an end in 1790.


800’s                   Vikings Invade Europe

  • The splendid Frankish Empire of Charlemagne began to dissolve quick at his death because the empire was dependent on his personal genius and energy.
  • Decline of Holy Roman Empire

A)  Teutonic PrincipleEmperors land divided between sons.  Charlemagne’s son began this and had to divide the empire into three sections.  They warred until it was divided into Germany and France with a 100 mile section between them in 843.

B)  Feudalism – Decline of city life and trade forced people back to the farm.  Public power went into private hands of land owners.  There were three groups:

            1- Protectors, the land owners known as knights.

            2- Producers, the economic foundation known as serfs.

            3- Prayers, the priestly class

o       This was a system of political organization based on land possession and served as a system of justice and order during the period of the decline of central government.

o       A large amount of land in Western Europe was held by the church.  Pious or repentant men seeking to atone for a life of sin lift lands to the church.

o       The church (abbots and bishops) would give land to knights in exchange for protection.

o       The church became secular and concerned about land.

o       The people faced a choice: 

1 - Be loyal to the temporal lord on who’s land he lived and worked

2 – Be loyal to the spiritual  lord, the pope.

o       This became a breeding ground for bad doctrine.

C)  Vikings from Sweeden, Denmark, and Norway invaded any town or monastery along the coast or on the shores of rivers.  This led to the rapid decline of the fallen Holy Roman Empire.  Vikings settled in England and eventually merged with Anglo-Saxons.  The Christina culture of England was set back.


936   Otto the Great

  • The idea of the Holy Roman Empire survived even though it fell.
  • In Germany division was great due to the interest and topography

* In the north the rivers flowed north and the land was a plain.

* In the south the rivers flowed south and the land was mountainous

  • Tribal divisions and feudalism led to decentralized authority
  • The need for unity came with northern invaders and the tribal dukes unified.
  • 919 – Henry the Fowler, duke of Saxony, was made ruler.  He drove back the Northmen.
  • 936 – Henry’s Son, Otto, became king. 

a)  Otto made the dukes his vassals

b)  Otto  took over the church and began appointing the bishops and abbots.

  • Otto over extended his interest by becoming involved in affairs over the Alps

 in the church in Rome.

  • Otto went to Italy to aid the pope in battle and was crowned emperor of the Holy Roman Empire in 962 which united all of central Europe until Napoleon in 1806.
  • For the next 200 years the Roman church had weak leaders and the German emperors crossed the Alps to help bring order out of the Chaos.
  • 996 – Otto III put down a faction of Roman nobles and forced the election of his cousin Bruno as Pope Gregory V.
  • Eventually Innocent III will humiliate the German emperor.


SEE INSERT:  Map – “Empire of Otto the Great”


1054          The East-West Schism


SEE INSERT: Map – “The Schism of 1054”


  • In 330 Constantine moved the Roman Empire capital to Constantinople.
  • In 395 Theodosius place East and West administration under different heads.
  • In 490 the Roman Empire falls in the West
  • The fall of the West left the Emperors in the Est with no Emperor in the West.  The pope (bishop of Rome) alone was left in the West and was too far away to be controlled by the East.
  • Comparison:

*  In the East . . .the emperor was almost a pope

*  In the West. . .the pope was almost an emperor

  • The differences between the West and East:

1)  Intellectual outlooks were different:

a)  Latin West spent time considering practical matters of polity.   They had little trouble formulating orthodox doctrine.

b)  Greek mind in the East was more interested in solving theological problems along philosophical lines.  Between 325-451 most theological problems arose in the East.  The same issues were not problems in the West.

                        2)  Cultural differences:

                                    a)  Celibacy differed – Eastern clergy married

                                    b)  Beards –clergy in East had to wear a beard.

                                    c)  Language – East was Greek, West was Latin.  This led to                                                                       misunderstandings.

                        3)  Theological differences:

                                    In 867 – Photius, patriarch in Egypt, charged Nicholas I and                                                church in West with heresy because the West had the “filoque”                                           clause in its Nicene Creed.

                                                (In 589 at the Council of Toledo III the words “and the                                                       Son” or “filoque” were added to the Nicene Creed after                                                      “Holy Spirit that proceeded from the father and the Son.”                                                        The Western church since had insisted on the deity of the                                                           Holy Spirit.)

                        4)  History of conflict:

                                    *  Easter Conflict, 150 AD

                                    *  Iconoclastic Controversy, 700 AD

                                    *  East destroyed or limited the power of monks

                                    *  Pope Nicholas tried to interfere with a church appointment in the                                                East around 850

SEE INSERT:  “The Primary Causes of the East-West Schism of 1054”

  • In 1054 Michael Cerularius, Patriarch of Constantinople condemned the West for using unleaven bread in the Eucharist.  Pope Leo IX sent Cardinal Humbert to end the dispute.  During discussion the differences widened between the church in Rome and the Church in Constantinople.  On July 16, 1054, Cardinal Humbert excommunicated the East.  Not to be outdone the patriarch anathematized the pope of Rome and his followers.  For the first time universal unity was broken.
  • On Dec. 7, 1965 the mutual excommunication was removed by Pope Paul VI and Athenagoras.


1066    William the Conqueror King of England

  • The Vikings conquered England under the leadership of William the conqueror.


1000    Seljuk Turks occupy the Holy Land



1073 Pope Gregory VII (Hildebrand)

  • Papacy had great temporal power between 1054-1305 that included:                                   Hildebrand                  Innocent III                Crusades                                             Universities                 Scholasticism              Obedient Monks
  • Downfall is going to be nationalism in France and England
  • Hildebrand spent 20 years (five popes in 1053-1073) as a humble servant of the pope trying to obtain powers for the pope. 
  • Hildebrand will then spent the next 12 years (1073-1085) reigning as the pope with those powers.
  • In the 300’s certain churches had been designated as exclusive baptism sites.  The pastors became known as Cardinal Priest at these locations.
  • In the 200’s Rome had been divided into districts to do charity work.  These pastors became known as Cardinal Deacons.
  • Bishops near Rome were called Cardinal Bishops.
  • These three groups became the Pope’s College of Cardinals.
  • Leo IX – Hildebrand was placed in charge of the Roman Finances, and thus over the Cardinals.
  • Nicholas II -  Hildebrand helped have the ecclesiastical legislation taken from the population of Rome.  The Cardinal Bishops would choose a candidate (while consulting the Cardinal priests and deacons) for pope.  Then the people could vote.  This prevented corruption from the German emperors, etc.
  • 1073 – Hildebrand was unanimously elected as Pope Gregory VII as a result of the people shouting “Let Hildebrand be bishop.”
  • Hildebrand’s (Gregory VII) goal: The pope as absolute theocracy in spiritual and temporal power.
  • Hildebrand (Gregory VII) wanted no civil power to dominate the church.
  • But, Hildebrand (Gregory VII) wanted the church to control civil power.
  • He stopped these practices:                                                                                                    1) Lay investiture – where church leaders where appointed by their feudal                               lords.                                                                                                               2) Simony (buying and selling church offices)                                                           3)  Failure to enforce celibacy, to help men focus on and reform the                                    church
  • After Hildebrand’s (Gregory VII) death they found his writing “Dictatus Papae” which was a document with his letters that develops papal supremacy over temporal rulers and over the Roman Church.
  • The “Dictatus Papae” said:

a)  Roman church founded by God alone

b)  Pontiff alone to be called “universal”

c)  Pope had full power over all bishops

d) Only the popes feet should be kissed by “all princes”

e) Pope could “depose emperors”

f) Pope could release all subjects of evil rulers



1000’s                 Scholasticism

  • Up until the time of the pope’s absolute power education took place in monasteries.  The pope supported the founding of universities.
  • In these universities debates were carried on which reawakened intellectual life in Europe and helped expand the vocabulary and depth of Christian thought. 
  • An example:  Discussion revolved around the meaning of Jesus words “This is my body, this is my blood.”  A student named Berengar said that a real and true change takes place in these elements but the change is spiritual.  Lanfranc and other theologians debated him saying it was an actual change although the “accidents” (touch, taste, sight and smell) of the bread and wine remain the same.

Lafranc won the debate and the term “transubstantiation” took on Lanfranc’s definition.  Berengar was condemned and forced to disown his views.

  • Scholasticism was an age when the church controlled all education  and they carried on their thinking against the background of what had gone before (classical philosophy of ancient Greece, the Bible and the teaching of the earliy Christian writers.)
  • The great schoolmen (Anselm                  Peter Abelard,        Hugh of St Victor,                                          Peter Lombard    Albert the Great       Thomas Aquinas                                            Duns Scotus)
  • This movement put logic into faith.  They organized the faith into a system.
  • The men of scholasticism did not necessarily believe the same thing but instead thought and reasoned the same way.
  • The theology that interested these men was basically philosophical.
  • Thomas Aquinas:                                                                                                                  a) was considered in his own day a dangerous innovator                                                b) his work is said to be a lake with many streams flowing into and from                                    but that his work by itself is no water source.                                                            c)  He was original in the way he pulled together all the previous teaching                           and the rigorous way in which he explored question after question.             d)  Aquinas would quote everyone who had gone before, pool together all                                 their ideas and then and only then would he produce his view.
  • These men were no fools.  They were rigorous, complex, and had great thinking capacity.  They belong to the intellectual giants of humanity
  • The Problems:                                                                                                                         a)  They were often attempting the impossible.                                                         b)  Much of their work was devoted to reconciling what can not be                                        reconciled.                                                                                                       c)  They recognized the church fathers’ writings as infallible                                    d)  They force Greek philosophy to fit scriptural study.  Often one or the                                 other must change to fit.  In this case you no longer have                                                philosophy nor scripture.                                                                                 e)  They were operating with out-dated concepts.  Many of the questions                                 that they wrestled with have turned out to be pseudo-questions in                           the light of our scientific view of the world.  The questions they                              asked had theological bearing but their preoccupation with them                                   hindered the hearing of the scriptural message.
  • A boy could begin his university education at the age of 12.  They only need to know Latin.
  • The privilege of lecturing in theology was not granted until a man was 35.
  • Universities had 3,000-4,000 students.
  • These men desired to confirm all that they had been taught.  They made no original contribution to exegesis and biblical theology.
  • They wanted to organize the doctrines  in an orderly system called “summa theologiae”
  • They went to the extreme of introducing into their discussions every imaginable question.  These questions, if answered, would do no good except to satisfy a prurient curiosity.
  • Anselm gives the best example of treatises on distinct subjects such as the existence of God, the necessity of the Incarnation, and the fall of the devil.
  • Peter the Lombard produced the most clear
  • Thomas Aquinas the most complete and finished systematic bodies of divinity.
  • They began with the principle that faith precedes knowledge.  As Anselm said, “I believe that I may understand; I do not understand that I may believe.” And quoted Isaiah 7:9, “If you will not believe, you surely shall not be established.”


SEE INSERT: “Schools of Scholasticism”

SEE INSERT: “The Theology of Scholasticism”

SEE INSERT:“Arguments for the Existence of God- the Five Ways of Thomas Aquinas”


1093    Anselm

  • Archbishop of Cantebury



1096    First Crusade


SEE INSERT: “The Crusades”

SEE INSERT: Picture of Crusades


1100    Bernard of Clairvaux


1123    First Lateran Council

  • Also known as Rome Council I
  • It is the 10th Church council
  • Decided that bishops are appointed by Popes


1139    Second Lateran Council

  • Also known as Rome Council II
  • It was an effort to heal the East and West Schism


1100    Second Crusade


1100    University of Oxford Founded


1100    Notre Dame de Paris is built


1176    Peter Waldo founds the Waldensians

  • 1140-1215
  • A Wealthy merchant who read translations of the Gospel and experienced a spiritual conversion in 1176
  • Imitating St. Alexis Waldo left his family, gave his goods to the poor and took a vow of poverty.
  • Many followed his example in Lyons.
  • He became an itinerant preacher and vigorously campaigned against the worldliness of the Church.
  • He organized his followers into two classes: the Perfect and the Friends (or, Believers)
  • He translated the Latin Bible into the languages of people. 
  • Pope Alexander III approved his lifestyle at the Third Lateran Council in 1179, but forbid him to preach without local approval.
  • They were known as the “Poor Men of Lyons” and lived poor to condemn the churches wealth.
  • Waldo ignored Alexander III and continued to preach and was condemned as a heretic.
  • This group has survived into modern times in Europe, North and South America.
  • The Waldensian church as a modern membership of about 35,000.