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Panayiotis Christou

Testimonia neglected by the Seventh Ecumenical Council

Annuarium Historiae Conciliorum / Internationale Zeitschrift für Konziliengeschichtsforschung

Chapter F

The negative testimonies of Eusebios of Caesarea, which were used in the Iconoclastic Council of Hiereia (754) under Constantine V, were, of course, widely discussed at Nicaea, the aim being to refute them. But none of the numerous positive testimonies which occur in the writings of Eusebios was used, although they confirm the use of icons from the very first years of the Christian Church, or at least strongly support the use of icons.(22) These testimonies from his Church History, the Vita of Constantine and the Εναngelical Demonstration, although very well known, were abandoned by the Council, and its florilegium is much the poorer as a result. Some of these neglected testimonies were taken by the Council from other sources, such as that concerning the statue of Christ erected in Paneas, taken from Antipater of Bostra.

But this could not fill the gap. The attidude of the members of the Council was here determined by the criterion of Orthodoxy in its absolute form. Εusebios was recognised as a good historian, but both his person and his theology were rejected because of his Arian sympathies. It was impossible for any of his testimonies to be used at the Council, though John of Damascos made abundant use of them.

These are the examples of testimomies neglected by this Council which I thought it would be of interest to present to you.


22. Testimonies from Eusebios abound in the work of John of Damascos, Περί εικόνων, though only in the third treatise: 3, 67; 69 f. 77-79; 98.

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