History of the Iconoclastic (Image Breaking) Heresy

From a FidoNet discussion with an Assemblies of God pastor Ron Stringfellow (Oct 1996).

Ron is RS> -- P is PP>


RS> and I remind them of how many times the church has had to adjust it's belief and I will say that is as foolish a question as "How shall we discern light from darkness, white from black, bitter from sweet?" >>

PP> Wonderful. Be specific. Where has the Church adjusted its belief or changed its doctrine? Please give me who, what, where, when and how about some documentation. Sorry Schaff don't count. >>

RS> What is wrong with Schaff? Funny rules you have. Okay, let's do it your way....  How about the 5th Council of Constantinople and the 6th for instance? The argument? Mine own favorite - the worship of images one decreed it wrong the other decreed them wrong. >>

I asked where the Church adjusted its belief or changed its doctrine. What you would need to find is a defined dogma of the Catholic faith from one Ecumenical (also called "General") Council that is explicitly contradicted or repudiated in another Ecumenical (General) Council. Otherwise, there is no "change" in doctrine. Precision is important.

Another thing to remember is that practices or customs can change, but doctrines, that is DOGMAS defined by the Church do not change. There have been 21 Ecumenical (General) Councils of the Catholic Church.

(1) First Council of Nicaea (325 AD)
(2) First Council of Constantinople (381 AD)
(3) Council of Ephesus (431 AD)
(4) Council of Chalcedon (451 AD)
(5) Second Council of Constantinople (553 AD)
(6) Third Council of Constantinople (680 AD)
(7) Second Council of Nicaea (787 AD)
(8) Fourth Council of Constantinople (869 AD)
(9) First Lateran Council (1123 AD)
(10) Second Lateran Council (1139 AD)
(11) Third Lateran Council (1179 AD)
(12) Fourth Lateran Council (1215 AD)
(13) First Council of Lyons (1245 AD)
(14) Second Council of Lyons (1274 AD)
(15) Council of Vienne (1311 AD)
(16) Council of Constance (1414 AD)
(17) Council of Florence (1438-1443)
(18) Fifth Lateran Council (1512-1517)
(19) Council of Trent (1545-1563)
(20) First Vatican Council (1869-1870)
(21) Second Vatican Council (1962-1965)

Any modern Catholic encyclopedia will give you this list of Councils. The first four are accepted by most Protestants (Evangelicals at least) and the first seven are shared by both Catholics and Eastern Orthodox.

Let me repeat what you wrote --

RS> How about the 5th Council of Constantinople and the 6th for instance? The argument? Mine own favorite - the worship of images one decreed it wrong the other decreed them wrong. >>

Do you mean the 5th Ecumenical Council (Constantinople II) contradicted the 6th Ecumenical Council (Constantinople III) concerning images? If you are going to accuse the Church of things you better have your facts straight. This will be very important when we later discuss St. Peter and the Papacy. Allow me to lay out the facts below.

The 5th Council above (553 AD) dealt mainly with the Nestorian heresy (that Christ is two persons) and the 6th Council above (680 AD) dealt with the Monothelite heresy (that Christ had but one will -- the divine).

Neither dealt with images. That controversy did not arise until the eighth century and the issue was decided by Nicaea II in 787 AD. Since I quickly realized you couldn't be referring to the 5th and 6th Ecumenical or General Councils of the Church, I did some research to find out exactly what you meant. 

Your objection is also found in Loraine Boettner's classic anti-Catholic work Roman Catholicism. I'll quote him now --

"At the beginning of the seventh century pope Gregory the Great (590-604), one of the strongest of the popes, officially approved the use of images in the churches, but insisted that they must not be worshipped. But during the eighth century prayers were addressed to them and they were surrounded by an atmosphere of ignorant superstition, so that even the Mohammedans taunted the Christians with being idol-worshippers. In 726 the Eastern emperor, Leo III, first attempted to remedy the abuse in his dominion by ordering that the images and pictures be placed so high that the worshippers could not kiss them. But when that failed to achieve the desired ends he issued an order forbidding the use of images in the churches as heathenish and heretical. To support his action a council was called in Constantinople, in 754, which gave ecclesiastical sanction to his actions. This great controversy became known as the 'iconoclastic' dispute, a word which means the breaking of images. The Eastern church banned all use of images or icons, and to this day that remains one of the great contrasts between the Eastern Orthodox and the Roman Catholic Church. But in 787 a council met at Nicaea (Bithynia), repudiated the work of the earlier council, and fully sanctioned the worship of images and pictures in the churches. This action was defended on the principle on which image worship, whether among the heathen or Christians, has generally been defended, namely, that the worship does not terminate on the image but on the object that it represents. Thomas Aquinas, who is generally acknowledged as the outstanding medieval theologian of the Roman Church, fully defended the use of images, holding that they were to be used for the instruction of the masses who could not read, and that pious feelings were excited more easily by what people see than by what they hear. The popes of the Roman Church have strongly supported the use of images." (Roman Catholicism by Loraine Boettner [Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing, 1962] p 283)

Now I will unravel these paragraphs. Boettner has the outline somewhat correct but makes many mistakes in the details and leaves out too much material that would confuse most people who have not done any study of the Iconoclastic controversy. Let me clear up what I found from the sources listed at the end which are Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant works.

First, Boettner does not tell his readers that the so-called council "called in Constantinople, in 754" was not an Ecumenical Council and has never been accepted as such by either the Catholics or Orthodox. As I have pointed out, for Catholics there are 21 such Councils and this so-called "council in Constantinople" is not one of them.

And the claim that the Eastern Orthodox "banned all use of images or icons and to this day that remains one of the great contrasts between" the Catholics and Orthodox is ludicrous. The Orthodox have certainly not "banned" anything as Iconography remains an essential part of their Christian spirituality. Again, we both hold to Nicaea II !!!

Was there a "council" that met in Constantinople that condemned images? Yes, but here is the historical background of that "council" and the "image-breakers" dispute that "broke out" in the 8th-9th centuries. For further explanation and details, check with the sources at bottom.

The Iconoclastic dispute (all Catholics and Orthodox today agree with Nicaea II that Iconoclasm is heresy) can be divided into three phases --

(1) its emergence in the early 8th century under the Emperors Leo III and son Constantine V and the Iconoclastic council (at Hiereia, near Chalcedon -- the so-called "council in Constantinople") in 754 AD

(2) its check at the Seventh Ecumenical Council (Nicaea II) in 787 AD under the Empress Irene and Pope Hadrian I (772-795 AD)

(3) its re-emergence in early 9th century and final extinction in 843 AD

We are concerned mainly with phases (1) and (2), particularly the circumstances of the Iconoclastic council at Hiereia in 754 AD. Iconoclasm ("image-breaking") arose in the 8th century under Emperor Leo III due to several factors. Although the reasons for this are obscure, the primary influences for the opposition to images include --

(a) the confrontation with Islam which was opposed to all human representations or images and condemned them as idolatry;

(b) the Monophysite heresy which was rampant in the Eastern church and confounds the two natures of Christ and gave the Iconoclasts a theological motive against images of Christ's humanity;

(c) cultural Eastern traditions (mainly Syrian and Armenian) deriving from neo-Platonic philosophy and can be traced back to such early Church Fathers as Origen and St. Clement of Alexandria who had a certain animus toward icons and images in general;

(d) other political motives and the sheer barbarity of some Emperors (e.g. Constantine V) who liked to destroy and burn things for fun.

There was also some superstitious misuse of images as Boettner alludes to and is well documented in the work of Edward James Martin (see below) but at the same time the Church had a long tradition of image veneration (not "worship" -- more on this distinction later) and had great defenders of the orthodox Catholic faith in theologians as St. John Damascene (d. 749), the Patriarchs of Constantinople Germanus I (d. 733) and Nicephorus (d. 829), the Abbot St. Theodore of Studium (d. 826) along with all the Eastern monks who strongly supported images and were bitterly persecuted by their Iconoclastic opponents.

While Boettner tries to portray Emperor Leo III as the "good guy" in the dispute who only wanted to "clean up" the Church of its "idolatry," it is clear Leo had his own agenda and it was his ruthless son Constantine V who called the so-called "council in Constantinople" (at Hiereia) in 754 AD to get some "ecclesiastical sanction" to destroy all images. That pseudo-council was overturned and refuted by the Seventh Ecumenical Council (Nicaea II) in 787 AD.

Pope St. Gregory II, the reigning Bishop of Rome at the time (715-731)

"...firmly resisted Leo the Isaurian's measures, motivated in part by the belief that they were an obstacle to the conversion of Jews and Muslims, to ban sacred images and their veneration. The new policy of iconoclasm, for which Leo began to campaign in 726 and which he promulgated in an edict signed by the eastern patriarch early in 730, was repugnant to Italy, and created consternation and revolts. Between these dates the emperor corresponded with Gregory requesting his approval, on pain of deposition, of the prohibition of images. Gregory's rejoinder (two letters, now accepted as broadly authentic, have been preserved) was uncompromising: he rejected iconoclasm as a heresy, warned Leo that dogma was not the business of princes but of priests (their two spheres were complementary but different), and countered his threats with the spirited reminder that, once three miles from Rome, the pope was safe since the entire west revered the successor of Peter." (The Oxford Dictionary of Popes by J.N.D. Kelly, p 87)

The idea that Emperor Leo III first tried to remedy abuses "by ordering that the images and pictures be placed so high that the worshippers could not kiss them" (Boettner above) is also in error. According to Martin's work, A History of the Iconoclastic Controversy (page 31)

"The statement frequently made [E.g. by Finlay] that the Emperor ordered all images and pictures to be moved to a higher position to be out of reach of grosser acts of veneration is certainly a mistake as the incident of the removal of the Antiphonetes shows."

This same error is repeated in Schaff History of the Christian Church

"At first he [Emperor Leo III] only prohibited their worship, and declared in the face of the rising opposition that he intended to protect the images against profanation by removing them beyond the reach of touch and kiss." (Schaff, volume 4, p 456)

Boettner appears to get his mistake from Schaff who in turn picked it up from Finlay's work on the history of the Byzantine Empire. Martin adds in a footnote : "It is founded on an old Latin translation of the Vit Steph published by Billius in 1603, differing widely from the original Greek. The policy of placing pictures higher belongs to the second Iconoclastic period, the reign of Leo the Armenian." (page 31)

The Emperor actually wanted all images banned and destroyed, period.

"Leo III decreed two edicts against the veneration of icons (in 726 and 729) and forced Germanus [Patriarch of Constantinople] to sign the latter edict and then, in 730, to resign. Opposition by the monks and members of the civil service of Constantinople brought in its wake a wave of persecutions, including banishment, confiscation, and some vilification." (Encyclopedia of Religion edited by Mircea Eliade, vol 7, p 1)

Now for the so-called "council in Constantinople" or the Iconoclastic council at Hiereia (near Chalcedon) --

"Leo III's policy suffered from having no theoretical foundation in theology. To eliminate this handicap, his successor Emperor Constantine V Copronymos sought to have images condemned by the Church and to impose iconoclasm as a duty of conscience as well as the obligation of a citizen. About 752 he elaborated an original theology of images, which he developed into treatises and which he -- like his father -- defended in public audiences. Two years later he had it ratified in a general council of the Byzantine episcopate (338 council fathers attending) held in the suburban palace of Hiereia from February 10 to August 8, its prime ecclesiastical movers being three prelates of Asia Minor, especially the Metropolitan Theodosius Apsimar of Ephesus (the patriarchal see being vacant)." (New Catholic Encyclopedia [1967], volume 7, p 327)

While there were a large number of fathers and bishops at this council, almost all of whom were Iconoclasts, it was not accepted by the Church at large and the major sees were not even represented. The Emperor ran the show. According to various sources, this pseudo-council

"....was afterwards disowned as a pseudo-synod of heretics. It numbered three hundred and thirty subservient bishops under the presidency of Archbishop Theodosius of Ephesus (the son of a former emperor)...but the patriarchs of Jerusalem, Antioch, and Alexandria, being under Moslem rule, could not attend, the see of Constantinople was vacant, and Pope Stephen III disregarded the imperial summons." (Schaff, volume 4, p 457)

"....a council in which 338 theologians were forced to take part." (Encyclopedia of Religion edited by Mircea Eliade, vol 7, p 1)

"Rome, Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem refused to send legates, since it was clear that the bishops were summoned merely to carry out the emperor's commands. The event showed that the patriarchs had judged rightly. The bishops at the synod servilely agreed to all Constantine's demands." (Catholic Encyclopedia [1913], vol 1, p 621)

Finally, from A History of the Iconoclastic Controversy by Martin --

"On the ecumenical character of the Council there are graver doubts. Its president was Theodosius, archbishop of Ephesus, son of the Emperor Apsimar. He was supported by Sisinnius, bishop of Perga, also known as Pastillas, and by Basil of Antioch in Pisidia, styled Tricaccabus. Not a single Patriarch was present. The see of Constantinople was vacant. Whether the Pope and the Patriarchs of Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem were invited or not is unknown."

[A footnote adds : "There was ample opportunity to invite the Pope. In 752 and in 753 embassies passed between Constantinople and Rome, but the question of images does not seem to have been raised.... Ch. V. adv Const Cab 333a, says that the Pope refused to attend, but this need only be a rhetorical flourish."]

"They were not present either in person or by deputy. The Council of Nicaea [II] considered this was a serious flaw in the legitimacy of the Council. 'It had not the co-operation of the Roman Pope of the period nor of his clergy, either by representative or by encyclical letter, as the law of Councils requires.' [citing Mansi, XIII, 207d] The -Life of Stephen- borrows this objection from the Acts and embroiders it to suit the spirit of the age of Theodore. It had not the approval of the Pope of Rome, although there is a canon that no ecclesiastical measures may be passed without the Pope.' [citing Vit Steph, 1144c] The absence of the other Patriarchs is then noticed [Mansi above]." (A History of the Iconoclastic Controversy, p 46)

Further, a few years later, "Eastern patriarchs outside Constantinople were deeply stirred by Constantine's persecutions, for they condemned the Council of Hiereia and advised Pope Paul I (757-767) of their condemnation...." (New Catholic Encyclopedia, volume 7, page 328).

I will end this with a defense of the veneration of images from the Catechism of the Catholic Church which quotes the Seventh Ecumenical Council (Nicaea II) that was organized in 787 AD by the Empress Irene, Patriarch Tarasius of Constantinople, and ratified by Pope Hadrian I to officially settle the matter for the whole Church in the 8th century.

"More importantly, he [Pope Hadrian] gave his full support to the second council of Nicaea (the Seventh General Council) which, in September 787, condemned iconoclasm in the east and restored the veneration of images, sending to it not only two representatives but a dogmatic treatise, which was applauded at the council, defending the proper use of images...."(The Oxford Dictionary of Popes by J.N.D. Kelly, p 96)

St. John Damascene (Eastern theologian) and St. Thomas Aquinas are also cited by the Catechism in defense of holy images.


1159. The sacred image, the liturgical icon, principally represents CHRIST. It cannot represent the invisible and incomprehensible God, but the incarnation of the Son of God has ushered in a new "economy" of images:

"Previously God, who has neither a body nor a face, absolutely could not be represented by an image. But now that he has made himself visible in the flesh and has lived with men, I can make an image of what I have seen of God...and contemplate the glory of the Lord, his face unveiled." [St. John Damascene, De imag 1,16: PG 94:1245-1248]

1160. Christian iconography expresses in images the same Gospel message that Scripture communicates by words. Image and word illuminate each other:

"We declare that we preserve intact all the written and unwritten traditions of the Church which have been entrusted to us. One of these traditions consists in the production of representational artwork, which accords with the history of the preaching of the Gospel. For it confirms that the incarnation of the Word of God was real and not imaginary, and to our benefit as well, for realities that illustrate each other undoubtedly reflect each other's meaning." [Council of Nicaea II]

1161. All the signs in the liturgical celebrations are related to Christ: as are sacred images of the holy Mother of God and of the saints as well. They truly signify Christ, who is glorified in them. They make manifest the "cloud of witnesses" [Heb 12:1] who continue to participate in the salvation of the world and to whom we are united, above all in sacramental celebrations. Through their icons, it is man "in the image of God," finally transfigured "into his likeness" [Cf. Rom 8:29; 1 John 3:2], who is revealed to our faith. So too are the angels, who also are recapitulated in Christ:

"Following the divinely inspired teaching of our holy Fathers and the tradition of the Catholic Church (for we know that this tradition comes from the Holy Spirit who dwells in her) we rightly define with full certainty and correctness that, like the figure of the precious and life-giving cross, venerable and holy images of our Lord and God and Savior, Jesus Christ, our inviolate Lady, the holy Mother of God, and the venerated angels, all the saints and the just whether painted or made of mosaic or another suitable material, are to be exhibited in the holy churches of God, on sacred vessels and vestments, walls and panels, in houses and on streets." [Council of Nicaea II]

1162. "The beauty of the images moves me to contemplation, as a meadow delights the eyes and subtly infuses the soul with the glory of God" [St. John Damascene, De imag 1,27]. Similarly, the contemplation of sacred icons, united with meditation on the Word of God and the singing of liturgical hymns, enters into the harmony of the signs of celebration so that the mystery celebrated is imprinted in the heart's memory and is then expressed in the new life of the faithful.


2129. The divine injunction included the prohibition of every representation of God by the hand of man. Deuteronomy explains: "Since you saw no form on the day that the Lord spoke to you at Horeb out of the midst of the fire, beware lest you act corruptly by making a graven image for yourselves in the form of any figure..." [4:15-16]

It is the absolutely transcendent God who revealed himself to Israel. "He is the all," but at the same time "he is greater than all his works" [Sir 43:27-28]. He is "the author of beauty" [Wisdom 13:3].

2130. Nevertheless, already in the Old Testament, God ordained or permitted the making of images that pointed symbolically toward salvation by the incarnate Word: so it was with the bronze serpent, the ark of the covenant, and the cherubim [Num 21:4-9; Wis 16:5-14; John 3:14-15; Exod 25:10-22; 1 Kings 6:23-28; 7:23-26].

2131. Basing itself on the mystery of the incarnate Word, the seventh ecumenical council at Nicaea (787) justified against the iconoclasts the veneration of icons -- of Christ, but also of the Mother of God, the angels, and all the saints. By becoming incarnate, the Son of God introduced a new "economy" of images.

2132. The Christian veneration of images is not contrary to the first commandment which proscribes idols. Indeed, "the honor rendered to an image passes to its prototype," and "whoever venerates an image venerates the person portrayed in it" [St. Basil, De Spiritu Sancto 18,45; and Councils of Nicaea II, Trent, Vatican II SC 126/LG 67].

The honor paid to sacred images is a "respectful veneration," not the adoration due to God alone:

"Religious worship is not directed to images in themselves considered as mere things, but under their distinctive aspect as images leading us on to God incarnate. The movement toward the image does not terminate in it as image, but tends toward that whose image it is." [St. Thomas Aquinas, ST II-II, 81, 3 ad 3]


On who convened Nicaea II --

CONVENE = to organize, to assemble, especially for a meeting

"Empress Irene came from the Greek region of the empire and favored the veneration of icons. In 784 she installed her own secretary, Tarasios, as patriarch of Constantinople, and in 787 SHE CONVENED the Second Council of Nicaea.....was also attended by two legates of the pope..." (Encyclopedia of Religion, ed. Mircea Eliade, volume 7, p 2)

"...Empress Irene assumed the regency (780). Assisted by a high palace official, Tarasius, whom she made patriarch of Constantinople (784), she set to work....the ecumenical Council of Nicaea II was announced, and the Pope sent two legates....Irene maneuvered skillfully to get her own men into the garrison, and the council convened a year later at Nicaea." (New Catholic Encyclopedia [1967], volume 7, p 328)

"The Empress Irene was regent....she immediately set about undoing the work of the Iconoclast emperors....Tarasius and the empress now opened negotiations with Rome. They sent an embassy to Pope Adrian I (772-95) acknowledging the primacy and begging him to come himself, or at least to send legates, to a council....The pope answered by two letters, one for the empress and one for the patriarch....the bishops met here [at Nicaea in Bithynia] in the summer of 787, about 300 in number." (Catholic Encyclopedia [1913], volume 7, p 622)

"Irene CONVENED the seventh ecumenical council in the year 787, at Nicaea....It was attended by about 350 bishops, under the presidency of Tarasius....Pope Hadrian I sent two priests, both called Peter, whose names stand first in the Acts [of the Council]....The decrees of the Synod [Nicaea II] were publicly proclaimed in an eighth session at Constantinople in the presence of Irene and her son, and signed by them; whereupon the bishops, with the people and soldiers, shouted in the usual form: 'Long live the orthodox queen-regent.' The empress sent the bishops home with rich presents. .....Constantine the Great, the CONVENER of the first Nicene Council, and IRENE, the CONVENER of the SECOND and last...." (Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church, vol 4, p 459-463)

"Yet the Second Council of Nicaea, which met to condemn the Iconoclast Synod and to whose excerpts from the synod's decrees we owe practically everything we know about what had happened in 754, opened its own Definition by calling itself 'the holy, great, and Ecumenical Council -- CONVENED by the grace of God and by the sanction of our pious kings, those lovers of Christ, Constantine [VI] AND HIS MOTHER IRENE.'" (Jaroslav Pelikan, Imago Dei, p 36)

I did not go into detail but it looks like I got the players right.

(1) Empress Irene, regent for the infant son [Constantine VI] of Emperor Leo IV, promoted Tarasius to the Patriarchate of Constantinople

(2) Tarasius presided over the Seventh Ecumenical Council (787 AD) which approved and defined the proper use of icons/images

(3) Pope Hadrian I was represented (by two legate-priests)

The Empress Irene "convened" (organized, assembled) the Council while Tarasius "presided" over the Council. Yup, I got it right.

"....the council convened [by Irene] a year later at Nicaea. It lasted 15 days (Sept 24 - Oct 7, 787) and was entirely dominated by Patriarch Tarasius.....The council decree on iconoclasm, generically and moderately phrased, defined the legitimacy, the excellence, and the limitations of veneration or 'relative' cult of images." (New Catholic Encyclopedia, volume 7, p 328)

But the Empress still had to write to the Pope for his approval --

"On 29 August the Empress [Irene] wrote to the Pope (Adrian I, 772-95) that she had decided to summon a General Council and, inviting him to take part in it, she said, 'It is God himself, wishing to lead us to the TRUTH, who asks YOU to come in person, in order to CONFIRM the ancient tradition about the veneration of images'. If Adrian could not come himself, would he send worthy men to represent him? Shortly after the despatch of this letter the Patriarch Paul died (September 784). To fill the vacancy the Empress chose a layman, one of the highest officers of the state, Tarasios.....Adrian was ready, he said [in letters dated 29 October 785], to be represented at the council, if such a council was the only way to bring about the restoration of the images [in the east]. But, even so, on conditions : the coming council was to anathematize the gathering [Iconoclastic council] at the Hieria of 753 [or 754], and this in the presence of the papal legates, the Empress was to guarantee full freedom of action to the council, and the legates were to be allowed to return to Rome. Adrian's conditions were accepted and so, from the outset, by virtue of this initiatory letter, the Popes position vis-a-vis the council is that of Agatho in 680 and of St. Leo in 451." (Philip Hughes)

[A footnote reads : "That pseudo-council which took place WITHOUT the Apostolic See is to be anathematized, in the presence of our legates....that the words of our Lord, Jesus Christ, may be fulfilled, 'The gates of hell shall not prevail against it' (the Apostolic See) and again, 'Thou art Peter' (Peter) whose see, holding the FIRST place, gives light to the WHOLE WORLD, and is the HEAD OF ALL the churches of God."] (Philip Hughes, The Church in Crisis, page 129-130)


The Encyclopedia of Religion edited by Mircea Eliade (Macmillan Publ, 1987) Volume 7 article on "Iconoclasm"

The Catholic Encyclopedia (1913) Volume 7 on "Iconoclasm" Volume 4 on "Constantinople, Councils of"

The New Catholic Encyclopedia (1967) Volume 7 on "Icon", "Iconoclasm", "Images, Biblical Prohibition of", and "Images, Veneration of"

The Church in Crisis: A History of the Twenty General Councils by Philip Hughes (1961) especially chapter 7 on Nicaea II

A History of the Church by Philip Hughes (1949) in 3 volumes especially volume 2, pages 118-126

Byzantine Theology: Historical Trends and Doctrinal Themes by John Meyendorff (NY: Fordham Univ Press, 1974) esp chapter 3

The Orthodox Church by Timothy Ware (Penguin Books, 1993) esp pages 30-34 on "The Holy Icons"

The Essence of Orthodox Iconography by Constantine D. Kalokyris (Brookline, MA : Holy Cross Orthodox Press, 1985)

A History of the Iconoclastic Controversy by Edward James Martin (NY : The Macmillan Co, 1978, orig 1930)

History of the Christian Church by Philip Schaff (1910) Volume 4 on "Medieval Christianity" pages 447-469

Imago Dei: The Byzantine Apologia for Icons by Jaroslav Pelikan (Princeton Univ Press, 1990)

 Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma by Ludwig Ott (page 320 ff)

The Oxford Dictionary of Popes by J.N.D. Kelly (page 86 ff)
   beginning with the entry on Pope St. Gregory II (715-731 AD).

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