Emperors Constantine and Justinian Presenting Constantinople to the Virgin Mary Holding the Christ Child, Hagia Sophia
For next Tuesday, we will be finishing up the rest of Chapter 13 by covering the final two sections: Smashing Images: The Iconoclastic Controversy (726 – 843) and Photios and the New Missions to the West (850 – 900).
For our next meeting please write about one of the following topics:
- After reading the chapter, what are your thoughts about the use of icons in worship? Did your understanding of why icons are used in Orthodox practices change your previous thoughts about them before? Do you consider them necessary or unnecessary? Do you feel that it goes against the Second Commandment? Should all believers consider the benefits of incorporating icons into their worship of God? Why or why not?
- Consider the iconoclast policies of Emperor Leo III and go over their reasons for going against the use of icons in Orthodox worship. Did iconoclast emperors’ policies help or hinder the empire?
- Consider the iconophilia of John of Damascus, Empress Irene, and Empress Theodora who greatly advocated the use of icons in Byzantine worship. How did Rome and other bordering kingdoms (like the Holy Roman Empire under Charlemagne) react or handle their policies?
- Discuss the impact of Patriarch Photios in the 9th century and his quest to expand missionary journeys to the west. Discuss his relationship to Emperor Basil I and his rivalry with Pope Nicholas.
- Explain how Khan Boris of the Bulgars shaped imperial policies when he sided with the Byzantines instead of Rome.
- Discuss the impact that the missionary brothers, Constantine and Methodios, had when they developed an alphabet system for the Slavic language. How did the use of Greek instead of Latin in Slavonic worship services strain the relationship the Orthodox Church had with the Catholic Church in the West?
Hope to see everyone in our new meeting day on Tuesday nights.