Constantine V Copronymos as a theorist of Byzantine iconoclasm

S. Milutin


Introduction: The article examines the activities of Emperor Constantine V Copronymos as one of the leading theorists of Byzantine iconoclasm.

Purpose: The purpose of the article is investigating and analyzing the place of Constantine V Copronymus in the formation of the theoretical foundations of Byzantine iconoclasm in the field of Christology and theological dogma, defining the features of the Emperor policies in the fight against the defenders of icons.

Results: The author comes to the conclusion that Emperor’s Christological argument is based on the eastern iconoclasm nature, namely the impact of Antioch theological school. In dealing with the subject of church practice, Constantine V deals with the issue of icons, not as a phenomenon of the moral life of a Christian, but as a matter of dogma. The author suggests that iconoclasts in their arguments tried to implement the tenets of Chalcedon, but didn’t express a complete clarity in the interpretation of some conceptual categories. Great attention in the article is given to the Constantine V Copronymus’s fighting against monasteries. The author comes to the conclusion that the Emperor’s policy initially had no economic reasons and its main task was to suppress intellectual centers of the defenders of icons.

Scientific novelty of the research results. The author argues that iconoclastic Christology developed in line with the Platonic theory of matter as ontological pole. Accordingly, this doctrine postulates the impossibility of direct sacralization matter - in any case the two poles should be separated from each other.

Conclusion: At present the theme of Byzantine’s intellectual history of iconoclasm has many unsolved questions, in particular due to the lack of primary sources can not exactly say to what extent the Emperor fought against the cult of honoring the saints, as iconoclastic council does not say anything against the honor of the relics of the saints: he could not deny it in terms of its main provisions, as relics of martyrs can not be qualified as «man-made images.» In addition, the problem of honoring the Virgin Mary in the Emperor Constantine V Copronymus’s theoretical paradigm remains unsolved.


Constantine V Copronymus, iconoclasm, icon dogma, church, Idolatry, Eucharist


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