Today in Catholic History – The Second Council of Nicaea

On 24 September 787, 350 clergy met in Nicea at what would become the Second Council of Nicea and the Seventh Ecumenical Council.

The main objective of the council was to address the schism between East and West over Iconoclasm heresy. In 754, the Council of Hieria had condemned the veneration of icons but the council was not recognized by the Pope or any of the Eastern Patriarchs. As a result of the advocacy of Iconoclasm by Byzantine Emperors Leo VI and Constantine V, Rome had broken with Constantinople.

However after the death of Constantine V, Byzantine Empress Irene, and Patriarch of Constantinople Tarasius sought both to reunite Rome and Constantinople and to restore the veneration of icons. Pointing to support from the scriptures and the Church Fathers, the Second Council of Nicea proclaimed that it was fitting and praiseworthy to venerate icons as the honor given to an icon was truly offered to the saint, angel, or Christ represented by the icon.

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