Council of Hieria

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The Council of Hieria, also known as the Iconoclast Council, took place in 754 AD during the reign of Byzantine Emperor Constantine V.

Constantine V convened a synod, at his palace in Hieria, which lay opposite to Constantinople on the Asiatic side of the Bosphorus, between Chrysoupolis and Chalcedon, a little to the north of the latter. The number of those present was 338 bishops and the place of president was occupied by Archbishop Theodosius of Ephesus as there was a vacancy in the Patriarchal throne of Constantinople. The Patriarchates of Rome, Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem were not represented (the last three were then in the hands of the Arabs).

The transactions began on February 10th, and lasted until August 8th in Hieria. On the latter date, however, the synod assembled in St. Mary's Church in Blachernae, the northern suburb of Constantinople, and the Emperor nominated Bishop Constantine of Sylaeum, a monk, as patriarch of Constantinople. On August 27th, the decree of the Synod was published.

The synod - which proclaimed itself as the "Seventh Ecumenical Council" - affirmed the decisions of the previous Councils, condemned the teachings of Patriarch Germanus I and John the Damascene and condemned icon worship:

"Supported by the Holy Scriptures and the Fathers, we declare unanimously, in the name of the Holy Trinity, that there shall be rejected and removed and cursed one of the Christian Church every likeness which is made out of any material and colour whatever by the evil art of painters".

In 787 the empress Irene the Athenean - an iconodule - summoned another Council in Nicaea, which is known as Seventh Ecumenical Council, and reinstated the veneration of icons in the church.