The Eighth-Century Controversy That Set the Latin and Greek Orthodox Christians Apart

The eighth-century controversy that set the Latin and Greek Orthodox Christians apart was over the issue of deification, the concept of an inferior soul in heaven. It was a very important discussion, because it laid the foundation for the debate over the nature of the deity. As the controversy lasted for two centuries, the Roman and Greek Church Fathers were greatly influenced by it. In this article, we will look at this controversy, as well as how the Greeks and the Byzantines responded to it.

Iconoclast controversy

An iconoclast controversy took place in the eighth century. It affected the life of the Italo-Greek church in Southern Italy.

This controversy came about because some Iconoclasts believed that any image that depicted God in human form could either confuse His divine nature or omit it. To them, the existence of an image of Christ in the form of a man was evidence of a deficient understanding of the Incarnation.

The Iconoclasts argued that images of Christ should not be worshiped but only venerated. They viewed the insertion of a “filioque” clause into the Nicene Creed as a sign of the deteriorating relations between the two churches.

Byzantine Emperor Leo III issued an edict in 730 banning the veneration of icons. He destroyed monasteries of iconophiles and confiscated papal property in Sicily. However, the Iconoclast controversy was not resolved until 843.

Humanism of the seventeenth century

Humanism is a cultural movement that occurred in 14th to 16th century Europe. It was influenced by the Platonic philosophy and a revival of classical Greek culture. The Renaissance emphasized the importance of human achievement and the development of an ideal citizen.

A Humanist is a person who is devoted to the concept of humanity. Humanists believed that humanity is inherently good. They sought to enhance this quality through education and to create citizens with the qualities necessary to engage in civic life.

Humanism emerged in the Renaissance period as a reaction to the utilitarian approach of the medieval scholastic conventions. Humanists sought to create eloquent, scholarly citizens, while recognizing the possibility of changing the nature of the human spirit.

Influence of the Greek Church Fathers on Byzantine society

Byzantine society was influenced by the Greek Church Fathers, particularly the apostolic fathers. The Gospel of John and its implications were among the key themes of Byzantine Christianity.

The apostolic fathers defended the divinity of Christ against Arians and Docetists. Byzantines viewed the Virgin Mary as the mother of God. They exalted Christ as the savior of the world and the church.

A major issue in Christology in Byzantium was the role of the bishop. Patriarchs held a high rank between the Roman pontiff and the bishops. Occasionally a strong patriarch could exert a decisive influence on politics.

Byzantines believed that the emperor and patriarch were equivalent in power. However, they were not necessarily related. For instance, when a church was divided, the emperor could be excommunicated.

Byzantine scientific views on Copernicus and Galileo

Copernicus and Galileo were not the first to observe the movement of the stars. In fact, some ancient Greeks argued that the heavenly bodies move in circles. However, Copernicus challenged this idea. He placed the sun at the center of the universe and assigned the earth a place in the cosmos.

Byzantine scientific thought developed over ten centuries. It focused on preserving ancient knowledge. Science was a scholarly discipline, and scholars considered that acquiring scientific knowledge of the natural world was necessary for human accomplishment.

The Byzantines stood behind several technological advancements. They also transmitted Islamic science to Renaissance Italy. When the Ottoman conquest ended the Greek Empire, the vast majority of scholars fled to Europe. Some Greeks returned to their homeland, where they retaught the sciences.

Theology of deification

There were several major debates in the eighth century that set the Latin and Greek Orthodox apart. These debates were related to religious, scientific, and philosophical matters. They influenced the future direction of Eastern and Western Christian religion.

Theological differences were exacerbated by political and economic interests. A disagreement over local jurisdiction in the Balkans intensified the tension. Exaggerated claims of papal authority led to increased rifts.

One of the most important debates was the use of images to represent Christ. While religious images represented the community’s faith, their use was also symbolic. Icons were used to understand Biblical stories, to depict important events, and to connect the divine with human beings.

The iconoclasm controversy focused on religious images of Christ. The debate centered on whether an image could be considered a true representation of the Lord. Some argued that an image of God in human form could confuse His divine nature. Others defended the possibility of such a representation. In the end, the emperor of Byzantium, Leo III, banned images of Christ.

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