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and (O villainous act whereby the whole world is damnified !) partly threw down into precipices.
There is nothing yet in these relations will do any man hurt by engendering a misconceit, especially if he remember the tale is told by malicious adversaries, that counterfeit Reliques were plentiful in those days as well as now, and that Hezekiah brake in pieces the brazen Serpent made by God's own commandment, a holy monument and a type of Christ, when it was once abused to Idolatry.
After the death of this Emperor Constantine and his son, who reigned not long after him, the Idolatrous faction under Constantine his nephew and the Queen-mother Irene, again for some years prevailed; and that so far, as to pack a Council, called the Second of Nice, the Bishop of Rome having a main stroke therein ; whereby the former Council of Constantinople was condemned, and the worship of Images again established. But Leo Armenius coming to the Empire, the Orthodox part again prevailed, as before they had done, during the reign of three Emperors more.
The last Emperor of the opposers of Idols was Theophilus; the last Patriarch John. And that to the very end the Idolatry of Saint-worship was opposed more or less, as well as that of images, may be gathered out of that “Song of Triumph," which the Greeks used to sing every first Sunday in Lent, for a memorial of their last and final conquest of the opposers of Images, ever since that time; wherein the hymn of Theodorus Ode 8, I find this verse, “The sacred Reliques of the Saints, and their Images, were not at all to be worshipped, said most wickedly the renouncers of piety, the barbarous Lezich and John.” This John is that Patriarch of Constantinople which I said was the last of the opposers of Idols, and is often mentioned in this song, as is also Lezich, but what he was is uncertain.
But this whole story being delivered unto us on by profest enemies, if they should fasten no worse calumnies
upon the opposite side than yet you have heard, you would think perhaps that the Patrons of Idols then were far more ingenious to their adversaries than we find their
Hear, therefore, something of this kind also, that you may see, as they agreed with us in the same profession against Idols, so did they also in suffering the like slanderous lies from their adversaries. In discoursing whereof I shall be nearer to the hypocrisy of liars than I was before.
In that great Council of three hundred and thirty-eight bishops, held at Constantinople against idols under Constantinus Copronymus, these two canons were, by some that wished well to saint worship, (though they consented against images,) inserted into the first draught of the definition of the Synod; “1. If any one should not confess the holy and ever virgin Mary, truly and properly Deipara (the mother of God) to be higher than any visible or invisible creature, and with a sincere faith implore not her intercession, let him be anathema. 2. If any one shall not confess all the saints, which have been from the beginning of the world until now—to be honourable before God both in soul and body, or shall not entreat their prayers—let him be anathema :" which, when the definition came to be read in the council, the prevailing part of the fathers caused to be blotted out: whereupon that slander, fastened on them by their enemies, may seem to have taken the first hint; as if, forsooth, by their rejecting these two foisted canons, they had, therefore, denied whatsoever was contained in them; as that the Virgin Mary was Deipara, (the mother of God,) or that the saints were to be honoured so much as with that honourable title of saints.
For Cedrenus would make us believe that this emperor Constantine published a general law*, “that none of the servants of God should in anywise be called saints : yea, that such of their relics as were found should be despised,
* θεσμον καθολικον.
and their intercession not to be prayed for; because, said he, they can avail nothing. The prophane wretch added, saith the same author, let no man pray for the intercession, no not of Mary, for she can do him no good ;* moreover, that she should not be called Deipara, that is, the mother of God.' Then he tells us, that he compared the blessed Virgin,' after she was delivered of Christ, “to a purse emptied of the gold that was once in it.” The same with Cedrenus, almost word for word, hath Suidas; so that the one may seem to have been transcribed out of the other.
But Theosterictus, one who lived at the same time, (whereas Cedrenus was more that two hundred and forty years after) seems much more ingenuous; for in his funeral oration upon Nicetus, a confessor of those times, whose disciple he was, relating otherwise the same thing which Cedrenus and Suidas do, yet when he comes to the story of the purse, he brings in the emperor expressly calling the Virgin Mary, Deipara ; but finds fault that he would not vouchsafe her the name saint. 1
Indeed, it seems that at the wiping out of those forementioned canons, there passed something in the council (as is wont in such disputes) concerning an indifference or lawfulness in ordinary speech to mention such places as were dedicated to the memory of saints, without the addition of the name saint. For I find that Stephen the Monk, (afterwards forsooth a martyr) at what time the emperor sent some of the bishops and others unto him, to require his subscription to the decree of the council, thus expostulates with them : “ Did ye not,” saith he, “ discard this adjective saint from all the just, from all the apostles, from the prophets, martyrs, and other godly men? For it was bravely decreed by you, that when any one were going to any of these, and were asked whither
* αλλα μηδε Θεοτοκον αυτην ονομαζεσθαι. + Ita Diaparens Maria (saith he)(neque enim sanctam dignabatur nominare illam (saith Theosterictus) indignus ille) quo tempore Christum in se habebat, valde honoranda illa crat; ex quo autem tempore illum peperit, nihil differebat a reliquis.
he went, he should answer, to the apostles, to the forty martyrs : or being asked wbence he came, he should in like manner say, from the temple of the martyr Theodore, from the temple of the martyr George.”
But Theosterictus tells the same thing of the Emperor Constantine himself.* “ He deprived as much as in him lay the holy martyrs of honour, in that he commanded they should not be styled saints, but simply named the apostles, the forty martyrs, Theodore, George, &c." Where
appears that this law (whatsoever it was which these authors charge the Emperor with) was something that proceeded from the council itself, as Monk Stephen even now charged them. Besides, that it was something only about the calling of places dedicated to saints, though our authors (as calumniators use) tell it of saints at large. Lastly, that it seems to have grown upon some question, how far and in what kind saints were to be honoured, which was occasioned by the wiping out of those canons aforementioned.
Joannes Curopalata and Cedrenus relate, that Michael Balbus, the last save one of the Emperors that opposed idols,t ordained that the word [saint) should not be set upon any images wheresoever they were painted. For this was (and as some say is yet) the fashion of the Greeks, to add the names of the saints to the images which are to represent them. Now if any such thing as this were done or discoursed of in the days of Constantinus, whom they call Copronymus, you may easily guess what fuel it might add to the fire of that slander we speak of.
But why should we trouble ourselves any longer to find out the original of that which we are certain was notorious
* Sanctos martyres (saith he) quantum in ipso erat, honore privavit, cum præceperit non esse illos sanctos appellandos sed simpliciter nominari Apostolos, quadraginta martyres, Theodorum Georgium et alios similiteu.
ή εθεσπισε μη τινι των γεγραμμένων εικονων, καν που γραφομενα τυχοιεν, την [ΑΓΙΟΣ ] φωνην το χαρατσεσθαι.
lie? For it is apparent in the definition of the council itself, which is thus calumniously charged, that they both give the title of saints often to the apostles, fathers and others, and of Deipara to the blessed Virgin. I shall not need to recount every place where they give the title of saint to particulars; hear but what they say in general. “ The saints which pleased God, and are by him honoured with the dignity of saintship, though they be departed hence, yet to God they always live.”* Again, “ It is unlawful for Christians to use the fashions of the Gentiles which worshipped demons or devils, and in a base and lifeless matter (they mean images) to dishonour the saints, which shall one day shine in such and so great grace and glory, viz., to reign with Christ, and to judge the world, and to be made like to his glory, as they said a little before.”+ Concil. Nicen. 2. Act. 6. Tom. 4.
As for the other part of the calumny, about styling the Virgin Mary Deipara, hear not only what they practised, but what they expressly decreed.—ibid. Tom. 6. ^ “If any shall not confess God to be truly Emanuel, and, therefore, the holy Virgin to be Deipara the mother of God—let him be anathema.” Here the blessed Virgin hath both the name of saint (ayba) and (£OTOXQ) mother of God given her. All this you shall find in the sixth Act of the idolatrous council of Nice, where the enemies, whilst they would confute the definition of the Synod at Constantinople, have preserved it, which else had utterly perished, as the Acts thereof bave done.
• Sancti qui Deo placuerunt et ab ipso sunt των αξιωματι της aylotnto dignitate sanctitatis honorati, vivunt semper Deo, licet hinc migraverunt.
+ Nefas eat Christianis, Δαιμονολατρων εθνων Demonum cultricum Gentium moribus uti, et sanctos qui tali et tanta gratia resplendebunt (sc. conregnare cum Christo, et judicare orbem terrarum, et conformes fieri gloriæ ipsius) in ingloria et mortua materia xalubeoles contumelia afficere."
! Ει τις 8χ ομολογει Θεον ειναι κατι αληθειαν τον Εμμαναήλ και δια τετο Θεοτοκον ειναι την αγιας παρθενον-Αναθεμα.