This article is concerned with one of the most discussed problem in the history of Byzantium regarding the origin and circumstances of the appearance of iconoclasm in the eighth century. The author studies the contradiction between the early and later sources about the role of the bishops in Asia Minor in the diffusion of the iconoclastic heresy, particularly that of Bishop Constantine of Nacolea. The agenda of the Eighth Ecumenical Council, in which Constantine is described as the major heresiarch of iconoclasm, serve as a primary later source. On the other hand, earlier sources include the epistles of Germanos I of Constantinople, which indicate the Orthodoxy of this hierarch particularly regarding the icons and their veneration. An apparent contradiction in historiography is usually resolved by means of an examination of still another work of Germanos, his tractate On Heresies and the Councils, the contents of which directly prove the guilt of Constantine of Nacolea in diffusing the heresy. But an analysis of this work clearly shows that Germanos was not really its author. But, on the other hand, Constantine of Nicolea is deliberately portrayed in this work as the person responsible for the diffusion of the heresy, in order to absolve from guilt, the real perpetrators, the Emperors Leo III and Constantine V of the Isaurian Dynasty, the descendants of whom emerged as the initiators of the Eighth Ecumenical Council and, paradoxically, the victorious conquerors of the Iconoclastic Heresy.
Patriarch Germanus, Constantine of Nacoleia, Thomas of Claudioupolis, Patriarch Tarasius, Emperor Leo III, Emperor Constantine V, Empress Irene, Emperor Constantine VI, iconoclasm, VII Ecumenical Council, heresy, icon, Patriarchate of Constantinople.
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