• Greek: eikon, image, and klaein, to break


A heresy that disturbed the peace of the Eastern Church in the 8th and 9th centuries. It rejected both the use and the veneration of images. The first storm against images was raised by Emperor Leo the Isaurian in 726, and brought to an end by the Seventh General Council in 787 under the protection of the Empress Irene. The second, inaugurated by Emperor Leo V, was ended by the establishment of the feast of Orthodoxy (19 February 842) under the Empress Theodora. In the West there was an echo of the controversy under Charlemagne in 790. Here the controversy turned about the veneration of images. In an interchange of letters between the pope and the Frankish bishops the principles were gradually clarified and the decrees of the Seventh General Council accepted.

MLA Citation

  • “iconoclasm”. New Catholic Dictionary. CatholicSaints.Info. 21 February 2010. Web. 17 January 2022. <http://catholicsaints.info/iconoclasm/>