But… “Origen’s Christology was utterly inadequate and ambiguous. The whole set of his metaphysical presuppositions made it very difficult for him to integrate the Incarnation, as a unique historical event, into the general scheme of Revelation. Everything historical was but transitory and accidental.” “The whole system of symbols was something provisional, to be ultimately done away.”53 Florovsky also suggests that “… the conflict itself was merely a symptom of sterility of the Byzantine Church.”54 It found resonance with the upper class segments of society (the army and court) but never flourished in the lower classes.55 He does admit, however, that there were problems with images as early as the fourth century.56 This would coincide with the flowering of public religious art subsequent to the Edict of Milan.
51 Moshe Barasch. Icon: Studies in the History of an Idea. (New York, NY: New York University Press,
1992), p. 113ff.
52 Florovsky, 1974, p. 101.
53 Ibid, p. 110.
54 Ibid, p. 102.
55 Ibid, p. 106.
56 Ibid, p. 107.
Identification with a side of the iconoclastic controversy was often more related to social and political factors than theological ideology. During much of this time, monasteries were making money off of “miraculous” icons and the tourism business.57 This caused people to have strong opinions on either side of the dispute. This difficult time during Christian history, the age of iconoclasm, can be divided into three phases.58 These are:
1. Emergence and development under Leo III (717-740CE) and Constantine V (740-775, and the iconoclastic council of 754CE (Hieria)
2. The Seventh Ecumenical council in Nicea (787CE) – icons okay
3. Iconoclastic revival (815-842CE) and final extinction (up to 867CE)