The Pratum Spirituale / Spiritual Meadow of John Moschus

Yesterday I quoted a story from the Acts of Nicaea II (787) where a monk was told it would be better to visit every brothel in the City rather than abandon worshipping the images of Christ and his Mother.  This is attributed to Sophronius, but a kind correspondent pointed out that it is in fact taken from the Pratum Spirituale (“Spiritual Meadow”) of John Moschus, where it is chapter 45.

The Pratum Spirituale (CPG 7376, BHG 1441-1442) is a collection of lively hagiographical stories of eastern monks and hermits, today divided into some 219 chpaters, composed by the author during the reign of Heraclius during and after the capture of Jerusalem by the Sassanid Persians in 614 AD.  Composed in Greek, it exists in Latin, Armenian, Arabic, Georgian (from the Arabic), Ethiopian, and Old Slavonic – the last named version being of considerable importance for the text.

As with all hagiographical texts, there is considerable variation in the manuscripts, and in this case the edition of Migne (PG 87 vol. 3, columns 2852-3112) is rather a mess.  Fortunately there is an article which analyses the manuscripts for us, by P. Pattenden, “The text of the Pratum Spirituale“, JTS 26 (1975), 38-54.  From this I learn that there are over 100 manuscripts, although many contain only parts of the text – sometimes just a single chapter.  Pattenden divides them into three groups.

  • The φ group is best represented by Florence, Mediceo-Laurenziana, Plutei x. 3 (12th century) (= F), which gives the text in 301 numbered chapters in the same order as Migne except that chapters 7 and 8 are reversed.
  • The π group is represented by Paris Graecus 1596 (12th century) (= P), which contains Moschus in three separate series interspersed with other ascetic texts including Anastasius of Sinai.
  • The μ group is a condensed version of the π group text, represented by Marcianus Graecus II, 21 (middle of 10th c.) (= M).  The archetype of this group of manuscripts seems to have been a rather careless copy of a lost manuscript belonging to the π group.

Photius in his Bibliotheca, cod. 199, refers to two versions of the Pratum Spirituale, one of 304 chapters, one of 342.  It is likely that these two versions are the φ and π groups.

The φ group – i.e. F and related manuscripts – seems to be the more authentic version, and is more attentive to getting the names right.  It is supported by the Old Slavonic version, which follows the text of F in numbering and text, but with an additional 35 chapters on the end, taken from some other collection of ascetic stories.

A critical edition of the φ text is apparently in progress, by Marina Detoraki of the University of Crete, according to an article at Dumbarton Oaks here. It does not seem to have appeared as yet, so we are left with Migne’s text, which again is traced by Pattenden.

The Pratum Spirituale first became known in the West through a translation into Latin made by the careful and intelligent Ambrogio Traversari around 1420-30.  This was based on a Greek manuscript sent to him by the Archbishop of Crete.  Traversari’s translation by printed in 1558 by Lipomannus, who reorganised it into 219 chapters.  This text was included in the 1615 Vitae Patrum by Heribert Rosweyd, and reprinted by Migne as PL 74, col. 119-240.

A copy of the Rosweyde volume found its way into the hands of a retired (now deceased – 25th August 2004) Welsh priest named Benedict Baker who translated extensive chunks of it, including the Pratum, and placed them online at his site Vitae Patrum (index here, the Pratum begins here).  This translation has appeared in various places on the web.

The Greek text was first printed by Fronton du Duc (Fronto Ducaeus) at Paris in 1624, with a parallel Latin translation.  This contained only 115 chapters, however. Duc does not state clearly which manuscripts he used, but Pattenden has identified that he used Vatican gr. 738, 12th c. (= R), a mixed manuscript of φ and π, for many chapters, and another manuscript which seems to have eventually been bought by Sir Thomas Phillips, ms. 1624, and in Pattenden’s day was in Berlin as ms. 221 of the East German Deutsche Staatsbibliothek.

A better and more complete Greek edition appeared in Paris in 1681 by Jean Baptiste Cotelier,  who located a Greek text of most of the remaining chapters of Traversari and printed it, with a new parallel Latin version of his own. Cotelier used four main Paris manuscripts, Paris Gr. 916, 11th c. (= A), from the φ group; Paris gr. 1605, 12th c. (= X) from the π group, and two manuscripts of extracts.

The Cotelier text, with some additions was the text given by Migne in PG 87.  But Migne omits the prologue, or life of Moschus, given by Duc and Rosweyde.

It is apparently noticeable that Traversari’s translation is based on a much better Greek text than either of the editions.

The Migne PG 87 Greek text has been translated by John Wortley, The Spiritual Meadow (Pratum Spirituale), Cistercian Studies 139, Kalamazoo (1992).  Let us look at chapter 45, which is on p.35-6:


One of the elders told us that Abba Theodore the Aeliote said that there was a certain recluse on the Mount of Olives, a great warrior against whom the demon of sexual desire waged battle. One day when <the demon> attacked with vehemence, the elder began to give up in despair and to say to the demon: ‘How much longer are you not going to let me go? Desist from growing old together with me’! The demon appeared to him in visible form, saying: ‘Swear to me that you will never reveal to anybody what I am about to tell you and I will no longer wage war against you’. The elder swore: ‘By Him who dweUeth in the heavens I will not tell anybody what you say’. The demon said to him: ‘Desist from venerating this icon here and I will call off my war against you’. The icon in question bore the likeness of our Lady Mary, the holy Mother of God, carrying our Lord Jesus Christ. The recluse said to the demon: ‘Let me go and think about it’. The next day he sent for Abba Theodore the Aeliote (the one who told us this story) for at that time he was residing at the Lavra of Pharon. When Abba Theodore came, the recluse told him all there was to tell and received this reply: ‘In fact you were ensnared when you swore, abba. But you are quite right to speak out. It were better for you to leave no brothel in the town unentered than to diminish reverence from our Lord Jesus Christ and from his Mother’. Abba Theodore strengthened and comforted the recluse with many words and then returned to his own place. The demon re-appeared to the recluse and said to him: ‘What is this then, you wicked old man?’ Did you not swear to me that you would not tell anybody? Why then have you revealed everything to the man who came to see you’! I tell you, you wicked old man, you will be tried as an oath-breaker at the day of judgement’. The recluse answered: ‘I know that I gave my oath and broke it, but it was with my Lord and Creator that I broke faith; you I will not obey. As the initiator of evil counsel and of the oath-breaking, you are the one who will have to face the inescapable consequences of the misdeeds you brought about’.

The version by Revd Benedict Baker is as follows:

Chapter XLV. The life of an anchorite MONK on the Mount of Olives, and his veneration of an icon of MARY, the most holy birthgiver of God.

Abba Theodorus Aeliotes told us about an anchorite on the Mount of Olives, a great (spiritual) athlete, battling strenuously with the spirit of fornication.

“Why can’t you leave me alone?” he cried with a loud moan one day when the demon was attacking him particularly strongly. “You’ve been with me all my life. Get away from me!”

The demon suddenly appeared visibly before him.

“Swear to me,” he said, “that you won’t tell anyone what I am about to say to you, and I won’t bother you any further.”

“By him who lives in the high heavens,” he replied, “I swear not to tell anyone what you say to me.”

“Stop venerating this icon,” the demon said, “and then I will stop attacking you.”

Now this icon consisted of a lifelike painting of our holy lady Mary the birthgiver of God carrying our Lord Jesus Christ.

“Give me time to think about this,” said the anchorite.

The next day he let this same abba Theodorus know about it. He told him everything that had happened. Theodorus was at that time living in the Laura of Pharan.

“It was very wrong of you, dear abba,” the old man said to the anchorite, “to swear an oath to the demon. Nevertheless you have done the right thing in telling me about it. What you need to do now is to make sure you have no truck with any dealings in that realm, lest you renounce the worship of God, our Lord Jesus Christ and his mother.” He went on to say a great deal more to strengthen and comfort him before leaving him in his cell.

The demon appeared to the anchorite once more.

“What’s this, you wicked old man?” he said. “Didn’t you swear to me that you would not tell anybody? So why have you told all to that person who visited you? I’m telling you, you will be condemned as a perjurer in the day of judgment.”

“I know that I have sworn an oath and broken it,” the anchorite replied, “but that oath sworn in the name of my God and Creator I have broken in order that I should not be obedient to you. But as for you, the prime source of false counsel and perjury, you will not be able to escape the punishment prepared for you.”

It is noticeable that Mr Baker’s version does not contain the striking line about the brothel, but instead this:

What you need to do now is to make sure you have no truck with any dealings in that realm, lest you renounce the worship of God, our Lord Jesus Christ and his mother.

In fact Mr Baker seems to have paraphrased, with the intention of making the text easier to read and both accessible and edifying.  This is an entirely legitimate approach to an ancient text, so long as the reader is aware of it.  Indeed Mr Baker’s translation is really rather moving at points, and may be recommended to those wishing to read what was, after all, intended as a devotional text.


25 thoughts on “The Pratum Spirituale / Spiritual Meadow of John Moschus

  1. Hi Roger,
    Another impressive piece of scholarship. My contribution is the observation that the Council of Nicaea II used a version of the manuscript of the ‘Spiritual Meadow’ that was only 150 years removed from the original so the bit about the brothel must have been in the original.

    My interpretation of the story is that to reject an icon of Christ and Mary is to reject Christ and renounce Chistianity. You might as well go to a brothel because you aren’t bound by the moral code of Christianity any more and are headed for hell.

  2. I’m sure that you are right about the text.

    I would phrase that differently; better suffer any evil however horrible than lose God.

    But I think the phrase is just a piece of rhetoric, and indeed the lesson isn’t really about icons as such at all. The Iconoclast disputes are not in the mind of John Moschus.

  3. Maybe the ‘scholarship’ is not yours but, Roger, you have put all this together, including the information about the various manuscripts, in less than a day!

  4. Well that’s very kind, but really all I did was read. After I read the comment on the Pratum, I wanted to know about this stuff. Having read it, a digest seemed useful.

  5. Hi Roger,

    Fine work at comparing the sources. I had this interest in the Pratum Spirituale since I started working with Mendham’s translation and the whole source issue of the controversy. I will have to search again to confirm, but it seems Thomas Noble considers this story as an interpolation of the original work (dated around 620’s); I think that would be expected considering the evidence from Gregory the Great (600 AD). Any thoughts on the authenticity?

  6. Hi Pedro,

    Is this the Thomas Noble? He suggests that many references to icons in early Greek texts are interpolated after the iconoclast disputes. He suggests that 3 (81, 180, 230) of the 4 stories about icons are interpolated, but in note 111 he says that 45 is the one that may be 7th century (i.e. authentic).

    (For others: “Mendham” refers to the 1850 translation of the Acts of Nicaea 2)

    I didn’t understand your reference to Gregory – sorry. You clearly know more than I do about this!

  7. Thanks Douglas, I’ll read it.

    Yes, that Thomas Noble. You say that but you’re quite up to date with research haha. With Gregory I’m refering to his attack on Iconoclasm and his condemnation of “Adorare Imagines”. Most authors from Secular Scholarship, Protestants and some Catholic authors (e.g. George Henri Tavard) hold that Gregory was a very strict iconophile, strongly anti-iconodule.

    Noble suggests that, instead of looking the sources of Marseilles’ abuse on pagan Tendencies, he suggests the abuse was actually Greek Iconodulia, as Marseilles was an important port-city in the Mediterranean. Well, this is mind blowing: Tavard suggested Gregory KNEW what Greek Icon Worship was, but he didn’t side with it in his condemnation.

    This brings tons of questions, like: was he expecting to kill a Young pratice? What his silence
    on Greek abuse can mean?

  8. I’ve been to St. Catherine’s Monastery in the Sinai and there are icons from the 6th and 7th centuries. Scholarships supports their date. there are also some early Coptic icons in Egypt.
    By their nature icons are quite perishable so it’s not surprising that only a few survive from the pre-iconoclastic period.
    There are too many icons from before 680 to suggest the practice started a generation before the iconoclastic outbreak.

  9. Pedro — I think you’re not thinking literally enough about Gregory the Great’s Latin. There were still pagans around in his day, in the West, that kissed (‘adorare’) pagan idol statues. Obviously it was a bit iffy to kiss Christian pictures (or statues), if pagans might be confused into thinking that Christians were worshipping saints (because one only kissed a god’s statue, as a sign of supplication and weakness).

    Now, obviously these days, both Greeks and Latins are okey-dokey with kissing saints, although the word “adorare” is reserved for the adoration of God Himself. If pagan worship gestures like kissing came back, maybe one would have to re-examine usage. (Although frankly, it’s usually pagans stealing from Christianity now.)

    St. Epiphanius wasn’t super-fond of the icons he came across, in whatever medium. But obviously he had a lot of bad memories of heretics from his youth, and was bound to be nervous about anything that looked new and different to him.

  10. Hi Suburbanbanshee,
    The reputation of St Epiphanius being anti-images is based on a series of rather dubious texts. There is a great study by Steven Bigham on the topic.
    The fact that 5 texts claiming Epiphanian authorship turn up with a 350 years gap with no one mentioning them, only for them to be conveniently used by the iconoclasts to support their position is very suspicious. Bingham also picks up some glaring anachronisms in the texts as well. The recently discovered Greek fragment of Epiphanius’s Letter to John of Jerusalem is also rather different from the Latin version by Jerome.

  11. Hi Stefano …

    So, I’m assuming your’re Eastern Orthodox, so it might be hard to say that, but I Bigham isn’t convincing. First and foremost, originally, the Iconoclastic faction came up with the letter in their florilegia to prove their doctrine was based on the Fathers: that’s the Greek letter. When the iconodules accused this letter for being a forgery, they didn’t knew Jerome had that letter translated to Latin on Epiphanius’ demands, so the Latin letter can’t be accused of being the iconoclastic forgery; I say that because most RC apologists in Brazil accuse Letter 51 (the latin version) of forgery.

    So, first of all, the apologists have to answer the issue with the Latin letter. Bigham excuses are terrible, he suggests out of nowhere that the Iconoclasts gave an interpolated letter to the Franks, they received and adapted in their own manuscript tradition of the letter to John of Jerusalem, creating a corrupted tradition; so basically they had the original latin letter before the Iconoclastic document and interpolated it after the document’s corruptions, because they were dumb or something.

    Franks were not dumb, and by no means iconoclastic (which basically ejects the idea of western corruption): they checked every reference from Nicea II and Adrian’s letter, they even corrected Pope Synodica’s mention of St. Ambrose of Milan argument “in favor of images” saying Ambrose said the reference was wrong and the words were displaced in a distorted manner; they realized Ambrose’s letter where he says he recognized St. Paul in a dream cause he was used to see his images as spurious; and Adrian was either ignorant it was fake or was acting dissimulate since he says the bishop of Ravenna simply “appeared” with a new letter and none in Rome cared to fact check it. BTW, that’s my next academic article: Ambrose’s pro-image writtings appear in John ibn Mansur (Damascene) Oratios; but Damascene couldn’t know him, as none in Greek-speaking world had Ambrose Latin works. So, Roman Sabaites in West who knew Greek and Latin interpolated the Oratios (not totally new, actually, Gregory II’s letters were heavily interpolated, but I do recognize there was an original iconophile document).

    Just to finish: I highly doubt Bigham’s honesty of translating document from my own personal experience, actually, I barelly trust him for anything, really. To put in an example: his translation of Elvira’s canon simply rapes the latin words, this might not be as obvious to most people, but for a Portuguese-speaking:

    “Placuit picturas in ecclesia esse non debere, ne quod colitur et adoratur in parietibus depingatur”

    In Portuguese/English: Colocar/to place + pinturas/picturas + na Igreja/in the Church + não se deve/ought not. He cames up with a “It seens good” that doesn’t exist in Latin. Look, I’m just a begineer in latin, but those words doesn’t exist in the canon.

  12. Thank you Pedro for your input. I’ve not had a chance to look at Bigham yet. But it is always possible to assert forgery, too easy. I’m not much convinced by that.

    On the Latin tho: “placuit” is often rendered in English translations of canons as “it seems good” or “it is agreed”. So: it seems good (placuit) that pictures (picturas) ought not (non debere, accusative plus infinitive) to be (esse) in church (in ecclesia), …

  13. Hi Suburbanbanshe,

    On the Gregory’s issue: I’m being seduced by the Greek Iconodulia thesis because Marseilles wasn’t really a Pagan pool-party: I mean, you will find out that Septimania in Gaul had pagans well into the Muslim conquest of it, but Marseilles itself was already a strong Christian bastion by the time Gregory wrote that letter. Not only that: the Franks were already Catholic and the previous overlords, the Visigoths, were also Christian (they even converted from Arianism to Catholicism a decade earlier). So Port-Town with strong Christian activity + Byzantine mediterranean commerce makes me think it’s very unlikely it was Pagan issues; I mean, it’s not impossible, but I being convincted on the contrary.

    Your points on Paganism makes me realize being a Brazillian is a unique experience: we still have pagan cults from Africa and the ones that mixed African and Native American religions; some of those African religions went extinct in nowadays Africa, LOL. So it’s pretty much like studying a living fossil that someone in US or Europe might not easily understand: especially on the issue of images, as all of them are “Iconodules” (they don’t think their statues are the gods/entities themselves, anyways). I think Christian-background would make European Neopaganism shy of actually kissing or bowing to images, because they’re not keeping up a religion, but creating a dead one in a Christian environment.

    Stefano again: you may obviously find personal images of Christ and the saints way before 680, but that’s not exatly the issue. In my book, I divide Christian positions in the groups: Aniconists, Iconists and Iconodules. Having an image is one the necessary steps to have Icon Veneration, but flour doesn’t make a cake by itself.

    If you want reference for personal images (or “icons” if you wish) check documental evidence: Irenaeus of Lyons cite them in the 2nd century, even before the funerary artwork of the Roman Catacombs. But, warning: making those images was a Carpocratian Gnostic custom. Crowning images eventually blended in Italy (as Douglas’ link proves), but was unacceptable in Greek Christianity: at Nicea they said it was a Pagan custom (the Italian bishops remained quiet, ironically).

    Augustine in the 5th century, based in Epiphanius’ Panarion, gives us that Carpocratians were both iconographers and iconodules; yes, that’s another reason why I believe Epiphanius was actually aniconist (“iconoclast”). Augustine heresiology manual isn’t really available out there, although an American Catholic College translated it (sometimes not as it should be), I’m planning to make a translation of my own.

  14. Sorry Roger, that was quite embarassing LOL. At least I’m not going to use that again, thank you. But on Bigham’s issue: we had to keep in mind the iconodule procedure at Nicea that you even mentined earlier: no reference against images could, by any means, be considered valid. So when they had a reference, they would search if the author was an heretic, if he was, them they discarted the evidence. That’s what they did with Eusebius, and that 2nd century gnostic gospel where John the Apostle condemns a guy for making his image and crowning it (again, thank you Douglas for proving that happened in late 7th century Sicily).

    If they couldn’t prove the source was heretic, it was false. That’s something even Cardinal Belarmine does with John Damascene writtings that weren’t aligned with Rome: for example, Damascene held that people in Hell may go to Heaven, as Mark of Ephesus said in Florence-Ferrara and this theorically the thing you should believe as an Eastern Orthodox. But Belarmine said it was false because that can’t be aligned with Purgatory at all, and he couldn’t eject John either. I think he did the same to Pope Honorius letters where he professes monotelist heresy: the Greeks forged it!

    I would advise looking that Mendham’s translation: it’s complete (New Advent isn’t) and free. I found Pearse’s website because of Mendham’s book haha. Especially, compare what Bigham says about “Nicea II making a difference between tradition and Tradition”, it doesn’t exist in the Acta and no author I know of supports that. The reason Bigham says that? Because Bigham is following Cardinal Newman’s thesis of development, something that was even condemned by the Orthodox Church but went on EO apologists graces due to the current state of evidence regarding icon-worship. If icon worship wasn’t given by apostles, as even non-iconodule iconophiles like emperor Leo III professed (before turning iconoclast), and wasn’t following St. Vicent Dictum (always creed, by everyone, everywhere), then you need a reasoning on why a custom became a dogma and how a Council could appeal to “the Tradition of always” that wasn’t really Apostolic Tradition. Martin Chemnitz has commentaries on the Nicene Acta (Exam of the Council of Trent, can’t remember the tome) that basically confirms the Council itself was thinking icons were always around and used by everyone.

    Newman is the first Catholic apologist I know to recognise that earlier Church was aniconic, and that icon-worship didn’t came up immediately with image introduction in the fourth century. Ludwig Ott, Thomas Reese, monsenhor Urbano Zilles (Brazillian) and Paulus Editora (RC Brazillian publisher) follow Newman line. This isn’t really Orthodox position, but Bigham had some sucesses at introducing it to Arakaki and other EO apologists.

  15. On DouglasGaubi …

    So, I read your article yesterday. I don’t like the way he treats some evidence: specifically, Islamic Evidence.

    It turns out that I work to a Muslim Sheik named Victor (Mansur) Peixoto that rans a Islamic History page and I write some texts to people in it. But he helped me collecting evidence from Islamic Religious Texts on Christian Images so I can analyze the state of evidence. Basically, from both the Kuran and the Hadith, no Islamic Religious Text talks about Christian Icon Worship in Arabia; that is, something that could be interpreted by the Islamic viewers as Idolatry. They do talk about crosses and images, e.g. one of Mohamed’s wifes had them in her house and after that he destroyed them. And they do talk about adoration of Christ and Mary; the latter one being explained by Miaphisite Mariology that according to some scholars constituted or was close to crude idolatry (Miaphysistes trace their tradition to Cyril of Alexandria, the Theotokos’ champion).

    The references are good, but not interpreted very well. For example, Purple Notes indicates that Biruni’s comments (btw you may skip the “al” article if you like) are being interpreted by them, not exactly what is indicated on the text (implying there was something in the text). So I asked the Sheik his two cents: he argues Biruni is not talking about Christians, but actual Pagans (Islamic Law do recognizes a difference between a Jew from a Christian, and a Christian from a Pagan/Maju). The context is about how Pagan Arabs imported pagan idols from Syria to put them on Meca’s shrine: which did had a lot of idols and at least two Christian icons, one of Christ and another of the Virgin. I mean, they could give the context of the text or more of the text itself. After Mohamed controled Meca, all the Pagan parafernalia went out, as they believe the Shrine itself was Hafinist/Proto-Islamic and so stolen by the Pagans from their previous owners.

    Biruni’s second quote: first of all, he doesn’t specify what type of images they captured. While statues came up easily, they could be 2D images; he do know about crowned icons from Noble’s work. I mean, I you went to Rome before Pope Frank you could see the supposed St. Luke’s icon with crowns. Why statues matter? Well, theorically Pope Adrian condemned them in his Synodica, and Orthodox do condemn them as well up to this day so, being statues could make things interest for my research hehe. That “that idols are only memorials, was also held by the Caliph Mu’awiya {reigned 661 to 680} regarding the idols of Sicily” looks strange to me, almost to the point of a trap. Is he saying that christians in Sicily regarded icons as memorials JUST AS GREGORY THE GREAT REGARDED?

    Any ways, those references are good, I just knew the author and I hope to use it in my book.

  16. Hi Pedro,
    let’s not have a debate. You won’t convince me. Orthodox don’t worship icons. One thing I’ve noticed is that Anglicans/Lutherans, etc are much more understand than a generation ago so all those ridiculous accusations of idolatry are gone. Go an visit an Orthodox Church and get over your fear. There aren’t many in Brazil but I’m sure you can find one.
    Can I say that if you pictures of your wife and children on your phone and show them to people then you are venerating/respecting them. If you hold a copy of the bible in esteem then you are venerating it. What do you think we are doing when Orthodox say we are venerating things.

    Concluding Remarks
    1. Translations of some of Ambrose of Milan’s works were available in Greek translation.
    2. The Council of Elvira actually means very little to Orthodox – if you were consistent and accepted all 81 of its canons then you might have a point.
    3. Bigham does not argue that Jerome’s Letter 51 is a forgery. He just brings up concerns about the post-script. The letter is like “hey, I ordained some one in your diocese illegally”, also “Let me tell you have much I hate Origen” then PS “I hate icons” – so not really coherent
    4. Bigham is just rehashing the arguments of George Ostrogorsky – a giant in 20th century Byzantine studies. Not exactly a light weight thinker
    5. You seem to concede that Christian art was around even in Pre-Nicene time. I always wonder what modern Evangelicals think the Christians were doing. “Hey guys, let’s paint this frescoes or put up this mosaic but don’t pay it any attention! Just look at the floor or maybe out the window! We like pretty pictures but in reality they don’t mean anything to us! We’re not going to this expense because we venerate the images but because we’re desperate to break the commandment on images.”
    6. If the Byzantine iconoclasts hadn’t been such a bunch of violent thugs there might have been more substance to their case. For me, the 350 bishops at Nicaea II seem fairly unified.

  17. Hi Pedro,

    Thank you for these interesting points and sources.

    Mendham’s translation of the Acts of Nicaea II is thankfully freely available, and, I agree, well worth looking at.


  18. I wont, really. But you should look after Dr. John B. Carpenter article “Answering EO Apologists regarding Icons”. The “Worship” world was always accepted for iconodulia, so they divided between Worship latria and Worship of Dulia. In latin doc’s the word is “cultus”.

    1) They weren’t. When they were quoted in Nicea II, it was by the Pope’s delegation. Also, the Letter to All Italy (mentioning Paul’s images) wasn’t forged in West until decades later. Someone else put that there

    2) Check Carpenter’s article, the issue is the historical testimony, not following all the canons

    3)PS is part of the Letter, explaining how we have mss Tradition in West (a 9th century one in Vatican) it’s not convincing.

    4) Yeah, but Academics have taken Holl’s side, not Ostrogovsky

    5) Check written evidence. It can’t be denied, but Irenaeus, Eusebius, Augustine and others saying it was made by bad people (pagans, gnostics etc) doesn’t worth the price

    6) Histórians today have point out lots of forgeries and false stories made up by Iconodules after they won. The Chalke Gate issue, the persecutions. It’s even odd they were devils and after Nícea the iconodules won and Iconoclasts “disapeared”. Check HE made by Miaphysites and by Chalcedonians: they only talk about the other persecuting their Faith, but not the other way round. Christians sources were regarded as unrealisble by people like Gibbon and such, due to stuff like that.

    Hieria had about 300 too. Michael the Syrian said they came from “provinces of Rome, Sicily, Hillaide, Dalmatia, Cilicy etc”. Also, the Melkite Patriarchs’ representativo in Nícea II was forged, as later Patriarchs admited. Anyways, check my website If you want to know pra discuss more (

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