(c. 728) 2 states that Nerses, his predecessor, had chastised the sect, but ineffectually; and that after his death (c. 554) they had continued to lurk in Armenia, where, reinforced by Iconoclasts driven out of Albania of the Caucasus, they had settled in the region of Djirka, probably near Lake Van.
He made himself conspicuous by issuing a pamphlet in justification of the iconoclasts who devastated Flanders in 1566, and on Alva's arrival next year had to fly the country.
In his last years he travelled through Syria contending against the iconoclasts, and in the same cause he visited Constantinople at the imminent risk of his life during the reign of Constantine Copronymus.
Elected as the tool of the bigoted orthodox party in the Church, Michael diligently persecuted the iconoclasts on the northern and eastern frontiers of the empire, but meanwhile allowed the Bulgarians to ravage a great part of Macedonia and Thrace; having at last taken the field in the spring of 813, he was defeated near Bersinikia, and Leo the Armenian was saluted emperor in his stead in the following summer.
Margaret of Parma meanwhile, with the aid of a considerable body of German mercenaries, had inflicted exemplary punishment upon the iconoclasts and Calvinist sectaries.
A report that Herod was dead co-operated with their exhortations to send the iconoclasts to their appointed work.
See Iconoclasts; Image-worship; Byzantine Art.
He condemned the iconoclasts at a council convened at Rome in November 731, and, like his predecessor Gregory II., stimulated the missionary labours of St Boniface, on whom he conferred the pallium.
Leo feigned for a while to be on their side, but on the 2nd of February 815, in the sanctuary of St Sophia, publicly refused to prostrate himself before the images, with the approbation of the army and of many bishops who were iconoclasts at heart.
The iconoclasts proper, who not only condemned image worship in the sense just explained but rejected all religious art whatever.
The issue of the struggle was not a complete victory even in Byzantium for the partisans of image-worship. The iconoclasts left an indelible impress on the Christian art of the Greek Church, in so far as they put an end to the use of graven images; for the Eastern icon is a flat picture, less easily regarded than would be a statue as a nidus within which a spirit can lurk.
Ioo; "St John of Damascus," three "Sermones" against the iconoclasts, Patr.