Sabbath Keepers in Armenia and Asia Minor (Part 2)

Sabbath Keepers in Armenia and Asia Minor (Part 2)

By Kelly McDonald, Jr.

In the 700s AD, the Eastern Roman Empire had three successive emperors who were against the use of images and idols: Leo III (Isaurian), Constantine V, and Leo IV. They were friendly to the Paulicians (and related sects mentioned in the last article). In 780 AD, Leo IV died. His wife Irene became Empress. She restored images and idols back to churches and reunited the Eastern Church back with Rome. In 787, Irene convened the Second Council of Nicea. Images were restored and the Sabbath was condemned.

Here are some canons from this council:

Canon 7 – “the heresies of the slanderers of Christians (iconoclasts) drew other impieties after them. They not merely took away the sacred images, but also abandoned other ecclesiastical customs, which must now be renewed….all temples which were consecrated without having relics, these must be placed with the customary prayers. If, in future, a bishop consecrates a church without relics, he shall be deposed.”

Canon 8 – Since some of those who come from the religion of the Hebrews mistakenly think to make a mockery of Christ who is God, pretending to become Christians, but denying Christ in private by both secretly continuing to observe the sabbath and maintaining other Jewish practices… care should be taken that they abandon Hebrew practices. However if they are not of this sort, they should certainly not be welcomed.

Canon 9 – “All writings against the venerable images are to be delivered up into the episcopal residence at Constantinople, and then put aside (shut up) along with the other heretical books. If anyone conceals them, he must, if bishop, priest, or deacon, be deposed ; if monk or layman, anathematized.”

(quoted from Hefele, history of the Councils, vol. 5, pages 180-181).

The Eastern Roman Empress Theodora, who ruled in the mid-800s, had idols permanently restored to the Empire. As many as 100,000 Paulicians were believed to have been killed during her reign.

Kelly McDonald, Jr. BSA President

You can follow Kelly on his website:

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