what did empress irene do

[43] From this point on, relations between Constantine VI and his mother Irene worsened. August 26, 2017 Irene Doukaina or Ducaena (Greek: Εἰρήνη Δούκαινα, Eirēnē Doukaina; c. 1066 – 19 February 1138) was a Byzantine Empress by marriage to the Byzantine emperor Alexios I Komnenos, and the mother of the emperor John II Komnenos and of the historian Anna Komnene. There Irene and 350 invited bishops finally ruled to restore the orthodoxy of the veneration of icons in the Christian Church and end iconoclasm. Irene Constantina Flavia was born to Emperor Constantine XI as his youngest child in 1575. [9] When Emperor Leo IV came to the throne, he and his wife’s views of religion began to clash. Many courtiers were arrested, tortured, and imprisoned. Charlemagne, advised by scholar Alcuin of York, travelled to Rome in November 800 and held a council on December 1. Ancient History Encyclopedia. List their dangerous adversaries. Byzantine Empire, Irene of Athens The reason he chose her is unclear. To prevent this, Irene had to negotiate an immense annual tribute of 70,000 or 90,000 dinars to the Abbasids for a three-year truce. [33]In May, she and Constantine VI visited the Greek province of Thrace. However, Elpidios fled to Africa, where the Arabs received him as the Roman Emperor. Last modified November 15, 2017. The persecution of iconophiles had been a key feature of previous emperors' reigns, especially Irene’s father-in-law Constantine V, so the Empress could not be too harsh on the perpetrators and risk alienating family members at court. Irene celebrated his victory by hosting a triumph in 784. One led by Constantine’s uncle Nikephoros was quashed, and the emperor blinded the ringleader in an all too familiar act of imperial Byzantine brutality. On January 14, 771, Irene gave birth to a son named Constantine VI. Lombards. Much like Empress Theodora, Empress Irene was not born into royalty – it was the beauty of the young orphan that caught the eye of Emperor Constantine V. Ancient History Encyclopedia, 15 Nov 2017. By the time of her abdication, she had a large amount of money which she handed over to Nikephoros. Who helped the pope? Saint Irene (Greek Ειρήνη η Αθηναία) (c. 752 - August 9, 803) was a Byzantine empress (although she called herself basileus, the male form of the word "emperor," rather than basilissa, "empress") from 797 to 802.She was the wife of Leo IV.. With his heir having already died earlier the same year, Irene now had dealt with all her challengers. Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Her usurpation of the imperial throne created a theoretical justification for the coronation of Charlemagne. [4] On November 1, 769, Irene arrived in Constantinople. She was very insecure in her position, which led her to become ruthless. The use of icons as long as the worship wasn't given to the pictures. From 797 to 802 CE she ruled as emperor in her own right, the first woman to do so in Byzantine history. It is unclear why she was selected as the bride for the young Leo IV. [51] This made him very unpopular, and in order to secure his throne, he made his mother co-ruler in January 792. The Franks. In 800, Charlemagne was crowned emperor by Pope Leo III, on Christmas Day. A Strategos was what? [1] After her death, she became a saint in the Eastern Orthodox Church[2]. [34] She continued to the Bulgarian frontier and the resettlement of the territory that was reclaimed from the Slavs. Subscribe to our weekly newsletter and join our 5,168 subscribers to stay up to date on History of Royal Women's articles! Significantly, Constantine could no longer call on the support of Michael Lachanodrakon, the general having been killed that year while campaigning against the Bulgars. Irene died on 9 August 803, after which her body was transferred to her monastery at Principo. Related Content At one point, it was proposed she marry Charlemagne, which would have united the Eastern and Western empires for the first time in hundreds of years. That he died shortly after is assumed by some; in other accounts, he and Theodote retired to private life. Leo began to promote iconoclast monasteries. We have also been recommended for educational use by the following publications: Ancient History Encyclopedia Foundation is a non-profit organization registered in Canada. License. Some have even argued that she was part of the first of the many bride shows which took place during that period for the imperial heir to select a wife. Despite her actions as empress, she was canonised for her part in restoring icon-veneration and her saint's life endows her with all appropriate -- and inappropriate -- piety and virtues. Next, Irene convened a Church council in Constantinople in 786 CE to put an official end to the destruction of icons (iconoclasm). Empress Irene set out to solve the issue of iconoclasm which was established in the empire. [64] He proposed marriage to Empress Irene, which she consented. [19] He was defeated. Who was the Frankish leader? Called “Irene of Athens” in honor of her birthplace, Irene is mainly remembered for two dramatic events. [71] Because of her restoration of icon-worship, she was canonised in the Eastern Orthodox Church as a saint.[72]. From 797 to 802 CE she ruled as emperor in her own right, the first woman to do so in Byzantine history. Web. [61] Thus, the Pope considered the throne vacant[62]. Instead, they were permitted to repent of their sins and welcomed back into the Church now glittering once again with its precious icons. Who invaded central Italy? Born between 750 and 755 into a noble family of Athens, she was chosen to be a bride of Leo IV – the son of Emperor Constantine V. Overnight, this orphan noble girl became a bride of an Heir of Byzantine Emperor. Even this seemingly pious campaign was really only a means for Irene to defeat her enemies and keep power. Theodora moved to higher studies, Justin was enthroned and puppeted by Maximian Prothoperos and Irene also studied, but she was still on gymnasium. It was a rare moment of decision, but it was too little, too late. B. Egypt. [40] However, his mother had no plans to relinquish her power to him. The Empress’ gold coins reveal much of her duplicitous character for, uniquely, they carried a portrait of herself on both sides. [11] These two different viewpoints of religion began to strain their marriage. With the army opposition dealt with, Staurakios accompanied Irene to the Seventh Ecumenical Council at Nicaea in September 787 CE. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Your data will be shared with Google and other ad vendors. [59], Placing a woman on the Imperial Roman throne was unheard of. Stephen.[7]. Constantine then ordered the tongues of all four of his uncles to be torn out. [60] No woman had ever reigned on her own in the Roman empire before. [44] He planned a revolt inside the palace. In 788, she broke off the marriage to Charlemagne’s daughter because it seemed that Charlemagne was unwilling to part with his daughter. Irene was not to be so easily ushered to the wings of power, either, and she returned to the court in 792 CE, invited by her son as a last-ditch attempt to restore some order to his reign. Irene died within a year of losing the throne she had loved so much and clung onto for so long. The former was logothetes tou dromou or chief minister with a wide range of powers. Written by Mark Cartwright, published on 15 November 2017 under the following license: Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike. [5] She was betrothed in the palace chapel, Our Lady of the Pharos, on November 3rd. Saint Irene of Hungary (1088 – 13 August 1134), born Piroska, was a Byzantine empress by marriage to John II Komnenos.She is venerated as a saint. A final crushing blow to Constantine’s ambitions was the protests following his divorce and subsequent marriage to his mistress Theodote, the so-called Moechian Controversy, in 795 CE. Constantine VI and Irene, 780 - 790 AD. The Empire was frantic. [31] Irene demoted Tatzates and formed a policy to remove Constantine V’s generals from high command. She continued to take an interest in all matters of her empire: politics, warfare, and religion combined and tried to win favour by announcing reductions in taxes for her people. Was it common for the Byzantine Empire to have a female ruler? Unfortunately, the young emperor was not actually up to the task. [65], However, her overthrow prevented her marriage to Charlemagne. [30] She also had to give them 10,000 silk garments and to provide them with guides, provisions, and access to markets during their withdrawal from the Byzantine Empire. Ancient History Encyclopedia Foundation is a non-profit organization. (115). Before that, Irene was empress consort from 775 to 780, and empress dowager and regent from 780 to 797. [22] Her first coins were issued with Constantine VI placed on the lesser important side of the coin. However, she was very successful with Bulgaria. "Empress Irene." [67], Thus, Empress Irene’s reign had been largely unsuccessful[68]. Riding around Constantinople in a golden chariot launching coins into the crowds did not help much either. By a fortuitous occurrence, the plot was thwarted by an earthquake. 8, Gale, 2004, pp. She was Maria of Amnia. [26] A year later, she sent a fleet to Sicily against Elpidios. B. Poland. An assessment of Constantine VI and Irene's take-over [66] She abdicated and spent the rest of her life in Lesbos, where she died in 803. [13] He would later on become one of Empress Irene’s main opposers during her regency and reign. "Empress Irene." Our latest articles delivered to your inbox, once a week: Numerous educational institutions recommend us, including Oxford University and Michigan State University and University of Missouri. She was just filling in until her son was old enough. However, influential members of the army were against such a move, and they organised a riot which forced the closure of the council meetings. It simply would not do for a Byzantine emperor to marry an illiterate barbarian, even if he had been blessed by the Pope and wore spectacular red tights. [12] He made his people swear to accept no one on the throne except for Constantine VI and his descendants. In effect, they ruled jointly for the next five years, but Irene soon began to plot against her son. Where was Empress Anna Ivanovna in power from 1730 - 1740? 0. 8, Gale, 2004, pp. His special interests include pottery, architecture, world mythology and discovering the ideas that all civilizations share in common. Garland, Lynda. Check your inbox or spam folder to confirm your subscription. She was the daughter of the Emperor Laszlo of Hungary. This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon this content non-commercially, as long as they credit the author and license their new creations under the identical terms. What country did Prime Minister Maria das Neves rule or govern? Empress Irene was the wife of Leo IV and, on her husband’s death, she reigned as regent for her son Constantine VI from 780 to 790 CE. Irene was born in Athens about the year 752. Her men were victorious. Her family background is not known. C. Latvia. Copyright © 2021 | WordPress Theme by MH Themes. Emperor Alexios Komnenos noticed her virtues and decided to marry her to his son, John, also known as Good-Ioannis, because of his many gifts. A. Pakistan. The Byzantines faced constant what? Source for information on Irene, Byzantine Empress: New Catholic Encyclopedia dictionary. [14] In 780, he made Paul of Cyprus, who was suspected of being an iconophile, to swear an oath to uphold iconoclasm. [69] By the end of her reign, the Byzantines were no longer paying tribute to the Bulgars. [45] Forcing Irene and Constantine VI to leave the palace to seek shelter, Staurakios formed a counter-attack in which Irene’s men succeeded. In 799, after Pope Leo III was abused by Romans who tried to put out his eyes and tear out his tongue, he escaped and fled to Charlemagne at Paderborn. On December 23, Leo swore an oath of innocence. [49], Constantine VI was not an effectual ruler. Irene was brought to Constantinople by Emperor Constantine V on 1 November 768 and was married to his son Leo IVon 17 December. And Irene of Athens was anything but a common woman. Empress Irene was the wife of Leo IV and, on her husband’s death, she reigned as regent for her son Constantine VI from 780 to 790 CE. There was not going to be another rebellion against her rule. What did Empress Irene approve of? Some Rights Reserved (2009-2021) under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license unless otherwise noted. Constantine tried to flee but was captured and returned to Constantinople, where, on the orders of Irene, he was blinded by his eyes being gouged out. Press "agree" if you are okay with this. [25] When Irene learned about the plot, she was furious. The choice of Irene to become the bride of Constantine V’s son Leo IV hasn’t been clearly understood. The wedding took place in 769 CE, and she immediately influenced state policy by tempering her husband’s attacks on the Church’s veneration of icons. These two different viewpoints of religion began to strain their marriage. Post was not sent - check your email addresses! The emperor had lost the support of the one group he could always depend on; the iconophiles. A similar plan had already been attempted when Irene had arranged for her late son to marry Rotrud, the daughter of Charlemagne, but Irene had broken off the engagement in 787 CE. Although married to Leo IV, "the Khazar," one of the more moderate iconoclastic emperors, Irene herself strongly supported the veneration of images. Lauralee 9. [70] Her financial policy was successful. Byzantine Ivory Panel Depicting the Adoration of the Magi, by Osama Shukir Muhammed Amin (CC BY-NC-SA), In 797 CE Irene took back the throne for herself & blinded her son, doing so in the same purple chamber of the, by Metropolitan Museum of Art (Copyright). In 797, a conspiracy led by Irene to regain power for herself succeeded. Once abroad the army was disbanded and their positions of authority back home taken by those more loyal to the Empress. Retrieved from https://www.ancient.eu/Empress_Irene/. The historian J. J. Norwich gives this grim assessment of Irene’s reign: Scheming and duplicitous, consumed by ambition and ever thirsty for power, she brought dissension and disaster to the Empire, being additionally guilty of one of the foulest murders that even Byzantine history records. (adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({}); Empress Irene of Athens was the first female ruler of the Byzantine Empire. To make Elpidios submit, Irene had his wife and sons, whom Elpidios left in Constantinople, scourged, tortured, and imprisoned. However, the new approach to join the two families met fierce opposition, especially from the powerful eunuch Aetios in Constantinople. She made sure that coins had both herself as well as her son on them, with her image on the obverse (the “heads” side of the coin). The city of Beroia was renamed Irenoupolis. Troubled times were in store for Byzantium’s most ambitious and ruthless of sovereigns. [63] This restored the Roman Empire of the west. She apparently was a beautiful but orphaned girl who at the age of seventeen was brought to Constantinople by the Emperor Constantine V to be married to his son Leo in November 769. On August 15, 797, Empress Irene ordered her son to be blinded, causing her son to die of this mutilation. Sorry, your blog cannot share posts by email. [3] In 769,  Emperor Constantine V chose her as a bride for his son and co-ruler Leo IV. [36] In 784, she replaced the Patriarch of Constantinople with the moderate Tarasius. Irene was also known for her generous financial policies, which were especially friendly to monasteries. Posts about Empress Irene written by liamfoley63. A. Tonga. Cartwright, M. (2017, November 15). The Ancient History Encyclopedia logo is a registered EU trademark. This fact, combined with the limited information available about her family, has led some scholars to speculate that Irene may have been sel… In so doin… Born in Athens of a Greek noble family, between the years of 750 and 755, little is known regarding Irene Sarantapechaina's life before ascending to the Byzantine throne. Charlemagne knew that Irene’s days would end and there would be another Byzantine ruler to take her place. Thereafter, Irene is referred to in official state records as basileus, emperor, and not as empress, the first woman to so rule in her own right. Empress Irene. Irene did seem to have it all. Irene’s unprecedented position as an empress ruling in her own right was emphasized by the coincidental rise of the Carolingian Empire in western Europe, which rivaled Irene’s Byzantium in size and power. A After her death, she became a saint in the Eastern Orthodox Church. 7. Also, to open the posts of this year, certainly later than planned, we begin with the Byzantine Empress Irene of Athens and how important she was to the Orthodox Eastern Church. Your email address will not be published. [29] This left a large province-wide open to an Arab attack. Irene, (born c. 752, Athens—died Aug. 9, 803, Lesbos), Byzantine ruler and saint of the Greek Orthodox Church who was instrumental in restoring the use of icons in the Eastern Roman Empire. On August 13 in particular, we celebrate the memory of the great Byzantine Empress Irene. [52] He shocked the public in 795 when he repudiated his Empress and placed her in a convent. The title of emperor. When Constantine VI had a son with Theodote, the people proclaimed him illegitimate. She gave birth to a son, Constantine, on January 14, 771. This made Leo’s younger brother, Nikephoros, mad. Ancient History Encyclopedia. MILLER, D. A. Constantine’s unpopularity with his people and the Byzantine establishment meant that he had no friends left to block his removal from power by his own mother. [58] Irene was now sole ruler of the Byzantine empire. D. Roman Empire. She founded a province called Macedonia.[35]. Empress Irene. Byzantine Empresses: Women and Power in Byzantium AD 527-1204, Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window), Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window), Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window), Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window), Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window), Click to share on Tumblr (Opens in new window), Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window), Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window), Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window). [37] In 787, she initiated the Second Ecumenical Council, which met in Nicaea in order to condemn iconoclasm. Empress Irene was the wife of Leo IV and, on her husband’s death, she reigned as regent for her son Constantine VI from 780 to 790 CE. However, on Easter in 776, Leo IV crowned his son co-ruler of the Byzantine Empire. An East Roman (Byzantine) empress, Irene of Athens (752-803) convened the Seventh Ecumenical Council and restored the veneration of icons in the Byzantine Empire. 135-138. During her lacklustre reign, Irene ruthlessly schemed and plotted to keep the throne she would lose and regain three times, but she is chiefly remembered for restoring the Christian veneration of icons, which her predecessors of the Isaurian dynasty had sought so vehemently to repress. 16 Jan 2021. Especially unusual is that, while Constantine V was a militant iconoclast who was known for persecuting venerators of icons, Irene herself displayed iconophile predilections. What did the pope give to Charlemagne? Lost to the West: The Forgotten Byzantine Empire That Rescued Western... Women in Purple: Rulers of Medieval Byzantium, Ravenna: Capital of Empire, Crucible of Europe, Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike. [16] The reason for these persecutions is most likely because Irene had been hiring iconophile supporters within the palace, and Leo IV was trying to clean up his palace. Emperor Constantine V (r. 741-775 CE), holding an empire-wide beauty contest for the purpose, fished her from the obscurity of the provincial town that Athens had then become and arranged for her to marry his son, the future emperor Leo IV, who would reign from 775 to 780 CE. [50] He waged a luckless war on the Bulgars in April 791 and the Arabs in October. For only $5 per month you can become a member and support our mission to engage people with cultural heritage and to improve history education worldwide. Nikephoros’s army was arrested, tortured, and banished. The Empress was not to be deterred, though, and she swiftly stationed the troublemakers to Asia Minor under the guise of preparations for a new military campaign. Empress Irene of Athens . Constantine VI conspired to take the throne himself. In 783 CE Staurakios sent a Byzantine army to fight the Slavs in Greece, and the next year Irene enjoyed the first military successes of her reign against both Slav and Arab armies. The eighth century Empress Irene did what when her son (Constantine VI) reached adulthood? The clergy and nobles attending the ceremony proclaimed Charlemagne as “Emperor of the Roman Empire.” In support of Charlemagne’s coronation, some argued that the imperial position was actually vacant, deeming a wom… During her Tang Dynasty reign, the practice of Chinese Buddhism is known to have reached it’s height and influence. She was not without her troubles, though, as rebellion was still in the air and was given focus by the surviving, albeit maimed, sons of Constantine V. The Arabs had to be paid off to avoid further invasion, all but bankrupting the state, and the people could never quite forgive her for her crimes, even if she did provide soup kitchens for the poor and accommodation for the elderly. She was 17, when her father died and siblings were estranged by circumstances. IRENE, BYZANTINE EMPRESS Coregnant 780–797, sole ruler from 797 to Oct. 31, 802; b. Athens, c. 752; d. Lesbos, Aug. 9, 803. A. Japan. Two monks were especially vociferous in their outrage at the emperor’s behaviour as head of the Church, Plato of Sakkoudion and Theodore of Stoudios, who both claimed that his divorce was illegal and so in marrying again the emperor had committed adultery. 6. Empress Irene of Athens was the first female ruler of the Byzantine Empire. In 797 CE, when Irene took back the throne for herself, she blinded her son, doing so in the same purple chamber of the palace in which he had been born. However, most historians believe that it was because of Irene’s beauty. When Irene made it be known that she intended to rule above her son Constantine no matter how old he was, many of those who opposed the restoration of icons, saw the dangers to the empire’s army strength Irene’s purges had threatened, and who believed Constantine had the rightful claim to the throne alone, rallied around the young emperor. She was educated like any other Greek Byzantine noble girl of her class. One of the most powerful champions of Buddhism in China was the Empress Wu Zetian. Certainly not. Saint Irene lived in the 12th century AD and had various virtues. In 802, Irene was overthrown in a palace coup by Nikephoros. It is believed that she was born of a Greek noble family. Books Irene was the sole ruler of Constantinople, and empire was thicker than blood. Simply click 'close' in the top right corner to continue reading! Serious and immediate defeats against the Bulgars and a shameful truce against the Arabs did nothing to aid his popularity, and conspiracies at court were rife. Subscribe to our free weekly newsletter and join our 5,168 subscribers to stay up to date on History of Royal Women's articles! Cartwright, Mark. Depiction of Byzantine Empress Irene, the wife of Emperor John II (r. 1118-1143 CE) as found in the Hagia Sophia in modern-day Istanbul (previously Constantinople), Turkey. D. Liberia. She summoned Elpidios to Constantinople, but the Sicilians refused to surrender him to her. After a decade in the shadows, Constantine took his rightful place at the apex of Byzantine government. [10] Empress Irene strongly supported the veneration of icons. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Not much is known of Empress Irene’s life before her marriage. [23] In order to secure her position, Irene negotiated a marriage between her son and Charlemagne’s daughter. “Irene, Byzantine Empress.” New Catholic Encyclopedia, 2nd ed., vol. A king could not be succeeded by his mother or a daughter. We use cookies to ensure a personalised experience on our website. B. Russia. Empress 797 - 802 . Irene was removed, exiled to a monastery on Lesbos and succeeded by Nikephoros I, one of the Empress’ former finance ministers. Ancient History Encyclopedia Limited is a non-profit company registered in the United Kingdom. 10. Constantine died shortly afterwards, almost certainly as a result of his injuries, which were intended to kill not maim. Charlemagne. He holds an MA in Political Philosophy and is the Publishing Director at AHE. On Christmas Day in 800, during a visit to Rome, the Pope placed an imperial crown on Charlemagne’s head and gave him the title of “Holy Roman Emperor”. To make matters worse, the couple had a son 18 months later. Irene responded by throwing him in prison, but by 790 CE the army came to Constantine’s support and released him. She was someone who was raised very piously from an early age. The army still contained many iconoclasts, and they had refused to swear loyalty to Irene alone on religious grounds. Cartwright, Mark. Mark is a history writer based in Italy. Now 19 years of age and keen to remove his interfering mother once and for all from state affairs, Constantine banished her from court along with her closest advisors while he engaged Michael Lachanodrakon, the influential general and governor of the Thrakesion region of the empire. She summoned a council, the second council of Nicaea, to reinstate the use and veneration of icons. [54] Many people believed this marriage to be adulterous. [47] However, In September of 790, the troops Armeniac province refused to swear the oath and rebelled. [46] She confined her son and demanded an oath of fealty from Constantine VI’s army to acknowledge her as ruler. Changed and organized around the Thema powerful eunuch Aetios in Constantinople convened the. This page may have different licensing terms her body was transferred to her note that linked... 52 ] he proposed marriage to Empress Irene strongly supported the veneration icons! A large amount of money which she consented proposed marriage to Charlemagne her coins. Constantine, on January 14, 771 ideas that all civilizations share in common had a son Theodote... [ 43 ] from this point on, relations between Constantine VI ) adulthood... Women and power in Byzantium AD 527-1204, Taylor 1 November 768 and was married to his son and ’. Monastery at Principo by some ; in other accounts, he and Theodote retired to private.! Byzantine Empress: New Catholic Encyclopedia, 2nd ed., vol Nicaea, to reinstate the use and veneration icons. 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( 2017, November 15, 2017. https: //www.ancient.eu/Empress_Irene/ [ 12 ] he proposed marriage Empress! His uncles to be adulterous I, one of Empress Irene ’ s only female emperor was a rare of... Which viewed the veneration of icons 15 ] during Lent of that year, Leo IV Thema! Modified November 15, 797, a conspiracy led by Irene to the Empress Wu Zetian the... When Constantine VI was unhappy with his mother Irene worsened August 26 2017! Back into the priesthood and to administer communion on Christmas Day permitted to repent of their and. Iconoclasm which was established in the Hippodrome and declared the Empress, later Nun Xeni as emperor in own! Open to an Arab attack private life Nikephoros, mad [ 43 ] this... Son co-ruler of the Byzantine Empire, November 15, 797, Empress Irene, 780 - 790 AD year! To have reached it ’ s authority was rejected, and imprisoned - AD. Going to be torn out [ 3 ] in 769, Irene turned attentions... To emperor Constantine V chose her as a bride for him money which she handed over to Nikephoros three-year.... Website in this browser for the coronation of Charlemagne with Charlemagne, advised scholar. Not maim Patriarch of Constantinople with the success of the veneration of icons as long as the worship was given! Important side of the Byzantine Empire clung onto for so long on December 23, Leo swore an oath fealty. Year later, she sent a fleet to Sicily against Elpidios August 775, Constantine V chose her as.. Selected as the worship was n't given to the task two different viewpoints of religion began to persecute iconophiles and...

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