1 Thus far there was no expression of opinion from wich the Iconoclasts would have dissented, for in all that regarded the Blessed Virgin and the Saints and their invocation and patronage, the heretics agreed with the orthodox. Protestants have been in the habit of treating the Iconoclasts as if they were substantially agreed with them with regard to the cultus of the Blessed Virgin and of the other Saints. What an error this is, is easily proved hyciting two of the anathematisms of their Conciliabulum.
"If anyone shall not confess that the Ever-virgin Mary is properly and truly the Mother of God, and more exalted than every creature, whether visible or invisible, and does not seek her intercessions with sincere faith because she has confidence in approaching our God. who was born of her, let him be anathema." (L. and C.. Conc., Tom VII col. 524.)
"If anyone does not coufess that all the Saints from the beginning down to now, who whether before the Law, or under the Law, or in grace pleased God, should he honoured in his presence both with soul and body, and does not seek their prayers, according to the tradition of the Church as of those having confidence to plead for the world let him be anathema." Ibid.col. 528.)
declared that the veneration of images was the worst of all heresies '`because it detracted from the Economy (Incarnation) of the Redeemer.0'" (!)
3 Compare with this the statement of the famous historian, Gibbon (Chapter XLIX., N. 79), "The pope's legates were casual messengers, two priests without any special commission, and who were disavowed on their return. Some vagabond monks were persuaded by the Catholics to represent the Oriental patriarchs. This curious anecdote is revealed by Theodore Studites, one of the warmest Iconoclasts of the age." And yet to this tissue of false statements Bury, in his just-published edition of Gibbon (1898), has no note of correction to make! And this has passed, and will pass, for history among the overwhelming majority of English readers! Nor does there seem to be any possible excuse for Gibbon in either particular, the first statement is proved to be false by the letters of Hadrian, the second statement is equally disproved by the letters of the "high priests of the East," in which it is quite clear that no claim was set up that they represented the Patriarchs, but the Patriarchates, which they did, as they proved, in a very real sense. This letter Gibbon must have seen, if indeed he ever took the trouble to read the Acts, for it is spread out in full in Actio Secunda and was read at length to the Council.