Conférence de Marie-France Auzépy, professeur émérite à l’Université Paris-VIII :
Canons adoptés par le Concile iconoclaste de Hiéreia en l’an de grâce 754 :
The holy and Ecumenical synod [en grec concile et synode signifient exactement la même chose — je crois même qu’il s’ahit du même mot], which by the grace of God and most pious command of the God-beloved and orthodox Emperors, Constantine and Leo, now assembled in the imperial residence city, in the temple of the holy and inviolate Mother of God [initialement l’expression « Mère de Dieu » servait à affirmer que Jésus était déjà Dieu à sa naissance (qu’il ne l’est pas devenu qu’à son baptême) plutôt qu’à déifier Marie] and Virgin Mary […] have decreed as follows.
Satan misguided men, so that they worshipped the creature instead of the Creator. The Mosaic Law and the prophets cooperated to undo this ruin; but in order to save mankind thoroughly, God sent his own Son, who turned us away from error and the worshipping of idols, and taught us the worshipping of God in spirit and in truth. As messengers of his saving doctrine, he left us his Apostles and disciples, and these adorned the Church, his Bride, with his glorious doctrines.
This ornament of the Church the holy Fathers and the six Ecumenical Councils have preserved inviolate. But the before-mentioned demi-urgos [Démiurge = Satan ?] of wickedness could not endure the sight of this adornment, and gradually brought back idolatry under the appearance of Christianity. As then Christ armed his Apostles against the ancient idolatry with the power of the Holy Spirit, and sent them out into all the world, so has he [Christ] awakened against the new idolatry his servants our faithful Emperors, and endowed them with the same wisdom of the Holy Spirit. Impelled by the Holy Spirit they could no longer be witnesses of the Church being laid waste by the deception of demons, and summoned the sanctified assembly of the God-beloved bishops, that they might institute at a synod a scriptural examination into the deceitful colouring of the pictures which draws down the spirit of man from the lofty adoration of God to the low and material adoration of the creature, and that they, under divine guidance, might express their view on the subject.
Our holy synod therefore assembled, and we, its 338 members, follow the older synodal decrees, and accept and proclaim joyfully the dogmas handed down, principally those of the six holy Ecumenical Synods. In the first place the holy and ecumenical great synod assembled at Nicea.
The only admissible figure of the humanity of Christ, however, is bread and wine in the holy Supper. This and no other form, this and no other type, has he chosen to represent his incarnation. Bread he ordered to be brought, but not a representation of the human form, so that idolatry might not arise. And as the body of Christ is made divine, so also this figure of the body of Christ, the bread, is made divine by the descent of the Holy Spirit; it becomes the divine body of Christ by the mediation of the priest who, separating the oblation from that which is common, sanctifies it.
The evil custom of assigning names to the images does not come down from Christ and the Apostles and the holy Fathers; nor have these left behind then, any prayer by which an image should be hallowed or made anything else than ordinary matter.
Christianity has rejected the whole of heathenism, and so not merely heathen sacrifices, but also the heathen worship of images. The Saints live on eternally with God, although they have died. If anyone thinks to call them back again to life by a dead art, discovered by the heathen, he makes himself guilty of blasphemy. […] It is not permitted to Christians, who have the hope of the resurrection, to imitate the customs of demon-worshippers, and to insult the Saints, who shine in so great glory, by common dead matter.
Moreover, we can prove our view by Holy Scripture and the Fathers. In the former it is said: « God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth; » [Jean 4:24] and: « Thou shall not make thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath; » [Exode 20:4 ; Deutéronome 5:8] on which account God spoke to the Israelites on the Mount, from the midst of the fire, but showed them no image. Further: « They changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man …. and served the creature more than the Creator » [Romains 1:23/25]
Supported by the Holy Scriptures and the Fathers, we declare unanimously, in the name of the Holy Trinity, that there shall be rejected and removed and cursed one of the Christian Church every likeness which is made out of any material and colour whatever by the evil art of painters.
Whoever in future dares to make such a thing, or to venerate it, or set it up in a church, or in a private house, or possesses it in secret, shall, if bishop, presbyter, or deacon, be deposed; if monk or layman, be anathematised, and become liable to be tried by the secular laws as an adversary of God and an enemy of the doctrines handed down by the Fathers.
All this we ordain, believing that we speak as doth the Apostle, for we also believe that we have the spirit of Christ; and as our predecessors who believed the same thing spake what they had synodically defined, so we believe and therefore do we speak, and set forth a definition of what has seemed good to us following and in accordance with the definitions of our Fathers.
(8) If anyone ventures to represent the divine image of the Word after the Incarnation with material colours, let him be anathema!
(9) If anyone ventures to represent in human figures, by means of material colours, by reason of the incarnation, the substance or person of the Word, which cannot be depicted, and does not rather confess that even after the Incarnation he [i.e., the Word] cannot be depicted, let him be anathema!
(10) If anyone ventures to represent the hypostatic union of the two natures in a picture, and calls it Christ, and fires falsely represents a union of the two natures, […let him be anathema!]
(11) If anyone separates the flesh united with the person of the Word from it, and endeavours to represent it separately in a picture, […let him be anathema!]
(12) If anyone separates the one Christ into two persons, and endeavours to represent Him who was born of the Virgin separately, and thus accepts only a relative ( sketikh ) union of the natures […let him be anathema! — c’est une critique du nestorianisme.]
(16) If anyone shall endeavour to represent the forms of the Saints in lifeless pictures with material colours which are of no value (for this notion is vain and introduced by the devil), and does not rather represent their virtues as living images in himself, […let him be anathema!]
The holy synod cried out: Thus we all believe, we all are of the same mind. We have all with one voice and voluntarily subscribed. This is the faith of the Apostles. Many years to the Emperors! They are the light of orthodoxy! Many years to the orthodox Emperors! God preserve your Empire! You have now more firmly proclaimed the inseparability of the two natures of Christ! You have banished all idolatry!