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An iconodule (Greek eikono-doulos "One who serves images"; also Iconodulist or Iconophile) is someone who espouses iconodulism, i.e. who supports or is in favor of religious images or icons and their veneration, and is in opposition to an Iconoclast, someone against the use of religious images. The term is usually used in relation to the controversy in the Byzantine Empire; the most famous Iconodules of that time being the Saints Theodore the Studite and John of Damascus.

The controversy was instigated by Byzantine Emperor Leo III in 726, when he ordered the destruction of icons throughout the empire. St. John of Damascus argued successfully that to prohibit the use of icons was tantamount to denying the incarnation, the presence of the Word of God in the material world. Icons reminded the church of the physicality of God as manifested in Jesus Christ. The iconodulists were finally successful in rejecting the imperial ban against icons in 843.


  • Barnard, Leslie William (1974). The Graeco-Roman and oriental background of the iconoclastic controversy. 5. BRILL. ISBN 9004039449.  

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