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Images of the King of Kings


Prior to the second Council of Nicea in 787 AD, when formal approval was given to the veneration of images by the faithful, thousands of images of Christ and the saints were destroyed by the iconoclasts. Several of the Greek emperors favored and abetted the iconoclasts. A saintly hermit named Stephen desired to show in a forcible manner that the desecration and destruction of images was displeasing to God. When the emperor asked his opinion on this point, Stephen took a coin and asked the bystanders whose image it bore. They replied: “The emperor’s.” Stephen then asked: “Would I incur a penalty if I trample it under foot?” “Yes you would.” Came the answer; “for you commit an act of high treason, which is punishable with death.” Then Stephen exclaimed: “Oh, how blind you are! You consider one who shows disrespect to the image of an earthly ruler to be deserving of death, whereas you attach no blame to the person who desecrates the images of Christ, the King of kings.”

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