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One of these conflicts was the use of icons in the worship of God. An icon was a statue, or image, which believers worshipped, or used as they worshipped.


Many believers felt that icons helped them visualize holy beings. They felt that these icons represented the sacred, and were an important part of their worship.

Opponents to icons felt that they violated the ten commandments, which stated that there should be no graven images. Those who opposed the use of icons had powerful supporters in the church and in the government.

Order to destroy icons

In 726 A.D., Emperor Leo III ordered that all icons be destroyed. Those who supported the destruction of all icons became known as Iconoclasts. The ban on icons was ultimately not successful, due in large part to the influence of the church in Rome.


Many of the Byzantines felt that Rome had meddled in things that were none of their business, which helped to further divide the church in Rome from the church in Constantinople.