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Iceland. Republic of.

1. Area: ca. 39,770 sc. mi. N Atlantic is. S of the Arctic Circle, E of S Greenland, W of Norw. Settled in 9th c. or earlier by Irish hermits; they left when Norw. Vikings, chiefly heathen, arrived ca. 875, bringing with them some settlers. presumably Christian, from the Orkney Is., the Hebrides, Ireland, Scot., and Eng.

2. Thorvald* Kodransson came as miss. to Iceland ca. 981. Olaf* I sent to Iceland a number of missionaries, including Thangbrand*; all of them had some success. In 1000 Christianity was made the official religion of Iceland; freedom of religion was decreed 1874. The new ch. was served by foreigners. The country became a bishopric ca. 1056; Isleifur Gissurarson, a native, was bp. ca. 1056–82, with see at his ancestral estate at Skalholt; succeeded by son Gissur Isleifsson (bp. 1082–1118), who endowed the bishopric with the estate and founded for N Iceland the bishopric of Holar ca. 1106. The ch. in Iceland was first subordinate to the archdiocese of Bremen-Hamburg, then Lund (ca. 1104), then Nidaros (Trondheim; 1152). Scholars attended major institutions of learning in Eur. In the 12th–14th cents. the Icelandic Sagas were written.

3. Iceland was conquered by Norw. 1262–64; when Norw. came under Den., Iceland followed 1380. The Reformation was imposed by Christian* III of Den. in 1540 in Skalholt diocese, when G. Einarsson* became bp., and 1550 in Holar diocese, when the Cath. bp. Jori Arason (b. ca. 1484; bp. 1524) was executed. The causes of the Reformation in Iceland were largely political. The ev. ch. system was made the state ch. 1551.

4. The theol. foundation for Lutheranism in Iceland was consolidated by Gudbrandur Thorlaksson* (ca. 1541–1627; called to be bp. Holar 1570; ordained 1571), who obtained printing equipment and pub. many books, most of which were aimed at instruction in Lutheranism. His 1584 ed. of the Bible was the basis of every Bible issued for Iceland till 1826. Because the country was almost completely isolated, various movements in the ch. outside Iceland had little effect on the Icelandic ch. till the 19th c.

5. The external order of the ch. was little changed by the Reformation. Ch. operations were increasingly restricted as more and more ch. properties were appropriated by the state. The see of Skalholt was moved to Reykjavík 1785; the see of Holar was suppressed 1801.

A nat. renaissance began under leadership of Jón Sigurdsson (1811–79; statesman; man of letters). Iceland became an indep. kingdom 1918, but with Christian X (1870–1947; king of Den. 1912–47, Iceland 1918–44) king of both Den. and Iceland; a completely indep. rep. was est. 1944. SP

See also Anglican Scandinavian Conferences; Eddas; Pétursson, Hallgrímur; Pétursson, Pétur; Sveinsson, Brynjulf.

J. Helgason, Islands Kirke fra dens Grundlaeggelse til Reformationen (Copenhagen, 1925) and Islands Kirke fra Reformation til vore Dage (Copenhagen, 1922); K. Gjerset, History of Iceland (New York, 1925).


(Ichthys). See Fish.

Iconoclastic Controversy.

Controversy (726–842) in Eastern* Orthodox Chs.; concerned the role of icons* in the cultic life of the ch. First phase began when E emp. Leo III (“the Isaurian”; ca. 680–741; emp. 717–741), probably partly for pol. reasons and partly to remove an obstacle to conversion of Muslim and Jews, proscribed the use of icons. Constantine* V severely continued this policy. Leo IV (the Khazar; ca. 750–780; son of Constantine V; emp. 775–780) was milder. Under Irene (752–803; b. Athens; m. Leo IV 769; regent 780; abdicated 790; empress 792; sole ruler 797; dethroned 802; exiled) the 7th Ecumenical Council (Nicaea* II; 787) reest. veneration of images. During this phase iconodules, represented mainly by monks, depended on John* of Damascus for theol. support.

Second phase began ca. 841 under Leo V (“the Armenian” [because Armenian by birth]; emp. 813–820) and continued under Michael II (“the Amorian”; emp. 820–829) and Theophilus (son of Michael II; emp. 829–842). Under Theodorea (d. ca. 867; 2d wife of Theophilus; regent 842; retired to a convent 858) the decisions of Nicea II were reaffirmed. Theodore* of Studion was a leading inconodule in this phase of the controversy.

Chief theol. questions in the controversy: (1) What is an image, and were iconodules guilty of idolatry? (2) Did veneration of images violate Chalcedonian formulations (see Chalcedon, Council of) on the nature and person of Christ? (3) Were arguments from tradition of either iconoclast or iconodule authentic? These arguments, based essentially on the same sources (OT, NT, tradition, and speculation) were also related to other soc., pol., and cultural issues. But the ultimate questions for the iconodules were hist. and theol.; though there may be no absolute identity bet. image and person represented, there is relative identity. Reverence offered to the icon passes to the prototype. To deny that Christ can be portrayed in an icon is to deny that Christ was man, part of hist. The incarnation lends justification to legitimate use of the icon. Icons preserve hist. continuity with the early ch. These “hist.” arguments froze the style and form of the icon. Sculpture in the round disappeared in the E Ch. as a result of the controversy. WGR

See also Luther, Martin, 15; Luther, Controversies of, d; Reformation, Lutheran, 8.

E. W. Benz, The Eastern Orthodox Church, tr. R. and C. Winston (Chicago, 1963); E. J. Martin, A History of the Iconoclastic Controversy (New York, 1930); E. R. Bevan, Holy Images (London, 1940); G. Ostrogorski, Studien zur Geschichte des byzantinischen Bilderstreites (Breslau, 1929); Der byzantinische Bilderstreit, comp. H.-J. Geischer (Gütersloh, 1968).

Iconoclastic Council

(754). Called by Constantine* V, who intended it to be the 7th ecumenical council; met at Constantinople; the pope declined to come, and the patriarchs of Jerusalem, Antioch, and Alexandria could not attend; condemned worship of images and anathematized John* of Demascus. The emp. enforced the ruling, but the council was later disavowed. See also Caroline Books.


(from Gk. eikon, from eikenai, “to resemble,” and histanai, “to stand”). In Eastern* Orthodox Ch., screen ornamented with icons*; separates bema (see Church Architecture, 3) from nave.*


Pictorial representations; images.* In Eastern* Orthodox Chs., flat-surface, or in very low relief, usually miniature, portrayals of Christ, saints, or sacred events; often richly ornamented; used as objects of veneration.

Edited by: Erwin L. Lueker, Luther Poellot, Paul Jackson
©Concordia Publishing House, 2000, All rights Reserved. Reproduced with Permission

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