Fanatics would even murder those who supported the use of fine pictures to decorate Christian churches and foster the spirit of worship.
Pascal did his best to help Eastern Christians who were fighting to stop this destruction of great religious art. He sent his aides to try to secure the release of Abbot Theodore of Studius, who had been imprisoned for defending sacred pictures and icons. And he gave shelter to many Greek monks who had fled from the east in fear of those who were destroying what they held to be precious aids to the Christian life.
Alas, Pascal did not succeeding bringing this strife to an end. But the influence of Eastern artists can be see in the work done between 817 and 824 while he was Pope to embellish his own city of Rome. Pascal rebuilt, for instance, the Roman church of Santa Cecilia in Trastevere, and made it into a fitting shrine for the bones of Saint Cecelia. This church as been considerably rebuilt since then, but another church in Rome, Santa Maria in Domnica, remains substantially as it was after Pascal had restored it and shows his deeply held beliefs.
- From A Calendar of Saints,
the Lives of the Principal Saints of the Christian Year
back to top