The Icon of the Divine Heart of God the Father – 6

Brief History of God the Father in Iconography and Iconology: The Council of Trent

In 1054 the Great Schism occurred in the undivided, universal Church, through the gradual estrangement between the Eastern and the Western countries, together with, “a breach of intercommunion caused by anger and bad feeling,” rather than rival theologies (Fortescue, 1912). This was a schism in the true sense of the word, resulting in the formal division of the undivided Church, into the Orthodox Church in the East and the Roman Catholic Church in the West. Meanwhile, the universality of the Church continued subsisting fully in the Roman Church – defined as One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic – due to its unbroken Petrine succession (Paul VI, 1964).

Following the Great Schism (Fortescue, 1912) and the subsequent Lutheran Reformation (Kirsch, 1911), the Roman Catholic Church convened the Ecumenical Council of Trent, to formally define the doctrines of the universal Church (The Council of Trent, 1545-1563/1848). During this Council, the members addressed once again the issue of venerating sacred images and confirmed the conclusions of Nicaea II (Second Council of Nicaea, 787/1969; The Seventh General Council, 787/2007).

Specifically, in session XXV, “On the invocation, veneration, and relics, or saints, and other sacred images” (The Council of Trent, 1545-1563/1848), the Council members decreed that, “due honour and veneration are to be given them; not that any divinity, or virtue, is believed to be in them . . . but because the honour which is shown them is referred to the prototypes which those images represent” (pp. 234-235). Meanwhile, the Orthodox Church subsequently convened the Great Council of Moscow (1666-1667) to formally address the issue of arising reforms, including depictions of God the Father in venerable icons.


  • Fortescue, A. (1912). The Eastern Schism. In The Catholic Encyclopedia (2nd ed.). NY: Appleton. Retrieved September 30, 2011 from New Advent:
  • Kirsch, J. P. (1911). The Reformation. In The Catholic Encyclopedia (2nd ed.). NY: Appleton. Retrieved September 30, 2011 from New Advent:
  • Paul VI. (1964). Lumen Gentium: Dogmatic Constitution on the Church. Retrieved September 30, 2011 from the Vatican:
  • Second Council of Nicaea. (787/1969). In The Seven Ecumenical Councils of the undivided Church: Their canons and dogmatic decrees. Nicene and post-Nicene Fathers, 2nd series, Vol. XIV. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans.
  • The Council of Trent: The canons and decrees of the sacred and oecumenical Council of Trent. (1545-1563/1848; J. Waterworth, ed. & trans.). London: Dolman.
  • The Great Council of Moscow. (1666-1667). The Tome of the Great Council of Moscow (L. Puhalo, trans.). Canadian Orthodox Missionary Journal.
  • The Seventh General Council: The second of Nicaea, held A. D. 787, in which the worship of images was established. (787/2007; J. Mendham, trans.). Whitefish, MT: Kessinger.