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There were two major periods of iconoclasm in the history of the Byzantine Empire, and both were possibly fueled by military failures indicating divine anger (i.e. God was mad). The destruction of religious images in the Orthodox Church is very similar to the major periods of iconoclasm during the Protestant Reformation in Europe, as both developed a more 'literal' interpretation of the Ten Commandments as forbidding any religious imagery. This relates to the development of the empire as it caused extreme tension with the Western (Roman Catholic) Church which continued image veneration uncontested until the Reformation. Thee West denounced the destruction as heresy, prompting Leo III (emperor during the early part of the first iconoclast period) to seize papal estates and other Western Church-owned lands. It also prompted many heated Ecumenical Councils, leaving Constantine V with a poisoned reputation for centuries to come (due to his iconoclast position). Finally, however, Empress Regent Theodora reinstated the veneration of icons in the Orthodox Church , emphasizing the classical position on saintly intercession and Marian devotion (devotions and prayers to saints and the Virgin Mary). This reinstatement of images by Theodora is known as the "Triumph of Orthodoxy". It became a very popular theme in later Byzantinian iconography
In short, it caused major tension with the Western Church, prompted heated debate and division in the Eastern Church, took a major toll on the artistic development of the empire, and resulted in strings of rulers with contesting views on iconoclasm until the final reinstatement by Theodora