Posted 07 March 2008 - 05:16 AM
The inscription at the top of the icon reads: The Holy Fourth Ecumenical Synod at Chalcedon (convened) by Marcianus the King in the year 451, under the 630 God-bearing Fathers, against Eutyches and Dioskorus of the Monophysites.
Emperor Marcianus is shown enthroned; above his head is a (barely legible) inscrption (The) King Marcianus. Three of the mitred bishops seated in the foreground have their names written in their haloes, though they are too indistinct to read. Some of the fathers present at this council include Anatolius, Archbishop of Constantinople; Maximus, Archbishop of Antioch; Juvenal, Archbishop of Jerusalem; Thalassius, Bishop of Cappadocia; and Bishops Paschasinus and Lucentius from Rome.
The two figures in the foreground with little black demons on their shoulders are Eutyches and Dioscorus, who were condemned at this council; Eutyches for his heretical stance on the nature(s) of Christ, and Dioscorus for his presiding over the non-canonical second council at Ephesus (which later became known as the "Robber Council"), and other serious infractions.
It is interesting to note that Dioscorus's clothing resembles bishop's vestments (on the death of St Cyril of Alexandria, Dioscorus succeeded him as Patriarch). A closer look shows that his omophorion (the strip of vestment draped over his shoulders and over his left arm) is plain, with no crosses on it, unlike those of the seated hierarchs. Likewise, Dioscorus's blue phelonion and stole (epitracheilion) are also devoid of the usual crosses and other motifs normally on these vestments. Eutyches, a priest and abbot, likewise, wears a plain stole.
This portrayal vividly illustrates the stripping of authority, the repudiation and the excommunication of Dioscorus and Eutyches, therefore, the little black demons could be regarded as an unnecessary embellishment. (But that's me being picky ...)