This book has been concerned with symbol in the widest sense. Despite the examinations of material images, it has primarily explored conceptual problems involved in representing angels that arise from the unquantifiable nature of the bodiless host. “Subtle bodies” was favored theological formulation for the nature of angels. The formulation was ascribed to Macarius the Great, but it was the primary definition used by John of Thessalonike in his defense of the worship of angels' images apparently before a pagan opponent. The content of the book also examined the “image” of the holy man who sought the intercession of the Archangel Michael and witnessed the awful result of that prayer. Clearly, the worship of angels, their “persons” and their images both, was a divisive issue in the Byzantine world, and the story of the miracle at Chonae was an attempt to establish a basis for more seemly and more orthodox worship.
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