TIL that after a Byzantine army was destroyed at Pliska (811), Byzantine soldiers broke into the tomb of the iconoclast Constantine V (died 775), who was reviled by the church for his heresy but revered by the army for his victories, and begged the dead emperor to arise and lead them once again

Read more: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constantine_V

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  1. From the article:

    >Due to his espousal of iconoclasm Constantine was damned in the eyes of contemporary iconodule writers and subsequent generations of Orthodox historians. Typical of this demonisation are the descriptions of Constantine in the writings of Theophanes the Confessor: “a monster athirst for blood”, “a ferocious beast”, “unclean and bloodstained magician taking pleasure in evoking demons”, “a precursor of Antichrist”. However, to his army and people he was “the victorious and prophetic Emperor”. Following a disastrous defeat of the Byzantines by the Bulgarian Khan Krum in 811 at the Battle of Pliska, troops of the tagmata broke into Constantine’s tomb and implored the dead emperor to lead them once more.

    From Theophanes the Confessor’s chronicle:

    >In the City, while the people and the patriarch were performing a litany in the church of the Holy Apostles, some impious members of the foul heresy of the God-hated Constantine prised up the door of the imperial mausoleum (no one was paying any attention because the throng was so thick) and made it open suddenly with some kind of noise as if by a divine miracle. They then rushed in and fell before the deceiver’s tomb, calling on him and not on God, crying out, ‘Arise and help the State that is perishing!’ They spread the rumour that Constantine had arisen on his horse and was setting out to fight the Bulgarians—he who dwells in Hell in the company of demons! The City prefect arrested those men and at first they lied, pretending that the doors of the mausoleum had opened automatically by God’s will. But when they had been brought before the prefect’s tribunal and failed to produce witnesses, they admitted the stratagem of the wrenching before any torture had been applied to them. The prefect had them suitably ‘wrenched’ and condemned them to be paraded in public and to cry aloud the reason for their punishment. Thus had the Devil, inventor of evil, trained the soldiers to lay blame not on their own sins, but on the orthodox faith that has been handed down by our fathers and on the monastic rule, the school of godly philosophy. Most of those who uttered such blasphemies were Christians only in semblance, but in truth were Paulicians who, unable to make manifest their own loathsome doctrines, seduced the ignorant by this device, extolling the Jewish-minded Constantine as a prophet and a victor and embracing his impiety so as to subvert the incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ.

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