In front of the religious procession were those who carried on their arms tens of holy wonder¬work icons, followed by some 80 priests and about 10,000 believers.
On the Orthodoxy Sunday, celebrated for the first time on March 11, 842 A.D., once and for all it was dedicated the honouring of the holy icons in the Eastern Christian rite.
Once with the 313 Edict, when emperor Constantine the Great gave the Christians the liberty to show clearly their belief and religion, they erected hundreds and hundreds of churches, which they had garnished with mural paintings, some of which are preserved in our days. Thus, the Byzantine iconographical art, the Eastern Church’s art developed, and knew a fresh start in the 6th century under Justinian and continued to flourish for another two hundred years, giving the believers true monuments of sacred beauty.
At the beginning of the 8th century a campaign against the holy icons began, known in the history as the iconoclasm, which was to last over 70 years, with a lot of casualties and huge heritage losses. The persecution ceased with the coming to the throne of empress Irina, together with her son aged only 10. From her order, at Nicea (Iznic today, in Turkey), took place the 7th Ecumenical Synod attended by 350-odd bishops , when the cult of the holy icons was re-established.
Later, during empress Theodora, patriarch Methodius summoned a synod where he invited all the bishops, hegumen and monks who had suffered from the anti-iconoclastic resistance. That time, on March 11, 842 was decided that the first Sunday of the Easter Lent to be called the Orthodoxy Sunday, thus consecrating once and for all the veneration of the holy icons in the Eastern Christian religion.