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ÁNGEL F.

SÁNCHEZ ESCOBAR

HISTORY AND PRAXIS OF EASTERN ORTHODOXY, A TEXTBOOK

HISTORY AND PRAXIS OF EASTERN ORTHODOXY, A TEXTBOOK

By

ÁNGEL FRANCISCO SÁNCHEZ-ESCOBAR (Ph.D., Th.D.)

2008

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TO THE MEMORY OF MY BELOVED MOTHER

©Ángel F. Sánchez Escobar The St. Stephen Harding College Publishing House Winston-Salem, NC, 2008 ISBN-13-978-84-691-8173-7 Illustration: Christ Pantocrator (on wood, 1363)

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SOME WORDS ABOUT THE AUTHOR The Most Rev. Angel F. Sánchez Escobar: BA (University of Seville, English Philology), BA (U. of Seville, Spanish Philology), MA (Vanderbilt U., Spanish Literature and Linguistics), MA (Vanderbilt U., Education), Ph.D. (Vanderbilt U., English Education), Ph.D (U. of Seville, English Philology), Ph.D. (U. of Seville, Spanish Literature), Th.D (St.Stephen Harding Theological College and Seminary) Angel F. Sánchez Escobar also received a Certificate of Orthodox Theology from the University of Joensuu (Finland) and an Interfaith Ministry Certificate from the New Seminary (New York). Moreover, he attended Universidad Pontificia de Comillas (Madrid). He is a Professor of English Language Teaching at the University of Seville (Spain) and the Director of the Seminario Ortodoxo Hispano de la Santísima Trinidad. He is Associate Dean of St. Stephen Harding Theological Seminary and College. Angel has published books and articles in the areas of theology, English language teaching, contrastive rhetoric, Spanish literature, and poetry.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS I would like to express my appreciation to the people who helped me write this book. I would especially like to thank Archbishop ++Oscar Joseph (Abbot General of the Cistercian Order of the Holy Cross), for his continuous encouragement and guidance. I am also very grateful to Bishop +Iohannes (South Africa), for his revision of the text and valuable suggestions. Finally I would like to thank both Sr. Tracey for the proofing of the text and Fr. Esteban for having been the perfect reader of this dissertation and having provided me with useful recommendations to improve the clarity of the text. My thanks must also go to the library staff of the Escuela de Magisterio of the Facultad de Ciencias de la Educación (Universidad de Sevilla) for their competence and dedication, and very especially to the director of this library, Ángela Arévalo, for her endless patience with my inter-library loan requests.

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TABLE OF CONTENTS
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS................................................................................................... 4 TABLE OF CONTENTS ................................................................................................... 5 FOREWORD ................................................................................................................22 A NOTE ABOUT THE STYLE OF THE BIBLIOGRAPHICAL REFERENCES ........................24 PREFACE: ORTHODOXY AND HISTORY......................................................................25 PART I: CHURCH HISTORY ........................................................................................32 (A STUDY OF THE HISTORY OF THE EARLY CHRISTIAN CHURCH, THE BYZANTINE CHURCH, AND THE RUSSIAN CHURCH) .....................................................................32 INTRODUCTION TO PART I........................................................................................34 CHAPTER 1 .................................................................................................................36 HISTORY OF THE EARLY CHRISTIAN CHURCH (I-III CENTURIES)...........................36 INTRODUCTION .........................................................................................................36 1. THE GENERAL SITUATION ......................................................................................38

THE ROMAN EMPIRE ..................................................................................................38
THE JEWISH BACKGROUND AND ITS SIGNIFICANCE FOR EARLY CHRISTIANITY .......42 A brief history.........................................................................................................42 Judaism under the Roman World: Connections to Christianity....................................49

SOME ISSUES OF THE SOCIAL MILIEU OF EARLY CHRISTIANITY..................................54 Three relevant social issues .....................................................................................56
2. THE APOSTOLIC AGE ..............................................................................................77

INTRODUCTION: CHURCH AND TRADITION FROM AN ORTHODOX POINT OF VIEW......77 THE INFANT CHURCH OF THE FIRST CENTURY ...........................................................80 PAUL AND GENTILE CHRISTIANITY .............................................................................88 THE GOSPELS ............................................................................................................93
3. EARLY CHRISTIANITY AND THE ROMAN EMPIRE: PERSECUTION AND SUCCESS..96 4. DEVELOPMENT OF THE THEOLOGY OF THE EARLY CHURCH.................................113

THE LATE FIRST CENTURY: THE CENTRALITY OF CHRIST.......................................... 117
A Time Framework ............................................................................................... 117 Efforts of early Christians to live by the message about Jesus.................................. 119

SECOND AND THIRD CENTURY: APOSTOLIC FATHERS, APOLOGISTS, HERESIES, NEW TESTAMENT CANON, TRADITION.............................................................................. 123
The Apostolic Fathers ........................................................................................... 124 Apologists ............................................................................................................ 126 Gnosticism ........................................................................................................... 127 Marcionism........................................................................................................... 130 Montanism ........................................................................................................... 132 Credal-confessional tradition, authority, New Testament canon ............................... 132 Tradition and Scripture ......................................................................................... 137 The Church of Rome ............................................................................................. 139 5. EARLY ADMINISTRATIVE STRUCTURE .................................................................140 CHAPTER 2 ...............................................................................................................145 BYZANTINE CHURCH HISTORY (313-1453 AD).......................................................145 INTRODUCTION .......................................................................................................145 1. THE EARLY BYZANTINE PERIOD (324-842): THE FORMATIVE PERIOD OF THE CHURCH. COUNCILS AND LOCAL HERESIES.............................................................148

THE ‘FIRST GOLDEN AGE’ OF BYZANTIUM (324-730) ................................................. 148
Political and Cultural Aspects ................................................................................. 148 Constantine the Great ....................................................................................... 148

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Constantine’s Successors................................................................................... 152 The Fall of the Roman Empire in the West ......................................................... 153 Justinian I, the Builder of Hagia Sophia .............................................................. 154 Justinian I’s Successors: More Invasions ............................................................ 157 Religious Aspects.................................................................................................. 159 Heresies and the First Six Ecumenical Councils (325-681) ................................... 159 Arianism....................................................................................................... 162 Nestorianism ................................................................................................ 163 Monophysitism ............................................................................................. 164 Monoenergism. Schism and the Sixth Council ................................................. 166 Other Heretical Movements ........................................................................... 169 The Pentarchy .................................................................................................. 170

END OF EARLY BYZANTINE PERIOD (730-843) .......................................................... 174
Political and Cultural Aspects ................................................................................. 174 Religious Aspects.................................................................................................. 176 The Iconoclastic Controversy............................................................................. 176 Background to the Eighth-Century Crisis ........................................................ 178 First Phase: Leo III, Constantine V and Empress Irene.................................... 181 Opening conflict by Leo III........................................................................ 181 Constantine V and the Council of 754 ........................................................ 183 Restoration of the icons: The Empress Irene and the council of Nicaea (787)185 Second Phase: Final Reestablishment of Icons, the Empress Theodora ............ 187 The Byzantinization of Liturgy ........................................................................... 190 2. THE MIDDLE BYZANTINE PERIOD: THE “SECOND GOLDEN AGE” OF BYZANTIUM (843-1261)...............................................................................................................191

POLITICAL AND CULTURAL ASPECTS......................................................................... 191
Religious Aspects.................................................................................................. 195 Missions: The Conversion of the Slavs................................................................ 195 Schism between the East and West ....................................................................... 200 The Filioque and Other Sources of Separation .................................................... 202 3. THE LATE BYZANTINE PERIOD (1261-1453)........................................................205

POLITICAL AND CULTURAL ASPECTS......................................................................... 205 RELIGIOUS ASPECTS ................................................................................................ 207
Crusades: Making the Schism Definitive ................................................................. 207 IMPORTANCE OF THE RELIGION IN THE POLITICS OF THE BYZANTINE PEOPLE: THREE CONTROVERSIES ...................................................................................... 210 The Arsenite Schism ......................................................................................... 211 Attempts at Union with the Roman Church......................................................... 214 Relations between the Christian Church and State in Byzantium .............................. 216 Heaven on Earth: The Emperor as God’s Representative on Earth ....................... 216 Caesaropapism in Byzantium? ........................................................................... 221 Patterns of Development in the Relations between the Church and the State ....... 223 Monasticism ......................................................................................................... 229 A Quick Note on the Captive Church ...................................................................... 231 CHAPTER 3 ...............................................................................................................235 RUSSIAN CHURCH HISTORY (IX-XX CENTURIES) ..................................................235 INTRODUCTION .......................................................................................................235 1. KIEVAN PERIOD (IX-XIII CENTURIES): THE BAPTISM OF RUSSIA AND THE FLOWERING OF KIEVAN CHRISTIANITY..................................................................238 2. THE TARTAR-MONGOL YOKE AND THE EMERGENCE OF THE PRINCIPALITY OF MOSCOW (XIII-XV CENTURIES) ..............................................................................256

PRINCE ALEXANDER NEVSKY OF NOVGOROD ............................................................ 260 ST. SERGIUS (SERGII) AND THE CHURCH IN MOSCOVITE RUSSIA: XIV-XV CENTURIES ............................................................................................................................... 264
St. Sergius of Radonezh ........................................................................................ 266 St. Stephen, the Enlightener of Perm, a missionary................................................. 271

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The End of the Tartar Yoke and the Emergence of Moscow..................................... 273

A RUSSIAN RENAISSANCE ........................................................................................ 276 HERESIES ................................................................................................................ 277
3. FROM POSSESSORS AND NON-POSSESSORS TO THE GREAT SCHISM (XVI-XVII CENTURIES) .............................................................................................................278

POSSESSORS AND NON-POSSESSORS ....................................................................... 278 IVAN III THE TERRIBLE AND ST PHILIPS................................................................... 283 THE EMERGENCE OF MOSCOW AS A PATRIARCHATE ................................................. 286 A TIME OF TROUBLES (1584-1613) ........................................................................... 289 THE SCHISM OF THE OLD BELIEVERS ...................................................................... 293
4. THE CHURCH IN IMPERIAL RUSSIA: THE SYNODAL PERIOD (1700-1917)..........300

1. THE CHURCH IN IMPERIAL RUSSIA: THE XVIII CENTURY ....................................... 300 2. THE CHURCH IN IMPERIAL RUSSIA: THE XIX CENTURY ......................................... 311 3. OPENING YEARS OF THE TWENTY CENTURY: MOVEMENT FOR CHURCH RENEWAL AND THE END OF THE SYNODICAL PERIOD (1917).................................................... 321
4. A TIME OF PERSECUTION AND REBIRTH: THE RUSSIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH IN THE XX CENTURY (1917-) ........................................................................................328

THE RUSSIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH FROM THE OCTOBER REVOLUTION OF 1917 UNTIL THE SECOND WORLD WAR: SIX MAIN STAGES .......................................................... 328 The Sobor ............................................................................................................ 331 First Stage (1918-22): Communists’ Optimism, the Sobor and Lenin’s State ............. 333
Second Stage (1922-29): Communists’ Attempts at Splitting the Church .................. 337 Third Stage (1929-1941): Stalin’s Bloody Persecution of the Church ........................ 342 Fourth Stage (1941-1953): Second World War and Stalin’s Restoration of the Russian Church ................................................................................................................. 345 Fifth Stage (1958-1964): Nikita Khrushchev, a New Assault on the Church............... 349 Sixth Stage 1965-1991: The Church under the Decaying Socialism .......................... 352 Brezhnev.......................................................................................................... 352 Andropov ......................................................................................................... 355 Chernenko ....................................................................................................... 356 Gorbachev........................................................................................................ 357

SOME NOTES ON THE RUSSIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH 1991 TO MODERN DAYS .......... 362
4. FINAL CONCLUSION ON CHURCH HISTORY .........................................................367 SOME NOTES ON TODAY’S SITUATION OF THE ORTHODOX CHURCH ......................368 PART II.....................................................................................................................370 (A STUDY OF THE FATHERS OF THE CHURCH, THE HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT OF DOCTRINE, AND DOGMATICS) ................................................................................370 INTRODUCTION TO PART II ....................................................................................371 1. GOALS AND OBJECTIVES PLUS SOME BASIC BACKGROUND INFORMATION .......371 2. SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY AND HISTORICAL THEOLOGY: DOGMA AND DOCTRINE, TRADITION, CHRISTIAN ETHICS, ORTHODOX THEOLOGY ......................................374

SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY, HISTORICAL THEOLOGY, ETHICAL CONCERNS ................... 376 DOCTRINES AND DOGMAS ....................................................................................... 382
Christian Ethics..................................................................................................... 388

TWO TYPES OF THEOLOGIES IN ORTHODOXY........................................................... 389
3. FORMS OF THE SACRED OR HOLY TRADITION AND DOCTRINE ...........................396 CHAPTER 4 ...............................................................................................................402 PATRISTICS .............................................................................................................402 INTRODUCTION .......................................................................................................402 1. OVERVIEW OF THE CHURCH FATHERS .................................................................404

GENERAL PERIODIZATION AND CLASSIFICATION...................................................... 407
Ante-Nicene Fathers ............................................................................................. 407 a) The Apostolic Fathers (from about 90-140) .................................................... 407 b) Apologists and Anti-Heretical Fathers (130-325AD)......................................... 410

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c) The Desert Fathers (Third and Fourth Centuries) ............................................ 414 The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers (IV-V Centuries) ............................................. 416 The Byzantine Period (VI- Centuries) ..................................................................... 418 a) Later Fathers (VI-VIII Centuries) ................................................................... 418 b) Recent Fathers (VIII-XV)............................................................................... 419

AUTHORITY AND RELEVANCE AS UNDERSTOOD BY THE THREE CHRISTIAN BRANCHES ............................................................................................................................... 420 VARIOUS SCHOOLS OR METHODS OF STUDY AND INTERPRETATIONS....................... 421
2. THE ROLE OF ASCESIS IN THE LIVES AND TEACHING OF THE FATHERS ..............423

“ASKESIS”: MEANING OF THE TERM, SOME FEATURES .............................................. 430 BIBLICAL BASIS OF THE MONASTIC, ASCETIC IDEAL ................................................. 434
Old Testamental Basis........................................................................................... 434 New Testamental Basis ......................................................................................... 437 Pre-Nicene Fathers and asceticism......................................................................... 447 Formulation and Development of Asceticism: The Desert Fathers and St. Basil ......... 455 3. THE FATHERS OF THE CHURCH AND HESYCHASM................................................480

GENERAL INTRODUCTION TO THE HESYCHIA ........................................................... 480 THE WRITINGS OF THE EASTERN FATHERS AND HESYCHIA ...................................... 488 SOME CONCLUDING WORDS .................................................................................... 523
4. THE FATHERS AS DEFENDERS OF FAITH: YOUR OWN RESEARCH ON APOLOGETICS .................................................................................................................................528 5. THE FATHERS AND LITURGICAL PRACTICE: YOUR OWN RESEARCH ...................529 CHAPTER 5 ...............................................................................................................530 HISTORY OF DOCTRINE...........................................................................................530 INTRODUCTION .......................................................................................................530 1. THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE DOCTRINE OF THE TRINITY .....................................532

BIBLICAL TEACHING ABOUT THE TRINITY ................................................................ 532
Bible, Apostles, Canon, and Apostolic Fathers......................................................... 537

ANTE-NICENE PERIOD: APOSTOLIC, APOLOGISTS, AND ANTI-HERETICAL FATHERS ... 541
a) The Apostolic Fathers (90-140).......................................................................... 545 b) Apologists and Anti-heretical Fathers (130-325AD) ............................................. 554 The Apologists (130-180) .................................................................................. 555 Old Catholic Age (170-325) ............................................................................... 562 Irenaeus ...................................................................................................... 563 Problems Raised by the Logos theology ............................................................. 568 The Third Century: Conflicting Tendencies. Tertullian and Origen ........................ 569 Tertullian ..................................................................................................... 570 Origen ......................................................................................................... 578 Arianism and the Road to the Council of Nicea ................................................... 588

AFTER NICEA: THE ROAD TO THE COUNCIL OF CONSTANTINOPLE ............................ 594
The Cappadocian Fathers—Basil of Caesarea, Gregory of Nyssa, and Gregory of Nazianzus—and the Council of Constantinople (381)....................................... 601 CONCLUSION ...........................................................................................................613 2. CHRISTOLOGY: YOUR OWN RESEARCH ...............................................................616

CHRISTOLOGY OF THE NEW TESTAMENT.................................................................. 617 CHRISTOLOGY OF THE PRE-NICENE FATHERS........................................................... 619 CHRISTOLOGY OF THE POST-NICENE FATHERS......................................................... 619
CHAPTER 6 ...............................................................................................................621 DOGMATICS .............................................................................................................621 INTRODUCTION .......................................................................................................621 1. DOGMAS OF THE ORTHODOX CHURCH.................................................................627

THE DIVINE PLAN OF SALVATION: THEOSIS AND UNCREATED ENERGIES .................. 632
Biblical Basis of Theosis .................................................................................... 639 Patristic Development ....................................................................................... 647 Ante-Nicene (II-IV Centuries) ........................................................................ 648

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The Nicene and post-Nicene Fathers (IV-V).................................................... 661 Byzantine Period (V-XV) ................................................................................ 680 Some Concluding Words and Further Theological Speculations ........................ 706

THE DOGMA OF THE TRINITY: YOUR OWN RESEARCH .............................................. 715 THE CHRISTOLOGICAL DOGMA: YOUR OWN RESEARCH ............................................ 718 YOUR OWN RESEARCH ON OTHER DOGMAS: CREATION AND ESCHATOLOGY............. 719
2. CONCLUSION........................................................................................................724 PART III ...................................................................................................................725 PRACTICAL THEOLOGY ............................................................................................725 (A STUDY OF HISTORY OF ORTHODOX LITURGICS, THE LITURGICAL ENVIRONMENT, AND CONTEMPORARY LITURGICS)...............................................725 INTRODUCTION TO PART III...................................................................................726 CHAPTER 7 ...............................................................................................................728 DEVELOPMENT OF ORTHODOX LITURGY.................................................................728 INTRODUCTION .......................................................................................................728

INTRODUCTORY TERMS, “LITURGICS,” “LITURGICAL THEOLOGY,” “ANAPHORA” ........ 729
1. JEWISH AND NEW TESTAMENT BACKGROUND ....................................................735 EARLY CHRISTIAN CHURCH (I-III CENTURIES) ......................................................742

APOSTOLIC AGE....................................................................................................... 742
The Eucharist: A Separated, Ordered Celebration ................................................... 746 Significance of the Eucharist.................................................................................. 749

AGE OF THE APOSTOLIC FATHERS (FROM THE END OF THE FIRST CENTURY TO THIRD CENTURY)................................................................................................................ 750 The Apostolic Constitutions ................................................................................... 763
2. DEVELOPMENT OF THE LITURGY IN THE BYZANTINE CHURCH (IV-XV CENTURIES) .................................................................................................................................767

EARLY BYZANTINE PERIOD (324-842) ....................................................................... 767
The The The The Fourth and Fifth Centuries: The Liturgies of St. Basil and St. John Chrysostom .. 772 Seventh Century: Maximus the Confessor........................................................ 779 Eight and Ninth Century: The Barberini Codex ................................................. 784 Interpretation of the Liturgy ........................................................................... 790

THE MIDDLE BYZANTINE PERIOD (8431261) ............................................................. 792 THE LATE BYZANTINE PERIOD (12611453) ............................................................... 798
Interpretation of the Liturgy .................................................................................. 800

THE DIVINE OFFICE OR LITURGY OF THE HOURS AND THE LITURGY OF THE PRESANCTIFIED GIFTS ............................................................................................. 805
The Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts ..................................................................... 805 The Divine Office or Liturgy of the Hours ............................................................... 806 3. SOME CONCLUDING WORDS ................................................................................810 CHAPTER 8 ...............................................................................................................812 THE LITURGICAL ENVIRONMENT: THE ORTHODOX CHURCH BUILDING AND LITURGICAL VESTMENTS.........................................................................................812 1. THE ORTHODOX CHURCH BUILDING ...................................................................812

INTRODUCTION ....................................................................................................... 812
Church Plan.......................................................................................................... 815 Some Definitions .................................................................................................. 818 JEWISH AND NEW TESTAMENT BACKGROUND ........................................................821 EARLY CHRISTIAN CHURCH (I-III CENTURIES) ......................................................827

APOSTOLIC AGE (FIRST CENTURY) ........................................................................... 827
DEVELOPMENT OF THE CHURCH BUILDING IN THE BYZANTINE CHURCH (IV-XV CENTURIES) .............................................................................................................844

EARLY BYZANTINE PERIOD (324-842) ....................................................................... 844 THE MIDDLE BYZANTINE PERIOD (8431261) ............................................................. 875

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THE LATE BYZANTINE PERIOD (12611453) ............................................................... 886
SYMBOLISM OF THE CHURCH BUILDING ............................................................... 896

SOME CONCLUSIONS ............................................................................................... 902
2. LITURGICAL VESTMENTS .....................................................................................904

INTRODUCTION ....................................................................................................... 904 ORIGIN AND EVOLUTION OF LITURGICAL VESTMENTS.............................................. 905
Jewish background ............................................................................................... 905

The Dress of Jesus and His Disciples.......................................................................... 906
Beginning Church Hierarchy and Tradition.............................................................. 909

FOUR MAIN PERIODS OF DEVELOPMENT OF LITURGICAL VESTMENTS ....................... 910 LITURGICAL AND NON-LITURGICAL VESTMENTS ....................................................... 919
Reader’s vestment ................................................................................................ 920 Deacon’s Vestments.............................................................................................. 920 Priest’s Vestments ................................................................................................ 923 Bishop’s vestments ............................................................................................... 926 MEANING OF THE LITURGICAL ATTIRE IN THE CLERGY’S VESTING PROCESS OF THE DIVINE LITURGY .................................................................................................................................933

SOME CONCLUSIONS ............................................................................................... 940
CHAPTER 9 ...............................................................................................................942 CONTEMPORARY LITURGICS AND LITURGICAL CATECHESIS ................................942 INTRODUCTION .......................................................................................................942 1. CONTEMPORARY LITURGICS ...............................................................................943

THREE GLOBAL FEATURES OF ORTHODOX LITURGY.................................................. 946 MAIN EXPRESSIONS OF WORSHIP ............................................................................ 949 LITURGICAL BOOKS ................................................................................................. 957 ORTHODOX LAITY AND DIVINE SERVICES................................................................. 961 LITURGICAL AND PERSONAL PRAYER........................................................................ 962 BIBLE READING IN THE ORTHODOX WORSHIP.......................................................... 970
Introduction ......................................................................................................... 970

THE BOOKS OF THE OLD TESTAMENT....................................................................... 974
The Books of the New Testament .......................................................................... 978 2. WESTERN RITES: YOUR OWN RESEARCH ............................................................982 3. LITURGICAL CATECHESIS AS A MODEL OF HOLISTIC EDUCATION......................983

“LEX ORANDI, LEX CREDENDI” AN AXIOM AT THE CENTER OF HOLISTIC LITURGICAL CATECHESIS ............................................................................................................ 983 HISTORICAL BACKGROUND OF ORTHODOX, HOLISTIC RELIGIOUS EDUCATION ......... 989 INTEGRATIVE, HOLISTIC RELIGIOUS EDUCATION: THE ORTHODOX TASK TODAY...... 996
4. CANON LAW: YOUR OWN RESEARCH ...................................................................999 SOME CONCLUSIONS .............................................................................................1000 PART IV ..................................................................................................................1002 ORTHODOX CHURCH MUSIC..................................................................................1002 (A STUDY OF CHURCH MUSIC IN BYZANTIUM AND RUSSIA, AND OF THE THEOLOGY OF ORTHODOX CHURCH MUSIC) ...........................................................................1002 INTRODUCTION TO PART IV..................................................................................1003 CHAPTER 10 ...........................................................................................................1006 DEVELOPMENT OF BYZANTINE HYMNODY ............................................................1006 INTRODUCTION .....................................................................................................1006 PRELIMINARY REMARKS .......................................................................................1007

THE CONCEPT OF HYMN AND HYMNODY................................................................. 1008 ORTHODOX SERVICE BOOKS CONTAINING LITURGICAL MUSIC ................................... 1010 PERIODS IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF BYZANTINE HYMNODY..................................... 1011
PERIODS IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF BYZANTINE HYMNODY .................................1012

PRE-BYZANTIUM ERA: CLASSIC, JEWISH, AND EARLY CHRISTIAN ROOTS ................ 1012

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The Terms “Psalms,” “Hymn,” and “Spiritual songs”.............................................. 1016 Meter of the Psalms ............................................................................................ 1019 References to Early Christian Chanting and Pagan Music ....................................... 1022

BYZANTINE ERA ..................................................................................................... 1032
Introduction ........................................................................................................ 1032 First Period: From the Fourth to the Sixth Century..................................................... 1033 From the Sixth to the Eleventh Century: Kontakia and Kanons .............................. 1044 Later Byzantine and Post-Byzantine Periods.......................................................... 1053 CHAPTER 11 ...........................................................................................................1057 CHURCH MUSIC IN RUSSIA ...................................................................................1057

INTRODUCTION: MAIN PERIODS IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF RUSSIAN CHURCH SINGING ............................................................................................................................. 1057 KIEVAN RUSSIA: THE ORIGINS OF RUSSIAN LITURGICAL SINGING .......................... 1060
Preparatory Period.............................................................................................. 1060 From the Baptism of the Rus’ (988) to the Tartar invasion .................................... 1064 Development of Znamenny and Kondakarian Singing............................................. 1068 The Period of the Tartar Yoke (Fourteenth and Fifteenth Centuries) and the 16th Century.............................................................................................................. 1075 CHAPTER 12 ...........................................................................................................1080 THEOLOGY OF CHURCH MUSIC: THE ROLE OF MUSIC IN THE HOLY SERVICES ...1080 PRELIMINARY REMARKS .......................................................................................1080 PRAISE SINGING IN THE SCRIPTURES ..................................................................1084 TWO CONCEPTS OF CHANTING ..............................................................................1089 A MAIN PURPOSE: PROVIDING AN EMOTIONAL COLOR TO CONCRETE LITURGICAL TEXT .......................................................................................................................1093 STYLE OF PERFORMANCE, TYPES OF HYMNS, AND SIGNIFICANCE OF HYMNS IN THE MAIN SERVICES OF THE DIVINE LITURGY, VESPERS, AND MATINS ...........................1095

STYLE OF PERFORMANCE AND TYPES OF HYMNS ........................................................ 1095
Significance of Hymns....................................................................................... 1097 CONCLUSION: ........................................................................................................1111 THE INTEGRATING FORCE OF THE HOLY TRADITION...........................................1111 GLOSSARY OF TERMS AND NAMES ........................................................................1113 APPENDIXES ..........................................................................................................1144 APPENDIX A ...........................................................................................................1145 1. LETTERS OF GOVERNOR PLINY AND EMPEROR TRAJAN ................................... 1145 Trajan’s Reply .................................................................................................... 1146

2. 40TH ANNIVERSARY OF CANCELLING OF EX-COMMUNICATION BY ROME AND CONSTANTINOPLE ................................................................................................. 1146 3. LINK BETWEEN THE CHURCH AND STATE IN ENGLAND ....................................... 1147
APPENDIX B ...........................................................................................................1149 DEVELOPMENT AND REFUTATION OF CHRISTOLOGICAL ERRORS ........................1149 APPENDIX C ...........................................................................................................1151 BYZANTIUM ...........................................................................................................1151

1. CHRONOLOGICAL LIST OF BYZANTINE EMPERORS .............................................. 1151 2. A QUICK LIST OF EMPERORS OF THE BYZANTINE EMPIRE ................................... 1156 3. SELECTIVE BYZANTINE TIMELINE:...................................................................... 1157 HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE TURBULENT HISTORY OF THE EASTERN ROMAN EMPIRE ... 1157 4. HIERARCHICAL SUCCESSION OF THE PATRIARCHAL SEE OF CONSTANTINOPLE UNTIL THE FALL OF THE CITY........................................................................................... 1159
APPENDIX D ...........................................................................................................1161 MAPS OF THE BALKAN PENINSULA AND ASIA MINOR ..........................................1161 APPENDIX E............................................................................................................1163 LIST OF RUSSIAN LEADERS....................................................................................1163

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1. RULERS OF THE KIEVAN RUS BEFORE THE TARTAR INVASION............................. 1163 2. RULERS OF THE TARTAR-MONGOL PERIOD ......................................................... 1164 3. PRINCES OF MOSCOW ........................................................................................ 1164 4. TSARS OF RUSSIA, 1547-1721 ............................................................................ 1164 5. EMPERORS OF RUSSIA, 1721-1917...................................................................... 1165 6. SOVIET LEADERS ............................................................................................... 1165 7. PRESIDENTS OF RUSSIA ..................................................................................... 1166
APPENDIX F............................................................................................................1167 THE FATHERS AS DEFENDERS OF FAITH ................................................................1167 APPENDIX G ...........................................................................................................1171 THE LITURGY OF THE EIGHTH BOOK OF THE APOSTOLIC CONSTITUTIONS..........1171 APPENDIX H ...........................................................................................................1173 LITURGICAL CYCLES OF SERVICES ........................................................................1173 APPENDIX I ............................................................................................................1179 LITURGICAL BOOKS ...............................................................................................1179 APPENDIX J ............................................................................................................1182 WESTERN RITE ORTHODOXY .................................................................................1182 APPENDIX K ...........................................................................................................1186 THE CONTENT AND STRUCTURE OF THE DIVINE LITURGY ....................................1186 APPENDIX L............................................................................................................1191 SERVICE OF PROSKOMIDE.....................................................................................1191 APPENDIX M...........................................................................................................1193 THE SACRAMENTS OF THE ORTHODOX CHURCH....................................................1193 APPENDIX N ...........................................................................................................1196 DIFFERENT SCHEDULES OF SERVICES ...................................................................1196 APPENDIX O ...........................................................................................................1197 NEW TESTAMENT REFERENCES TO THE EUCHARIST..............................................1197 APPENDIX P ...........................................................................................................1202 SIX DIMENSIONS IN PRACTICAL THEOLOGY ........................................................1202 APPENDIX Q ...........................................................................................................1203 THE ICONOSTASIS .................................................................................................1203 APPENDIX R ...........................................................................................................1205 THE CLERGY ...........................................................................................................1205 APPENDIX S ...........................................................................................................1207 COLORS OF THE LITURGICAL VESTMENTS.............................................................1207 APPENDIX T............................................................................................................1209 JEWISH HIGH PRIEST’S VESTMENTS .....................................................................1209 APPENDIX U ...........................................................................................................1210 THE CANTICLES OF LUKE........................................................................................1210 APPENDIX V ...........................................................................................................1212 PRE-BYZANTINE AND BYZANTINE HYMNS ............................................................1212

THE PRAYER OF CLEMENT OF ROME ....................................................................... 1212 CLEMENT OF ALEXANDRIA’S “A HYMN TO CHRIST THE SAVIOUR”.......................... 1212 “HYMN TO GOD” BY GREGORY NAZIANZUS ............................................................. 1213 ANACREONTIC HYMN BY ST. JOHN OF DAMASCUS ................................................. 1215
APPENDIX X ...........................................................................................................1217 FIVE PERIODS IN THE EVOLUTION OF THE POST-BYZANTINE CHANT ..................1217 APPENDIX Y ...........................................................................................................1218 LITURGICAL MUSIC: THE DIVINE LITURGY OF OUR FATHER AMONG THE SAINTS JOHN CHRYSOSTOM...............................................................................................1218 WORKS CITED ........................................................................................................1219 PRIMARY SOURCES................................................................................................1219 SECONDARY SOURCES ...........................................................................................1227 OTHER WEB PAGES CITED......................................................................................1259

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TABLES Table Table Table Table Table Table Table Table Table Table Table Table Table Table Table Table Table Table Table Table Table Table Table Table Table Table Table Table Table Table Table Table Table Table Table Table Table Table Table Table Table Table Table Table Table Table Table Table Table Table Table Table Table Table Table Table 1: Webs for definition of terms ...................................................................................24 2: Concept of Tradition ..............................................................................................79 3: Chart with main persecutions of First Christians.......................................................97 4: First century historian and the persecution under Nero ............................................99 5: First century historian and the persecution under Domitian .................................... 100 6: Concept of Apostolic Fathers ................................................................................ 124 7: Writings of the Apostolic Fathers .......................................................................... 125 8: New Testament writers and their denouncement of heresies .................................. 128 9: Response of the Church to 2nd century Gnosticism ............................................... 129 10: Response of Early Church Fathers on heresy ....................................................... 131 11: The Formation of the New Testament canon ....................................................... 131 12: Credal-confessional Tradition.............................................................................. 135 13: Constantinople becomes the Roman capital......................................................... 149 14: Constantine as a saint in the Orthodox Church .................................................... 151 15: Construction of Constantinople triple wall (413)................................................... 153 16: Bubonic plague’s first appearance in the Mediterranean (541-544) ....................... 155 17: Dates of the First Seven Ecumenical Councils ...................................................... 160 18: Kontakion (Second Tone) .................................................................................. 180 19: Triumph of Orthodox iconodule .......................................................................... 189 20: The body of John Chrysostom ............................................................................ 208 21: Feast day of Saint Gregory Palamas .................................................................... 214 22: Last Christian service before the fall of Constantinople ......................................... 216 23: Emperors and Church’s worship.......................................................................... 218 24: The Rus’ ........................................................................................................... 240 25: St. Andrew in Kiev ............................................................................................. 243 26: Lavra Monastery, a history ................................................................................. 247 27: In memory of Byzantium .................................................................................... 248 28: Earliest head of the Russian Church .................................................................... 248 29: Monastery of Trinity-St. Sergius Sergiev Posad .................................................... 267 30: The Russian tsar—the “New Constantine.” .......................................................... 284 31: The Swedish and the Polish in the Time of Troubles ............................................ 291 32: Historical data about Peter I the Great (1721-1725)............................................. 303 33: Early Romanov tsars and tsarinas ....................................................................... 308 34: Late Romanov tsars ........................................................................................... 311 35: The Philokalia .................................................................................................... 316 36: Pilgrimage in Russia........................................................................................... 317 37: Monastery of Optina Pustyn ............................................................................... 318 38: Causes of the Russian Revolution of 1917 ........................................................... 327 39: The February Revolution .................................................................................... 327 40: The October Revolution ..................................................................................... 329 41: Article 17 of the revised religious law issued by Stain (April 8th, 1929) .................. 343 42: Statistics indicating the consolidation of the Church in the post-war years............. 348 43: Period early 1960’s to mid-1980’s ....................................................................... 357 44: Common divisions of Theology ........................................................................... 376 45: Division within Systematic Theology................................................................... 376 46: Ecumenical Councils and later Councils along with their doctrines or documents.... 398 47: The Creed of Nicea ............................................................................................ 398 48: Apostolic Fathers ............................................................................................... 403 49: Concept of Heresy ............................................................................................. 410 50: Justin’s Dialogue with Trypho ............................................................................. 412 51: Apologists and Anti-Heretical Fathers .................................................................. 414 52: Apophthegmata Patrum .................................................................................... 415 53: The Evergetinos ................................................................................................ 416 54: Fathers of the Golden Age Period (1) .................................................................. 417 55: Fathers of the Golden Age Period (2): John Chrysostom....................................... 418 56: Some Later and Recent Fathers .......................................................................... 419

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Table 57: St. Symeon the New Theologian ......................................................................... 419 Table 58: Nice and Post-Nicene Fathers’ struggle against heresies....................................... 420 Table 59: Works of Eusebius of Caesarea (c. 265-c.340) ..................................................... 422 Table 60: Relation of Ascetics to Moral Theology and Mysticism .......................................... 428 Table 61: Troparion of St. Anthony .................................................................................... 459 Table 62: St. Basil`s prayer for a deeper sense of fellowship with all living things ................ 467 Table 63: The Apophthegmata Texts ................................................................................. 492 Table 64: Prayer by St. Thalassios ..................................................................................... 505 Table 65: The term “canon” .............................................................................................. 539 Table 66: The Apostles’ Creed ........................................................................................... 540 Table 67: The Rule of Faith ............................................................................................... 564 Table 68: Montanism ........................................................................................................ 578 Table 69: Kataphatic and apophatic theologies ................................................................... 579 Table 70: Arius’ doctrines about Jesus ............................................................................... 589 Table 71: The Athanasian Creed........................................................................................ 601 Table 72: The Capadoccian Fathers and the Trinity............................................................. 601 Table 73: Trinitarian perspective East-West........................................................................ 602 Table 74: The Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed.................................................................. 627 Table 75: Troparion and Kontakion to Athanasius ............................................................... 665 Table 76: Synodikon of Orthodoxy..................................................................................... 704 Table 77: The Proclamation of Palamas Sainthood.............................................................. 705 Table 78: Contents of the Divine Liturgy ............................................................................ 733 Table 79: The Feast of Pascha........................................................................................... 740 Table 80: Book eighth of the Apostolic Constitutions ........................................................... 764 Table 81: The Barberini Codex .......................................................................................... 772 Table 82: The Typikon ...................................................................................................... 794 Table 83: Liturgy of St. Basil ............................................................................................. 950 Table 84: The structure of the Eucharistic liturgies ............................................................. 951 Table 85: The Words of Institution in the three liturgies of Eastern Christian Churches ......... 952 Table 86: Example of Typikon ........................................................................................... 958 Table 87: The Byzantine Typicon ....................................................................................... 960 Table 88: Outline of times for the Daily Prayer Cycle........................................................... 961 Table 89: How laymen read service books.......................................................................... 962 Table 90: Prayers before and after Meals ........................................................................... 965 Table 91: Books of the Old Testament and the New Testaments accepted by the Orthodox Church ..................................................................................................................... 973 Table 92: Ekphonetic notation ......................................................................................... 1007 Table 93: Antiphonal singing ........................................................................................... 1035 Table 94: Venerable Father Auxentius, Troparion, Tone I —.............................................. 1043 ILLUSTRATIONS Illustration 1: Bust of the Emperor August............................................................................39 Illustration 2: Goddess Isis and Winged Maat .......................................................................40 Illustration 3: Plutarch .......................................................................................................42 Illustration 4: Babylonian exile.............................................................................................44 Illustration 5: Ezra reads the Law ........................................................................................46 Illustration 6: Model of Jerusalem (Roman Period)................................................................48 Illustration 7: Philo of Alexandria .........................................................................................50 Illustration 8: Jesus Christ the Lifegiver................................................................................51 Illustration 9: The twelve Apostles .......................................................................................58 Illustration 10: The areas mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles............................................59 Illustration 11: St. Paul .......................................................................................................61 Illustration 12: The three hierarchs of the Church.................................................................79 Illustration 13: Pentecost ....................................................................................................81 Illustration 14: St. Peter and St. Paul ...................................................................................83 Illustration 15: Stephen’s martyrdom ...................................................................................84 Illustration 16: St. James, the Lord’s brother ........................................................................87

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Illustration 17: Peter’s martyrdom .......................................................................................98 Illustration 18: Saint Polycarp, martyred circa 155 AD......................................................... 101 Illustration 19: Cyprian and Justina, two African Christians.................................................. 106 Illustration 20: Diocletian coin ........................................................................................... 107 Illustration 21: A fragment of the Dichache ........................................................................ 125 Illustration 22: Justin ........................................................................................................ 127 Illustration 23: Emperor Constantine I and Helen, .............................................................. 150 Illustration 24: Constantinople, the “New Rome” ................................................................ 151 Illustration 25: Map of Earlier Byzantium (565)................................................................... 154 Illustration 26: Hagia Sofia (537 A.D.)................................................................................ 156 Illustration 27: Emperor Justinian I (527-565) and attendants ............................................. 156 Illustration 28: Map of the Byzantine Empire (668 A.D.)...................................................... 157 Illustration 29: Council of Ephesus, 431 ............................................................................. 166 Illustration 30: Map of the Byzantine Empire in 780 AD....................................................... 175 Illustration 31: John of Damascus...................................................................................... 178 Illustration 32: Demetrius of Thessalonica .......................................................................... 180 Illustration 33: Forerunner and Lamb................................................................................. 181 Illustration 34: Map of the Byzantine Empire (1025 A.D.) .................................................... 192 Illustration 35: Mosaic of Constantine IX Monomachus and Empress Zoë ............................. 193 Illustration 36: Michael VIII Palaeologus ............................................................................ 194 Illustration 37: Cyril and Methodius.................................................................................... 196 Illustration 38: Siege of Constantinople (1453) .................................................................. 206 Illustration 39: Siege of Constantinople by crusaders .......................................................... 209 Illustration 40: Ottoman Empire (1580).............................................................................. 232 Illustration 41: Prince Vladimir........................................................................................... 242 Illustration 42: Vladimir Monomakh.................................................................................... 245 Illustration 43: St. Theodosius ........................................................................................... 246 Illustration 44: Lavra Monastery ........................................................................................ 247 Illustration 45: Kiev in the 10th century .............................................................................. 249 Illustration 46: The Kievan Rus’ and the world ca 1100 A.D................................................. 251 Illustration 47: Yaroslav “the Wise”.................................................................................... 253 Illustration 48: Medieval walls of Novgorod ........................................................................ 257 Illustration 49: Prince Alexander Nevsky receiving Pope’s legates ........................................ 261 Illustration 50: Moscow in the fifteenth century .................................................................. 265 Illustration 51: Monastery of St. Sergius Sergei Posad......................................................... 267 Illustration 52: St. Sergius of Radonezh ............................................................................. 268 Illustration 53: St. Stephen of Perm (1340-1396) in his way to Moscow ............................... 272 Illustration 54: Archangel Michael Cathedral ....................................................................... 275 Illustration 55: Ivan the Terrible ........................................................................................ 284 Illustration 56: Patriarch Nikon (1652-58) .......................................................................... 296 Illustration 57: Avvacum, the Holy Martyr (1620-1680) ....................................................... 298 Illustration 58: Peter I the Great........................................................................................ 302 Illustration 59: St. Tikhon of Zadonsk (1724-83)................................................................. 310 Illustration 60: St. Paissy Velichkovsky ............................................................................... 314 Illustration 61: St. Serafim of Sarov ................................................................................... 316 Illustration 62: The Monastery of Optina ............................................................................ 317 Illustration 63: Tsar Nicholas II and Family ........................................................................ 323 Illustration 64: Patriarch Tikhon......................................................................................... 335 Illustration 65: Danilov Monastery ..................................................................................... 355 Illustration 66: Council of Nicea I, 325 ............................................................................... 399 Illustration 67: The Ten Commandments ........................................................................... 436 Illustration 68: St. Anthony the Great, father of all monks................................................... 458 Illustration 69: St. Anthony Monastery (built 356)............................................................... 460 Illustration 70: Maximus the Confessor .............................................................................. 476 Illustration 71: St. John of the Ladder................................................................................ 513 IIlustration 72: St. Ignatius of Antioch ............................................................................... 551 Illustration 73: Origen....................................................................................................... 586 Illustration 74: St. Athanasius............................................................................................ 600

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Illustration 75: St. Symeon the New Theologian ................................................................. 694 Illustration 76: St. Gregory Palamas................................................................................... 704 Illustration 77: The communion of the Apostles .................................................................. 745 Illustration 78: The Divine Liturgy...................................................................................... 782 Illustration 79: Skeuophylakion of Hagia Sophia ................................................................. 783 Illustration 80: Plant of an Orthodox Church Building .......................................................... 817 Illustration 81: Narthex or vestibule ................................................................................... 817 Illustration 82: Byzantine Church with a triple apse............................................................. 818 Illustration 83: The Tabernacle of Moses............................................................................ 822 Illustration 84: Christian church-house of Dura Europos (Syria) ........................................... 831 Illustration 85: Dura Europos’ baptistery ............................................................................ 832 Illustration 86: Adam and Eve and the Good Shepherd ....................................................... 832 Illustration 87: The Orans, praying figure from the catacombs ............................................ 837 Illustration 88: The Good Shepherd ................................................................................... 837 Illustration 89: The cubicle of the sacraments .................................................................... 838 Illustration 90: Photo of the altar partition of a fourth century Christian church at Olympia .................................................................................................... 842 Illustration 91: Fresco Fraction Panis (Greek Chapel) .......................................................... 843 Illustration 92: Basilica Ulpiae (Rome)................................................................................ 845 Illustration 93: Drawing of the interior of the Basilica Ulpiae (Rome).................................... 845 Illustration 94: Early Christian rectangular church ............................................................... 846 Illustration 95: Byzantine adaptation of a rectangular church plan ....................................... 847 Illustration 96: Altar partition of 4th century Lochrida Basilica ............................................. 849 Illustration 97: The Church of the Holy Apostles at Constantinople ...................................... 850 Illustration 98: Plan view of the Church of the Holy Apostles ............................................... 850 Illustration 99: Church of Hagia Irene at Constantinople ..................................................... 853 Illustration 100: The monogram of Christ ........................................................................... 853 Illustration 101: Coin with Constantine I ascending into heaven .......................................... 854 Illustration 102: Christ Pantocrator (La Martorana) ............................................................. 855 Illustration 103: Christ Pantocrator .................................................................................... 856 Illustration 104: Detail of the mosaic in the apse of the Basilica........................................... 857 Illustration 105: Sant’ Agnese, martyr ................................................................................ 857 Illustration 106: Plan view of Hagia Sophia......................................................................... 861 Illustration 107: Hagia Sophia ................................................................................... 864 Illustration 108: The Dome of Hagia Sophia ....................................................................... 864 Illustration 109: North side of nave of San Apollinnare....................................................... 867 Illustration 110: South side of nave of San Apollinnare ...................................................... 867 Illustration 111: Sanctuary of St. Vitale in Ravenna............................................................. 868 Illustration 112: Justinian with Maximianius........................................................................ 868 Illustration 113: Empress Theodora and attendants ............................................................ 869 Illustration 114: Christ Pantocrator giving a martyr’s........................................................... 869 Illustration 115: Moses receiving the Law........................................................................... 870 Illustration 116: Abraham and Sarah entertain the three angels .......................................... 870 Illustration 117: St. Sebastian martyr................................................................................. 871 Illustration 118: Drawing of an early iconostasis ................................................................. 875 Illustration 119: Enthroned Virgin and Child ....................................................................... 877 Illustration 120: Scheme of the cross-in square church ....................................................... 877 Illustration 121: Ground plan of the cross-in square church................................................. 878 Illustration 122: The New Church ...................................................................................... 879 Illustration 123: Constantine Lips Monastery Church (909) .................................................. 880 Illustration 124: Church of Myrelaion -Bodrum Camii ........................................................ 880 Illustration 125: Church of Panaghia Kapnikarea............................................................... 881 Illustration 126: Apse and Iconostasis of the Church........................................................... 882 Illustration 127: Madonna and Child between Empress Irene (right) .................................... 882 Illustration 128: Sketch of the reconstruction of the original exterior appearance ................. 883 Illustration 129: Vestibule mosaic of Hagia Sophia representing Christ ................................. 884 Illustration 130: Iconostasis of Torcello Cathedral............................................................... 885 Illustration 131: Iconostasis of the Protaton church at Mount Athos..................................... 885

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Illustration 132: Communion of the Apostles (Hagia Sophia, Kiev) ....................................... 887 Illustration 133: Sacrifices of Abel and Melchizedek (St. Vitale, Ravenna) ............................. 888 Illustration 134: Scheme of iconostasis of Ossios Lukas....................................................... 889 Illustration 135: A five-tier iconostasis (Moscow) ................................................................ 890 llustration 136: Holy Face (Novgorod School) ..................................................................... 892 Illustration 137: Holy Face (Yaroslavl School) ..................................................................... 893 Illustration 138: Rublev’s Trinity ........................................................................................ 893 Illustration 139: The Church of the Dormition (Rostov) ....................................................... 894 Illustration 140: Archangel Michael Cathedral ..................................................................... 895 Illustration 141: Jewish High Priest .................................................................................... 906 Illustration 142: Current Jewish Tallith ............................................................................... 907 Illustration 143: Christ of Hagia Sophia, vestibule ............................................................... 908 Illustration 144: the Apostles Paul, Andrew and Peter ......................................................... 909 Illustration 145: Reader vestment of a short phelonion ....................................................... 920 Illustration 146: Deacon’s vestments ................................................................................. 923 Illustration 147: Priest’s vestments .................................................................................... 926 Illustration 148: Bishop’s vestments................................................................................... 928 Illustration 149: Other clerical garments ............................................................................ 929 Illustration 150: Orthodox clergy vestments. From left to right vestments for deacons, priests, and bishops.............................................................................................................. 930 Illustration 151: Inner cassock (Russian style).................................................................... 931 Illustration 152: Inner cassock (Greek style) ...................................................................... 931 Illustration 153: Outer cassock ......................................................................................... 932 Illustration 154: Vestments for the Orthodox Divine Liturgy................................................. 935 Illustration 155: The Baptism of Christ ............................................................................... 953 Illustration 156: Pascha .................................................................................................... 955 Illustration 157: The Divine Liturgy, Angel carrying chalice.................................................. 969 Illustration 158: St. Matthew the Evangelist ....................................................................... 972 Illustration 159: The Birth of the Theotokos ....................................................................... 981 Illustration 160: Transfiguration of Christ ........................................................................... 981 Illustration 161: Canticle ................................................................................................. 1016 Illustration 162: A Troparion .......................................................................................... 1043 Illustration 163: Saint Romanos....................................................................................... 1045 Illustration 164: A kontakion ........................................................................................... 1046 Illustration 165: A kanon ................................................................................................. 1047 Illustration 166: Twelfth-century Kondakarion notation .................................................... 1071 Illustration 167: Znamenny notation ................................................................................ 1072 Illustration 168: The Balkan Peninsula ............................................................................. 1161 Illustration 169: Asia Minor ............................................................................................. 1161 Illustration 170: High Priest’s Garments ........................................................................... 1209

ACTIVITIES Activity Activity Activity Activity Activity Activity Activity Activity Activity Activity Activity Activity Activity Activity 1: Preliminary activity..............................................................................................23 2: Items in Glossary and Appendixes........................................................................24 3: Contrast the historical perspective of East-West....................................................31 4: Introduction to Chapter I on the History of Early Christian Church .........................37 5: Religious beliefs in the first century......................................................................42 6: Historical periods of Judaism and theological development of Judaism ...................49 7: Judaism and Christianity under the Roman World .................................................53 8: Social context and New Testament ......................................................................56 9: Social issues: mobility and mission .......................................................................67 10: Social issues: Wealth/poverty and class society...................................................72 11: Social issues: Attitudes of authorities and population against Christians................77 12: The Apostolic Age .............................................................................................88 13: Jewish persecutions ..........................................................................................88 14: Paul’s theology..................................................................................................92

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Activity Activity Activity Activity Activity Activity Activity Activity Activity Activity Activity Activity Activity Activity Activity Activity Activity Activity Activity Activity Activity Activity Activity Activity Activity Activity Activity Activity Activity Activity Activity Activity Activity Activity Activity Activity Activity Activity Activity Activity Activity Activity Activity Activity Activity Activity Activity Activity Activity Activity Activity Activity Activity Activity Activity Activity Activity Activity

15: 16: 17: 18: 19: 20: 21: 22: 23: 24: 25: 26: 27: 28: 29: 30: 31: 32: 33: 34: 35: 36: 37: 38: 39: 40: 41: 42: 43: 44: 45: 46: 47: 48: 49: 50: 51: 52: 53: 54: 55: 56: 57: 58: 59: 60: 61: 62: 63: 64: 65: 66: 67: 68: 69: 70: 71: 72:

Paul’s relationship with the Law and with other churches.....................................93 The formation of the Gospels.............................................................................95 Roman Persecutions ........................................................................................ 112 Orthodox theology .......................................................................................... 117 Christian writings of the first century. ............................................................... 119 The Risen Jesus and his Messianic character..................................................... 120 Oneness of believers with Christ ...................................................................... 121 Christ as an Expiator ....................................................................................... 121 Interpretation of Jesus by first century Christians.............................................. 123 The Apostolic Fathers ...................................................................................... 125 Justin ............................................................................................................. 127 Paper on Gnosticism........................................................................................ 130 Marcion and New Testament canon.................................................................. 131 Formation of the New Testament ..................................................................... 132 Review of Second Century Christianity.............................................................. 138 The Church of Rome ....................................................................................... 140 Early Administrative Structure .......................................................................... 143 Final activity on Early Christianity ..................................................................... 144 Preliminary activities on Chapter 2 ................................................................... 147 Byzantium and Constantine.............................................................................. 152 Constantine’s successors ................................................................................. 154 List of Byzantine emperors until Justinian ......................................................... 155 Justinian I’s Reign .......................................................................................... 157 List of Byzantine emperors after Justinian......................................................... 159 About the seven councils ................................................................................. 162 Heresies from the fourth to the seventh century ............................................... 170 The Pentarchy ................................................................................................ 174 The Iconoclast Crisis ....................................................................................... 190 General Aspects of the Second Golden Age of Byzantium................................... 195 The conversion of the Slavs ............................................................................. 200 Causes of the Schism between the East and the West ....................................... 205 The Photian Schism......................................................................................... 205 Crusades ........................................................................................................ 210 Three controversies in the last centuries of Byzantium....................................... 216 Relations between the State and the Church in Byzantium................................. 229 The Captive Orthodox Church .......................................................................... 234 Final activity on History of Byzantium ............................................................... 234 St. Vladimir and Eastern Christianity in Russia................................................... 255 Differences, Vladimir’s measures, Monomakh, Yaroslav, missionary work ........... 255 Your own summary of Christianity in Kievan Rus’ .............................................. 255 The Tartar invasion ......................................................................................... 260 Location of places in a Kievan Rus’ map ........................................................... 264 Alexander Nevsky............................................................................................ 264 The city of Moscow ......................................................................................... 266 The concept of “serfdom” ................................................................................ 271 St. Sergius of Radonezh .................................................................................. 271 St. Stephen, the Enlightener of Perm................................................................ 273 The raise of the Principality of Moscow ............................................................. 276 A short biography of Rublev............................................................................. 277 A Russian renaissance ..................................................................................... 277 Heresies in Medieval Russia ............................................................................. 278 Your own summary of the Russian Church during the XIII-XV centuries ............. 278 St. Nilus and St. Joseph ................................................................................... 281 Possessors and Non-Possessors ....................................................................... 283 Ivan the Terrible’s period................................................................................. 286 The Patriarchate and the Third Rome ............................................................... 289 Time of Troubles............................................................................................. 293 A short biography of Avvacum ......................................................................... 298

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Activity Activity Activity Activity Activity Activity Activity Activity Activity Activity Activity Activity Activity Activity Activity Activity Activity Activity Activity Activity Activity Activity Activity Activity Activity Activity Activity Activity Activity Activity Activity Activity Activity Activity Activity Activity Activity Activity Activity Activity Activity Activity Activity Activity Activity Activity Activity Activity Activity Activity Activity Activity Activity Activity Activity Activity Activity Activity

73: The Great Schism............................................................................................ 300 74: The “Unia” movement ..................................................................................... 300 75: Metropolitans and Patriarchs cited.................................................................... 300 76: Summary of the Russian Church during the XIII-XV centuries ............................ 300 77: The eighteen century (I) ................................................................................. 305 78: The eighteenth century (II) ............................................................................. 311 79: The nineteenth century ................................................................................... 313 80: The nineteenth century ................................................................................... 316 81: Men contributing to the nineteenth century revival............................................ 321 82: The nineteenth century ................................................................................... 321 83: Issues in the Russian Church at the beginning of the twentieth century.............. 325 84: Rasputin ......................................................................................................... 326 85: The Russian Revolution of 1917 and the February Revolution ............................ 327 86: The October Revolution ................................................................................... 329 87: Lenin as a politician......................................................................................... 329 88: Russian writers of the nineteenth century ......................................................... 330 89: Leaders of the Soviet Union ............................................................................. 333 90: First stage in the struggle Church-State ............................................................ 337 91: Joseph Stalin .................................................................................................. 342 92: Second stage in the struggle Church-State ....................................................... 342 93: Third stage in the struggle Church-State........................................................... 345 94: Biography of Patriarch Sergii............................................................................ 349 95: Fourth stage in the struggle Church-State......................................................... 349 96: Fifth stage in the struggle Church-State............................................................ 352 97: Sixth stage in the struggle Church-State ........................................................... 362 98: Final activity on Russian Church History............................................................ 367 99: The major Christian denominations and Orthodox Jurisdictions .......................... 369 100: Systematic Theology, history, dogma, doctrine, and Fathers of the Church ....... 389 101: Orthodox theology......................................................................................... 396 102: Forms of Holy Tradition ................................................................................. 401 103: Reading the Apostolic Fathers ........................................................................ 410 104: Reading Apologists and Anti-heretical Fathers ................................................. 414 105: Reading Fathers of the Golden Period............................................................. 418 106: Reading Later and Recent Fathers .................................................................. 419 107: Characteristics of the Fathers of the Church .................................................... 422 108: Summary of main ideas of Introduction .......................................................... 430 109: Bible quotes on fasting .................................................................................. 435 110: Old Testament basis of asceticism ................................................................. 437 111: New Testament passages on mortification, unworldliness, and detachment ..... 437 112: The redemptive activity on part of man .......................................................... 445 113: Fourth century men who opposed asceticism .................................................. 446 114: More New Testament basis of asceticism ....................................................... 447 115: Other ascetic writers...................................................................................... 479 116: Final activity on role of ascesis in the Fathers of the Church............................. 480 117: “Hesychia” and “Hesychasm”, preliminary concepts ......................................... 488 118: Hesychasm ................................................................................................... 528 119: Final activity on the Fathers of the Church and hesychasm .............................. 528 120: Three statements summarizing the biblical teaching about the Trinity............... 537 121: The Apostolic Fathers and the Triad ............................................................... 554 122: The Apologists and the Triad.......................................................................... 562 123: Comparison and contrast of Justin’s and Irenaeus ........................................... 564 124: Irenaeus ....................................................................................................... 568 125: Two phases of Monarchianism ....................................................................... 569 126: Three Statements Summarizing the Biblical Teaching about the Trinity............. 578 127: The Apologists and the Triad.......................................................................... 578 128: The Apologists and the Triad.......................................................................... 579 129: Alexander and Arianism ................................................................................. 590 130: The terms “essence” and “begotten” at the Nicene Council .............................. 594

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Activity 131: Comparison and contrast of the Nicene Creed and the Athanasian Creed.......... 601 Activity 132: The Cappadocian’s contributions to the doctrine of the Trinity.......................... 612 Activity 133: Comparison and contrast of the Nicene Creed and the Constantinopolitan Creed ............................................................................................................................... 613 Activity 134: Final activity on the Trinity............................................................................. 616 Activity 135: The development of other doctrines ............................................................... 620 Activity 136: John of Damascus’ “An Exposition of the Orthodox Faith” ................................ 624 Activity 137: Comparing different approaches to Dogmatics ................................................ 631 Activity 138: Preliminary activity on the concept of theosis .................................................. 639 Activity 139: Some biblical bases of theosis ........................................................................ 647 Activity 140: Theosis and Ante-Nicene Fathers ................................................................... 661 Activity 141: Theosis and the Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers............................................. 680 Activity 142: Theosis and the Byzantine Fathers ................................................................. 706 Activity 143: Paper on Theosis........................................................................................... 715 Activity 144: Final activity on Theosis ................................................................................. 715 Activity 145: The dogma of the Trinity ............................................................................... 718 Activity 146: The Christological Dogma .............................................................................. 719 Activity 147: The dogma of Creation .................................................................................. 722 Activity 148 : Eschatology ................................................................................................. 724 Activity 149: What is Practical Theology? ........................................................................... 727 Activity 150: Introductory terms ........................................................................................ 735 Activity 151: Jewish roots of the Liturgy ............................................................................. 742 Activity 152: New Testament quotes of the Eucharist.......................................................... 745 Activity 153: Separation and meaning of the Eucharist........................................................ 750 Activity 154: The Liturgy in the first three centuries ............................................................ 766 Activity 155: The Apostolic Constitutions ............................................................................ 766 Activity 156: The parent rites ............................................................................................ 772 Activity 157: Preliminary questions on the development of the Byzantine Liturgy .................. 772 Activity 158: The liturgies of St. Basil and St. Chrysostom .................................................. 779 Activity 159: The Liturgy in the seventh century ................................................................. 784 Activity 160: The liturgy in the eight and the ninth century ................................................. 792 Activity 161: The Typikon .................................................................................................. 795 Activity 162: Middle Byzantine Period................................................................................. 797 Activity 163: The liturgy in the Late Byzantine Period.......................................................... 804 Activity 164: The Typikon .................................................................................................. 804 Activity 165: The Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts and the Liturgy of the Hours ................... 810 Activity 166: Final activity on the development of Orthodox liturgy ...................................... 811 Activity 167: Final activity on the development of the Divine Liturgy and the Divine Offices... 811 Activity 168: Preliminary activity on the Orthodox Church building ....................................... 821 Activity 169: Jewish and New Testament background of church building and church decoration ............................................................................................................................... 827 Activity 170: The Holy Face ............................................................................................... 827 Activity 171: House churches in the New Testament ........................................................... 831 Activity 172: House churches and Catacombs in the first three centuries.............................. 843 Activity 173: Church building and church decoration in Early Byzantine Period (324-842) ...... 875 Activity 174: Church building and church decoration in Middle Byzantine Period (843-1261).. 886 Activity 175: The iconostasis, tiers and functions ................................................................ 891 Activity 176: Church building and church decoration in Late Byzantine Period (1261-1453) ... 896 Activity 177: Symbolism of the Church building .................................................................. 903 Activity 178: Final activity on church building and decoration .............................................. 903 Activity 179: Jewish background, beginning church hierarchy and Tradition ......................... 910 Activity 180: Periods in eastern clergy vestments................................................................ 919 Activity 181: Clergy vestments (1) ..................................................................................... 941 Activity 182: Clergy vestments (2) ..................................................................................... 941 Activity 183: Final activity on liturgical vestments ............................................................... 941 Activity 184: Preliminary concepts of Orthodox liturgy......................................................... 945 Activity 185: Three global features of Orthodox liturgy........................................................ 949 Activity 186: Three global features of Orthodox liturgy........................................................ 956

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Activity Activity Activity Activity Activity Activity Activity Activity Activity Activity Activity Activity Activity Activity Activity Activity Activity Activity Activity Activity Activity Activity Activity Activity Activity Activity Activity Activity Activity Activity Activity Activity

187: 188: 189: 190: 191: 192: 193: 194: 195: 196: 197: 198: 199: 200: 201: 202: 203: 204: 205: 206: 207: 208: 209: 210: 211: 212: 213: 214: 215: 216: 217: 218:

The structure of the Eucharistic Liturgies ........................................................ 956 Meaning and structure of the Divine Liturgy.................................................... 956 Liturgical Cycles ............................................................................................ 957 Examples of Divine Services and other blessings ............................................. 957 Liturgical Texts.............................................................................................. 961 Comparing and contrasting private and liturgical prayer................................... 970 Western rites ................................................................................................ 983 The holistic, experiential nature of Orthodox religious teaching ........................ 989 Historical background of Orthodox Catechesis ................................................. 996 Tarasar’s integrative, holistic catechesis.......................................................... 999 Canon Law.................................................................................................. 1000 General introduction to Part IV..................................................................... 1005 General concepts on liturgical music ............................................................. 1007 Preliminary remarks on Byzantine Hymnody.................................................. 1012 Definition of some sacred music sacred terminology ...................................... 1012 Pre-Byzantium Era....................................................................................... 1032 Byzantium Era............................................................................................. 1053 Later Byzantine and Post-Byzantine Era ........................................................ 1055 Final Activity on Byzantine liturgical music .................................................... 1055 Main periods in the development of Russian church singing ........................... 1060 Preparatory stage of Russian liturgical singing............................................... 1064 From the Baptism of the Rus’ to the Tartar invasion ...................................... 1074 From the Tartar invasion to the sixteenth century ......................................... 1078 Final activity on Early Russian church singing ................................................ 1078 Russian church singing ................................................................................ 1078 Preliminary remarks on the role of music in the holy services ......................... 1084 Praise singing in the Scriptures .................................................................... 1089 Two concepts of chanting ............................................................................ 1093 Main purposes in Liturgical music ................................................................. 1094 Style, type, and significance of liturgical hymns............................................. 1109 Final activity on the role of music in the holy services .................................... 1110 Your own conclusions .................................................................................. 1112

21

Foreword

FOREWORD
This text on the history and praxis of Eastern Orthodoxy1 is intended to help you understand the lengthy process followed by the Orthodox Church since its formative stage in the first century, passing through the important, and for Orthodox churches, crucial, Byzantine period, to its present day position. By tracing the history of the church in this way I will try to show that the contemporary Orthodox Church has a historical link with the original and early Christian community. The perspective of the Orthodox Church on the history and praxis of the church will be employed as a point of reference for this study. The naming of the Church as “Orthodox” occurred from the 4th century to the 6th century, a period marked by great and many religious disputes. It was a time when it became necessary to differentiate the true Church from a great number of different heresies (initiated by Arius, Nestorius, Marcion and others who also called themselves Christians but whose doctrines and theological positions lay outside that of the Church). The word orthodoxy is translated from the Greek words ortho (right) and doxa (glory), meaning “right glory.” Other names given to the Church were Catholic, which means “whole” or “all encompassing.” This idea implies that in the Church resides all the Truth and that the Church calls everyone all over the world to salvation, regardless of their nationality or social status. In the translation of the Nicene Creed (the “Symbol of Faith”) from Greek to Slavic, the word “catholic” was translated as “universal.” According to Hopko, an internationally recognized Orthodox theologian, in his “Second Century: Persecution and Faith,” Saint Ignatius was the first to use the term catholic to

From the point of view of the continuity between the Old Christian Church and the Eastern Christian Church, the terms “orthodox” and “orthodoxy” will be written in capital letters—Orthodox”, “Orthodoxy”—as they describe the name of a Church and of its believers. In occasions, though, when referring to the dominant or official doctrine at a given time and place, lower case letters will be used. As an illustration, John Meyendorff (1982), a well known Orthodox theologian, uses “Orthodox” when referring to the Eastern Church and “orthodox” when referring to the Roman Church (118-119).

1

22

Foreword

describe the Church. He says that it is an “adjective of quality that tells how the Church is, namely, full, perfect, complete, whole, with nothing lacking in it of the fullness of the grace, truth and holiness of God.” In an attempt to execute this complex task, I have analyzed the insights of many important scholars concerning the topics we will be covering as well as my own reflections whenever possible, as I tried to establish a common framework for our discussion. I have used both printed books as well as digital, online documents obtained from Internet that you will be able to explore and research for your personal study. With this aim in mind I have inserted within the text: a) tables with additional information; b) different types of activities to enable you to review your work, to develop your understanding and to assist you in the initiation and guiding of discussions of issues, topics and subject-matter; and c) illustrations such as maps, pictures, or icons, intended as visual aids to help you understand the context of the exposition and the grasping of certain relevant aspects of Orthodox art. As a further aid to you, at the end of the study, I have also added a glossary with theological terms and names as well as appendixes with different type of information. Here is an example of an activity. Do it as your first assignment.

Activity Write what you know or remember about the first Christians. Begin by making a list of the main ideas.
Activity 1: Preliminary activity

Definition of terms Although there are many definition of terms in the Glossary which can help you as you progress through this work, you can find many other terms defined in the following web sites: • Litsas, Fotios K. A Dictionary of Orthodox Terminology. Greek Orthodox

23

Foreword

Archdiocese of America. article9152.asp>. • • •

<http://www.goarch.org/en/ourfaith/articles/

Glossary of Liturgical Music. PSALM. <http://www.orthodoxpsalm. org/resources/glossary/k-o.html>. A Dictionary of Orthodox Liturgical Terms. <http://www.archangelsbooks.com/ articles/liturgics/OrthodoxLiturgicalTerms.asp>. Orthodox Dictionary. <http://www.monachos.net/library/Orthodox_ Dictionary>.
Table 1: Webs for definition of terms

A NOTE ABOUT REFERENCES

THE

STYLE

OF

THE

BIBLIOGRAPHICAL

In the following discussion I will follow the MLA style for bibliographical references, including those obtained from internet sources—which in this work appear with no page number—with two exceptions: the quotations set off from the text will be single spaced instead of double spaced and the titles of books will be italicized instead being underlined. The first change is due to the great amount of quotes from both primary and secondary sources included in this text include. The reason for all these quotes is because this text is intended to be used for the training of seminary students. The second change is due to the fact that it is the already existing format followed in publications that are used as sources.

Activity See the last pages of this study and become familiar with the Glossary and the Appendixes. Then make an outline by listing: • the terms in the Glossary • the names in the Glossary • the titles of each Appendix
Activity 2: Items in Glossary and Appendixes

24

Preface

PREFACE: ORTHODOXY AND HISTORY
“The true Orthodox way of thought has always been historical, has always included the past, but has never been enslaved by it... [for] the strength of the Church is not the past, present, or future, but in Christ.” Fr. Alexander Schmemann

Following this thought of Schmemann one feels that when beginning any work on the history and praxis of Orthodoxy a reference to Christianity’s manifested sensitivity for history is necessary. Furthermore we have the well-known fact that the Scriptures were not revealed in a vacuum but in a historical context. Scriptures are a revelation of historical data; they bear testimony of God’s activity in history—often called “sacred history” or “salvation history”. It is within this historical framework that the Word of God unfolds a message of salvation. This explains, Papadakis asserts, in his History of the Orthodox Church, why Orthodoxy has always been attracted to and values history. He adds, as an illustration of his point, that Orthodox liturgy is simply a witness to history recalling not only the eventful life of Jesus but also historical events that shaped the church (saints, ascetics, martyrs, and theologians). However, Papadakis does not reduce the liturgy to history, but states that, for him, liturgy also has an eschatological, supra-historical dimension: an anticipation of a world-to-come. As John Meyendorff, the well-known Orthodox theologian, explains, in The Byzantine Legacy in the Orthodox Church, from a Christian approach, history implies variation and change, but also presupposes that God, who transcends history, manifests himself through historical events which then acquire a normative and, therefore, suprahistorical significance. For him, the result of Christ’s death and resurrection was the establishment of a community which laid a living continuity, a normative continuity, between the apostolic community and the Church of the later times: the unity of Tradition, which implies consistency of belief and experience (115). The same faith,

25

he does not see history as “technical history”.. however. doctrine. Although the Church (and its traditions) exists in history. Without denying the factual basis to the Bible. even if it is the case that it exists or lives in history. the truth as seen in the Orthodox mind of the whole church. a living experience. Such a conception of tradition is rejected by history itself and by the consciousness of the Orthodox Church . which is relived and renewed through time. not a historical event. in The New Testament: An Orthodox Perspective. Church. He sees the Scripture as a testimony of God’s saving activity in history. they nevertheless at the same time have dimensions that are beyond and point beyond history itself. Tradition: An Eastern Orthodox View: Tradition is not a principle striving to restore the past. and Christian life continued to be present and prolonged themselves throughout the history of the church. he quotes George Florovsky in Bible. in “Tradition and the Orthodox Church”. Bebis. (47) Bebis concludes by saying that “Tradition is a gift of the Holy Spirit. Tradition is the constant abiding of the Spirit and not only the memory of words. To reassert both the timelessness and temporality of Tradition. It is the true faith. which is revealed by the Holy Spirit to the true people of God. He adds that both Tradition and Church have eternal and infinite value as its founder. Tradition is perceived as the gift of the Holy Spirit and what assists the Church to preserve in a pure and inviolate (‘orthodox’) manner the Apostolic truth. using the past as a criterion for the present. Tradition is a charismatic. has no beginning and no end. an Orthodox theologian. Expressing an almost similar stand point. points out the universality and infinite or timeless dimensions of the Tradition of the Church. he points out that the “narrative of Scripture represents the interpreted experience and religious memory of God’s people 26 .. that stands in opposition to all heresies and schisms. Christ.Preface teachings.” This emphasis upon and interpretation of the importance of tradition also represents the standpoint of Stylianopoulos.

Furthermore. etc. an approach that is more in the line of the salvation-history school of thought. Without disregarding the value of the western scientific approach to the Bible—historical and literary criticism. He asserts: That Jesus of Nazareth is the Christ and risen Lord is a truth of far greater magnitude than the historical question of the origin and development of Christological titles. tradition. chronology. the rise of science.—he believes that it has a disruptive effect when taken to extremes. The hope of the resurrection of the dead and of the coming kingdom is far more important than the exact nature of these events as reported in various biblical books.Preface over many generations” (11). while its written expression is by comparison secondary” (4). the Holy Scripture is the “record” of revelation rather than a direct revelation itself (13). (13) This departs from the Protestant view of authors such as Goppelt and his historical approach to the theology of the New Testament. Stylianopoulos therefore sees an organic bond. as Aghiorgoussis asserts. between Scripture. This is in contrast to Goppelt. Stylianopoulos. In addition. language. who heavily relies on the New Testament writings as the only source of tradition. which perceives a kind of dichotomy between the Bible—considered to be the revealed word of God—and the tradition of the Church—considered to be as important as the Bible 27 . Stylianopoulos seems to be particularly concerned with the role of Scripture in the church and in relationship to the church. He adds that “behind the written Scriptures lies the dynamic reality of the oral traditions of the Jewish and Christian peoples” (8). in “The Dogmatic Tradition of the Orthodox Church. in the Orthodox perspective. says that “the foundational nature of biblical revelation is personal. That is. a dynamic interplay. and faith community.” while western Christianity. religious wars. and culture. marked by Reformation. addressing the origin of both the Old and the New Testament. Although emphasizing the historical perspective. Stylianopoulos explains that we have to distinguish between central claims pertaining to salvation and subsidiary matters of history.

claimed that Orthodox Christian doctrine did not have a history. in The Emergence of the Catholic Tradition. For him it is possible to unite the variety of Christian history with tradition. Orthodoxy holds the position that the “Tradition of the Church includes the Bible.’ an ‘outward form’ of Orthodox Christian Tradition. Thus. 340).Preface (Roman Catholic Church) or secondary (Protestantism)—. only heresy (heterodoxy) had a history since it arose at particular times and through the innovation of particular teachers. Tradition. in his Ecclesiastical History. having been true eternally and taught primitively. factors and circumstances of the present. is not inconsistent with history. Meyendorff explains that present realities in the Orthodox Church are not created by theological factors only but also shaped by historical realities of the past and by empirical. almost magnetic force of its own that has caused the Orthodox Church to change and develop through the centuries. from traditionalism. Papadakis also affirms that based on an uninterrupted historical and theological continuity the Orthodox Church does not distance itself from. the living faith of the dead. He further distinguishes tradition. for the Bible is an ‘epiphenomenon. states that tradition does have a history as it is the form which Christian doctrine has taken in history. Nonetheless. history most definitely has a powerful. bishop of Caesarea and church historian. but explores history out of a strongly held conviction that it is the true Church of Christ on earth—Orthodoxy means “correct belief”. although unchanged since it was first established. mainly socio-political. the dead faith of living (7-8). But Pelikan. correct interpretation of the Scriptures and the writings of the Fathers of the Church. although the Orthodox Church preserves organical and spiritual continuity with the Church of the Apostles. Additionally. the primitive Church in Jerusalem.” Eusebius (ca. 28 . it is a particular task of theologians: • to distinguish permanent and absolute values from historical contingencies. that is.

whether Free Churchmen. if determined by politics.. the Orthodox Church sees history from a different perspective than that of the western Churches. and the Counter-Reformation. • But. They have been influenced by Papal centralization and the Scholasticism of the Middle Ages. The historian cannot therefore discard the world in which medieval eastern Orthodoxy developed. Universal truths have to be articulated in a temporal milieu and this articulation however imperfect is that of its generation. he states that. yet from an Orthodox perspective they seem to be two sides of the same coin. (2) Moreover. they have experienced no Reformations or CounterReformation. it is a fact that Orthodox Theology was Byzantine theology. it is theology which must provide the determining factor in conciliar decisions. members of the Orthodox Church possess a very different historical background. They have known no Middles Ages—in the western definition of this period—. nor ignore the ecclesiastical framework of the Church. in the Orthodox Church. He further comments that from the West. However. says that. Ware very rightly adds the following observation: “Orthodoxy is not just a kind of 29 . and clearly distinguish between them. councils become mere pseudo-councils (The Byzantine Legacy 236). and Protestantism are seen as opposite extremes. and they have only indirectly been affected by the cultural and religious upheavals which changed Western Europe in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Roman Catholicism. and indeed the spirituality of its people is often better understood in the light of the contemporary background. as. according to Timothy Ware. Hussey. Anglican. From a similar perspective. in The Orthodox Church in the Byzantine Empire. and to define what is holy tradition and what are human traditions.Preface • to help the church maintain its identity unadulterated. Western Christians. although it is certain that the truths of Orthodoxy are not related to any historical period. in spite of inevitable changes and conditions in accordance with which it must present its witness to the world. Ware adds.. . by the Reformation. or Roman Catholic have a common background.

Thus. the next pages are an attempt to depict the long. nevertheless. It is a well known fact that for more than nine hundred years the Greek east and the Latin west have grown apart. they have much common ground. Russian Church History Part II: Systematic Theology and Patristics 4. The Liturgical Environment 9. The following chapters. The Fathers of the Church 6. History of Doctrine 5. nevertheless. a perspective that is often unfamiliar to most westerners. History of Early Christian Church 2. The Byzantine Legacy 118). Until departing from Orthodox standards. the timeless roots of Orthodox Christianity managed to survive through the Church of Byzantium and acquired a re-new spiritual value with the Russian Church. is yet curiously familiar” (2). Byzantine Church History 3. Yet those who look more closely at this ‘unknown world’ will discover much in it. represent this unique eastern perspective. Contemporary Liturgics 30 . complex history and praxis of Orthodoxy by focusing on four different parts and eleven chapters: Part I: Church History 1. as we will see in the first chapter entitled History of the Early Christian Church. but something quite distinct from any religious system in the west. History of Orthodox Liturgics 8. while different.Preface Roman Catholicism without the Pope. Dogmatics Part III: Practical Theology 7. the influential Roman Church was respected as orthodox and in its honorary primacy (Meyendorff. Though suffering the historical upheavals. including western theologians and scholars.

for example. as Aghiorgoussis states. The Orthodox perspective of history. Activity 3: Contrast the historical perspective of East-West 31 .Preface Part IV: Orthodox Church Music 10. Activity Explain: 1. its faith and doctrine is enriched by the living commentaries of the lives of the saints of the past and the present. The two dimensions of the Tradition of the Church. known. Church Music in Russia As we do that we will be also approaching the Old Testament. 2.” He adds that “Rooted in the Bible. Give an example. Development of Theology of Orthodox Church Music 12. 3. and by the decrees of the various councils which dealt with doctrinal aberrations (heresies)” (“The Dogmatic Tradition of the Orthodox Church”). So. in this exposition. I will consider both Testaments of the Bible to get a complete picture of the Orthodox Christian religious perspective. There are many ways in which the Orthodox Church has consciously attempted to retain elements of Jewish Temple and synagogue worship in ritual patterns and their ecclesiastical architecture. It is enriched by the theological speculations of the Fathers and Teachers of the Church. But along all these chapters and discussions we cannot forget that Orthodoxy is a way of life. “for its experiential approach to faith and doctrines. Its difference with the western perspective. Music in Early Christian Period (Byzantine) 11.

and the Russian Church) 32 .PART I: CHURCH HISTORY PART I: CHURCH HISTORY (A Study of the History of the Early Christian Church. the Byzantine Church.

PART I: CHURCH HISTORY 33 .

This marks the beginning of the medieval period and the birth of the Christian empire of Medieval Byzantium that lasted for more than a millennium. The latter will include those events and developments which exercised a major influence on the Church’s life. eventually became the center of Orthodox Christianity. I will first describe general political and cultural aspects. the relation between East and West and the relations between the Christian church and the state in Byzantium. the second Rome. It is also a long history of an 34 . is a composite of three chapters. for its matchless missionary zeal. the pre-Nicean period. unknown world such as the land of the Rus’. The third chapter studies Russian Church History from the Baptism of Russia (9th – 11th centuries) to the Russian Orthodox Church in the 20th Century. Byzantium. Thus. ecumenical councils. heresies.PART I: CHURCH HISTORY INTRODUCTION TO PART I Part I. The second chapter studies Byzantine Church history—”Byzantine” is a term used to describe the Roman Empire in the east—. beginning with its formative stage in the early fourth century. and then. religious aspects. the iconoclastic controversy. In this second chapter. to remote. the first chapter concentrates on a period of three centuries. focusing on the general situation of the period to establish a context. the latter an infamous time of severe persecution and eventual rebirth. suffering numerous trials and encountering countless problems far and wide throughout the known world and even. It studies the history of the Early Christian Church. the lengthiest one due to its many historical facts and events. on the apostolic age. namely. beginning with the first Pentecost in Jerusalem and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon Christ’s small number of disciples to its expansion. on early Christianity and its relationship with the Roman Empire. as well as on a preliminary approach to the early development of the theology of early Christianity.

of Moscow as the Third Rome. creative way of perceiving Orthodoxy. 35 . but too a history in which absolutism forced the Russian Church to give up their dream of a Byzantine theocracy—a futile attempt to go back to its Byzantine roots.PART I: CHURCH HISTORY own.

I will pay attention to the apostolic church during the first three centuries. with its emphasis on local communities. according to Ware. who was assisted by presbyters or priests and deacons. while others are preserved in the tradition of the Church. Finally. but even beyond its frontiers. Luke. and b) the new idea of Christian martyrdom—an idea that has a central place in the church’s 36 . at first to Jews and then to Gentile.Some stories of the apostolic journeys are recorded in the book of Acts written by St. This period starts with the day of Pentecost. We will see how those early Christians were scattered by the persecutions and preached wherever they went. the baptism of three thousand people and the formation of the first Christian community at Jerusalem. during the first Christian Council (51 A. Within an amazing short time numerous small churches were founded in many areas of the Roman Empire. The latter became such an important issue that it was discussed at Jerusalem. especially in its eastern parts. I will study the development of the theology of the early church during the first three centuries before the Nicene Council (325). b) the wider unity of the church. Secondly.).Chapter 1: History of Early Christian Church Chapter 1 HISTORY OF THE EARLY CHRISTIAN CHURCH (I-III CENTURIES) INTRODUCTION In this chapter I will first sketch the general situation of the first Christians with special emphasis on their political and cultural milieu. until the conversion of Constantine. has a special relevance for contemporary Orthodoxy because during it the Church defined a) its distinctive administrative structure.D. I will analyze the administrative structure that emerged in the primitive Church—at this time the first Christian communities were led by a bishop. Thirdly. the first period of Christian history. This period.

Macedonia. why is this early-Christian period especially relevant for contemporary Orthodoxy? Activity 4: Introduction to Chapter I on the History of Early Christian Church 37 . India and Scythia. Italy. By the end of the first century. Hellene. As early as the second century. Armenia. Asia Minor. What is the period covered in this first chapter? 2. Bishops in rural areas had smaller congregations than those in the larger towns and cities. Britannia. bishops of larger and more populated regions were called metropolitans. The Church. Christian congregations were most often headed by bishops. North Africa. Such metropolitans in turn were responsible for the local area-bishops in their regions.Chapter 1: History of Early Christian Church spiritual outlook from which monasticism arose. although small at first. Syria. The Orthodox faithful is convinced that it is an unquestionable fact that the Orthodox Church most definitely had its origins during the time of the apostles. Egypt. in far away Arabia. The metropolitan had the responsibility to meet regularly with the bishops to discuss religious and administrative matters. Galea. who were the Apostles’ successors. In this period. there were Christian congregations in almost all of the areas covered by the Roman empire: the Holy Land. gradually grew into a mighty tree. Already in the first century. According to Ware. Activity 1. like the example of the mustard seed used by the Savior. as well as beyond the empire. we also witness how it came about that councils became the unique decision-making organism regarding church doctrine and we perceive the emergence of the Church’s emphasis on the value of tradition (12-15). and eventually spread its branches over the entire world. Spain.

the Roman Empire controlled and governed the lands surrounding the Mediterranean Sea as well as North Africa and Egypt. while in the East it extended to the borders of Armenia and the Persian Empire. cultural.D. There existed many socio-cultural and -political concerns and issues. For this reason I will explore their relationship with the Roman Empire. the development of the doctrine of the persons of Jesus Christ in relation to the Father for example. and religious groups. It was united by a common political allegiance. as well as the Jewish background. and a shared higher culture. namely the Hellenistic culture. As Pelikan states. 38 . economic and commercial interdependence.Chapter 1: History of Early Christian Church 1. cultural and political context. The Empire consisted of a vast territory that encompassed a great diversity of ethnic. We also need to consider the fact that the relations of the Church Fathers to pagan thought and Judaism influenced what they had to say about various doctrinal issues before them. religion had many functions and played a central part in people’s lives. it is necessary to study and be informed about the general situation of the first Christians in its social. for example the conflict between Hellenistic Jews and Hellenistic Jewish Christian concerning the question of the continuity with Judaism. In this complex world. THE ROMAN EMPIRE At Jesus’ birth. and other social issues. such as those that are relevant to develop and understanding of the New Testament period. 70. especially after A. but both a state concern. THE GENERAL SITUATION Before I can begin a description of the infant church. must be discussed not only on the basis of writings drafted against heresy but it must also be interpreted as a distinctive position being spelled out against the positions of paganism and Judaism. In the Roman-Hellenistic world it was not only a private affair. It was this particular issue that produced a controversy between Peter and Paul and continued to trouble the church for some time (11-13).

It used divination. it was merely political and signified the position that the foundation of political order was rooted in the divine 2 See: <www. Walker gives a clarifying summary of the civic religion: Traditional religion in the Roman-Hellenistic world was a public and social affair. seldom rationalized. an oracle to seek the will of the powers. social). the difficult enterprises of war and diplomacy. it used prayer and sacrifice to gain their alliance. the conduct of business. (7) It is in this context. Illustration 1: Bust of the Emperor August2 It appears as if this cult evoked no deep personal piety. involved in the three of them. the cosmic powers. communal. an affair of the family and community. religion sought their help for the common concern of life: the growing of crops.html>. 39 . Walker.insecula. and conducted by the normal leaders of the community: the head of the family or the elected magistrates of the city. dream. family. he further explains. These three modes of religion coexisted peacefully. Its rites were age-old and traditional. social.Chapter 1: History of Early Christian Church as well as a public and a social affair. communal). in A History of the Christian Church (1985). 2) the mystery cults or oriental cults for the most part with mystical roots in local fertility (personal. to different degrees. delineates three categories of religious beliefs and observance: 1) the traditional religion of the family and community gods—the civic religion—(family. Since human well-being depended at every moment on the good will of the gods. and some individuals were. that we are to understand the phenomenon of emperor worship that arose in the Roman Empire.com/us/oeuvre/O0023906. and 3) a (personal) way of life based on the pursuit and practice of philosophical wisdom.

It was a religion of salvation which offered a sense of the transcendent in the people’s search for personal happiness. their cathartic effects elicited deep emotions. The second category or way of religious observance. because an unexamined life and self 3 See: <www. to escape from such and impersonal religious view. Its purpose and principle can be summed up in Socrates’ dictum: Know thyself. inspired awe. with its roots in the teaching of Socrates in Athens (Plato. Illustration 2: Goddess Isis and Winged Maat3 The third way described by Walker. Epicurus or the Stoics). the pursuit and practice of philosophical wisdom (philosophos = philos meaning love and sophos meaning wisdom or sagacity). such as the mystery cults. The rites. for example.hinet.net/photo0005eng. Aristotle. This third way was designed to clean the soul of passion which kept it from being its true self. created an attitude of wonder and amazement. as it was quite indifferent to the person.Chapter 1: History of Early Christian Church sphere (the divine right of kings/emperors). ordinary people turned to other religious cults. and in search of a more personal religious world or universe. namely the search for personal fulfillment. namely the mystery cults.htm>.myweb. such as those which worshipped the Great Mother—also known as Isis and Serapis in Egypt—originated in Asia Minor and were disseminated through the Mediterranean world. 40 . ceremonies and services of worship of these cults fulfilled many psychological functions.egypt. Thus. the individual and people’s real longings and need. and instilled profound feelings of gratitude and self-worth (8-9).

political and intellectual elite (we only need to remind ourselves that Plato. Walker remarks that it is equally surprising that when another oriental religion of salvation—Christianity—began to appear in the social and cultural arena of the Hellenized cities of the Roman Empire. a socio-cultural. While the latter was a way offered to everyone. and feelings of salvation from the changes and chances of life on earth.4 But. assumes that the leader of the Republic will be a philosopher). the Hellenic rational-based method most definitely was not intended for everyone. This path required long education (which in turn assumed wealth and leisure so as to be able to spend one’s time on studies) and strict moral discipline. in his The Republic. 4 41 . both the inner reality of the self and the external reality of the universe. it should find sympathetic echoes in the philosophy and religion of that era (13). Walker adds that in the era of the Roman Empire this quest had much in common with the popular religion as some aspects of it were expressed in the style of (Gnostic. The appearance of Christianity in Hellenized areas (that is. knowledge. This kind of salvation was depicted as if the human person has a transcendent destiny in a fellowship with the divine (let us remind ourselves of the highest and absolute forms described by Plato. Walker states that it is unsurprising that a Platonist such a Plutarch (circa 45 125 AD) tried to make philosophical sense of the myth of Isis and Osiris as an allegory of humanity’s condition and destiny.Chapter 1: History of Early Christian Church is not worth living. As an illustration of this religious blending. namely goodness and beauty). the Hellenic rational method (=way) for self-knowledge (and thus knowledge of reality. and their common assumption that this is the supreme value and the meaning of life. or a world view) was far removed from the way of the eastern religions. those areas marked by these three religious and socio-cultural strands) of the Roman Empire (compared to those non-Hellenized areas We find a similar emphasis upon this search for self-knowledge and -understanding in eastern religions. for example Hinduism and Buddhism. as both sought some kind of escape. secret wisdom) mystery cults. but only for a select few.

We find these three periods outlined by Bright in A History of Israel: The crisis and downfall of the monarchy. Then.Chapter 1: History of Early Christian Church of central and western Europe) would undoubtedly mark the beginning of the difference between eastern and western Christianity.org>. Enumerate the three categories of religious beliefs at the time of Jesus as delineated by Walker and briefly explain each of them using your own words. Illustration 3: Plutarch5 Activity 1. 2. 3. consider if Christianity can and do fulfill these functions (as well as others)—most likely better than the three existing religions (it eventually replaced). and 5 See: <www. 42 . What is surprising about Christianity regarding the philosophy and the religion of the period? A suggestion: list the functions fulfilled by religion and philosophical pursuits during this period. the exilic and postexilic periods. Who were the Diaspora Jews? Activity 5: Religious beliefs in the first century THE JEWISH BACKGROUND AND ITS SIGNIFICANCE FOR EARLY CHRISTIANITY A brief history The first Christians were Jews and to understand their Jewish background we should go back several centuries before Christ and very shortly refer to three periods of Old Testament History.jamesweggreview.

This Josiahic religious reform consisted. Assyrian cult objects. Sephanian. After the division of the kingdom in two. This is narrated by the book of Kings and Chroniclers. Nahum and Habakkuk. who had found a copy of “the book of the law”—said to be some form of the book of Deuteronomy. contradicted the optimistic. popular theology about the Davidic covenant and raised questions about the validity of its unconditional promises. About 630 BC. especially by Isaiah. being anathema to all patriotic Judaic people. By means of this Isaiahic reinterpretation it was shown that the promise of God to his holy and unique nation was not revoked (294-309). Israel’s humiliation. were doubtless the first to go” (318). and underwent a thoroughgoing religious reform done by Josiah. who probably tried to regain some 43 . Ezekiel. with added information from the prophets Jeremiah.C. felt a free country again. Israel. in 609 B. according to Bright. For the national theology to be continued a reinterpretation of it was necessary. This was gradually provided. With the Assyrians out of the way. in “a purge of foreign cults and practices. which had been subject to Assyrian power. who saw the nation’s humiliation as the divine chastisement of its sin. of course. in 722.Chapter 1: History of Early Christian Church the formative period of Judaism—from Ezra’s reform to the outbreak of the Maccabean Revolt. Israel and Judah. the Assyrians started to decline and eventually the Babylonians took over the Assyrian capital of Nineveh. pharaoh Neco marched toward Syria and in 609 killed Josiah. This was an attempt to re-establish the cult of Yahveh and eliminate the Assyrian idols. was eventually destroyed by Assyrians. Egypt took this opportunity to reassert its control and.. Bright asserts. the southern state. Judah. the northern state. already socially and religiously decayed. Parallel with these historical references I will present a brief delineation of Israel’s theological development.

a theology which was centered on a) the affirmation of Yahweh’s choice of Israel as his promise seed and b) the promises to the Davidic dynasty of eternal rule and 6 See: <http://www. Jerusalem had fallen to the Babylonians (587). officers.html>.Chapter 1: History of Early Christian Church independence in the new international panorama. and Neco was killed.org/whoisazrael.songofazrael. 44 . Jerusalem was under siege for 30 months and eventually fell. A century after the death of Hezekiah. His death was the beginning of the end of Judah. Most of the population of Jerusalem was enslaved and carried off to Babylon. and killed Zedekiah’s sons. Johoiakim. but Nebuchadnezzar retaliated with fury and Judah was burned. they ransacked Jerusalem and carried many priests. One of Josiah’s sons. This was the end of the ‘kingdom of David. became a puppet king in Jerusalem. Eventually. They also blinded Zedekiah and dragged him off to Babylon in chains. was put on the Jerusalem throne by Neco. After some time. Then the Babylonians attacked Jerusalem and killed Jehoiakim. razed the temple. The Babylonians leveled the city.’ Illustration 4: Babylonian exile6 According to Bright. however. Zedekiah rebelled. and artisans back to Babylon to work for him. Afterwards. Zedekiah. the third son of Josiah. the fall of Jerusalem caused a crisis for the national theology. the Babylonians (under Nebuchadnezzar at that time) defeated the Egyptian forces. who had accomplished the first religious reform.

This prophet also gave the profoundest explanation of Israel’s suffering by affirming that sufferings born in obedience to the divine calling were the pathway to hope. it did survive and was able to restore a new Jewish community in Palestine. for both regarded the exile “as interim. against the continued presence of syncretistic religious practices. O Israel. that the acceptance by the Jews of exclusive abstract monotheism in the 6th century B.Chapter 1: History of Early Christian Church protection over its enemies. However. the Jewish community was reorganized by Nehemiah and Ezra. Israel’s faith showed an astounding tenacity and vitality. Bright states that in spite of the significance for Israel of the disaster of the fall of Jerusalem. also offered positive hope. the Lord our God. Furthermore. and recited twice daily by all practicing Jews. He also authorized the rebuilding of the temple. was reached in the message of Second-Isaiah. This occurred when Cyrus. at the end of the fifth century. Through the teaching of the prophets Israel’s faith continued to develop until a definite monotheism (summed up in the SHEMA.. ‘Hear. is somehow linked to the national loss of the Kingdom of Judah and the Temple in Jerusalem and the exile to Babylonia. these two “demolishers” of false hope. namely its state being destroyed and the national cultic community broken. the Lord is One. as Bright defends. meaning ‘listen’ or ‘hear’.’). thus saving it from disintegration 45 . yet. in 538 issued an edict allowing the return of the Jews to Judah. Bright adds. In this severe testing. and beyond which lay God’s future” (388).C. Regarding the exilic and postexilic periods. Yet Israel’s faith survived because some of the theological problems that now arose were already explicitly stated and appropriately dealt with by some prophets. did so more profoundly than Jeremiah and Ezekiel who announced Judah’s doom as the righteous judgment of Yahweh (332-336). It is plausible to think. none of them..

As the Old Testament period ended.. For him this was “the gravest emergency of their history since 7 See: <http://www. 46 . Heavy taxes were imposed on them and many were taken to Egypt as prisoners of war. Illustration 5: Ezra reads the Law7 The time of the formative period of Judaism.html>.Chapter 1: History of Early Christian Church (339-379). later. 414). Israel was allowed to practice its own religious customs and followed the rule of its own law. We can summarize this period as follows: in 333 B. Alexander the Great conquered the Persian Empire and after his death in 323 B.. The Greek translation of the Torah was even sponsored by Ptolemy II around 260 BC. near the end of the Old Testament —in spite of having a considerable literature.C. primary historical factual information. the empire was divided among his generals Seleucus. they learned Greek.wels. Under the authority of a local sartrapa.net/wmc/html/clip_art_--_volume_1__part_b. with many Jews—including both the Jews of the Diaspora but also the Jews of Palestine—disrespecting their own native laws and customs. and Ptolemy from Egypt who was to rule Palestine. that covers the latest portions of the Old Testament and the earliest of the non-canonical Jewish writing—is poorly documented and lacks sufficient. willingly emigrated there. Bright talks about the impact of Hellenistic culture. while many others. Forced to be in the army and other trade groups. This was another distressing time for the Jews (Bright 405.C.

for to do so they would normally have had to participate in the worship of the civil gods. Antiochus III was defeated by the Romans in 190 B. or else.C. Their relative isolation caused them to be objects of interest and sometimes of envy and distrust to other inhabitants of the cities where they settled. until its destruction (70 A. probably as much as a third of the population of Alexandria was Jewish and there were settlements not only in the East but in Rome and other western cities as well (14). He indicates that: Diaspora Jews did not ordinarily become citizens of the towns where they settled. there were many short-lived rulers of Palestinian area who introduced Greek 47 . of whom Ezra himself was counted as the first (Ibid. a politeuma—that is. there already had been a substantial community in Babylonia. His was more tolerant towards the Jews and re-established their rights. In the Diaspora. The Ptolemies ruled. until 198 B. and after his death in 187. a civic corporation within a larger community. as in Alexandria.C. (14) Jewish identity was centered in the temple at Jerusalem and the Law of Moses— the Pentateuch—which served both as a religious and a civic code. who had to pay an annual tax to the temple. so they allowed them certain rights such as settling to outside their heavily populated cities.). The Ptolemies and Seleucids discovered that Jews were useful subjects and able soldiers. Since the conquest of Jerusalem. Studying and keeping the Law was a main concern and this brought about two institutions.D. In the first Christian century. the Jews. and Syria eventually had large Jewish populations. in spite of some small scale revolts here and there.. It was as a result of this that Egypt..). Asia Minor. when a descendent of Seleucus (Antiochus III) took over and united the different areas of the realm. the synagogue. had as center of their religious practice the Law. Walker says.” The centuries of Ptolemaic and Seleucid rule saw a marked dissemination of the number of Jews who lived outside of Judea. presided by a group of elders. and even before that time small settlements in Egypt (Walker 13). They retained their national and religious identity and formed specially privileged communities of “resident aliens” (metoikoi). the so called diaspora. and the scribes.Chapter 1: History of Early Christian Church the calamity of 587 (417).

8 See: <www. the Maccabeans ruled for about 100 years (Instituto Teología 135-147).Chapter 1: History of Early Christian Church culture into and who tried to ‘hellenize’ Jerusalem. The end of the Old Testament period. Bright comments.ldolphin. Monotheism among Jews had triumphed completely and there transpired in the theology of early Judaism a sense of world mission and salvation of all nations—a mission. the thrice daily sacrifice in the temple restored and the festival of Hanukkah (meaning ‘re-dedication’ of the temple and lasting eight days) was celebrated. This. This was the case of Antiochus the Epiphanes (175-163) (Bright 417) who tried to destroy the local Jewish community. and erecting altars to the Greek gods. Judaism. These factors led to the Maccabean revolt. In spite of some troubles with the Seleucian rulers. through the obscurity of the fourth and the third centuries. The Mosaic Law seems to have been forgotten. 442). 48 . saw the struggle of the Jews for religious independence (427). during which Jerusalem was conquered in 164 B. by persecuting them. The temple was subsequently purified. already set out in the time of St Paul. sacrificing pigs to Zeus in the temple.orgl>. and that resembles the universal mission of Christianity. by the time of the Maccabean revolt had already assume the shape of the next centuries. in spite of the tension between Jews and gentiles caused by the Jewish idea that they alone are God’s chosen people (424. Illustration 6: Model of Jerusalem (Roman Period)8 For Bright.C.

but at the same time gathering around them partially Judaized Gentiles. 2. and by the time of August. Yet. but in Greek and Roman cities. making not only many converts. for example the ideas of Philo of Alexandria (ca. this dialogue also produced a remarkable fruitful and rich seedbed of ideas which proved to be a fertile model in the development of later Christian theology: the syncretism of Jewish scriptures with Stoic and Platonist philosophical ideas.C. through the whole empire. to the regret of the stricter Palestinian authorities. the Septuagint (LXX). craftsmen.Chapter 1: History of Early Christian Church Activity 1. In the Diaspora. They were indeed ripe fruit. Chadwick explains that: A Gentile might undergo circumcision and. Identify aspects of the Jewish history and theology that we also find in Christianity. the baptism required of would be proselytes.. Activity 6: Historical periods of Judaism and theological development of Judaism Judaism under the Roman World: Connections to Christianity Under the Roman empire Judaism was a religio licita (an authorized religion). and unwillingness to participate in civic life very often made them unpopular. were insisting on circumcision as generally necessary to salvation. Enumerate the three historical periods of Judaism defined by Bright and briefly explain the theological development experienced by the Jewish people along these three periods. (11) Thus. but this was rare and the Hellenized Jews of the Dispersion. but also of instruction in the Hebrew Scriptures. Why is the Hellenistic period a crucial one for Israel? 3. the Old Testament the Apostles used. was completed. Chadwick. the Roman law even protected the Jewish farmers. not only in Palestine. the Jewish religious exclusiveness. legal privileges. Among these Gentiles groups the Christian missionaries found their first converts outside the number of circumcised. commonly called God-fearers (Walker 18-19. The Early Church 11). In addition the Diaspora Jewish communities entered into dialogue with pagan religions. in century II B. and traders. more commonly. 42 A. Jews learned Greek and spoke it even in synagogues. and.D. 49 .). for they had the advantage not only of high moral education.

He called the heavy-laden to him and offered them rest. or Word. by reason of the style he taught” (21). and that heaven and earth should pass away before his words. Jesus’ teaching has parallels in the religious thought of his age. states that God used his Logos. He proclaimed himself Lord of 9 See: <www. and Callistus (217-222) where the debate over the implications of the Logos theology began. It was in the influential Church of Rome. apparently. was “disturbing and revolutionary—the more so. He could say that least of his disciples is greater than John the Baptist. 50 . as Walker further comments. as an instrument. Walker summarizes Jesus’ revolutionary teachings: “He taught them as one that had authority and not the Scribes”. As a matter of fact. This notion was a tool that enabled the logical and meaningful expression of the belief of the Apologists in Christ’s pre-temporal oneness with the Father. The logos theology. He declared that none knew the Father but a Son.Chapter 1: History of Early Christian Church Illustration 7: Philo of Alexandria9 Philo pictured the Logos as a blending of elements from different sources: from Jewish Wisdom speculation. in the episcopate of Victor (189-198). He promised those who confessed him before men that he could confess them before his Father.ucalgary. In a very enlightening way. Zephyrinus (198217). and from scriptural notion that God creates by his World (Logos) (Walker 18-19). and he whom the Son should reveal the Father. however their total effect.ca>. from Platonist ideas about an intelligible realm of Forms. developed in the first century by Justin Martyr and other Apologists.

the Sadducees.com>. and had a meaningful continuity with and absolute fulfillment of God’s revelation. (21-22) Illustration 8: Jesus Christ the Lifegiver10 Based on the personal experience of his disciples. brought them together again. did come. But. This conviction gave boldness to the scattered disciples. which inaugurated the new age promised by Jesus’ ministry. what Jesus taught and did was vindicated by his being resurrected from death to the life of the kingdom he had exhorted his followers to believe. and in a way that illustrated. the Messiah. than which. Chadwick (The Early Church 13) indicates. for first century Jewish people. This was deepened by the eschatological gift of the Holy Spirit in Pentecost. final realization. Christianity differed from them by its faith that in Jesus of Nazareth the Messiah of the nation’s expectation had now been realized.Chapter 1: History of Early Christian Church the Sabbath. He affirmed that he had power to pronounce forgiveness of sins. and the Essenes. and 10 See: <www. and made them witnesses. Yet.monasteryicons. but their absolute fulfillment. 51 . confirmed. did not mean any break either with the old covenant made with Abraham or with the Law given to Moses on Mount Sinai. Christianity must surely have appeared only as one more sect or group within Judaism such as the Pharisees. This. accustomed to considerable diversity in religious expression. Jesus. in popular estimate. there was no more sacred part of the God-given Jewish Law.

the Essenes. adhered only to the Mosaic Law. but also of the scribal tradition of interpreting the law” (13). they were strict in their observance.” He adds that it is probable that some Essenes became Christians. most probably the group for whom the Dead Sea Scrolls were written. Chadwick states that “the material from the Dead Sea Scrolls provides relatively little evidence for the immediate background of early Church except in the broad sense that it reveals the existence of a group fervently studying Old Testament prophecy.Chapter 1: History of Early Christian Church complete revelation. the second group. The third religious group. etc. For Chadwick. was absolute separatists. keeping the Sabbath. esoteric teachings. It was further the case that many of the Pharisees. especially Messianic prophecy. the Pharisees were “The party most anxious to preserve the distinctively religious and theocratic character of Jewish life in defiance of Hellenistic influences and Roman domination. the Sadducees. who came from leading aristocratic families. became Christians. equality of all men before their Creator. not only of the Mosaic law. In contrast to the Pharisees. but he does not favor any institutional continuity (14-15). They did not believe in the resurrection of the dead—a doctrine presented in the book of Daniel and composed long after the time of Moses.” their founder-hero (13). and expecting a great divine intervention in world history (15). passive resistance by some of their members and groups. In certain respects the Essenes resembled the early Christian church—in so far as they practiced property-sharing. etc—but there were also important differences between Essenes and the early Christians—for example. of whom Paul (Act 23:6) was the most famous. Chadwick says that they rejected the sacrifices and priesthood of the officially recognized worship in the Temple at Jerusalem and looked back to “the Teacher of Righteousness. much attention to the inner meaning of Scriptures. Pelikan explains that the most important implications of the Dead Sea scrolls for the history of the development of Christian 52 .

a concept that is related to the Levitical priesthood. The Essenes were quite visible at the time of Christ. Which were the three most important Judaic sects? What are their main differences? Activity 7: Judaism and Christianity under the Roman World 53 . and ideas concerning the Eucharist. This evidence helps us to understand the diverse teachings that existed within Judaism when Jesus. Define the following terms or concepts: • religio licita • God-fearers • The Septuagint • Philo’s Logos 2. Christianity borrowed many aspects from Judaism such as the concept of priesthood. and the sacrificial language.” Activity 1. yet. “it shows how independent Christian doctrine had become of its Jewish origins and how it felt free to appropriate terms and concepts from the Jewish tradition despite its earlier disparagement of them (26). began his ministry. Search the Web and write a short biography of Philo of Alexandria 3. on the contrary. temple sacrifices. of the close association between Judaism and Christian theology. Some see this as re-Judaization. as Pelikan maintains.Chapter 1: History of Early Christian Church doctrine after the New Testament is the fact that they clarify the connection between sectarian Judaism and the beginning of heretical Christianity (25). and at most a re-discovery. Christ never pointed to them as objects of hypocrisy as he did with the Pharisees or Sadducees. however it did not mean a recovery. a Jew from Nazareth. Why was Jesus’ teaching revolutionary in the social and cultural Jewish milieu? 4. a ministry later to be continued by his apostles.

and that the descriptions of the social context embedded in the biblical texts were merely secondary. As an illustration. objective. world views. it should be understood that its message was spiritual. by their inability to fight back against the Roman order. they are not merely superficial. institutions.Chapter 1: History of Early Christian Church SOME ISSUES OF THE SOCIAL MILIEU OF EARLY CHRISTIANITY It is clear that the characteristics of the society in which the first Christians lived are reflected in the books of the New Testament. events. However. or the one who spoke to Pilate. and attitudes. Although universally true. the possibility for a traveler to encounter thieves is mentioned. Jesus’ basic spiritual message of salvation was in response to social-cultural—and was modeled by—conditions of first century Palestine. texts). the Jesus who spoke publicly to the masses. Also. is neither a neutral instrument nor used for thinking and thought in a socio-cultural vacuum. Nevertheless. according to Richard A. and it varies according to the requirements of socio-cultural and linguistic contexts it is used in. Two of the many factors that determine the use made of different contexts and linguistic modes are domains (public or personal) and situations (locations. hungry. Horsley. work. Jesus’ proclamation of the presence of the Kingdom of God is directed to certain social classes—the poor. or the Jesus who spoke in the synagogue. according to Luke (10:29-37). It was not the same Jesus who spoke informally and very personally with his disciples. both spoken and written. 54 . But language. and abstract reflections as the society in which the first Christians lived also influenced and conditioned their activities (daily life. thus discrepancies may exist with historical research and even among biblical texts. caused. thought-patterns. the Sanhedrin. etc. travels. persons involved. and indebted. In this same parable. the hatred and violence between Judeans and Samaritans. to those whom he healed. and writings) and even their mindsets. supplied the background of Jesus’ parable of the Good Samaritan. preaching. sick.

social relationship between participants. realia. cultural context.Chapter 1: History of Early Christian Church In addition to domains. including history. time pressure. such as physical conditions. In Sociology of Early Palestinian Christianity. in “Visualizing the ‘Real’ World of Acts 16: Toward Construction of a Social Index. he says that there are points of correlation between historical events and social environment of the Pauline missions. This perspective can help us “visualize” the New Testament world. To solve this problem White proposes the construction of a social index for the correlation between archeology and text. Pharisees. anxiety. factors or the effects of society on the Jesus movement. there are other elements of context such as the external conditions that could produce some constraints. which could affect clarity of speech or writings. it can be compared and contrasted with other renewal movements in first-century Palestine. Gerd Theissen analyzes roles or typical social attitudes of the Jesus movement. White. relative status of the participants. etc).” Therefore.” Theissen concludes. and finally the functions and effects of the Jesus movement on society. was “a renewal movement within Judaism brought into being through Jesus. and text. and 55 . The “Jesus movement. As already mentioned. he states that this is not an easy task and we must be careful to apply social description approaches to literary text using archeological data “realia” since they run the risk of becoming an “illustrated bible” and distorting rather than clarifying. the New Testament was not written in a socio-cultural vacuum. Illustrating his point with Acts 16. and Paul’s difficult travelogue. social conditions (number of participants. Yet. such as the Essenes. L.” says that due to modern scholarship we are able to construct theological postulates on earliest Christianity without detaching them from social and historic reality. etc. and yet there are other points unsubstantiated from other historical sources including Paul himself. M.

Briefly explain the importance of the social context to understand the New Testament. reflects. housing. What are the factors and influences that determine linguistic usage? Illustrate this with examples from—one or more parables—and different domains and situations in which Jesus spoke and acted. social conventions. 11 56 . Activity 8: Social context and New Testament Three relevant social issues Many relevant social issues of the First Christians in Palestine and the cities of the Roman empire studied by scholars concern characteristics of any society and its areas or spheres of daily life (food. there were the local sympathizers. between races and communities.11 Activity 1. 2. those roles are to be seen within the context of four environmental factors. (1) Socio-economic: Rapid changes in the Palestinian economy had brought deep tensions between rich and poor. Third. death. also affected the renewal movements in Palestine. Second. do not exist in isolation but are interrelated. life conditions (levels of life—regional. there was their concept of Jesus as Son of man. beliefs and attitudes. etc.” who accepted Jesus’ call to “leave everything” and travel from village to village proclaiming the kingdom of God. and vindicates their own. social differences—. or structures in society. etc. activities. features of daily life. drink.). personal relationships. including relationship with authorities. ceremonies. the Jesus movement was radically theocratic. festivities. and function in According to Theissen. (2) Socio-ecological: The tensions between city and rural cultures. Its life was shaped by three principal roles. values. and attraction to it was fueled by the experience of political subjugation. First there were the “wandering charismatics. powerful throughout the Empire. (4) Socio-cultural: The tensions between assimilation to the Hellenistic culture of the larger society and “the intensification of norms” of the Jewish community affected all the Jewish movements. ritual behavior (religious practices. but unlike the others it urged love for the enemy. without whose support the mendicant preachers could not survive. keenly felt especially by those whose status had declined. birth. trips).Chapter 1: History of Early Christian Church the Zealots. whose depicted pattern of life informs. All these. work. cultural. and many other.). (3) Socio-political: Like the other renewal movements.

perhaps all the authors of the New Testament were Jews. in An Introduction to New Testament. there are three that have especial relevance for this study: (1) mobility and mission which can be an aide to assist in understanding the spread of Christianity and the missionary activities of the Early Christian Church. traditions. and state-regulated worship. (63-64) It needs to be added that the political atmosphere of the first century was one of persecution. The memories of Jesus and the writings of his followers are filled with references to the Jewish Scriptures. customs.. and (3) attitudes of authorities and different groups in the general population towards Christians. Jews were influenced by a word quite different from that described in much of the OT.. Jews bought goods with coins minted by Roman-Greek overlord and often imprinted with the images of gods. schools. Brown. the Jews had been living in a Hellenistic world . Yet. Among the many social issues that can be discussed. Yet . The early Christians lived and worshipped in small close-knit communities consisting of different ethnic groups and socio-cultural types as members. Therefore there is not doubt about the influence of Judaism. which were based on both the example of Jesus and his disciples as well as the command Jesus gave to his Apostles and followers: “And he said unto them.. since the time of Alexander the Great. that: The first believers in Jesus were Jews.Chapter 1: History of Early Christian Church complex social patterns according to different social factors. emphasizes the fact. privileges. of different social classes in the early Christianity and their relationship. institutions. functions. (2) wealth/poverty and socio-economic classes in society. and travel. etc. social ostracism. ‘go ye 57 . feasts. and traditions. through commerce. Thus in the social background of the NT much more than Judaism must be taken into account. In varying degrees. Thus some of the important social issues are those that are related to mobility and mission. etc. previously mentioned. which will help us elucidate and clarify the nature.. for example norms. acting as missionaries they were held together by their faith in the message delivered by the first apostles.

Perga in Pamphylia. all the biblical quotes will be taken from The King James Version (Rice Reference Edition). and Philip’s visit to Samaria. Assyria. and preach the gospel to every creature in which they lived’” (Mark 16:15). Chaldea. 53-55 and 56-59) preaching the Gospel. then to the cities of the Roman Empire. etc. and returned to Jerusalem to attend an Apostolic Synod. Mary had made three trips between Galilee and Judea in one year. the Syriac Christians in Mesopotamia. See: <www. During Paul’s first journey. but we know best of Paul’s three missionary journeys (4551. first in Palestine and neighboring areas.). Caesarea. especially among Jews and Jewish converts to Christianity (thus the origin of the Oriental Orthodox Churches. Lydda. We also know of Peter’s trips—as Kallinikos delineates in The History of the Orthodox Church—to Samaria. Cyprus. establishing and maintaining the faith of these communities and founding churches. Joppa. Paul visited Seleucia. on 12 13 In this text.Chapter 1: History of Early Christian Church into all the world. Jesus himself executed many preaching tours in Palestine. setting from Antioch in Syria. Iconium.12 Illustration 9: The twelve Apostles13 Early Christians engaged in missions of preaching the Good News.reclaimingthemind. Gaza and Caesarea. 58 . Antioch in Pisidia. Lystra and Derbe. and Antioch.org>. such as the Eastern and western Syrian Churches.

in perils of robbers. Paul visited Macedonia and Greece as well as Mitylene. is quite right when saying that throughout the New Testament people are “on the move”. Miletus. 14 See: <www. Apollonia. although having adopted Ephesus in Asia Minor as his headquarters. Athens and Corinth. his zeal drove him to Troas. Thessalonica. This map shows some of the areas mentioned: Illustration 10: The areas mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles and where Paul sent his letters14 Stambaugh. Amphipolis. 59 . thrice I suffered shipwreck. Berea.org>. in perils by the heathen. Cos. in journeyings often. on his third missionary journey.ccel. once was I stoned.Chapter 1: History of Early Christian Church his second journey. in perils by mine own countrymen. in The Social World of the First Christian. and means of transport did not assist the early Christian missions. But this was not a feature of Christians alone. Samos. A high degree of mobility was typical of the Roman Empire in the first century. Chios. Stambaugh asserts that the first century trips involved great discomfort and danger. Yet. the conditions of roads. and Paul knew this from his own experience as described in his epistle to the Corinthians: Thrice was I beaten with rods. and Tyre in Phenice (5-6). a night and a day I have been in the deep. lodging. in perils of waters. Rhodes. from where he took a ship to Europe visiting Philippi.

But in spite of all the difficulties associated with traveling. (robbers could assault you at any moment. 14:19). when you crossed a river with no bridge. since the events in Acts (27:39-44) happened after this particular letter mentioning his shipwreck. we hear the complaining voice of Paul. in cold and nakedness. “evokes so vividly the image of a suffering and rejected apostle. but. in chapters 10-13 he turns more pessimistic expressing uncertainty about his reception (547).D. Brown says that this letter. in perils among false brethren. at the same time. since it was often more comfortable and faster.Chapter 1: History of Early Christian Church in perils in the city. 11: 25-27) This passage assists us to visualize the conditions of travel in the first century. He traveled by sea. (2 Cor. In weariness and painfulness. and whereas in the previous chapters (8-9) we hear an optimistic and enthusiastic voice. If we read this text carefully we will also discover other social issues. Rom. this is not noted in Acts. you could die drowned). misunderstood by his fellow Christians.” The text is inserted in a part of the letter in which he responds to the challenges to his apostolic authority. in perils in the sea. was written. 15:19. in watchings often. in fastings often. for example those that mention customs in the Roman Empire: being beaten with “rods” was a common way Romans used to punish crimes (see also Acts 16:22-24). in perils in the wilderness. but also on land where there were many dangers. more than any other. 60 . inconveniences. in hunger and thirst. Paul also suffered “shipwreck”. 24) until he was executed in Rome some time before 64 A. being “stoned” was a Jewish way of punishing blasphemy (see also Act. Paul continued his service as a minister of Christ (see also Acts 26:16-18.

as was the custom for humble people at this time. 13:50. charity work was to become one of the main reasons of Christian success (The Early Church 56). 21:27) “by the heathen” (also see Acts 14:5. 16:19. especially missionaries. The latter refers to false apostles. “in the wilderness”. 18:12. as part of his ministry to oversee and administer the church’s income. Paul15 Furthermore. And she constrained us (Acts 16: 15). 17:5. Paul also talks about perils by his “own countrymen (also see Acts 9:23. 19:9. and pirates).5. in Byzantine society. 14:5. 19:23). and her household. these were the people Paul always 15 See: <www. 14:2.29. Later on. 18:13. the bishop was responsible for the lodging of traveling Christians. Paul frequently stayed at friend’s houses: “And when she was baptized. but there were also “false brothers” working behind people’s back. 19:23-31). philanthropy would become institutionalized.salvationhistory. and abide there. 17:5. 61 .13. saying.19.com>. come into my house. “among false brethren”. “in the sea” (storms. A Christian only had to show proof of his faith to be lodged for a period of up to three days.13. 16:19-24. if ye have judged me to be faithful to the Lord.29. Chadwick says that hospitality to travelers was a very important act of charity. “in the city” (also see Acts 9:23. she besought us.50. shipwreck. As we will see.Chapter 1: History of Early Christian Church Illustration 11: St.19. For Chadwick. 13:45.

when writing to the Romans. 1 Tes. the physical and mental effort. Sometimes. namely 7. in “Europe: An Orthodox Perspective. the false apostles in Corinth could not equal his list of the many troubles he suffered for the service of Christ (Reeves). Although he suffered much.1:9 10. tribulations to bring the truth to people (Acts 20:11. etc must have had a serious and negative effect on his physical condition and health as well as in his preaching. and the time he stayed in certain cities. he did not hesitate to use legal language and categories. in fastings. 2:9. motivation and inspiration from his belief that it was the Spirit itself who guided and protected him. We only need to consider the length of time he spent on every mission trip. cultural and religious situation he found in the places he visited. As an illustration. Constantine Scouteris. in hunger. the specific circumstances and background of his hearers. 62 .” and he went through many privations. Obviously. dangers. 4:11). in reproaches. so as to continue to his mission of evangelization. the harshness of his journeys.” He points out that Paul communicated the theological word in a manner related to the particular social. 12:10). but God sustained him (Cor.31. Paul even thought he would die. These things. This was his primary methodology in proclaiming Christian truth: taking seriously into account the mentality and culture. as we know from statements that “he saw himself in weariness and painfulness. Paul also says regarding those troubles: “Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities. 1 Cor. so as to begin to understand the energy being consumed and the mental and physical effort each trip required. 3:8. 2 Tes. in necessities. in cold and nakedness. His supporters and followers must have been amazed at the extraordinary faith and zeal Paul had. 6:9).Chapter 1: History of Early Christian Church opposed quite openly. in persecutions. in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak. 3:10. He obtained his energy. then am I strong” (2 Cor. in thirst. 3 and 4 years.” sees this as an example of what today is called “contextual theology.

other works that were no letters in the ordinary sense such as homilies or a diatribe were classified as such ( 9). We find examples of these early Christian letters in the New Testament.17 Stambaugh (39-40) states that in the New Testament letters served as a means of introduction and recommendation. of expressing thanks. follow not that which is evil.Chapter 1: History of Early Christian Church Another issue related to mobility was letter writing. not long after the death and resurrection of Jesus. most often applications that concern the particular circumstances of the recipients. 16-1-2). and that ye assist her in whatsoever business she hath need of you: for she hath been a succourer of many. of requesting favors. All letters followed the format of letter writing in the ancient world. The Apostolic Letters are thought to be addressed not so much to a particular community or individual. He that doeth good is of God: but he that doeth evil hath not seen God (3 John 1:1).D. A letter usually began with a greeting and an identification of the sender and the recipients. It might be followed by a discussion of the author’s future travel plans and conclude with practical advice and a farewell. of conveying news. and make and keep contact with other Christians.] (2 Cor. which is a servant of the church which is at Cenchrea: That ye receive her in the Lord.D . and 95 A. brethren. They indicate early developments of Christian theology and practice. 17 The Pauline Letters were written by St. The body of the letter was an exposition of Christian teaching. commend unto you Phebe our sister. This was followed by a prayer.D. but to a more universal audience. See “What are the Epistles? 16 63 . and in fact Epistles or Letters make up the largest part of the New Testament. and of myself also (Rom. as becometh saints. They were written by various authors between 65 A. Moreover.D. Paul or one of his disciples. Beloved. we do you to wit of the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia [. They are usually divided into two categories: the Pauline Letters and the other Apostolic Letters. usually in the form of a thanksgiving. between 54 A. Brown says that due to the fact that letters were the dominant production of the first Christians..16 This of course was an easier way than personal journeys to communicate. and 80 A. 8:1-7). but that which is good.

the first. Stambaugh says that traveling in those days were often so as to migrate to and stay in another area. 1:3-7). and testifying that this is the true grace of God wherein ye stand” (1 Pet. I have written briefly. both in terms of the individual’s self-perception and in the social context of a new fellowship”.4:8). […] (1 Cor. Yet. such is the case of the tentmakers Priscilla and Aquilla. always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy […] (Phil. and not merely done for the sake of traveling itself.Chapter 1: History of Early Christian Church I thank my God upon every remembrance of you. exhorting. and labour of love. a runaway such as Onesimus (Phil. the latter primarily addressing his mission to the Gentiles. He also refers to two types of social transition experienced by the early Christian community fellowship. 5:12). a faithful brother unto you. and of offering encouragement or advice: Remembering without ceasing your work of faith. Stambaugh (53) asserts that conversion to Christianity was not something superficial as it made “a decisive impact. Some people traveled to migrate. whose journeys are recorded in the New Testament (Acts 18: 1-3). to avoid fornication. let every man have his own wife. Paul normally added a handwritten note at the end: “The salutation by the hand of me Paul. 10-18) would not be suspicious. Since slaves were often assigned to carry letters to their masters. (1 Thes. from a Jewish 64 . the Apostles and Paul. Remember my bonds. as I suppose. in the sight of God and our Father. This is also seen in the New Testament: “By Silvanus. Regarding migration. Grace be with you. 1:3) Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman. and let every woman have her own husband. and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. As we know. 7) Stambaugh adds that it was the custom for upper classes to dictate letters to secretaries—slaves or freedmen. Nevertheless. Amen” (Col. made many converts during their preaching and tours of evangelization.

Galatians 2:11-13 illustrates this fact: 11 But when Peter was come to Antioch.Chapter 1: History of Early Christian Church movement to a Gentile one—which forced missionaries to travel outside the area of Palestine into the wider Greco-Roman world—and. insomuch that Barnabas also was carried away with their dissimulation. created social tensions between traditional Jews and those Hellenizing Jews. they did not dine with non-Jews. Chadwick adds that with this claim. who although he recognized the validity of Gentile mission—Gentiles accepted the Gospel quite well—refused to eat with nonJewish Christians in Antioch. We find an example of the latter in the text. which was true for some Jewish Christians but not for others (Brown 65). he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they were come. who minimized the importance of a strict obedience to the Law and were in favor of admitting Gentiles into the church without having to become Jewish first. because he was to be blamed. 12 For before that certain came from James. fearing them which were of the circumcision. as portrayed in Acts. and his issue had created perturbations between Judaizers and Hellenists. 13 And the other Jews dissembled likewise with him. namely the matter of circumcision. I withstood him to the face. In this text another issue is mentioned. from a rural to an urban environment. Furthermore. in other words requiring the need and motivation to motivating preach in urban areas and evangelize the cities. and 3) that they had a dietary law which prohibited them to eat not only pork but all kinds of meat that had been offered in sacrifice to the gods (which seemed ridiculous) (18-19). Chadwick (The Early Church) comments that in the ancient world everyone knew at least three things about Jews: (1) they did not associate with any pagan cult (which seemed antisocial). it was Paul’s accomplishment to defend the freedom and equal status of the Gentile Christians and to obtain from the Christian leaders based in Jerusalem the recognition of his gentiles converts as full members of the church. Paul. the second. Although this involved him in painful controversy. he withdrew and separated himself. 2) they circumcised their infant boys (which seemed repulsive). The first transition. where Paul is criticizing Peter. who 65 .

was also seeking and confirming his own standing as the apostle of the Gentiles (20). In cities the interaction of people of different backgrounds was necessary and essential. The second transition in missionary activity concerns the focus away from the countryside to the city. It was in cities where the gospel made its most notable progress. A traveler on the road leading to a city passed farms. as they went on their journey. Cities had a denser population than the countryside and thus offered a better possibility to reach many more people during exhaustive.Chapter 1: History of Early Christian Church became the first Christian apologist. This transition occurred without completely disregarding the rural environment as a mission field. Stambaugh explains that “the larger towns and the cities on the Roman empire were situated on highways. This transition can be seen in Acts where the previous rural image of the Gospel is substituted by the urban synagogue and city scenery. orchards. the earlier churches were private houses whose interiors were converted as a congregation increased. thus offering potential converts to Christianity (64-65). and huts where farm workers lived” (107). But because of the diverse. sleeping or praying. and most cities had there own synagogue communities. and at natural harbors.” City houses usually had flat roofs which provided additional space for living. and difficult evangelical tours. Brown explains that most communities mentioned in the NT lived in cities. and message. dangerous. The Twelve had preached in rural areas. at river crossings. as the towns contained many threats to them. Peter went up upon the housetop to pray about the sixth hour. Churches did not attain a public style of architecture until the fourth century (Chadwick. cosmopolitan nature of the mixed 66 . Judaic-Christian preachers used the Roman system of roads to travel from one city to another. As a matter of fact. The Early Church 55). Acts 10:9 illustrates this: “On the morrow. their mission. and drew nigh unto the city.

skills. 1. and aptitudes. that the first leaders. the elite. 6.Chapter 1: History of Early Christian Church population of the urban society and the mobility of the population there existed a great need to belong. cultural. Regarding this issue it is necessary to remember. briefly explain the following: • New Testament people are “on the move”.choose a location where there exist difficulties to be a Christian. for example the kind of Jews who were present at Pentecost. Compose a letter. 4. He also adds that the Christian message was often brought to the cities of the Roman Empire by ordinary Jews. This came about because some synagogue leaders were receptive to the Gospel and converted to Christianity. 3. 5. cosmopolitan urban society. of the Christian movement were Jews. Activity Enumerate the three main social issues of early Christianity described here. personal) in today’s society and cities? Write a few lines about this. This need was fulfilled by being a member of some kind of group or association. Regarding the issue of first century mobility and mission. and then they continued to play a leadership role because of their socioeconomic or class position. • The traveling conditions Paul had to face • Letter writing The two social transitions experienced by Christian fellowship Imagine that you are a missionary in today’s world . complex. List some problems that contemporary Christian missionaries might face in urban areas in some countries. to a community in that location. 2. How could the pastoral ministry assist in this? Activity 9: Social issues: mobility and mission A second social issue is wealth/poverty and class-society present in the cities of the Roman Empire. Another group of urban missionaries was of course apostles. and through membership of a group or association the individual was integrated into and formed part of the larger. Do churches offer ‘belonging and assistance’ (social. including other followers of Jesus (such as 67 . as Stambaugh asserts. in the New Testament style. their education. This factor explains the good number of associations that existed in urban areas (Brown 65).

(Acts 3: 2.” He further defines the term “clientela” to describe the relationship between superiors and their inferiors. 64). slaves. returns expected. Romans and Hebrews “was woven of the familiar fiber of personal contacts: of favors done. in which the influential “patron” provided support and protection to the dependent “clients” in exchange for votes at election time. prosperous men and women. Their generosity to the poor is shown in this text: 2 And a certain man lame from his mother’s womb was carried. free men and woman with an ambiguous position in society—who although frequently wealthy and influential individuals.. silver and gold have I none. 6 Then Peter said. whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful. 63). to ask alms of them that entered into the temple . and of course women) who moved about preaching and establishing Christian cells. In the New Testament we see acts of charity as well as exhortation to charity (56. But this did not represent the Christian sense of charity to the poor and the destitute preached by early Christians since they did not expect anything in return. There are several stories in Luke picturing the relationship of the rich and the poor at meals.. but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk. allegiance owed (63). Stambaugh asserts that by the time of the New Testament money and movable wealth had become much more important than the old agrarian emphasis on land and flock. As a matter of fact. But since the message was addressed to Gentiles in general so the early Christians also came from all socio-economic levels of Gentile society except the very highest: upper class men and women. the basic social fabric of Greek. and the poor (Stambaugh 54. they mostly came from lower classes—.6) The material wealth of the Greco-Roman world was unevenly distributed since quite a small percentage of the population owned a vast proportion of the land and 68 . Charity was the most conspicuous quality of Christians. yet.Chapter 1: History of Early Christian Church Paul.

although they had to continue working for their former owners (Wade). Furthermore. the former attracted by the promise of spiritual. Many slaves were able to earn enough money to buy their own freedom. “Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Mat. 5:3). they were much better off than those of our modern society. But Brown clarifies that the neither the designation of the “poor”. farming and households and they could also be administrators. which should not be seen as 19th century African slaves in America. They also made converts. scholars and poets. thus the notion of the poor being blessed. not many noble. child exposure. teachers. not many mighty. and thus accumulate wealth (67).Chapter 1: History of Early Christian Church resources. must have shocked the aristocratic circles. Slaves were a part of the family unit in the Roman Empire. physicians. when Paul says: “For ye see your calling. among the middle class and aristocracy. This is clear in I Cor. They might be obtained through a number of means including war. they were somewhat worse off (65-67). and the sale of persons to pay debts. nor that of “slave” parallel the concept we hold nowadays about those terms. brethren. if not legal emancipation.1: 26. or serfs on larger estates.” 69 . frequently mentioned in the NT. The same with “slaves”—doulos. and the latter by a promise of salvation hereafter and by Christian practice of taking care of people in need. how that not many wise men after the flesh. the poor were “small farmers with inadequate or barren land. in the cities without assistance. although in a lesser number. They not only work in business. Christian preachers generally made converts among the city poor and slaves. are called. also rendered as “servant”—. the poor were seen with disgust rather than pity. In the Roman empire slaves had legal rights and either abusing or killing them was a punishable crime. In the Gospel.” yet.

For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.Chapter 1: History of Early Christian Church The social issue of slavery is mentioned by Paul in his letter to Philemon. 2 Whosoever therefore resisteth the power. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good. 16 Not now as a servant. but also for conscience sake. but because many acquired legal emancipation (Stambaugh 54). whom I have begotten in my bonds: 11 Which in time past was to thee unprofitable. In this letter. But if thou do that which is evil. He adds that: “Yet. that thou shouldest receive him for ever. who had become a Christian... It is of interest that as far as slavery is concerned Paul mentions in this Epistle interesting ideas about Christian courtesy. a slave of Philemon. the fact that Paul. resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. but now profitable to thee and to me: . but because its doctrine (that all are created alike in God’s image and all alike redeemed in Christ) elevated their domestic status (The Early Church 59-60). both in the flesh. manumission was a desirable process for him. practical justice. According to Brown. for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God. 15 For perhaps he therefore departed for a season. specially to me. brotherhood. had stolen something and ran away to Rome. Christianity. (Phil. and thou shalt have praise of the same: 4 For he is the minister of God to thee for good. 1-5) Here we are concerned with social issues as far as they might assist us to understand some aspects of the New Testament. but how much more unto thee. a brother beloved. 70 . 5 Wherefore ye must needs be subject. and in the Lord? … 22 But withal prepare me also a lodging: for I trust that through your prayers I shall be given unto you. did not offer emancipation to either slaves or women. and the Law: 1 Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. but to the evil. 10-22) The Gospel attracted slaves not only for the spiritual drawing power of the Gospel. Christian conservatism regarding slavery as an institution was not indifference but respect for the present status quo. (Rom 13. but above a servant. 3 For rulers are not a terror to good works. a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. Onesimus had returned to Philemon with an epistle written by Paul asking him to admit him as a brother: 10 I beseech thee for my son Onesimus. Onesimus. not only for wrath. be afraid. as Chadwick comments. and the law of love (Scotfield 1243). the State.

But although this was a characteristic of the Palestine churches. It was not a condition for entry into the Christian fold. Rowland. in Christian Origins (1985). Jesus’ doctrine of equality is seen in the fact that some slaves rose to become a bishop. for him. Constantine. In the fourth century. (Acts 4:32) It seems that this pattern of behavior was voluntary. one of the practices of the primitive Christian community was the community of goods. but the normal practice of those who became Christians. indeed. To free a slave was considered “good work” and the Church treasury would be used to finance the manumission of slaves. and a master. it seemed not to be typical of the Pauline churches. almsgiving was a central issue (272-274). states that there were uncertainties about the precise nature of this practice. did not condemn the social structure with its massive number of slaves was tragically misinterpreted for many centuries as Christian justification for the existence of slavery.Chapter 1: History of Early Christian Church who thought that the end of the world was coming soon. notably Callistus of Rome in the third century. Christianity was especially successful with women (Chadwick. 71 . And all that believed were together. And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own. Christian masters and slaves were brethren. Protest against the social institution of slavery became a fact in the fourth century when Christians were in a position to influence social policies. and had all things common (Acts 2:4). Regarding this social issue. in front of the bishop. would solemnly declare his intention of freeing a slave. In Acts 2:4 and 4:32. Yet. in the description of Christian common life in the Acts of the Apostles. but they had all things common. confirmed this practice by giving the ceremony a legal validity equal to that of a formal manumission before a magistrate. The Early Church 59-60). As a result of this doctrine of equality. of a slavery often harsher than existed in NT times (68).

because of the vast numbers being converted to Christianity. and all geographical boundaries. and Jews. concerning the attitudes of authorities and the population against Christians. Their zeal in keeping the Law was a source of resentment against Jews. Christianity.Chapter 1: History of Early Christian Church As already mentioned. but very soon it was perceived by most people as a different religion. however. and the very moral basis of the society. the power structure. However. the original Christians were Jews. a new cult that grew very fast and quickly spread across many groups of people. Activity Regarding the issue of wealth/poverty and class society. but as Brown says (65). socio-economic classes. This concerned the authorities and many groups of people felt threatened by this seemingly bizarre new 72 . due to their religion and dietary law. to ignore them and leave them alone. appeared to be very strange. and Christianity has its origins in Judaism. Rome considered that the best policy towards Jews were. at least in general. this was not the case for Christian Jews—or Gentile Christians—as they were viewed to be more dangerous than Jews for the stability of society. Activity 10: Social issues: Wealth/poverty and class society This brings us to the third issue. through privileges granted by Julius Cesar they were legally protected. Christianity was initially identified with Judaism. although anti-Judaism was frequent in sections of the Empire. were alienated from many aspects of common civic life. briefly explain the following: • • • • • socio-economic class of the first Christians “clientela” slavery and Paul community of goods Social tensions among Christians (for example at meals) caused by the different socio-economic groups constituting this community. The first believers were considered to be a threat to the social system.

Christians were thus considered to be against the civic and state god. including the emperor. “The World of the Apostle Paul. As the Romans were the rules and the Greeks worshipped many deities. there could be no other gods besides Him. with allegiance to another lord and master than the emperor. 2 And he killed James the brother of John with the sword. their practices and observance were considered to be of great importance in the Hellenistic world. and personal immortality. for Christians to refuse to participate in civic or pagan cults and practices were to risk the fury of the gods. all the people would suffer under the wrath of the angered gods. concern and caused rejection. we know that everywhere it is spoken against. For the Christians. Jesus was the only Lord and God. Acts 28:22 echoed popular opposition: “But we desire to hear of thee what thou thinkest: for as concerning this sect.” 1997).” Stambaugh (60-62) states that there existed an open hostility of the Jewish authorities towards Christians. who were subsequently forced to leave Jerusalem. This created the perception that Christians were enemies of the status quo and against the state. in other words atheists. The civic religious cults. Thus. and they could not bow before anyone or anything who claimed divine authority.Chapter 1: History of Early Christian Church religion. his resurrection from the dead. 3 And 73 . These misconceptions led to fear. emperor worship was no problem to them. which made very odd claims about a god-man’s virgin birth. however. and people believed if they did not make those sacrifices and comply with the required observances to their gods. The institution of emperor worship created another problem. as shown in Acts 12:1 –19: 1 Now about that time Herod the king stretched forth his hands to vex certain of the church. This type of non-civic or unreligious behavior (when seen in terms of the current religious practices and beliefs) baffled their neighbors (Wade. and destruction by them. and when they began to make numerous new converts in other cities there began a sustained persecution by Herod Agrippa in 41 CE.

.. prayers. be made for all men. and Marcus Aurelius (161-181). And he went down from Judaea to Caesarea. supplications. (1 Tim. 2 1-3) 74 . 5 Wherefore ye must need be subject. he claimed. Trajan (98-117). honour to whom honour. and for all that are in authority. custom to whom custom.. attending continually upon this very thing. and found him not. Although the Gentile mission was concerned with the maintenance of public order and refraining from revealing disaffection towards the State. we also find admonitions to domestic tranquility in an attempt not to offend conventional morality: 1 I exhort therefore. in spite of the hauling of Christians before Roman authorities by Jewish leaders. Nevertheless. fear to whom fear. In those times it is true to say that Christians always lived with a sense of danger.90-96). intercessions. not only for wrath. 3 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour.D. besides the persecutions by the Jewish authorities and Nero. that. there were many others persecutions. 6 For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God’s ministers. 2 For kings. We know that Jesus had been condemned to crucifixion by a Roman procurator so as to placate the Jews and not because he believed Jesus to be guilty of any crime. who gave as reason that they. caused the fire that destroyed Rome. but also for conscience sake. and many were burned alive. (Rom. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? Do that which is good. and there abode. first of all. Rome did not commence the persecution of Christians until several years later. and thou shalt have praise of the same .. as can be seen in many passages of the New Testament. However. namely those of Domitian (c. he proceeded further to take Peter also. 13:1-7) In the New Testament.Chapter 1: History of Early Christian Church because he saw it pleased the Jews. Paul still encouraged Christians to be loyal to the state: 3 For rulers are not a terror to good works.. As we will see. but to the evil. they were punished as incendiaries. and commanded that they should be put to death. Hadrian (117-138). 7 Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due. in 64 A. by Nero. and giving of thanks. 19 And when Herod had sought for him. he examined the keepers. that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.

This passage also illustrates the above-mentioned hostility of the Jewish authority towards the followers of Jesus. and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: 9 Even him. look ye to it. whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders. for I will be no judge of such matters. the Jews made insurrection with one accord against Paul. and beat him before the judgment seat. (2: 6-12). 26 For what is a man profited. This is seen in Matt 16:24-28: 24 Then said Jesus unto his disciples. If any man will come after me. we see how Roman authorities deal with Paul fairly: 12 And when Gallio was the deputy of Achaia. until he be taken out of the way. till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom. and take up his cross. 8 And then shall that Wicked be revealed. but had pleasure in unrighteousness.Chapter 1: History of Early Christian Church We do not find any enmity in Acts between followers of Christ and citizens loyal to Caesar. whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth. 16 And he drave them from the judgment seat. that they should believe a lie: 12 That they all might be damned who believed not the truth. and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? 27 For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels. let him deny himself. 14 And when Paul was now about to open his mouth. O ye Jews. there is the promise of a judgment day in which the “wicked”—the Roman Empire—would be punished: 6 And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. and follow me. that they might be saved. 28 Verily I say unto you. 25 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. the chief ruler of the synagogue. and then he shall reward every man according to his works. 13 Saying. if he shall gain the whole world. because they received not the love of the truth. and of your law. This fellow persuadeth men to worship God contrary to the law. 17 Then all the Greeks took Sosthenes. There be some standing here. and brought him to the judgment seat. in the New Testament we see the suffering of Jesus as a model to follow. According to Stambaugh there did exist a more militant approach to the dangers experienced by Christians. 10 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish. 11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion. 75 . But. In Acts 18: 12-17. If it were a matter of wrong or wicked lewdness. which shall not taste of death. In 2 Thess. reason would that I should bear with you: 15 But if it be a question of words and names. And Gallio cared for none of those things. 7 For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let. Gallio said unto the Jews.

as it lead to increased social coherence. the suffering of some Christians spurred others to more faithful living. but now have obtained mercy. forming the first Christian community in Jerusalem. Nevertheless. Under the general supervision of the Apostles. are much more bold to speak the word without fear. persecutions can be counted as one of the main causes of success. but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy. (2: 9-10) But somehow. Chadwick comments that. their entire population paraded before his house as a declaration of their faith. in the second century. Having voluntarily given so much of their former community life to follow Jesus. a peculiar people. the Apostles gradually became 76 . This is what I Peter did by addressing to those believers who have become “strangers and pilgrims” (2:11). when one governor of Asia Minor started to persecute the Christians. the Apostle Paul says that: “And many of the brethren in the Lord. since it had the opposite effect than the one intended. waxing confident by my bonds. In Philippians (1:14).Chapter 1: History of Early Christian Church This passage also contains predictions of distress for Jesus’ followers and the assurance of a better time: “and then he shall reward every man according to his work” (61-62). Which in time past were not a people.” In spite of these persecutions the church continued to grow steadily during the following centuries. Paradoxically. instead of driving Christians underground. an holy nation. The small group of initial followers of the crucified Christ increased to incredible numbers. early Christians required reassurance that their present trials and tribulations were not in vain. that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light. Furthermore. “evildoers” (2:12) and “insulted” (3:9) with the assurance: But ye are a chosen generation. openly manifesting and protesting against injustice (The Early Church 55). they were bound together by ties of mutual love and sharing their meals and possessions. a royal priesthood.

it deems proper to approach the Orthodox concept of “Church. For the Orthodox mind. Thus. briefly explain the following: • • the cause of rejection of Christians attitude of Christians regarding the Roman Empire Activity 11: Social issues: Attitudes of authorities and population against Christians 2. is received and transmitted by 77 . it is only in the Church. For Orthodox. and appointed seven assigned deacons to organize the provisioning of the community. before we start with our narration of the formation and theological development of the first Christian Church. it is linked to that Tradition in which is incorporated the Scripture and the writings of the Fathers. it is claimed that there is an uninterrupted historical and theological continuity from the beginning of the Christian Church to the Orthodox Church. among them. that the Orthodox Church is the true Church of Christ. an extension of the life of Christ. as the abiding place of the Holy Trinity. with Stephen. guided by the continuous presence of the Holy Spirit. THE APOSTOLIC AGE INTRODUCTION: CHURCH AND TRADITION FROM AN ORTHODOX POINT OF VIEW As already noted. This grows from the conviction.” clearly presented by Bebis. where the teaching of Christ. the first Christian martyr. as mentioned.Chapter 1: History of Early Christian Church unable to care for the material and spiritual needs of so many thousands. Thus they decided to retain for themselves only the spiritual aspect of ministry. Activity Regarding the issue of attitudes of authorities and population against Christians. Other Christian denominations cannot claim the same continuity. the revealed truth. Tradition is an extension of the Church itself.

continuity. with Patristic tradition and vice versa.Chapter 1: History of Early Christian Church the Apostles. This interpretive aspect of the Apostolic preaching is called “Patristic Tradition. interpreted.” From this standpoint. who worked with the Apostle Paul and is associated with the oldest known non-canonical Christian writing. Bebis reasons that there are no theological distinctions within the Tradition of the Church. (Chap. 2) Eusebius of Caesarea. saw. and the Apostles with a message from Christ. From land to land.” St. and Jesus Christ was God’s Ambassador. and explained to the Church by the Holy Fathers” or the Fathers of the Church—men of extraordinary holiness and trusted orthodoxy—the successors of the Apostles. Bebis points out.” This tradition was later transmitted from the Apostles themselves to their successors. starts with the Apostolic preaching and is found in Scriptures. accordingly. This fact should be stressed because there are many theologians in western churches who either distinguish between Apostolic Tradition and Patristic Tradition. Therefore. in other words. we can say that. clarifies this historical truth: The Apostles preached to us the Gospel received from Jesus Christ. as a historical event. but it is “kept. In his “Letter to the Corinthians. and from among their earliest converts appointed men whom they had tested by the Spirit to act as bishops and deacons for the future believers. Apostolic Preaching or Tradition has an organic bond. or completely reject Patristic Tradition. Both these orderly arrangements. originate from the will of God. and witnessed. Bishop of Rome. equipped with the fullness of the Holy Spirit. And so. after receiving their instructions and being fully assured through the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Consequently. and the presbyters. and from city to city they preached. Tradition is also very appropriately defined by St. they went forth. treasured. calls this process of transmission of revelation the “unerring tradition of the Apostolic preaching. (d. What they experienced. 95?). Tradition. Clement. in Ecclesiastical History. bishop of the fourth century. the bishops. as well as confirmed in faith by the word of God. Christ. to preach the good news that the Kingdom of God was close at hand. the first Church historian. comes with a message from God. therefore. and later recorded in the New Testament is called the “Apostolic Tradition. 78 .

See: <http://benedictseraphim.Chapter 1: History of Early Christian Church Athanasius. Upon this the Church is founded (tethemeliotai)”. it is found within the boundaries of the Christian Church. and it is expounded by the Fathers (Bebis). bishops would meet either locally. in his “First Letter to Serapion”: “Let us look at the very tradition. it constantly proclaims the Gospel of Christ. the Apostles preached (ekeryxan).” bishop of Alexandria. the all- From left to right: Saint Basile-the-Great. or on the “ecumenical” or universal.com/2007/01/30/our-fathersamong-the-saints-the-three-hierarchs-basil-gregory-and-john/>. the Local Councils of the Church. as we will see when we study Byzantium. 18 79 . which the Logos gave (edoken). teaching. Tradition is founded upon the Holy Trinity. which took place in Jerusalem as early as 51 A. Later. the Great “Pillar of Orthodoxy. have great significance and relevance in terms of tradition. and Saint Gregory the Theologian (Saint Gregory of Nazianzus). and faith of the Catholic Church from the very beginning. Saint John Chrysostom. The first Council Synod of the Church was the Apostolic Synod. during the fourth century. Table 2: Concept of Tradition Illustration 12: The three hierarchs of the Church18 Consequently.D. and more generally.wordpress. and the Fathers preserved (ephylaxan). the Ecumenical Councils of the Church.

are the universal voice of the Church. 3 And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire. it is commonly accepted that history of the Orthodox Church actually begins with the Descent of the Holy Spirit (33 A. Canons which concern our moral life. and it sat upon each of them. Bebis says: In sum. The position of the Ecumenical Councils in the Church and their universal authority is enhanced by the fact that they issued not only dogmatic definitions of faith. and the architecture and iconography of the Church (“The Dogmatic Tradition of the Orthodox Church”). 80 . although 29 is thought to be more accurate) as it is narrated in Acts 2: 1-4: 1 And when the day of Pentecost was fully come. but also formulated important canons of the Church which concern Orthodox spiritual life and help the individual in the growth of his life in Christ.Chapter 1: History of Early Christian Church encompassing level of the universal Christian empire—the oikoumene—in order to defend the faith of the Church. as Aghiorgoussis points out. The concept of the Tradition of the Church. and it filled all the house where they were sitting.D. THE INFANT CHURCH OF THE FIRST CENTURY As already suggested. fasting. together with the Scriptures and the Patristic writings. still. Tradition also includes the ecumenical and local councils. and Holy Communion are indeed important for our daily life as good Orthodox Christians. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost. the Ecumenical Councils. Not all these canons have the same value today as they had when first written. is what causes us repeatedly to return to written patristic sources in order to describe events that surround the first Christian community and delineate their theological development. the Divine Liturgy. which not only includes the Bible and the teaching of the Fathers. But. and began to speak with other tongues. as the Spirit gave them utterance. they were all with one accord in one place. they are like compasses which direct our lives toward a Christian lifestyle and orient us towards a high spiritual level. 2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind.

It must also be born in mind that the material is organized from the point of view of the second Christian generation. on that same day. who on the basis of Jesus’ resurrection taught his imminent return. In the earliest period. They called themselves. which is normal for Hellenistic rhetoric. not as a new religion but as a sect within Judaism. It is clear that the original communities were a composite of Palestinian Jews. 41 Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls (Acts 2:41). as already mentioned. the Christian movement centered its activities on Jerusalem. thus constituting the first Christian community at Jerusalem.goarch. which should be read with caution since it is a blending of history and prose. It is entirely based on the Acts of the Apostles. ekklesia—”assembly” or “church”—and regarded themselves as the true “assembly” of Israel—a community of the final days which will 19 See: <www.org/>. a generation which perceived the events of the preceding four or five decades as a kind of golden age of the church (Walker 23). from an early time.Chapter 1: History of Early Christian Church Illustration 13: Pentecost19 As we read further. where it took shape. 81 . after Peter had preached to the gathered people. But we need to be aware that our knowledge of this first community is limited and vague.

as Walker adds. it was also applied to traveling missionaries such as Paul. they lived at peace with the religious authorities of Jerusalem. on a regular basis. they become subject for later legend. Their number was restored when they appointed Matthias: “And they gave forth their lots. This community had its own identity. were the founding members of this community. we have no records of the activities of the Twelve. and he was numbered with the eleven apostles” (Acts 1: 26).Chapter 1: History of Early Christian Church have the Lord’s recognition upon his return in glory. They vanished from the history in Acts. and breaking of bread—the origin of the Eucharist: “And they. and. the Lord’s brother. 82 . they practiced baptism which was associated with the gift of the Holy Spirit and. he only saw Peter and James. yet they both attended church and were obedient to the Judaic Law. When Paul visited Jerusalem three years after he had left. The title of “apostles” was given by the time the Acts were written. The Eleven. Notwithstanding their obedience to Jewish Law. and the lot fell upon Matthias. and breaking bread from house to house. excepting Peter and John. reduced from twelve due to Judas’ transgression. gathered for prayer. mutual exhortation. did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart” (Acts 2: 46). continuing daily with one accord in the temple. But. Therefore.

Cephas was Peter: “And he brought him to Jesus. save James the Lord’s brother. Paul says in his letter to the Galatians: Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter. that we should go unto the heathen. In Acts 6. (1:18-19) Then fourteen years after I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas.files. But other of the apostles saw I none. they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship..21 and John. (2:1-9) Walker says that trouble came to the community of believers in Jerusalem upon the incorporation in it of the Greek-speaking Diaspora Jews resident in this city. Cephas.wordpress. who seemed to be pillars. a stone” (John 1:42). who became the first Bishop of Jerusalem.” The struggle ended when the Twelve appointed See: <www.Chapter 1: History of Early Christian Church Illustration 14: St. fourteen years later. because their widows were neglected in the daily ministration.josephpatterson. he said. Thou art Simon the son of Jona: thou shalt be called Cephas. Paul20 In a second visit. and they unto the circumcision. Peter and St. 21 20 83 . and took Titus with me also . and John. And when James. there arose a murmuring of the Grecians against the Hebrews.com>. perceived the grace that was given unto me.. which is by interpretation. when the number of the disciples was multiplied. and abode with him fifteen days. Peter. he writes that there were three pillars as leaders: James the Lord’s brother.1 we are told that there was a complaint of Greek speaking Jewish believers against the local Aramaic-speaking Christians because their widows had been neglected in the daily ministration: “And in those days. And when Jesus beheld him.

and brought him to the council. brethren. As a result Stephen was taken before the Sanhedrin and condemned to death by stoning. and the scribes. and shall change the customs which Moses delivered us. and of them of Cilicia and of Asia. 15 And all that sat in the council. finds himself in dispute with members of other Greek-speaking synagogues who accused him of speaking “blasphemous words against Moses. and the law: 14 For we have heard him say. 13 And set up false witnesses. which said. look ye out among you seven men of honest report. which said. and came upon him. (Acts 6:9-15) Illustration 15: Stephen’s martyrdom22 22 See: <www.org>. that this Jesus of Nazareth shall destroy this place. and Alexandrians. 12 And they stirred up the people. 11 Then they suborned men. looking steadfastly on him. the first deacons. whom we may appoint over this business” (Acts 6:3).Chapter 1: History of Early Christian Church seven Hellenists. 9 Then there arose certain of the synagogue. We have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses. disputing with Stephen.saltandlighttv. This man ceaseth not to speak blasphemous words against this holy place. 10 And they were not able to resist the wisdom and the spirit by which he spake.” He also exposed the Jews for their deafness to the voice of Jesus. and caught him. But Stephen. and the elders. and against God. to administer the common resources: “Wherefore. Stephen among them. and against God. seemingly the leader of the Hellenists. saw his face as it had been the face of an angel. which is called the synagogue of the Libertines. 84 . and Cyrenians. full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom.

Regarding the first turning point mentioned by Kallinikos. as already mentioned.Chapter 1: History of Early Christian Church Constantine Kallinikos. Jews though they were. “And cast him out of the city.D. and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria. except the apostles. and. and stoned him: and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man’s feet. we are told that subsequent to the stoning of St. but also outside of Judea. 35 outside Damascus (Acts 9:4). on the other. And at that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem. the Apostles received him into their brotherhood. until his conversion to Christianity in the year A. he comments “they were persecuted not on the ground of their belief in Jesus as Messiah. Walker reasons that Stephen and his fellow believers presumably lacked the respect for the temple and the Law that the Palestinian Christian habitually made manifest. Thereupon he was baptized. Stephen. his missionary journeys that were to spread the Christian creed into the Gentile world (5). wildly persecuting the Christian Church.” On the one hand. he started. Thus. The first was the great outbreak of local persecution against the newly-established Church— viewed as intolerable to the Jewish authorities as they were considered to be apostates from the Law of Moses. It had the effect of scattering the brethren and the Gospel from Jerusalem not only to other towns of Judea. but because they talked as though they were prepared. whose name was Saul” (Acts 7:58). assailed by dangers and persecutions. there was a great persecution. changing his name from Saul to Paul. asserts that Stephen’s martyrdom brought two main turning points in the history of early Christians. that that 85 . the first martyr of the Christian Church. in The History of the Orthodox Church. The second was Saul’s prominence. to jettison certain demands of the Law in the light of their new faith” (24). Walker’s assertion is based on two reports provided by Acts 8:1: “And Saul was consenting unto his death. Paul was then still a fanatical Pharisee.

who. 3 And because he saw it pleased the Jews. following Jesus’ command. In contrast. Walker adds that this brief persecution may have been the reason why Peter left Jerusalem and started his activity as a missionary apostle. and Antioch where there appeared the first Christian church which mixed Gentiles and Jews (Acts 11: 19-20). executed James. They carried the word to Samaria (Acts 8:5. Cyprus. as well as in the inner tradition of the Orthodox Church. enjoyed relative peace.” But. Then. and the law (Acts 6:13). and later to Phoenicia. 25).). under the kingship of Herod Agrippa (41-44 A. At the same time. The leadership of the Jerusalem community came to be in the hands of James. Yet this peace was broken in time of Emperor Claudius. first to the Jews and then to the Gentiles.D. in his attempt to create a reputation for himself as an enthusiastic orthodox. the brother of John. son of Herod the Great. Walker continues. and imprisoned Peter: “1 Now about that time Herod the king stretched forth his hands to vex certain of the church. in association with a body of elders or presbyter (23-25). no direct involvement with the new mission. 2 And he killed James the brother of John with the sword. the persecutions were restricted to the Hellenic Christians who spoke “blasphemous words against this holy place. Their achievements are documented in the Acts. the Lord’s brother.Chapter 1: History of Early Christian Church “the apostles” were not affected by persecutions. In other words. meant the beginning of a new period in the life and mission of the church. the Apostles went out and preached wherever they went. until his martyrdom in 63: “And 86 . Christian communities came into being in all the main centers of the Roman world and beyond. so that in a surprisingly short time. this scattering of the Hellenist leaders. he proceeded further to take Peter also” (Acts 12:1-3). having. obviously maintaining its loyalty to the temple. the Hellenists carried the message of the risen Christ into the Diaspora. at least for some time. the Jerusalem community.

..... As we will see an early administrative structure already was in progress: bishop-presbyter-deacon.stjamesok........ and .... They called themselves.........org>............. the original communities were a composite . gathered for ......................—the origin of the Eucharist................... 23 See: <www....... from an early time ...... on a regular basis.... and all the elders were present” (Acts 21:18)... James.... Complete the following paragraphs: . the Lord’s brother23 It was not only James who died in martyrdom.......baptism which was associated with ................. who on the basis of Jesus’ resurrection.. 87 ....... On which source do we base our knowledge of the Apostolic Age? Why should we be cautious with this source? 2....... and................................. Illustration 16: St.............. .... ......... They regarded themselves as the true .. taught ...........Chapter 1: History of Early Christian Church the day following Paul went in with us unto James.............................. but many other bishops also died during the persecutions... they practiced .................. Activity 1................................... This eventually became one of the reasons for the preeminence of bishops in the Byzantine Empire...

became the second focal center of Christian life. at the time of his birth. and the reason for the persecution): • 4: 1-4 • 5: 17-28 • 6: 8-15 • 8: 1-3 • 12: 1-6 Activity 13: Jewish persecutions PAUL AND GENTILE CHRISTIANITY Upon Stephen’s martyrdom and the scattering of the Hellenist Christians to the cities of the Diaspora. This debate did not merely have local importance but concerned the fact that the new church have a universal (that is. all people. The fact of Gentiles becoming Christian converts while not subject to but free from the Law caused an immense debate. as Walker points out. Read the following verses in the Acts of the Apostles and explain the circumstances of the persecutions (who were the persecutors. What were the two turning points brought about by Stephen’s martyrdom? Activity 12: The Apostolic Age Activity 1. but. the city of Tarsus. for all times. Greek would have been his native tongue and. There the Gospel was preached to the Gentile “Godfearers” who were admitted into the Christian community without first becoming Jewish proselytes. When did the Jewish persecution start.Chapter 1: History of Early Christian Church 3. It was there when the followers of Jesus were seen not only as a body distinct from paganism but also from normative Judaism that they were first called “Christians”. Paul was a “Jew among Jews”. and all places) mission (Walker 26). a debate in which Paul played a major role. Consequently Paul during his youth would have been 88 . How did it begin? What were its consequences? 2. the capital of the province of Syria. was an important center of Hellenic Stoic teaching. who was persecuted. Antioch.

but I went into Arabia. a city in Cilicia. But. born in Tarsus. Yet. and abode with him fifteen days. and led to the beginning of the series of his missionary trips in the Gentile world. in Christian Origins. I am verily a man which am a Jew. Paul enunciated a principle of accommodation concerning gentiles. 24 And they glorified God in me. who separated me from my mother’s womb. a famous teacher of the Law. to a 89 . that I might preach him among the heathen. 20 Now the things which I write unto you. yet brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel. save James the Lord’s brother. and taught according to the perfect manner of the law of the fathers. before God. 21 Afterwards I came into the regions of Syria and Cilicia. which occurred about the year 35 in a journey to Damascus. resulting in the foundation of many churches. he was brought up in Jerusalem. and wasted it: 14 And profited in the Jews’ religion above many my equals in mine own nation. being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers. behold. Paul persecuted the early Christian church (Acts 8:1). his famous conversion. 18 Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter. We have some reports of his earliest trips in Galatians (1: 13-24): 13 For ye have heard of my conversation in time past in the Jews’ religion. In coherence with his pharisaic ideal of strict observance of the Law. immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood: 17 Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me. 15 But when it pleased God. 19 But other of the apostles saw I none. I lie not. as ye all are this day (Acts 22:3) and educated at the feet of Gamaliel. and not against Palestinian Christians (26). although born in Tarsus. made him a true believer in the risen Jesus. 22 And was unknown by face unto the churches of Judaea which were in Christ: 23 But they had heard only. 16 To reveal his Son in me. But. as Rowland claims. who had a tendency to bend the requirements of the Law. how that beyond measure I persecuted the church of God.Chapter 1: History of Early Christian Church familiar with the fundamentals of Hellenistic and religious thought. and called me by his grace. and returned again unto Damascus. That he which persecuted us in times past now preacheth the faith which once he destroyed. we find in I Corinthians 9: “I have become all things to all men (9:22)”. and was zealous toward God. Thus he behaved as a Jew in the company of Jews and. Walker believes that Paul’s antagonism was directed against Hellenist Jewish Christians.

they determined that Paul and Barnabas. they were received of the church. 90 . go to Jerusalem to defend his position against this policy. and in accordance with their traditions and the local customs of the church in Jerusalem insisted on the need for circumcision: “And certain men which came down from Judaea taught the brethren.. Men and brethren. 5 But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees which believed. ye know how that a good while ago God made choice among us.. The decision is narrated in these verses: 7 And when there had been much disputing. That it was needful to circumcise them. and believe. a pattern of behavior and a seemingly dual attitude which must have created some confusion to onlookers. 6 And the apostles and elders came together for to consider of this matter. and certain other of them. to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things. and they declared all things that God had done with them. The debate made Paul and Titus. Barnabas used to accompany him in many trips until he took the side of Peter on the matter of eating with Gentiles. Paul finds an underlying logic in this seemingly contradictory position when he says “I do it all for the sake of the gospel” (9:23) (233). should go up to Jerusalem unto the apostles and elders about this question. and said unto them. and to command them to keep the law of Moses. 8 And God.. For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost. This is the first council of the Church’s history. 9 And put no difference between us and them.. bare them witness. an uncircumcised Gentile Christian. (Acts 15: 2-9). and to us. It was attended by the Apostles: 2 When therefore Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and disputation with them. that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel. Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses. ye cannot be saved” (Acts 15:1). A crisis arose when Christian visitors from Jerusalem arrived in Antioch. saying. and of the apostles and elders. The result was a portentous accord in which it was agreed that the Gospel belonged to both Gentiles as well as Jews (29). purifying their hearts by faith . Peter rose up.Chapter 1: History of Early Christian Church certain extend. described in Acts (15). . which knoweth the hearts. 4 And when they were come to Jerusalem. giving them the Holy Ghost. as a Gentile when with Gentiles. even as he did unto us. and said.

12 For I neither received it of man.Chapter 1: History of Early Christian Church We read that the Gentiles “should hear the word of the gospel. This council will have no parallel until the Council of Nicea in 325. God had acted to provide salvation for all who should believe—a salvation whose complete realization lay in the future but whose beginning could be experienced even in the present. “in the richness and suggestiveness of Paul’s thought an occasionally in its unfinished and even ambiguous character” (29).. its member remain free but isolated. Ware comments that Orthodoxy has always attached a great important to the place of councils in the life of church. In the Church there is neither dictatorship nor individualism. Walker summarizes Paul’s gospel by saying that This was the good news that in Jesus. Paul was convinced that his gospel was given to him by revelation. but each consults with the others. It believes that the council is the chief organ whereby God has chosen to guide His people. grounded. giving them the Holy Ghost. but according to Walker. which circulated in and were collected by the churches he founded. brethren. and it regards the Catholic Church as essentially a conciliar Church . that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. Yet. 13-24). not in his clarity or systematic character. in faith. represent the earliest body of Christian literature. but by the revelation of Jesus Christ” (Gal. a council is a living embodiment of the essential nature of the Church.. but harmony and unanimity. and believe . they have exerted a major influence on Christian thought. 15:3).” Ware highlights the verses “it seemed good to the Holy Ghost. neither was I taught it. and in this way they all freely achieve a “common mind”. and to us. In a council no single member arbitrarily imposes his will upon the rest.” thus claiming authority as a Church and not individually.. This salvation had its roots in Jesus’ death and resurrection—two events which in Paul’s thought stand forth as transactions of transcendent significance. although it was also a matter of tradition: “I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received. Next to the four Gospels. how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures” (1 Cor. and in sacramental communion. (29) 91 . (14) Paul’s letters.. for they are united in love. there was no ambiguity when talking about the foundation of his teaching and preaching: “11 But I certify you.

and not in tune with the new covenant of God’s grace. 6:4.Chapter 1: History of Early Christian Church Activity Read the following New Testament quotes and deduct aspects of Paul’s theology from them: • I Cor. 12:27-14:1 • Gal. 15:3. 6. so have I strived to preach the gospel. a church which eventually would become most important and of great relevance in the future Christian panorama. 8. 1:16). 11. to the Jew first.” and his mission is “to bring about the obedience of faith among all nations” (Rom. This did not mean. Paul was not personally familiar with the Roman church. 17. 1:4 • Rom. 1:16. were coextensive. not where Christ was named. and also to the Greek” (Rom. so that from Jerusalem. the new covenant of God’s grace. I have fully preached the gospel of Christ. and round about unto Illyricum. 1:1–5): 92 . 15:20). Paul knew of other churches founded by other missionaries: “19 Through mighty signs and wonders. Activity 14: Paul’s theology The fact that Jesus Christ. Thus he begins his letter to the Roman church by introducing himself. But primitive Christianity and Pauline Christianity. 6: 11. that for Paul the Law was evil. He has been “called to be an apostle. For him. but that it was merely a preliminary (31). was the one in whom God’s salvation is to be found eventually led him to view the demand that Gentiles should keep the Law as intolerable. Make sure that you possess and use a Bible with textual commentary to assist you in the interpretation of these texts. Paul says: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth. as Walker asserts. Christ embodied the new life of salvation. as personified by Jesus Christ Himself. by the power of the Spirit of God. Walker continues. 49. 20 Yea. lest I should build upon another man’s foundation” (Rom.

3:6. 6. 2:21. for obedience to the faith among all nations. 3:21. separated unto the gospel of God. 24-25. by the resurrection from the dead: 5 By whom we have received grace and apostleship. or a Study Bible. were completed. 22. He proclaimed his message to people in vernacular Aramaic and his teachings spread by word of mouth for at least a generation before written gospels by Matthew.) Activity 15: Paul’s relationship with the Law and with other churches THE GOSPELS We have seen many references to first century Christians in the Acts of the Apostles and in Paul’s letters. Which other Christian church was also functioning at the time of Paul’s preaching tours? (When dealing with Biblical texts always remember to use a Biblical commentary. 2 (Which he had promised afore by his prophets in the holy scriptures.) 3 Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.23. a servant of Jesus Christ. called to be an apostle. 24. Luke—authors of the Synoptic Gospels—and John appeared in the Greek language. 4:3. which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh. We all are aware that Jesus did not leave behind anything in writing. But it needs to be remembered that at that time –when the Christian Bible was the Old Testament. according to the spirit of holiness. read in the Greek Septuagint version—the words of the Lord were authoritatively circulating in the form of an oral tradition until the synoptic gospels. for his name: Activity 1. Mark. The adjective ‘synoptic’ refers to the fact that they include the same 93 . The word “synoptic” means “with the same eye” or “seeing together. during a process of gradual formation. 4 And declared to be the Son of God with power. 19 • Rom. 21. 7:7. 11: 32. 5:14. Read the following New Testament quotes and deduct Paul’s thoughts about Christians’ relationship with the Jewish Law or Old Covenant: • Gal.” The Synoptic Gospels present us with the narratives of these three evangelists concerning certain aspects of the life of Jesus. 2.Chapter 1: History of Early Christian Church 1 Paul. 2:16.

the canonical Gospels were written between 65-100. Yet other formative elements contributed to the Gospel development.Chapter 1: History of Early Christian Church material. the Gospels themselves were highly valued and used in worship and teaching by various congregations. preaching his words and deeds with enriched significance —a kerigmatic proclamation intended to bring people to faith. and present the basic story of Jesus. The thing of note he did. using different perspectives and points of emphasis. The Orthodox theologian Stylianopoulos finds a dynamic interplay and mutuality between divine word and tradition in the formation of the Gospels. In other words. Jesus’ resurrection illuminate his apostles’ memories of the preresurrectional period. … the authoritative words and deeds of Jesus have been mediated through the dynamics of the Christian community and its ongoing stream of tradition” (20-21). As for the Gospel writers. his sayings and events in his life in similar ways. Before they attained their canonical status by the end of the second century. are dependent on earlier Christian traditions and texts. two Gospels were attributed to the 94 . it tells the story of Jesus in significantly different ways such as a different order of events. These were texts and traditions about the deeds and words of Jesus that were used for the needs of the Christian congregations (Luke 1:1-4). Although preaching based on oral preservation and development of the Jesus material continued into the 2d century. For him they “embody the oral and written traditions of the early Christians. namely liturgy or worship. the oral proclamation of his message. Brown lists three stages in the formation of the Gospels which can also assist in explaining the formation of the Synoptic ones: (1) The public ministry or activity of Jesus of Nazareth (the first third of the 1st century AD). (2) The apostolic preaching about Jesus (the second third of the 1st century AD). He asserts that the Synoptic Gospels. (3) The written Gospels (around the last third of the 1st century). which are historically closest to Jesus. and its own unique vocabulary and style. They even used many of the same words in parallel accounts. Yet. and his interaction with others were recorded selectively by his Apostles by memory. Raymond E. while the Gospel of John sometimes resembles the other three Gospels. Furthermore.

first by the Jewish authorities and then by the Roman Empire. Activity 16: The formation of the Gospels Already during the stage of the formation of the Gospels. What are the Synoptic Gospels? 2. This stage asserts that as they have so much in common in the third stage there must have been some form of dependence of one or two of the Synoptics on the other—Matt wrote a first Gospel and Luke used Matt. These persecutions of Christians by and under the Roman Empire constitute the focus of the next section. This is commonly referred to as the Synoptic problem (122). companions of the apostles Peter (Mark) and Paul (Luke) (106). Activity 1. and as theologians. The modern view is that Mark’s Gospel came first. as well as other collections of material about Jesus. the Christian movement would be subjected to a long period of suffering. and that both Matthew and Luke based their accounts on Mark. He adds that “the evangelists emerge as authors. and for the next two hundred years. But as Brown grants. most modern scholars think that the evangelists were not eyewitnesses of Jesus’ ministry. This of course is an important perspective and assist us to understand the differences among the gospels. orienting that material to a particular goal” (11). 95 . developing. shaping. List the three stages defined by Brown in the formation of the Gospels. as a result of persecutions.Chapter 1: History of Early Christian Church apostles Mathew and John and two to two apostolic men. pruning the transmitted Jesus material. Brown adds a further stage of Gospel formation to describe the interrelationship of the Synoptic Gospels. and the existence of Q—or a common written source (a protogospel). John’s Gospel appears to have been composed either independently. or at least in an independent way.

This is a period in history that brought the infant Church great pain and much distress. which seemed to threaten Rome—its state and public order—were regarded illicit. who admitted only one Lord and God. confirming that the amount of suffering had not been in vain. Even in the Acts of the Apostles it is suggested that the Empire. under God’s guidance. and Jews were even dispensed from participation in the imperial cult. the Gentile mission did not intend to challenge the Empire’s public order. this toleration was limited because some Jewish religious practices were considered immoral and liable to be suppressed. Nevertheless. They understood that each nation under their rule had the right to worship their own deities as the Senate or the people of Rome had their right to worship theirs as long as due honor was given to Rome and her gods. even if little or no action was. in spite of not being viewed in a positive light by the Romans authorities. In general.Chapter 1: History of Early Christian Church 3. Christianity viewed the Empire and its relationship with it positively. was an “authorized religion” (religio licita). could be a means for the advancement of the Gospel. They considered it essential that something must be done concerning this religion that stands in absolute opposition to their own 96 . specifically religious societies with private rites such as those of Christians. Yet. EARLY CHRISTIANITY AND THE ROMAN EMPIRE: PERSECUTION AND SUCCESS The encounter between early Christianity and the Roman Empire is a period in history that stretches over three centuries. taken to suppress them (Walker 50). religious cults. the Empire—following the policies of the earlier Hellenistic monarchies of the East—was tolerant of any cult provided they did not weaken morality or provoke sedition (The Early Church 24). in terms of this mindset perceived paganism as one of the major problems of the present State. Judaism. Consequently. As already mentioned. in fact. and as Chadwick explains. but also a time of great satisfaction and many accomplishments. as stated. Christians.

the conflict of Christians with the Roman Empire and the first persecution came by chance and not by any fundamental point of collision. Obviously the Roman government who did not share the Christian mindset and doctrines was unwilling to quit their old pagan gods. 64. but it almost was a natural candidate to be considered as an unauthorized and dangerous association. who had murdered his tutor. the God of the Jews. might and many victories in battle were attributed to favors granted to the Roman Empire by their pagan gods. a demented monarch. Moreover. that is until the time when Christians began to make new converts in other cities. The Early Church 24-25). What follows is a reference table with the main persecutions suffered by Christians: Jewish Persecutions (described in the Book of Acts) The Persecution of Nero (64 AD) Domitian (81-96) Trajan (98-117) Hadrian (117-138) Marcus Aurelius (161-181) Septimus Severus (202-211) Maximus the Thracian (235-251) Decius (249-251) Valerian (257-260) Diocletian / Galerius (303-311) Table 3: Chart with main persecutions of First Christians Regarding the Jewish persecution I mentioned that there was not a sustained persecution until 41. I also related that in spite of Christians being hauled by Jewish leaders before the Roman authorities. had himself set fire to Rome.Chapter 1: History of Early Christian Church monotheistic belief. Nero. In A. his brother. He executed this act as he 97 . especially as the prosperity. with no images and generally no sacrifices. was harder to grasp than there own tangible divine images. and his mother. There were no one absolute reason why Christianity should not gain tolerance (Chadwick.D. by Herod Agrippa. concrete rituals and daily sacrifices. and thus leading to eventual persecution.

Illustration 17: Peter’s martyrdom24 24 See: <www. as Chadwick states. or cast as defenseless prey to the beasts. were impaled on stakes and lighted like torches to illuminate the imperial gardens”. Kallinikos narrates that: “Some of the Christians were crucified.com/foxe/foxeills. precedent was born: Christians were condemned to death just because there were Christians and not as a result of any other charges (The Early Church 26).Chapter 1: History of Early Christian Church wished to have a realistic impression of the burning of Troy by the Greeks.exclassics. During this persecution. social. Furthermore.htm>. And some. But Nero. when Peter and Paul were martyred. although one might have imagined that other mundane. or political reason were the cause. other were sewn up into skins and thrown to the dogs. having been discovered by his people. accused the young and new Christian sect of arson so as to avoid being blamed. 98 . smeared with pitch and tar. although there was not any deep ideological conflict between Christians and the State. some sawn in two.

material kingdom.Chapter 1: History of Early Christian Church Therefore to check this rumor. the martyrdom of Dionysius the Areopagite. The Domitian persecution caused the death of Domitian’s cousin and his wife. Domitian even brought certain followers of Jesus from Palestine to condemn them as revolutionaries. or speeding about in a chariot. was put to death during the reign of Tiberius. by the procurator Pontius Pilate. For Domitian. in which the atrocities and shame from all parts of the world center and flourish. Annales) Table 4: First century historian and the persecution under Nero Under Domitian (81-96) the situation again became grave when as emperor he proclaimed himself “Master of God”. Therefore those who confessed were first seized. exile and execution of many other Christians. since they were put to death not for the public good but to satisfy the rage of an individual. he dismissed them as simple madmen (Kallinikos). but throughout the City. Nero had offered his gardens for the spectacle and was giving a circus show. Chadwick believes that. yet a feeling of pity arose. those. for some were covered with the skins of wild beasts and torn to pieces by dogs.7 99 . I wondered with great admiration. Flavius Clemens. Although checked for the time. John’s denunciation of the idolatrous. The victims who perished also suffered insults. anyone who disapproved of his cult immediately became suspect of treason. mingling with the people in the dress of a driver. Eminent Romans who had Jewish sympathies were accused of atheism. who were called Christians by the mob and hated for their moral enormities. and the imprisonment. persecuting Rome as the scarlet woman who is drunk with the blood of saints. Based on his literal interpretation of Christ’s words regarding the Kingdom of God. in the book of the Revelation. Christ. belief. from whom the name was given. the deportation of the Apostle John to Patmos. while others were fixed to crosses and burnt to light the night when daylight had failed. and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her. Although they were criminals who deserved the most severe punishment. as of hatred of the human race. However when he saw their poverty. where the evil originated. were substituted in his place as culprits by Nero and afflicted with the most exquisite punishments. (Tacitus. and realized that they were not wealthy members of an earthly. this pernicious superstition broke out again not only in Judea. then on their information a great multitude were convicted. not so much of the crime of incendiarism. may reflect the distress in the churches of Asia Minor at this time (The Early Church 27): 6 And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints. in Jesus Christ was opposed to belief in the divinity of the Roman Emperor.

And in the same year Domitian put to death. Flavia Domitilla. he wrote to the Emperor for guidance.d. not for some crime but that they would not commit robbery. Some were put to death. On the same charge many others who had adopted Jewish customs were condemned. The crime charged against both was sacrilege. extravagant superstition. did not want his cult to be a compulsory loyalty-test. and the wife of Flavius. but it was his primary concern that there should not be deliberate measures to hunt out Christians as a result of rioting mobs. if merely professing Christianity automatically made the individual culpable of disloyalty to the Emperor. Domitilla was exiled alone on Pandataria. that they would not betray a trust nor deny a deposit when called upon. History of Rome) Table 5: First century historian and the persecution under Domitian The crisis for Christians caused by the cult of the emperor finally passed with the emperor Trajan (98-117). who was his own relative.] the road leading from Sinuessa to Puteoli was paved with stones. and that they bound themselves by oath. who was then consul. observed the daily increase of the Christian communities in his province. He wondered.. (Rev. not only in towns. By the torturing of two slave-girls. Since Pliny was uncertain as to how best to deal with the progress of this “vicious. Pliny the younger. He describes the Christian in a manner that reflects the way in which their contemporaries viewed them: . 6-7) At this time [95 a. that on a fixed day they were accustomed to come together before daylight and to sing by turns a hymn to Christ as a god. but also in the countryside.. who in contrast to Domitian. Wherefore didst thou marvel? I will tell thee the mystery of the woman. his cousin Flavius Clemens.” as he called it. however. and of the beast that carrieth her.. (Cassius Dio. 100 . After this it was their custom to disperse and to come together again to partake of food.25 then Governor of Bithynia in Asia Minor. besides many others. Trajan’s response suggests that Christianity was unauthorized and therefore punishable. Pliny had discovered that Christianity was innocuous.. or false and anonymous accusations. theft. or adultery. which hath the seven heads and ten horns.Chapter 1: History of Early Christian Church And the angel said unto me. among many things. others had their property confiscated. once they were summoned before 25 See letters by Pliny and Trajan in Appendix A.

Justin ‘The Christian philosopher’ at Rome (between 162 and 168) (Walker 51. Christianity remained a capital offense. therefore. Illustration 18: Saint Polycarp. many suffered martyrdom: Ignatius Bishop of Antioch. from then onwards. they considered it undesirable and punishable. Nevertheless. they should be forced to choose between sacrifice to the pagan gods and death. Polycarp bishop of Smirna.stpolycarp. Furthermore. whose fate until then depended upon the whim of successive emperors. martyred circa 155 AD26 26 See: <www. As a result of this new law. but at the same time inexplicably and obstinately hostile toward paganism. 101 . during the second century. Telesphorus bishop of Rome. open to persecution.org>. being a Christian became a punishable offense. became. authorities discovered that Christians were virtuous folks. Christianity. by the explicit provisions of Roman law. Kallinikos).Chapter 1: History of Early Christian Church the magistrates. Walker adds that during and after the second century the emperors were not greatly interested in nor disturbed by the Christian phenomenon. Thus.

Hadrian annihilated even the name “Jerusalem. But unfortunately even under Hadrian. Hadrian ordered his officials henceforth only to arrest Christians when convicted of common crimes.Chapter 1: History of Early Christian Church Hadrian (117-138). with the spilling of much Jewish blood. In their discourse before him they offered apologies for their brethren in the faith. rescinding Hadrian’s moderate laws. owing to a certain Jewish rebel. who like his predecessor. This attitude he perceived as an insult to his own Stoic virtue. Only in circumstances of common crimes should they be punished by death. Bar-cochba. The need to make such a statement of course shows that persecution of Christians because of public demand was in fact a reality and true. Chadwick. any kind of catastrophe was blamed on the displeasure of the gods by the toleration the Romans showed towards the godless and atheistic Christians. was addressed by two learned Christians. He also erected a temple to Venus on Golgotha and a statue of Jupiter on the Holy Sepulcher (Kallinikos 9. Caesar and philosopher. in those days. initiated a new series of persecutions against the Christians. who instigated his fellow-countrymen to revolt against the Roman rule. but not to disturb and persecute them merely to satisfy popular clamor.” renaming the Jewish capital “Aelia Capitolina”. Bishop of Athens. Aristides. and the rebellion put down. At that time. discouraged governors from taking a personal initiative in the persecution of Christians. there even existed governors who tried to protect Christians. His negative attitude toward Christianity was compounded by the fact that. Marcus Aurelius (161-180). Christian blood was shed in Palestine. Impressed by their arguments. The 102 . In this same rebellion. Quadratus. Kallinikos believes this was due to the fact that he witnessed the calm and courageous attitude of Christians in the face of death. The Early Church 29). Bar-cochba was killed. and the Athenian philosopher. many innocent Christians perished because Christianity was still generally identified with Judaism.

“how then shall I now speak evil of my Lord and Savior?” The pagans sought to fasten him to the stake with nails.Chapter 1: History of Early Christian Church persecution of Christians merely because they were Christians again became frequent. New martyrs from this round of persecutions included Leonidas. saying as they did so: “—”Now we shall see if they will arise from the dead.” answered the saint. suddenly had a change of mind. especially in Southern Gaul. a slave girl. to mock the Christian dogma of the resurrection of the dead. Christianity extended to the upper classes of society. for God will grant me strength to stand unbound amid the flames. but Polycarp protested. He consequently issued a decree in 202 that prohibited the Christian confession and faith under the penalty of death. persecutions broke out more violently than ever before. before he was burned alive in the arena of Smyrna: —”Wilt thou curse Christ?” the proconsul threatened him. beheaded for refusing to adore the image of Cybele. Moreover. in Egypt. and if their God has power enough to save them from our hands!. vigils and prayers (Chadwick. The Early Church 29). and torture was used to force them to denounce their faith. in Asia Minor. and never has He done me wrong. “ Yet. who with Ignatius had been a disciple of Saint John. Pothinus. Yet this did not represent a general persecution.” In 177. who was 103 . Blandina who died in the bull-ring. —”Your precautions are needless. Many more martyrs succumbed to cruel tortures. Kallinikos illustrates this point by recounting the life of Polycarp. in 166. Septimus Severus (192-211). in spite of these persecutions. among them the nonagenarian Bishop of the town. by the end of the second century. and many high-class personages might wake up at night only to discover that their wives had gone to Christian nocturnal services. the pagans burnt the bodies of the martyrs and scattered their ashes on the waters of the Rhone. and Symphorian. —For eighty-six years have I served Him. present day France. who initially were favorably disposed toward Christians for having been cured of a chronic disease.

Chapter 1: History of Early Christian Church beheaded. Maximin (235238). of Clement and Cyprian—was a period of crisis. and as long as the Roman armies were winning. thus causing a decline in agricultural production. of Hippolytus. continued the persecution of Christians. accompanied by widespread famine.. but with the series of defeats that began in the third century. In this situation Rome was struggling to survive with little prospect of success in controlling all its new enemies. the eclectic Severus. chronic urban poverty. By the fourth century. and disease. economic and political problems. the Empire began to suffer from severe shortages of labor and food. Thus. serious pressure from Persia complicated the already complex political scene. Urban wealth was too dependent on slavery. In 235. who succeeded to the throne by murdering Alexander Severus. The Empire also experienced social. not only for the empire but for the Christian communities. had set up a bust of Christ in his chapel by the side of his statues of Apollonius and Orpheus and had cultivated relationships with church leaders. before he died. this began with Marcus Aurelius. 180). The initial and middle decades of the third century in Rome and the Empire—the era of Tertullian. emperors simply became puppets of the military and 104 . the number of available slaves decreased. Another cause of the instability in the Roman Empire were the struggles over succession to the throne. His fifteen-year old son. These invasions by the so-called barbarian tribes who invaded and ravaged the outlying provinces began during the reign of Marcus Aurelius (d. Kallinikos says that Maximin expressed his hatred more particularly toward bishops because his predecessor. He had abandoned the practice whereby each emperor chose a successor that is capable of carrying out the duties of the imperial office. sent his father a letter admonishing him not to weaken in the face of martyrdom. later the famous Origen. One of them was external pressures on the empire caused by barbarian tribes. supplies of slaves kept agriculture going. There were many reasons for this crisis.

As a matter of fact. Cyprian. and Fabian of Rome preferred martyrdom to apostasy (Kallinikos). a disciple of Tertullian and Bishop of Carthage. to avoid imprisonment or death by purchasing fraudulent certificates. with each one becoming more conservative and fossilized. Decius decreed that all inhabitants of the empire must call upon the gods for assistance by sacrificing to them and further. One consequence of this social-political instability was the revival of the imperial cult (94-95). reinterpreted his received understanding of the Church in the light of its response to persecution. due to a popular uprising against Christians in Alexandria. Due to the schisms caused by persecutions. As Origen and Cyprian. to sacrifice to the Roman gods. leading to a succession of weak military dictatorships. This was a new departure because until then persecutions were more or less local and mainly depended on the attitudes and whims of local provincial governors. for example. Babylas of Antioch. the third century crisis and instability had a religious dimension as well. who died as a martyr in 258. there were masses of Christians who rushed to sacrifice or purchased the libelli from friendly officials (96). Emperor Decius (249-251) tried to restore Rome’s former glory by a return to the virtues and the gods that had made Rome great. both systematic as well as universal or general. Men such as Alexander. Many people were forced against their conscience. Bishop of Jerusalem.Chapter 1: History of Early Christian Church the government. recorded. following Tertullian’s premise that there was no salvation outside the Church. In the very same year as his ascension. Never was the assistance of gods deemed so necessary for Rome and its individual subjects as it was during this time of crisis. must prove that they had done so by getting official certificates (libelli) to that effect. through torture. He insisted that salvation could not be grounded on the purity and fidelity of Christians alone since many tried. Cyprian dealt with the question 105 . But as Walker comments. Decius started a persecution.

htm>. For him even the bishop of Rome was the equal of his brethren (Walker 77-83). Yet. a system which Cyprian encouraged and to which he submitted. Bishop of Carthage and Sixtus of Romem. A further issue arose regarding the situation and readmission of the apostates. attempted to make the Christian communities leaderless.it. and. more easily dissolvable. therefore. his successor. The persecutions. 106 . two African Christians who died in martyrdom27 27 See: <http://home. and Deacon Lawrence who died because of being roasted or grilled (Kallinikos). Under Valerian’s reign the martyrs included Cyprian. undoubtedly. Valerian (253-260).net.au/~jgrapsas/pages/Stjustina. the bishops not only guided their flocks by letters but also spread the Gospel in their places of exile. Illustration 19: Cyprian and Justina. This teaching led directly to the system of synodal government by bishops. by exiling their bishops.Chapter 1: History of Early Christian Church of the unity and holiness of the church by placing the responsibility for their maintenance on the bishop. Yet. The persecution was brief because Decius went off on a campaign in the Danubian provinces and was killed. renewing the anti-Christian policy of Decius. which created friction among the North African and Roman churches (Walker 97). had a permanent effect on the life and selfunderstanding of the Christian churches.

to weld together the fragments of his disintegrating empire. and bishops and priests were put to death. Diocletian became insane and abdicated. He was hoping. signed jointly with his colleagues Constantine—who would become the first Roman Emperor to embrace Christianity— 28 See: <www.edu/almanac/v48/n28/AncientTaxes. Illustration 20: Diocletian coin28 Yet.upenn. in A. Diocletian’s wife and daughter. Ill-advised by his fanatical son-in-law Galerius and by certain Neo-Platonic philosophers. by restoring uniformity of religion. 303 published at Nicea his first edict against Christianity. the holy Scriptures were burnt.Chapter 1: History of Early Christian Church Under Diocletian came the most severe persecution of Christians. The prisons groaned with prisoners and the blood of martyrs flowed like a river. he adds. he issued an edict of toleration. relating it to his unjust dealing with the Christians. that instead of obstructing the progress of the Gospel. In 305. Galerius became fatally ill. and. were razed to the ground. these included Prisca and Valeria.D.html>. Even members of the upper class were converts. and followed it immediately with three others. In 311. Kallinikos describes the effects of this persecution in the following manner: The Christian churches which had been built during the previous years of peace. the emperor. Christians who held public positions were stripped of their office. by this time the number of Christians increased until they formed ten percent of the entire population of the Roman Empire. 107 .

and the fact that before the third century the government did not take Christianity seriously. which often depended on local attitudes. persecutions.Chapter 1: History of Early Christian Church and Licinius. or Philip the Arabian (244-249) who for diverse reasons and different circumstances did not bother the Christians. Kallinikos gives us a clue to that possibility when he relates the events leading to the death of Ignatius. —”And what man is a God-bearer?” —”He who bears Christ in his bosom. Chadwick says that “The sporadic nature of persecution. my adored Lord. generally.” —”Who is this Christ? He who was crucified under Pilate?” —”I mean Him who crucified sin. Bishop of Antioch. gave the Church breathing space to expand and to deal with critical internal problems”(The Early Church 29). There also were some emperors. Christianity seems finally to have triumphed over paganism (11). Although cruel. had not been continuous or systematic. Christians knew that at any time this threat could become an urgent reality and the idea of martyrdom held a central place in their spiritual lives. like Heliogabalus (218-222). Alexander Severus (222-235). Chadwick believes that the conviction that martyrdom would grant immediate entrance in paradise might have lead to a tendency toward provocation on the part of over-enthusiastic believers (The Early Church 30).” —”And thinkest thou that those whom we worship are no gods?” 108 .D. martyred in Rome before A. who despisest my decrees?” asked Trajan. evil spirit. —”A God-bearer cannot be called an evil spirit. Ignatius had appeared before him to intercede on behalf of his flock: —”Who art thou.” replied Ignatius. the threat of persecution was always there. He reproduces a conversation between Ignatius and the Emperor Trajan himself who happened to pass through Antioch during a campaign against the Parthians. But even if there were long periods of toleration and the persecutions were often local in character and of limited duration. All those peaceful intervals enabled Christians to reorganize and increase their numbers. 117. who even invited Christians to pray for him.

Thus. be afraid. “I command that this man.” said Trajan. as supreme. think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you. but also for conscience sake. (4:12) 13 Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: whether it be to the king. (2: 13-14) For them Rome was not the real source of evil but a force. 14 Or unto governors. 13:1-7) We also see this in the First Epistle of Peter: 12 Beloved. 7 Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due. and be torn to pieces by wild beasts for the entertainment of the Roman people. in God’s providence. But if thou do that which is evil. resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. 5 Wherefore ye must needs be subject. a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. 6 For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God’s ministers. He who created heaven and earth. The Roman Empire was perceived as a means to keep evil under relative control: 1 Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. 3 For rulers are not a terror to good works. there also were Christians who tended to the opposite extreme of Gnosticism and argued that pagan gods were simply non- 109 . attending continually upon this very thing. which. as though some strange thing happened unto you. and for the praise of them that do well. who says he bears within him the crucified Christ.” “Very good. be sent in chains to Rome. this struggle was directed against Satan rather than the Romans. for there is one God alone. not only for wrath. (Rom. he made the long journey to Rome. following his guards. (8) Generally Christians responded to persecutions seeing it as a way of sharing the suffering of their Lord. you call the demons gods. caused things to become worse (Walker 53). Yet. Ignatius gave praise to God that he was to be glorified by the same end as the Apostle Paul had suffered.” When he heard the Emperor’s decision. and. custom to whom custom. Dying as a martyr was the glorious culmination of a struggle which led to eternal life. for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God. the way by which he had overcome evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good. fear to whom fear.Chapter 1: History of Early Christian Church —”O king. where before thousands of spectators he was thrown into the Coliseum and devoured by wild beasts. but to the evil. as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers. and thou shalt have praise of the same: 4 For he is the minister of God to thee for good. 2 Whosoever therefore resisteth the power. honour to whom honour.

As he was marching towards Rome on a campaign against his colleague Maxentius. he had succeeded his father. with the words “By this conquer”.Chapter 1: History of Early Christian Church existent. ended when Constantine the Great—honored by the Church as “Isoapostol” or equal to an Apostle—established Christianity as the official religion. This is the text of the edict: When I. Constantine foresaw the new faith as the religion of the future. which has given so many inspiring heroes of the faith to the Church. thus it did not really matter if one offered incense in honor of the emperor or ate meat that had been offered in sacrifice of idols (Chadwick. among other things which we saw would be for the good of many. an episode which took place in A. whence any Divinity whatsoever in the seat of the heavens may be propitious and kindly disposed to us and all who are placed under our rule. Constantine Augustus. Constantine. Constantius Chlorus. a devout Christian. The Early Church 31). issued the Edict of Milan. Augustus of the West. and were considering everything that pertained to the public welfare and security. This victory over the pagan Maxentius was the victory of Christianity over paganism. we thought. And thus by this wholesome counsel and most upright provision we thought to arrange that no one whatsoever should be denied the opportunity to give his heart to the 110 . In 313. 306. who had become the sole ruler of the west. In A. 312 further strengthened this belief. as well as I. The conflicting three-century encounter of Christians with the Roman empire— and with paganism—. Britain and Spain.D. saw the sign of the Cross mysteriously traced on the sky. In addition. Influenced by his eclectic father and his mother Helena. those regulations pertaining to the reverence of the Divinity ought certainly to be made first. as Caesar ruling over Gaul.D. Licinius Augustus. Licinius. which proclaimed the official toleration of the Christian faith and favored the propagation of the Gospel in an unprecedented way. fortunately met near Mediolanurn (Milan). and his colleague in the east. He then placed the Cross on the shields of his army and defeated his rival army. The two augusti were in Milan to celebrate the wedding of Constantine’s sister with Licinius. so that we might grant to the Christians and others full authority to observe that religion which each preferred.

All this property ought to be delivered at once to the community of the Christians through your intercession. that each one may have the free opportunity to worship as he pleases. may hope for an indemnity from our bounty. (“Galerius and Constantine: Edicts of Toleration 311/313)”) In 323 he broke with Licinius and after defeating him and being proclaimed sole ruler.Chapter 1: History of Early Christian Church observance of the Christian religion. may. through our clemency. cannot be concealed. in order that the statement of this decree of our good will may come to the notice of all. so that the decree of this. in the case of the Christians especially we esteemed it best to order that if it happens anyone heretofore has bought from our treasury from anyone whatsoever. he soon proceeded to manifest his interest in Christianity by more vigorous measures. of course. We thought it fit to commend these things most fully to your care that you may know that we have given to those Christians free and unrestricted opportunity of religious worship. whereby. this rescript. without molestation. for all time. which were in the rescripts formerly given to you officially. concerning which a certain decree had been made and a letter sent to you officially. your Worship should know that it has pleased us to remove all conditions whatsoever. those places where they were previously accustomed to assemble. He restored to the Christian communities property that had been confiscated 111 . without any hesitation or controversy at all. your Worship will know that we have also conceded to other religions the right of open and free observance of their worship for the sake of the peace of our times. Moreover. concerning the Christians and now any one of these who wishes to observe Christian religion may do so freely and openly. of that religion which he should think best for himself. are to appeal to the vicar if they seek any recompense from our bounty. moreover. When you see that this has been granted to them by us. who have obtained the same by gift. that is to say to the corporations and their conventicles: providing. moreover. to these Christians. public order may be secured. but also other property. and without delay. that they may be cared for through our clemency. our benevolence. preserve and prosper our successes together with the good of the state. Divine favor towards us. namely the churches. all these things which we have included under the above law. shall be announced everywhere and brought to the knowledge of all. so that the Supreme Deity. to whose worship we freely yield our hearts) may show in all things His usual favor and benevolence. that the above arrangements be followed so that those who return the same without payment. Those. Moreover. are likewise to return them at once to the Christians. this regulation is made we that we may not seem to detract from any dignity or any religion. under the most important circumstances we have already experienced. Besides. In all these circumstances you ought to tender your most efficacious intervention to the community of the Christians. Let this be done so that. you will order to be restored. published by your decree. Therefore. belonging to them as a corporation and not as individuals. that our command may be carried into effect as quickly as possible. And since these Christians are known to have possessed not only those places in which they were accustomed to assemble. both those who have purchased and those who have secured them by gift. as we have said. the same shall be restored to the Christians without payment or any claim of recompense and without any kind of fraud or deception. which. as we have said above.

the Emperor Theodosius carried this policy even further when he legislated Christianity as the only accepted religion of the Empire. But Constantine was clever enough to avoid making sudden changes which might arouse resentment and hamper his work of reform. the idea did not disappear but took other forms. 2. For the first time. in 325. where he built a new capital. How did Christians react to them? Activity 17: Roman Persecutions 112 . he summoned Nicea to hold what it would be the first of the Seven Ecumenical Councils. From here. and forbade crucifixion as a method of execution for criminals.Chapter 1: History of Early Christian Church from them by the civil authorities. Constantinople (dedicated in 330). on the site of old Byzantium by the Bosphorus and called it “New Rome.” to mark it as the starting-point of his new life. he built Constantinople. and conferred on them the right to receive gifts and bequests. He helped his mother to find the True Cross on Golgotha and to build the Holy Sepulcher. In 330. as we will see when dealing with the history of Byzantium. Activity 1. Constantine moved his imperial capital from Rome to Byzantium. appointed Sunday as a holiday. List the main Roman persecutions and add a short summary of each of them to the list. and retained the title of “Pontifex Maximus” as an inseparable adjunct to his imperial status. “These truths we hold: The Holy Orthodox Church: her life and teaching”). especially the monastic life. Tikhon’s Monastery. another form of so-called white martyrdom equal to bodily death (Kallinikos. he instigated no persecutions against the pagans. on the shores of the Bosporus. In 324. When persecutions ceased to be a major concern. Fifty years later. supplied churches with copies of sacred Scriptures. cut off for ever from the abominations of Ancient Rome. he introduced into the army a monotheistic form of prayer. St. thus. while outlawing paganism.

This type of experience is not the domain or concern of the scholar.” delineate two levels of theology in the Orthodox Church.” the martyrs. as the Greek writers often claimed. DEVELOPMENT OF THE THEOLOGY OF THE EARLY CHURCH Archbishop Chrysostomos and Bishop Auxentios. The first one or “essential theology” springs from the spirit of the Church. in “Introduction to Scripture and Tradition. the idea of martyrdom took the form of monastic life.” The idea of martyrdom has a prominent place in the Orthodox Church’s understanding of spirituality. for all practical purposes.Chapter 1: History of Early Christian Church But the shift of the capital of the empire to Constantinople under Constantine meant that the huge machine of government patronage and wealth had migrated from Rome itself. two ways at which the divine truth can be approached. Resulting shortages of population also left Roman armies chronically underpowered and much less able to defend the frontiers than was true two centuries earlier. in “Second Century: Persecution and Faith. It cannot be separated 113 . administer the areas of land in and around Rome itself. but in the long term could not overcome simple disadvantages of manpower which caused the definite fall of the empire and led to Alaric’s sacking of Rome in 410 (Philip Gavitt.D. As Hopko says. a church which could be said to be founded upon blood—not only the blood of Christ but also the blood of those “other Christs. improved Roman administration and military efficiency in the short term. The military rejuvenation of 260-300 A. from the spiritual vision of the God-bearing Fathers. “Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire”).” the severe attacks on the Christian community “proved to strengthen faith as well as require the church to defend the truth that was handed down to them by Christ and the Apostles. leaving only the bishop of Rome to dispense and. 4. When the Church became established in Constantine’s reign.

guides. among some Orthodox. Thus Orthodox theologians need to be aware that the relationship between Scripture and Tradition is of great relevance in the history of Orthodox theological thought. It was in the bosom of the Church that Scripture and Tradition matured. From the time of the Apostles to understand this relationship was crucial to the Christian Church. Secondary theology can help us in our endeavors to understand what is incomprehensible. it was out of the Orthodox Church Herself that Scripture arose. to understand Scripture and Tradition in non-Orthodox ways. formally). and imparts to the humble and Faithful: a truth which is the highest form of theology. Heretics such as Arius misused the Scripture and ruptured with Tradition. Chrysostomos and Ausentios state that: It is imperative that we understand. then She embodies the historical Truth of Christianity. After all. which we will not deal with in this section. they assert. the singular attitude of the Orthodox Church toward Scripture and Tradition. true attitude of the Church. the divine revelation. “theologian invincible among theologians. To do so is to understand the correct. It primarily concerns the explication of the spiritual life. as a consequence of this. we focus our efforts on approaching God in a form of a mental discipline as we recognize the crucial importance of essential theology and. If the Orthodox Church is the historical Church. This is a changeless. In this secondary theology. to distort the image and icon of Truth contained in Holy Scripture and expressed in all Tradition. which is inextricably bound to the spiritual life which She directs. revealed theology. is secondary theology. They are her domain and She alone fully and correctly understands them.Chapter 1: History of Early Christian Church from the spiritual life itself. Chrysostomos and Ausentios give the example of the great luminary of Orthodoxy. remaining true to Patristic tradition. which the Orthodox Church allows us. St.” a “preacher of Grace. with the truth of the Fathers. the revealed truth of essential theology. The second form of theology. and consistent with.” the “wonder working Gregory. we can dispense with the dangerous trend. Those who 114 . consequently. Understanding this. then.” They add that: In bestowing the title “theologian” on so few of the Fathers (and only on several.” and. who is characterized by the Church as “the perfection of monks. according to. a “spiritual knowledge”‘ of God. Gregory Palamas. the Orthodox Church pays great homage to the truth which She embodies.

and they approached it with “a certain freedom and boldness. This was so. to the very structure of Orthodox belief. The witness of the Fathers belongs.Chapter 1: History of Early Christian Church advocate current western-style “Bible studies.” makes reference to a phrase such as “Following the Holy Fathers”.” Their focus was on the spirit rather than the letter of Scripture. Another example is the more elaborate phrase used in the Seventh Ecumenical Council—summoned to solve the serious iconoclastic crisis—to introduce its decision: “Following the Divinely inspired teaching of the Holy Fathers and the Tradition of the Catholic Church. philological. in formulas and propositions. are obviously motivated by an improper understanding of Orthodoxy. The Church is equally committed to the kerygma of the Apostles and to the dogma of the Fathers. in the opening of the Decree of Chalcedon.” Florovsky explains regarding this normative term of reference that: “Following the Holy Fathers. in “St Gregory Palamas and the Tradition of the Fathers. Stylianopoulos thinks that modern western theology is often derived neither from Scripture nor the classic Christian tradition. used normatively by the early Church to introduce its doctrinal statements. he adds.” However. for example... as is Orthodox theology. intrinsically and integrally. we appeal to the Apostles. holds to a personal and dynamic. rather than mechanistic and verbal. and not just to an abstract ‘Apostolicity. a theology which is based on both the ecclesial as well as an intense spiritual or prayer life.” concentrating on a spiritually dangerous dissection of Scripture (as though it were human poetry or a literary text.” This is not a reference to some abstract tradition. “but primarily from Renaissance humanism and Enlightenment philosophy. Stylianopoulos says: 115 .’ In the similar manner do we refer to the Fathers. Biblical scholarship has often rendered itself irrelevant to the life of both Church and society by a gravitational pull toward historical. concept of inspiration. It is primarily an appeal to holy witnesses. (“St Gregory Palamas and the Tradition of the Fathers”) Stilianopoulos states that for the Fathers. the Bible was both a book of God and a book of the Church. George Florovsky. the truth of which is open to textual analysis). Orthodox theology. Indeed. and technical preoccupations.

according to the revealed truth of the essential theology. In Orthodoxy. and this. interpret. when specifically dealing with the following pre-Nicean period. based on condemning distortions from orthodox. Consequently. a theologian cannot neglect Tradition as it is uncovered in history.” which springs from the spirit of the Church. but a negative one. but rather he impacted personally their whole beings. in Orthodox theology. Although in Part II I will return to the discussion of systematic theology as held by the Orthodox Catholic Tradition. the combination of historical and systematic methods of approach are justified. Thirdly. there are two levels of theology in Orthodox theology closely interrelated: “essential theology. in the different theological conceptions between Irenaeus and Tertullian and Clement and Origen—Origen was later regarded as a heretic.Chapter 1: History of Early Christian Church God did not merely dictate words or propositions to passive authors. have spared them from the western turmoil. the life of a particular author. the theology of this pre-Nicean period and that of the Byzantine period was not a positive one. Firstly. which concerns the explication of the spiritual life. there are four main points we should take into account before I start this analysis of the theological development of the early church in the pre-Nicean period. and secondary theology. generally. he adds. Secondly. fourthly. allowing them actively to comprehend. patristic and doctrinal interests have held their sway. and convey his will to others according to the limitations of their understanding and language. Christian truth. avoiding repeating the errors of their western colleagues’ errors. for example. Inspiration involves the entire community of faith. And. we can’t expect doctrinal homogeneity or uniformity. Orthodox theologians have strong ecclesial and doctrinal anchors. from the spiritual vision of the God-bearing Fathers. as well as their gradual gathering into a sacred collection. 116 . This is seen. Thus. It is important to note that the inspiration of the Holy Spirit embraces a far deeper and broader process than the composition of single books. the composition of particular books.

Letters/epistles continued to be an important means of Christian communication even if they were not written by Paul himself.. and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: 5 And that he was seen of Cephas. Brown explains. had a more permanent and universal mood. 7 After that. then of the twelve: 6 After that. and the Pastoral letters attributed by many to the category of “deutero-Pauline” composed in the period of 70-100. Col... how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures. Explain the Orthodox concept of theology. Phil.. By the mid-60’s death had come to him as well as to the most famous of the earlier generation—those who along with Paul had known Jesus or had seen the risen Jesus—Peter and James: 3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received. which address the problem of later Christian generation. This must have been so. and also have a more universal and permanent mood (5-6). 8 And last of all he was seen of me also. as of one born out of due time. 15:2-8) This first generation of Christians contributed to the production of more permanent works. Eph. According to many scholars. I and II. while still dealing with the problems of false teachers or counterfeit letters. but some are fallen asleep. then of all the apostles. (I Cor.Chapter 1: History of Early Christian Church Activity 1. because they were composed by Paul’s disciples and admirers who dealt with the same problems of the post-70 era by giving advise they thought faithfully to Paul’s mind. These letters. to this period also belongs epistles attributed by name to Peter. This is the case of II Thess. he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once.). James and Jude. of whom the greater part remain unto this present. 2. he was seen of James. Gal. and Rom. 4 And that he was buried.. 117 . after Paul’s death. What is the difference with the western concept? Activity 18: Orthodox theology THE LATE FIRST CENTURY: THE CENTRALITY OF CHRIST A Time Framework In the 50’s of the first century Paul produced the earliest surviving Christian documents (1 The.

offering an account of Jesus that was remarkably absent from the letters. one of the Twelve. However none of the Gospels mentions the name of an author and it is quite possible that none was written by the authors attached to them at the end of the second century: John Mark. Matthew. Ten or twenty years afterwards. addressed the problems of the Christian movement and to the interpretation of its life. Other non-epistolar writings of the post70 period are the Acts of the Apostles. and Luke. the Gospel according to Matthew and to Luke were written. which. companion of Paul. which offered a Jesus tradition different from Mark. Yet. the Gospel according to Mark was written. Yet. Notwithstanding. Matthew. logically. And between the year 90 and 100 the Gospel by John. intended to be a second part of his Gospel. which is an example of apocalyptic literature with roots in Ezekiel and Zechariah. by Luke. 118 . the Book of Revelation. companion of Paul and then of Peter. somewhere in the 60s or just after the 70’s. the canonical gospels were overall important to preserve for late-first century readers a memory of Jesus that did not perish when eyewitnesses died. Luke. All these Christian compositions—most likely written between the years 50 and 150—were placed at the same authoritative level as the Jewish Scriptures (Brown 7-10). it was colored by experiences originated from decades that separated Jesus from the Jesus tradition. these names represent the assertion that Jesus was seen in a perspective faithful to the first and second generation of witnesses and preachers. according to the common scholar perspective. one of the Twelve. included later in the canon as well as the Johannine letters. despite their coloring.Chapter 1: History of Early Christian Church Finally. and John.

God would send him to fulfill all things: 119 . and saith unto them. 21 Then said Jesus to them again. he shewed unto them his hands and his side. provide information about Christian authors and writings of the first century: • • • • • 50’s: Paul produces: 60’s 70-100 post-70 period 90-100 Activity 19: Christian writings of the first century. 33 Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted. and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost. he hath shed forth this. whereof we all are witnesses. even so send I you. which was accompanied by the gift of the Holy Spirit: 32 This Jesus hath God raised up. he breathed on them. death and resurrection.Chapter 1: History of Early Christian Church Activity For each of the following dates. Efforts of early Christians to live by the message about Jesus All these writings of the first century Christians responded to the need of the life of the churches and of a settled authoritative “apostolic tradition” to afford the basis for their self-understanding. the most important issue for the churches of this period was understanding the significance of Jesus in and through the events in his ministry. 22 And when he had said this. The Christian community became aware that it lived by the message about Jesus “as that was based on his own life and teaching and proclaimed by the witness of the leaders and founders of the earliest communities” (Walker 34). Receive ye the Holy Ghost. (John 20:20-22) The significance of Jesus’ resurrection was soon expressed in messianic categories. which ye now see and hear. when they saw the LORD. Reflection on this Christological issue started with the same perspective which had inspired the preaching and faith of the primitive community: The experience of Jesus as risen. According to Walker. Then were the disciples glad. Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me. (Acts 2:32-33) 20 And when he had so said.

ye also shall continue in the Son. (Heb. whom he raised from the dead. which delivered us from the wrath to come. and in the Father.. (Rom 6: 2-5) 120 . phrases. 15:23. Thus in early Christian theology the Christ appears no only as the bearer of the kingdom but “as the one in whom believers discover their own true identity because they share in his life and find their own lives transformed in him” (Walker 35-36): 24 Let that therefore abide in you. or sentences having to do with these two aspects of the risen Jesus and his messianic character. But the resurrection of Jesus also pointed towards the future. even Jesus. the bearer of salvation will be God’s representative on the last day. which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began. Activity 20: The Risen Jesus and his Messianic character The messianic character also lies behind the primitive use of the titles “Son of Man” and the “Lord”. 1:10) We see in these quotes how the attention is focused on the resurrection and the eschaton—Jesus. Rom. If that which ye have heard from the beginning shall remain in you. that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? 4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father. the destiny of all believers. which ye have heard from the beginning. (I Thess.Chapter 1: History of Early Christian Church 20 And he shall send Jesus Christ. 2:11) It is in the Pauline letters where we best find this sense of oneness expressed: 3 Know ye not. I Cor. 5 For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death. which before was preached unto you: 21 Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things. Activity Read Acts 13: 48. even so we also should walk in newness of life.. we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection . 1: 3-4 and copy words. (Acts 3:20-21) 10 And to wait for his Son from heaven. (I John 2: 24) 11 For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren.

Activity Read Acts 2:23. Consequently. 3:3. I Cor. 15: 3. the messianic and Adamic dimension are his from the very beginning of his story.Chapter 1: History of Early Christian Church Activity Activity Read Gal. Mark. whose origins can be also found in Paul’s 121 . is. 12:5. But Paul goes beyond his portrayal of Jesus as Messiah. phrases. therefore. made under the law. the very embodiment of God’s purposes and the one in whom they are carried out. 2:20. But this conviction gave rise to another. 4:4). I Cor. 5 To redeem them that were under the law. Activity 21: Oneness of believers with Christ Paul also sees Christ as the last Adam (1 Cor. Col. through his career. Jesus. for example. Activity 22: Christ as an Expiator In the Gospels we also see how the significance initially assigned to Jesus in the light of his resurrection is now perceived in his life and ministry as well. God sent forth his Son. and copy words. or sentences having to do with Christ as an expiator. Son of God. traces back the status of Jesus as Son of God to the very beginning of his public career—to his baptism by John. phrases. 3:25. Therefore Jesus is not only the Christ by his resurrection and his return to restore all things but as the bearer of God’s redeeming action. 17:47) in whom the identity of the new humanity is realized as the embodiment of the new humanity. Rom. made of a woman. Believers enter into his identity by means of their faith. or sentences having to do with the oneness of the believers with Christ. Rom. that we might receive the adoption of sons” (Gal. Lord and as the Second Adam to interpret not only the resurrection but also the ministry and life of Jesus as springing from God’s initiative: “ 4 But when the fullness of the time was come. 12:12 and copy words.

it appears in the letters of Ignatius.Chapter 1: History of Early Christian Church attempt to deal with those in the community of Corinth who claimed to possess a superior understanding of the mystery of God. and the life was the light of men. 5 And the light shineth in darkness. 7 The same came for a witness. whose name was John. the firstborn of every creature: 16 For by him were all things created. 9 That was the true Light. and by him all things consist (Col. and without him was not any thing made that was made.” (John 8:58). 8 He was not that Light. or powers: all things were created by him. 4 In him was life. This Christology of the incarnation became the center of Christian literature at the end of the first century and at the beginning of the second. 25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men.1: 23.25) In order to stop these converts from looking for that wisdom everywhere. and the darkness comprehended it not. and that are in earth. but was sent to bear witness of that Light. that all men through him might believe. and unto the Greeks foolishness. he identifies the crucified Jesus with God’s wisdom. He takes the meaning of these ideas quite serious and continues to develop them: 15 Who is the image of the invisible God. Christ the power of God. Paul gave answer to this early strain of Gnosticism by saying that: 23 But we preach Christ crucified. where wisdom appears as Logos. and for him: 17 And he is before all things. 3 All things were made by him. 2 The same was in the beginning with God. bodily side of Jesus is mere “appearance”) and in a document 122 . the Bishop of Antioch (Syria). and the weakness of God is stronger than men (I Cor. visible and invisible. This leads to the Christology formulated in John’s Gospel. and the Word was God. whether they be thrones. both Jews and Greeks. 24 But unto them which are called. unto the Jews a stumbling block. They thought they had a special insight into the transcendent wisdom of God. and the Word was with God. 1 In the beginning was the Word. and the wisdom of God. 1: 15-17). which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. (John 1: 1-9) This Logos pre-exists creation itself and became flesh and “dwelt among us. For example. that are in heaven. or dominions. or principalities. to bear witness of the Light. 6 There was a man sent from God. polemicizing against Docetism (the view that the fleshy.

The pattern of worship—baptism. magic and astrology. when hearing about the humble beginnings of their divine redeemer (Chadwick. they were not speaking in a vacuum. Macedonia. in your own words.Chapter 1: History of Early Christian Church called I Clement. Another thorny question concerned decisions regarding intellectual deviation from Christian doctrine that might require censure. HERESIES. 123 . Greece. Activity 23: Interpretation of Jesus by first century Christians SECOND AND THIRD CENTURY: APOSTOLIC FATHERS. They called each other brother. Yet the Christians must have amazed the Gentile world. Activity Briefly. They found themselves in world of pagan syncretism. and probably in Egypt. accustomed to myths of great heroes (Heracles or Asclepius). Once the missionaries disseminated and went beyond the Jewish ambit. the sacred meal—derived its meaning from its reference to him. summarize the interpretation of Jesus by the late first century Christians. Although it was viewed as a difficult pastoral problem. The Early Church 33). Christianity had disseminated in Asia Minor. Syria. TRADITION By the year 100. APOLOGISTS. NEW TESTAMENT CANON. The unity of the scattered Christian communities relied on two things: on a common faith and on a common way of ordering their life in worship. exclusion from the Christian community was used to control serious moral faults. Even the God of the Jews was identified with Dionysus or Saturn (since they reverenced Saturday). a letter from the Roman congregation to that of Corinth (Walker 39-40). written around the year 95. the city of Rome. they were bound together by the focus on the person of Christ.

but first confess your sins so that your sacrifice may be pure. Hermas. Let no one eat and drink of your Eucharist but those who are baptized in the name of the Lord .Chapter 1: History of Early Christian Church The Apostolic Fathers Pliny the Younger. Alexandria. but also in works by others traditionally called “the Apostolic Fathers”: Clement of Rome. the Didache. Polycarp and Ignatius. Polycarp of Smyrna. governor of Bithynia. 111113) to Emperor Trajan referring to Christianity talks about “the infection of this superstition”. the author of the Didache or Epistula Apostolorum. Ignatius of Antioch. and the author of the Epistle of Barnabas. Polycarp. Egypt or Syria. On the Lord’s own Day.e. testifying to the liveliness of the Christian movement. The Apostolic Fathers were authors of non biblical church writings of the 1st and early 2nd centuries.” as well as Hermas and Papias. 1). Papia. (Didache 7. There was also a great amount of literature which indicates this liveliness not only in works such as the Johannine letters or the Revelation to John. which means thanksgiving). These writings are very important for the history of Early Christianity. The first list of the Apostolic Fathers was made by 17th-century scholars. were venerated as Scripture before the official canon was decided. Clement and Hermas represent Rome. In the Didache. their writings are similar in style to the New Testament. Smyrna. in fact. in running water . Later. assemble in common to break bread and give thanks (i. the eucharist. In a geographical sense. and the letter of Barnabas. Some of their writings. other writers such as Papias of Hierapolis and the authors of the Epistle to Diognetus and of the Didache were also considered Apostolic Fathers. These works are important because their authors presumably knew the Apostles or their associates. Expressing pastoral concern...... it comprised Clement I. the author of the “Epistle of Barnabas. (Didache 9). baptize in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. for example. (Elwell) Table 6: Concept of Apostolic Fathers The period of time covered by this literature extends from the last two decades of the first century until the middle of the second century. 124 . Phyrigia. we find a description of the Christian Sacraments: Baptize as follows: after explaining all of these points. in an above-mentioned letter (ca. Ignatius of Antioch.

See: <www.pravoslavieto. in Hopko (2005).com>. who where the Apostolic Fathers? Activity 24: The Apostolic Fathers 29 30 Qtd. your sacrifice must not be defiled (Didache 14). 125 .29 I Clement II Clement Writings of Ignatius Epistle of Polycarp to the Philippians Martyrdom of Polycarp Didache Epistle of Barnabas Shepherd of Hermas Fragments of Papias Epistle to Diognetus Table 7: Writings of the Apostolic Fathers Illustration 21: A fragment of the Dichache30 Activity In your own words. no one quarrelling with his brother may join your assembly until they are reconciled.Chapter 1: History of Early Christian Church However.

who sent his arguments to Antoninus Pious in about 140. truest. The first of these writers was Quadratus.). but then in his own Son (54). Justin’s Martyr’ disciple. and given the name of Jesus. a Platonist. and most divine of philosophies because it was the wisdom revealed by God himself through the prophets first of all. who wrote between 169 and 180.” The idea of the divine Logos was at the center of his apologetic. They were called the Apologists—often included within the list of the Apostolic Fathers. the most prominent of the apologists. As expressed in his Apology (c. who wrote an apology to emperor Hadrian in 125. they were greatly valued by Christians because they provided the first reasonable explications of the Church tenets (54). Athenagoras.” His apology opens by arguing about the injustice and irrationality of punishing Christians for the mere reason of their names and not for proven criminal acts. but worshipped the true God. Christians were not only forced to bear witness in suffering but also to defend their faith.Chapter 1: History of Early Christian Church Apologists Between around 130 and 180 there arose a new genre of Christian literature: the apology or a speech for the defense of Christian beliefs. Justin Martyr. Walkers states that although there is no evidence of these writings greatly influencing heathen opinion. a divine Logos that “was born as a human being of a virgin. but inculcated a strict morality in accordance with Jesus’ teaching and tried to promote peace and decency (Walker 54-55). He insisted that they were not atheists. 46. already mentioned. who wrote about the middle of the century. Tatian. Justin. and was crucified and died and rose and ascended into heaven (I Apol.5). Melito of Sardis.D. 126 . and that they were not criminals. and the bishop Theophilus of Antioch. according to Walker. Others were Aristide. In the face of persecutions. 152 A. that they were not seditionist for the Kingdom of God was a human kingdom. believed that Christianity “was the oldest.

The debate was between groups which came to be called “Gnostic” and the supporters of a 31 See: <www. Gnosticism But during the lifetime of Justin Martyr. there arose a debate which had its roots in the first century. and his belief that Jesus was the concrete human presence of the universal and creative Reason of God and the very principle of the world-order. 127 . Justin’s theology. If possible. why were the Apologists’ writings greatly valued by Christians? 2. quote from his works to illustrate your points. According to Walker.. a period between 130 and 160 A.Chapter 1: History of Early Christian Church Illustration 22: Justin31 Activity 1. and in that sense marks the beginning for a ‘scientific’ theology (56)”.com>. Activity 25: Justin For Walker. complementing that of the Glossary.D. laid “the basis for an open dialogue between Christian faith and the tradition of the Gentile religious philosophy. Search the web for Justin’s life and his two main works—Dialogue with Trypho and Apology—and write a) a short biography. according to Walker.catholic-forum. and b) a brief exposition of his apologetic.

Some time before.6 Nicolatians (see Acts 6:5) John (Jesus) (Antinomianism?) Table 8: New Testament writers and their denouncement of heresies According to Chadwick. They were types of heresies that could already be grouped under the concept “Gnosticism”. or the character of redemption as well as how the language of the church’s catechesis was to be interpreted. Peter and Jude. Heresy Refuted Gnosticism? Judaizers. by the early second century. and which could pose a serious threat to the early church. Paul had already found but at Corinth and at Colossae many doctrinal tendencies he disapproved of and tried to correct. This movement. It was not a uniform phenomenon. already repudiated Gnostic thought in their writings. Hellenized Zoroastrianism. It cannot be traced back to one thought. It forced significant development not only in the Christian theological tradition but also in the institutions by which the tradition was shaped and transmitted (Walker 61). and Judaism. Chadwick places this movement between 80-150 AD.Chapter 1: History of Early Christian Church common-sense interpretation of the church’s teaching tradition. starting with the moment it broke with the early church. Gnosticism? Gnosticism (Asceticism) Gnosticism (Antinomianism) Gnosticism (Docetism) Gnosticism (Docetism) Gnosticism (Antinomianism) Denouncer Paul Paul Paul Peter John John Jude References 2 Cor.11:4 Gal 1:6-9. Some New Testament writers. John. the meaning of God. Gnosticism 128 . Some examples are below (Robert Jones). among the Gentile converts. since it is a combination of many religious thoughts. produced literature as seen in the writings of the great Gnostic teachers Basilides and Valentinus. namely Paul. Gnosticism drew from Platonism. The debate dealt with difficult and fundamental issues such as the nature of evil.2:4-6 Col 2:21-23 2 Pet 2:1-22 1 John 4:1-5 2 John 1:7-11 Jude 1:4-19 Rev 2:2. as noted.

and in their schemes of things he frequently occupied a very subordinate role. the belief that Jesus did not have a physical body.in the resurrection of the body Gnostic Idea Refuted ONE God.. but rather his apparent physical body was an illusion. In the chart below. They were out of step with the teachings of orthodox Christian faith. who existed in historical time Material things are not innately evil (see also Gen 1:31) Table 9: Response of the Church to 2nd century Gnosticism Chadwick also says that the principal idea derived by Gnosticism from Christianity was the idea of redemption. notice the Gnostic ideas that are refuted by the Creed: (Robert Jones) Apostles Creed I believe in God the Father Almighty. For example. These second century sects declared to have a special knowledge that surpassed the simple faith of the church.Chapter 1: History of Early Christian Church was eclectic and appeared to assimilate any new doctrine which seemed appealing. Many of these Gnostic sects were Christians who embraced mystical theories of the true nature of Jesus or the Christ. God made material as well as heavenly things Jesus was NOT just a spirit Christ was a real person. was crucified. The resulting Apostles Creed came out of the 2nd century church. salvation for them consisted in the liberation of the spirit. and hence his crucifixion was not bodily. that was in marked contrast to Gnostic beliefs. Their idea of redemption differed from that of Christians as they interpreted it that one is redeemed from destiny and not from the consequences of responsible action and 129 . The response of the established church to early “Christian” Gnosticism was to solidify a creed. although not all Gnostic sects considered Jesus as a redeemer. starting out as a baptismal liturgy. and when Christianity was introduced. not two.. or basic statement of beliefs. Gnostic identified in it certain aspects they found appealing. Gnostics in general also taught Docetism. which is enslaved because of its union with material things and was achieved through special knowledge or gnosis – the word the terms gnosis is derived from. maker of heaven and earth Born of the virgin Mary Suffered under Pontius Pilate. and eventually became the standard statement of Christian belief. dead and buried I believe.

the people of the spirit. paradoxically. Activity 26: Paper on Gnosticism Marcionism Gnostics also depreciated the Old Testament by contrasting the God of the Old Testament as the god of justice with the loving Father taught by Jesus. Marcion was excommunicated in 144 (Chadwick. The three classes were determined from eternity. Moreover. Marcion played a role in catalyzing the formation of the New Testament cannon.32 in whom alone was the divine spark (The Early Church 33-38) Your Own research Write a three-page paper on Gnosticism. and c) the spirituals –the Gnostics themselves. 32 130 .Chapter 1: History of Early Christian Church this redemption was bestowed on a pre-determined elect. among other things. with their destiny in the Fullness of the divine worlds (Walker 65). at least thirteen letters instead of ten. he delineates contradictions between the Old and the New Testament trying to prove that the God of the Jews was different from the God and Father of Jesus. and main doctrines. This antithesis worked well for Marcion (100-160). thus favoring the twelve companions of Jesus. from Asia Minor. The same instinct for favoring the twelve must have The Christian Gnostics of the second century recognized three classes of human persons: a) those— perhaps the pagans—caught hopelessly in the world of flesh and destined to destruction. authors. The Early Church 39). He wrote a book entitled Anthithesis in which. an expansion might include the Acts of the Apostles. the most formidable of heretics. as God’s word for the Christian people—Marcion rejected the Old Testament—to have the four Gospels instead of one and a larger portion of apostolic letters. His biased selection of a particular Christian canon favorable to his ideas influenced the church’s decision not only to maintain the Old Testament. Yet. Study its origin. b) the psychics – apparently the ordinary Christian believer—who belonged to the God of Jewish Scriptures and were destined to second class salvation.

which struggled against Marcion. Rev. There were several texts included that were not unanimously believed to have been written by such authors.. but these texts received their inclusion as they: a) possessed self-evident authority. A fourteenth letter (Heb. to ensure eye-witness authority (http://www.g.. since he made such an excision of the Scriptures as suited his own subject-matter. Even Origen went to the West. Against Heresies. Jas.D. b) were not heretical (as based on Apostolic teaching). any text unquestioningly ascribed to an Apostle of Jesus was included in the Canon. c) had been used extensively in part of the Church for some time. who adapted the principles of the heresy called “Gnostic” to the peculiar character of his own school…” (Irenaeus. By the year 397 A. in the decades just before and after A.. Chapter 11) “Marcion expressly and openly used the knife.. Book 1. Jude. II and III John. Basically. Prescription Against Heretics) Table 10: Response of Early Church Fathers on heresy Activity Why was Marcion important for the formation of the New Testament canon? Activity 27: Marcion and New Testament canon The New Testament. Mark and the Gospel of Mark) was included.D. councils from Churches had agreed on the 27 books now forming the New Testament. Both the Greek East and the Latin West agreed on the canon of 27 books. and d) were written within a relatively short period after Jesus’ death.” (Tertullian. 200. arose out of a need for authoritative teaching on God and Jesus Christ.Chapter 1: History of Early Christian Church been the rationale for including I Pet and I John. and any text unquestioningly ascribed to a disciple of an Apostle (e. The remaining seven works (Heb.net/ntc).) was also accepted by this time. which constitutes the total apostolic witness for the Church. and arrived at this decision based on the authority of the texts themselves. Table 11: The Formation of the New Testament canon Your Own Research Now read “The Formation of the New Testament” by Stephen Voorwinde – Professor 131 .1way2god. to Rome. not the pen. “…Valentinus. to learn about the biblical views of the church where Peter and Paul had been martyred (Brown 14-15).. and II Pet) were not commonly accepted until the late 4th century. this common ground and agreement also meant the possibility of increasing communion between them.

authority. look for similar ones in the Web Activity 28: Formation of the New Testament Montanism Marcion’s teaching as well as the contemporary polemic about the fusion of Christian faith with Gnosticism joined and led to a crisis of self-understanding in the churches. Walkers says that there were questions: 132 . Tertullian. Montanism spread through Asia Minor. New Testament canon A survey of the literature clearly reveals that. a crisis which worsened by a third movement—the New Prophecy—which rose and spread during the last decades of the second century. a Christian writer.pastornet. Within a decade. a Christian convert also from Asia Minor. after its founder. Along with his followers he represented a revival of the apocalyptic spirit and announced the forthcoming end of the world. was converted to it. Montanus. in the opening decades of the second century. He was not attracted by its apocalypticism but by its seriousness and moral rigor (Walker 69-70).au/rtc/canon.Chapter 1: History of Early Christian Church of New Testament—in http://www. Around the year 170. The Early Church 40).htm and make a summary of these points: • The New Testament Canon before 140 • The New Testament Canon between 140 and 220 • The Third and Fourth Centuries (220-400) • Theological Reflection If you cannot find this article. Syria and Antioch and was known in Rome and the West by the end of a decade. The main effect of Montanism on the Catholic church was that of reinforcing the conviction that revelation had come to an end with the apostolic age (Chadwick. This movement was called “Montanism”. Credal-confessional tradition. Christianity underwent a period of conflict and debate.net. he began to proclaim that he was a prophet who taught a new prophecy.

It was a process during which it defined its moral and doctrinal teachings as well as issues concerning ecclesiology. In this way. There existed other indices of unity and continuity with the apostles. monogamy. Yet. This common agreement is clear from the regularity with which early Christian writings are attributed to one of the Twelve or to all of them like the Didache. Thus. prayer. almsgiving. in fact they complimented each other. As far as the latter is concerned what is probably most remarkable was that the church established and acknowledged itself as a distinctive institution. certain disciplines. about the framework of beliefs and values within which the proclamation of “Jesus and the resurrection” was to be understood. moreover. about the order of communities and the style of life which Christians were called upon to lead (43). there was agreement regarding the belief that the church’s teaching and practice had to be consistent with its origins in the work of Christ and of the first generation of his disciples. seeing itself as the definite embodiment of its catholic. and aspects of a particular lifestyle to be followed that would include things such as fasting. and charity (Walker 44).Chapter 1: History of Early Christian Church • • • about the meaning and value of the church’s Scriptures. nor Montanism was sufficiently attractive to draw many Christians towards them. a Christianity that consists of and is based upon the articulation of the credalconfessional tradition and the emerging New Testament canon. This self-understanding of the Church defined itself as apostolic Christianity. neither Gnosticism. apostolic tradition. it provided the church with the necessary 133 . such as baptism. The controversies in the middle and late second century compelled the church to make decisions. which at this time were the traditional scriptures of Judaism. There was no conflict between these two “rules of faith”. at the end of the second century. because the credal tradition simply summarized the basic and obvious truths of the prophetic and apostolic scriptures. Marcionism. the celebration of the Lord’s supper.

Chapter 1: History of Early Christian Church key for the interpretation of the more obscure parts of the scriptures. a term used by Irenaeus and Tertullian to mean a short summary of the main revelatory events of the redemptive process. As this theologian says. 3) The rule of faith. and is never used in the liturgy of Byzantium (The Byzantine Legacy 32). The teaching given by bishops of Rome or Antioch were the same as that of the Apostles.” This rule. In content it was similar to the formulas used in the questions put to candidates for baptism and is simply the credal pattern based on the New Testament. This Synod endorsed the so-called “longer” canon. when he realized that members of the church of Corinth church were deposing their leaders. According to Meyendorff. the lifegiving sacraments could not be administered. Chadwick states. even John of Damascus thought Wisdom and Ecclesiasticus as “admirable”. in Rome. which included the apocrypha—Old Testament books preserved in Aramaic and in Greek. What was and must be the only and true interpretation of the Old and New Testament? This question could also be phrased in other ways. in the East. Additionally. 2) The gradual formation of the New Testament canon. authority was the central issue. the Book of Revelation was generally omitted from the canon. comes down from the apostles. Yet several earlier Fathers were in favor of the “shorter” or Hebrew canon. those of the sacred order in direct lineage and in valid succession from the apostles. taught now by bishops. the basic difficulty raised by Marcion or Valentinus was to know on what authoritative ground or normative standard these and other heterodox doctrines could be refuted. which ruled out gnosticizing and other heretical exegesis (Walker 73-74). Thus. Clement. supported the idea. the definition of canon of the Scripture did not receive its final form before the Synod of Trullo (692). (The Early Church 45) 134 . but did not include them in the canon. for example: Who at present and it future occupy the learned chairs of the apostles and who could give clear guidance to bewildered believers? Where could one find reliable evidence concerning the teachings of the apostles? Chadwick delineates three weapons of orthodox defense: 1) Ignatius of Antioch insisted upon the local bishop as the focus of unity—without him. In this train of thought.

These writings were sanctioned by the Christian community because of their parallelism with that Tradition it possessed since the day of Pentecost. and will come to judge the living and the dead?” “I believe. as Walker comments.” the “rule of faith. Irenaeus of Lyon. who was crucified under Pontius Pilate and died. Besides. and the Holy Church.” Irenaeus. (Walker 73) Table 12: Credal-confessional Tradition As Papadakis asserts.Chapter 1: History of Early Christian Church It was called the “rule of truth. in the practice of the Roman church in the last decades of the second century. it was said: “Do you believe in God the Father Almighty? “I believe” “ Do you believe in Jesus Christ the Son of God. Scripture in Orthodoxy has always been interpreted within this context of Tradition since it alone. and the resurrection of the flesh? “I believe. and “kerigma”. says that Tradition is “the preaching of the truth handed down by the Church in the whole world to Her children”. and sat down at the right hand of the Father.” “tradition”.” In the third century. The rule was a syllabus of catechetical instruction in which neophytes learned the meaning of the church’s baptismal faith. and rose the third day living from the dead. in Proof of the Apostolic Preaching.” “ecclessiastical rule. the most significant event in the history of Christianity during this period was its transformation into a religion of two Testaments. and ascended into heaven. These terms referred to a pattern and content of teaching. This event occurred once the Church saw the need for and made the decision to collect all the writings of apostolic origin or inspiration into a canon. who was born of Holy spirit and the Virgin Mary. Bishop of Lyon. Consequently. the Church lived for decades solely by this tradition. this creed was not formulated as questions to be answered but as direct declarations of faith. As and illustration. thought that the apostles had “perfect knowledge” but 135 . “as the Church’s very memory can disclose its authentic message. like many other thinkers involved in anti-Gnostic polemic.” “Do you believe in the Holy spirit. in several churches. and which was nothing less than the bestowal of the Spirit in the midst of the community of believers. Before the contents of the New Testament were determined.

which was in consonance with the plain testimony of the apostolic Scriptures. the churches were strengthened as they bound themselves to their first century roots by the three-fold cord of creed. the teaching of apostolic succession in the Church. by this institutional definition of the sources of their life and teaching. as Walker concludes. Thus. on the one hand. As Kelly asserts. in other words knowing exactly which writings belong to the holy scripture of the Church and which do not. whose teachings and practice is identical to each other and to that of the apostles of Jesus. when the church of Smyrna sent its report of Polycarp’s martyrdom not only to the church at Philomelium. It is precisely those things. This public tradition was the authentic teaching. the firm establishment by the Church of the biblical can. Through the struggles of the second century. through the succession of the Holy Tradition of the Church in the consecration of bishops. And as he faces death. but to all the communities composing “the holy and Catholic Church”. and official teaching office. they initiated a new phase in the history of the Christian movement –differentiating themselves from their past in the very act of appropriating it. this sense of unity of the second century. of belonging to an apostolic tradition is illustrated at the death of Polycarp. in Early Christian Doctrines. the bishops. Polycarp himself prays “for the entire Catholic church 136 . from generation to generation and from place to place.Chapter 1: History of Early Christian Church they were also convinced that the church’s official teachers. This decision was based on the genuine apostolic testimony contained in the writings. as successors of the apostles. (“Second Century: Persecution and Faith”) and. scripture. were entrusted to that which was received from Christ. At the same time. on the other. (75) For Hopko the result of the apologist’s struggle to defend the true faith was. and their use in the Church at liturgical gatherings. the doctrine that the genuine faith and life of Christianity is passed over from church to church. and ‘these things’ were embodied in the credal-confessional tradition of churches. received from Christ. Bishops had the responsibility and privilege of keeping this very truth—the message of the Gospel. which was passed on in this apostolic succession.

2) The distinction between Scripture and the Church’s living tradition as coordinate channels of this apostolic testimony was clearly appreciated. For both of them. But He entrusted this revelation to his apostles. Irenaeus was not 137 . this position was already pointed out. For Kelly all this implied a distinctive ecclesiology. and only through them this knowledge could be obtained (36-37). Christ was the ultimate source of Christian doctrine. for example by Ignatius. this was made possible. that the Apostolic. the Word by Whom the Father had been revealed. These fathers envisioned the empirical. the church’s doctrinal norms underwent a certain adjustment. Catholic Church is the true church. According to Kelly. although still far from being explicitly formulated. Yet. As Kelly adds. There are other testimonies of this. with some minor differences of emphasis. the apostolic testimony in the minds of Christians came to represent the supreme authority. Tradition and Scripture In the last decades of the second century and the initial years of the third. While the Old Testament did not decrease in its prestige as an agent of revelation. The third century would see major advances in ecclesiology. by: 1) The recognition of the New Testament as fully canonical and to rank alongside the Old as inspired Scripture. Thus we find the suggestion. as was shown when I dealt with the struggle between Catholicism and the Gnostic texts. Justin. and enhanced importance began to be attached to the latter (Early Christian Doctrines 35).Chapter 1: History of Early Christian Church throughout the world”. being the truth. in the writings of Irenaeus and Tertullian. the theology of the Church (180-191). Hermas. all the Christian communities in spite of being scattered had a deeper sense of being part of a universal church. visible society and they still had little inkling concerning the later distinction between a visible and invisible church. “Barnabas”. in the latter half of the second century. According to Kelly. as distinct from heretical communities.

(Early Christian Doctrines 41) The supreme doctrinal authority remained the original revelation given by Christ and communicated to the Church by his apostles. at the heart of Tertullian theology we find the ideas of the purity and holiness of the church. In his confrontation with Gnostics and Marcionites. Explain the following concepts: • credal-confessional tradition • authority • apostolic succession • the church as a “visible society. could talk of “the root and source of the dominical tradition” or of “the fountain-head and source of the divine tradition” (Early Christian Doctrines 42). the Father through his Son and Spirit. in the strict sense of the word. according to Kelly: 1) With the passing of Gnostic menace. 2) As a result of developments in the Church’s institutional life the basis of tradition became broader and more explicit.” • relation Tradition-Scripture Activity 29: Review of Second Century Christianity 138 . This salvific history is the work of the one God. This was the divine or apostolic “tradition”. the hesitation sometimes evinced by Irenaeus and Tertullian. classic position with two main differences. It was in reference to this that Cyprian. The Church lives by the revelation of God (Walker 77-80). What was the result of the Church’s orthodox defense against the heretical sects? 3. revealed in concrete authenticity of its life and teaching. Why was second-century Christianity a movement beset by conflict and debate? 2.Chapter 1: History of Early Christian Church only a preserver and an interpreter of tradition. By the Third and the Fourth Centuries the attitude to Scripture and tradition which had been emerging in the previous decades became the accepted. about appealing directly to Scripture disappeared. but a creative thinker. In addition. he caught sight of a vision: that of the unity of human nature and of the continuity of salvation history. Activity 1.

and during the third century it attracted believers from many regions of the empire. This church also gave shelter to Christians who had suffered under the ravages of barbarian invasions during the crisis of the third century. Since Rome was at the principal crossroads of the empire. 43 acolytes. Marcion from Pontus. from its common purse. This church—which had spread to many places in Italy—had important revenues for almsgiving. This is seen in the fact that by 251. 7 deacons. and 52 exorcists. In addition. and carried some weight in other churches as well. under the persecution of Decius. The narrator of I Clement. from Phrygia. it was supporting not only the bishop. his word affected. readers and doorkeepers. The New Prophecy. Justin Martyr came from Asia Minor. Everything that happened anywhere in the church was of concern to the Roman church. for Rome’s problems frequently had 139 . when a Roman bishop acted to settle a conflict. in 250. but also more than 1500 widows and needed individuals.Chapter 1: History of Early Christian Church The Church of Rome The Roman church was of ever-increasing importance—we have to remember that both Peter and Paul had died there. it became the center of the Christian movement. The Early Church 57-58). Also. when addressing the Corinth community spoke with certain authority. Valentinus from Alexandria. and it took on an even more prominent position and an even greater influence on the Christian Church in the second and early third century. 46 presbyters. Walker says that this community was probably the result of the conversion of a large body of Hellenized Jews in the earliest mission of the Jerusalem Church. The Roman community had already spoken with a weighty voice by the end of the first century. soon arrived at Rome and had supporters there. the Roman Church gave refuge to a number of bishops (Chadwick. 7 subdeacons.

Bishop of Rome (189-198). as Jesus had exhorted them to do. Yet the ministry of the Apostles was itinerant. in contrast to the mobile authority of the apostles.Chapter 1: History of Early Christian Church their origins in other sectors of the Christian world. that Peter presided over the Church of Jerusalem and that he was followed by James. EARLY ADMINISTRATIVE STRUCTURE The formation of an administrative structure was crucial for the early Christian church. Walker and Chadwick agree that during the first century there was 140 . On Sundays for the eucharistic meal. as mentioned above. and sacramental. the Gnostic crisis might have forced this situation of a single man as the focus of unity (The Early Church 49). administrative. Once they founded a community. leaving the administration of the new founded church in the hands of others who serve as leaders and preside over the Eucharist and Baptism. there developed a local hierarchy whose functions were stationary. before the estrangement with the eastern Church the Roman church would be respected as orthodox. It is quite certain. the presiding officer of each community was the bishop (episkopos). they would leave for another mission. which showed that Rome acquired authority beyond its own locality and immediate sphere (Walker 77). Consequently. who was aided by a group of elders (presbuteroi) or presbyters and deacons (diakonoi). the quarrel about the proper date for the celebration of Easter between Rome and the community of Asia Minor was settled by Victor. Activity 30: The Church of Rome 5. As an illustration. This was a moment in which the bishop rose to a position of superiority over his colleagues. Activity List the characteristics of the early Church of Rome. not stationary. For Chadwick. During the next centuries.

Originally. Papadakis believes that the Last Supper—the first liturgy—could not have taken place without the presiding presence of the Lord. while the presbyters are to function as the council of the apostles. sometimes a threefold ministry of bishops. The assistant status of the latter is evident since the earliest form of ordination. there is a local “monarchical” episcopate. (Epistle to Magnesians. there appear to be the beginnings of the idea of “apostolic succession” or “succession from apostles. I Clement or Didache). This development was not unusual. It is for this reason that. Chap. to partake of one Eucharist. Pauline letters. but an order in its own right. at the very center of the Orthodox sacramental life and ecclesiology. good works) of Jesus Christ.e. Saint Ignatius of Antioch around the end of the first century also referred to this pattern of ministry in his epistles: I exhort you to strive to do all things in harmony with God: the bishop is to preside in the place of God. (Epistle to Philadelphians. just as there is one bishop assisted by the presbytery and the deacons. having a twofold ministry of elders or bishops and deacons. with the permanent diaconate have its own ministries.” In this work. 4) 141 . and the deacons. and deacons became clearer and were institutionalized. and deacons. a presiding head of sacramental and eucharistic fellowships of the Church was taken from granted. presbyters. Walker asserts that with the establishment of such a pattern of ministry. who are most dear to me. Consequently. elders. Sometimes they were joined together as one group. Progressively. as it is evident in I Clement. for one is the Flesh of our Lord Jesus Christ. are entrusted with the ministry (i. the authority of elder-bishops and deacons is made mainly dependent on the fact that there offices were established by the apostles themselves.Chapter 1: History of Early Christian Church ambivalence towards the use of elders or presbyters in the Christian literature (Acts of Apostles. the diaconate was not a probationary order for the presbiterate. 6) Take care. my fellow servants. and one altar. Chap. the threefold pattern of bishops. and one the cup to unite us with His Blood.. then.

Thus. Notwithstanding. And at every local celebration of the Eucharist it is the whole Christ who is present. that based its authority mainly on its apostolic succession.Chapter 1: History of Early Christian Church Where the bishop appears. 142 . was not widespread until the beginning of the second century. (Hopko. Chadwick. the Orthodox Church preserves. understood to be the ekklesia. sacramental life. Cyprian of Carthage (d. This idea is developed in the writings of another martyr bishop. the church was not organized above the level of the poli (Papadakis. during the controversies caused by Gnosticism. which represents the idea of the Roman church. What really matters is the inner. the second century bears witness to the formation of a body of ministry. who saw all bishops as sharing in the one episcopate. the fundamental doctrines of the Church—the Church of the Seven Councils as Ware calls it—were proclaimed in the seven ecumenical councils. in addition to its emphasis on the local community. receiving His Body and Blood in the sacrament. Thus there are many episcopi but only one episcopate. “Second Century: Persecution and Faith”) Though this idea. 258). not just part of Him. which only realizes its true nature when it celebrates the Supper of the Lord. just as where Jesus Christ is. According to Ware. Nevertheless. Chap. Walker 45-50. many churches and one Church This one episcopate is the one that assembles together in a council to discuss the common problems of the Church. even if churches frequently exchanged ideas and admonitions. as Ignatius wrote in 107. at that moment. an eucharistic structure. there is the catholic Church (Epistle to Smyrneans. 8). Therefore. gathered locally as a community around a bishop. For the Orthodox church the outward organization is secondary. This “episcopate” is a single whole as the Church is a single whole. the writings of Fathers such as Basil. the Orthodox church gives importance to the wider unity of the church. The Early Church 41-53) as it would be in subsequent centuries. there let the people be. Yet.

never-ending spiritual and theological source for the contemporary Orthodox Church (Ware 13-15). therefore. Having reviewed the history of the first Christians. or Gregory of Nyssa still are an inexhaustible. a gift from the Holy Spirit. Furthermore. Irenaeus and Cyprian to see the Orthodox perspective of the episcopate. It also presupposes the identity and. substituted Jesus’ preaching of the kingdom. Chrysostom. Cyril. But I believe that Jesus’ teaching about man’s highest moral and spiritual ideals and his noble hope for the eternal life has been solidly kept in Tradition. Gregory of Nazianzius. In Orthodox ecclesiology. which presupposes the inseparable unity between each bishop and his community. for example. a living faith. this local community.Chapter 1: History of Early Christian Church Athanasius. Paul. in these first three hundred years. transformed the gospel through his own theological views and personal experience on the Damascus road. Meyendorff says that we need to approach the theological content—the tradition—found in the writings of such fathers as Ignatius. Activity Summarize this section entitled “Early Administrative Structure” in one paragraph of 10-12 sentences. the equality of bishops. something which would provoke frictions in the Byzantine Empire between Rome and Constantinople. a dynamic force which maintains the faith community sublimely linked to Jesus’ genuine teaching. centered around the Eucharist and manifesting the reality of the Kingdom of God has remained consistent with the tradition of the abovementioned fathers (The Byzantine Legacy 237). we might think that the story about Jesus had already. Activity 31: Early Administrative Structure 143 .

Chapter 1: History of Early Christian Church Final Activity Having read this first chapter and done all its activities. b) body or development. Follow the following diagram: a) introductory or topic paragraph. and c) concluding paragraph. Add your own reflection. write a five-page paper incorporating its main ideas. Activity 32: Final activity on Early Christianity 144 .

In this chapter we are going to study the Byzantine Empire from Constantine’s decision to legalize the Christian Church in 313 until the fall of Constantinople to the Ottoman Turks forces in 1453. the Church and the Empire started a very close and mutually beneficial relationship. The Church received 145 . Constantinople has been the unquestionably center of Christian Orthodoxy in the East. From Emperor Constantine onward. closely connected during the one-thousand year period it lasted. let us start the study of Byzantium in its both areas of State and Church. that authenticity which today makes our Orthodoxy Orthodox. For Meyendorff. the Orthodox Church very often looked back to its roots in the early Christian community. Meyendorff explains. as I will explain. from Alexandria and Antioch. During this period. after the schism between East and West. and.Chapter 2: Byzantine Church History Chapter 2 BYZANTINE CHURCH HISTORY (313-1453 AD) INTRODUCTION Having seen the development of the Early Christian community during the first three centuries after Christ. For our contemporary Orthodox Church. Christian Byzantium is the inevitable historical link with the original apostolic community. it was liturgy that played a central part in maintaining that identity of the Church (The Byzantine Legacy 117). Other Christian traditions. to which it was linked. (The Byzantine Legacy 116) This theologian points out the sixth century because it was a moment in which Constantinople eventually built up its eclectic theological and liturgical tradition. which produced rich fruits of holiness. to assert and defend its faith. it acquired primacy in Orthodoxy as a whole. trying to preserve and synthesize elements. Eastern and western. These were de facto historical developments which make it impossible for us to think of Orthodox continuity and consistency in history without referring to Byzantium. but—at least in the Orthodox view—Byzantium maintained that doctrinal integrity. Since the sixth century. have also a great wealth of Christian culture.

which lasted 1100 years. The Byzantine Empire had to be constantly on guard against the neighboring Persians. and missionary activity such as evangelization of the Slavs by Saints Cyril and Methodius flourished. In the second half of the fourth century B. Alexander’s generals carved up his conquests into powerful kingdoms that valued their Greek heritage. Nevertheless. Among the greatest heresies was Arianism. founded in 753 B. the teachings of Christianity were developed by the “Fathers” of the church.C.C. serious schisms took place in the years 431 and 451.. The fourth through the tenth centuries represented a significant period for the Church’s internal development: the authoritative content of the New Testament was defined. Yet. After his death. and Barbarians. we should keep in mind that 146 . It is during this period of paramount importance to the history of the Church that the city’s bishop assumed the title of “ecumenical patriarch” (Papadakis). The Church itself frequently underwent many grave schisms and heresies. the period was full of struggle. The Byzantine Empire was founded when the capital of the Roman Empire was transferred from Rome to Constantinople in 324.. which taught that Christ was not truly God. great pastors and theologians.Chapter 2: Byzantine Church History imperial support and was truly a leaven of the society of which it was a part.C. when have talked about the fall of the Roman Empire. Muslims.C. a non-Christian Roman state. King Philip II of Macedon (382-336 B. As an illustration. The thousand-year period the Byzantine Empire lasted corresponds to the longest one in the history of the Church.C. it plagued the Church and brought great confusion to the Empire for nearly a century. Although this heresy was condemned at the Council of Nicea in 325. the worship services attained a formal framework. By the first century B. these nations had engrossed the empire of ancient Rome.) and his son Alexander the Great (356-323 B.) had dominated Byzantium as they had built an empire reaching from Greece to India. when Rome was sacked by Alaric in 410.

Subsequent Roman emperors considered the West not as “lost” but as temporarily outside their direct imperial authority.33 But not only is this context important. resources (agriculture and industry)—set limits or facilitated political programs of different emperors and “determined the ability of East Roman state to respond to its enemies. organize its administration and recruit. continued for another 1100 years. Boojamra. or Hussey have been incorporated into the discussion. and to provide a cultural. such as “A Brief History Of Byzantium. Haldon explains. communications. 3. that the physical world of later Rome and Medieval Byzantium—geography. or Byzantium.com. Middle Byzantine Period (843-1261).” “A Short Byzantine History. social. Ware.Chapter 2: Byzantine Church History in fact only the western area of that empire succumbed to the Germanic invaders. 1. deal with its neighbors.” “A Brief Summary of Byzantine History. A History. 2. Nicol. climate.” or a website such as answer. Activity What are we studying in this second chapter? How long did the western part of Roman Empire last? How long did the eastern part or Byzantine Empire last? Where does Christian Byzantium have its roots? Which three periods of Byzantium are we going to discuss? Activity 33: Preliminary activities on Chapter 2 33 The broad historical framework of this discussion in the three periods delineated here has been adapted from general articles on the topics. in Byzantium. peoples and languages. The Christianized eastern part of the Roman Empire. 147 . 5. Meyendorff. move and support its armies” (74). 4. For clarity. and Late Byzantine Period (1262?-1454). The opinions of well known historian and/or theologians such as Haldon. I will follow a common division of Byzantine history: Early Byzantine period (324-842). and historical context for the discussion on the features of the Eastern Christian Church. available on the Internet. as it came to be called.

although there is some dispute about the depth of his faith. each supported by a junior “Caesar”. the Early Byzantine period. built new walls and undertook expensive building programs. Constantine decided to moved his capital eastwards (Haldon 16). This tetrarchy worked well until Diocletian’s resignation in 305. COUNCILS AND LOCAL HERESIES THE ‘FIRST GOLDEN AGE’ OF BYZANTIUM (324-730) The first golden age of the empire. For the first time a Christian emperor had ascended the throne. Political and Cultural Aspects Constantine the Great A crucial figure in its earliest years was the first Christian Roman emperor. For Constantine this victory was a result of his appeal to the God of the Christians. who during his reign (324-337). it had been decided to divide the empire’s military command into four regional groupings. established toleration of the Christian faith granting freedom of worship throughout the Roman Empire through the Edict of Milan. on the site of the Greek city of Byzantium. a tetrarchy or rule of four. Diocletian and Maximian. issued by him. As already mentioned. He recognized that the empire could not longer be effectively controlled from Rome (Haldon 16). consisting of two senior Augusti. along with his fellow Emperor Licinius in 313—there was a tetrarchic system in that moment34—. I will first briefly describe the political and cultural aspects of the First Golden Age of Byzantium. THE EARLY BYZANTINE PERIOD (324-842): THE FORMATIVE PERIOD OF THE CHURCH. and. 148 . According to Ware. Christianity replaced paganism as the official religion of the culturally and religiously diverse state in the late 300s. Recognizing that such as vast territory could not be effectively controlled from Rome. Struggles among the members of the tetrarchy started to seize the power until Constantine defeated and deposed Licinius (324). extended from the founding of the new capital in 324 when Constantine became the ruler of the entire Roman Empire.Chapter 2: Byzantine Church History 1. Constantine (274?-337). the reasons for this move were in part economic and 34 Given the size of the empire and the difficulties of communicating between Rome and the armies on the frontiers. with him the last of the Augusti remaining. then focus on the religious aspects. and legally transferred his capital from Rome to Constantinople. Constantine expanded the city. The empire remained united until the end of the century. in the west.

the persecutions of Christians and the beginning of the Church’s formative stage. paradoxically. but also religious: the Old Rome was too deeply stained with pagan associations to form the center of the Christian Empire which he had in mind (19). but also the threshold of a new civilization—the Christian Empire of medieval Byzantium—as well as the creation of the incomparable center of Orthodox Christianity. It was also under him that all church property which had been confiscated during the persecutions of Diocletian and Maximian. Haldon says that: With the toleration of Christianity and its positive promotion under Constantine at the expense of many of the established non-Christian cults. in the course of time. In the New Rome. The empire continued to be ruled by Roman law and political institutions. to dominate East Roman society and to vie with the state for authority in many aspects of civil law and justice. the church began to evolve into a powerful social and political force which was. The Church was now established. within fifty years of Constantine’s death. yet the population. now Christian. the fourth century not only marks the end of the age of the martyrs. Paganism was suppressed. 330 is often treated as a convenient starting point for referring to the Roman Empire in the East (the “Byzantine Empire” or “Byzantium”). Yet. students studied the 149 . things were to be different: after the solemn inauguration of the city in 330. were restored. carried this policy of christianization through to its conclusion: by his legislation he made Christianity not simply the most highly favored but the only recognized religion of the Empire. (17) Constantine also inaugurated a series of important reforms within both the military and civil establishments of the empire. Eventually Theodosius I (379-395). was not baptized until shortly before he died. At school.Chapter 2: Byzantine Church History political. Constantine himself. also spoke Greek. with the elite communicating officially in Latin. he ruled that no pagan rites should ever be performed at Constantinople. Table 13: Constantinople becomes the Roman capital Thus. known as the great Christian emperor. The Church of the Catacombs became the Church of the Empire.

philosophy.Chapter 2: Byzantine Church History ancient Greek classics of literature. besides the foundation of Byzantium and the Edict of Milan. art. imperial armies could respond more rapidly to crises. the strategic location of the city enabled merchants there to grow rich through their control over the trade routes between Europe and the East and the shipping lanes connecting the Black and Mediterranean Seas. and as it was closer to the dangerous frontiers of the empire than Rome. nonetheless looked favorably upon the intellectual tradition of classical scholarship.goarch. which developed its own literature and philosophy. his Mother35 One of the advantages of Constantine’s new capital was that it was on an easily fortified peninsula. medicine. 35 See: <www. Illustration 23: Emperor Constantine I and Helen. They were centers of market-exchange and of regional agricultural activity (Haldon 95).org>. Cities occupied a central role in the social and economic structure as well as in the administrative machinery of the Roman Empire. science. namely the Council of Nicea. Furthermore. The church. 150 . and rhetoric. As we will see. there was another event that is of the utmost importance for the Church’s coming of age during Constantine’s reign.

therefore. and fourteen palaces. This infusion helped the art of the Early Byzantine period to remain close to its Greco-Roman heritage in its naturalism and classical subject matter. four law courts. Constantine built on his new capital a university. Though important in some places. He imported staggering quantities of the best Greco-Roman art from throughout the empire. fourteen churches. eight public and fifty-three private baths. from a Christian point of view. Table 14: Constantine as a saint in the Orthodox Church Accordingly. fifty-two covered walkways. Illustration 24: Constantinople.Chapter 2: Byzantine Church History The emperor Constantine is celebrated as a saint in the Orthodox Church.history.ox. industry and commerce only played a minor role in the economic life of the people of Byzantium (Haldon 67). His great merit. was in legalizing Christianity.uk/byzstud/>. two theaters. cereals were the dominant crop. the Roman Empire had an agrarian economy. Bread was the basic food and. although not the western Church. the essential element for the existence of towns and the basis for taxation. Moreover.ac. the “New Rome”36 36 See: <http://www. 151 . It was the chief support of life.

Chapter 2: Byzantine Church History Activity Answer the following questions: 1. was recognized as senior and ruled the West. what was the effect on society of the toleration of Christianity? 5. and Illyricum). etc) and Persians. 152 . Constantine II. Alamanni. Theodosius I (379-395) in 388 became the sole ruler. Which two languages were spoken in early Byzantium? Activity 34: Byzantium and Constantine Constantine’s Successors Although the tetrarchy was never revived. Why was the foundation of Byzantium important for the Christian Church? What was decreed in the Edict of Milan? What important step did Theodosius I took? 2. his two sons Arcadius (395-408). and Honorious. Italy. defeating Constantine and Magnetius—Constant had already been deposed in 350 following popular discontent among both population and the army—ruled the empire until his death in 361. What important reforms inaugurated Constantine? 4. Franks. At his death. was unpopular for trying to revive paganism. his three sons inherited his position. Yet. As minors they were greatly influenced by the chief military and other officers at court. a competent general and efficient administrator. in the East. While being occupied with fighting wars against barbarians (Goths. and other struggles to obtain power. Nevertheless. According to Haldon. what were the reasons behind the construction of the Second Rome. in the West. According to Ware. the western part of the empire began to fall apart. the Eldest. His successor Julian (361-363). Constantius (337-361) ruled in the East. as Byzantium was called? 3. and Constant. upon Constantine’s death in 337. ruled jointly. he was the last emperor to hold this position. Although during his reign Orthodoxy triumphed over Arianism violent religious controversy became chronic. the youngest the central provinces (Africa. Yet eventually Constantius. Saxons.

the Ostrogoths. although technically allies or federates of the Roman Empire. once during the chaos of the Fourth Crusade (1204) and. In conjunction with Constantinople’s naturally strong location. Table 15: Construction of Constantinople triple wall (413) 153 . the reigning emperor). Italy. finally. During this period there arose the heresies of Nestorianism and Monophysitism and the political parties of Blues and Greens to divide the Byzantines. as a capital city.. and the Visigoths. rendered any attempt to take the city fruitless. to a tribe of barbarians in 410 marks the irrevocable decline of the Roman Empire in the West. They will fall to an attacking army only twice. to counter an immediate threat from the Huns. after the western Empire fell (476) to Odoacer.. and Spain were theoretically united under Zeno (474-491) but were actually dominated by. to the Ottoman Turks. respectively. When the last western emperor was deposed in 476. but effectively independent. Haldon says that the eastern half of the empire survived for a variety of reasons: a healthier economy.. Thus. more diversified patterns of urban and rural relationship and market and a more solid tax-based . the Empire’s Prefect of the East. the walls were actually built on the orders of Anthemius.Chapter 2: Byzantine Church History The Fall of the Roman Empire in the West Although Rome. By the 430’s whole provinces were under barbarian rule. the Theodosian walls will prove their worth against any number of attacks upon Constantinople through Byzantine history. (18) Although commonly known as the “Theodosian Walls” after Theodosius II (408-450). but they had little real standing. while Africa was under the rule of the Vandals. who breach them in 1453 with the help of artillery and overwhelming numbers. Gaul. had long ceased to have any real significance in practical terms. Western Roman Emperors continued to be appointed for the next sixty years. Germanic principalities were created in the western half of the Empire and Italy was occupied by barbarian troops. In addition eastern diplomacy encouraged barbarian leaders to look westward while the walls of Constantinople .. as commented. its fall. the Franks.

Anastasius I. who married the influential Theodora.Chapter 2: Byzantine Church History Activity Answer the following questions: 1. and Spain? 4. Gaul. the reigns of Arcadius. he was succeeded without opposition by his nephew Justinian (527 to 565). Zeno. Upon Justin’s death. Leo II. 37 154 . why did the eastern part of the empire survive? 5. When did the western empire fall? What was the relationship of barbariandominated regions with the declining Roman Empire? 3. Theodosius II.net. Under his rule. Byzantine power grew. Which three heresies arose in this period? Activity 35: Constantine’s successors Justinian I.seashell. Who became the sole ruler. What Roman emperor theoretically ruled Italy. Here is a map of Earlier Byzantium: Illustration 25: Map of Earlier Byzantium (565)37 All the maps depicting the geographical possessions of Byzantium come from “Explore Byzantium.nz>. after Constantine? Why? 2. and Justin I—a period of more than one hundred years and a half (395537)—were marked by the invasions of barbarian tribes including the Avars. in 527. He greatly expanded the eastern empire reigning over most of the lands surrounding the Mediterranean Sea. Marcian. the Slavs. Leo I.” <http://byzantium. the Builder of Hagia Sophia In the East. but also of Persians. the Bulgars. According to Haldon.

This was mainly due to a dreadful outbreak of bubonic plague. the Italian peninsula. Add the periods during which they reigned. When he recovers he finds that his Empire’s financial and military strength has been gravely damaged by the plague. which was built in just five years (532537). and North Africa.” Justinian We will find more about this church in Part III. 38 155 . Justinian himself falls gravely ill with the disease. when talking about the development of the Orthodox church building. It was doubtless the largest and most splendid religious building in all of Christendom. for surely there is no such splendor or beauty anywhere upon earth.Chapter 2: Byzantine Church History This map depicts the Empire at the death of Justinian I. The territorial gains. reported: “We knew not whether we were in heaven or on earth. his greatest monument was the magnificent domed church of Hagia Sophia (Holy Wisdom).38 According to The Russian Primary Chronicle. Hundreds of thousands die across the Persian and Byzantine Empires. who visited it in 987. masked an overall weakening of the Empire’s position. which swept the Mediterranean basin in the 540s. the envoys of the Kievan prince Vladimir. Activity 36: List of Byzantine emperors until Justinian Justinian was an ambitious builder. Through a series of hardfought and destructive wars against Goth and Vandal successor states in the former territory of the Western Roman Empire. Table 16: Bubonic plague’s first appearance in the Mediterranean (541-544) Activity Read Appendix C and make a list of the Byzantine emperors from Constantine I to Justinian. Hagia Sophia became the center of religious life in the Eastern Orthodox world. and severe climatic conditions which had a negative impact upon the Empire’s agricultural base. Justinian had re-extended the Empire’s boundaries to southern Spain. though impressive.

)39 The reign of Justinian was to be a turning point in the evolution of Eastern Rome —Byzantium—and. Illustration 27: Emperor Justinian I (527-565) and attendants40 39 40 See: <www.net>. 156 . in many ways. In addition.Chapter 2: Byzantine Church History also codified Roman law. Illustration 26: Hagia Sofia (537 A.edu/philolog/2006/01/>. a great revival of Hellenism took place in literature.D. and Byzantine art and architecture entered their most glorious period. See: <http://traumwerk.stanford.byzantines. it marks the beginnings of a medieval Easter Roman World (Haldon 20).

upon the death in 565 of Justinian. lack of ready cash and internal discontent over high taxation and constant demands for soldiers and the necessities to support them (26). 157 . the empire was vastly expanded yet perilously overstretched. Illustration 28: Map of the Byzantine Empire (668 A. What were Justinian’s achievements? 2.D. It was a traumatic period for Byzantium as shown by the following map dated 668 A. What was the result of the Bubonic plague and of severe climatic conditions on the re.nz>.)41 The Empire’s borders to the north. According to Haldon. were placed under pressure in the late 6th Century. along the Alps and the River Danube.extended Byzantine Empire? 3. both financially and militarily.Chapter 2: Byzantine Church History Activity Answer the following questions: 1.seashell. How long did Justinian I take to build Hagia Sophia? Why did it become so important for Orthodoxy? Activity 37: Justinian I’s Reign Justinian I’s Successors: More Invasions Much was lost again under his successors.net.D. During the next century his successor had to cope with the reality of dealing with new enemies. and finally breached by a succession of 41 See: <http://byzantium.

cultivated by emperors and monks alike. was pushed to extremes of subtlety. Furthermore. which was saved by the emperor Heraclius (610-641) and Constantine IV (668-685) respectively. Macedonia. outwardly symbolized by the adoption of the Greek title Basileus by the emperors. the 7th century was marked by increasing Hellenization of the empire. 158 . disaffected soldiers.Chapter 2: Byzantine Church History barbarian invasions from Lombards. For a number of reasons. still debated—religious and political alienation of local populations. Meanwhile in the east a catastrophic. which conquered most of Italy. though ultimately victorious struggle with the Persian Empire had been surmounted by the sudden eruption of Islam from the Arabian Peninsula. Palestine and Syria by the 640’s. poor discipline. Theology. To this we need to add the defeat of the Roman forces by the Bulgars by the end of the seventh century. the church. Constantinople also suffered attacked from the Persians and Avars. failure of strategic oversight—the Byzantine government was unable to prevent the loss to the Muslims of Egypt. became increasingly important in public affairs. Avars. Heraclius’s attempt to reconcile Monophysitism and Orthodoxy merely led to the new heresy of Monotheletism. under the patriarch of Constantinople. For Haldon Byzantium’s failures were due to a combination of apathy. economic and military exhaustion. Culturally. Literature and art became chiefly religious. and inadequate defenses (29-31). or Hierosyne. and Slavs.

Greece proper. they proclaimed what the Church 42 43 See maps of both regions in Appendix D. When did it begin? How did it develop? 3. which are known by the names of the cities in which they were convened. The Councils did not create new doctrines.e. Read Appendix C and then: Make a list of the Byzantine emperors from Justinian I to Theodosius III(add the periods they reigned). the Greek isles. all of them occurring during the Early Byzantine period. Macedonia. what characterizes the seventh century? Activity 38: List of Byzantine emperors after Justinian Over the centuries. but in a particular place and time.. Epirus.Chapter 2: Byzantine Church History Activity 1. Let us now look at them in more detail. See Glossary for a definition of the main heresies and their proponents as well as the Fathers of the Church involved in the defense of Orthodoxy. The fundamental doctrines of the Church were proclaimed and defended by the Seven Ecumenical—or “world-wide”—Councils. 2. See the above two maps –the one on Early Byzantium and the other dated 668 AD–and discuss their differences. Thrace. These Synods. included bishops from throughout the world. The last Ecumenical Council was summoned upon to solve the problems the iconoclastic controversy had created and it will be explained when dealing with this controversy. 159 . but its core remained the Balkan Peninsula (i. and Illyria) and Asia Minor (present-day Turkey) until it collapsed to the Ottoman forces. the eastern part of Byzantium varied greatly. Culturally speaking. Explain the Persian war.42 Religious Aspects Heresies43 and the First Six Ecumenical Councils (325-681) In the historical outline I briefly mentioned the problems of heresies assaulting the state in the early period of the Byzantine Empire. who came to affirm the authentic teachings on the Incarnation and the Holy Trinity.

787 Indeed. Imperial summoning and approval gave them authority in the empire. 680 7º) Council of Nicea II. Hieria (753). Sophia” (879-880) and the councils of 1341. held in Constantinople. or His manhood was so divided from His Godhead that He became two persons instead of one (Nestorianism). 160 . were rejected by the Church.” There were several other councils—Ephesus II (44). but for the church they represented a necessary. Florence (1438-1439)—which. 381 3º) Council of Ephesus. The Byzantine Legacy 32). 431 4º) Council of Chalcedon. Monothelitism) (9-10). He adds that each Council defended this affirmation. 1347 and 1351. though not ecumenical were highly authoritative (Meyendorff. 451 Table 17: Dates of the First Seven Ecumenical Councils 5º) Council of Constantinople II. or He was not presented as truly man (Monophysitism. the first seven centuries of the Byzantium Empire were plagued by heresies. Ware summarizes the different theological positions of some heresies regarding the affirmation “Christ must be fully God and fully man”: “Each heresy in turn undermined some part of this vital affirmation. 553 6º) Council of Constantinople III. essential consensus or “reception. 325 2º) Council of Constantinople I. the magisterium of the Church is not limited by Scripture alone but has its most authoritative expression in these ecumenical councils.Chapter 2: Byzantine Church History always believed and taught in defense of unorthodox or heterodox doctrines. The conciliar and collegial expression of Church life and authority which was manifest at the Ecumenical Councils and other synods of the early Church continue to be an important aspect of Orthodox Christianity (Fitzgerald). Other councils. even though receiving imperial sanction. In the Orthodox tradition. 1º) Council of Nicea I. namely the Photian “Great Council of St. Either Christ was made less than God (Arianism).

Their decisions remained binding for the whole church and their non-acceptance exclusion. In your own words. For contemporary Orthodox Christians. or the three Cappadocian Fathers. follow Ware’s example and explain the difference theological 161 . the reception of this doctrine was due to the great theologians or Fathers of this age such as the saint Athanasius. and his younger brother. concentrated upon the earlier part (that Christ must be fully God) and formulated the doctrine of the Trinity. specifically the formulation of the Christian doctrine. Why is the magisterium manifested in these councils important for the Orthodox Church? 4. sixth. Saints Gregory of Nazanzius (329390?)—known in the Orthodox Church as Gregory the Theologian—Basil the Great (330?-379). (10) The theological discussions and doctrinal formulations of the seven general councils. they embody a permanent standard for the Orthodox Church’s understanding of the Trinity. have been of prime importance for Orthodoxy. in defense of the Holy Icons. the heresies these ecumenical councils had to face. The next four. and seventh centuries. Yet. List the seven councils naming their place and the year they took place. the best loved in the Orthodox Church and the one whose books are still read— Cyril (died 444). Chrysostom (334?-407)—perhaps of all the Fathers. the writings of these Fathers still comprise a permanent spiritual and theological source. during the fifth. turned to the second part (the fullness of Christ’s manhood) and also sought to explain how manhood and Godhead could be united in a single person. seems at first to stand somewhat apart. Activity 1.Chapter 2: Byzantine Church History The first two. as we will see. held in the fourth century. and stand as the permanent authoritative paradigm against which all later speculative theology is seen. Who summoned these councils? 2. As Papadakis asserts. the person of Christ and the incarnation. from the body of the Church. but like the first six it was ultimately concerned with the Incarnation and with man’s salvation. and some of the doctrinal formulations they decried in a more details. Let us have a look at the emperors involved in the councils. Did the council create new doctrines? 3. Gregory of Nyssa (died 394). The seventh Council.

When Contants died in 350 the Nicenes were persecuted. The problem was aggravated by the fact that Constantine himself began eventually to favor the Arian position. postulated that Jesus Christ (“the Son”) was inferior to God (“the Father”). the heresy continued to exist and gained many adherents over the next two centuries. including Constantine’s successor. in the West. the Christian church was a valued political partner in his efforts to stabilize the empire and to consolidate his own power. supported the Nicean position. In 381 the ecumenical Council of Constantinople reaffirmed the Nicean position (Haldon 21). Athanasius of Alexandria developed the full implications of the key word in the Nicene Creed: homoousios. who after his father’s death in 337. behind the definitions of councils lay the works of theologians. Arius. Constantius. after Constantius death. a theological formulation which included the statement that the Son and Father are of the same substance and therefore equal. and Monophysitism/Monothelitism regarding the affirmation: “Christ must be fully God and fully man. a heresy about the Trinity and the status of Christ. approved it in the eastern part on the empire.Chapter 2: Byzantine Church History positions of Arianism.” 5. In 362. who had become the sole ruler. Thus it was essential for him that the church remained united. who gave precision to the terms the Councils employed. why are the theological discussions and doctrinal formulations of the seven councils are on prime importance for the Orthodox Church? Activity 39: About the seven councils Arianism For Constantine. the Council of Alexandria restored Orthodoxy. Nestorianism. Constant. one 162 . According to Papadakis. Finally. As Ware asserts. but he was compelled to attend to a major split within the church due to the appearance of Arianism. Yet. presbyter of the Church district of Baucalis in Alexandria. Discord and disagreement were a threat to his political plans. trained in Greek philosophy. While in contrast. the Council countered Arianism with the Nicene Creed. although the Council apparently solved the problem of Arianism.

a monk of Antioch. but proceeded to secede. and the Roman Pope Celestine condemned Nestorius. but operated in conjunction. The Nestorians developed a theology in which the divine and human aspects of Christ were seen not as unified in a single person. Son. consubstantial. of teaching two persons in Christ. human and divine. unfairly. They kept a delicate balance between the threeness and the oneness in God and gave full significance to the classic summary of Trinitarian doctrine. and thus two distinct sons. the Nestorians were accused. while Athanasius stressed the unity of God—Father and Son are one in essence (ousia)—the Cappadocians emphasized God’s threeness— Father. God and Man. The work of the three Cappadocian Fathers complemented his work. Ware adds that the Church had never before possessed four theologians of such stature within a single generation (10). Nestorianism was condemned in the Council of Ephesus (431). 163 . and Holy Spirit are three persons (hypostaseis). the emperor summoned the third ecumenical council after Cyril. formally establishing a separate Church—the Assyrian Orthodox Church. After a demonstration in the city. three persons in one essence. So. appointed in 428 bishop of Constantinople by Theodosius II.Chapter 2: Byzantine Church History in essence or substance. appealed to Rome. still existing today and known as the Church of the East (21). bishop of Alexandria (Alexandria certainly resented the rise to power of Constantinople and the increasingly decisive part which the imperial capital took in ecclesiastical as well as secular affairs). Nestorius supported the idea that Mary could not be referred to as the Theotokos (the God-Bearer). According to Haldon. to avoid attributing the Divinity with too human a nature. which took its name from Nestorius. Nestorianism There was a further Christological split in the early fifth century in the form of Nestorianism. but as the Christotokos (the Christ-bearer).

Patriarch of Alexandria (d. Monophysitism became established in the rural populations. In Egypt and Syria in particular. perhaps more than any other. The Emperor Zeno (474-91) issued a decree of unity trying to resolve the division. and Justinian I. the divine and the human. but one person or hypostasis. Justin I was “Chalcedonian”. the description of Monophysite (from mono. and was regarded by some as having a pro-Nestorian bias in its treatment of the two natures of Christ.Chapter 2: Byzantine Church History Monophysitism Yet. yet the ecumenical council of Chalcedon in 451. the debate it started contributed. the more extreme version was that the divine was prior to and dominated the human element. to the evolution of the Monophysite movement. This movement dealt with the ways in which the divine and the human were combined in the person of Christ. redefined the traditional creed of Nicea to make the Christological position clear. Although it was the practice of the Byzantine Emperor to participate in ecclesiastical affairs. the followers of Cyril. This definition that Christ had two natures offended the Alexandrians and. 444). There were two schools. Justinian (527-65). A minor council at Ephesus in 449 decreed in favor of the Monophysite position. particularly. in the seventh century. interpreted his 164 . and led to persecutions. swung between the two (Haldon 22). Anastasius supported a Monophysite position. the Monophysites (Hussey 7). It represented a reaction to some of the Nestorian views. causing some further theological problems (Haldon 22). Its supporters were regarded as dyophysites or Chalcedonians in contrast to those who stressed a single nature. “nature”). At court. “single” and physis. policies regarding this movement varied. hence. This council had stated that Christ had two natures. although Nestorianim was condemned. causing a much more significant split within Christianity.

the Son of God. and thus quieting the dissenting voices of Monophysites and Nestorians. was crucified and buried. a majority of the Chalcedonians interpreted Cyril’s word “nature” as the equivalent of “hypostasis” or “person”. yet. He tried to find solutions to current doctrinal controversy which would be acceptable to Rome and the West. Justinian supported by his Patriarch and by the Fifth general council (Constantinople II. there were also strict dyophysites. In this council a censure of Origenism was also confirmed. This question of the nature of the hypostatic union with its soteriological implications was faced in the sixth century. a minority. 399). the Alexandrians supported Cyril of Alexandria’s formula. It concerns certain heretical views on the creation and the nature of man deriving from Origen (d. a view that would deny the unity of the two natures forming one person. 553) explored and made explicit the intentions of Chalcedon in making it clear that the human Christ and the eternal Logos had a single hypostatic identity. 165 . in Egypt and Syria the Monophysite views predominated. At the same time certain teachings of the Nestorians were condemned. Origenism was already condemned in a previous synod.Chapter 2: Byzantine Church History imperial mandate as including theological as well as the administrative problems of the Church. “one nature incarnate of God the Word”. As said. c. 254) and Evagrius of Pontus (d. which were current in monastic circles. However. Thus theopaschism was acceptable in the sense that one of the Trinity. thus preserving the unity of the Persons in whom there were two natures each retaining its own special properties or characteristics. which could not accept the implications of Cyril’s teaching maintaining that the human Christ and not the Logos suffered on the cross.

This compromise might be possible by the incorporation of some formula acceptable to the Monophysites. Schism and the Sixth Council 44 See: <http://traumwerk. and therefore gained Monophysite support (Hussey 7-8). 166 . in the following century. for example—made a compromise with Monophysites necessary. This was not merely a religious matter but also political as the territories with predominantly Monophysite populations had been lost to the Persians (Haldon 27-28). The Chalcedon position emphasized that there was a single person in two natures. once again their differences with the Chalcedonians came to surface. But it was not clear whether it was possible to believe in two natures with a single activity and a single will.Chapter 2: Byzantine Church History Illustration 29: Council of Ephesus.edu/philolog/2006/01/>. The disaffection brought about by the persecution of the Monophysites in particular on the part of Constantinople—under Justin II. 43144 The strenuous efforts of Justinian and the Fifth general council did not win over the Monophysites and. This question was vital to the controversy because to agree on one energeia—Monoenergism—or one will— Monotheletism—would have supported one of the principal Monophysite objections to the Chalcedonian definition.stanford. Monoenergism.

Instead he declared the doctrine of Monothelitism. Byzantine emperor Heraclius (610-641) attempted to solve the schism created by the Monophysites and Chalcedonians.” The definition of the term “will” was left deliberately vague. These include: Lombard invaders in Italy. Monoenergism was accepted by the Patriarchs of Constantinople. and Monophysites who cannot accept those of Chalcedon (15). Thus. The Arians had been gradually reconciled and created no lasting schism. and the Nestorians who had 167 . But to this day there exist Nestorian Christians who cannot accept the decisions of Ephesus. and suggested the compromise of Monoenergism. The question about the human and divine natures of Christ arose in the seventh century against a particularly disturbed background. The lack of support from the Pope led Heraclius to abandon the belief in 638.Chapter 2: Byzantine Church History Ware explains that Ephesus and Chalcedon were a rock of Orthodoxy. though this did not solve the schism either. It seemed that the very existence of the Empire was being threatened. but they were also a terrible rock of offense. and even a failed plan of the Persians with Avar aid in 626 to capture Constantinople. in the 7th century. The Empire was then facing a serious and prolonged crisis. whereby a single energy was postulated in which both divine and human aspects were unified. as well as by the Armenians. the Avars and Slavs in the northern frontier. combined with the Monophysite view that Christ had one “will. the Persians in the Asian. though not by the Patriarch of Jerusalem or Pope Honorius I. Syrian. and Egyptian parts of the Empire with considerable success and the loss of Jerusalem and the Holy Cross (614). and Alexandria. This compromise adopted the Chalcedonian belief that Christ had two natures. Unfortunately there were now two main bodies of Christian dissidents: the Monophysites whose strength lay in Egypt and Syria. Antioch. It was therefore essential to encourage the traditional imperial policy of unity within the polity.

The difference of the natures is recognized in one and the same hypostasis because each nature wills and works what is proper to it in communion with the other. those who had supported the heretical doctrine of the single activity and the single will of Jesus Christ were anathematized. Contantine II. This reaffirmed the Chalcedonian doctrine of 451. and signed by the Emperor and those present. and Jerusalem). we state that he has two natures shining forth in his one hypostasis.Chapter 2: Byzantine Church History established their non-Chalcedonian Church on Persian territory. The Persians favored these separatists (Hussey 8). Paul or George) and Popes (John IV. That is. is one of the Trinity. he made manifest his sufferings and miracles. Thus the re-establishment of orthodoxy and the rejection of monenergism— 168 . and Agatho). Alexandria. approved. Theodore. Constans II. the Sixth general Council of Constantinople III by the Emperor Constantine IV with the attendance of delegates from the Pope and the four Patriarchs (Constantinople. Thus we proclaim two natural wills and two natural activities working together for the salvation of the human race. and Constantine IV) as well as Patriarchs (Sergius. After lengthy discussions. Martin I. The council attempted to bring about reconciliation between the western Church in Rome and the Orthodox Church in Constantinople. In 680. the council rejected monotheletism and monenergism and their proponents—the majority of the Monophysite regions of the Byzantine Empire—was now controlled by the Islamic Empire. believing that after his incarnation our Lord Jesus Christ. In this. and were received and accepted by Pope Conon in Rome (who before he became Pope had taken part in the council as a papal legate). The minutes of the sessions of this Sixth general council were read. Antioch. The council decreed that Jesus Christ both had a divine and human will that matched his two natures. Pyrrhus. throughout the whole course of his incarnate life. our true God. was called. This statement summarized the Christological belief: Completely preserving that which is without confusion or division we briefly state the whole. not simply in appearance but in reality. Several emperors participated in this Christological controversy (namely Heraclius.

Pelagianism was a largely western heresy begun by Pelagius. It was condemned as was Pelagianism at the Council of Ephesus in 431. these were local heresies with no long term results. It taught that each person had a personal demon to be exorcized by constant prayer. One of them was the Donatist movement mainly in North Africa. As Haldon says. they were not reconciled to the main body of Christendom and continued to build up their separate Churches. a Syrian monastic heresy with a crude and materialistic view of God. a British monk. like the Nestorians.Chapter 2: Byzantine Church History Christ had a single will—and monotheletism had brought Constantinople and Rome together again. which spread from Mesopotamia to Syria. 169 . during the later fourth century. The attempt to meet a compromise with the Monophysites had failed. which claimed that the consecration of bishops of Carthage was improper. but the emperor’s involvement cemented the association between the interests of the church and those of the imperial government (22). It lasted until the seventh century. Another was Messialianism. and. Other Heretical Movements But there were other heretical movements that affected the Church and in which the emperors were involved as well. mainly in what were by now Muslimdominated territories (Hussey 9-14).

Similarly. there were no precise standards defined regarding the relationship among them. 1. What was finally agreed in the sixth ecumenical council? 7. Who were the dyophysites or Chaledonians? How did Justinian try to solve this theological problem? 5. It was the custom to give greater honor to the metropolitan or bishop of the capital city (metropolis). with no ecclesiastical legislation backing it (Papadakis). there was. But this had been a development by common consensus. 6. List other heretical movements. 3. Modeled after the organization of the Roman Empire. even before the fourth century. search the web if you need more information. Define monoenergism and explain the schism it caused. Activity 40: Heresies from the fourth to the seventh century The Pentarchy But these ecumenical councils were significant for other reasons. and Antioch. 170 . presbyter. Define Monophysitism. following the importance of certain metropolis in the Roman administration. 4. and deacon was a fact in many churches by the post-apostolic. Each one of them had its own independent hierarchical unit and was a self-governing unit. especial precedence was granted to the presiding bishops of the three largest cities in the Empire: Rome.Chapter 2: Byzantine Church History Activity For these series of activities also see the Glossary. Likewise. Alexandria. Define Arianism and the following concepts: homoousios hypostaseis 2. The threefold ministerial structure of bishop. Who were the three Cappadocian Fathers? Find them in the Glossary and briefly write about them. yet. Define Nestorianism. a “power structure”—as Papadakis defines it— about the way in which churches were to be grouped in provinces.

and the Pope did not formally recognize Constantinople’s claim to second place until the Lateran Council (1215). This was accomplished in the Second Ecumenical Council (Constantinople. One can understand why Rome changed its mind about the position of Constantinople as defined by the 3rd Canon if we remember that at that time Constantinople was in the hands of the Crusaders and under the rule of a Latin Patriarch. At that moment. and Antioch.” This second canon was resented by both Rome and Alexandria. Ware says that Old Rome pondered where the claims of New Rome would end: might not Constantinople before long claim first place? Hence Rome decided to ignore the offending Canon. The Fathers of the First Ecumenical Council (Nicea. 325) recognized the status of three great centers—Rome. was not mentioned and continued to be the Metropolitan of Heraclea. not being officially inaugurated as the new capital until five years later.Chapter 2: Byzantine Church History As Ware asserts. This Canon 3. Also. due to its central importance to the entire movement of Christian history. which up to that date had occupied the first place in the East. was also offending to Alexandria. Alexandria. because Constantinople is the New Rome. a rearrangement of the existing pattern was necessary. Canon 3 of this Council states: “The Bishop of Constantinople shall have the prerogative of honor after the Bishop of Rome. Being the capital of the Empire. Constantinople. 381). Ware continues. in which for a time the victory 171 . the next place in honor after these three. was given by them. With the emergence of Constantinople as the “New Rome”. the see of Jerusalem. this problem was eventually addressed by the ecumenical councils. The next seventy years witnessed a sharp conflict between Constantinople and Alexandria. Constantinople was assigned a second place after Rome and above Alexandria. while it still remained subject to the Metropolitan of Caesarea.

Only two years later. but this meeting. Constantinople. which as the ancient center and largest city of the empire was given the primacy of honor. Saint Cyril of Alexandria. A second major success was won by Alexandria by the nephew and successor of Theophilus. strongly opposed Monophysitism and Alexandria defeated not only theologically but also in its claim to rule supreme in the east. All five claimed apostolic foundation and moreover. It was felt that the Alexandrian party had this time gone too far. and a settled order of precedence was established among them: in order of rank. the Council freed Jerusalem from the jurisdiction of Caesarea granting it the fifth place among the great sees. Antioch. Canon 28 of Chalcedon confirmed Canon 3 of Constantinople and New Rome was assigned the place next in honor after Old Rome. The first major Alexandrian success was at the Synod of the Oak. as commented. Alexandria won another victory at a second Council held in Ephesus in 449. many Orthodox theologians believe that not only 172 . the Emperor summoned the council of Chalcedon. who brought about the fall of another Bishop of Constantinople. Alexandria. Nestorius. and Jerusalem. for some. Additionally. in 451. when Theophilus of Alexandria secured the deposition and exile of the Bishop of Constantinople. at the third General Council. unlike the one that preceded it of 431. Dioscorus of Alexandria—Cyril’s successor—maintained that in Christ there was not only a unity of personality but a single nature—or Monophysitism—thus denying. Thus. regarded by the Church of Byzantium and the west as the Fourth General Council. the integrity of Christ’s humanity. whereby five great sees in the Church were held in particular honor. the system later known among Orthodox as the Pentarchy (or system of five Sees. patriarchates) was now complete. The Council. held in Ephesus (431).Chapter 2: Byzantine Church History went to the latter. by the fifth century. Rome (the patriarch there later calling himself “the pope”). was not accepted by the Church at large. Saint John Chrysostom.

The Orthodox Church views the Pope as the bishop “who presides in love”. all are divinely appointed teachers of the faith. nor does it deprive each local community of the importance which Ignatius assigned to it.. All bishops share equally in the apostolic succession. Eventually as the Slavs of Bulgaria. it is not enough for the Patriarchs to express their opinion: every diocesan bishop has the right to attend a General Council. as we have seen. As Ware clarifies that “primacy” is not “supremacy”. it does not accept the doctrine of Papal authority decried by the Vatican Council of 1870. and Jerusalem. with the exception of the Armenians and the Christians in communities that still existed in imperial lands lost to Islam. and 173 . the primacy of Rome did not entail universal jurisdiction over the others. the patriarch of Constantinople. all have the same sacramental powers. The first four were the most important cities in the Roman Empire. became the leader of most eastern Christians. and to cast his vote. to speak. the Rus’.. was understandably added because it was the place where Christ had suffered on the Cross and risen from the dead. has been to turn this primacy or ‘presidency of love’ into a supremacy of external power and jurisdiction” (13). Jerusalem. However. However. If a dispute about doctrine arises. the origin of the system of patriarchs and metropolitans was only ecclesiastical... this does not mean that Orthodoxy denies the Bishop of Rome primacy of honor—the first among equals.Chapter 2: Byzantine Church History the bishop of Rome but all bishops are successors of Peter. and thus. (12-13) Thus for the Orthodox Church. The system of the Pentarchy does not impair the essential equality of all bishops. Antioch. the fifth. however humble or exalted the city over which each presides.. Ware asserts that . to adapt a phrase of Saint Ignatius: “Rome’s mistake . all the bishops are essentially equal. When Islamic conquests of the seventh century absorbed Alexandria. The bishop in each of these cities received the title “patriarch. and had no divine origin or mandate.” Each of the five patriarchs was totally sovereign within his sphere of jurisdiction (Ware 10-12. None of them possessed any authority by divine right. from the perspective of divine right. Papadakis) From the Orthodox perspective.

D. By 780 the situation along Byzantium’s eastern frontier had stabilized. but the Isaurian emperors Leo III (717-741) and Constantine V (741-775). based upon the administrative and military structures put in place during its long battle for survival. Byzantium showed its tenacity and ability to adapt and survive under severe pressure from East. Did any of the five patriarchates have sovereign or supremacy over the others? Activity 41: The Pentarchy END OF EARLY BYZANTINE PERIOD (730-843) Political and Cultural Aspects Under Justinian II (685-695) and his successors the empire was again menaced by Arabs and Bulgars. Let us look at a map of the Byzantine Empire depicting it in 780 A. the emperors who precipitated the grave issue of iconoclasm. the patriarch of Constantinople also became their spiritual head. tax-base. Activity 1. However reduced in territorial extent. in terms of agricultural production. also were the emperors who stopped the Arab advance and recovered Asia Minor. Byzantium was now transformed from an empire of late antiquity spread along the Mediterranean into a relatively compact medieval state with its most important lands. and military manpower. 2. 174 . in Asia Minor. however. Neither make a summary— nor more than three or four paragraphs — of the events that led to the system called among Orthodox as the Pentarchy.Chapter 2: Byzantine Church History the Serbs were converted to the Orthodox religion in the tenth century. and the Empire’s “dark age” was coming to a close. West and North. He remained. under the authority of the emperor. The next two and a half centuries would witness an amazing recovery in the Empire’s fortunes.

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Illustration 30: Map of the Byzantine Empire in 780 AD

45

Haldon explains that in spite of errors of the seventh century, the disastrous Roman defeats, and the loss of Syria, Palestine, Mesopotamia and Egypt in the forties along with the defeat by the Bulgars, at the end of the seventh century, during the first half of the eighth century Byzantium “saw the reassertion of imperial military strength, the stabilization of the frontiers along the Taurus and Anti-Taurus range, and the consolidation of the new fiscal and military administrative arrangements which had evolved out of the crisis of the 640’s and, after, generally referred to collectively as the theme system (31). Furthermore, in the final years of his reign Leo issued a brief codification of Roman law, based on a combination of Justinianic law and strongly Old Testament moral-oriented, which reflected the ideological perceptions and assumptions of the times. Nevertheless, under Leo we witness an increasing alienation between Rome and Constantinople not only over ecclesiastical jurisdiction and imperial taxation but also over a violent debate caused by the imperial adoption of iconoclastic policy regarding devotional images (30-32). The onset of this debate will devastate much of the empire
45

See: <http://byzantium.seashell.net.nz>.

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for more than a hundred years and meant the end of the Early Byzantine period –and the first golden age of Byzantium. The victory of iconoclasm would have altered the course of Byzantine religious art, one of the most enduring legacies of the empire. Religious Aspects

The Iconoclastic Controversy46
According to Hussey, the position of Constantinople in Christendom was for a time weakened by its eighth and early ninth-century crisis due to the iconoclastic crisis, in one sense a continuation of the Christological problem regarding the character of Christ’s human nature and the true meaning of Christ redemption. This problem did not cease after the council of 681, but was extended in a different shape into the eighth and ninth centuries. It was a struggle between the iconoclasts who were suspicious of any religious art representing humans being of God demanding its destruction and the iconodule or venerators of icons which defended the place of them in the life of the church (18). The Byzantine Church’s unique devotion of icon was nourished by monasticism. Icons (in Greek eikon or image) were brought out for special occasions, carried in processions, and were even used to protect cities in wartime. They were bowed to, prayed to, sung to, and kissed; they were honored with candles, oil lamps, incense, precious-metal covers, and public processions. An icon could be a panel painted with a sacred subject intended for veneration, it could also be an image on a mosaic, enamel, an ivory carving, or a sculpture. What was essential was that the icon’s imitation of the holy figure allowed the image to share in the essence and holiness of the actual figure being depicted. The worshiper, by venerating the likeness, honored the sainted figure through the window of the icon. The Greco-Roman tradition of having painted panels of
Haldon times the iconoclastic controversy between 728 and 843, yet he agrees on the year 730 as the date of the first formal iconoclastic edict (38). Hussey marks the time span of the iconoclastic controversy between 726 and 843 (18).
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the gods placed in homes with candles lit in front of them may have inspired the development of icons. Icons with Christian subjects were first used privately and then, gradually, entered the church. Most likely, due to their pagan roots and because they seemingly violated the second of the Ten Commandments, which forbade the making of idols, some parts of the Byzantine society rejected icons. This eventually led to the Iconoclastic controversy. Most scholars agree that there were two main phases in this controversy. The first one—also considered a pre-iconoclastic phase—started in 726, with Leo III’s attack on icons, which was followed by Constantine V, Leo’s son, and ended in 780, when Empress Irene stopped the persecution and summoned the seventh ecumenical council. The second one started in 815 with a new attack on icons, now by Leo V, and continued until 843 with the final reestablishment of icons at the time of another empress, Theodora (Hussey 18; Ware 15). During the first period, the chief champion of the icons was John of Damascus (675-749), and during the second Saint Theodore of Studium (759-826). John of Damascus worked more freely because he dwelt in Araboccupied Palestine, out of reach of the Byzantine government. He was from Damascus and had entered a Jerusalem monastery. Ware says that “it was not the last time that Islam acted unintentionally as the protector of Orthodoxy (15).”

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Illustration 31: John of Damascus47

As Meyendorff relates, in the seventh century, the Islamic wave swept the Ancient Christian and Byzantine provinces of Palestine, Syria, Egypt and North Africa, stopping at the very gates of Constantinople, although these regions had already lost their ties with the imperial Orthodox Church, Monophysitism as we saw, being the main reason. Yet, although of little influence in the universal church, some minorities in Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem headed by their patriarch remained Orthodox. Nonetheless, Meyendorff comments, during the long centuries of Islamic occupation, their main problem would be one of survival, for which they required the receipt of cultural, psychological and material help from Constantinople (The Byzantine Legacy 22). Let us analyze the iconoclast crisis in greater detail by studying the two main periods delineated above, by adding a little bit of background to obtain a better grasp of this long and complex period of Byzantine history. Background to the Eighth-Century Crisis Hussey also explains that the dispute in the Eastern Church over the use of holy icons, the pictures of Christ, the Mother of God, and the Saints, which were kept and
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venerated both in churches and in private homes, had deep roots. The early Church had abstained visual representation of Christ because, as commented above, the second commandment (Ex. 20:4) forbade graven images, thereby trying to avoid idolatry associated with the pagan world, and both Old and New Testaments emphasized that true worship should not be concerned with material sacrifices but should be in spirit and in truth. As an illustration of the attempt to refrain from using ‘graven images’ and realistic depictions, in the catacombs Jesus Christ was portrayed by means of symbols. However, by the fourth century there were special material objects, such as the Cross and other holy relics, which were being widely venerated, as recorded by Gregory of Nyssa. By the early fifth century, S. Augustin had noticed that the worship of religious images was being practiced in the Church. Yet, this practice already had an early opponent in Epiphanius of Salamis (d. 403) in Cyprus whose works were later cited by the iconoclasts. The late sixth and seventh centuries saw a marked increase in the use of images, which now were interpreted as performing miracles, and were worshipped, prayed to, set up as objects of devotion in private houses and workshops, as well as being used on public and official occasions. The image was considered to be so closely connected with its prototype as to possess supernatural (some would say magical) efficacy (Hussey 18). Hussey states that the growing cult of the icon in the late sixth and seventh centuries and the reasons for its origins and beginnings and its deep roots in the life of the Orthodox Church was a consequence of the need of individual Christians and communities of Christians for additional security in the face of so many external forces in the empire that caused great distress in national, social and daily life. For the Byzantines, holy icons in their way of thinking could offer protection against all sorts of enemies. There was no doubt in their minds that, for example an icon of St Demetrius of

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Thessalonica, a martyr from the second century, or of the Mother of God, had aided in the various sieges of Constantinople (19).

Illustration 32: Demetrius of Thessalonica48

God, who gave you invincible power and with care kept your city invulnerable, royally clothed the Church in purple with the streams of your blood, for you are her strength, O Demetrios. Table 18: Kontakion (Second Tone)

But the meaning and the function of the icon were much greater than these thoughts, as it was considered that it could bring the beholder into contact with God and even lead the Christian through the various hierarchical stages, e.g. of angels, to the Deity Himself . Then, in reverse, there was the relation of the icon, not to the beholder, but to its prototype. Because man was created in the image of God through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, he had in him something such as a spark of God. Thus, the portrait depicting a saint in particular reflected it, and of course to a much greater extent is this spark contained in a depiction of Christ, who, since he was not merely virtually real, but became a visible man and creature, could be portrayed in a tangible created form. By the late seventh century Christian apologetic on this theme had

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reached the point of regarding it as a tenet of Orthodox teaching, as stated at The Council in Trullo (691-2), in its 82nd Rule (Hussey 19): Certain holy icons have the image of a lamb, at which is pointing the finger of the Forerunner. This lamb is taken as the image of grace, representing the True Lamb, Christ our God, Whom the law foreshadowed. Thus accepting with love the ancient images and shadows as prefigurations and symbols of truth transmitted to the Church, we prefer grace and truth, receiving it as the fulfillment of the law. Thus, in order to make plain this fulfillment for all eyes to see, if only by means of pictures, we ordain that from henceforth icons should represent, instead of the lamb of old, the human image of the Lamb, Who has taken upon Himself the sins of the world, Christ our God, so that through this we may perceive the height of the abasement of God the Word and be led to remember His life in the flesh, His Passion and death for our salvation and the ensuing redemption of the world.

Illustration 33: Forerunner and Lamb49

First Phase: Leo III, Constantine V and Empress Irene Opening conflict by Leo III Opposition to figurative portrayal or depiction existed long before the bitter controversy of the eighth century. The opponents of icons in this early stage of the iconoclastic period (726-787), alarmed by the superstitious practices associated with icons and the danger of idolatry, usually based their attacks on the Mosaic prohibition against graven images (Ex. 20:4-5) and the Christian emphasis on worship in spirit and
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in truth. But the Christological argument for and against icons was not fully developed until the eighth century by the North Syrian Leo II and his son Constantine. Hussey denies the fact that there is a direct link between Leo’s first move against icons in 726 and that he was motivated by the example of the Muslim Yazid (720-4). He believes that Byzantines attributed iconoclasm to Jewish rather than Muslim influence (Hussey 18-19). The growing use of icons, and particularly its abuse, had increasingly concerned churchmen, as has already been shown, and is reflected in the measure of support which the iconoclasts Leo III and Constantine V received. Some of the few surviving documents of this period referred to disquiet in Asia Minor. Patriarch Germanus of Constantinople (715-30) reproached certain churchmen who held iconoclastic views. Yet the authoritative lead was to come from the Emperor Leo III, issuing a formal edict in 730 for the destruction of the icons of the saints. Germanus, who had hoped to change Leo’s views, refused to put his signature to any decree of this kind and he therefore had to retire from office and went to live on his private estates where he died in 733. Yet his successor, the iconoclast Anastasius (730-54), fully supported Leo (Hussey 21). Both Hussey and Haldon agree in that the sources describing the mass persecutions, harassment and death of many iconophiles, as well as the destruction of icons, are not very accurate or reliable accounts. For Haldon, Leo III seems to have been a fairly mild critic of the use of the images (32). Hussey says that there is relatively little information about Leo III and his alleged iconoclast tenets (22), yet acts that infringed the second commandment such as the cult of the adoration of icons accompanied by the burning of candles and incense, worship rather than mere veneration of the saints, were

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all condemned. It was also demanded that Christ was to be represented not in a human form but by a symbol such as the Cross. According to Haldon, Constantine II, a good general and administrator like his father, only adopted a strongly iconoclastic policy after around the eighth year of his reign, and like his father, he can be accused of burning images or of the persecution and torture of individuals, especially monks, who were opponents of his position and

policies, as suggested and narrated by the one-sided narratives of the iconophile tradition. Haldon also says that there is no evidence to prove the fact that the bulk of the population was committed to either view point. There were strong proponents of both sides, but imperial iconoclasm seemed to have affected primarily the higher clergy and leading military and civilian officials of the states. The greater majority of the population, if affected at all, kept their traditional practices and followed the official strain when and where it mattered. Yet, Haldon adds, there did originate a vocal monastic party who formed the opposition and engineered propaganda against Leo III and Constantine. This opposition although small at the beginning, eventually in the 840’s it became a powerful element of influence within the church (34-35). Constantine V and the Council of 754 Under Constantine V (741-75) the iconoclast-iconophile struggle increased both in action and in theory. Persecution if spasmodic, could be severe and the iconoclasts, especially Constantine, built up theological support for iconoclasm. Leo D. Davis, in The First Seven Ecumenical Councils (325-787), explains that Constantine based his position on Christology. He spoke of Christ as one person of two natures. An image of Christ would picture only his human nature and severed that nature from the divine nature. Thus, it was a false image (301). This council is considered as uncanonical and

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represented the first time an Emperor inferred directly in the affairs of the church, ignoring the other patriarchs, including the Pope in Rome. Constantine, even more than his father, certainly committed himself to the removal of the image from religious life. His reign is the high watermark of the iconoclast movement. On the iconophile side, John Damascus became the defender of icons on Christological grounds, although he was in Muslim territories and it is not clear if his apologetic work was known to Constantine. But Constantine went a step further than his father and he attempted to get synodal approval for an iconoclast policy. He summoned a council in 754 which was held at Hiera. Although no patriarch was present, 338 bishops attended the council. Hussey doubts that all of them were dedicated to iconoclasm. The iconoclasts, who considered their council of 754 as the seventh ecumenical council, began with the traditional profession of belief in the apostolic and patristic traditions and in the preceding six general councils. The arguments of the iconoclasts were directed against idolatry (condemned by the Bible and the Fathers) and against the material nature of images. It was stressed that an image of Christ either circumscribed an uncircumscribable Godhead and confused the two natures (monophysite), or divided the human from the divine Person. To the iconoclasts the only true image of Christ was the Eucharist—”bread and wine in the holy supper”— . They argued that the true image of a saint was the reproduction of his virtue, that is, an ethical image within the believer and not any kind of material representation. In spite of the ruling in the council of 754 that forbade burning, looting, and misuse of sacred buildings, in the post-conciliar years these and other measures against icons and iconophiles were eventually taken. With the formal ecclesiastical condemnation of icons in 754 those refusing to abandon them could be punished as heretics, clerics could be degraded, and monks and

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laity could be excommunicated. There were some spectacular instances of persecution, such as the severe one occurring in 754, that went beyond the prescribed punishment, but these were sporadic and were probably sensationally described and represented in the reports of iconodule literature. With the death of Constantine V in 755 iconoclasm died down, although traces of it may long lingered, and a ninth-century revival was merely temporary and even at times somewhat half-hearted (Hussey 28-29). At that time, in the West, the Popes, less worried about iconoclasm than about the more immediate pressure of the Lombards on the city of Rome, tried despairingly to obtain help from the schismatic East against the Lombards. Not getting the much needed and requested support the Pope made an agreement with King Pepin, father of Charlemagne, naming him protector of Rome. Pepin defeated the Lombards and granted the Pope temporal authority over the region around Rome—the nucleus of the papal state which would last until 1870. Thus the Frankish Pepin not the Byzantine emperor was known as the arbiter of northern and central Italy and protector of the papacy. In 800, Pope Leo III crowned Charlemagne emperor of the holy empire. Thus, as Davis suggests, “the religious schism between East and West had incalculable political and cultural consequences. The papacy turned from its age-long relationship with the emperors at Constantinople to a new alliance with the Carolingia dynasty of the Franks and the Frankish lands” (The First Seven Ecumenical Councils 301-306).

Restoration of the icons: The Empress Irene and the council of Nicea (787) Leo IV (775-80), who succeeded his father Constantine V, was much more moderate than Constantine. Also, in spite of not having been entirely repudiated, the harshness of Constantine V’s last years was greatly abated. Irene, the wife of Constantine’s son and heir Leo, was herself known to be a supporter of icons. On Leo

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IV’s death in 780 he left as successor his ten-year-old son Constantine VI and this gave Irene her opportunity to organize affairs so as to work towards the restoration of icons, though this was not attained in an instant, but, at least not all icons were being attacked and destroyed.(Hussey 44-45). Irene chose Stauracius, an eunuch, as her chief adviser. He was known for having tried to stop the decline of Byzantine power in the West by trying to arrange a marital alliance with the Franks but failed. In 784, the patriarch of Constantinople, Paul IV (780-4), filled with remorse for his earlier iconoclastic view and attempting to reconcile the Byzantine church with the rest of Christendom, advised Irene to call a general council to remedy matters. Irene agreed and sent an ambassador to Pope Hadrian to prepare for a council of reconciliation. At Constantinople, she herself began preparations for this Council. She started by electing a new patriarch, Tarasius (784806). This patriarch issued a statement of orthodox faith to the pope and three Melkite patriarchs in Muslim territory who had never embraced the iconoclasm of the bishops of the Empire. Hadrian agreed on the convocation of a general council. In his answer, he reminded the empress that popes from Gregory II (d. 731) to Stephen III (d. 722) had condemned iconoclasm and was in favor of the veneration of sacred images on the basis of the Scriptures and the writings of the Fathers. Moreover, he requested the condemnation of the Council of Hieria of 754 as well as the return of the papal states in South Italy and Sicily, seized by Emperor Leo III—a permanent claim the papacy had until the eleventh century. Pope Adrian also criticized Tarasius’s uncanonical elevation to the Patriarchate. The Melkite patriarchs of Antioch and Alexandria could not attend the projected council but sent delegates (Davis, The First Seven Ecumenical Councils 307-308).

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With some disturbing events caused by a troop of iconoclast soldiers, the General Council was held at Nicea in September, 787, with the presence of between 258 and 335 bishops. After long discussion, on 13 October 787, following the usual profession of faith in the creed and in the six general councils, it went on to decree that, following the traditions of the Church, We define with all certainty and accuracy that just as the representation of the venerable and life-giving Cross, so the venerable and holy icons, in painting or mosaic or any other appropriate medium, should be set up in the holy churches of God, and on the sacred vessels and vestments, on walls and on panels, both in houses and by the way-side, and also the image of our Lord God and Saviour Jesus Christ, our undefiled Lady, the holy Theotokos, the angels worthy of honour and all holy and devout people. For the more often they are seen in figural representation, the more readily men are lifted up to remember their prototypes and long for them, and these should be given honourable veneration, but not that true worship of our faith which belongs to the Divine Nature alone. But we should offer them incense and candles, as we do to the representation of the venerable and life-giving Cross and to the books of the Gospels and to other holy objects, according to ancient custom. For the honour which is given to the icon passes to that which the icon represents, and in venerating the icon we venerate the prototype. As Hussey concludes, iconoclast tenets were considered heretic and iconoclast writings were to be destroyed. Also, any person violating icons of relics was to be degraded if a cleric and excommunication if a layman or monk (28). A letter was sent to Pope Hadrian requesting confirmation of the Council, but had no reply from him in seven years due to his own delicate situation. Nicea had reconciled Rome and Constantinople but was met with a cold reception by the Franks (Davis, The First Seven Ecumenical Councils 315). Second Phase: Final Reestablishment of Icons, the Empress Theodora Yet the iconoclast issue did not end in 787, as seen in the conflicting tendencies that arose between Irene and her successors: Constantine VI (780-797) assumed control of the government helped by the iconoclast party—Irene returned to power (797-802)— ; Nicephorus I (802-811) was an orthodox and iconophile emperor; in the reign of

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Michael I (811-813), afraid of the Bulgarian invasion, crowds gathered at the tomb of the iconoclast Emperor Constantine V to pray for the return of that great military commander. Leo V (813-820) restored iconoclasm summarily dealing with the leaders of the orthodox party—Patriarch Nicephorus was removed and the iconophile Theodore Studites exiled; Michael II (820-829) allowed these iconophile leaders to return, but did not allow the return of the sacred images; and Michael’s son Theophilus II (829-842) unleashed iconoclasm in its full vigor, imprisoning and torturing iconophiles, especially monks. Yet after the death of Theophilus in 842, power passed into the hands of iconodule Theodora, regent of the child Michael (842-867), fortified by Patriarch Methodius (Davis, The First Seven Ecumenical Councils 314-316). In was more than a year before orthodoxy was formally restored on the first Sunday of Lent 843. Unlike the restoration of 787 no general council was held. The troubled years 787-843 finally came to an end. Hussey says that these conflicting currents were to determine the future course of East Roman fortunes. Monasticism was eventually to grow in strength. Yet as he adds: The strengthening of widespread monastic influence on the actual policy of the Byzantine state really took place rather later, after the development of the powerful houses on Mount Athos and particularly as the state weakened after 1204. Probably the guidance of Theodore Studites in the conduct of monastic life was a more important factor in the development of monasticism than in the actual iconoclast controversy (37). As Meyendorff delineates, the iconoclast crisis had both theological and cultural consequences: 1. In the Orthodox East images were forever accepted as a major means of communion with God, thus art, theology, and spirituality became inseparable. 2. The struggle on behalf of the icons enhanced the prestige of monasticism, seen now as an opposing force to the emperor’s arbitrary rulings. 3. The relationship between Eastern and western Christianity were further estranged. Fully involved in the struggle with Islam, the iconoclastic emperors neglected their power and influence in Italy and in retaliation to the

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pope’s opposition to their religious policies transferred Illyricum, Sicily and southern Italy from papal jurisdiction to the patriarchate of Constantinople. 4. As a consequence of this, Pope Stephen II accepted the protection of then Frankish king—Pepin the Short—and obtained his sponsorship in the creation of the papal state in Italy made up of formed Byzantine territories. (The Byzantine Legacy 24) Meyendorff further adds that the loss of the Middle East to the Arabs and the progressive separation of the East and the West made Constantinople the center of a Greek church, and thus ethnically limited. Yet immediately following the victory over iconoclasm, the Church of Byzantium started an amazing missionary expansion which resulted in the conversion of the Slavs, this occurred during the so-called the Middle Byzantine Period, which initiated the Christianization of Easter Europe (The Byzantine Legacy 24). As a Monk of St. Tikhon’s Monaster says, with the defeat of iconoclasm, The Orthodox Church, then, created a new art, new in form and content, which uses images and forms drawn from the material world to transmit the revelation of the divine world, making the divine accessible to human understanding and contemplation. This art developed side by side with the Divine Services and, like the Services, expresses the teaching of the Church in conformity with the word of Holy Scripture.

The final victory of the Holy Images in 843 is known as “the Triumph of Orthodoxy”, and is commemorated in a special service celebrated on “Orthodoxy Sunday,” the first Sunday in Lent. During this service the true faith—Orthodoxy—is proclaimed, its defenders are honored, and anathemas pronounced on all who attack the Holy Icons or the Seven General Councils: To those who reject the Councils of the Holy Fathers, and their traditions which are agreeable to divine revelation, and which the Orthodox Catholic Church piously maintains, ANATHEMA! ANATHEMA! ANATHEMA!” Table 19: Triumph of Orthodox iconodule

Activity 1. What did territory occupied by the Byzantium Empire at the end of the 8th century consist of? 2. Why does Hussey say that the iconoclastic crisis was a continuation of a previous Christological problem regarding the character of Christ’s human nature? 3. What was the feeling of the Byzantine Church towards icons and the possible 189

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4. 5. 6. 7.

cause of its rejection by some segments of the population? See Appendix D (2) and (4). Then, write (a) a list all the Emperors as well as (b) a list of all the Constantinople patriarchs involved in the iconoclastic crisis. Summarize the two main stages of this crisis. According to Meyendorff, which were the consequences of the iconoclastic crisis? Find and list images and symbols that depicted Jesus Christ and Christians that were abstract or not figurative (that is realistic).
Activity 42: The Iconoclast Crisis

The Byzantinization of Liturgy
If thanks to the iconophile victory Orthodox devotional art received its definitive form during the Byzantine period, so did the entire liturgical life of the Orthodox Church, as we will see in Part III dedicated to Practical Theology. In the process of Byzantinization, the Patriarchate of Constantinople played a determining role in this process of Byzantinization. Before its rise to political prominence as the New Rome, Constantinople was a minor bishopric without any liturgical tradition of its own, but, as Meyendorff asserts, Constantinople eventually built up its eclectic theological and liturgical tradition, trying to preserve and synthesize elements. It did this by using elements from older liturgical centers such Alexandria, from which it adopted the system of the computation of the date of Easter, and Antioch, by importing or transplanting their liturgical traditions to the capital. For him liturgy played a central part in maintaining the orthodox identity of the Church (The Byzantine Legacy 117). Papadakis includes Jerusalem as one of the major contributors towards this building process of the Byzantine rite, also adds another element that was involved in this process: the city’s resident imperial court with its own elaborate courtly ceremonial. All facts taken into consideration, Papadakis further comments, that given Constantinople’s growing importance in the church, by the ninth century, this new, liturgical synthesis became the accepted standard, eventually replacing all the other local rites within the Church. As Meyendorff explains, the Great Church of

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Constantinople never formally decreed any liturgical centralization or uniformity, yet its liturgy became the only acceptable standard of Byzantine and eventually all Orthodox churchmanship. Even the Roman church, accepted as it was in its honorary primacy, was criticized for departing from this standard. Meyendorff adds that, already by the seventh century, Byzantine Orthodoxy became practically identified with the Byzantine liturgy. As we will see in the chapter dedicated to Practical Theology, the liturgy and the whole cycle of divine services, such as compline, vespers, orthros, etc. as nowadays officiated in the Orthodox Church are similar to the original Byzantine rite of Constantinople. The self-sufficiency of the Great Church is clearly seen in the canons of the Synod of Trullo, held at the end of the seventh century, which condemned the practices of other churches such as the Armenian or Roman and preserved the liturgy untouchable in the spectacular expansion of the church in the mission to the Slavs (The Byzantine Legacy 118).

2. THE MIDDLE BYZANTINE PERIOD: THE “SECOND GOLDEN AGE” OF BYZANTIUM (843-1261) POLITICAL AND CULTURAL ASPECTS The resolution of the Iconoclastic controversy in favor of the use of icons was accompanied by a second flowering of the empire, the Middle Byzantine period (843– 1261). The arts flourished, Greek became the dominant official language, and Christianity spread from Constantinople throughout the Slavic lands to the north. In 1204, Crusaders from western Europe captured Constantinople, thereby founding the Latin Empire, which lasted until 1261, when Byzantium re-conquered Constantinople from the crusaders.

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During this period, the administrative machinery in the empire was huge, and there was an intense competition for power among the courtiers at the emperor’s court. The course of events is marked by complex diplomacy, intrigue, and gross violence; however, moral decay did not prevent such emperors as Basil I, founder of the Macedonian dynasty, and his successors (notably Leo VI, Romanus I, Constantine VII, Nicephorus II, John I, and Basil II) from giving the empire a period of splendor and power (867-1025). At its apogee in the late tenth and early eleventh centuries, the Byzantine Empire stretched from Italy to Mesopotamia. Let us look at a map of the empire in 1025, at the time of the death of Emperor Basil II, when the empire was once more a major political and military power in the eastern Mediterranean basin, with only Fatimid Caliphate in Egypt and Syria to challenge its power (Haldon 87):

Illustration 34: Map of the Byzantine Empire (1025 A.D.)

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The emperor of Byzantium, considered the representative of Christ by his subjects, was an absolute ruler. According to visual and verbal portraits by Byzantine artists and orators, in physique and deportment the ideal emperor was always decorous and handsome and his costume and regalia expressed his majesty and quality. An emperor’s portrayal might also link him to the virtuous prototypes of Christ, such as the

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Hebrew rulers David and Solomon, while in art the emperor’s halo and the gold of his background associated him with the sun. In this icon, for example, Constantine IX (1042-1054) is depicted with his wife Empress Zoë on the two sides of Christ:

Illustration 35: Mosaic of Constantine IX Monomachus and Empress Zoë with Christ enthroned in the middle51

With good reason, the citizens of Byzantium considered themselves to be the center of the civilized world. Their civilization had far-reaching political and cultural influences in all geographical directions during the Middle Byzantine period: Kievan Rus’, Bulgaria, Georgia, Armenia, Christians in Former Imperial Territories, crusader regions, Islamic States, and the Latin West, until the Latin West and the Byzantine East mutually excommunicated each other in 1054. Yet, in the eleventh century, with the rule of Empress Zoë (1028-50), anarchy and decline set in. The Seljuk Turks increased their attacks, and with the defeat (1071) of Romanus IV (1067-71) at Manzikert most of Asia Minor was permanently lost. The Normans seized Southern Italy and attacked the Balkans. Venice ruled the Adriatic and challenged Byzantine commercial dominance in the East, and the Bulgars and Serbs reasserted their independence.

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Alexius I (1081-1118) took advantage of the First Crusade to recover some territory in Asia Minor and to restore Byzantine prestige, but his successors, the Comnenus dynasty, were at best able to postpone the disintegration of the empire. After the death (1180) of Manuel I (1143-80) the Angelus dynasty unwittingly precipitated the cataclysm of the Fourth Crusade. In 1204 the Crusaders and the Venetians sacked Constantinople and set up a new empire in Thrace, Macedonia, and Greece. The remainder of the empire broke into independent states, notably the empires of Nicea and of Trebizond and the despotate of Epirus. In 1261 the Nicean emperor Michael VIII (1261-82) conquered most of the tottering Latin empire and reestablished the Byzantine Empire under the Palaeologus family (1261-1453). The reconstructed empire was soon attacked from all sides, notably by Charles I of Naples, by Venice, by the Ottoman Turks, by the new kingdoms of Serbia and Bulgaria, and by Catalonian adventurers under Roger de Flor. At the same time, the empire began to break down from “within,” the capital was at odds with the provinces; ambitious magnates were greedy for land and privileges, religious orders fought each other vigorously, and church and state were rivals for power.

Illustration 36: Michael VIII Palaeologus52

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Eventually the Turks encircled the empire and reduced it to Constantinople and its environs. Manuel II (1391-1425) and John VIII (1425-28) vainly asked the West for aid, and, in 1453, Constantinople fell to Sultan Muhammad II after a final desperate defense under Constantine XI (1067). This is one of the dates conventionally accepted as the beginning of the modern age. The collapse of the empire opened the way for the vast expansion of the Ottoman Empire to Vienna itself and also enabled Ivan III of Russia, son-in-law of Constantine XI, to claim a theoretical succession to the imperial title. Paradoxically, and in spite of fierce controversy and polarization such as the Palamas debate or the problem of ecclesiastical union—as we will see, the most burning issue during the entire Palaeologan period—, Byzantium under the Palaeologan emperors experienced an astonishing intellectual, spiritual, and artistic renaissance that influenced the entire Eastern Christian world.

Activity Read the broad political and cultural aspects delineated under “the Second Golden Age of Byzantium (843-1261). Then: a) find the emperors mentioned in the List of Emperors of the Byzantine empire (See Appendix C) b) Briefly list the main characteristics of this period. Example: • During this period, the arts flourished ...
Activity 43: General Aspects of the Second Golden Age of Byzantium

Religious Aspects

Missions: The Conversion of the Slavs
For Byzantium the ninth century was a period of intensive missionary activity. Free from the long struggle against iconoclasm, the Byzantine Church, at the time of Patriarch Photius, began to convert the pagan Slavs, who lay beyond the frontiers of the empire, to the north and the north-west—Moravians, Bulgarians, Russians, Serbs—to 195

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Christianity. Key to these successes were the brothers Constantine (826-69) (known in the Orthodox Church by his monastic name of Cyril) and Methodius (815-85?). Constantine, the ablest among the pupils of Photius, and Methodius, were Greeks from Thessalonica, and had learned the Slavonic language in their childhood around Thessalonica. They could speak it fluently. In 863, the so called “Apostles of the Slavs” were sent to the Slavs of central Europe, to Moravia—a territory roughly equivalent to the modern Czechoslovakia—since Rastislav, prince of Moravians, had requested missionaries from Byzantium. They started their mission by translating the Scripture and the liturgy into the Slavonic dialect, thus creating the first Slavonic alphabet and a new vocabulary appropriate for Christian usage. We cannot overestimate the importance for the future of Orthodoxy of the Slavonic translation done by these two brothers. It was the origins of Church Slavonic, the common liturgical language still used by the Russian Orthodox Church and other Slavic Orthodox Christians.

Illustration 37: Cyril and Methodius53

53

See: <www.istrianet.org>.

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They justified the translation of Christian texts into the vernacular by referring to the miracle of Pentecost (Acts 3), when the apostles were given the gift of many languages. In a prologue to the Gospel of John, Cyril quoted the words of Paul to justify the right of the Slavs to hear the Word in their own language: “Yet in the church I had rather speak five words with my understanding, that by my voice I might teach others also, than ten thousand words in an unknown tongue” (I Cor. 14:19). But this first mission to Moravia was unsuccessful. The German missionaries at work in the same areas along with the changing political situation in Moravia forced them to flee. The two missions not only depended on different Patriarchates but worked on different principles. While Cyril and Methodius officiated their services in Slavonic, the Germans did it in Latin; while Cyril and Methodius recited the Creed in its original form, the Germans insisted on the Filioque. To free their mission from the German interference, in 868, they traveled to Rome to place their mission under the Pope’s protection, receiving the formal support of Pope Hadrian II (867-872), who allowed the Greek mission to use Slavonic as the liturgical language in Moravia. In addition, Hadrian consecrated Methodius as bishop of Sirmium and commended him with the mission to the Slavs. Constantine died while in Rome after entering a monastery and taking the name of Cyril (869?), but Methodius returned to Moravia. Yet, the pope’s authority was not enough and Methodius was tried and imprisoned by German bishops. Consequently, Moravia entered the ambit of Latin Christianity. Nevertheless, their work was not in vain. Not too long afterwards, Byzantine missionaries, including the exiled disciples of the two brothers, turned to other areas. Practically contemporary to the Moravian mission was the conversion of Bulgaria. As in Moravia and many other areas of Europe, the political leadership of the country was instrumental in this conversion, which had been planned by missionaries

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and diplomats coming from Byzantium. As a consequence, in 865, Khan Boris of Bulgaria became a Christian, with Michael II (820-829) acting as his godfather. Boris attempted to join the jurisdiction of Rome (866-869), but finally joined the Byzantine religious orbit. With his son and successor, Symeon (893-927), and later the westernBulgarian Tsar Samuel (976-1014), Preslav and Ohrid, their respective capitals, became important religious centers. There the Byzantine liturgy was successfully appropriated and two independent patriarchates were created in these capitals. Because the Bulgarian tsars claimed imperial titles for themselves, Emperor Basil II (976-1025) put a temporary end to the independent existence of Bulgaria. Yet, he did not completely suppress the practice of worship in the Slavonic tongue. The Byzantine mission to the Russians also was contemporary to the Moravian and Bulgarian missions. In 867, Patriarch Photius, in an encyclical to the eastern patriarchs, announced that the Russians had been converted and had accepted a bishop from Constantinople. Yet, this was just an initial conversion embracing a small group of neighboring Byzantine cities in the Crimea. A more significant event in the conversion was that of the powerful princess of Kiev, Olga around 955, who took the Christian name of Helen, and, finally, the conversion of Russia, which actually began with the baptism of Vladimir of Kiev in 989. On this occasion he also married the Byzantine princess Anna, the sister of the Byzantine Emperor Basil II. He assumed the name of Basil and started off in earnest to Christianize his realm by introducing priests, relics, sacred vessels and icons, by holding mass baptism in the rivers, by setting up Church courts, and by instituting ecclesiastical tithes. He also emphasized the social implications of Christianity by establishing highly social services. He distributed food to the poor and sick. Under Vladimir, Byzantine Orthodoxy became the official religion of Russia, with its major centers in Kiev and Novgorod. Like Vladimir, Boris and Gleb,

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and Theodosius—all of them considered saints by the Orthodox Church—were intensely conscious of the practical consequences of the Gospel. In the same period, Byzantine missionaries were also sent to Serbia, which accepted Christianity around 867-74. A little further, under the initiative of Patriarchs Nicholas Mysticus (901-907, 911-925), Byzantine records show some missionary activities in the Caucasus, among the Alans (an Iranian nomadic group). Thus, by the beginning of the eleventh century most of the pagan Slavic world, including Russia— which eventually regarded itself as the heir of Constantinople—, Bulgaria and Serbia had been won for Byzantine Christianity. Bulgaria was officially recognized as a patriarchate by Constantinople in 927, Serbia in 1375 —the Serbian Patriarchate was created in 1346—, and Russia in 1589. Hilarion, Metropolitan of Russia (1051-1054?) said: “The religion of grace spread over the earth and finally reached the Russian people … The gracious God who cared for all other countries now no longer neglects us. His desire to save us and lead us to reason.” In short, around the beginning of the second millenium, the Byzantine Church exercised its ministry in a territory which extended from the polar regions to the Araboccupied Middle East, and from the Adriatic to the Caucasus. Its center, Constantinople, had no rival, not only in terms of power or wealth but also in terms of intellectual, artistic, and literary achievements (Meyendorff, The Byzantine Legacy 2427; Papadakis; Ware 73-76; and Hussey 55-58). This expansion to the Slavic world also created an Orthodox “Commonwealth” since, as Papadakis indicates, the Slavs were not only christianized but also civilized by the Byzantines. Byzantine art, literature and culture were no longer confined to Byzantium’s political frontiers. The saving message of the New Testament was accompanied by the gift of civilization.

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had become strangers to one another” (44). as many historians recognize. as the service was to begin in the Church of Holy Wisdom—or Hagia Sophia—at Constantinople. A further step in this estrangement was the rise of Islam. for example the barbarian invasion 200 . briefly comment: 1. As he passed through the western door. They had not come to pray.’ A deacon ran out after him in great distress and begged him to take back the Bull. 2. Patriarch Photius’s involvement in these missions Cyril and Methodius’s mission to Moravia The conversion of Bulgaria The conversion of Russia Activity 44: The conversion of the Slavs Schism between the East and West As Ware relates: One summer afternoon in the year 1054. which used to serve as a bridge. The different political situations in the East and the West also led to the creation of other differences. Cardinal Humbert and two other legates of the Pope entered the building and made up their way to the sanctuary. Illyricum. Humbert refused. The placed a Bull of Excommunication upon the altar and marched out once more. there was further isolation due to the Avar and Slav invasions of the Balkan Peninsula. He also asserts that. and it was dropped in the street. 4. Ware states that “long before there was an open and formal schism between the east and the west. the Cardinal shook the dust from his feet with the words: ‘Let God look and judge.Chapter 2: Byzantine Church History Activity Using your own words. in spite of Justinian’s serious effort to bring the empire together. It happened gradually as the result of a long and complicated process. became instead a barrier between Byzantium and the Latin world. the schism cannot be associated with any event of date. 3. politically. but increased by the fifth century with the barbarian invasions. thus making more difficult the relations between the East and the West (45). (43) Yet. which came to control most of the Mediterranean. the schism was already a fact when Constantine decided to found the “Second Rome”. During the late sixth and the seventh centuries.

the greatest scholar in 201 . in Church and Society in the Last Century of Byzantium (1979). in contrast with the plurality of warring chiefs in the West. Haldon comments that while the see of Constantinople was developing into an imperial church. the visible head of church and state. as Nicol asserts. Furthermore. when. Rome was—with a few exceptions—independent of direct political influence from the Emperors. added to this schism. it was mainly the Papacy alone which could act as a center of unity as well as providing an element of continuity and stability to both the spiritual and political life of western Europe. there was a strong secular head. Pope Stephen—iconodule as the rest of the papacy—was refused help and consequently came in 754 under Frankish protection—and influence. however. who was. The Iconoclast controversy. This led. This reorientation was not apparent until the middle of the eleventh century. Ware adds. Consequently. as mentioned. Ware says. For example. This was a role the Greek Patriarchs were not called to play. In the West. when. “the western Church gradually became centralized to a degree unknown anywhere in the four Patriarchates of the East (except possibly in Egypt)” (47). Byzantium regarded the Papal coronation as an act of schism within the Empire. Ware adds. Bilingualism was over. Considering Charlemagne as an intruder. because of the barbarian invasion. God’s regent on earth. In the East. as we have already noticed. the Emperor. In many ways. Rome continued to be part of the Byzantine world and the cultural unity lingered on but on a greatly attenuated form. to the crowning of Charlemagne as emperor of the Holy Roman Empire in 800 by Pope Leo III. as the two were interdependent (3). Language worsened things. Both interpreted the inherited classical tradition in increasingly divergent ways.Chapter 2: Byzantine Church History and the breakdown of the empire in the west greatly strengthened the autocratic structure of the western Church. This would raise tensions between Rome and Constantinople (132).

These political and cultural divergences did affect the religious unity of the Church (45-46). the leadership of Rome was never denied in Byzantium.” adopted at Chalcedon. as does Ware. he further asserts. a Latin father such as St. He illustrates his point in regards to the Trinitarian theology by saying that while the Greek Cappadocian fathers placed a greater emphasis on the distinctiveness of the three persons. for example regarding Monophysitism. that the two main reasons behind the strained relations between the East and the West were ecclesiastical ones: the different perspectives on the primacy of Rome and the Byzantine Orthodox Church’s rejection of the Filioque—the affirmation that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son. especially Constantine. stressed a philosophical definition of God as one simple essence. the Greeks. but this primacy of the Roman Church was 202 . the Byzantines regarded the Franks as barbarians.Chapter 2: Byzantine Church History the ninth-century Constantinople could not read Latin. He says that while in the fourth century there had been one Christian civilization in Europe. while the Latins were rigidly attached to the definition of the “two natures. in the thirteenth. Meyendorff traces back the process to at least the fourth century when a certain theological polarization between the Greek East and the Latin West began. there were two. Also. The Filioque and Other Sources of Separation As we have seen when studying the seven ecumenical councils. The West and the East drew from different scholarly sources and read different books causing Greeks and Latins to drift intellectually even further apart. Enclosed in their own world. Yet. Ware adds that it is perhaps in the reign of Charlemagne that the schism of these two civilizations was first made more evident. Augustin. was more ready to accept the concept of “one incarnate nature” as formulated by Cyril of Alexandria. Meyendorff also mentions increasingly divergent positions in disciplinary and liturgical practices (The Byzantine Legacy 27).

” This interpolation soon became popular. who proceeds from the Father. Charlemagne and his theologians refused to accept the Acts of the Seventh Ecumenical Council (787) because it contained the original form of the creed and the traditional Greek formulation of the Trinitarian formula. both refrained for centuries from pushing their different points of view to final rupture. Thus by the eighth century. in the ninth. who proceeds from the Father and the Son who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and together glorified. The creed of Nicea-Constantinople was interpolated with the Filioque. this text was widely interpolated throughout Frankish Europe. Meyendorff relates that at the beginning. Originally the creed ran: “I believe …in the Holy Spirit. as Meyendorff states. the Giver of Live. and eleventh centuries conflicts started to gather and both cultural and political elements intermingled with doctrinal and disciplinary issues (The Byzantine Legacy 28). where it was welcomed by Charlemagne and adopted at the semi-Iconoclast Council of Frankfort (794) (51). The conflict over the Filioque started in the West. Ware says that the text spread to France and then to Germany. But in 886. at the Third Council of Toledo (589). through the apostle Peter. This started a polemic that would last for centuries.” With the insertion of the Filioque—”and from the Son”—the Creed read: “I believe … in the Holy Spirit. who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and together glorified. Pope Nicholas I. However. who sponsored the 203 .Chapter 2: Byzantine Church History based on pragmatic reasons and not on divine reasons such as that of apostolicity: the fact that this primacy came from Christ. the popes defended the Greek position and rejected the interpolation. in Spain. tenth. because it suited Saint Augustin’s explanation of the Trinity (The Byzantine Legacy 28). Seen as an opportunity to accuse the competing Eastern Empire with heresy. the Lord. the Lord. as Meyendorff explains. the Giver of Live. Yet.

and in return Cerularius excommunicated the legates. Legates from Pope Leo IX excommunicated the Patriarch of Constantinople Michael Cerularius when Cerularius would not agree to adopt western church practices. it was a failed attempt at healing an already existing division. other sources of separation were issues concerning discipline and liturgy. probably in 1014. who considered Bulgaria as part of his jurisdiction. For Meyendorff. The separation. As already stated.Chapter 2: Byzantine Church History activities of German missionaries in Bulgaria. Nicholas and Photius were also set against each other due to authority issues. According to Meyendorff (The Byzantine Legacy 29) and Ware (51). Meyendorff adds. which even caused a temporary division known as the “Photian Schism”. was further increased by the Latin 204 . in the tenth century. Nevertheless. with the attendance of legates of Pope John VIII. a council. condemned the interpolation and sanctioned a reconciliation between Rome and Constantinople. the Frankish imposed their will on the weakened papacy and the Filioque became accepted in Rome. such as the use of unleavened bread in the Eucharist and the enforced celibacy of priests in the West. this incident which opposed the legates of the pope to the patriarch is mistakenly seen as a beginning of the schism. Patriarch Photius (858-867 and 877886). eventually. This. The two churches also had different rules of fasting. implicitly condoned the use of the interpolated creed among the Bulgarian converts. This annulled Constantine XI’s attempts to ally with the Pope against the Normans. the latter did not accept the irregular naming of Photius as a Patriarch by the emperor. these centuries-old differences between the Roman and the Orthodox Eastern Church culminated in 1054 in a complete break. enhanced by the Byzantine hatred after the sack of Constantinople by the Fourth Crusade (1204). made the schism inevitable (The Byzantine Legacy 28-29). In 879-880. Rather. wrote the first complete refutation of the Filioque (and from the Son).

Chapter 2: Byzantine Church History doctrine of purgatory and the exact moment of consecration of the holy gifts in the Eucharist. Give short explanations for each of the items you mentioned. for the Byzantines a council was the only means to solve differences and the honorary primacy of Rome did not exempt the papacy from being answerable to conciliar judgment. The controversy also involved Eastern and western ecclesiastical jurisdictional rights in the Bulgarian church. list the main causes of the schism between the East and the West. Activity 46: The Photian Schism These issues along with that of the Filioque could have been solved if consensus were reached on the issue of authority. THE LATE BYZANTINE PERIOD (1261-1453) POLITICAL AND CULTURAL ASPECTS The period known as the Late Byzantine lasted from 1261 until the fall of Constantinople in 1453 to the Ottoman Turks. Activity 45: Causes of the Schism between the East and the West Your Own Research The Photian Schism was a controversy between Eastern and western Christianity caused by the opposition of the Roman pope to the appointment by the Byzantine emperor Michael III of the lay scholar Photius to the patriarchate of Constantinople. The looting of Constantinople in 1204 was an irretrievable disaster for the Byzantines. in the late Byzantine period there would be numerous. List your references. In contrast. but unsuccessful attempts at reunion by popes and by emperors (29-30). Activity Using your own words. As we will see. Rome would not allow its own unique authority to be questioned. Byzantium was never again able to fully suppress internal 205 . but after the Gregorian reform in the eleventh century. With its territory and resources continually shrinking. 3. (Encyclopedia Britannica) 9th-century-AD Activity: Search the web for “Photian schism” and write a one-page paper.

as Italian Renaissance scholars. theology. which still followed the artistic traditions of the Middle Byzantine era. scholarship. had become an anomaly and irritant. but situated in the heart of Ottoman territories. still under Byzantine control. Constantinople. Byzantium was reduced to a few isolated territories surrounded by the Ottoman Empire. which the Sultan Mehmet II finally removed on 29 May 1453 after an epic siege and heroic last-ditch defense.ca>. 206 . The long story of the Roman-Byzantine Empire was over. which had experienced a rapid expansion in power and territorial extent. Meanwhile. especially after many fled to Italy from Constantinople following the city’s conquest in 1453. But 54 See: <www. Byzantium also helped to transform the West intellectually. Byzantine culture enjoyed a last flowering in literature. The state became so impoverished that in 1369 Emperor John V was arrested for debt in Venice as he tried to obtain financial help from the West. received the urgent help from Byzantine scholars.ucalgary. Illustration 38: Siege of Constantinople (1453)54 On the eve of its final battle for survival. and art. intent on translating Greek pagan and Christian writings. the Byzantine church increased in prestige and authority as the emperors weakened.Chapter 2: Byzantine Church History disorders or to exercise independence from outside powers.

Christians were still allowed to visit the city. which took control of Jerusalem in 1070 from the Fatimids. Even though Moslems had ruled Jerusalem since 638. Since the time of Constantine. lists three causes for the crusades.” and that eventually the former unity of the Christian world under the one legitimate emperor—that of Constantinople—and the five patriarchates would be restored.Chapter 2: Byzantine Church History even in its final centuries. but with the change in rulers over Jerusalem in 1070. It was the crusades that brought to an end this utopian scheme and made the schism definite because they introduced.” The first cause was the advance of the Seljuq Turks. Byzantine Christians did not consider the break with the West as a final schism. pilgrims were prevented from visiting Jerusalem. in “The Crusades (1095-1291)”. Until now it had been fought mainly in Spain and Sicily. Christians had gone on pilgrimages to the Holy Land. The prevailing opinion was that the break of communion with the West was due to a temporary take-over of the venerable Roman see by misinformed and uneducated German “barbarians. RELIGIOUS ASPECTS Crusades: Making the Schism Definitive Ware says that even after the schism of 1054 the friendly relations between East and West continued. the Empire generated a cultural life of great vitality and influence which belied its lack of temporal power. which he describes as “the culminating act of the medieval drama” in which two great faiths resorted to the supreme court of war. Ware says “a new spirit of hatred and bitterness and they brought the whole issue down to popular level” (59). There already was a history of tension between the Christian world and the Muslim world going back in time for centuries. Lawrence Miller. It was the pilgrims’ accounts of oppression 207 . not yet being conscious of the great gulf that separated them.

The first crusade (1095-1099) was the most successful from a military point of view. Cumans. and the installation of a Latin patriarch. The Greeks realized the full seriousness of papal claims over the universal church: 208 . Genoa. Additionally. This created local schisms at the popular level. Thus. all Eastern Europe would lie open to the Turks. It was placed in St. confirmed as such by Pope Innocent III. Patzinaks. Venice. in Hagia Sophia.Chapter 2: Byzantine Church History and desecration that made Europe react. Table 20: The body of John Chrysostom The seven major crusades proved to be a disaster. Peter’s basilica. The crusaders took the body of John Chrysostom. and Russians assaulted its European gates. Urban II envisioned papal rule over the Eastern Church (1). and took it to Rome. the Turks were dismembering its Asiatic provinces. The second cause was the dangerous weakening of the Byzantine Empire due to internal discords. The final decision came from Urban II. Constantinople was shamefully sacked bringing about the enthronement of a Latin emperor on the Bosporus. should Constantinople fall. And the third cause was the ambition of the Italian cities—Pisa. Antioch was captured from the Turks in 1098 and Jerusalem in 1099 and the Crusaders replaced the Greek patriarchs of Antioch and Jerusalem with Latin prelates. While the Bulgars. who made one of the most influential speeches in the Middle Ages. Amalfi—to extend their rising commercial power. which had been returned to Constantinople in 438. the Crusades demonstrated how far apart Latins and Greeks really were from each other. Yet it still took a couple of decades before the reaction came in the form of the crusades. Besides. instead of reestablishing Christian unity in the common struggle against Islam. disruptive heresies and its isolation from the West by the schism of 1054 itself. the Venetian Thomas Morosini. during the fourth crusade (1202-1204). calling on Christian princes in Europe to go on a crusade to rescue the Holy Land from the Turks. as commented.

where he enjoyed the support of a restored Greek empire. Michael IV Autorianus.boisestate. the Orthodox patriarch John Camaterus (11981206) fled to Bulgaria and died there in 1206. After the capture of the city. Nicetas Choniates protested. 209 . “Even the Saracens are merciful and kind compared with these men who bear the cross of Christ on their shoulders”. and Russia became a part of the Mongol Empire of Genghis Khan. Ware says that the doctrinal disagreement between the two churches were now on the Greek side filled with intense feeling of national hatred. Although he lived in exile. Meanwhile. A successor. was elected in Nicea (1207-13).edu>.Chapter 2: Byzantine Church History theological polemics and national hatreds were combined to tear the two churches further apart. this patriarch was recognized as legitimate by the entire 55 See: <crusades. the Mongols sacked Kiev (1240). the Balkan countries of Bulgaria and Serbia secured national emancipation with western help. and indignation against western aggression and sacrilege (60). resentment. Illustration 39: Siege of Constantinople by crusaders55 Eastern Christendom has never forgotten the pillage the city suffered.

Sava. The church in Bulgaria was apparently under at least nominal control from Rome from 1204 to 1230. They made no permanent conquests of the Holy Land. and they hardened the schism between them. They did not retard the advance of Islam. What were the effects and legacy of the Crusades? Activity 47: Crusades IMPORTANCE OF THE RELIGION IN THE POLITICS OF THE BYZANTINE PEOPLE: THREE CONTROVERSIES Nicol also says that in the last centuries of Byzantium there were three great controversies which demonstrate the extent to which religion was the politics of the Byzantine people: the Arsenite schism. List Miller’s three causes of the Crusades 2. their spiritual leader. Explain the circumstances of the Fourth Crusade 3. Far from aiding the Eastern Empire. and marred. St. They fostered a harsh intolerance between Muslims and Christians. In addition. the Orthodox Serbs negotiated the establishment of their own national church. where before there had been a measure of mutual respect. by a recrudescence of anti-Semitism. was installed as autocephalous archbishop of Serbia in 1219 (Monks at Decany Monastery). What was the legacy of the Crusades? Walker notes: Viewed in the light of their original purpose. the Crusades were failures.Chapter 2: Byzantine Church History Orthodox world. they hastened its disintegration. They also revealed the continuing inability of Latin Christians to understand Greek Christians. They were marked. (284) Eastern Christianity can never forget the behavior of those European barbarians who by their looting and plundering and their sixty years of tyrannical misrule in Constantinople (1204-1261) prepared the way for the destruction of the Byzantine Empire and hastened on its downfall. Activity 1. in the thirteen century. The patriarchate at Nicea continued to administer the immense Russian metropolitanate and granted the Bulgarian Church its right for ecclesiastical independence with a restored patriarchate in Trnovo (1235). the hesychast or Palamas 210 .

patriarch of Constantinople. condemn Michael VIII as a criminal and excommunicate him.. sixteen years after his death. according to Timothy Ware. the Arsenite schism. Nicol adds that not all of them were motivated for such lofty principles. The emperor. the Empire could perhaps have done with a written constitution. and the Church. merely a series of interpretations and recommendations. priests. Arsenios’s removal from office was the beginning of the Arsenite Schism. Here again.. refusing to recognize the authority of any subsequent patriarchs. and the question of union with the Roman Church.Chapter 2: Byzantine Church History controversy. which. Many people believed that the boy emperor had a prescriptive right to reign over an empire his father had saved from extinction after the Fourth Crusade. This . 211 . Many in Anatolia. these issues divided families. society and the Empire. soon the deposed Patriarch Arsenios become a martyr. deposed him and sent him in exile to Prokonessos in Propontis. monks. the trouble was partly about the extent to which emperors had the right to interfere in the affairs of the Church. condemned Michael VIII as a usurper (7-8).” (8) The second controversy which divided Church and society in the middle of the fourteenth century was the hesychast controversy. which did not end until 1310. would have ceased to have specific quality which we call “Byzantine. began with Michael VIII Palaiologos’s blinding of the boy Emperor John IV Laskaris. The Arsenite Schism The first controversy. in return. As so often in Byzantium. in 1265. loyal to the memory of the Lascarid emperors who had enriched and protected them. and laymen broke away from the rest of the Church. John IV was the last of the line of Laskaris. a faction of bishops. Furthermore. the Church perhaps could have done with an army of canon lawyers. This made Arsenios Autoreianos. considered by many to be the legitimate hair to the throne of Nicea. was a perennial problem and one to which no Byzantine canonist had ever provided a definitive answer. But in either eventuality the Empire. which had ruled the Empire in exile at Nicea for over fifty years. Although basically theological.

1330 to 1341. affecting the Church and dividing society into Palamites and antiPalamites: hesychasts and anti-hesychasts. have mercy on me a sinner. Son of God. For him. It was Gregory of Palamas (1296-1359). attacked the spiritual practices of the hesychasts. The hesychast is the one who devotes himself to the prayer of silence. a monk with great following on Mount Athos. In modern Orthodox practice. where the tradition of the Fathers was replaced by scholasticism. although we can extend this ‘phase’ in the history of the Palamite controversy to the death of Gregory of Palamas on 14 56 Lord Jesus Christ. the first phase of this controversy came to a head in the middle of the fourteenth century.. when Barlaam the Calabrian. He postulated the doctrine of God’s “otherness” and unknowability in an extreme form. hesychasts held a grossly materialistic conception of prayer. and discursive writing. The prayer of the heart—or the Jesus prayer56—involving the whole body and assisted by certain physical exercises—breathing and a particular bodily posture—was the technique through which the hesychast accomplished the mystical state culminating in the vision of the Divine and Uncreated Light. He was also shocked by their claim to attain a vision of the Divine and Uncreated light (65-66). This dispute involved the doctrine of God’s nature and the method of prayer used by certain monks called “hesychasts” (The name derives from the Greek word hesychia. the Prayer sometimes ends “. have mercy on me.. words.Chapter 2: Byzantine Church History also contributed to the process of separation between the theologies of East and West. meaning “inner stillness). This light was the same envisioned by Jesus’ disciples in his Transfiguration on Mount Tabor. within the years c. one of the representatives of Byzantine Humanism. who defended the hesychasts in the midst of this controversy.” 212 . The second phase of this controversy coincided with the outbreak of a civil war—waged primarily between 1341 and 1347. a prayer devoid from images. Although hesychasm can be traced back to St Clement of Alexandria (died 215)..

Finally. but there were two candidates. a significant “opening to the West” was taking place among some Byzantine ecclesiastics. Along with the Hesychast revival. John V as his successor. vindicated Gregory Palamas and the theology and practice of hesychasm. for example. were systematically translating the works of Latin theologians into Greek. Thus. Consequently. who counted on an overwhelming and invaluable support of the monks. the Empress Anne of Savoy. the empire needed a regency. became a monk but continued to exercise great influence on all ecclesiastical and political events. Cantacuzene (1347-54). and in a council held in 1351. 1359—between John V Palealogus and Patriarch Calecas on the one hand. clearly perceived the universal Christian significance of Palamite theology. who took the side of Palamas. which recognized the full Orthodoxy of Palamas and his teachings. and the Patriarch of Constantinople. After a brief reign as emperor. A civil war then started between supporters of the two sides.Chapter 2: Byzantine Church History November. the late’s emperor chief minister. Anselm of Canterbury. Most of the Latin-minded Greek theologians 213 . John Cantazune. major writings of Augustine. on the one side. in his spiritual writings on the Divine Liturgy and the sacraments. and the Great Domestic. Andronikos II left his infant son. This was not the case of John Cantacuzene. His close friend. especially on Mount Athos. won the war. But this Patriarch was convinced that Gregory of Palamas and his monks were guilty of heresy and imprisoned and excommunicated Palamas. Nicholas Cabasilas. under the sponsorship of Cantacuzenus. John Kalekas. because of pressure by John V’s mother. John Cantacuzene on the other. The hesychast movement led to a great revival of spirituality in Byzantine society of the middle fourteenth century (Nicol 10). Cantacuzene. and Thomas Aquinas were made accessible to the East for the first time. the Patriarch was chosen. After his death in 1341. The brothers Prochorus and Demetrius Cydones.

e. as they had done in the early centuries of the church. however.. for an obvious political reason. i. This union was proclaimed on two occasions: the Council of Lyons in 1274 and the Council of Florence in 1439. On the Second Sunday of Lent the Orthodox Church commemorates our Holy Father Gregory Palamas. yet his reasons seemed more political than religious: he needed the support and protection of the papacy as he was threatened by attacks from Charles de Anjou. the hope for western help against the Turks.(“Sunday of Saint Gregory Palamas”) Table 21: Feast day of Saint Gregory Palamas Attempts at Union with the Roman Church The third controversy that divided the Byzantine society was the question of the right and wrong of union with the Roman Church. Yet this union was an absolute failure due to the 214 . he is commemorated on this Sunday as the condemnation of his enemies and the vindication of his teachings by the Church in the 14th century. The first attempt was made by Michael VIII (1259-82). Archbishop of Thessalonica. the Wonderworker. sovereign of Sicily. These attempts were started by the government and not by the church. but there were some—like Gennadios II Scholarios. the emperor who recovered Constantinople after the Fourth Crusade. the first patriarch under the Turkish occupation—who reconciled their love for western thought with total faithfulness to the Orthodox Church (Monks at Decany Monastery). The feast day of Saint Gregory Palamas is November 14. The majority of Byzantine Orthodox churchmen were not opposed to the idea of union but considered that it could only be brought about through a formal ecumenical council at which East and West would meet on equal footing. In the Council of Lyon the Orthodox delegates agreed to recognize the Papal claim of supremacy of unlimited power over the Church. But the attempts brought no results either on the ecclesiastical or on the political levels.Chapter 2: Byzantine Church History eventually supported the union policy of the emperors.

Except Mark. who was deprived of a Christian burial (Nicol 15. the last Christian service was held in the great Church of the Holy Wisdom. Yet. not enough to defeat the Ottoman Turks and. the same day the city fell to the Turks. the last emperor of Byzantium. and died fighting on the walls. far less the end of Orthodoxy. and the most glorious church in Christendom became a mosque. Yet. The only hope for the Byzantines to defeat the Turks was with help from the West. The West also shared the same fear since the Turks were the masters of a large part of eastern Europe. not without a brilliant but hopeless defense in May 29. attended in person by John VIII (1425-48) and a large delegation from the Orthodox Church. Later. Archbishop of Ephesus. all the Orthodox present at the council signed it. The Union of Florence in the fifteen century was a different matter because the danger did not come from the Christian West but from the Muslim East. The successor of Michel VIII formally repudiated the agreement and Michael himself for his “apostasy”. remained loyal to the agreement but could not impose it on many of their subjects. for at this moment of crisis the supporters and opponents of the Florentine Union forgot their differences. Purgatory. This common fear prompted. in 1369 Emperor John V Palaeologus was personally converted to the Roman faith in Rome. Ware 70-72) Sultan Mehmed II transformed Hagia Sophia into an Islamic mosque. Constantine XI. But it was not the end of the Patriarchate of Constantinople. “azyumes. the agreement again encountered the fierce opposition of Byzantium. In the early hours of 29 May. the city was conquered. and the few partisans of the union fled to Italy.Chapter 2: Byzantine Church History fierce rejection by the overwhelming majority of clergy and laity in the Byzantine church as well as by Bulgaria and the other Orthodox countries. At this council a formula of union was drawn up covering the Filioque. It was the end of the Byzantine Empire. John VIII and his successor. who was later canonized. of either clergy or lay people. after months of wrangling. as already mentioned. Yet the Byzantines received a small help. It was a united service of Orthodox and Roman Catholics. 1453 (Nicol 16-17. The Emperor went out after receiving communion. Ware 60-61). (Timothy Ware 71-72) 215 . this second reunion.” and the Papal claim.

explain the three controversies presented above. Activity 48: Three controversies in the last centuries of Byzantium Relations between the Christian Church and State in Byzantium The Church-State relationship in Byzantium was a complex one. Bishop of 216 . such idyllic relationships were not always realized in practice. Using your own words. also contributed to the process of separation between ____ ___________of _____ and ________. Search for ‘hesychasm’ on The web or books. than the outward circumstances of the meeting at the First General of Ecumenical Council of the Christian Church at Nicea in 325. between the hierosyne and the basileia. and write a 5 page essay on it.. Complete the complete sentence and explain it: . Byzantium society was theoretically supposed to be Heaven on earth.. to the fall of Constantinople to Ottoman power in 1453. Relationships were often redefined by strong emperors. Heaven on Earth: The Emperor as God’s Representative on Earth Nothing could have symbolized more clearly the harmonic relationship between Church and State.Chapter 2: Byzantine Church History Table 22: Last Christian service before the fall of Constantinople Activity 1. who went beyond their jurisdiction and by strong patriarchates who were always ready to justify their acts as being in defense of Orthodoxy. In this section we are going to analyze it as it existed in the millennium spanning from the reign of the emperor Constantine. 3. in the fourth century. where the ____________of ____________was replaced by __________________. As Eusebius. however. in the beginning years of the Byzantine Empire. 2.

Eusebius met the emperor for the first time in person at the Council of Nicea. of the Byzantine Christian society. all rising at the signal which indicated the emperor’s entrance. made his entrance like “some heavenly messenger of God”: And now. he [Constantine] convoked a general council. who. at last he himself proceeded through the midst of the assembly. He continues by saying. and subsequently delivered speeches to the emperor in 335 (in praise of the construction of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre). and adorned with the brilliant splendor of gold and precious stones. His earthly monarchy was an image of the monarchy of God in Heaven just as Byzantium was an image of the heavenly Jerusalem. and a dream rather than reality. the oikoumene.” From the reign of Constantine (4th century) to Justinian I (6th century) and later to other Byzantine emperors. He believes that Eusebius began collecting documents for a narrative shortly after Constantine's victory over Licinius.59 jointly guided by the empire and the church. the basileus.58 Also underscoring the celestial character of the emperor. head of the oecumenical Empire. and 335-6 (for Constantine’s tricennalia. the prevailing ideology held that there was only one universal Christian society. 58 See Internet reference in Bibliography. At the core of the Christian polity of Byzantium was the Emperor. biographer.Chapter 2: Byzantine Church History Caesarea—Constantine’s panegyrist. “Oikoumene” or “basilea” would have been the word springing to a Byzantine mind (4). In the palace people prostrated themselves before the emperor as God’s living icon as they prostrated According to Paul Steepheson. who had called the Council. Also see Kallistos Ware 19. The next quotations by Eusebius also come from this source (Medieval Sourcebook). 57 217 . and invited the speedy attendance of bishops from all quarters. “One might have thought that a picture of Christ’s kingdom was thus shadowed forth. tells us in Vita Constantine:57 Then as if to bring a divine array against this enemy. reflecting the glowing radiance of a purple robe. like some heavenly messenger of God. in letters expressive of the honorable estimation in which he held them. or thirty-year celebrations). ruled as God’s representative on earth. 59 Nicol says that there was no Byzantine equivalent for the Latin term “christianitas”. and historian—present at the council. clothed in raiment which glittered as it were with rays of light. Eusebius adds that Emperor Constantine.

more than in the West.Chapter 2: Byzantine Church History themselves before the icon of Christ in church. Table 23: Emperors and Church’s worship The imperial panegyrists. In addition. In the East. continued extolling the terrestrial basilea of Constantine and his successors as the only representation of the celestial kingdom. This Christomimesis assumption. he was seen as a minister of God (24). if not a regular ‘sacrament. Many things in the palace were designed to make clear the emperor’s status as vicegerent of God: the labyrinthine palace. of course. Florovsky. Boojamra asserts. The emperor was the God-protected ruler. the elaborate ceremonies of the court. According to Eusebius. instead of being given the sacrament in a spoon. He also preached sermons and on certain feasts incensed the altar. the emperor rules for the Logos and the Logos rules for the Father. imperial legitimacy included patriarchal coronation as a constituent element. celebrate the Eucharist. the defender of the faith and the order of Church.’ a distinctively ecclesiastical rite. says that originally the rite of Imperial Coronation was definitely a strictly “secular” ceremony. in which even the Patriarch acted as a civil servant. The vestments that Orthodox bishops now wear are the vestments once worn by the Emperor in church (Monks at Decani Monastery. was to become the foundation of Byzantine political ecclesiology. heightened by the Patriarchal coronation of emperors beginning with the crowning of Leo I in 475. successors of Eusebius. demanding the highest virtues and dogmatic orthodoxy from him. and even the throne room where mechanical lions roared and musical birds sang (Monks at Decany Monastery). in Christianity and Culture. conferred by the Church” (19). a sacramentale. but he received communion within the sanctuary ‘as priests do’ taking the consecrated bread in his hands and drinking from the chalice. Byzantine political ecclesiology also elevated the role of the emperor.’ especially since it was combined with the rite of ‘anointment. yet gradually “it developed into a sacred rite. The Emperor had a special place in the Church’s worship: he could not. in The Church and Social Reform. 218 .

the latter presides over the human affairs and takes care of them. it was essentially subordinate to the Christian Faith. In his coronation oath. and a service. 219 . Thus. and the holy Fathers have kept and explained. under her doctrinal and canonical discipline. and appointed by the same Divine authority and for the same ultimate purpose. Florovsky. which was a divinely appointed custodian of the Christian truth. if they maintain their dignity. imperium. both adorn human life. A happy ending always crowns those things which were undertaken in a proper manner. We therefore are highly concerned for the true doctrines inspired by God and for the dignity of priests. have handed down to us. the Emperor had to 60 Qtd. if one is in every respect blameless and filled with confidence toward God. and in addition shall acquire those things which we have not yet secured. great benefits will be bestowed by God on us. Imperium was at once an authority. Proceeding from the same source. sacerdotium. Justinian did not speak of State or of Church. the venerable eye-witnesses and ministers of the Divine World. Christianity and Culture (18). In other words. Yet it was “dependent” upon. Now. And the terms of this service were set in rules and regulations of the Church. sacerdotium and imperium. the former is concerned with things divine.60 Here. but of two ministries established in the Christian Commonwealth. which the glorious Apostles. that purpose for which it had been Divinely established. and the other does rightly and properly maintain in order the commonwealth entrusted to it. was bound by the precepts of the Apostles and Fathers. Florovsky adds that As a “Divine gift. and we shall firmly hold whatever we now possess. asserts that this document was both a summary and a program. in Christianity and Culture. it was nevertheless subordinate to the Church. and in this respect “limited” by them. which will furnish whatsoever may be needful for mankind. 535. This is the case. if “the Empire” as such was not subordinate to the Hierarchy. the priesthood and the imperial authority—hierosyne and basileia. Of these. the Imperial power was “legitimate” only within the Church. Nothing is of greater concern for the emperors as the dignity of the priesthood. In any case. This purpose was the faithful maintenance and promotion of the Christian truth. We are convinced that. when sacred canons are carefully observed. there will be a certain fair harmony established. by George Florovsky.Chapter 2: Byzantine Church History Eusebius’s theories were developed in March 16. and “subordinate” to.” the Imperial power. was “independent” from the Priesthood. which defined the relationship between imperium and sacerdotium more clearly: There are two major gifts which God has given unto men of His supernal clemency. by Justinian’s preface to his Sixth Novel. Justinian clearly states the basic principle of the Byzantine political system. The legal status of the Emperor in the Commonwealth depended upon his good standing in the Church. so that priests may in their turn pray to God for them. acceptable to God.

” Thus. (89) Constantelos asserts that Constantine the Great.61 in Byzantine Philanthropy and Social Welfare (1991). two essential charitable qualities which patriarchs frequently had to remind wayward emperors to exercise. or necessary food. it was the basic element of the life of the State and of the people. They did not belong to the regular hierarchy of the Church. Florovsky continues in agreement with Sokolov. Yet. 61 220 . and besides these showing himself philanthropist and benefactor even to the heathen. Florovsky comments. and had Constantelos also traces philanthropia in the thought-world of Byzantium analyzing its Hellenic and Christian background (1-13). and were in no way “ministers of Word and sacraments. for as God governs the world so the king rules the States. was a kind of supernationality of Byzantium. not with money only. miserable and shiftless. set the example of charitable works. Regarding Constantine’s Liberality to the Poor (Chapter xliii). makes the following observation about Byzantines’ expectation regarding these qualities: The Byzantines expected their rulers to practice philanthropia and charity. emperors were supposed to have philanthropia and eusebia (beneficence and piety). he provided. to restrain force. but also decent clothing. The emperor should imitate God in beneficent works. to apply humane policies. and to show love to their subjects. who had no claim on him. and the earthly king should reflect the philanthropic attributes of the heavenly king. From this perspective of the emperor’s divine calling and following Jesus’ command (Luke 6:26). and even for the beggars in the forum. the founder of the Christian Roman Empire. they were nothing more than laymen in spite of being high dignitaries of the Church. Demetrios J. the “royal priesthood” was clearly distinguishable from the “ministerial priesthood” of the clergy (Christianity and Culture 19). (18) Orthodoxy. But in the case of those who had once been prosperous. although emperors held an exalted place in the Byzantine system.Chapter 2: Byzantine Church History profess the Orthodox faith and to take a vow of obedience to the decrees of the ecclesiastical Councils. Eusebius of Caesarea writes: He likewise distributed money largely to those who were in need. Constantelos.

Also. left unprotected by their parents’ death. so did Constantine. was the way to save the empire from collapse (Boojamra 34). while he relieved the destitution of widows. For Athanasios. the ideology of the Church on earth—and thus the empire on earth—as a reflection of the Church in heaven led Byzantines to live in constant communication with the other world and with the constant expectation of miracles. They believed that the Christian society within the empire was under the special protection of God. in a truly royal spirit. of Helena. and others again. But especially abundant were the gifts she bestowed on the naked and unprotected poor. Constantine’s mother. proceeding at early dawn from the imperial palace. as the sun. she restored from exile. Orphans of the unfortunate he cared for as a father. when he rises upon the earth. or from the bitter servitude of the mines. others she delivered from unjust oppression. Nay. she bestowed abundant proofs of her liberality as well on the inhabitants of the several cities collectively. in marriage to wealthy men with whom he was personally acquainted. demanded by the covenant relationship with God. But this he did after first bestowing on the brides such portions as it was fitting they should bring to the communion of marriage. to others an ample supply of clothing: she liberated some from imprisonment. at the same time that she scattered largesses among the soldiery with a liberal hand. giving grants of land to some. impart the rays of his own beneficence to all who came into his presence. In short. as on individuals who approached her. he even gave virgins. On such persons. as Nicol asserts. and honoring others with various dignities. To some she gave money. and rising as it were with the heavenly luminary. in the splendor of imperial authority. nor did it ever happen that any who had expected to obtain his assistance were disappointed in their hope. Caesaropapism in Byzantium? 221 . his aid was still more lavishly bestowed. Furthermore. It was scarcely possible to be near him without receiving some benefit. liberally imparts his rays of light to all. a protection that would be removed if they drifted into sin or lapsed into heresy (6). the prevalence of philanthropy and righteousness. The sacraments as well as icons or relics and monks or holy men were the regular means of communication to the celestial world. Eusebius offers the following comment about her Generosity and Beneficent Acts (Chapter xliv): For on the occasion of a circuit which she made of the eastern provinces.Chapter 2: Byzantine Church History experienced a reverse of circumstances. he conferred magnificent benefactions. and cared for them with special solicitude.

with objectionable methods. was successfully rejected by the Church. There were patriarchs who did capitulate but others such as Germanos (715-730) who opposed iconoclasm or Nicholas Mystikos (901-907 and 911-925) and Poliectus (956-970) who excommunicated emperors for non-canonical acts. Emperors also failed to impose upon the Church a compromise with Arians or a premature reconciliation with the Monophysites.Chapter 2: Byzantine Church History The relations between Church and State in Byzantium are often described in the West by the term “caesaropapism. an emperor could never impose his will when it contradicted the conscience of the church. But it should be remembered that Byzantine emperors who overstepped the invisible line between the preserves of the imperium and the preserves of the sacerdotium were frequently given hell by the bishops in this world. although vigorously championed by a whole series of emperors. honestly believe to be Orthodox. In not a single case were emperors successful when they attempted to go against the Faith of the Church or to reform the Church. whatever happened to them in the next. (8) In the area of faith and doctrine. Very often. for example. and on many occasions there were flagrant abuses by Byzantine emperors interfering with ecclesiastical matters. In Byzantine history. Church and State were closely interdependent. but it lay beyond his powers to dictate the content of those decrees: it was for the bishops 222 . Emperors could use their “power” (potestas) to enforce religious convictions which they might. Nicol asserts that “Caesaropapism” is now rightly a somewhat discredited word. both patriarchs and monks together defended the freedom of the church and showed that they had a will of their own. Yet. Boojamra states that we should use this term with caution because there were no rigid patterns to define the church-state relationship. An emperor’s task was to summon councils and to put their decrees into effect. Iconoclasm. The Church in Byzantium was strong enough to resist Imperial pressure. but neither was subordinate to the other (Boojamra 19-20).” which implies that the emperors acted as the head of the Church.

because the two were interdependent (3). aided by the political ecclesiology and reform of Patriarch Athanasios of Constantinople (1289-1293 and 1303-1309) increased its autonomy and influence. he says that “this theory sometimes left room for doubt as to where imperium ended and sacerdotium began” (3). even an identity between them (23-24). the visible head of church and state. Patterns of Development in the Relations between the Church and the State Boojamra. asserts that the roots of the reform undertaken by Athanasios of Constantinople lie in the ideas of Eusebius of Caesarea himself who identified the kingdom of God with the Roman Empire and established an intimate link. Nicol comments that the distinction between things spiritual and things temporal in the Byzantine world became very blurred. He uses the image of the soul and the body to express the two elements of the Byzantine society. was the protector of Orthodoxy. Bishops were appointed by God to teach the faith. adding that: “Just as there was only one God in heaven there could be only one ruler on earth. as the empire declined. it was said. Emperors had to observe the legal or canonical form and had to act with the consent and concurrence of the Priesthood (1922). Boojamra delineates a pattern of historical development of the relations between these two spheres of the Byzantine society from the fourth to the fourteenth century. and that was the Emperor of the Romans.Chapter 2: Byzantine Church History gathered in council to decide what the true faith was. The Emperor was God’s regent on earth. It is necessary to add that some Patriarchs also often overstepped the limits of their jurisdiction (Nicol 3). but not its exponent (Monks at Decany Monastery). Furthermore. the Church and empire. By the fourteenth century. the church. who has done an historical review of the relations between the Church and the Byzantine Empire. In agreement with Boojamra. Based upon this lack of delimitation between the Church and the State. whereas the Emperor. As 223 .

he asserts that by the sixth century. The term “Symphonia” (“symphony” or “harmony”) defines the relationship between the Church and the State. In theory. the political ecclesiology was firmly established. The Epanagoge spelled out anew the importance of the patriarch with respect to the Emperor. Haldon. the Epanagoge (about 880). Commenting on this relationship. then the priesthood was liberated from its duties to the imperium. As a unified whole. Patriarch Photius—perhaps best known for his leading role in the conversion of the Slavic peoples—was responsible for a new legal code. (132) Thus. states that: A fundamental feature of the East Roman Church was the close politicalideological relationship it held with the secular power. with some exceptions. if the emperor confronted that faith. established an unbreakable association. it was inevitable that the Emperor played an active part in the affairs of the Church and would use the state’s coercive power to support the defined dogmas of the Christian faith in return for the support of an honorable priesthood. as a consequence of the iconoclastic fiasco of the Isaurian emperors in the eight century. They were parts of a single organism. the ecclesiastical authority moved from the passivity of Justinian’s schema to the more parallel postulation Epanogoge. a History (2000). by saying that both worked in harmony. The Church it was assumed should cater for the spiritual needs of the Christian flock. Thereafter it continued to set limits to—only to legitimize—the actions of emperor and patriarch. of the patriarch in ecclesiastical matters and of the emperor in secular affairs. the former having care 224 . but the onus was on the secular ruler both to defend correct belief as well as to protect the interests of the Church –in the form of the honor and respect accorded the priestly office. Boojamra further explains that in the ninth century. it sprang from a parallelism. In its most abstract form it was understood as a relationship of mutual dependence. there was no rigid separation between them. a power embodied by the emperor. rooted in both Romano-Hellenistic political concepts and Christian theology. in Byzantium. a parity. Although there was still harmony. The development in the fourth century of an imperial Christian ideological system.Chapter 2: Byzantine Church History suggested above.

a direct challenge to one aspect of the imperial authority” (142). It was in a way a reassertion of the Byzantine principle that church and state must work together in unity. ecclesiastical or otherwise. the daughter of Constantine VII.Chapter 2: Byzantine Church History of the bodies and the other of the souls of the people (Nicol 26). at least regarding issues of morality (142). the Emperor usually got his way (113). Hussey adds that is probably what was implied in Tzimisces’ often-quoted statement on the priesthood and Empire rather than any implication that the priesthood had overruling control: “I acknowledge two powers in this life: the priesthood and the empire. to be crowned emperor. the emperor opposed the church’s accumulation of land and in 964 issued an edict that prohibited any increase in church real estate. He also had to revoke the laws restricting monastic and church possessions. As retaliation. Nevertheless. during the tenth century. though in matters affecting the temporal well-being of the state. According to Haldon. Fearing Photius. John Tzimisces had to expel his mistress and marry Theodora. The Creator of the world has entrusted to the former the care of souls and to the latter the care of bodies. Hussey believes that these were politic concessions and did not necessarily mean that John I would grant a free hand to property owners. Consequently. there was a confrontation between Patriarch Polyeuktos (956-970) and Emperor John Tzimisces (969-976). Yet. Photius had started to elaborate “the theory of the patriarchal position in the direction of raising his status in the hierarchical relationship God-emperor-patriarch at the expense of that of the emperor. the well-being of the world is 225 . If neither part is damaged. the church. Photius’ attempt marked a shift in the nature of the relationship between emperor and patriarch after the end of iconoclasm. and due to the increase in the influence of the patriarchate. and the monasteries. when this patriarch refused communion to the Emperor for a year because of his marriage to his mistress Theaphano. Leo VI exiled him.

the dignity of the patriarchs is limited to the benefit of souls and to that only” (Balsamon. and troubles the emperor about this. consequently. Boojamra. 226 . If then someone abandons going to a higher synod. 1014-34). the archbishop of Ochrid in Bulgaria from 1217-35.63 This was rightly said. Yet. saying. the canonist Demetrios Chomatianos. observes the following: “the service of the emperors includes the enlightening and strengthening of both the soul and the body. what is being emphasized in this passage is interdependence (114). Thus. Yet. because the emperor was the God-crowned ruler 62 63 Translation taken from Ernest Baker (101). Also see Nicol. c. 27.4. But the appeal is not to be submitted to the ears of the emperor on account of this annoyance. not only shall he derive no benefit by as one not being worthy of pardon. the most significant of Byzantine canon writers. Following this chronological thread. Boojamra is right when he relates the fact that the lack of a written constitution paralleled the lack of a formal delimitation of the powers of the patriarch and the emperor and. in Boojamra. Balsamon comments on Antioch.62 In the twelfth century.Chapter 2: Byzantine Church History secure. Qtd. 3. PG138. in the thirteenth century.” For this historian. the relationship of the Church to the State returned to fifth century terms due to an increase in imperial power. quoting Theodore Balsamon. the Byzantines faced the problem of how far the emperor could act in ecclesiastical matters. wrote that “the emperor has all the prerogatives of a priest except the right of administering the sacrament”. and disputes the proper form of pleas of justification in the rules of appeal. but all doors of justification will be fastened against him and he will have no hope of restoration Such statements reflect his belief that decisions of ecclesiastical courts must not appeal to the emperor because such appeals granted the emperor opportunities to interfere in church affairs.

The Turkish occupation of Gallipoli in 1354. Antonios IV answered that there was a still an emperor on the throne and that a Church without an emperor was an absurdity (4). in the mid-fourteen century. Meyendorff thinks that. is established by God for the purpose of being a new David and to support the hierosyne (30). Athanasios shows that he favors mutuality and tells Emperor Andronikos (1282-1328): “Will not each of us have to render an account to the Creator of the world for that which has been entrusted to us?” Athanasios. in 1393. Nicol tells how Basil I.Chapter 2: Byzantine Church History and protector of the Christian world (3). the protector of faith. although deeply rooted in the tradition of a united political ecclesiology represented. and the compromised imperial power after the enforced Union of Lyons (1274) (27)”. For Boojamra. had never exercised so 227 . For him the emperor. with the Turks hammering at the gates of the city. the Church was emotionally liberated from the State. resulting from Andronikos’s weak leadership. suggested that although the Church survived. 1453. Yet. the Grand Duke of Moscow. the idea of an ecumenical empire whose visible head was the emperor persisted to the very last days of Byzantium. at the end of the century. we can detect bi-directionalism due to the enforced Union of Lyons. a declining empire. as an institution. “as the empire was reduced to a shadow of itself. Athanasios represents the transfer of power to the church. After Athanasios. the Church. he also narrates how the Patriarch of Constantinople. “a turning point in the actual power of the church. there was no emperor to lead society. Nevertheless. Boojamra adds. marked the beginning of a century-long process of Turkish occupation that culminated in the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople in May 29. in the fourteenth century. Boojamra points out that Athanasios’s ecclesiastical reform was rooted in the clear distinction between the Christian empire and the Church (24). Each of these spheres would go its own way. Yet. However.

formerly under the emperors. finished with the conquest of Constantinople. Meyendorff adds. This. Finally. Yet. It fell short of the high ideal it set itself.” Also. The process of independence of the basileia and the hierosyne. So they strove to create a polity entirely Christian in its principles of government and in its daily life. and they held that it was therefore possible to baptize not human individuals only but the whole spirit and organization of society. rather uncommon in previous centuries. and to the monastic take-over after 1347 of the high church administration (The Byzantine Legacy 129-130). the church was freed from imperial control and became the universal arbiter. supreme value that the empire had become for the church. they assert it “can always be discerned the great vision by which the Byzantines were inspired: to establish here on earth a living image of God’s government in heaven. as Nicol says. the attempt had a danger into which they fell: the identification of the earthly kingdom of Byzantium with the Kingdom of God. they added. who lived on earth as a man. Mount Athos. it was a 228 . might have helped the alliance between monastic circles and the church hierarchy. The monks at Decany Monastery wonder if the Byzantines were entirely wrong: They believed that Christ. became a patriarchal jurisdiction. started by Athanasios. Byzantium in fact was nothing less than an attempt to accept and to apply the full implications of the Incarnation. In a world where the distinction between things spiritual and things temporal was often blurred. thus putting an end to the myth of the eternal empire. It is true that some Orthodox theologians of today have criticized and considered a tragedy the Byzantine identification of Church and society –the idea of Christian society for which it stands—and the absolute.Chapter 2: Byzantine Church History much influenced both inside and outside of the imperial frontiers (The Byzantine Legacy 129). has redeemed every aspect of human existence.” Perhaps. the church had triumphed. conditioned by Muslim rule. for all Orthodox Christians within the Ottoman Empire (33). but behind all the shortcomings of Byzantium.

Your own research: Write a short biography Photius. as are liturgical regulations governing the cycle of Orthodox services today. Patriarch of Constantinople. 2. Nevertheless. as a result of the iconodule victories in ninth century. because not only administratively but also psychologically and in its own selfawareness the church merged itself within the empire. this union of the Church and the State was a fact of Byzantium life (5). The monastic life had first emerged as a definite institution in Egypt and Syria during the fourth century. and b) the patterns of development in these relations. then. there was a more general growth in the power. the impact of monasticism on Orthodox Christianity was all encompassing and far-reaching. It influenced the changing of the traditional relationship between church and state. Activity 1. It is not surprising. Indeed. until 1453. Explain a) the original relations between the State and the Church. In the iconoclast crisis. The development in the area of iconography—as well as that of liturgy—would be inconceivable without the contribution of Byzantine monasticism. monasticism certainly had outspoken leadership and both Theodore Studites and John of Damascus protested 229 . monasticism dominated the ecclesiastical life. and from there it spread rapidly across Christendom. Activity 49: Relations between the State and the Church in Byzantium Monasticism Monasticism played a decisive part in the religious life and public life of Byzantium. authority. already mentioned. As we have seen. and prestige of the Byzantine Orthodox Church as the empire faced a progressive degeneration. that paralleling monasticism’s growth in both strength and influence. The victory of the Church against iconoclasm was by and large the work of Byzantine monks.Chapter 2: Byzantine Church History tragedy.

and the piety and religious practices of Byzantium. this tendency was accelerated when the Palaiologan emperor lost the allegiance of the people after the usurpation of the Lascarid throne by Michael VIII (1261-82) in 1261 and the violence it employed. during the time of Patriarch Athanasios (1282-1328 and 1303-1309). Hussey says that the strengthening of widespread monastic influence on the actual policy of the Byzantine state really took place rather later. In the cities monasteries administered orphanages. In the thirteenth century. As Papadakis asserts. often with no formal education. the Church often recruited its episcopate from the countless monastic communities dotting the Byzantine countryside. poor houses. by the eleventh century.Chapter 2: Byzantine Church History against imperial interference in ecclesiastical affairs (Hussey 37). Monasticism flourished and greatly influenced and guided the course of theology. because they are not monastics. after the development of the powerful houses on Mount Athos. craft schools. in Greece. Indeed. the veneration of icons. Athos. and. Mount Athos became the international center of Orthodox monasticism (36). one monastery on Mt. provided the Church with 26 230 . especially against conservative monastics. Boojamra (7-8) records a complaint of the so-called secular or parochial clergy about Patriarch Athanasios and his refusal to allow their advancement as bishops and patriarchs. In the countryside. to enforce the hated Union of Lyons. and particularly as the state weakened after 1204. rest homes. served the church in an administrative and spiritual capacity church—most patriarchs were chosen from this group. besides producing 144 bishops. a great number of monks. Also. The power of monasticism further increased with the triumph of hesychasm. this had been a common complaint earlier in the period after the victory over iconoclasm (843). and hospitals. monasteries functioned as agricultural communes.

which did not exist as a permanent institution before the fourth century. and Antioch all now fell and were under the absolute. It was due to its essentially Christian goals. an unqualified disaster. virtually two thirds of the patriarchs of Constantinople between the ninth and the thirteenth centuries were monastics. Furthermore. as well as numerous other ancient Christian centers and great ecclesiastical cities such as Jerusalem. A Quick Note on the Captive Church For the Orthodox Church the conquest of Constantinople in 1453 was a great misfortune. Monasticism called for the renunciation of the world and the personal search for holiness.” Papadakis believes that monasticism’s charismatic and eschatological witness was crucial to establish the relationship between the Byzantine Empire and the Church when the latter was in danger of identifying itself with the state and becoming worldly. in the fourteenth century. Later. piety. Papadakis adds. social. and general Church life. Monasticism’s fierce opposition to any compromise of the Christian vision was crucial in the Church’s survival and independence. The monastic presence always was a reminder of the Church’s true nature and identification with another Kingdom. Alexandria. prayer. 1355-1363) and Philotheos Kokkinos (1354-1355. 1364-1376) often promoted the growth of the monastic power. and thereby losing its eschatological dimension. Patriarchs Kallistos I (1350-1354. the monastic element began to dominate the life of the church. political and 231 .Chapter 2: Byzantine Church History patriarchs. after the triumph of hesychasm. lay not in any particular passage of the Gospel but in its totality. Boojamra adds. The foundation of monasticism. “enabling the church to pursue policies at odds with those of the empire (8). that asceticism spread and influenced Orthodox spirituality. The vast lands of Asia Minor.

com>. but under great Muslim persecution and oppression. The Church was not extinguished and even its administration continued to function.tripod. Thousands of them suffered martyrdom. including the ancient sees of the Near East (Antioch. surprisingly enough. Patriarchs were deposed or murdered. With Russian being the exception. All Orthodox churches under Ottoman territory were under the Patriarch of Constantinople. Christians 64 See: <www. Jerusalem. during the next four hundred years.countryturkmenistan. Christians were treated as second-class citizen or infidels. and schools were closed and destroyed. in spite of the alleged. Let us look at a map depicting the Ottoman Empire in 1580: Illustration 40: Ottoman Empire (1580)64 Yet these Christians centers were once united by Constantinople. but very restricted toleration—as an Abrahamic religion—that Islam exerted. Eastern Christendom would be isolated from the west and confined within a hostile Islamic world. in the final analysis. 232 . patriarchs gained civil as well as ecclesiastical power over all Christianity in Ottoman territory. Yet. This was a time of struggle for Christians. monasteries.Chapter 2: Byzantine Church History religious control of Islam previously. Besides. Churches. and Alexandria) and the Slavic churches. the life of the Orthodox in the Balkan and Asia Minor continued.

there are still vast numbers of Christians in Asia Minor deprived by Muslim governments of their basic human rights. also achieved greater freedom. Finally. there were a series of vicious massacres under militant communist atheism (as well as under Muslims. Such confinement. 233 . Missionary work among Muslims was quite dangerous while conversion to Islam was legal. Athanasius in Rome (open in 1577) and sent to the East. and frequently enforced and obligatory. the Orthodox Church could do nothing to stop the pressure. for example the genocide of several million Armenian Christians by the Turks). Some of the brutality suffered by the Orthodox Church in Ottoman lands came to an end with the liberation of Greece from the Turkish yoke in 1821. Nowadays. It was impossible to build new churches buildings or worship openly. many other churches. at the beginning of the 20th century. which was geographical as well as intellectual. both the Slavic and those belonging to the ancient sees of the Near East. Confined as it was. Shortly afterwards a synod of bishops declared the Greek Church autocephalous.Chapter 2: Byzantine Church History could not openly bear witness to Christ. after the breakup of the Ottoman Empire. Nevertheless. The Church was also affected by the Turkish system of corruption since the patriarchal throne was bestowed upon the highest bidder and the new patriarchal investiture was accompanied by payments to the government. as we will see in our next chapter. The pride and glory of the first centuries of Byzantium in which the imperium and the sacerdotium were the image of heaven on earth gave way to a painful ordeal first for the imperium. The Uniat Ukrainian Church in 1596 is partly the result of this pressure. also explains Orthodoxy’s silence during the Reformation in the sixteenth century Europe. Missionaries were formed in special schools such as the College of St. especially to the Slavic world. Along with these conditions we should mention Rome’s proselytizing of the Orthodox at the end of the sixteenth centuries.

until the twentieth century the Eastern Christendom has struggled amidst great obstacles and persecution. From them.’ Activity Describe the Orthodox Church under the Ottoman Empire. for the Orthodox Church constraint by the Islam. injustices and outrages. then. its religious mission and political concepts had borne fruit among the Slavic peoples of eastern Europe and especially among the Russians. b) body or development. Constantinople was to the early Middle Ages what Athens and Rome had been to classical times. and c) concluding paragraph. the Faith survives (Fitzgerald. in spite of indignities. Follow the following diagram: a) introductory or topic paragraph. Situated at the cross-roads of East and West. Activity 51: Final activity on History of Byzantium 234 .Chapter 2: Byzantine Church History succumbing to the Ottoman power and. Add your own reflection. the “City”. Yet. acted as the disseminator of culture for all peoples who came in contact with the empire. There have been more martyrs during this period than during the great persecutions of the early Church. Activity 50: The Captive Orthodox Church Final Activity Having read this second chapter and done all its activities. Papadakis). that brought so many difficulties to Constantinople. write a five-page paper incorporating its main ideas. By the time the empire collapsed in 1453. who were to lay claim to the Byzantine tradition and called Moscow the ‘Third Rome. as it was justifiably called.

Alexander Schmemann. as it cannot be separated from its Byzantine origins. 235 . in greater detail with religious aspects. Just as Orthodoxy is one of the major factors in Russian history. This is especially true regarding the struggles between Church and State. In this chapter dealing with the History of the Russian Church we will focus mainly on the development of the Russian Church across another period of thousand years. namely the Kievan. and the Petersburg period: The history of the Russian Church cannot be separated from the history of Russia. For clarity.Chapter 3: Russian Church History Chapter 3 RUSSIAN CHURCH HISTORY (IX-XX CENTURIES)65 INTRODUCTION After having seen the development of the Early Christian community (Chapter 1) and the Byzantine Church (Chapter 2). separately. a period from the end of the tenth century to the beginning of the twentieth-first. as we deal with the unique religious outlook of Russians. Even the simplest delineation of the development of the Church inevitably includes a definite attitude toward Russia’s past. The Russian Church and the Early Christian Church have in common this struggle between Church and State in common—a struggle in which the Church has always been triumphant. as well as the complexity of this period which covered a thousand years. 65 See list of Russian rulers in Appendix E. in “The Historical Road of Eastern Orthodoxy” says that in all three basic stages he distinguishes in his evaluation of Russia’s historical development. We concentrate on the History of the Russian Church (Chapter 3). It will be noticed that there undoubtedly existed a link between political and cultural events. in Chapter 2 I dealt extensively with the political and cultural aspects of the Byzantine Empire and. The reason for this separation was both the length. we approach the last section of the Church History of the Orthodox Church. so the destiny of Russia defined the fate of Russian Orthodoxy. Muscovite.

With short periods of relief for the Church from persecution. in which Russians searched for spirituality and the mirror in which the Russians saw spirituality reflected. However after the fall of Constantinople to the Turks the Church of Russia proclaimed itself the Third Rome. twenty-six bishops and six thousand seven hundred and fifty-five priests were martyred by the Bolshevists. But the persecutions which had accompanied the Orthodox Church since its formative stages resumed in Russia with an unusual strength during the rule of the atheist Bolshevists in 1917. In this way he set an example for Catherine II and the tsars who succeeded her. This occurred late in the sixteenth century. Although. as a grown-up daughter its own patriarchate. four theological seminaries were created and missions among the Israelites. it never ceased to be considered as its spiritual head the Patriarchate of Constantinople from whom it had received Christianity. the Patriarch of Constantinople granted it. It was in the Byzantine Church. Peter the Great worked toward the betterment of the clergy by founding clerical schools and reforming the monasteries. and during seven decades it was on the verge of complete destruction (Kallinikos). as well as thousands and millions of faithful and other victims. But certain factors. such 236 . However. in 1721 Peter the Great suppressed the creation of a permanent administrative Synod. In this period.Chapter 3: Russian Church History The Church of Russia. which had its seat at Petrograde. trying to compel the Church to be silenced. the confrontation between the Church and the Communist state continued. while he accepted the Patriarchs of the East. subsequently at Vladimir in 1229 or eventually at Moscow in 1328. the fifth Patriarchate of the Eastern Church. being afraid of the power of the Church. during the time of Ivan the Terrible. During the years 1918. regardless of the place where it had its center or the time when it initially had its seat at Kiev. Tartars and Japanese flourished as in former times. It is true that in 1588. 1919 and 1920 alone.

Secondly. Fifthly I will focus on the twentieth century from 1917.Chapter 3: Russian Church History as historical calamities. This period began. the distinctive character and complex history of Russia. Thirdly. Orthodoxy was confronted with the beliefs and political policies of militant atheists who 237 . the year of the restoration of the Russian Patriarchate. the assault on the stardom. A crucial date and event the Bolshevik revolution of 1917. as this event caused the temporary decay of Orthodoxy. We will begin with the Kievan period (IX-XII centuries). and when the spiritual and political views of the country were changed. and a period of almost seven decades under Communist dictatorship (1917-1991). to the secular state bureaucracy. in which I will describe the renewal movement of the church. as already mentioned in the context of discussing the Byzantine Church’s mission to the Slavs at the end of the tenth century with Prince Vladimir of Kiev’s baptism (9721015) in 988 and his continued and further change of the nature of religion among his people. we will focus on the Tartar yoke and the emergence of the Principality of Moscow (XIII-XV centuries). the Byzantine Church’s temporal surrender to the Papacy and its final fall to the Islam. a period in which we witness the abolition of the Russian patriarchate by Peter the Great and the subordination of the Church to the Holy Synod. It was during this important period when Russia broke its ecclesiastical dependence on Constantinople. This period also covers the first years of the twentieth century up to 1917. we will concentrate on the Church in Imperial Russia (XVIII-XX Centuries). we will study the period of two centuries that covers the struggles between the Possessors and the Non-Possessors and the eventual great schism. a time in which both persecution and some success existed side by side. made the Russian Church a unique center of Easter Orthodoxy. and the end of the Holy Synod. Fourthly.

Church Slavonic. In the second place. The Kievan period of the Christian conversion of the Rus (IX-XII centuries) 2. from whom the Russians would import the texts of worship. the evangelizing mission undertaken by the two Greek brothers from the Balkans. To summarize. who assumed power at Kiev (the main Russian city 238 . most especially the Serbs and Bulgarians. Oleg. I will divide the discussion into five periods: 1. 1. Around 864. some years later. in spite Photius’ failure to convert the Slavs. The period from the Possessors and Non-Possessors to the Great Schism (XVIXVII Centuries) 4. In the first place. but. had a great significance and importance for Christianity taking root in Russia. Cyril and Methodius. A Time of Persecution and Rebirth: The Russian Orthodox Church in the XX Century (1917-) For Pospielovsky. It also heralded the advent of a new language. KIEVAN PERIOD (IX-XIII CENTURIES): THE BAPTISM OF RUSSIA AND THE FLOWERING OF KIEVAN CHRISTIANITY As already noted. The Tartar-Mongol Yoke and the Emergence of the Principality of Moscow (XIII-XV Centuries) 3. It was a language which became the ecclesiastical lingua franca of the Slavs. the Kievan or pre-Mongol period corresponds to Russian Antiquity and the thirteenth-seventeenth centuries correspond to the Medieval Age. The Church in Imperial Russia: The Synodical Period (1700-1917) 5. once the evangelizing process had started. the teaching of the faith in the language of the local people elevated the vernacular to a sacred language of worship. historically although perhaps merely indirectly. Photius had sent a bishop to Russia with the intention to evangelize Russia. it infiltrated into Russia. The last century and a half of the Medieval period can be considered a transitional period from the Medieval to the Modern Age—a pale reflection of the European Renaissance (The Orthodox Church in the History of Russia 37).Chapter 3: Russian Church History tried to eliminate Christianity from Russian.

converted to the Byzantine form of Christianity. But despite this infiltration and the influence of Byzantium. and not from the West with it Frankish Teutonic tradition of knighthood and military honor” (19). Sviatoslav. that “the Church the Russians were familiar with came from Byzantium. In contrast to the western tradition. This meant. their choice of Orthodoxy once they had already become familiar with the great religions of the world—Islam. Judaism. where military exploits were seen as barbarism. as Zernov comments in The Russians and their Church (1978). It was also a clear sign. Olga. Pospielovsky asserts. like his immediate successors—Igor. in The Orthodox Church in the History of Russia. Olga. the god of fire and lightning. she failed to covert her son. Prince Igor’s widow. who justified this rejection by saying that his warriors would laugh at him.Chapter 3: Russian Church History at this time) in 878 exterminated this first Christian foundation (Ware 78). Also. Paralleled with this was the fact of the Kievan Prince Vladimir’s consulting the wisest men before deciding to be baptized and the end of the tenth century and join the Eastern Orthodox Church. In 955. In their pagan background. displayed a measure of religious tolerance towards its inhabitants. However. Eastern Christianity was less 239 . and Vladimir—was pagan. that in the minds of the Russians Christianity was associated with pacifism. and western Christianity—due to their vital link they formed between Europe and Asia though their rivers Dnieper and Volga which facilitated international trade. Oleg. Eastern Christianity. the Slavs had a well-developed pantheon of pagan gods akin to those of the Vikings. the conversion of Rus’ to Christianity was also the outcome of the significant affinity of Russian character with Orthodox Christianity. Saviatoslaw. and Vladimir even actively cultivated the cult of Perun. A relevant fact that predicates on this harmony was. the ancient Russian country. he says. centered around the city of Kiev.

By the time of the earliest Russian literature in the eleventh century it had become clear that these erstwhile Viking rulers had adopted the medieval Slav language. the Radomichi. 67 Quoted in Pospielvsky (The Orthodox Church in the History of Russia 23-24). Archaeological finds in ancient Russian cities such as Staraya Ladoga and Gorodische (later to become Novgorod) indicate that the Rus were Viking raiders from Scandinavia (mostly likely from Birka in Sweden) who set up trading posts along the rivers running along a north-south axis across the plains of present-day European Russia to the capital of the Byzantine Empire. Ukraine. which helped the transition without causing much upheaval or any great struggle. Further. describing them as a warlike nation with an eye for trade. as already suggested. the Severians and the Vyatichi— introducing Scandinavian customs and military retainers and organizing the occasional raid on Byzantium. while Scandinavian names now became recognizably Slav: Vladimir (the Viking Valdamar). Olga (Helga). fidelity. Also in contrast with the pride and honor of the West. While the former saw society as an extended family. as a social organism.Chapter 3: Russian Church History institutionalized and more oriented to the beauty of worship and divine mercy and forgiveness (5). of the difference between the Russians and the West Europeans. and a degree of fatalism existed in Russian mass culture. The Viking Rus ruled over a number of Eastern Slav tribes—the Drevlians. and Belarus all claim Kievan Rus as their cultural and political ancestor. that they heard the Gospel preached and the services celebrated in It should be noted that contemporary Russia. says that pre-Christian Rus’ worship of the mother earth may preclude Russian veneration of the Mother of God and the fact that motherhood has been stressed by the Russians to a greater degree than the fact of Mary’s virginity. 66 240 . The Russians had now appeared on the scene as a nation (“A History of the Russian Church”). which resulted in an ethical characteristic of the Russian male as well. the latter developed their unique traditions of knighthood. in The Russian Religious Mind. congenial with Eastern Orthodoxy. This is the source. THE RUS66 The first mention of the Rus or Ros people occurs in seventh century Arab chronicles. the female values of humility.67 Another factor favoring the rapid advance of Christianity among Russians was. and Igor (Ingvar). Fedotov. Table 24: The Rus’ Zernov also points out that there were some features of the Russian pagan background. according to Fedotov. Constantinople.

around the year 98869 by envoys sent to the Greeks to query as to the appropriateness of a faith for the emerging Russian state. there had existed among the Russians Christian communities and rulers. for surely there is no such splendor or beauty anywhere upon earth. Yet. We see that these envoys focused on the core that the divine. For we cannot forget that beauty.D. that God dwells there among men. bastard son. For example. They were also profoundly influenced by the beauty and artistic perfection of the Byzantine rite. there already existed at least since the fourth century Greek colonies with numerous Christian See “Kievan Rus” in the Glossary. 241 . mystery and beauty occupied in worship. when converted.70 Paradoxically. Not too many Russian rulers after him were granted this honor. human sacrifices were made to pagan gods and Christians were actively persecuted. Sviatoslav. This aesthetics of divine beauty and holiness laid the foundation of the Russian culture for the next thousand-years. Pospielovsky says that. a culture that emerged from the adoption of Byzantine Orthodox Christianity by Vladimir. Conventionally. A. If we remember the following words cited from the twelfth-century Tale of Bygone Years: “We knew not whether we were in heaven or on earth.Chapter 3: Russian Church History their native tongue. before Vladimir’s option for Christianity. but they returned with reports of the gloominess. We are told that he also sent envoys to the German assumed to be representatives of western Christianity. He was later canonized a saint by the Orthodox Church. in Vladimir’s reign.” These words were retold to the pagan ruler of Kievan Rus68 Prince Vladimir. 988 is regarded as the year that Christianity came to the Russian people as the religion of the realm. boredom and lack of mystery of the Latin mass. and that their worship surpasses the worship of all other places. 69 70 68 Mass is the term used to describe celebration of the Eucharist in Western liturgical rites. We cannot describe it to you: only this we know. he placed a heavy emphasis on the social implications of Christianity.

By becoming Christian. Pospielovsky also 71 See: <www. 242 .Chapter 3: Russian Church History churches in several places along the Black Sea coast. there would probably not have developed the European Christian civilization as we know it” (21). which instead responded with hostility and invasions. It was also in the fourth century that St John Chrysostom. Russia would be the youngest nation to join a powerful Byzantine commonwealth on equal terms.redeemer.calpha. This historian says “had this occurred. it is perhaps not only religious but also political reasons that were behind Vladimir’s conversion to Christianity. This political element in the adoption of Christianity was symbolized by Vladimir’s marriage to the Byzantine Princess Anna (“A History of the Russian Church”). mentioned a Gothic Church on the Black Sea litoral who worshipped in their own language and even made quite extraordinary missionary progress (The Orthodox Church in the History of Russia 1617). Pospielovsky asserts that the fact that Vladimir chose Christianity over Islam— another option he had. along with Judaism—hasn’t been acknowledged by the west. Illustration 41: Prince Vladimir71 However. the archbishop of Constantinople.ca>.

Andrew as the first evangelizer of Russia most likely belongs to the realm of pious legend. The Russians were the only people in Europe who remained outside this influence. Finnic. and Lithuanian tribes) of the vast territories he ruled. The tradition of the Russian Orthodox Church has it that the hilltop upon which the city of Kiev would later arise was visited by the Lord’s disciple St. the Bible. the threefold ministry and parish organization. It might perhaps appear too direct and too spontaneous to other more learned and sophisticated Christians. however. The tradition of the Russian Orthodox Church has it that the hilltop upon which the city of Kiev would later arise was visited by the Lord’s disciple St. the Creed. Vladimir’s emphasis on the 243 . but it contained new and deep insight into Christian truth and stressed a side of Church life which was neglected by other traditions. The story of St. Andrew in Kiev The Russians had in common with other Christians. had an effect in the popular choice of the name ‘Andrei’ (Andrew) among Kievan princes and notables (“A History of the Russian Church”). and much less institutional than the Latin. The majority of Christians saw the Church in the light of the Greek and Latin theological writings. (“A History of the Russian Church”) Table 25: St. However. Andrew as early as the first century and who prophesied that the Gospel would be preached in these lands. (6-7) Prince Vladimir’s death in 1015 was followed by a violent period caused by the subject of succession to the throne of Kiev. a legend which. The story of St. Andrew as early as the first century and who prophesied that the Gospel would be preached in these lands. however. had an effect in the popular choice of the name ‘Andrei’ (Andrew) among Kievan princes and notables.Chapter 3: Russian Church History states that Vladimir needed some common faith to unify the people (Slavonic. a legend which. the Russians found their own approach to it. Their attitude to religion was much less philosophical than the Byzantine. and this made it possible for them to understand Christianity in their own way. but as Zernov adds But having in common with others the fundamental elements of their newly acquired religion. The first Christian ruler of Russia had left no system by which his kin would become rulers. Andrew as the first evangelizer of Russia most likely belongs to the realm of pious legend. He had gained controlled over he whole of Rus’ and annexed what are today Galicia and Carpathian Ruthena from Poland and the land of the Lithuanian tribe of Yatviags.

based on his conviction that torture and capital punishment were nor in accordance with Christianity. Vladimir Monomakh (1053–1125) continued this thread of Christianity. that the Greek Orthodox religion really began to take hold in Russia. Do not bury your wealth in the ground. but feed them. chose serenely to sacrifice their lives and follow Christ’s example instead of defending themselves against their half brother Svyatopolk. Religion played a big part in Monomakh’s early life as well as later on in his rule. Vladimir’s great grandson. be judges in the cause of widows and do not let the powerful oppress the weak. Remember that riches come from God and are given you only for a short time. Princes Boris and Gleb. They were venerated for their humility when confronted by an evil destiny and their example has been upheld as an image of a peculiar “kenotic” type of Russian Christian spirituality whereby evil is conquered not through pragmatism or forced response but by a self-emptying to the point of death (“A History of the Russian Church”). 72 In English this is more commonly referred to as The Primary Chronicle. For it is not fasting.” he wrote: My children. Put to death neither the innocent nor the guilty. Do not desert the sick. nor monastic life that will procure you eternal life. to-morrow in the coffin. “the Cursed”. His two youngest sons. Vladimir. The two brothers died as “passion-bearers of Christ”. to-day full of hope. 244 . for 72 we must all die. In “A Charge to my Children. He was a man of many gifts and the most outstanding ruler of the Kiev period of Russian history. and love men. who also displayed the typical Russian interpretation of Eastern Christianity. Forget not the poor. 978-1054). praise God. He was married to a daughter of the Byzantine emperor Constantine Monomachos. Be fathers to orphans. for example was in favor of relaxing the laws against evil-doers.Chapter 3: Russian Church History social implications of Christianity was inherited by his immediate successors. Yaroslav the Wise (c. nor solitude. but only doing good. do not let the sight of corpses terrify you. for nothing is so sacred as the life and the soul of a Christian. this is against the precepts of Christianity. It was under his father. in his attempt to become the sole ruler of the country. Abhor lying. Drive out of your heart all suggestions of pride and remember that we are all mortal.

73 As Zernov states. 245 . His words were received as from a high authority because he behaved in accordance with his teaching (9-10). expressed ideals universally shared by Russian Christians. as in Byzantium and the medieval west. monasteries played an important role in the Christianization of Kievan Rus’. St.vladimir-russia. St Theodosius (died 1074) 73 74 Qtd. both political and religious. The most influential of them was the Monastery of the Caves—Petchersky Lavra—founded as a semi-eremitic brotherhood by St. in Zernov (25). Without having quitted his country. Anthony. Anthony. subsequently given to the Monastery of the Caves. Endeavor constantly to obtain knowledge. a thing which won for him the admiration of foreigners. His emphasis on divine mercy was to be at the very heart of many of Russia’s most prominent personalities.Chapter 3: Russian Church History drunkenness and debauchery. my father learned five foreign languages. His successor. a Russian.info>. one of the best educated Princes of that time in Europe. Illustration 42: Vladimir Monomakh74 Ware asserts that in Kievan Russia. in “A charge to my Children” Vladimir Monomakh. from which he developed his own spirituality. had lived on Mount Athos in northern Greece. See: <www.

and Theodosius were all intensely concerned with the practical implications of the Gospel: Vladimir in his concern for social justice 75 See: <www. the Roman Church was rarely viewed with antagonism.com>. even after the schism between the Churches of Rome and Constantinople in 1056. The dynastic marriages between the princes of Kiev and the royal houses of Europe. St. most notably between Prince Vladimir Monomakh and Princess Ghita. Furthermore. Illustration 43: St. identifying himself closely with the poor. like Vladimir. Boris and Gleb. Theodosius75 Moreover.Ware adds that: Vladimir. Theodosius. despite the occasional anti-Latin rhetoric in the writings of St. 246 . daughter of the English King Harold. and applied it radically. would seem to indicate a continuing Christian fellowship between the western and Russian Churches that would be extinguished only with the Mongol invasion in the early thirteenth century (A History of the Russian Church). Francis of Assisi did in the West (79-80).Chapter 3: Russian Church History reorganized the brotherhood and introduced a full community into the structure of the Monastery. Theodosius was conscious of the social consequences of Christianity.in2greece. not unlike the way as St.

The architectural complex of the Monastery the way it looks today is truly grandiose. Theodosius in his selfidentification with the humble.Chapter 3: Russian Church History and his desire to treat criminals with mercy.com>. the Russian Church was subject to Constantinople. and Lavra is an honorific title given to a monastery of extra-size and religious importance (“The Pechersk Lavra Monastery”). the Metropolitans of Russia were usually Greek. The church sits above the main entrance gate of the Monastery and is consequently called Nadvratna . as for the origin of the bishops. and until 1237. These four saints embody some of the most attractive features in Kievan Christianity. 76 Pechersk stands for pechery. even after the Mongol invasion. From 1237 during the Kievan period. 77 See: <www.«the one above the gate». (80) The Pechesrk76 Lavra Monastery came into being in the eleventh century and for nine centuries its territory was expanding with new buildings being added to it through the centuries. It is almost a miracle it has survived as the Monastery itself was throughout its history the object of so many enemy attacks. The full name of the church is Troitska Nadvratna Tserkva . Most of the buildings in the Monastery date from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries and are excellent examples of Ukrainian Baroque style in architecture and there is only one church in the Monastery that has been preserved from the twelfth century with very few architectural changes introduced since then. 247 .«The Holy Trinity Church above the Gate». of devastating fires and of other crippling misfortunes.allrussiatours. On a sunny day one is almost dazzled by the reflections from the innumerable golden domes above churches and belfries. (“The Pechersk Lavra Monastery”) Table 26: Lavra Monastery. a history Illustration 44: Lavra Monastery77 During the Kievan period. that is “caves” which are to be found in its territory and which early monks used to live in. Boris and Gleb in their resolution to follow Christ in His voluntary suffering and death.

even at the level of legal courts. But. which “with its concept of symphony had known no division between secular and the ecclesiastical spheres. her chief hierarchs’ status was considered to be much superior compared to that of the local prince. Dioceses numbered approximately half a dozen and would be centred around such princely realms as Novgorod and Turov. the Russian Church continues to sing in Greek the solemn greeting to a bishop. eis polla eti. as Pospielovsky explains. John I. Table 28: Earliest head of the Russian Church With the decision by St. O master”) (Ware 80). apart from the Russian Church remaining a subordinate branch of the great Church of Constantinople. This special position of the Church was reflected in the first Russian Statute by Vladimir.” In Russia the Metropolitan was either a citizen of the illustrious East Roman Empire. which nominated and elected them to their position. Theopemtus) headed the largest of the ecclesiastical provinces of the Church of Constantinople. Further Greek prelates (Leontius. Vladimir Russia was transformed from a pagan country with Christian communities to a Christian state. and it stressed that the limitation on secular rulers would be forever binding (The Orthodox Church in the History of Russia 25). despota (“unto many years. Table 27: In memory of Byzantium The earliest mentioned head of the Russian Church was the Greek Metropolitan Michael (988992). it was quite different from that of Byzantium. and another a Syrian (Ware 80). There are no formally organized monasteries during the reign of Vladimir. In memory of the days when the Metropolitan came from Byzantium. one was even a converted Jew. he was nevertheless ordained by the Ecumenical Patriarch in Constantinople and approved by the Roman Emperor himself! Thus. although chronicles do indicate the existence of small groups of monks (Mouravieff). or even if he was a native of Russia.Chapter 3: Russian Church History about half were native Russians. 248 . It made it clear that royal power was derivative from and circumscribed by the superior norms of Christian moral teaching.

built before the year 1000 A.infoukes. there are no indications of hostility between Latin and Eastern Christians. It was thus named because Vladimir promised to dedicate a tenth of the income from his lands and newly built churches to the Mother of God. Illustration 45: Kiev in the 10th century78 78 Kiev. Vladimir’s conscious choice of Byzantine Christianity did not necessarily imply the exclusive existence of the Eastern Christian religion. bottom right. We also know that Vladimir constructed adjacent to the imperial palace in Kiev a Tithe (Desyatnnaya) Church. it was in honor of the Mother of God that this church was built. 249 . Although there is not a clear picture of how worship was organized in the Church in Russia.D. See: <http://www. John Chrysostom.Chapter 3: Russian Church History Thus.com/history/origin_of_kyiv/>. Vladimir established an ecclesial court structure as distinct from the secular one with jurisdiction over all moral transgressions of the laity (25). although texts in Church Slavonic were available from the earlier converted Bulgarians and Serbs. Moreover. we know that they held regular celebrations of the Liturgy of St. The main area of the upper city of King Vladimir with the Desyatina Church. The church was destroyed during the Mongol invasion. most likely in Greek. During his reign. Under Vladimir Russia entered the family of Christian nations (“A History of the Russian Church”).

however. though not completely so. Therefore. nor yet that Christianity was able to establish its supremacy without a struggle. in The Eastern Orthodox Church: Its Thought and Life (1963) asserts that by the end of the eleventh century the territory of the East Slavs had been Christianized. while Kievan Christian priests inveighed regularly in their sermons against pagan practices (“A History of the Russian Church”). backed by a divination of the black arts. as Ernst Benz. Kallinikos says that: It must not.Chapter 3: Russian Church History All these advances of Christianity in Russia did not mean that paganism was suddenly exterminated. idolatry. be supposed that the vast Russian territories were suddenly transformed as if by magic. Let us here look at a map of Kievan Rus’: 250 . In the north-eastern regions of Russia. presented an impenetrable front to the new ideas. The dual faith of paganism—which posed a strong resistance to Christianity—would continue to plague the Church’s mission in centuries to come: later chronicles would relate uprisings of pagan sorcerers against the Christian Church. from Novgorod in the north to beyond Kiev in the south.

edu>. even when the latter met them with their combined forces. “beyond the forests.Chapter 3: Russian Church History Illustration 46: The Kievan Rus’ and the world ca 1100 A. pressing against the southern border of the steppes. were more than a match for the Russian princes. Kiev. therefore it had to be toward the northeast. up to that moment the center of European commerce between North and South and West and East. The division of the land under the sons of Yaroslav (1019-54) led to a waning of the power of Kiev as the center of power shifted towards the north.D. 251 . 79 See: <www. The population of the southern parts of Rus left their homes in despair and sought a new and more peaceful life farther to the north.shsu.79 Benz adds that the direction of future Christian expansion was decided by political conditions.” The second half of the eleventh and almost the entire twelfth centuries were filled with these struggles. which changed the whole nature of trade and economic life in the Orient.” This displacement of the center of power toward the north was decisively influenced by the Crusades. became irrelevant. “The Polovtsians.

and gradually followed by peasant settlers who cleared the land. In Vladimironthe-Klyazma a new political center arose. Russian monks on missions had partly followed. It was a matter of peaceful but continuous infiltration which resulted in a fraternal mingling of new settlers and the native population rather than suppression of the latter by the former. on the other hand. from 1159 on. penetrating ever deeper into the northeastern forests. Christianity had penetrated into the region of Vyatka. traders and monks leading the way. The calendar and the customs of the Orthodox Church operated as a cultural and civilizing force. missionary activity was exclusively in the hands of individual monks. Novgorod. The early colonization was by no means a military conquest. Throughout this period. The Orthodox religion of the Russian settlers became established not only as a system of religious ideas. Before the Tartar invasion. west of Perm. the menace 252 . but on the other hand. The hinterland of Novgorod was more densely populate and increasingly became more thickly settled. the monk Avraamy spread the gospel among the Votyaks and Cheremisses there. and served to structure the daily life and holidays (holydays) of the population. developed into an important trans-shipment site and the link between the West and the Russian East. peaceful expansion. but also as a way of everyday life.Chapter 3: Russian Church History However. The Mongol invasions of eastern Europe in 1237 interrupted this development. Religious penetration of these areas accompanied the colonization. By the twelfth century. with hunters. partly preceded the peaceful progress of Russian colonizers in the northeast. The history of the colonization of northern Russia as far as Arkhangelsk to the north and along the Volga and Kama to the Urals in the east is a story of slow. until the Tartar hordes swept across the steppes. whose heritage was later taken over by Moscow. Russian missionary work went hand in hand with Russian colonization.

The greatest example of early Russian literature is with no doubt the Sermon on Law and Grace by the first native head of the Russian Church. hymnography also grew with the development of the so called Znamenny chant. iconography developed and produced the first native Russian genius in this field. Metropolitan Hilarion (1051-1055). the art of letters reached its first apogee with the promotion of the copying and translation of the Bible and other ecclesiastical writings such as the works of the holy fathers of the Eastern Church. Illustration 47: Yaroslav “the Wise”80 80 See: <http://fixedreference. a refinement of the chants inherited from Byzantium. 253 .org/>. During the reign of Yaroslav. The best masters of church architecture were invited from Byzantium. there was the first rapid flowering of Christian culture in Russia.Chapter 3: Russian Church History of the Mongols gave greater urgency to the need to colonize and carry on missionary work (58). This verbal icon combined a panegyric to Vladimir with a discourse on Russia’s place in sacred history (“A History of the Russian Church”).

in medieval Russia Christianity had flourished in different ways from the way it had spread. Russia did not have time to assimilate the full spiritual inheritance it has received from Byzantium. From a young nation. Nevertheless. Kievan Christianity did not inherit any of the classical learning that was an integral part of western Christian culture. “alas. Russia has changed into a Christian civilization. so Russian and all Slav Orthodoxy eventually treated church Slavonic. Kiev did not look to Paris or Rome. by which time. It did not have time either to be inspired by it for further creativity. and Greek were superfluous. Russia was much more interested in imitating western Europe than in a creative re-adaptation and revival of her true and essential legacy (The Orthodox Church in the History of Russia 35). just as the West transformed Latin (until Vatican II) into the exclusive. 254 . Parish priests of the Eastern Church were married men and not a separate. developed. elite. Pospielovsky says. Athos. and Cappadocia. but to the Christian East of Constantinople. However. as the exclusive sacred tongue to be used for the Liturgy. until today. there was nothing comparable to the great universities of Oxford. Cambridge and the Sorbonne founded under the direct guidance of Latin monastic orders. In an emerging culture where worshipping was done in the vernacular. and the Greek Orthodox Church did with Byzantine Greek.Chapter 3: Russian Church History But it is commonly said that. Disintegration came from internal and external forces in the thirteen century which delayed the process for some four centuries. in spite of the amazing intellectual and cultural progress that the Rus’ had within a mere century and a half. In Russia. caste of men. and functioned in the West. ‘sacred tongue’ to be used for ecclesiastical life. Latin. Syria. but great misfortunes were in the way that did not allow it to continue to grow and develop (“A History of the Russian Church”).

Vladimir’s measures. Who was Vladimir Monomakh? What was his point of view of Christianity? Describe Christian progress done by missionary work in Russia. Vladimir and Eastern Christianity in Russia 1. 4. 6. 5. 3. Comment some of Vladimir’s his measures. Activity What were the reasons for Vladimir I’s choice of Eastern Christianity? What other religions were available at that time. Activity 54: Your own summary of Christianity in Kievan Rus’ 255 . Vladimir’s conversion to Christianity? Why did the West not acknowledge Vladimir’s decision of converting to Eastern Christianity? Date the Kievan period. Their moral status and authority were undoubtedly higher than those of the secular rulers. Activity Find differences between a) Russian Christianity and western Christianity and b) the Russian Church and the Byzantine Church. priests. 2.Chapter 3: Russian Church History 1. What was Vladimir’s religious background? What was the effect on Russia of St. Activity 52: St. Monomakh. Yaroslav. missionary work Activity Pospielovsky summarizes the pre-Mongolia Kievan period of the Christian conversion as follows: “This period was marked by a particular high status of the church. her bishops. with the neophytic belief in the possibility of truly Christianizing the state and spiritually influencing the behavior of the ruling princes and their adviser” (15). Monks built their monasteries mostly in cities or their vicinity. Who was Yarovslav “The Wise”? How did he contribute to Russia’s flowering age? Activity 53: Differences. 5. 4. 2. Write your own summary. 3. and especially monastic holy fathers.

and Susdal. By establishing their headquarters at Saray. who were split into many independent principalities at that time. For Pospielovsky. or by marshes or immense forests in the case of the northern areas. and complete political obedience was expected to be paid to the new overlords of Russia. but by decision of a council of five Russian bishops in favor of direct succession from father to the eldest son. Kiev was sacked and the whole Russian land overrun. excepting the far north around Novgorod including Pskov. 81 256 . A large part of that period could be considered as Russia’s Dark Age.Chapter 3: Russian Church History 2. (The Orthodox Church in the History of Russia 15) The Tartars were a branch of the Mongols who inhabited the Altai region of Siberia. when the last major royal succession dispute was settled not by appeals to the Mongol rulers. rather than 1480. and brought devastation upon the Russians. a more accurately date is 1447. and the south-western provinces of Galicia and Volhynia. . Lithuania. THE TARTAR-MONGOL YOKE AND THE EMERGENCE OF THE PRINCIPALITY OF MOSCOW (XIII-XV CENTURIES) Pospielovsky makes the following summary regarding the Tartar-Mongol yoke Russia suffered from 1238 to 1480:81 This period of over two centuries was marked by mutually feuding appanages and the division of the Rus’ lands into domains under the control of Mongols. These eastern people appeared in 1237 at the frontiers of the vast realm of Kievan and Russia. These regions were sheltered geographically from the fury of the Tartar forces either by the Carpathians. Rostol. Princes were obliged to pay tribute to the Khan. In 1240 Kievan Rus ceased to exist as an independent State. With 400. Iarovslavl. Vladimir. and Poles. the Tartars had an army much larger than the military forces at the disposal of the Russians.000 horsemen. the Golden Horde would subject Russian cities to considerable destruction. with the gradual rise of Moscow as the new Russian core and its ecclesiastical and political center. Yet many of these cities also had to suffer as the prey of their western neighbors. in the case of the south western areas.

a golden measure. 82 See: <www. The Orthodox Church in the History of Russia 37). the concept of a common heritage of Rus’ or of a single Russia state relatively vanished from the memory of politicians and the general populace. Kievan Christianity has the same value for the Russian religious mind as Pushkin for the Russian artistic sense: that of a standard. but only ruins and countless human skulls in Russian territory. like the golden days of childhood.jp/>. and having proliferated so many practically independent appanages who were occupied with fighting each other. a royal way.Chapter 3: Russian Church History Illustration 48: Medieval walls of Novgorod82 A visitor to the Mongol Court in 1246 wrote that he saw neither town nor village.weblio. It was the Church that remained as the only institution and its chief bishop kept the title of Metropolitan of Kiev and All Rus’. In the pure fountain of her literary works anyone who wills can quench his religious thirst. (The Russian Religious Mind 412) Having collapsed Kiev. in her venerable authors he can find his guide through the complexities of the modern world. Fedotov asserts that even if Kiev was destroyed. 257 . which was retained even after they moved to the northeast (Pospielovsky. which was the single undisputed center of Rus’. was never dimmed in the memory of the Russian nation. Yet. the Christianity of Kiev remained a living memory: Kievan Russia.

Ware says that more than anything else. as the Church was later to preserve a sense of unity among the Greeks under Turkish rule (82). after the great battle of Kulikovo (1380). In 1279. one of the functions of the metropolitan and other bishops was to mediate between the khan 258 . Pospielovsky asserts. Also. the suzerainty of the Mongol Tartars over Russia lasted from 1238 until 1480. The Mongols interfered comparatively little with the canonical structure of the Church. Yet the consequences of the so called Mongol-Tartar yoke for the Church were not necessarily the same as those for the state. “it was the Church which kept alive Russian national consciousness in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. Most of what is now European and Asian Russia was under direct Mongol rule. many of them were quite open to the message of salvation to be found in Christianity and became converted. out of the territory of Vladimir-Suzdal. Vladimir. Chernigov. However. Smolensk. and Novgorod. the Mongol invasion could even have contributed to the preservation of the Byzantine character of Orthodox Christianity in Russia (“A History of the Russian Church”). As a consequence. the Tartar overlordship was considerably weakened. Ryazan. the Mongol rulers issued their own edict of tolerance for religious faiths. The most significant of these principalities included Kiev. Eventually. since the Tartar felt great respect for the Church. It was the Grand Dukes of Moscow Dimitry who inspired the resistance to the Mongols and who led Russia at Kulikovo (Ware 82). Moscow began to gain in influence. Polotsk. in a sense.Chapter 3: Russian Church History As mentioned. One can even say that. when the Russians finally took courage to face them openly and actually defeated them. allowing the Orthodox Church in Russia to enjoy equality with the paganism (and later Islam) of their masters. while the remaining Russian appanage principalities retained some degree of separate existence as vassals to the Mongols. Suzdal.

he tried to convince Daniel to support the Duke Alexander Newsky in his decision. As an illustration. Volynian Metropolitan Peter also established his seat in Vladimir. according to some sources) had to flatter militantly the Tartars assuring them of eternal loyalty while trying to talk the GalicianVolinian Prince Daniel Romanovich out of a negotiation with the Pope to attack the Tartars. who like Metropolitan Peter was canonized. Very often at the center of this dealing was the fact that while the tartars respected the Church. hypocrisy. Why were some cities kept from Tartar destruction? Which ones were? 259 . His successor.Chapter 3: Russian Church History and the Russian Prince. At the same time. as we will see. the canonization of the Russian Metropolitan Alexis (1354-78). cunning. Pospielovsky adds that “in the performance of these mediatory functions. who died in 1281. who had been blessed by the pope to conquer Russia for the Latin Church (The Orthodox Church in the History of Russia 38). flattery. and deception were inevitable” (The Orthodox Church in the History of Russia 38). yet he very often visited Moscow. the Greek Metropolitan Maxim. was the last all-Russia Metropolitan to be buried in Kiev. transferred his seat to the city of Vladimir. His successor the Greek Theognostos also spent much time in Moscow. to acquiesce the Mongol authority and attack the Teutonic Knight. Kirill. solidified Moscow’s status of the ecclesiastical capital of Russia (The Orthodox Church in the History of Russia 39). double dealing. Activity Answer the following questions: 1. Finally. the westerners sought to destroy the Orthodox Church. They also had a similar mediation role between the feuding Russian princes exhorting them to national unity hoping to achieve freedom from foreign domination. aware of the devastation of Kiev. less than 150 kilometers east of Moscow. Metropolitan Kiril I (or II. mainly trying to protect the latter from the Tartar revenge. a city where he died in 1326 and apparently requested to be buried.

began to employ other means. however. He secured the western part of the region. the young prince of Novgorod. What was one of the functions of the Metropolita and other bishops? Activity 55: The Tartar invasion PRINCE ALEXANDER NEVSKY OF NOVGOROD In the thirteen century Russia witnessed the most violent Crusades organized by Latin Christendom against the Greek Orthodox in the Levant. Yet. What were the consequences of the Tartar yoke for the Church? 3.” 1242). it was Alexander Nevsky (1220-1263). in The History of the Russian Church (1842).Chapter 3: Russian Church History 2. the Pope of Rome decided to organize Swedish and Teutonic knights into a crusade against the already weakened Russian Orthodox. When the attempts to convert Russia by force proved fruitless. Fedotov records these words Nevsky had replied to the messengers of the Pope: “Our doctrines 260 . Innocent IV. the pope. that wishing to take advantage of the distressed condition of the Eastern Church—the patriarchs of Constantinople living as exiles at Nice and Russia having already been now ten years without a metropolitan—and seeking the union of the churches along with a proposition of a crusade against the Mongols. Yaroslav II’s son was prince of Novgorod from 1236-1251 and later was named grand prince of Kiev and of Vladimir by the Mongols. who organized the defense of the Russian lands against the western invaders. the most spectacular battle being fought and won by Alexander Nevsky. Taking the opportunity that the Russians—the most numerous of the Orthodox peoples—were under the rule of the Mongol khans. Mouravieff tells us. the papal legates visited the court of Alexander and addressed him with flattering speeches. He secured the west frontiers of Rus in the result of victorious battles with Sweden (Battle on Neva 1240) and Teutonic Knights (battle of Ice of Lake Chudskoe called “Ledovoe Poboishche. one of the great warrior saints of Russia. he refused either to receive their letters or listen to their solicitations.

and the title of King of Galich. Daniel accepted the crown.abcgallery. As for your words. In the case of Prince Alexander Nevsky. Acting more cautiously. with no pretense of their piety or spiritual value.Chapter 3: Russian Church History are those preached by the Apostles. but put off the proposition for a union of the Churches till there should be an ecumenical council (22). it was the period of the Mongol domination that finally split Russian Christians from western Christianity. 261 . not only by the isolation imposed upon them by the Golden Horde. his only claim to sainthood was his having defeated the 83 See: <www.com>. Illustration 49: Prince Alexander Nevsky receiving Pope’s legates83 Alexander Nevsky is popularly credited with having saved the Russian Church during these turbulent years and was numbered among the saints of the Church in Russia in 1380. offering him also a regal crown. but also by the way the Latin Church sought to take advantage of the Russian Church’s weak political position. Seen logically. The tradition of the Holy Fathers of the Seven Councils we scrupulously keep. we do not listen to them and we do not want your doctrine (The Russian Religious Mind 383). Pospielovsky states that in the thirteenth and early fourteenth century almost all canonizations were princes.” The Roman pontiff sent envoys to David of Galich too.

after the Council of Florence made the same choice: they would rather submit themselves politically to the Turks than spiritually capitulate to the Roman Church (Ware 83). and his gaze could penetrate into that distant future when once more Orthodox Russia would be master of the great Eurasian plain. the Tartars. (25) Two centuries later the Byzantine Church. even acting as a mediator between his people and the invaders. he adds. patience. the Ruler over all nations. understood as sacrificial service to fellow-men. His firm faith in God. He was in tune with the new Russia which was slowly and painfully rising from the ruins of the Tartar invasion—a Russia with profound experience of suffering and humiliation. He stood far above his generation. “took tribute but refrained from interfering in the life of the Church.Sergius with whom the era of canonizing warrior-princes ends (The Orthodox Church in the History of Russia 40-41). Alexander reduced the Tartar-Mongol occupation. was broken by St. 262 . Ware believes that his reasons for treating with the Tartars rather than with the West was primarily religious. due to his clever policy. however. a nation which eventually learned the lesson of unity. the only policy open to his people. for the time being. Alexander had the moral strength to accept the grim truth that neither he nor his children would see their native land set free. This historian thinks that “there was a concept of just and unjust wars. Furthermore. In this period.Chapter 3: Russian Church History Swedes and the Germans. a Latin Patriarch ruled in Constantinople. gave him confidence in the remote yet certain victory of the Christians over their heathen oppressors. This tradition. and endurance. But few of his contemporaries were able to share his vision. whereas the Teutonic Knights had as their avowed aim the reduction of the Russian schismatics (83)”. He was not crushed by the knowledge that unconditional surrender to the Asiatic invaders was. the former being wars of defense. as already seen when earlier on we discussed the Church of Byzantium. this his contemporaries perceived as a miracle because of his enemies’ greater numbers and better armaments. similar to the monastic vocation. Zernov says regarding him: His line of conduct was prophetic.

The Tartars took this opportunity for the further plunder and massacre of the Russian people. large slices of territory around the Baltic Sea were lost to the Germans and the Swedes. Nevsky was supported by the above-mentioned Cyril.Chapter 3: Russian Church History In his endeavors. Iarovslavl. In the North-western provinces (Novgorod and Pskov) the citizens were split into hostile factions and constantly quarreled among themselves. his brothers and sons. For thirty years this man traveled of over the country indefatigably consolidating and instructing the scattered believers. In the South-western. Also. subjugating their Orthodox population for many centuries to the Roman Catholics (Zernov 27-28). the provinces of Galicia and Volhynia fell to western rule. 263 . Vladimir. Cyril was a Russian because the Patriarch of Constantinople could not find a Greek bishop willing to go to devastated Russia. and Susdal). the Metropolitan of Kiev (1242-81). Alexander Nevsky did much to unify the principalities of northern Russia. Yet. If before the invasion Metropolitans were only concerned with ecclesiastical matters. fought unscrupulously for the title of Grand Prince in the North-eastern provinces (with their main cities. Using these privileges. after the invasion they become equally concerned with the national revival of the country (Zernov 25) As a ruler of Vladimir. Rostov. but they very often failed. The Tartars offered the clergy and the Metropolitan privileges—they were exempted from taxation and any act of violence inflicted upon them was punishable with death—treating them with the same respect they gave to all ministers of religion. with the exception of his younger son. Kiev (Kyyiv). as Zenov explains. After Nevsky’s death. Cyril inaugurated a new type of service for the Metropolitans of Russia. Bishops were the only authority that could restore peace. the end of the thirteenth century and the beginning of the fourteenth century were particularly dark in the history of Russia. and Novgorod. Daniel.

Activity 57: Alexander Nevsky ST. Metropolitan of Russia from 1308 to 1326. but her saints of this period are known mainly to God. write a summary of Alexander Nevsky’s achievement. When the town was still small and comparatively unimportant. There are few if any innovations in the nascent Russian school of iconography and hymnography. the Church was obliged to look inwards. a completely different Russia emerged. SERGIUS (SERGII) AND THE CHURCH IN MOSCOVITE RUSSIA: XIVXV CENTURIES After the two centuries of Mongol domination. Kiev never recovered from the sack of 1237 and many of the political and legal advances of the Kievan period were effectively eclipsed. The rise of Moscow was closely bound up with the moving of the Church to that city. one at Moscow 264 . This eventually led to the division of the Russian Church between two metropolitans.Chapter 3: Russian Church History During the years of the Tartar’s rule. try to find as many places as you can from those quoted in the preceding section. Yet the invaders revered any form of worship to a god and thus the Russian Church remained unmolested. decided to settle there. yet it had left an indelible imprint on the Russian psyche. Even ecclesiastical life was affected. Activity In the above Kievan Rus’ map. and henceforward it remained the city of the chief hierarch of Russia. Activity 56: Location of places in a Kievan Rus’ map Activity In your own words. Peter. as the metropolitan see of the Orthodox Church was moved from Kiev to Vladimir in 1300 and then to Moscow in 1321. The literature of the period tends to concentrate on the tragedy of the destruction of Kievan Russia.

when Moscow had become the most powerful of the Russian principalities and began to expand its territory. finds its expression in the life of that city. like people. which appeared on the scene of Russian history in its gloomiest hour. yet this arrangement did not become permanent until de middle of the fifteen century (Ware 82). The name is mentioned for the first time in the Chronicle of the year 1147.ca>. holiness and lust made in turn a strong appeal both to the rulers and to the people of Moscow. 265 . good and bad. oppression and tolerance.utoronto.tspace. Her Kremlin and her streets are associated with the most heroic and the most shameful deeds of her national history. Alexander’s son. Both the dark and the bright sides of Russia’s life are revealed in her history. blue and green cupolas. Moscow was destroyed. Such a town is Moscow. During the Tartar invasion. but it was soon rebuilt. The bizarre colors of her red.library. and the unusual contours of her buildings.Chapter 3: Russian Church History and the other at Kiev. Cruelty and mercy. consolidating its primacy over its neighbors. two elements present in the mentality of her inhabitants. when he was still a child (1263). and which has since governed the fortunes of her people (31). at the time of his father’s death. All that Russia possesses. reflect the sensuousness of the Orient and the serenity of the North. Illustration 50: Moscow in the fifteenth century84 Zernov says regarding Moscow: There are cities which. During the twenty-seven 84 <www. are marked by destiny. He adds that little is known about the origin of Moscow. and allotted to Daniel.

Summarize in one or two sentences Zernov’s quotation about the city of Moscow. There he lived as an ordinary peasant. Activity 58: The city of Moscow St. What was the aftermath of the Tartar domination? 2. The first religious structures at Sergiev Posad were founded by the Russian nobleman Sergius (1319-92). (The center of Russian Orthodoxy was originally in Kiev. considered as one of the great fathers of Russian monasticism. some fifty miles north of Moscow. he transformed the insignificant little town into an important center of national revival. This is why he is called the peasant saint of Russia. a deeply religious man. achieved this by refusing to take part in the quarrels which absorbed the energy of his brothers and relatives. Daniel. located 45 miles north of Moscow. He retired as a monk to the vast forests north of Moscow living completely alone for several years. Ukraine but following the 13th century Mongol invasion. and by concentrating on the improvement of his small principality (31). who retired to the forest of Radonezh with his brother Stephen to lead a life of prayer.Chapter 3: Russian Church History years of his rule. is the center of Russian Orthodoxy and one of the most important places of pilgrimage in the entire country. In 1340 (some sources say 1337) the two brothers built a small wooden church and the site 266 . Activity 1. The grand monastic complex and church of Sergiev Posad. the patriarch moved to the town of Moscow in 1308). Sergius of Radonezh. At an early age he sought the life of a solitary and wished to spend his life in prayer and meditation. Eventually he was discovered by some peasants and soon he gathered around himself a community of like-minded zealots by whom he was elected abbot (hegumen). also called Sergiev. Sergius of Radonezh The central figure in this period of the Russian Church’s history and one of the most remarkable men Russia has ever produced is St. The community built a small monastery dedicated to the Holy Trinity. He was born in 1314 in the northern city of Rostov but due to the civil wars his parents had to move to Radonez.

The main object of worship in the cathedral are the relics of St. were the sources of his influence and attraction” (37). The Cathedral was decorated by the most famous Russian icon painters. Sergius Sergiev Posad Illustration 51: Monastery of St. Sergius was canonized in 1422. his loving kindness and. Rapidly developing into a monastic complex. His relics were placed in a silver reliquary in Trinity Cathedral. 85 See: <www.” Zernov says that “The sense of peace which emanated from him. which made him singularly free from any fear and hesitation. (From “Sacred Sites of Russia) Table 29: Monastery of Trinity-St. Because of his religious and political achievements. constructed between 1422-27. above all.rustoys. 267 . Sergius.Chapter 3: Russian Church History began to attract other monks and a growing number of pilgrims. his complete confidence in God. Sergius Sergei Posad85 In his biography one can read the following passage: “St. Daniil Chernyi and Andrei Rublev. Sergius built the Church of the Holy Trinity as a mirror for his community. upon the site of the earlier wooden church (destroyed during a Tartar raid). the site was given the name Trinity Monastery.com>. that through gazing at the divine Unity they might overcome the hateful divisions of this world.

Alexis tried to persuade him to become his successor. He became a recognized spiritual leader of the nation.holydormition.com>. but it was won. However.” This battle was fierce and the losses on both sides were enormous. Alexis was deeply impressed by him and several times Sergius went at his request to see the princes who endangered the national efforts toward unity and freedom by their quarrels. It was Sergius who gave his blessing to the Grand Prince of Moscow Dmitry Donskoi who had turned to him for advice in the critical hour of Russia’s struggle for liberation: to go into battle with the Mongol khan Mamai at Kulikovo Field in 1380. Zernov adds that “he was not called to govern but to serve and he never used any authority except moral persuasion (37). Sergius was the broker for peace between quarreling princes. and meant a turning point in Russian history as it shattered 86 See: <www. Sergius’ words were “Go forward and fear not. but Sergius declined. his influence on the Russian politic was idiosyncratically strong for a humble monk.Chapter 3: Russian Church History Illustration 52: St. Sergius attracted the attention of the Metropolitan of Moscow Alexis (the primatial see by this time having been transferred to Moscow from Kiev via Vladimir). God will help thee. 268 . Sergius of Radonezh86 This is why St.

there was an evident dimension of spirituality in Sergius. Yet while Theodosius’ monastery of the Holy Trinity was situated in the wilderness. employ any of the methods which are usually associated with the work of great leaders and reformers. St. one of the last great Fathers of the Church. Also. Indeed Sergius showed to be an exponent of an interior. all his life he behaved like the humblest. at a distance from the civilized world—Sergius was more an explorer and a colonist—. the least distinguished of men—and yet it was he who was selected by the unanimous voice of the nation as its teacher and liberator. Zernov says that: St. similar to what Byzantine spiritual masters termed ‘hesychasm’. while there is nothing in the religious experience of Theodosius that one can label “mystical”. it was only the beginning of the Russians’ liberation from their Oriental rulers. Ware adds that Sergius was a contemporary to Gregory Palamas. He did not. Sergius performed a miracle with the Russians: he changed a defeated people into the builders of a great Empire. The Christian faith that God is the Holy Trinity implies that the Creator of this world is the perfect community of Three Persons whose relation is that of mutual love. and it is not impossible that he was familiar with the Hesychast movement in Byzantium (85). The secret of St. the Kievan monastery of the Caves lay on the outskirts of the city. however. and 1351 councils of Constantinople. 1347. Sergius’ influence lies in the singular integrity of his life: his sole activity was in the service of the Holy Trinity. He says that both displayed the same kenosis and deliberate self-humiliation—Sergius lived as a peasant in spite of his noble birth—and actively played a role in politics.Chapter 3: Russian Church History the legend of the invincibility of the Mongol army. but he was himself a living example of that divine Unity in Freedom which is the essence of the Christian revelation of the nature of God. He never wrote or spoke about the Trinitarian doctrine. He never preached a single sermon. and he became in himself such a faithful reflection of divine harmony and love that all who came in contact with him grew aware of the Heavenly Vision. the movement spread to all Orthodox countries. ascetic style of monastic life.” 269 . including Russia (42). believes that after Palamas successfully defended hesychasm at the 1341. however. he did not write a single book. the silent prayer of the heart of the recluse—”hesychia” in Greek means “silence. (40) Ware compares and contrasts Sergius and Theodosius. Sergius was not a theologian in the accepted sense of the word. Pospielovsky. however.

but also by convincing them that there was a way that enabled its practical application. Sergius did a very important thing not only by helping Russians to embrace the ideals of Christian society based on unity and freedom. Cyril of Beloozero and Solovki and the skete of St. which obliged the Russians 270 . This time was the foundation on which the Moscow tsardom was to be based during the next two centuries. Thus. As we noticed in the previous chapter. beside the political rise of the Moscow principality. St. It. Pospielovsky believes that: “It was precisely this hesychast Orthodox concentration on man as a wholesome reflection of the Divine and as a channel for inner contact with the Divine that led to the achievement of the greatest artistic spiritual heights in iconography as a physical representation of the Spiritual” (The Orthodox Church in the History of Russia 42). This teaching was embodied by Sergius upon combining a reclusive life with compassion for those whom he encountered in the northern forests. The hesychasts claimed conditionally since God can be contemplated not in His essence but in His energies and the human person can become united. Athos (“A History of the Russian Church). Thus man cannot become a god by nature. the first part of the fifteenth century was also a period in which the New Russia of Moscow emerged spiritually. who introduced this particular form of monasticism from Mt. furthermore. The extensive powers given to the tsars and their preventive measure for national security and independence took form in the serfdom of the peasants. Nilus of Sora. a controversy concerning hesychasm had raged in thirteenth-century Byzantium over whether God could be contemplated and whether the human person was capable of being united with Him.Chapter 3: Russian Church History “quietude”. but only through the way of the Cross and only by grace. Under Sergius’ tutelage the hesychastic monastic movement took root in the far north of Russia. laid the foundations for the great monasteries of St. or deified in Him.

He became inspired with the idea of bringing the light of Christianity to the pagan Ziryans 271 . when St. Sergius of Radonezh. Stephen. Sergius’ monastery on his way to Moscow. a missionary St. so cherished by their ancestors (Zernov 36-41. the Enlightener of Perm. 44. write a summary of St. the Enlightener of Perm. as recorded in St. Stephen’s direction. a missionary St. who at that moment was sitting in the refectory with his monks. my spiritual brother!” Seeing this with his spiritual eyes. Sergius of Radonezh. leads us to consider another aspect of Church life under the Mongol yoke: missionary work. Sergius’ Life: Once. This is an activity the Russian Church actively pursued from its early days. Activity 59: The concept of “serfdom” Activity In your own words. “A History of the Russian Church”). Sergius. Activity 60: St. Stephen of Perm”) He entered the monastery of St. The spiritual affinity of the two saints is illustrated by the following incident. thou pastor of Christ’s flock. Stephen was a contemporary of St. Gregory the Theologian in Rostov quite young and soon he became a student of the Holy Scriptures and the Greek language. Ware 84-86. St. said a prayer and bowed in St. It was also undertaken by the followers of Sergius of Radonezh as they found more and more monasteries. saying as he did: “Rejoice also. he stopped and turned in the direction of the monastery with the words: “Peace to thee. and may the blessing of the Lord be with thee !” (“St. Your Own Research Search the web and write a paragraph (between ten and twelve sentences) explaining the concept of “serfdom” in Medieval Russia. arose. Stephen (1340-1396) another saint and relevant figure. Sergius of Radonezh St.Chapter 3: Russian Church History to give up their national freedom. Stephen was passing near St. Stephen.

When there was a famine in the area he freely distributed bread to the people. blessed the young missionary and gave him the necessary church utensils. taught them himself. Stephen of Perm (1340-1396) in his way to Moscow87 In 1383 Stephen was made the first bishop of Perm. The head of the Moscow diocese at that time. and showed an example of active charity in caring for the poor and unfortunate. Stephen died in 1396 87 See: <http://www. He provided a strong foundation for the fledgling Church. established schools for future clergy. after composing an alphabet based on Ziryan monetary symbols. following the examples of Cyril and Methodius. while the tsar provided him with a letter of safe conduct.Chapter 3: Russian Church History who inhabited the distant land of Perm on the western edge of the Ural Mountains. he translated into that language from Greek the sacred texts.answers. the Saint studied the Ziryan language and. 272 . St. asking for Holy Baptism.com/topic/stephen-of-perm>. He sought the reduction of taxes and protected his flock from oppression by secular authorities. Illustration 53: St. Although grieved by the Ziryan’s hostile attitude towards the Faith. He erected many temples and monasteries. In preparation for this missionary work. Bishop Gerasim. this young missionary patiently went on with his missionary work and eventually the pagans began arriving first in small groups and later in crowds.

our apostle. Stephen. Ivan III married Sophia Paleologos. Ivan III became sole ruler of a vast country. And now we don’t even have a bishop’s grave. The monk Epiphanius described their grief in his prose epic “The Lamentation of the Land of Perm” which forms the basis of this biographical data: Had we lost but gold and silver. we had but one. What right does [Moscow] have? She has her own metropolitans and hierarchs.. the Moscow Grand Duchy was an empire (or stardom). He was buried in one of the Kremlin churches.. In 1472. Activity 61: St. he was our lawmaker. the Tartar yoke finally ended under Ivan III. our confessor. Some years later under. The end of Tartar domination was coincident with the absorption by Moscow of the remaining principalities. Stephen of Perm”) Activity In your own words. our baptizer.. in 1551. write a summary of St. Zernov says that the answer that was found was the belief that Moscow was the successor of Constantinople and that its tsars were the legitimate hairs of the Byzantine Emperors (47). We had only one bishop. our preacher. By the end of the fifteen century. Ivan IV the Terrible submitted a series of questions to the Church Council. and she has taken him for herself. The answers were in one 273 . the Enlightener of Perm The End of the Tartar Yoke and the Emergence of Moscow In 1448. which implied that it should inherit the prerogatives of the first and second Rome. the niece of the last emperor—Constantinople had fallen in 1453. and an ideology to justify Russia expansion.Chapter 3: Russian Church History while in Moscow on church business. Stephen. but there remained the problem of defining his position in the life of the nation. He took as his coat-of-arms the two-headed Byzantine Eagle and also zealously fostered the concept of Moscow as the third Rome.. something which greatly saddened his flock. But we shall never find another like you . (“St. these we could regain. a Grand Prince of Moscow.

based on the belief that the divine scriptures forbade believers to follow foreign customs. In 1505-1508. after the fall of the Byzantine Empire in 1453.” Their idea of the third Rome did not however resemble the Byzantine theory of the Basilea of the symphony between the State and the Church as the tsar was considered to be supreme in both state and church. he was a great church builder. he erected in Moscow its first cathedral. During Ivan’s reign. 274 . Ivan III had advanced very rapidly to the position of leader of the nation because he had the backing of the Russian Church. One of its purposes was the strengthening of true orthodoxy. which later became the burial place of all Grand Princes and tsars. Besides. and the second led by Nilus Sorsky. the political and ecclesiastical supremacy of Moscow was firmly established (Zernov 33).Chapter 3: Russian Church History hundred numbered chapters and were given the name “Hundred Chapters” (“Stoglav”). who held that the tsar should not have power over religious affairs. As we will see. Theologians put forth the idea of Moscow as “the third Rome. Consequently. this eventually led to the development of two factions in the church: the first was led by Abbot Joseph of Volokolamsk in favor of the tsar’s intervention in church affairs with a strong emphasis on the rituals and outward practice of religion. dedicated to the Archangel Michael. the church and state worked together to make Russia the stronghold of Orthodoxy.

the gathering of the lands of the old Kievan state. The title of tsar. In 1550 Ivan IV The Terrible (1533-1584). 275 . There were three elements which caused the rise of Moscow: first. and third. by codifying existing laws into a second legal code. who proclaimed himself tsar or autocrat. Yet this Law Code was merely a start toward government centralization of justice.answers. The Sudenik. The rise of Moscow required the gradual building of a central state apparatus to govern the growing state of Muscovy. the centralization of political power in the hands of the princes of Moscow. which came to characterize much of Russian history. attempted to standardize legal procedures and punishment for crimes. An important step towards the centralization of Moscow’s authority was the Sudebnik (Law Code) produced by Ivan III (1462-1505) in 1497. second. put a new law code into effect. had previously been in use among the Grand Princes of Moscow and became an official designation with the 88 See: <www.com/topic/stephen-of-perm>.Chapter 3: Russian Church History Illustration 54: Archangel Michael Cathedral88 Soon the Grand Principality of Moscow consolidated its suzerainty over most of the northern forests of what is now European Russia. a corruption of the Latin “Caesar”. the liberation from the Mongol yoke.

Sergius founded fifty new monasteries during his lifetime. His spirituality was centered on prayer and contemplation. Stephen of Perm had translated the Gospels and Divine Liturgy. In 1453. especially the Zyrians.Chapter 3: Russian Church History blessing of the Church for the ruler of Muscovy with the advent of the reign of Ivan the Terrible in the sixteenth century. and another forty during the next generation. thus revealing the roots the Russian Church had in Byzantium. the Byzantine Empire fell to the Turks. a people into whose language St. The early fifteenth century saw the emergence of the characteristic onion domes of Russian church buildings as well as masterpieces of iconography by Andrei Rublev. written by Epiphanius the Wise. sixty-one years after Sergius’ death. The inner life of the church was enriched by Sergius’ spirituality. This is an example of the fact that from 1350 to 1550 their existed in Russia a golden age of spirituality. Activity 62: The raise of the Principality of Moscow A RUSSIAN RENAISSANCE The disciples of St. in spite of him not having left any writings. explain the raise of the Principality of Moscow. Furthermore. This renewal of the Church’s 276 . which adorned cathedrals and churches in dioceses that grew across the length and breadth of Muscovite Russia.” Activity With telegraphic sentences. the Church’s mission reached as far as the Ural Mountains with the evangelization of Finno-Ugric peoples. We know this through his biography or Vita. Ware says that “it proved both worthy and unworthy of this vocation (86). After Kulikovo a new Russia emerged which would inherit Byzantium’s place as protector of the Orthodox world. and Daniel Chorny. all under the influence of Sergius and his followers. Theophanes the Greek. as already shown. an extraordinary renaissance in both the inner and outward life of the Church.

Its followers protested against the fees bishops would charge clerical candidates for their ordination. This was at a time when heresies and Protestantism were rapidly spreading in the West. represents the most perfect example of it. Activity 63: A short biography of Rublev Activity List some of the elements of the Russian renaissance in the inner and outward life of the Church Activity 64: A Russian renaissance HERESIES But at the same time when the Muscovite Russian Church began to speak with its own voice and Russia witnessed a renaissance. Another sect came to be known as the “Judaizers”. through trade and European merchants. there emerged a number of heresies. 53). For example. Your Own Research Search the web and write a short biography of Rublev. Among other things. they argued that the New Testamental concept of the Trinity contradicted the Old Testament Teaching of one God (1989. painted in honor of Sergius’ vision of the Trinity. in 1311. Based on this assumption the Strigol’niki concluded that all of the Russian clergy were canonically invalid. a city culturally more advanced than Moscow and with considerable western contacts. They began mostly in Novgorod. 277 . a practice that contradicted the canon. a Russian Church Council condemned a Novgorod archpriest for rejecting monasticism. We will see an image of this painting a later chapter.Chapter 3: Russian Church History life of prayer was reflected in the revival of iconography. Rublev’s Trinity. Toward the end of the fourteenth century another heresy appeared in this same city: the Strigol’niki (meaning “cutting” or “shearing”).

Zernov also says that 278 . Activity 65: Heresies in Medieval Russia Activity Write a summary of this section 2.Chapter 3: Russian Church History Your Own Research Search the web and write a five-paragraph paper about heresies in Medieval Russia. social. political advisers of the Muscovite princes in the building of a unified. that they “cultivated absolute poverty. good farmers and administrators. Their religious life was founded upon the fear of God and the meticulous observance of ritual. FROM POSSESSORS AND NON-POSSESSORS TO THE GREAT SCHISM (XVI-XVII CENTURIES) POSSESSORS AND NON-POSSESSORS St Sergius brought a spiritual renaissance to the Russians in his attempt to unite the socia life with the mystical side of monasticism. silence. Activity 66: Your own summary of the Russian Church during the XIII-XV centuries 3. each one emphasizing one aspect of their common inheritance. Fedotov adds that “This kind of spirituality undoubtedly inspired the highest manifestations of the Russian art in icon painting. The two schools became known as “the Possessors” (or “Acquisitors”) and “the Non-Possessors” (or “Non-Acquisitors. autocratic state. He said of the Non-Possessors—the mystics of the northern forests—. entitled “The Tartar-Mongol Yoke and the Emergence of the Principality of Moscow (XIII-XV) Centuries. which they even held it their obligation to teach and reprove” (6). and spiritual prayer. preserving a great moral independence of secular powers.”) Fedotov describes the Possessors as active. social leaders in the surrounding countryside. practical. But his followers were not always able to follow his path and they began to split into opposite schools. which reached its peak in the fifteenth century: this was the golden age of Russian saints and artists” (6). mitigated by their aesthetic appreciation of liturgical worship (The Russian Religious Mind 6).

Nilus was following the Christian thread of St. they were against persecuting heretics and taught that one cannot be put to death for holding erroneous doctrine. that it was the duty of Christian Governors to execute heretics. Joseph’s harshness was atypical for the Russian Church. Zernov says that: “In a century when. and merciless towards heretics. while for Nilus a repentant heretic should be welcomed like the prodigal son in the Bible. Moreover. and in extreme cases isolating them under arrest in monasteries. for Joseph they deserve a milder form of punishment but not forgiveness (The Orthodox Church in the History of Russia 59). with equal vigor. severe. whose religious houses possessed large estates and even controlled the serfs who inhabited them. Undoubtedly. They also insisted that the monks should depend only on their own labor and thereby maintain their spiritual independence. even in favor of applying the death penalty—as the Spanish Inquisition was doing.Chapter 3: Russian Church History while the Possessors centered on “unity. were good administrators and autocrats and were ready to allow the tsar to take a leading role in the Church. For them the sovereign should be loved and obeyed as fathers were obeyed by their children. the Non-Possessors were scholars and mystics and men of learning and independent minds. Joseph was harsh. Vladimir Monomakh. Thus. 279 . in the West. the Possessors. Roman Catholics and Protestants held. They were not reluctant to criticize either the leaders of the State or the Church. However. while Nilus was prone to the spiritual re-education of heretics. Furthermore.” the Non-Possessors focused on “the importance of freedom and taught that nothing was more pleasing to God than a humble and contrite heart lovingly and freely obeying the Creator” (51). Vladimir or St. the Russian Church alone contained an influential party which considered this practice as incompatible with the spirit of the Gospel (52). greatly appreciating the beauty and dignity of ritual both in conduct of worship and in daily life.

flatter them to get out of them some little village … We wrong and rob and sell Christians our brothers. Maxim the Greek (d. Metropolitan of Moscow (d. Also try to find his 280 . a disciple of Nilus: Where in the tradition of the Gospels. For Joseph and his followers: “The riches of the Church are the riches of the poor. two leaders of the fifteen-sixteenth century Russian monasticism. Joseph.” This contrasts with the words of the monk Vassian. fawn slavishly. 1531) and St. St. Apostles. Genadi. This division functioned well as long as both parties had their full share in the shaping of the country’s destiny. 1556) were the exponents of the Non-Possessors’ perspective (51). Joseph. and Fathers are monks ordered to acquire populous villages and enslave peasants to the brotherhood? … We look into the hand of the rich. The Orthodox Church in the History of Russia 57). Nilus of Sorsk (14331508)—a monk in the forest beyond the Volga—. Prince Vassian Patrikeev (d. Nilus launched an attacked on the ownership of land by monasteries (about a third of the land in Russia belonged to the monasteries at this time). This attack was answered by St Joseph who was in favor of monastic landholding. while those of Nilus survived among many monastics as well as many humble priest and laymen (Pospielovsky. But at a Church council in 1503 this division turned into a crisis when St. 1539) were the spokesmen of the Possessors. On the one hand. St. and Daniel. (Pares 93) The monastic Statute of Nilus of Sorka and Joseph’s tracks against the Judaizers (“The Enlightener”) are considered as Russia’s first theological works. Nilus and St. Archbishop of Novgorod (d. on the other hand. the famous Abbot of Volotsk (1439-1515). 1505). and being supported by the majority of the council. We torture them with scourges like wild beasts.Chapter 3: Russian Church History Outstanding men in the sixteenth century took one of these two different paths. Your Own Research Search the web and write a short biography of St. Pospielovsky asserts that Joseph’s ideas prevailed after 1504 and remained the ideology of Russia establishment.

Pospielovsky believes that this accusation was not completely groundless for at a heresy trial in 1531. and was remarried by him in the next year. Daniel. trans-Volga sketes. The tsar then imprisoned the leading Non-Possessors and closed the Transvolga hermitages (Ware. secured Daniel’s election to the Metropolitan seat in 1522. the Possessors supported the tsar’s desire declaring that the future of the monarchy was of greater importance than the fate of a woman. Basil gladly availed himself of this offer. What side would you take? Activity 67: St. openly criticized Basil III for unjustly divorcing his wife. Finally. Basil had no children and decided. After the victory of the Possessors. The fruit of this wedlock was Ivan the Terrible (1533-84). search for Joseph’s “The Enlightener” and write a paragraph about it. Two centuries later. This was the period during which the Possessors reigned supreme (Fedotov. Nilus and St. Yet. a line that implies close collaboration with the ruler. and thereby restricting their influence. Outstanding disciples of St. monk Vassian Patrikeev advocated monophysite heresy by rejecting Jesus’ full humanity. many heretics found refuge in the compassionate. therefore. Joseph During the next twenty years there was a considerable tension between these two groups until 1525-1526 when the Non-Possessors through the Metropolitan Varlaam (1511-21). 104). Pospielovsky continues. Daniel pursued a Josephite line concerning collaboration. to divorce his wife and marry another woman. Nilus were themselves condemned as heretics. expressed his willingness to re-marry the Sovereign. and their spokesman. a Non-Possessor. this area housed a major concentration of the most persistent Old Believers (The Orthodox Church in the History of Russia 60 This action condemned the movement to go underground and the whole mystical movement disappeared from the surface of Russian history for about two centuries. This victory for the 281 . A Treasury of Russian Spirituality).Chapter 3: Russian Church History statutes—the first Russian theological works—and analyze their differences.

Josephitism degenerated into static ritualism with the gradual suppression of the caritative elements in Russian traditional piety. also “allowed the Old Ritualists in the seventeenth century to proclaim the ruling tsar to be a servant of Satan. cunningness and lies. 282 . in spite of his defense of the theocratic character of the tsars. knowing well that a centralized autocracy could lead to the liquidation of monastic property. I believe that Joseph. is shown by the canonization of Joseph within a generation of his death. so favorable to the growth of Russia’s political power. The victory of the Possessors. and thus to refuse his orders (The Orthodox Church in the History of Russia 62).Chapter 3: Russian Church History Possessors. Pospielovsky asserts. Joseph formulated a theory of disobedience to tyrants using the following terms: Should a tsar…fall pray to ugly passions and sins. while Nilus was canonized only in the twentieth century. But in spite of the general barbarization of morality during this period. which shaped the “Great Russian” character as it is known through modern Russian literature and history. However. pride and violence or. he could not forget the all the tradition of martyrdom in the name of faith and his Russian roots. on the secularization of the 89 Qtd. want of faith and slander—such a tsar is not God’s but devil’s servant. was very unfruitful with regard to the spiritual life. had also direct consequences on the Great Schism of the seventeenth. This Josephite position will be seen some years later with St. Pospielovsky adds that Joseph’s teaching on resistance to heretical kings. undoubtedly attained because of their close connection with the princes of Moscow. it is impossible to deny the strengthening of social discipline. greediness and rage. Fedotov points out The age of the Muscovite tsardom (the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries). Philips when confronting Ivan the Terrible. in Pospielovsky (The Orthodox Church in the History of Russia 61).89 Yet. Pospielovsky thinks that Joseph was the pioneer (61) in Russia of the theory of the theocratic character of royal prerogatives by which tsars and princes were God’s representatives on earth. the training of the will in public service. he is not a tsar but a tyrant … and thou shouldst not fulfill such tsar’s orders … even if tortured and threatened with murder. what is even worse.

Though intellectually brilliant. and even on the Bolshevik victory of militant atheism in the twentieth century (The Orthodox Church in the History of Russia 57). He was. his change of moods and increasing paranoia made for erratic policies and outright savagery. Activity 1. composing hymns and strictly executing all of the prescribed ritual. particularly in the later years of his reign. What was Joseph’s theory of disobedience? Activity 68: Possessors and Non-Possessors IVAN III THE TERRIBLE AND ST PHILIPS The victory of the Possessors meant a close and friendly collaboration between the State and the Church. What were the differences in spiritual outlook between the Possessors and the non-Possessors? On a sheet of paper. however. 2. By doing so he undermined the organic growth of Russian culture and prepared the ground for the violence of Peter the Great’s reforms in the eighteenth century and for the Red Terror of the Communist experiment of the twentieth. Ivan even took an active interest in Church affairs. He inspired and carried through that special type of revolution directed by the head of the State which has since become a characteristic feature of Russian history. not solely responsible for this tragic turn in the history of Russia. for his whole outlook was shaped by the teaching of the 283 . He brought the Moscow tsardom great successes but also its most serious reverses. He used his high authority as a divine sanction for the brutal treatment of all those who stood for the traditional order.Chapter 3: Russian Church History Church and its complete subordination to state bureaucracy by Peter the Great. which resulted in the initial success of the Moscow Principality. Zernov makes a clear picture of him: Ivan was the first Russian revolutionary. Explain why Possessors triumphed over Non-Possessors 3. draw two columns and place their differences on either side. Ivan was a deeply unstable man whose long rule could be called despotic at best. Ivan was deeply influenced by the teaching of the Possessors about the supreme power of the tsar and firmly believed that he was divinely appointed.

284 . Illustration 55: Ivan the Terrible90 Precisely at this time the Church became convinced that it stood at the beginning of a new age. Table 30: The Russian tsar—the “New Constantine” 90 See: <www.cgi. At the beginning of the world’s eighth millennium the Grand Duke of Moscow stood proclaimed by the highest dignitary of the Russian Church as the protector of Orthodoxy. Their theory of the tsar’s illimitable power contributed much to Ivan’s abuse of the authority entrusted to him by the Russian people. Had there not been only seven councils? Were there not only seven days to the week. who considered himself the successor of the Byzantine emperors. namely Moscow.com>. and seven pillars of wisdom? But the world did not end. the “devout Ivan Vasilievich as tsar and Autocrat of all Russia” to be a new Emperor Constantine for a new Constantinople. The Last Days which had been promised in the Apocalypse were approaching. The Moscow Church counted on the end with such conviction that it did not continue its calendar beyond 1492. In the preface accompanying their publication he heralded the dawn of a new Christian era. seven sacraments.ebay. This aided them to face their trials (63). Thus. Russians perceived Ivan as a punishment from above which was visited upon them because of their sins. the year 1492 marked the end of the seventh and last millennium of the world’s history. (63) Both Ivan. and Metropolitan Zosimus had to have new Easter tables made. and they hoped that by God’s mercy their sufferings would not last long. He further ordained that God had now chosen.Chapter 3: Russian Church History Possessors. and his victims firmly believed that God was the Ruler of the world and it was to Him that they one day would have to give an account of their conduct. after St. Vladimir. The world should and must come to an end at the end of the seventh millennium. and the direct descendant of the devout Emperor Constantine (Benz 88). According to its computations.

He then appointed a third. the church. unfortunately. Thou hast deeply studied the Holy Scriptures. who dared to protest openly against Ivan the Terrible’s bloodshed and injustice and bravely rebuked him at his face during the public celebration of the Divine Liturgy. too.91 Yet. witnessing to Christian justice: We are offering here the pure. After Makarius’ death he tried to look for obedient metropolitans of Moscow such as Athanasius (Afanasii) and German (Herman). The voice of the Church was heard in Philip’s intercessions for all of those who had suffered from Ivan’s cruelty. Hast thou. a period of serious trouble of almost thirty years began for Russia. Ivan had created a special terror police called “oprichna” whose alleged purpose was to “sniff out treason”.Chapter 3: Russian Church History However. Zernov explains that Philip was a martyr who died not in defense of the faith. after his death. During the reign of Feodor (Theodore)—Ivan’s successor—a significant event happened in Russia: the elevation of the status of the Russian Church to a Patriarchate. art dust and needest forgiveness of thy sins? Forgive. Very eloquently. bloodless sacrifice for the salvation of men. and thou shalt be forgiven. in a sermon preached in the Kremlin cathedral. as many martyrs did. for only if we forgive our subordinates shall we escape divine condemnation. Ivan then imprisoned him and later had him strangled (Ware 108). Metropolitans and Patriarchs of Kiev and Moscow” for a list of these relevant Church positions in Kiev and Moscow. who turned out to be in opposition to the terror police and died mysteriously. and why hast thou not followed their counsel? He who does not love his neighbor is not of God. but in defense of Christian mercy so flagrantly violated by the tsar (61). did not yield all independence. Sire. he said to the Sovereign the following words. and never allowed itself to be enslaved to this tyrant. Philip (died 1569). but outside this holy temple the blood of Christians is being shed and innocent people are being killed. Ivan IV the Terrible had been the most successful of the Muscovite Grand Princes in regard to expansion—and also the most 91 See “Primates of Russia. forgotten that thou. leaving no heir. St. 285 . as noted.

2. When Jeremiah returned to Constantinople. occupied by Godunov. he 286 . the metropolitan see at Moscow was elevated to patriarchal status and its autocephaly from Constantinople. as Fedotov asserts. The Patriarch of Moscow attained the same status as that held by the historic patriarchs of Constantinople. Antioch. Ecumenical Patriarch Jeremiah II came to Moscow in 1588 to beg for alms for his Church. Who was St. which has not been healed even until today. Job became the first Russian Patriarch. though in fact. Activity 1. Russia changed from being a threat to its neighbors to becoming a target. Jerusalem and Alexandria within the Orthodox Church. received him with great honor. the ancient metropolitanate of Kiev was to remain under Constantinople for a century more. as already noticed. the Mother Church. Let us view these three events. under the reign of Theodor. the Patriarch was kept under arrest.Chapter 3: Russian Church History ruthless. He could not return to Constantinople until he recognized the autocephaly of the Russian Church and. The Russian government. Philips? What did he do that enraged the tsar so much? Activity 69: Ivan the Terrible’s period THE EMERGENCE OF MOSCOW AS A PATRIARCHATE In 1589. However. But. which. In your own words summarize Ivan the Terrible’s concept of State and his relationship with the Church. in 1589. as Pospielovsky narrates. the spiritual energies latent during this age were unleashed in the great explosion known as the Raskol (schism) in the Russian Church (The Russian Religious Mind 7). Ivan’s son and last tsar of the House of Rurik—a dynasty begun by Alexander Nevsky’s son Daniel—. has been devastated by the Turks. settled him and his attendance in luxurious conditions at the Kremlin. was recognized (autocephaly meaning ecclesiastical independence). His son Feodor (1584-1598) was not of the same stock.

in art. he said: The Russians followed their own path. Instead. “the Russians could not reproduce that unique combination of the Christian. Thus began the popular conception of Holy Russia possessing a divine mission to hold forth the light of faith to the rest of the world. (51) 287 . as in terms of a healing and sanctifying process which aimed at the transfiguration of men. economics and social organization. for Pospielovsky. The Russians took upon themselves the cultural mission of Byzantium. To start with. and of the whole cosmos. the temptation which crippled the development of the southern Slavs” (49). religion and. Moscow was little indebted to Constantinople in politics. though it was not the case. St. and were able to enrich it along their own lines. worship. With these patriarchal sees now in Muslim-dominated lands. as Zernov asserts. becoming a link between the East and the West and the defenders and exponents of the order built on the foundation of Orthodox Christianity. The granting of a patriarchate to the Russian Church supposedly allowed the latter to adopt the Byzantine model of symphony between Emperor and Bishop. quite distinct from that of the Eastern Empire but inspired by the same ultimate vision of life.. Sergius was the first to give harmonious expression to this typically Russian approach to religion. some began calling Moscow the “Third Rome. which was the great achievement of the Byzantine Empire . but it was conspicuously the heir of Byzantium in the realm of the spirit. Hellenistic and Oriental civilization. being based on the vision of the Church as a living organism rather than an institution. and they created a new order. It was through the wealth of the Byzantine liturgy that they entered so fully into the cultural inheritance of the ancient world. as we will see in the Time of Troubles. Here. especially. Salvation was conceived not so much in terms of the forgiveness of the sins of the individual. He was able to fulfill the highest aspiration of the nation and he became the living example of unity in freedom (Sobornost). of beasts and plants. (50) Zernov continues saying that: The Russian interpretation of Christianity was more artistic than intellectual. Yet.” and destined to assume the leadership of world Christianity.. the Russians followed the true tradition of the Second Rome.Chapter 3: Russian Church History informed the other patriarchal sees. yet this fact did not make the church stronger. Job was the creation of Godunov (The Orthodox Church in the History of Russia 66-67).

” After the collapse of the Byzantine Empire and Church. (87) The monk Philotheos had prophesied that “the first Rome fell because of heresy. sketched this theory in a letter to tsar Vasilii III in 1510/1511.” He adds that The conquest of Constantinople affected Muscovy’s conception of her historical and ecclesiastical mission in much the same way as the conquest of Rome by the Germanic tribes had affected Byzantium’s view of herself. Rather. Ways of Russian Theology. which the Russians perceived as apostasy. See Florovsky. Benz asserts that the Russian historical and ecclesiastical mentality sprang out of the conception of Moscow as the “third Rome. the Russians had procured the establishment in Russia of the Patriarchate. the second Rome fell because of infidelity to the true Church doctrine . tradition dictated that emperors should be anointed by the Patriarchate. Russian national and ecclesiastical pride received an enormous impetus from the notion that Moscow had become the “third Rome. a monk from the Eleazar Monastery in Pskov. as events turned out.. Filofei. after the Council of Florence in 1439.92 Furthermore. Moscow will be the third Rome and a fourth there shall not be”.Chapter 3: Russian Church History Since the adoption of the title of tsar by the Grand Princes of Moscow.. Yet. the political claims of the Roman Imperium and the spiritual claims of the Byzantine Church were assumed by Muscovy and the Church of Moscow. and his absence was a challenge to the claims of the tsars to be the successors of the Byzantine emperor. 92 288 . Also the fall of Constantinople—the new Rome on the Bosporus—to the Turks in 1453 had forced the Russian Church to pursue a new identity for herself. if not sole guardian of the purity of the Orthodox Christian faith. The end of the Byzantine Empire did not extinguish the Byzantine tradition. the Russian Church now eventually perceived itself as the primary. Moreover. the Moscow Patriarchate did not last more than a century. its ideas and its claims were taken over by the Russian rulers of Moscow.

left without any legitimate heir to the throne. lasting only from 1598 to his death in 1605. 2. The country went through many rulers until the beginning of the Romanov dynasty. at the Patriarch Job’s suggestion. period in which was brought to the verge of collapse. Activity 70: The Patriarchate and the Third Rome A TIME OF TROUBLES (1584-1613) Pospielovsky affirms that with Philips the Church leaders’ opposition to Ivan’s terror ended and “the silence of the Church once again left the nation without visible moral leadership (66). His eight years of his rule was an absolute disaster and not a peaceful one: a terrible famine (1601-3). With his death.Chapter 3: Russian Church History Activity 1. In your own words. Godunov had been elected by a Zemsky Sobor.He soon 289 . and the violence of the state translated itself into violence of society” (66). Theodore. explain the circumstances of the recognition of the Russian Church as a patriarchate. or Assembly of the Land. Russia was. for its first time. organized a group of rebels and took the throne in 1605. At Boris Godunov’s death. Church and boyar opposition. as various princes and boyars fought to gain power and war and famine spread throughout Russia. This a period called the Time of Troubles. a young son of Ivan IV’s who had died mysteriously—either accidentally or murdered. The first was Boris Godunov. allegedly by Godunov’s agents—. However his reign was short. a boyar who had gained much power during Theodor’s reign. and Cossack rebellions occurred. It was a dynastic crisis after the death of Ivan childless heir. peasants fleeing from the estates. a man claiming to be Dmitrii. in 1598. He adds that this fact “undoubtedly contributed to the instability of power and absence of authority once Ivan died (1584). Explain the concept of “The Third Rome” and Russia’s particular vision of its Byzantine inheritance.

The climax of calamity and general anarchy was reached in 1610 when Basil IV was forced to abdicate. As an illustration. the Archimandrite. Dionisi. Prince Basil Shuiskii reigned from 1606-1610 as Basil IV. His reign too was full of problems. Zernov mentions names such as such as St. Kusma Minin-Sukhoruk and St. It was a time of complete moral collapse. the bursar. It was the force which helped the Russians to overcome these temptations and to restore their unity and vigor. 79). The problem was that at his fall there was nobody responsible for the order and unity of the land. the Patriarch of Moscow (1606-12).This was the beginning of the Romanov dynasty. His reign lasted less than a year because he was murdered by dissatisfied boyars. another Zemsky Sobor elected Mikhail Romanov to be tsar in 1613. whom the Pretender had elected as Patriarch. Mikhail Romanov was the grand-nephew of Ivan IV’s beloved late wife. who deposed Ignatius and replaced him with Hermogen. By his indiscriminate use of violence. After 1613. Russian made a sudden recovery and the next forty years was a period of reconstruction and reform. he had weakened the moral solidarity of the nation and let loose class rivalries and the dark passions always lurking in human souls. and Avraami (Abraham) .1633) became the patriarch of the church and the country’s actual ruler in 1619. Juliania Ossorgina of Lazorevsk (76. St. Anastasia. Another pretender. in which the Church played a main role. Germogen. Finally. Zernov considers the Time of Troubles as the last phase of the social revolution started by Ivan the Terrible. 290 .Chapter 3: Russian Church History deposed Patriarch Job for refusing to recognize him as the true son of Ivan IV. His father Philaret (d. civil strife broke as the nation refused to obey the new tsar and foreign intervention continued to be a problem: Poles and Swedes invaded Russia. appeared. Yet. also calling himself Dmitrii. Next. The first bishop to recognize the Impostor was Ignatius. Moscow suffered from a Cossack rebellion which was put down. both of the Monastery of the Holy Trinity of Radonezh.

on the one side.1604) was canonized for her compassionate love and care of the suffering people of her time. CHERNIGOV and SEVERIA to Lithuania. In 1634. The Poles. acknowledging Mikhail I.Chapter 3: Russian Church History during Germonen’s (German) patriarchate. trying unsuccessfully to stop him. of Poland. who had occupied Moscow imprisoned him in a Kremlin dungeon. Yet Sigismund wanted to be crowned Czar himself. Sigismund. Mikhail Romanov was crowned Czar. This left scars which had two opposing effects. The Poles conquered Smolensk. he disseminated appeals to the Russian people to drive out the Poles and the Swedes from Russia. which coincided with the peak of the time of troubles. Russia ceded INGRIA and KEXHOLM LAND to Sweden. some Russians became pro-westerners. a date which is regarded the end of the time of troubles. This confusion [The dynasty gap] provided both Sweden and Poland with the opportunity to gain respectively regain territory and influence. the Swedish invasion in the north and the Polish one from the west meant the first large scale encounters between Muscovite-Russia and western Europe. the prestige of the Church as the defender of the faith and nation increased as others besides German such as Dionisius. Patriarch German was later canonized as a martyr for the faith. the Swedes Novgorod (1611). and establish a Dynastic Union of PolandLithuania-Russia. was not prepared to do so. son of King Sigismund III. Saint Juliana Ossorgine (d. Abraham or the monks of the Trinity-St. as the legitimate Czar of Russia. In 1613. In 1619. searching for protection from western influences. and Vassily renounced his claim to the Russian throne. a devoted Catholic. (“Russia’s Time of Troubles”) Table 31: The Swedish and the Polish in the Time of Troubles For Pospielovsky. demanded that he converted to Orthodox christianity and resided in Moscow. on the other. In these trying years. becoming admirers of Catholicism and/or 291 . the truce was turned into a peace. ending the prospects of a peaceful union of Eastern Europe under one dynasty. Russia and Poland signed the TRUCE OF DEULINO. A faction of Boyars offered the crown to Vassily. marching triumphantly into Moscow. together with the Metropolit of Moscow. The war with Sweden was ended in the PEACE OF STOLBOVO (1617). The Orthodox Church in the History of Russia 68). A Polish army entered Russia and defeated the Swedes (1610). Russia became very defensive and isolationist. but regained Swedish-occupied Novgorod. A Russian revolt forced the Poles to leave Moscow in 1612. Russia’s Boyars. He died of starvation in the dungeon in 1612 as a national rebellion’s army approached Moscow. Sergius Monastery defended the nation from the invaders (Pospielovsky. Russia ceded SMOLENSK.

in what might be called a rightist deviation from the original status of the Orthodox Church” (84). with the purpose of morally uplifting and enlightening the nation. as Benz states. but in the streets (68). Between these two opposite trends of society lay the zealots. From 1650 to 1667. the two powers adapting to one another and creating a certain tradition of respect for each other’s limits and rights. and as Benz asserts. was shattered. Consequently. “this reforming group represented much of what was best in the tradition of St Joseph of Volokalamsk” (110). “a form of national Russian Caesaropapism came into being. and a curious harmony had emerged. They used the sermon as a main moral weapon by preaching not only in churches. Patriarch Nikon attempted reforms seeking the restoration of original Byzantine relationship. This reforming movement was led at the beginning by Dionisius and Patriarch of Moscow Filaret (1619-1633) and from 1633 by a group of married parish clergy. a movement founded by the above-mentioned Dionisius.Chapter 3: Russian Church History Protestantism. the Byzantine “harmony” between the Basilea and the Hierosyne. Yosifinism had so promoted the hegemony of the tsar that the Church became weakened by this. Church and state had disputed with one another for many centuries. According to Ware. While in the Byzantine Empire. the secular rulers had taken over significant powers over ecclesiastical affairs. Yet. They sought to restore Orthodoxy to its original purity and spiritual beauty. created by the dukes. Nikon was departing from the Byzantine model too because in opposing 292 . Yet in 1652-3 there started a quarrel between this reforming group and the new Patriarch Nikon (1605-81) which would lead Russia into another crisis. As we have seen Ivan the Terrible made it clear that the Church could not exercise even the last remnant of spiritual freedom: the right to reprove the tsar if he openly violated ecclesiastical morals and discipline. There was no time for anything of the sort in Muscovy as Russia was a young nation. From the beginning.

But the Time of Troubles was followed. Furthermore. the leftist deviation from the Byzantine tradition” (84). Nikon refused the position at first. Dionisi and Avraami. to be patriarch of the Russian Church.” Activity 71: Time of Troubles THE SCHISM OF THE OLD BELIEVERS As we have seen. For Benz. the three-century reign of the Romanov dynasty began. 4. Juliania Ossorgina of Lazorevsk. short tempered. and St.” In the above list of patriarchs. 1. he accepted when he received the formal pledge of the leaders of church and 293 . It would see Russia grow from a minor eastern principality to a European great power. Mikhail Romanov (1613-1645). Also search the web and briefly write about the reforming group the “zealots. check the Patriarchs involved in this conflicting period and make list adding their date in office. Pospielovsky says that “Nikon was the very embodiment of action: imperious. With him. summarize the period called “Time of Troubles. St. so to speak. 3. Germogen. Nikon was extremely popular and gifted. during the reign of Aleksey (16451676). Kusma MininSukhoruk. Nikon. however. he requested a number of secular rights in addition to his spiritual powers. Search the web and write a short biography of them. 2. but according to Ware. “he suffered from an overbearing and authoritative character” (110). at the beginning of the seventeenth century we witness the end of the Time of Troubles with the election of a new tsar. by the Old Believer (also called “Old Ritualists”) Schism. Zernov says that this time of complete moral collapse was once saved by churchmen such as St.Chapter 3: Russian Church History tsarism’s excessive authority over the Church. “Nikon’s claim to complete independence of the Church as against the state represented. impatient (The Orthodox Church in the History of Russia 71). In 1652 Aleksey (Alexis) chose metropolitan of Novgorod. Activity In your own words. in northern Russia.

hairs of the Josephite tradition and avatars of the Old Belief.”93 His first Pastoral Epistle. 37). already shocked the “zealots” members of the above mentioned reforming movement. During Great Lent in 1653 Nikon began his reform of church practices which were to separate church and nation. Nikon greatly admired the Greeks as it is seen by these words “I am a Russian and the son of a Russia. the orthodoxy of the Greeks after the Council of Venice (71. as the Patriarch of Moscow. These were priests. he demanded the adjustment of the Russian liturgical practices to conform to those of the four ancient Patriarchates and the corrections in the wording and spelling of liturgical texts according to Greek usage. the canons. in Ware (110) from Laura Ridding (Ed.Chapter 3: Russian Church History state that they would give unwavering obedience to the gospels.. he used as models for his reforms the seventeenth-century Greek and Kievan printed books. This. 294 . Pospielovsky reasons that both Tihkon and the young Patriarch Alexis: were dreaming of liberating the Balkan Christians from the Turkish Yoke. His impatient character impeded his scholarly analysis. and to him personally as the “chief pastor and supreme father” of the Russian Church. Pospielovsky says. They did not only reject the latinization of the Kievan academy but also doubted. who firmly believed in Russia’s mission to reveal to the world the truth of Orthodoxy. Thus in his reforms. restoring the Byzantine Empire. tapped into a deep vein of nationalism and reacted against the perceived slight to Russian customs. the fathers of the Church. the former been published in Venice and containing a few Latin insertions. but my faith and my religion are Greek. as Russians generally did. caused great consternation because he solemnly declared in it that the Greeks were right and the Russians wrong in all points on which they differed from one another (Zernov 99). with the Russian tsar and the Moskow Patriarch 93 Qtd. Zernov 93). Zealots such as the Archpriests Avvakum and Ivan Neronov.

that is to the symbolic gestures as an expression of the inner belief of Christians. in Bible and Church History (1972-1976) asserts that in Nikon’s time such reforms— which appear of minor importance today—were explosive since they meant a direct denial of the “third Rome” theory and practice of the Russian church and state and seemed to place Russian Orthodoxy in subjugation to the Eastern patriarchates. Hopko. this church followed Greek practices and their service books differed from those of the Muscovy (73). (72) Furthermore. Other reforms consisted in spelling of the name “Jesus” and the singing of the “alleluia” three times during psalmody instead of twice. Nikon foresaw the difficulties that would arise from the differences of ritual between the Greeks and the Russians. however. He thinks that in the eye of many “a change in the symbol constituted a change in the faith” (111). and he was eager to remove them by aligning Russian Church ritual with Greek practice—especially since the visiting Greek clergy constantly criticized Russian practice and assured the Russians that they were wrong. Pospielovsky asserts that the “confrontation between the established Church and the Old Ritualists was exacerbated by the fact that both sides were Josephites.Chapter 3: Russian Church History in Constantinople… Imagining himself in a church celebration with the Ecumenical Patriarch. presently suffering under the Turks because of their sins (according to Russian mentality). which included a modification of the sign of the cross to conform to Greek usage—with three fingers instead of two—sparked the schism of the Old Believers—or followers of traditional religious rituals—lead by Avakum. Nikon wanted to bring the Ukrainian Church to the Moscow Patriarchate. Nikon also sought a second aim. 295 . Ware also explains that the question of the sign of the Cross was not a trivial thing due to the great importance Orthodox Russians—and Orthodox in general—have always attached to ritual actions. to make the church supreme over the State. In addition to establishing Greek practices in Russia. and the struggle was not merely for the right to coexist but to be the state religion” (62). Nikon’s reforms.

they had been calling for a return among the people of strict obedience to the traditional rites and customs of the Russian Church. but to no avail. imprisonment.nypl. Nikon withdrew into semi-retirement. in spite of the opposition led by parish priests such as Avvakum or Neroonov. the tsar was not pleased with his actions and his open statement of displeasure caused the patriarch to resign in 1658 after publicly rebuking him. had proceeded with no tact and continued with his reforming program. as well as monks and laity people. who acted as the tsar’s regent in his absence.russia. tsar Alexis found his church and nation in chaos. who themselves were considered “reformers”. Alexis tried to make up with Nikon. But the opponents to the Nikonian reforms were severely persecuted and punished. Nikon. Nikon had acted confident that Alexis would support his actions by punishing those who were disobedient to him as “chief pastor and supreme father” of the Russian Church. 296 . From that time until 1666 Russia had no acting patriarch.Chapter 3: Russian Church History Illustration 56: Patriarch Nikon (1652-58)94 In 1657 on his return from the fighting on the Polish front.org>. however. but without resigning the office of Patriarch. 94 See: <www. As mentioned above. suffering exile. and even death in same cases.

a writer of genius. which was held in Moscow (1666-67). and represented the strongest moral force in Muscovite society. Paisios Ligarides. Archpriest Avvacum (1620-1680). on the basis of minor differences in rituals. as the exponent of Muscovite spirituality (The Russian Religious Mind 7). The Old Believers were violently persecuted. It was engineered by the unscrupulous Metropolitan of Gaza. who openly opposed the Council’s decision. which was presided over by the bishops of Alexandria and Antioch. The council decided in favor of Nikon’s reforms. in the reign of Ivan the Terrible. the council excommunicated and anathematized the opponents of Nikon’s reforms—several million believers—from the Church. but also officially refuted the Council of a Hundred Chapters—the most venerated of Russian Church councils—which was held. but against his person. the leading figure of the movement. He considers the belligerent Archpriest Avvakuum. the Old Ritualists. thus formally renouncing to the “third Rome” theory and the assumed supremacy of Russian Orthodoxy over all other churches. The Greek prelates not only condemned the old rituals. and the complete success of Yosifinism. Nikon was buried in the church with full patriarchal dignity. He invited the Eastern Patriarchs to join the Council. Although he never changed his position and never yielded his opposition to the council of 1666-1667. Then.Chapter 3: Russian Church History In 1666... in 1551. For Fedotov. his deposition following a still more rigorous repression and reduction of the spiritual freedom of the Church. went into the schism with the Russian Orthodox Church and was burned alive with three of his supporters for the “great blasphemies . 297 . and sent into exile and harsh labor. as mentioned. or Old Believers stood entirely upon traditional ecclesiastical grounds. uttered against the tsar and his household” (Ware 110-114). Then they condemned and deposed Nikon. the tsar Alexis requested a great council. In 1682.

too great an emphasis on the externals of worship. does not embrace all the richness of Russian thought because it represents but a single aspect of Russian Christianity—the tradition of the Possessors. and if they had attended more to mystical prayer. More than anything else. who. Joseph. perhaps a lasting separation would have been avoided. the Holy Martyr (1620-1680)95 Your Own Research Search the web and write a short biography of Avvacum. it was his readiness to resort to persecution which made the schism definitive. in spite of embodying the finest elements in the tradition of medieval Russian piety. Behind the division of the seventeenth century lie the disputes of the sixteenth.ac. they might have argued less bitterly about ritual. became the first of a long series of sectarian movements characteristic of modern 95 See: <www. then a reconciliation might have been effected. and had chosen to die rather than accept a corrected version of the service books. the Old Believers.” Activity 72: A short biography of Avvacum For Ware.uk>.cam. Try to find and read his autobiography “Vita. The defects of the Old Believers are the Josephite defects writ large: too narrow a nationalism. (112-113) This group. having identified religion with ritual.Chapter 3: Russian Church History Illustration 57: Avvacum. the remote descendants of St. 298 . is in the end a Josephite: he demanded an absolute uniformity in the externals of worship.cus. Had the development of Church life in Russia between 1550 and 1650 been less one-sided. If men had thought more (as Nilus did) of tolerance and freedom instead of using persecution. Nikon too. despite his Hellenism. and like the Possessors he freely invoked the help of the civil arm in order to suppress all religious opponents.

the Old Believers thought that the reign of Antichrist had begun in the official Church and. Hierarchs in the Orthodox Church in the Ukraine had decided to a union with the Roman Church under the influence of Polish Latin-rite Jesuits. succeeded in preserving ancient Russian forms of iconography and liturgical chant which otherwise would likely have been lost in history (Pospielovsky 73). witnessed the development on its soil of a Church which while worshipping according to the Byzantine rites. The Old Believers. in their desire to preserve the pure Orthodox faith and rituals of Russia. But in the seventeenth century. it owed allegiance to the Pope of Rome. another problem beset the Church in Russia. or ‘Little Russia’ as it was known. These Greek Catholics. that of the so called Unia or Uniates. The Ukraine. today there are approximately five million Old Believers of various denominations in Russia. Petersburg in the eighteenth century. 299 .000 burned themselves to death in mass immolation.Chapter 3: Russian Church History developments in Russian religion. This group remains separate to this day from the main body of Orthodoxy. and with the transfer of the capital of the Russian empire to St. have undergone a precarious existence within the boundaries of the Russian Empire (“A History of the Russian Church”). at times proscribed and at times granted freedom under the emperor’s dispensation. who tried violently to westernize Russia and presented fierce opposition to traditional Russian ways. taking with them a large number of their flock. their numbers were officially assessed at two million. seeking to die as martyrs for Jesus. After the schism of 1666. about 20. This idea was confirmed in their beliefs with the accession to the Russian throne of Peter the Great. Before 1917. are in Eucharistic communion with the Russian Orthodox Church. known as “coreligionists”. some of whom.

write a short summary of the Great Schism. As we have seen from the nature of the development of tsarism in the previous pages. some of the historical data pertinent to the period will be shown in different tables. entitled “From Possessors and NonPossessors to the Great Schism (XVI-XVII Centuries). he was also man who brought Russia into the twentieth century. Activity 73: The Great Schism Your Own Research Search the web and write a five-paragraph paper about the “Unia” or “Uniate” (Byzantine Catholic) movement. THE CHURCH IN IMPERIAL RUSSIA: THE XVIII CENTURY By the eighteenth century the Muscovite period of Russian history had declined and had been overshadowed by the spectacular. which have been adapted from general articles on the history of Russia. THE CHURCH IN IMPERIAL RUSSIA: THE SYNODAL PERIOD (1700-1917)96 1. a westernizer and secularizer of Russia representing the reign of western state in Russia Yet. Activity 76: Summary of the Russian Church during the XIII-XV centuries 4. You can combine your previous summaries adding a topic paragraph presenting the ideas to be developed. Activity 74: The “Unia” movement Activity In the above list of Moscow’s Metropolitans and Patriarchs write a check on the ones mentioned in this section three. cruel reign of Peter I the Great (16821725). Activity 75: Metropolitans and Patriarchs cited Activity Write a three-page summary of this section 3. to give a deeper contextual perspective.Chapter 3: Russian Church History Activity In your own words. it must have been an easy matter for Peter I the Great to follow with the principles of absolutism As in previous sections. 96 300 .

From the beginning of his reign. In this sense. Ivan the Terrible.” He was neither the first nor the only westerner in Muscovy at the end of the seventeenth century. Peter had been particularly irritated by Adrian’s enthronement encyclical in which he had repeated Nikon’s formula of the priority of patriarchate’s 301 . Peter gained a reputation for arbitrariness and cruelty. the last of the seventeenth century patriarchs. As other tsars have done. Muscovite Russia stirred and turned toward the West much earlier. a latinizer. in spite of being wholly aware of the flaws of Peter’s reforms. The dissimilarity is not confined to temperament or to the fact that Peter “turned to the West. and in this milieu he discovered an initial sympathy toward his cultural enterprises. In 1691. (78) Peter was also quite aware of the Church’s potential political influence. Peter was the first Russian ruler to assume the title “imperator”. he executed Sylvester Medvedev. He also found a firmly settled colony of Kievan and “Lithuanian” emigrants and scholars. there were also reflective churchmen who. which was passed on to his successors. The Patriarch was an arch-conservative man. as Florovsky states in Ways of Russian Theology: Peter scarcely resembles those who came before him. were opposed to his reforms and thought him to be in reality the devil incarnate. submitted to them without necessarily agreeing with them. In Moscow Peter encountered an entire generation reared and educated in thoughts about the West. What is innovative in this Petrine reform is not westernization but secularization.Chapter 3: Russian Church History regarding the Church. if not in western thinking. thus he abolished the Russian long-cherished Institution of Patriarchate after the death of Adrian in 1700. he regarded himself as a sovereign ruler who could re-structure the Russian Church to befit him as a secularizing statesman. and many of his subjects. one of Russia’s best educated clerics and a founder of the Moscow Academy—allegedly for Latin heresy. traditional Orthodox Christians. though ten years later he elected Yavorskii. Like his predecessor. a position that was imposed on him by his arch-conservative mother and his brother. Peter persecuted independent minded clergy. for example. as patriarchal locum tenens. Nevertheless.

when the Moscow Patriarchate was restored. This Synod remained responsible for church affairs until 1918. the fate of the Church was decided by the tsar with no clergy participation. Pospielovsky explains.Chapter 3: Russian Church History power over the royalty. He also established an order of rankings for the nobility. Having spent several years traveling in western Europe. 302 . he could not attain his purpose of total secularization and command over the population (The Orthodox Church in the History of Russia 107). with its grand palatial buildings. with the patriarchate still remaining. He had to wait until the death of the Patriarch. Peter I the Great had embarked on the most ambitious reform effort yet seen in Russia. with their canals. Among the casualties of his reforms were the old Boyar Duma and the Zemsky Sobor. founded in 1803. because although the patriarchal system was weakened by Peter’s centralized autocracy. he forced men to shave their beards and to don western clothing in place of the traditional caftan.nndb. which he centralized under his own control. Among other things. which were 97 See: <www. Illustration 58: Peter I the Great97 In an effort to bring that country in line with what he saw to be a more advanced western Europe. St. Petersburg. In the Great Northern War against Charles XII’s Sweden. he modeled “Sankt Pieterburg” (which he gave an explicitly Dutch name) after Amsterdam and Venice. and Bourbon Paris. It meant that for the first time. Peter conquered the territory along the Neva River that would be home to his new capital city.com>. After the patriarch’s death Peter prevented the immediate convocation of a council to elect a new patriarch and reestablished the government of the Church on a synodal basis by replacing it with an Ecclesiastical College (later called the Holy Synod).

Moscow. On this trip. Table 32: Historical data about Peter I the Great (1721-1725) After the death of Adrian. a professor of the Kiev Academy to be consecrated as metropolitan of the Russian church—the youngest ever elected—with the unprecedented title of “Exarch.Chapter 3: Russian Church History replaced by a Ruling Senate under supervision of a procurator responsible directly to the tsar. the German Lutheran and placed Moscow at the head of the Synod.” However. he felt that they. In addition. would in general be more sympathetic to his imitation of things western (The Orthodox Church in the History of Russia 106). had been transformed into an imperial “ministry of religion” and its voice in society could be heard but faintly. This historian says that Ukrainians. Thus Peter moved Russia in a decisively absolutist direction (Adapted from “A Capsule History of Russia”). in its outward administration at least. For the design of this Synod he followed the Lutheran model suggested by Samuel von Pufendorf. The administration of the Church was overseen by the procurator of the Synod. and Kiev. Pospielovsky states that he chose Ukrainians instead of men from the Russian tradition. the absence of the patriarch made Stephen a representative of the tsar. that his prolonged trip to Europe in 1698 had influenced this decision. who would have approved of his reforms. a lay man. It is possible. had to rely on the emperor’s authority and support and would therefore support any of his actions. which was the see of the patriarchate. as westerners. the Russian Orthodox Church. Petersburg. who was answerable to the emperor alone and had the power to appoint and transfer bishops at will. Keeper and Administrator of the Patriarch Throne. the mother city of Russian Christianity. “as strangers to the Great Russian Traditions. Therefore. because he did not seek reforms but a whole revolution within the church and no Great Russians would have never agreed on that. typically of a patriarch. Peter had 303 . which was composed of the Metropolitan of St. since the exarch was a representative. Peter chose Stephen (Stefan) Yavoskii. as Pospielovsky puts is.

December 3. in 1721. Theofan Prokopovich. 304 . All bishops were forced to pledge their acceptance of the new system and to all members of the dynasty. drafted a Spiritual Regulation (also translated as Spiritual Rule) from which a “College for Spiritual Affairs” was set up. where the king was the head of the church and Defender of the Faith. Prokopovich. Also. As a consequence. according to which the visible or earthly Church was conceived as also a religious projection of the state itself (169). but because they had independent thought. The tsar had had long conversations with Anglican theologians and with members of the royal family and this led him to conclude that the Church should be subordinated to the head of the state (The Orthodox Church in the History of Russia 105).Chapter 3: Russian Church History become acquainted with the situation in Lutheran Prussia and Anglican England. 2005) very critical to the current relationship between Church and State in England. “brought into Russia all the basic principles of the Protestant territorial Church. who became the chief assistant of Peter in his ecclesiastical reforms. not because they were guilty of crimes. therefore trying to “force them to give up their dreams of some Byzantine symphony or dualism of power (The Orthodox Church in the History of Russia 115). and imprisoned. its concept of the relations between Church and state. As Schmemann asserts in The Historical Road of Eastern Orthodoxy (1977). Through the institution of the synod the Church became a governmental department. until 1901 its members in their oath had to call the emperor “the high judge of this Sacred College.98 Peter’s reforms were in the making since 1700 in his attempt to weaken the church and to use it as his own tool. In the era of Prokopovich many clerics were executed. One of his measures had been the granting of special powers to the Senate over the Church.” and all its decisions were adopted “by 98 Read in Appendix A an article entitled “Face to Faith” (The Guardian. a young theologian from the Kievan academy consecrated bishop at the tsar’s request. as Pospielovsky asserts. tortured.

4. and the canon law (The Orthodox Church in the History of Russia 111). From this point of view. granted by His Imperial Majesty. not the absolutizing of imperial authority. it was changed to “Holy Synod”. 1. 3. the Russian clergy. 2. (The Historical Road of Eastern Orthodoxy) This historian further comments that Peter’s reforms. Activity Write a short biography of Peter I According to Florovsky. Activity 77: The eighteen century (I) Schmemann explains that there was a basic ambiguity in the relations between Church and state which infected the thinking of both state and Church alike: The Russian Church in essence and in good conscience did not accept Peter’s reform. For it the emperor remained God’s Anointed. 5. eastern patriarchs canonically recognized the Holy Synod.Chapter 3: Russian Church History its authority. and the whole Petersburg period can be accused of depriving the Church of its freedom and independence. proceeding from almost contradictory presuppositions. As we will see these radical reforms would not be repudiated until the revolution of 1917. since the time of Constantine the Great—neither in Byzantium nor in Moscow. what is Peter’s dissimilarity with previous rulers? Why did he abolish the patriarchate? What is a patriarchal “locum tenens”? Find its definition on the web.” Later. and it continued to accept this anointment in the terms of Byzantine or Muscovite theocracy. 6. Yet he adds: But the Church had not been free. which caused a sharp break in a theocratic tradition. Pospielovsky reasons that the Spiritual Regulation was neither a regulation nor spiritual. but rather “an ideological manifesto of sorts. Byzantine anointing with oil is theocratically a limitation. Yet without 305 . meaning the consecration of the earthly emperor to serve as Christian basileus. in the modern sense of the term. What model did Peter I follow for his design of the Holy Synod? Why? Write a short biography of Feofan Prokovich. Therefore state and Church interpreted the imperial authority in different ways.” Because the bishops protested that “college” was not an ecclesiastical term. The Russian Church was now anointing western absolutism with the Byzantine anointment to the throne. venomous and contemptuous of Church traditions.

structure. Consequently. evolved in complete disengagement from the true tradition of Orthodoxy. Western absolutism. although with Peter ecclesiastical education underwent an unprecedented quantitative growth.” they were always departures and sooner or later recognized as such—as. This occurred because the state recognized a law higher than itself. This also brought a completely latinization of the Moscow academy. as it defined how they should be ministered to. Pospielovsky says that as a secular statesman and a pragmatic. As mentioned. it was still distinct from the state and had not been dependent on it for its very existence. of which the Church was the preserver. denied that it had any right to be the conscience of the state and squeezed it within the narrow framework of “ministering to spiritual needs. Kiev emerged victorious.” which the state itself defined. when the state itself venerated its own victims. Peter himself. in his ecclesiastical transformations. Peter’s closing of this school cause a delay of the revival of Orthodox patristic theology by at least a century (The Orthodox Church in the History of Russia 113). and life. Peter also closed Novgorod College. born out of struggle against the Church. as Pospielovsky comments. Christian truth. he also gave a deadly blow to the Moscow Academy. he was not successful as the ecclesiastical schools continued to grow and became Russia’s best educational establishments. the Russian divinity school (twenty-six seminaries were opened before 1750) was a Latin school in language and in the spirit of its teaching. Yet. lasting even until the fourth decade of the nineteenth century. However far the departures from “symphony.Chapter 3: Russian Church History being free. for example. had relied on the Kievans and had used them to replace the native Russian bishops. Similarly. however. which was just starting to develop a purer Greek-Russian educational system and to revive the study of Patristics. Peter favored secular education with an applied and professional education. by preferring teachers from the Ukraine and the Belorussia because of their western links via the Polish schools. Schmemann believes that this latinization of Russian theology also produced a dichotomy between theological ‘learning’ and ecclesiastical experience as people 306 .

this theological westernizing of course played a fateful role which must not be underestimated. were mainly Germans by birth. often speaking only broken Russian. Yet. or Freemasonry (116). Pospielovsky says that: the west-Russian pedagogues latinized the fledging Russian seminary education to such an extent that the language was not even taught as a subject until the last decades of the eighteenth century. who followed each other in quick succession. Similarly. and education and the inspiration of creative work returned as well (171). after the break with all scholarly and cultural traditions. Orthodox are strictly forbidden to become Freemasons. Dressed in comic. having the mentality and horizon of the petty princelings of the small 99 On pain of excommunication. the standards of scholarship were high (116). namely Protestant mysticism. Ware says that those who rejected the dry scholasticism of the theological academies. Zernov says that: They appeared strange. shadowy figures to the nation. were influenced by religious or pseudo-religious movements in the west. Most of Peter’s 18th-century successors.99 By the beginning of the nineteenth century. as well as to their future pastorate (113) He further explains that this clergy lacked the knowledge of Church Slavonic in which the services were officiated and had only a vague idea of Orthodox patristic theology on which their pastorate and sermons were supposed to be based (114). all teaching was conducted in Latin. Yet still. Protestant theology was learned by rote to combat Catholic propaganda and Latin theology was learned in the same manner to combat the Protestants (“A History of the Russian Church”). after centuries of Muscovite darkness. Schmemann also says that: In the ecclesiastical and theological experience of the Russian Church. Slavonic and Greek were taught superficially …The tragedy for the Russian clergy was that the education they received was mostly irrelevant to the Russian reality. 307 .Chapter 3: Russian Church History prayed in Slavic but clerics theologized in Latin (171). Ware consents that in spite of the latinization. mental discipline returned for the first time to the Church. pompous French costumes or Prussian uniforms. German pietism. instead of turning to the teachings of Byzantium and ancient Russia.

1727–30 Anna. 1645–76 Feodor III. This aroused Prokospovich’s ire who plotted against it.Chapter 3: Russian Church History German States. They and the society which surrounded them had no personality. 1730–40 Ivan VI. he had hundreds of monks and priests tortured and imprisoned. 1682–96 Peter I “the Great”. and sent over twenty thousand people to Siberia. “the Great”. a pious and good-hearted woman. and did not calm down even under Catherine II (1762-96). with Anna a decade of mismanagement and terror began. As indicated. (123) They were mainly empresses beginning with his widow. His regent was his mother brought up in Germany and surrounded by Germans. 1725–27 Table 33: Early Romanov tsars and tsarinas Peter II. 1741–62 Peter III. a Supreme Privy Council reigned and the “ruling Synod” was made subject to the Senate. They led an artificial existence in an artificial city. so hated by Prokopovich. 1740–41 Elizabeth. was named tsar. But this was more than Russians could tolerate and in 1741 a coup attempt by the imperial guard placed the very Russian Elizabeth. the church 308 . they were crude imitations of the West. Catherine I. an infant. on the throne. 1762–96 The terror initiated by Peter reached its peak under Empress Anna (Peter’s niece: 1730-40). In the time of Catherine I (1725-27) and Peter II (1723-30). they were in most cases the pathetic victims of their abysmal ignorance. 1682– 1725 Catherine I. She executed several thousand people. no style of their own. After Anna. In the following table. Ivan (1740-1741). created by the dynamic will of Peter the Great.” the members of the Supreme Privy Council. co-tsar with Peter I. With Elizabeth. there is a list of early Romanov tsars and tsarinas to help you follow the historical discourse: Mikhail. 1676–82 Ivan V. always trying to reproduce the last word in European fashion and manners. a niece of Peter the Great. 1762 Catherine II. 1613–45 Alexei. including the “supremists. Peter the Great’s younger daughter. In his effort to root out all traces of Catholicism. given an opportunity e with the reign of Anna. moral corruption and complete isolation from the rest of the country.

She also took measures to improve clergy’s education. and stagnation for the Church. who was equally German in origin (The Empress Elizabeth had no children of her own.). An aficionado of the French Enlightenment. Severe restrictions were also placed upon those wishing to pursue a monastic vocation. However. unforgettable emergence of holiness. including the French Revolution. she corresponded with a number of philosophers. In 1762. Also. The Orthodox Church in the History of Russia 116-120).Chapter 3: Russian Church History and the clergy had a respite. for even if it existed under non-canonical dispensation. it continued being recognized by the other eastern Orthodox Churches. born and raised in Germany. Under her other procurators were placed in charge of the Holy Synod. Catherine II’s long reign coincided with a number of significant events. this Synodal period that existed until the 1917 Revolution did not mean a period of total decline. Peter III. She released all of Anna’s political prisoners and restored the Synod to its original status. Peter III. a Lutheran. Elizabeth’s nephew. Catherine II the Great. the outbreak of the Revolution in 1789 moved her in a more conservative direction and during her reign Russia witnessed one of the most disastrous consequences of the Holy Synod: the confiscation of monastic land-holdings. was overthrown within a year and killed in another coup attempt by the imperial guard. the spiritual life continued interrupted in spite of its façade of westernization. Catherine was a German princess brought to Russia to marry the young heir to the Russian throne. and the true life of Orthodoxy continued without interruption with true monks 309 . There was also an obvious rebirth of monasticism in Russia and a new. Notwithstanding. decline and complete compliance or subservience. particularly Voltaire and Diderot. the most formidable of these empresses (Pospielovsky. Her successor. they enthroned his brilliant widow.

Chapter 3: Russian Church History and pastors. at the same time. and even criminals.org>. 310 . in his own life of prayer he underwent an experience similar to the Dark Night of the Soul. Tikhon of Zadonsk (1724-83). beggars.serfes. Bishop of Voronezh. Ware describes him in a very enlightening way which can give us a clue about this “eclectic” westernization of Orthodox spirituality: He drew upon German and Anglican books of devotion. to Nilus and the Non-Possessors. he took a special delight in helping the poor. But Tikhon was also close in outlook to Theodosius and Sergius. a great preacher and a fluent writer. as Ware calls it. and he was happiest when talking with simple people—peasants. in this period of “ill-advised westernization”. remained firmly rooted in the classic tradition of Orthodox spirituality. his detailed meditations upon the physical sufferings of Jesus are more typical of Roman Catholicism than of Orthodoxy. both lay and monastic. as described by western mystics such as Saint John of the Cross. (116117) Notwithstanding. not only Church theology was transformed. but also Church art and Church music: iconography became naturalized religious portrait painting and hymnography betrayed the influence of European baroque music or even secular opera (116). Tikhon of Zadonsk (1724-83)100 He was a good example of one who borrowed from the West as many of his contemporaries did. The eighteenth century was illumined by St. but who. 100 See: <www. Illustration 59: St. Like so many Russian saints.

1894–1917 Table 34: Late Romanov tsars The nineteenth century really began with Catherine’s grandson. Paul treated the clergy with great reverence. or Alaska. 1881–94 Nicholas II. the extent of the procurator’s power had not yet been fully 311 . THE CHURCH IN IMPERIAL RUSSIA: THE XIX CENTURY By the beginning of the 19th century. mark with a check the ones mentioned in this eighteenth century section. 1796–1801 l Alexander I. Alexander I.Chapter 3: Russian Church History 1. the Holy Synod continued silencing the Church. 1855–81 Alexander III. 1801–25 Nicholas I. (74) Let us view a list of the last tsars of the Romanov dynasty for a better understanding of the historical context of this period: Paul I. 1825–55 Alexander II. 3. But the impression of power produced by the Empire was an illusion. The dynasty was at last stabilized. and Russia took a prominent place in the life of the western nations. Russia was by far the largest country in the world. The outward appearance was not different from the previous centuries: the Romanov continued reigning. 2. In the Table with the tsars and tsarinas. His son Paul’s reign was merely a transitional one. Activity Why does Scheme man talk about ambiguity in the relation Church-State Briefly explain the latinization process of ecclesiastical teaching. and the State founded by Peter failed to become the home of the Russian people. 4. For Zernov: The nineteenth century opened a new page in the history of the Empire. deep-rooted contradictions sapped its vitality. but it had established colonies in Russian America. 5. or Freemasonry Activity 78: The eighteenth century (II) 2. German pietism. a fusion of Russian and western cultures seemed to have been achieved. Not only had it reached the Pacific. In his time. Search The web and briefly define the following concepts: Protestant mysticism. Explain the development of the Holy Synod during the eighteenth century. and conflict with other nations kept emerging.

which had begun under Peter the Great. The amalgamation of Synod and Department of education was later abolished and the Synod was separated from the Minister of Education. Alexander II. there came a succession of Ministers of Education. an affiliate of the British Bible Society. better known as the Dual Ministry. Like his grandmother. which he tried to impose upon the Russian hierarchy. a Minister of Education. and other events that were fatal to the Church. for they were not radical enough to be acceptable either to the peasants or to the educated classes.Chapter 3: Russian Church History established. Yet at this time arrived the first translation into Russian of Scripture. “the process of converting the Church into a state bureaucracy totally subordinated to the government. from Hebrew and Greek. When Alexander I became emperor. Alexander began his reign as a reforming tsar but became increasingly conservative with time. The rift 312 . exchanged his rationalism for pietism. In 1817.” Nicholas was succeeded in 1855 by his son. but his forces dealt a decisive blow to the French. Alexander amalgamated the Synod and the Department of Education into the Ministry of Spiritual Affairs. but it had its consequences as Shishkov. whose reign was comparatively liberal and tolerant. and every word or sermon they preached. Under this tsar. according to the fashion of the time. for example. continued illegally to give orders to the Synod. the bishops were surrounded with police informers whose duty was to report every move they made. The changes came too late to save the Empire. He. The Orthodox Church in the History of Russia 136-139). As an illustration. Napoleon was on the march to conquer Russia. Nicholas I. The Church had to endure the rule of Prince Alexander Golitsyn (1773-1844). as Pospielovsky states. was completed (The Orthodox Church in the History of Russia 144). Alexander is best known for having freed the serfs in 1861. led a campaign against the Bible in Russian (Pospielovsky. procurators. as Zernov asserts. undertaken by the Bible Society. who. He introduced this and many other reforms but. With Alexander I’s successor.

the nineteenth century. 3. Explain the development of the Holy Synod or the relation between the Church and the state during the nineteenth century. under its tribulation. in that crucial nineteenth century when the curtain was already rising on the “accomplishments” of the twentieth. in their passion to imitate Europe. Petersburg and the rest of the country was rapidly widening. social movements. 2. which drew so many to it (and not only the common people by any means)—this gradual but inspiring inward liberation of Orthodoxy from its bureaucratic destiny. Activity 79: The nineteenth century Although the outward life of the Russian Orthodox Church in the nineteenth century differed little from that of the previous century. also influencing the relation between the Church and the State during the last stages of the Empire’s decay during the reigns of Alexander III (1881-94) and Nicholas II (1894-1917). like many other historians. or economic development. Activity 1. To ignore this process would mean to overlook something most essential in the spiritual progress of Russia and of all Orthodoxy. the advocate of extreme reaction. (75) A more liberal atmosphere was introduced into the administration of the Church during the reign of Alexander II. political struggle. In the Table with the tsars of the late Romanov period. affirms that the second part of the Synodal period. Write a short biography of Pobedonostsev. Schmemann is right when he says that: One cannot reduce the history of Russia to the history of her culture. but this freedom was suppressed by the all-powerful Procurator Pobedonostsev (1827-1907) (Zernov 75). (171) Ware. could not be satisfied with anything less than a republic with a radical social programme. mark with a check the ones mentioned in this eighteenth century section. and Alexander was murdered by the group of extremists who. as we will see. was a time of great revival in the Russian Church as 313 . the Russian Church overcame these tribulations from within as it grew in holiness and flourished in different ways. and forget this dimension of holiness.Chapter 3: Russian Church History between the bureaucracy of St.

Theophan the Recluse issued a greatly expanded translation of the Philokalia in five volumes in Russia. who translated the Philokalia102 into Slavonic.ru>.Chapter 3: Russian Church History Russia turned away from the contemporary religious and pseudo-religious movements of the west. like Sergius. Ware comments that He was deeply influenced by Nilus and the Non-Possessors. Paissy Velichkovsky101 Paissy. and relied once again upon the true spiritual forces of Orthodoxy. St. 102 101 314 .km. (117) Illustration 60: St. They reinvigorated existing houses and made many new foundations. under the inspiration of his disciples. Consequently while there were 452 monasteries in Russia See: <www. who fled to Mount Athos and became a monk. emphasized the practice of continuous prayer—above all the Jesus Prayer—and the need to obey an elder or starets. For Ware this religious renewal sprang from Mount Athos. to combine the mystical with the corporate and social aspect of the monastic life. Paissy was horrified by the secular tone of the teaching. but he did not overlook the good elements in the Josephite form of monasticism: he allowed more place than Nilus had done to liturgical prayer and to social work. He illustrates his point with Paissy Velichkovsky (1722-1794). a monastic revival disseminated across Russia. During the years 1815-94. Along with this revival in spiritual life there emerged a new enthusiasm for missionary work and an own theology which freed Orthodoxy from a slavish imitation of the west. and in this way he attempted.mega. Although he never returned to Russia.

whereby a monk with charismatic gifts of insight and compassion would become spiritual confessor to thousands of people. both educated and simple. 315 . largely suppressed since the sixteenth century (118). For the Russians. Seraphim was at the fount of monastic spirituality of ‘eldership’. this century in Russia was par excellence the age of the starets (also spelt “staretz”) The first and greatest of these elders of the nineteenth century was Seraphim of Sarov (1759-1833). It is. Schmemann asserts that with these and other spiritual centers “the ancient but eternally youthful traditions of Orthodoxy were very clearly restored. occasionally acquiring a reputation as a healer. Ware explains.025. The elders.” Thus nineteenth-century Russia was particularly marked by a high development of the practice of spiritual direction. and the full force of the never-silent summons to ‘do honor to the heavenly calling’ (171). in 1914 the number grew to 1. Alexander Pushkin. combined with spiritual insight and guidance. focused on internal prayer and compassion for the poor. Seraphim of Sarov’s spirituality. like that of Sergius six centuries earlier. a true believer in the Orthodox doctrine of deification. St. Although the “elder” had been a characteristic figure in many periods of Orthodox history. were unaware of each other’s existence. and her greatest poet. however. This monastic movement. the greatest saint of this age. an indication of the divorce between Church and culture that had occurred in Russia by this time that her greatest holy man. although never formally institutionalized by the Church. restored the tradition of the Non-Possessors. Seraphim of Sarov.Chapter 3: Russian Church History in 1810. enjoyed great authority with Orthodox believers.

Seraphim of Sarov and. the hermitage of Optina. another community took up his work. From 1829 until 1923. On The web. with telegraphic sentences. writing from the fourth to the fifteenth centuries on the disciplines of Christian prayer and a life dedicated to God. Paissy and St. as did that of Seraphim.fatheralexander. read up about the Philokalia and write a five-page paper. hesychast tradition. when the monastery was closed by the Bolsheviks.org>.Chapter 3: Russian Church History Illustration 61: St. and after his death. 2. a succession of startsy or elders ministered there. Most of the authors were monks (“Philokalia”). over the 103 See: <www. The Love of Good Things) is a collection of texts by masters of the eastern Orthodox. first. Serafim of Sarov103 Your Own Research 1. summarize their lives and achievements. Write. Table 35: The Philokalia But Seraphim left no successor in the art of spiritual direction. second. a short biography about St. Activity 80: The nineteenth century The Philokalia (Gk. 316 . their influence extending.

both peasants and educated city dwellers. Illustration 62: The Monastery of Optina104 From its very beginning.Chapter 3: Russian Church History whole of Russia. The anonymous author writes: “I made up my mind to go to Siberia to the tomb of St. went upon long walking pilgrimages to the great monastic centers in order to worship and behold the sacred icons and relics. Strongly influenced by similar notions in Byzantine Christianity. not only for the vast multitude of Russia’s peasant wanderers but also for the leading cultural figures of the 104 See: <http://answers.” (“Sacred Sites of Russia”) Table 36: Pilgrimage in Russia In the 19th century many elders came from different parts of Russia to live and teach at Optina Pustyn. Russian Orthodoxy believed that icons functioned as suitable imitations of Christ and the saints. These elders of the ancient monastery of Optina Pustyn in south-west Moscow also gradually helped to overcome the gap between culture and faith. These elders shared their spiritual experience with both lay practitioners and the community of monks. Russian Orthodoxy was characterized by a thriving pilgrimage tradition. they wrote and translated books. and ministered to the poor and sick. While Protestantism would later abolish the practice of pilgrimage in many parts of Europe. My idea was that in the forests and steppes of Siberia I should travel in greater silence and therefore in a way that was better for prayer and healing. Innocent of Irkutsk.com>. The famous 19th century spiritual diary The Way of a Pilgrim provides a fascinating view into the lifestyle of a wandering pilgrim. And this journey I undertook. In the 17th through 19th centuries tens of thousands of Russians. 317 . all the while saying my oral prayer without stopping. Optina Pustyn became a place of pilgrimage and the center for those seeking to renew the spiritual life of Russia. and that relics had miraculous powers. Russian Orthodoxy encouraged the worship of icons and the tradition of pilgrimage as a way of life.

In his The Brothers Karamazov the reader can find an accurate rendering of the monastery and its holy men. which was introduced to Russia by St. During the seventeenth century missionary efforts have dimmed. Nikolai Gogol and Feodor Dostoevsky. opened in 1842. which means ‘a lineage of wisdom of prayer’ maintained by Staretz. during the reign of Tsar Mikhail Feodorovich. Furthermore. the monastery was founded in the 15th century by a former outlaw whose name was Opta.). This growth of the monastery was both stimulated by and contributed to the development of a tradition called Starchestvo. and as a reaction against this worldliness the starchestvo tradition became widely popular among the Russian people. The monastery of Optina Pustyn is located on the right bank of the Zhizdra River two kilometers from the city of Kozelsk and about 70 kilometers south of Kaluga. Then best known of Optino elders or startsy are Leonid (1768-841).Chapter 3: Russian Church History time. and the American continent. Macarius (1788-1860). In the 16th-18th centuries the ecclesiastical life in Russia had increasingly become secular and political. Optina influenced writers such as Lev Tolstoy. The anonymous The Way of a Pilgrim vividly reflects the religious atmosphere of the time (Ware 120-121). Alaska. the Monastery’s income significantly increased and several new buildings were erected. for example. there also was a marked revival of missionary work not seen since the days of Stephen Perm. and particularly in the eighteenth century after the closing of monasteries by Catherine II. Sergius of Radonezh and his successors. Repenting of his sins. The first historical evidence of the monastery comes from the 17th century. and Ambrose (?). he took monastic vows with the name of Makarii. At this time the monastery was only a small establishment. and the philosopher Vladimir Solovyov. whose main concern was the training of missionaries. several monastic cells and less than twenty monks. During the end of the 18th century and the beginning of the 19th. Ambrose after his three-year old son died. ‘the art of silent prayer’ (14th –15th c. It was initiated by the Academy of Kazan. was consoled by St. The roots of this movement are found in the Byzantine hesychia. As a consequence. Dostoevsky. The greatest of the nineteenth-century missionaries was Metropolitan Innocent of 318 . According to legend. these being Russian Orthodox monks or ‘Elders’ of deep wisdom. Russian Orthodoxy experienced a vast expansion with the foundation of dioceses in Siberia and the Far East and flourishing missions as far a field as China. Japan. with one wooden church. (From “Sacred Sites of Russia”) Table 37: Monastery of Optina Pustyn In this century.

emphasized the necessity for the Church of acknowledging native languages and cultures if it was to carry out her mission successfully. which in its basic presuppositions is neither Roman nor Reformed. and liturgists. while Orthodoxy is something entirely distinct. He said regarding him that: Khomiakov argued that all western Christianity. whether Roman or Protestant. Since this is so. Innocent is honored by millions of American Orthodox today as the chief “apostle” (“A History of the Russian Church”. For Ware. but unique. Stephen of Perm before him. like St. This theologian’s contribution to Orthodoxy was in the ambit of the unity and authority of the Orthodox Church. historians. By 1900 Russian academic theology was at its height with a number of theologians. shares the same assumptions and betrays the same fundamental point of view. in the field of theology. Educational standards in the Church rose as the seminaries produced some of Russia’s greatest historians such as Vasilii Klyuchevsky and Sergei Solovyov. St. they must return to their own authentic sources. leader of the Slavophil circle. he is perhaps the first original theologian in the history of the Russian Church. This was mainly achieved by the lay theologian Alexis Khomiakov (1804-60). instead of using Protestant arguments against Rome. They were trained in western academies but did not allow western influences to distort Orthodoxy. it is not enough for Orthodox to borrow their theology from the west. in the nineteenth century. Khomiakov exercised little or no influence during his lifetime on the theology taught in academies and seminaries. (123) Khomiakov was the first who looked at Latinism and Protestantism from the point of the Orthodoxy. 1797-1879). Part of Metropolitan Innocent’s achievement in bringing Orthodoxy to America was the translation of the liturgical texts and Bible into the Eskimo languages. bishop in Alaska. Ware 122-23). Moreover.Chapter 3: Russian Church History Moscow (John Veniaminov. and rediscover the true Orthodox tradition. who. as they had been doing since the seventeenth century. A 319 . Russia broke away from its excessive dependence on the West. which nevertheless started to grow independently from the West. and Roman arguments against the Protestants.

Moreover.Chapter 3: Russian Church History monumental History of the Russian Church was written by Metropolitan Makary (Bulgakov) of Moscow. Also. and Ambrose Gogo. Make a list of all the other names which contributed to the Russian Church’s 320 . theology enjoyed a renewal with the works of Alexei Khomyakov and Ivan Kireyevsky. But the Revolution came. that of disinterested search for truth and ascetic service to it. however. to describe the religious thoughts of these men as well as their relationship with the Russian Orthodox Church or Orthodoxy: Leonid. Macarius. as best as you can. the great forgotten tradition of thought. trying. Church censorship did. were revived again in Orthodoxy…At the beginning of the twentieth century Russian theology was on the threshold of a genuine cultural flowering. Find information about the missionary activities of the Academy of Kazan. It was due to the Church’s cooperation that the commented liberation of the serfs was proclaimed under Tsar Alexander II in 1862. from Latin or German books. former Communists such as Sergius Bulgakov (1871-1944) or Nicolas Berdyaev (1874-1948) found their way back to Church and played an important role in the life of the Russian emigration in Paris (Ware 124-125. Khomiakov. 3. Outside of the Church’s official institutions. “A History of the Russian Church”). earlier hierarchs such as Metropolitan Philaret (Drozdov). who oversaw the publication of the works of the holy fathers in modern Russian translations at Optina Pustyn. and Tolstoy Read The Way of the Pilgrim and make a short summary. a renaissance in all strength of the universal tradition of Orthodoxy. • • 2. Bishop Ignatius (Bryanchaninov) and Bishop Theophanes the Recluse (all later canonized) epitomized the return to the patristic tradition of the Church in his sermons. Schmemann rightly says that Even though it came through the West. 4. take a dim view of this innovative return to tradition and hindered the publication of Khomyakov in Russia. Soloviev. Dostoyevsky. Your Own Research Search the web and write short biographies of these Optino elders and writers. What book did he carry with him? You can find The Way of the Pilgrim on the Web. too. (171) 1.

theology. Peter the Great saw in it a hindrance to his efforts to centralize control. Activity 81: Men contributing to the nineteenth century revival Activity 1. Parish schools were the means through which students made their way to higher education as well as the way by which the loyalty of the church was strengthened. She was the official state Church. The Church was the traditional channel for the expression of the moral opinion of the people and he could not tolerate any interference with his supreme power. the Church continued to be subordinated to the State through the Holy Synod. missionary work. Orthodox religion was an obligatory discipline in all general schools for all pupils born of members of the Orthodox faith and children born of mixed marriages in which one of the parents was 321 . 2. N James W. the largest single national church in the world. Pospielovsky. As a consequence. academies and seminaries. intellectuals. the church’s moral authority declined in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Orthodox religious doctrine was taught in various state school systems and the church operated its own. 1). 1905-1906 (1981) points out the precarious situation of the Russian Church. and until 1905 other religious were legally tolerated only as faiths of national minorities. OPENING YEARS OF THE TWENTY CENTURY: MOVEMENT FOR CHURCH RENEWAL AND THE END OF THE SYNODICAL PERIOD (1917) In spite of this revival of the nineteenth century.Chapter 3: Russian Church History spiritual renewal in the 19th century and add some more information about them. imposed by Peter the Great. As commented. Cunningham in a Vanquished Hope: The Movement for Church Renewal in Russia. the pre-revolutionary Church appeared to be very powerful. says that: Externally. Yet. elementary system. Briefly write about Russia’s religious renewal of the 19th century: starets. in The Russian Church under the Soviet Regime 1917-1982 (vol. rapidly expanding. at the beginning of the twentieth century. Can we say that the Synodal Period was a time of decline? Why? Activity 82: The nineteenth century 3.

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Orthodox had to be baptized Orthodox. Yet the philosopher Vladimir Soloviev said that the Orthodox priests were the least free subject of the Empire, because no one was legally allowed to enter into religious disputes with them—in other words, priests were deprived of the right of dialogue. (20) Zernov asserts that during those two hundred years of repression by the empire, no council was ever held and dioceses and parishes had been wholly deprived of their previous self-government. But the policy of rigid control and suppression, imposed by the government through the above-mentioned heavy-handed administrator Procurator, Pobedonostev, suffered a temporary change, due to the government’s realization of the existence of the increased alienation of the people and their newfound interest in Christianity (142). Cunningham says that the Church was feeling the strain of social ferment, with priests, bishops, and articulate groups of laymen struggling against the straitjacket of the Procurator and the state bureaucracy. Arguments that questioned the very validity of the governing apparatus set up by Peter the Great had mushroom into demands for the renewal of the Procurator personally and the dismantling of the procuracy. (52) Zernov thinks that this was a part a movement of awakening on the part of the laity— intellectual and artistic elite—who pressured for reforms to recover the Church freedom. Therefore, forced by the demand of religious freedom, the State was obliged to make concessions to it, and, on April 30, 1905, a Manifesto on Toleration, followed by the ukaz of October 30, 1906, granting the status of legal persons to non-Orthodox minorities, was issued. According to Pospielovsky, this Manifesto “instilled hopes among the Orthodox that their Church would at last be allowed to regain a canonical conciliar structure” (The Russian Church under the Soviet Regime 22). Cunningham believes that the disappointing result of the Japanese War, which had began in January 1904, was a heavy load to be born and weighed on the Committee’s deliberation on the issue of the religious minorities, since a continuing repression of them would exacerbate a non convenient civil violence (81).

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Following the October Manifesto, Constantine Pobedonostev (1828-1907), after twenty years of unchallenged power were forced to resign. During his long tenure in office (1880-1905), he had produced his own counter-pressure within the church. Pobedonostev was opposed to these liberating measures. He even thought that the Petrine synodal structure of the administration embodied the very principle of sobornost’—the sense of spiritual communality; one of the distinctive features of Russian Orthodoxy—(Zernov 142; Cunningham 80-81, 100-101). Pospielovsky explains that as early as February 1905, the Metropolitan of St. Petersburg along with Sergei Witte, the Chairman of the Council of Ministers, and his Extraordinary Commission instructed the scholars of the St. Petersburg Theological Academy to draft a proposal on church reforms and for granting the Orthodox Church more freedom in administer its internal affairs. At the end of March, the Synod presented a report to Nicholas II (1868 –1918), among other things, proposing the election of a patriarch and the summoning of a national council (a sobor) made up of all bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church.

Illustration 63: Tsar Nicholas II and Family at Lavadia105

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See: <www.byzantines.net>.

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On March 31, the tsar responded favorably but suggested the postponement of the sobor due to the current revolutionary turmoil (The Russian Church under the Soviet Regime 22). In the meantime, the tsar also allowed pre-sobor commissions, whose deliberations established the foundations of the sobor. Finally, the sobor had to await until the tsar was deposed. Cunningham complains of the western perspective of Russia as hopelessly anachronistic in matters ecclesiastical, cultural, and political in the beginning years of the twentieth century. In fact, he says, the opposite was true: Numerous signs of renewal and reform were visible as the church sought to burst out the cocoon spun around it since the eighteenth century reforms. The Russian clergy was not a grey mass of indistinguishable nonentities, as was so commonly imagined by a significant proportion of the pre-Revolutionary Russian intelligentsia and the majority of western students of Russia. (327) The Russian clergy, he states, was generally a group of men of God, profoundly concerned with revitalizing their church and made it attune with the spiritual, social, and political demands of the century. Furthermore, connecting the Russian Church with the Byzantine Church and with Tradition, Cunningham says: They [The Russian clergy] were conscious that the Russian Church was rooted in the Byzantine heritage and that they would have find the wellspring for renewal in that heritage. As demonstrated in their writings in their often turbulent debates in the Pre-Sobor Commission, Russian religious intellectuals were aware that the canons and regulations of the Byzantine era had been hammered out in times equally as turbulent as they were facing and that distance in time and place was not as insurmountable as might it at first appear. (328) For Cunningham canons don’t provide ready solutions for the pressing problems, but they could not be ignored nor regarded lightly. The canons are the touchstone upon which every serious-minded priest, prelate or professor base their thinking. He adds: The authenticity of the Orthodox Church depended upon its adhering to an established tradition that had been handed down from the time of the apostles and the church fathers. The problem was to maintain authenticity and yet bring tradition into focus with the times ... all remained conscious of the canons and

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the need not to emasculate or violate them. Violent arguments ensued as to how canons were to be interpreted or how they had gained authority, but few suggested simply scraping them. (328) Cunningham concludes that Nicholas II’s failure to summon the sobor in 1907 caused the devastating swath of reaction and political opportunism cutting so deeply into the church. For him the reason was that the state was afraid of antagonism from the Church as well as from other spheres of political and social activities (329).

Activity In your own words describe the situation of the Russian Orthodox Church at the beginning of the twentieth century. 1. Why was the Empire forced to change his policy? What was the Manifesto of Toleration? 2. What was the reason the tsar gave to postpone the sobor. Which was the real reason, according to Cunningham? 3. What were the Synod proposals to the Emperor? 4. Following Cunningham, explain the reference to the Church of Byzantium regarding the Pre-Sobor Commission.
Activity 83: Issues in the Russian Church at the beginning of the twentieth century

Furthermore, the negative influence of Rasputin weakened the tsar’s autocracy and led to the downfall of Nicholas II. Regarding the figure of Rasputin (1873-1916), who overshadowed the last years of the empire, Zernov complains that Owing to the lack of knowledge about the Russian Church, he is usually described, by western writers, as a monk. Some even quote him as an example of the supposedly corrupt clericalism of the Orthodox Church. Whatever were the moral faults of Rasputin’s character, his case has no bearing upon the alleged deficiency of the Russian clergy, for Rasputin was neither priest, nor monk, but an ordinary married peasant. Besides, his spiritual background had more in common with the mystical sect of Khlysty than with the tradition of the Church. The source of his influence and power lay in facts precisely opposite to those which are usually put forward in popular literature on Russia. (150) He adds that, In no sense did Rasputin represent Russian clericalism; he was listened to by the Empress because she believed him to be the genuine spokesman of the millions of Russian peasants—it was with them that the rulers of the Empire were anxious to restore the contact which had been lost since the time of Peter the Great. It was too late, however. The peasant who came to St. Petersburg and 325

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took a place of honor near the throne was not the sound, Orthodox Christian that some of his admirers believed him to be. He was a man endowed with a striking personality and with gifts of healing, but he was possessed by lust and dark passions, and his fall dragged down those who had received him as an inspired prophet. (150)

Activity Who was Rasputin? Answer the question by reading the references to him in the text and the Glossary, and by using any other material you might need. Don’t write more that a couple of pages.
Activity 84: Rasputin

Besides Rasputin’s influence there were other series of events leading to the deposition of Nicholas II, namely the Russo-Japanese war in which Japan defeated Russia at Manchuria, strikes caused by bloody Sunday where 1,000 people petitioning for reform were killed, and finally the entering of World War I. The February Revolution, the first phase of the 1917 Revolution, occurred largely as a result of dissatisfaction with the way the tsar was running the country, in particular Russia’s ongoing involvement in the First World War This Revolution resulted in Nicholas’ abdication in March 2nd, 1917—he had reigned since 1894—, and the formation of a Provisional Government, initially led by a liberal aristocrat, Prince Georgy Yevgenyevich Lvov, and then, after this government’s failure, by a socialist, Alexander Kerensky. He also met failure for maintaining the involvement of the country in the First World War and being unable to deal with the problems Russia faced. Pressure from the right and from the left (mainly the Bolsheviks) put the government under increasing strain. Ultimately the regime instigated by the February Revolution was forcibly replaced in the October Revolution.

The underlying causes of the Russian Revolution are rooted deep in Russia’s history. For centuries, autocratic and repressive czarist regimes ruled the country and most of the population lived under severe economic and social conditions. During the 19th century and early 20th century various movements aimed at overthrowing the oppressive government were staged at different times by students, workers, peasants, and members of the nobility. Two of

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these unsuccessful movements were the 1825 revolt against Nicholas I and the revolution of 1905, both of which were attempts to establish a constitutional monarchy. Russia’s badly organized and unsuccessful involvement in World War I (1914-1918) added to popular discontent with the government’s corruption and inefficiency. In 1917 these events resulted in the fall of the czarist government and the establishment of the Bolshevik Party, a radical offshoot of the Russian Social Democratic Labor Party, as the ruling power. (“Russian Revolution of 1917”) Table 38: Causes of the Russian Revolution of 1917

(March 8–12 [Feb. 24–28, old style], 1917), the first stage of the Russian Revolution of 1917, in which the monarchy was overthrown and replaced by the Provisional Government. This government, intended as an interim stage in the creation of a permanent democraticparliamentary polity for Russia, was in turn overthrown by the Bolsheviks in October (November, new style) of the same year. (“February Revolution”). Table 39: The February Revolution

Activity 1. Name the two phases or periods of the 1917 Revolution. 2. In your own words, write a summary of a) the causes of the Revolution of 1917 and b) the February Revolution. 3. Why did Nicholas II have to abdicate?
Activity 85: The Russian Revolution of 1917 and the February Revolution

On 15 August 1917, six months after the abdication of Nicholas II, an AllRussian Church Council was summoned at Moscow which was to elect St. Tikhon the Patriarch. In these earlier sessions one could hear of the Bolshevik artillery. But although tsarism vanished, the Church not only survived the disaster, but also revealed an amazing vitality during the years of storm and persecution which were to follow. To grasp the quality of such strength we need just to contemplate the invincible inner spiritual life of Orthodoxy during those two hundred years when immobility and silence were imposed upon it by the State.

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4. A TIME OF PERSECUTION AND REBIRTH: THE RUSSIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH IN THE XX CENTURY (1917-) THE RUSSIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH FROM THE OCTOBER REVOLUTION OF 1917 UNTIL THE SECOND WORLD WAR: SIX MAIN STAGES After two hundred years of immobility, silence, and persecution imposed by the St. Petersburg Empire, the Orthodox Church suffered a new wave of oppression and persecution starting with the October Revolution of 1917 when the Bolsheviks seized power to around 1988, the year when Russian Christianity celebrated its millennium. Yet, paradoxically the Church could finally summon a Council, which was stopped by Lenin’s nationalization of the Church’s properties, and attained canonical structure. The first phase of the Russian Revolution, the February Revolution had ended, with the abdication of Tsar Nicholas II and the tsarist regime and the installation of a Provisional Government. The October Revolution, the second phase of the Russian. Lenin revolution, culminated in the creation of the first Communist state swiftly followed by systematic efforts to curtail and eventually eliminate the influence of the Church. Stalin says: “The Party cannot be neutral towards religion. It conducts an anti-religious struggle against all and any religious prejudices (1953, 132). Ware points out that from 1917 onwards Orthodox and other Christians faced a situation for which there was no exact precedent in early Christian history. It is true that the Roman Empire persecuted Christian from time to time. Even the Muslim Ottoman Turks, while non-Christians, were still monotheistic, and allowed a large measure of toleration. However, the atheist government tried systematically and militantly to suppress religion. A neutral separation between Church and State was not satisfactory for them. They sought directly and indirectly to destroy all organized life and eliminate all religious belief (146)

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The October Revolution The October Revolution was led by Lenin and was based upon the ideas of Karl Marx. It marked the beginning of the spread of communism in the twentieth century. It was far less sporadic than the revolution of February and came about as the result of deliberate planning and coordinated activity to that end. The financial and logistical assistance of German intelligence via their key agent, Alexander Parvus was a key component as well. On November 7, 1917, Bolshevik leader Vladimir Lenin led his leftist revolutionaries in a nearly bloodless revolt against the ineffective Provisional Government (Russia was still using the Julian Calendar at the time, so period references show an October 25 date). The October Revolution ended the phase of the revolution instigated in February, replacing Russia’s short-lived provisional government with a Soviet one. Although many Bolsheviks (such as Leon Trotsky) supported a soviet democracy, the ‘reform from above’ model gained definitive power when Lenin died and Stalin gained control of the USSR. Trotsky and his supporters, as well as a number of other democratically-minded communists, were persecuted and eventually imprisoned or killed. (“Russian Revolution of 1917”) Table 40: The October Revolution

Activity In your own words, write telegraphic sentences summarizing the October Revolution. The first one is given to you: • It was led by Lenin •
Activity 86: The October Revolution

Activity To understand the struggle between the Russian Church and the Soviet Government during the October Revolution and its following years, read about Lenin in the Glossary and list his main features as a politician. The first feature is given to you: established Communism

Activity 87: Lenin as a politician

Zernov connects the October revolution with this previous period of the eighteenth and nineteenth century, beginning with Peter the Great’s unfortunate abolition of the Patriarchate, a period in which the Church could never recover its freedom from the State. He says: Of the two partners, the one who lost more was not the Church, but the Empire, for, by refusing to Christian freedom of speech and action, the rulers of Russia

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deprived themselves of the benefit of friendly but independent criticism. They became morally isolated from the best elements of the nation, and they created around themselves that vacuum which caused the inglorious collapse of the whole State edifice in 1917. The Empire of St. Petersburg vanished, but the Church survived the disaster and displayed an astonishing vitality during the years of storm and persecution. In order to understand the source of its strength, one needs to study the inner spiritual life of Orthodoxy during those two hundred years when immobility and silence were imposed upon it by the State. (130-131) Zernov also comments that these two centuries of submission of the Church to the state as well as the Great Schism of the seventeenth century caused the weakening of the grip of the Possessors on the Russian Church and the consequent revival of the Non-possessors’ tradition. This brought a renewed missionary zeal, healing, and prophetic gifts, and remarkable examples of holiness and moral perfection (132). He explains how some outstanding men of the nineteenth century—Khomiakov (1804-60), Dostoevsky (1821-81), Soloviev (1853-1900), and Feodorov (1828-1903)—foresaw the future development of their nation. These “prophets”—as Zernov calls them—were sure that Europe was heading to one of its greatest crisis: a confrontation between those who believed in the self-sufficiency of man and those who professed the sovereignty of God as revealed by Jesus Christ (139). They, this church historian asserts, were prepared to see victorious those leaders who would promise bread and a life of ease at the price of apostasy from Christ; they were sure that they were living on the eve of one of the fiercest religious conflicts ever known in human history. They expected the clash to take place at the beginning of the twentieth century, and it actually occurred in 1917, when the Empire of St. Petersburg collapsed and the control of Russia fell into the hands of Lenin and his followers. (140)

Your Own Research Write a short biography of Khomiakov, Dostoevsky, Soloviev, and Feodorov.

Activity 88: Russian writers of the nineteenth century

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They were not wrong. After the collapse of the Empire, in March 1917, Russia was involved in a period of disintegration, first by the successive governments of westernized liberals and then by the seizure of power by Lenin and Trotsky, which started a ruthless period of dictatorship. Zernov further explains that, “The end of the St. Petersburg Empire therefore meant for the nation not the return to their traditional order, but a further compulsory westernization on an unprecedented scale and with unprecedented speed” (151). The Sobor Ironically, the Church met the Marxist revolution as a free, self-governing body. After the Sobor was postponed by Nicholas II, in August 1917, while the country was in the grip of revolutionary turmoil, the Provisional Government, which followed Nicholas’ abdication, had granted permission to convoke an all Russian sobor of bishops, lower clergy, and laity, in Moscow. It consisted of 563 members, including 278 lay representatives. Pospielovsky states that the sobor started with internal divisions well represented. On the one hand, there were those, consisting of theology professors, both lay and clerical, as well as many urban married priests who were opposed to the idea of a patriarchate and in favor of popularly elected synod of bishops, the lower clergy and laymen with equal voting right. On the other hand, there were those, whose number supposedly exceeding that of its opponents, who were in favor of the restoration of a patriarchate (The Russian Church under the Soviet Regime 27-28). In spite of the differences that existed regarding the ways of restoring the full autonomy to the church—some in favor a Patriarch some of a collegiate body objecting to the rule of a single man—, Zernov says that: “It was a proof of the maturity and ability of the Christians that they were able, after an interval of 200 years, during which no Councils

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had been held, to proceed in good order to elect new organs of Church administration and to restore the self-government that the Germanized Empire had taken away” (152). Yet, these differences were silenced by the Communist uprising in October 1917. A month later, in November, Tikhon was elected Patriarch—he was elected Metropolitan of Moscow on 15 August of the same year. Many of the reforms proposed by the Council could not be put into practice. Now the Church, once liberated from the constraints of imperial patronage, had to survive the greatest onslaught on Christianity since the persecution by the pagan Roman emperors (“A History of the Russian Church”). Zernov asserts that the Russian Church had to face an enemy who was resolute in its determination to suppress Christianity as well as any other form of religion, something inconceivable before the outbreak of the Russian revolution (154). This historian also complains about western Christian prejudice against the eastern Church and Russia toward this revolution: The origin of the struggle between Christians and atheists in Russia, with its world-wide significance, lies not so much in peculiarly Russian social conditions, but mainly in the fact that the belief of modern man in his selfsufficiency and supremacy is irreconcilable with the Christian doctrine of man as a servant of the Living God. (154) Instead, he believes that: The Communist experiment in Russia was the last and most radical stage in the process of imitation of the West inaugurated by Peter the Great. For more than 200 years, the upper section of Russian society had blindly followed the lead of Europe, convinced that all available wisdom and truth were contained in the theories and methods of civilized western nations. Lenin was one of the most ardent exponents of this point of view. He treated Karl Marx’s doctrines as the final revelation of truth—they were not only a political theory to him, but a new, scientific religion, capable of solving all the problems of life and, therefore, intolerant of any rival teachings. (154-5) The Russian Christians, in 1917, had to confront a vigorous force, not created in their own country or in their own tradition, but in the secularized West. Its leader was Karl Marx, a German Jew, who had become an atheist. Zernov talks about his proposed

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new world order in terms of his Judaism: the coming of the promised Messiah meant the victory of the proletariat. He asserts that Russian communism was not only an economic and social experiment, but “one of the greatest religious revolutions in the history of mankind carried out by a group of men knowing no other truth than dialectic materialism and recognizing no other prophet than Karl Marx (156). Zernov delineates five main stages of soviet anti-religious policy spanning from Lenin’s coup attempt in 1917 to Krushchev’s new assault on the Church in late fifties. Pospielovsky delineates only four phases (1918—though he does not specify—to Khrushchev) (The Orthodox Church in the History of Russia 260-266), roughly coinciding with some of the stages defined by Zernov. These were stages in which Russian Christians experienced a well-planned and scientifically conducted campaign against them. In the following pages I will mainly follow Zernov’s principal stages, but will add a sixth, from 1965 to 1991 to describe the Russian Church under the Decaying Socialism.

Activity See Appendix E which contains a list of the leaders of the Soviet Union. Write a similar one with the periods in office of each of the leaders. In this list, mark with a check the ones mentioned in the following sections.
Activity 89: Leaders of the Soviet Union

First Stage (1918-22): Communists’ Optimism, the Sobor and Lenin’s State106 In the first stage, the communists—Zernov calls them “the godless”—were optimistic. Blinded by their materialism, they mistakenly thought that by destroying the economic foundations of the Church and the exile of individual Christians they could bring about its collapse. Thus in 1918, Lenin allowed both religious and anti-religious
106

See a list of leaders of the Soviet Union in Appendix E.

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propaganda. Yet, at the same time he confiscated all the Church property and then denied the Church the right of acquiring it again. Pospielovsky states that in so doing, Lenin made an attempt to follow Marx’s ideological precepts in the most orthodox way. He says that “Lenin hoped to kill the Church by depriving her of a material and legal base, according to Marx’s doctrine that religion as a superstructure would simply wither away if deprived of its material basis” (The Orthodox Church in the History of Russia 260). The Department in charge of nationalizing all former church properties (houses of prayer, schools, seminaries, monasteries, candle factories, charity institutions, etc) was referred to as the “Liquidation Department (260). Many charitable members of the Church deserted, but the Church, as Zernov defends, gained a new vitality and power, mainly due to the activity of the laity. The popular character of Russian Christianity caused it never to be dependent on the clergy, but rather on the laity. In spite of the destruction of the ecclesiastical administration and the cessation of all organized instruction, at this time the church was relatively free and still suffered little systematic persecution (157). When the Bolsheviks seized power in 1917, the Russian Orthodox Church was electing its first patriarch since the time of Peter the Great. Eleven days after the assault on the Winter Palace, Metropolitan Tikhon (Belavin) of Moscow was chosen by lot from among three elected candidates. As Nathaniel Davis narrates, in A Long Walk to Church: A Contemporary History of Russian Orthodoxy, in spite of the above mentioned nationalization of all the church lands, most of the church leaders believed that the communist government was a temporary affliction. After electing Patriarch Tikhon, the sobor unrealistically passed a number of resolutions decreeing that the Russian Orthodox Church was the national church of Russia, noting the state’s need of church approval to legislate on matters relating to the church, the illegality of

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blasphemy, the recognition of the church schools, and the required Orthodoxy of the head of the Russian state and the top appointees in education and religious affairs. Soon however, as already suggested, Davis continues, the Soviet regime would issue a decree separating church and state, canceling the church’s status as a juridical entity, banning state subsidies to clergy and religious bodies, seizing church bank accounts, denying legal standing to church marriages, divorces, and baptisms, and prohibiting organized religious education of the young (9).

Illustration 64: Patriarch Tikhon

In January of 1918, the sobor backed Patriarch Tikhon’s encyclical criticizing the Soviet regime for its anti-Church actions and for the persecutions and terror. Trying to protect the Church, in the encyclical the patriarch also excommunicated those “open and secret enemies of [Christ’s] Truth” who bring about persecutions and sow “the seeds of hatred and ... fratricide.” The believers reacted with an enthusiastic support for their patriarch. It was of no use. The stage was set for confrontation (9). Zernov says that the threat of divine punishment only excited anti-religious fervor (158).

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As Pospielovsky asserts, the sobor continued its sessions periodically up to September 1918 when it had to end for lack of funds caused by the nationalization of church property. It could not complete all legislative plans, yet it passed the necessary legislation to give the Church the canonical conciliar structure, all the way from the local parish to the office of the patriarch (The Russian Church under the Soviet Regime 33). He adds that: Although the conciliar system proved to be an impossibility under the new regime at the top, at the parish level the new responsibility granted to the parish councils and the security of priest’s tenure, in the opinion of many church historians, saved the Church from disintegration in the years of the practically total collapse of the central church administration caused by the city state legislation, by periodical arrests of bishops and by the proliferation of schismatic groups. (37-38) Thus, as noted above, the stage was set for confrontation between the Church and the State. It came during the period between 1918 and 1920 when the civil war engulfed the nation. The civil war erupted when the White Army supported by anti-Lenin Russians and many western countries fought Lenin’s Red Army. In the three years the war lasted, 15 million people were killed before Trotsky led the Reds to victory. Lenin created a New Economic Policy in order to restore the economy, moved the capital to Moscow, renamed the country the Soviet Union, and named his party the Communist Party. Pospielovsky tells us that during this period 1918-1920, despite the patriarch’s refusal to support the Bolsheviks’ enemies, the state retaliated against the church; consequently, at least twenty-eight bishops were murdered and thousands of clerics were imprisoned or killed only because of their religious activity (The Russian Church under the Soviet Regime 38). On the International scene, Russia was losing World War I, having suffered over 9 million casualties—more than any other belligerent. At the front conditions were appalling. Sometimes Russian soldiers were forced to wait in backup trenches, lacking

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even rifles, until the deaths of comrades allowed them to scavenge arms. In the peace treaty with Germany signed in March 1918, the Communist Government—The Soviet Union was established four years later—lost a third of its population and a third of its arable lands. Davis described the distressful situation of Russia in this period of 19181922 the following way: In the countryside, the Bolsheviks organized Committees of the Village Poor and sent out workers and soldiers from the cities to seize grain. Peasant revolts swept the countryside, and the civil war became a peasant war. Industrial output plummeted to one-seventh of its prewar level. Citizens fled Moscow and Petrograd seeking food and safety in the countryside; more than half the people in those cities abandoned them. The ruble stood at one two-hundred-thousandth of its prewar value. Over 7 million people died from hunger and epidemics; cannibalism spread. (A Long Walk to Church 10) Between 1920 and 1922, several millions of Orthodox Russians were forced to leave their country and try to find a refuge in Europe and America. This emigration meant the appearance of the Russian Church in exile. Zernov asserts that it was of a “particular significance for the mutual re-discovery of Russian Orthodoxy and the Christian West” (168).

Activity With telegraphic sentences, summarize the first stage in the Russian Church struggle with the Soviet government.
Activity 90: First stage in the struggle Church-State

Second Stage (1922-29): Communists’ Attempts at Splitting the Church For Zernov, this campaign of divide and conquer had started in February, 1922 with the Government demanding the church’s valuables for famine relief. The Civil War had resulted in an unprecedented famine. To help the famine-stricken, on February 19, the Patriarch had urged believers to be generous in their help and asked parishes to

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give “all precious articles except those used in sacraments and worship. However, as Davis relates, a few days later the government began a propaganda and terror campaign against a “heartless” church and ordered the confiscation of all church valuables, including even the consecrated vessels. This blatant disregard for anything considered “holy” caused priests and parishioners alike to rally in an attempt to guard their churches and defend their sacramental treasures. This defiance resulted in some 1,400 bloody fights as reported by the Russian Press (Davis, A Long Walk to Church 10). Yet, it was later discovered, as Pospielovsky explains, that the government deliberately misrepresented the church as a heartless institution indifferent to human suffering. This was a part of an “exceptionally beneficial” campaign to break the power of the clergy and not simply to obtain resources with which to buy food: It is precisely now and only now, when there is cannibalism ... and corpses are lying along the roads that we can (and therefore must) carry out the confiscation of valuables with fanatical and merciless energy. ... No other opportunity but the current terrible famine will give us a mood of the wide masses such as would provide us with their sympathies or at least neutrality.... Now our victory over the reactionary clergy is guaranteed. ... The trial of the Shuya rioters for resisting aid to the hungry [should] be conducted in as short a time as possible, concluding in the maximum possible number of executions. ... If possible, similar executions should be carried out in Moscow and other spiritual centers of the country.107 (The Russian Church under the Soviet Regime 94) The fight over church treasure had the expected consequences. The Patriarch Tikhon was placed under house arrest accused of resisting the confiscation of his Church’s properties. Pospielovsky states that: The general state of the Church as an institution was not promising. The patriarch had been put under arrest since May 10. 1922. Purges and imprisonments were rampant across the country, mostly under the pretext of the Church’s resistance to the confiscation of valuables, in connection with which 2,691 married priests, 1.962 monks, 3,447 nuns and an unknown number of laymen loyal to the patriarch were physically liquidated in the course of 19211923. (The Russian Church under the Soviet Regime 99)

Lenin’s secret memorandum to his Politburo colleagues, March 19, 1922. See the complete internal order in Pospielovsky, The Russian Church under the Soviet Regime , 95.

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Taking advantage of Tikhon’s confinement to seize control of the patriarchal chancery and church administration, a few days later, a group of priests, members of the so called “Renovationists”—one of their factions was the “Living Church—, visited him in prison and obtained from the Patriarch permission to take over temporarily ecclesiastical administration until his deputy, the Metropolitan Agathangel arrived in Moscow. However, this “temporary” transfer of power was part of a carefully arranged plan since theses clerics had no intention of handing over the government of the Church to the Patriarch’s nominee. The Renovationists had Bolshevik support, clearly motivated by the authority’s desire to split and thereby rule the church. They, instead, convoked a Council (August 1922), announcing various reforms such as the introduction of a married Episcopate. The new leaders, who called themselves members of the Living Church, declared that they were ready to support Communism, because it put into practice the social message of the Gospel. Thus the government turned over the majority of the functioning Orthodox churches in the country to the collaborating Renovationists, a group disdained by most of the Orthodox laity for moral, traditional, and political reasons. However, ironically for the new Communist Government, the Living Church was no better than the Church of the Patriarch. The members of the Party abhorred the idea of a compromise between belief in God and dialectical materialism (Zernov 158; Davis, A Long Walk to Church 10). Davis comments that the church schism was a blow to the institutional integrity of the patriarchal church. Nevertheless, it influenced Tikhon in his decision to “confess” anti-Soviet acts, renounce them, and declare that he was “no longer an enemy of the Soviet Government (A Long Walk to Church 11).” The authorities unexpectedly freed him on June 26, 1923, and he was able to reassert his authority and counteract the Renovationists. Zernov says that he also declared his loyalty to the Soviet government

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and publicly expressed his regret for his opposition to the confiscation of the sacred vessels in 1922. This act of repentance shocked some Christians, but the majority believed that the Patriarch had degraded himself for the sake of his flock and approved his action. Till his death, Tikhon was surrounded by the warm affection of all the faithful (159). Pospielovsky says that “When the patriarch died in April 1925 the church was just recovering from the terror. But the physical persecutions could not stop the internal spiritual recovery of the Church, freed from all secular-governmental obligations for the first time in several hundred years (The Russian Church under the Soviet Regime 99). With only a small segment remaining with the Living Church and other dissenting voices, the unity of the Church was spontaneously restored. By late 1924 the Renovationists had lost their control over a third to a half of the churches the authorities had given them. In the same year, Lenin died and Stalin slowly consolidated his power. There was an economic recovery due to the New Economic Policy. During this time, the strength of the patriarchal church grew (Davis, A Long Walk to Church 11). The attempt to undermine the solidarity of the church had failed. The members of the Living Church were allowed to have a last Council in 1926. Zernov asserts that: The lesson of this second stage of the conflict was learned by both parties. The godless realized that neither material hardships nor artificially created divisions were strong enough to destroy Christianity. The leaders of the Church understood at last that the Soviet Government was firmly established and that the Christians would have to find a new way of life under the rule of the resolute enemies of their religion. (159) Zernov also quotes a clarifying statement written in 1926 by a group of Russian Churchmen, exiled in the concentration camp on the Solovetski Island, in the face of suffering and death: The Church recognizes the existence of the spiritual principle; communism denies it. The Church believes in the Living God, Creator of the world, Guide of its life; communism does not admit His existence… The Church believes in the

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steadfast principles of morality, justice and law; communism looks upon them as the conditional results of class struggle, and values moral questions only from the standpoint of their usefulness. The Church instills the feeling that humility elevates man’s soul; communism abases man through pride. (160) They were proposing the total separation between Church and State. However, there was another thread of thought, one of whose spokesman was Metropolitan Sergii as well as two young bishops Aleksii—the future Patriarch—and Nicolai. For them, instead of separation between Church and State, they were in favor of compromise and accommodation with even a hostile government. As a consequence, in 1927, Metropolitan Sergii issued a Concordat, a declaration pledging loyalty to the Soviet State and even proclaiming that the aspiration of the Church and the Government were identical and that the Church had been neither oppressed nor persecuted. As a consequence the Orthodox Church was registered and restored its proper organization, something denied it since 1922. Sergii’s action created several conflicting groups under different Russian hierarchs, the majority accepting Sergii’s leadership while other rejecting it (Zernov 158-60). Pospielovsky says that Sergii was accused of “exerting pressure on the believers and the clergy to identify the interests of the Church with those of the atheist state, which was impossible (The Russian Church under the Soviet Regime 155).” This was a very controversial issue because this 1927 Declaration obliged Orthodox clergy to proclaim loyalty to the Soviet regime, creating a schism involving large numbers of clergy and believers. Because many refused to comply, especially bishops and priests who were forced into emigration, a synod of Russian bishops was convoked in Karlovtsi (Yugoslavia) to set up a Russian Orthodox Church in Exile disavowing all links with the Mother Church in Soviet Russia.

Activity To understand the following period of the struggle between the Russian Church and

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the Soviet Government, see Stalin in the Glossary and list his main features as a politician. The first feature is given to you: became general secretary of the Soviet Communist Party in 1922
Activity 91: Joseph Stalin

Activity With telegraphic sentences, summarize the second stage in the Russian Church struggle with the Soviet government.
Activity 92: Second stage in the struggle Church-State

Third Stage (1929-1941): Stalin’s Bloody Persecution of the Church As we have seen, in Lenin’s period, the Communist Party tried unsuccessfully to tear the masses away from their church and clergy. Pospielovsky says that instead of dying deprived of property and legal rights, the Church grew not only in the 1920’s when it had experienced a revival but even in the 1930’s, prior to its physical destruction, in its third stage of its struggle with the Soviet State (The Russian Church under the Soviet Regime 161). This was the period of Stalin—the most tragic period in the history of the Russian Church. It began on April 8th, 1929, when a revised law on religion was published by the dictator. Pospielovsky asserts that Metropolitan Sergei, in return for his 1927 Declaration of Loyalty had hoped to gain the right to expand the socio-cultural and private educational activities of the Church, but the new legislation dealt a heavy blow to these hopes (The Russian Church under the Soviet Regime 164).108 Every form of religious propaganda was made a legal offense. This meant a radical departure from the religious freedom of the first stage in 1918. Besides, Article
For Pospielovsky, the third stage begins in 1928 with the liquidation of the NEP and continued, with some minor respite, in 1939 (The Orthodox Church in the History of Russia 261). In that year, the Soviet Union annexed western Ukraine and western Belorussia, with populations predominantly Orthodox but with large minorities of Byzantyne-Rite Ukrainian Catholics, Jews, and pockets of Polish Roman Catholics. This, Pospielovsky says, forced the Soviets to moderate their physical attack on religion, at least in the western areas (261-262).
108

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17 also prohibited any form of philanthropic and educational activity, consequently strictly constraining the life of the Church to the officiating of divine worship.
Article 17 “Religious unions (parishes) are forbidden, (a) to establish mutual aid funds, co-operative and productive unions, and in general, to use the property at their disposal for any other purpose than the satisfying of religious needs; (b) to give material aid to their members; to organize either special meetings for children, youth, women, for prayer and other purposes, or general meetings, groups, circles, departments, Biblical or literary, handwork for labor, religious study, etc., and also to organize excursions and children’s playgrounds; to open libraries, reading rooms, to organize sanatoria and medical aid. Only such books as are necessary for the performance of services are permitted in the Church buildings and houses of prayer.” Table 41: Article 17 of the revised religious law issued by Stain (April 8th, 1929)

In this new attempt to suffocate the Church slowly by forbidding its members to spread their teaching, the State also conducted anti-religious propaganda with vigor and determination. The schools especially, were all made strongholds of godless teaching. Police measures were not neglected. Davis states that the wave of violence in 1929 and 1930 and the famine that came afterwards produced a reversion. By 1932, the League of the Militant Godless (LMG) grew from half a million to its largest membership, up to 5.5 million by 1932. Mocking plays, songs, and carnivals reappeared. The school curriculum, previously essentially secular, became sharply anti-religious (A Long Walk to Church 14). By the 1930s the Russian Orthodox Church had been brought to its knees. A handful of bishops survived in the administrative structure of the Church, but a vast number of priests and ordinary believers met their death in Stalin’s extermination camps. Church buildings as well as monasteries and schools were targets for wholesale closure and destruction. The monumental Christ the Saviour Cathedral in Moscow (built to commemorate the defeat of Napoleon in 1812), the monasteries of the Kremlin, and the numerous parish churches of the Russian capital (said to number forty times forty) fell victim to the communists’ enthusiasm for the use of dynamite on objects of beauty

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(161; “A History of the Russian Church”). Davis believes that: “The atheists used these tactics to remove the sight and sound of religion from the streets of cities and the byways of the countryside. These measures were also designed to foster a perception of the church as a place where rituals were mechanically performed, and nothing more (A Long Walk to Church 14). By 1936, a new wave of church closings and religious persecution brought the number of people condemned to slave labor in camps to the overwhelming figure of between fifteen and twenty million people. In those years the Russian episcopate was almost exterminated –more than seventy bishops were deported and perished in camps, only four remaining free. This stage remained relatively unchanged until the beginning of the Second World War, but, as Zernovadds, met again with failure. In 1936, Stalin had conducted a census adding a question about religious allegiance hoping it would reveal the overwhelming atheism of the population. He was apparently disappointed and thus, suppressed the result of the census. The Church once again had survived in Russia (162). Moreover, as Pospielovsky asserts, the LMG, instead of growing to an expected 22 million members, had dropped to two million by 1938 (The Russian Church under the Soviet Regime 178). Yet, as the 1930s progressed, godless propaganda evolved into the form it retained until the late 1980s (Davis, A Long Walk to Church 14). A 1937 census revealed that 50 percent of the population was still believers (The Orthodox Church in the History of Russia 263). Pospielovsky also observes that, according to official Soviet estimates, by the late 1930’s, Orthodox were split into different groups: 75 to 80 percent of Orthodox were Sergiiite, 15 to 20 percent Renovationists, and a 5 percent of Buitess and the less radical Non-commemorators–those who did not commemorate Sergii’s name at the liturgy. The latter, known as “catacomb” Christians,

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possessed no registration and, since they were less controlled than the official part of the Church, they led a more intensive spiritual live even engaging in the spiritual upbringing and education of children (The Russian Church under the Soviet Regime 179). In 1939, the Soviet Union and Germany signed a pact known as the Treaty of Nonaggression between Germany and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. In spite of the harm this pact might have brought for Europe and the world, Davis sees benefits for the church. He says that: ... it rescued the institution of the Russian Orthodox Church. Hitler’s deal with Stalin allowed the Soviets to occupy eastern Poland, and 1,200 Orthodox parishes were incorporated into the Soviet Union as a result. Then, in mid-June of 1940, the Soviets occupied Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, among whose 6 million people were almost a half million traditionally Orthodox persons who worshiped in about 300 Orthodox churches. Later in the same month the Soviets compelled the Romanians to cede Bessarabia and northern Bukovina with their 4 million people, 3 million of them traditionally Orthodox. There were between 2,000 and 2,500 parishes in these formerly Romanian lands. These annexations brought the Russian Orthodox Church more than 6 million traditionally Orthodox people and 3,500-4,000 churches with active priests, as well as many monasteries and nunneries, some bishops and seminaries, and other resources. The institutional strength of the church must have increased fifteen fold. The communists soon started closing churches and arresting priests and lay Christians in the newly acquired lands, but they also understood that the Russian Orthodox Church could be an instrument of assimilation and of Soviet control. (A Long Walk to Church 19) This treaty of mutual non-aggression lasted until June 22, 1941, when Nazi Germany invaded the Soviet Union.

Activity With telegraphic sentences, summarize the third stage in the Russian Church struggle with the Soviet government.
Activity 93: Third stage in the struggle Church-State

Fourth Stage (1941-1953): Second World War and Stalin’s Restoration of the Russian Church

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A fourth and new stage of this conflict between the Russian Government and the Church (delineated by Zernov) started during the Second World War, on June, 21, 1941, the same day the German armies invaded Russia. The entry of the Soviet Union into the Second World War changed the Church’s fortunes dramatically. Stalin, a former seminarian who had trained to be a priest, made a drastic reversal to his religious policy, restoring the Russian Church as an organized body (163). For Pospielovsky, phase four began with the German attack and continued until Stalin’s death in 1953, and, more accurately, until Khrushchev‘s new assault on religion beginning in 1957 (The Orthodox Church in the History of Russia 265). Pospielovsky believes that Stalin, in order not to antagonize the masses of Orthodox Christians living in the newly occupied territory along with those living in the USSR, felt constrained to tone down his persecutions (The Russian Church under the Soviet Regime 194). Zernov says that for Russian believers, this new religious policy taking place on the Sunday commemorating all Russian saints “meant that Russian saints were with them in this war which cost Russia over twenty million lives. In their gigantic struggle, people needed religion (163)”. Eventually, the victory of the anti-Hitler alliance gave Stalin an ominous power over central and eastern Europe (163). In September 1941, anti-religious propaganda came to an end. In 1942, the government published The Truth about Religion in Russia to demonstrate Stalin’s benevolent attitude towards believers (163). Yet in the face of the German invasion in 1941, Stalin made the decision to evacuate most of the leaders of the religious communities, including Metropolitan Sergii, who was not allowed to return until late August 1943, long after the Germans had retreated. Davis explains that Stalin was afraid that they might defect, or that the Hitler’s troops could use the Soviet churchmen for their own political purposes if they were captured. David says that “the decision to

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day in and day out. as the Soviets in retreat had frequently executed people in such circumstances. after 1943. Pospielovsky says that Stalin was very slow and cautious in changing his policy toward the Church and there is no available evidence of church openings on the Soviet side until 1943 (The Russian Church under the Soviet Regime 196). the bishops and clerics were not allowed to engage in charitable or social work nor could they hold catechism classes or Sunday schools for children. the aging Metropolitan Sergii had wholeheartedly supported the war effort appealing to the patriotism of believers. The worst thing was that every member of the clergy had to require permission from the State to exercise their ministry (Ware 146). the Soviet teacher must expose and overcome religion prejudices in the course of his activity in school and out of school. it was not allow to do anything beyond this. two days before he was sent east from Moscow (A Long Walk to Church 18). Teachers received instruction such as: A Soviet teacher must be guided by the principle of the Party of science. he is obliged not only to be an unbeliever himself. There also were many forms of anti-religious propaganda. the recruitment of priests and the publishing of a church journal) was permitted in exchange for the Church’s putting to use her gifts for rallying the Russian people in a time of national crisis (Zernov 163). Also. the Church was permitted to have some institutions for training priests and to undertake a limited publishing program. 347 . to be the bearer of the ideas of militant proletarian atheism. An atheistic instruction was given in schools. For example. however. and a very modest material revival of the Church (the opening of some monasteries and seminaries. But from the very first sign of German hostilities. tactfully and persistently. but also to be an active propagandist of godlessness among others.Chapter 3: Russian Church History evacuate these men rather than kill them may have been sheer luck. Reportedly Sergii drew up a will on October 12. Skillfully and calmly. (Oleschuk109. 1949) 109 Formerly Secretary of the League of Militant Atheists.

Sergii was elected as Patriarch by nineteen bishops who had returned from concentration camps.025 61 Table 42: Statistics indicating the consolidation of the Church in the post-war years 348 . the Church reappeared in public life.Chapter 3: Russian Church History On September 4th. and Nicolai. After his death in May 1944. Zernov provides enlightening statistics that prove the consolidation of the Church in 1953. and reopened churches. 1943. the year of Stalin’s dead (165): 1914 1939 ? ? some 100s 0 0 1953 73 74 about 20. He was also allowed to print the books necessary for church services (Zernov 161-64). ordained new priests. the three authors of the Concordat of 1927 and sanctioned the restoration of the Patriarchate of Moscow.000 67 10 Dioceses Bishops Parish clergy Monasteries Theological schools 73 163 51.000 1. the clergy and laity of the Orthodox Church often showed outstanding personal courage and devotion to duty which impressed the Government. the Kremlin received a delegation of the Russian Church. elected in 1945. During the German invasion. Patriarch Aleksii. the nation experienced a new sense of unity through their suffering. his successor. in these years of trial. continued this movement. Aleksii. He made appointments to vacant Sees. Upon Sergii’s election. thereby securing for the Church a greater freedom of action in the sphere of religious activities as assigned to it by the Soviet constitution. consisting of Metropolitan Sergii. Patriarch Sergii started to rebuild the ecclesiastical organization. Also. and began the training of the clergy in the Theological Institute in Moscow and in provincial Seminaries. Three days later. Aided by several outstanding leaders.

Nikita Khrushchev. had pursued a policy of de-Stalinisation by 349 . By January. during Stalin’s last five years of life. under Nikita Khrushchev. face renewed persecution in the form of mass closures of monasteries (most notably the famous eleventh-century Monastery of the Caves in Kiev). He reasons that the shift to repression might have been a consequence of Hitler’s defeat and the end of the war.400 registered parishes it had had in January of 1949. however. who had become leader that same year replacing Georgy Malenkov as prime minister. the Russian Church did. between 1948 and 1953. the Russian Orthodox Church had lost about 1. Pospielovsky says that between 1954 and 1958 there is evidence of the construction and reopening of churches. Activity 94: Biography of Patriarch Sergii Davis asserts that. Thus. 327. Yet. II. 1954. Activity 95: Fourth stage in the struggle Church-State Fifth Stage (1958-1964): Nikita Khrushchev. summarize the fourth stage in the Russian Church struggle with the Soviet government. In 1958. between 1959-1964. the aging dictator’s policies changed back to those of repression. Zernov 165). churches and theological schools. although there was no return to the mass executions and imprisonment of priests and believers as there had been under Lenin and Stalin (The Russian Church under the Soviet Regime. the Orthodox Church’s support was no longer needed (A Long Walk to Church 27-28).Chapter 3: Russian Church History Your Own Research Write a short biography of Patriarch Sergii. Activity With telegraphic sentences.000 of the slightly more than 14. a New Assault on the Church During the period which followed Stalin’s death in 1953 the Church survived relatively unmolested. vol.

Pospielovsky thinks that this sudden attack did not come out of the blue. the attacked slowed down. Her strategy was to remind the Soviet public and the Soviet authorities of the Church’s important historical contribution to Russian culture as well as to the forging of Russian statehood and Russian national consciousness. from the earliest pages of Russian History to World War. at a Kremlin peace and disarmament conference (333). Yet for lack of unity in the Soviet leadership after Stalin’s death. Zernov blames Catherine Furzeva.Chapter 3: Russian Church History releasing millions of prisoners in concentration camps and posthumously rehabilitating thousands of Stalin’s victims. unexpectedly. the great favorite of the dictator. a fifth stage. However. articles had begun to appear in the Soviet press admitting that religion would not die away on its own. Pospielovsky thinks that this period from 1955 to 1957 was the most “liberal” since 1947 (The Russian Church under the Soviet Regime 329-330). 1960. In 1954. in 1959 he launched an attack on the Church. for this attach. In early January 1960. thus beginning. later dying in mysterious circumstances (165). on February 16. the Central Committee of the Communist Party had called for still more intensive anti-religious propaganda (Russian Church 350 . and to the patriotic cause of resisting foreign invasions. the clergy was simply forced to retire. Pospielovsky asserts that The Church did not reign herself without resistance. (The Russian Church under the Soviet Regime 333) Pospielovsky adds that the most outstanding of this self-defense actions was Patriarch Aleksii’s speech. Yet this persecution was not accompanied by arrest and deportation as under Stalin. and consequently anti-religious propaganda itself would be insufficient. In 1950. a Central Committee resolution acknowledged that the Orthodox Church and the sectarians were attracting young people. The most prominent victim of the campaign was Metropolitan Nicolai who was “released” from his duties. Furzeva managed to destroy more than ten thousand churches. Khrushchev had entrusted her the culture of the Soviet Union and led an anti-religious campaign which slowed down the process of religious recovery begun during the war.

Pospielovsky records one of these verbal attacks from representatives of “the Soviet public”: “You want to assure us that the whole Russian culture has been created by the Church.. Pospielovsky adds. was his sermons counterattacking the atheists. Among other measures. Davis explains that in the text. The consequent pogrom against the church and the retirement of Nicolai seemed to have caused Patriarch Aleksii’s complete submission to the Soviet pressure and restructure the Church according to Soviet law. parishes were banned to organize any form of charity. churches and monasteries were closed. 351 . and its leadership for peace.. Pospielovsky also gives some details of the persecutions during Khrushchev’s administration aimed at the restoration of Leninist “socialist legality” after Stalin’s abuses. subordinating the parish to a “parish community”. He decried the insults and attacks to which the church was being subjected and quoted Jesus’ statement that the gates of hell shall not prevail against the church” (35). 1961. Pospielovsky asserts that the most tragic manifestation of this submission was the amending of the Church statute issue in July 18. A Long Walk to Church 35). in fact depending of the local city o county soviets (The Russian Church under the Soviet Regime 335-6). apparently drafted by Metropolitan Nikolai (Yarushevich). this is not true!” Pospielovsky adds that this was probably the main reason why Metropolitan Nikolai—who had stated that he had authored that speech—was enforced to retire from the chairmanship of the Church’s Department of External Ecclesiastical Relations. “Aleksii claimed credit on behalf of the Russian Orthodox Church for Russia’s heroic past. he says. which deprived the parish priests of all the powers. Davis.Chapter 3: Russian Church History under the Soviet Regime 333. The other reason. in the beginning years of the sixties. Aleksii’s speech further enraged senior Soviet leaders and was followed by violent attacks on the patriarch from the floor. its glorious culture.

however. Pospielovsky says that Brezhnev’s regime had no intention of discontinuing Khrushchev’s harsh oppression of the Church. who was effective ruler of the Soviet Union from 1964 to 1982. to the toughening of anti-religious policies in the early to mid-seventies. The beginning of the religious revival can be traced back to 1964 at the failure of Khrushchev campaign. the same year a new council took place. Once again. although unpredictable. Pospielovsky explains that: The status of the Church did not. the Church had survived.Chapter 3: Russian Church History religious instruction to minors was also banned. and monastic institutions were most cruelly hit when tax exemptions were lifted (The Russian Church under the Soviet Regime 343). and the somewhat more relaxed. (The Orthodox Church in the History of Russia 340) 352 . the wave of persecution came to an end. There were changes of direction even in the Brezhnev era: from an oblique critique of Khrushchev’s persecutions in 1964-66 and an attempt to revive the “god-building” imitations of the Church. Activity With telegraphic sentences. advance in a straight line during the two post-Khrushchev decades. Activity 96: Fifth stage in the struggle Church-State Sixth Stage 1965-1991: The Church under the Decaying Socialism Brezhnev Khrushchev was replaced by the more conservative Leonid Brezhnev. even keeping children and young people from frequenting churches. though at first in partnership with others. the Soviet Union became corrupted from within and without and the church stagnated. situation of the last two to three Brezhnev years. With Brezhnev. it only took more civilized forms (The Russian Church under the Soviet Regime 397). summarize the fifth stage in the Russian Church struggle with the Soviet government. At Khrushchev’s fall in 1964. Khrushchev died in 1971.

Efforts to enhance the effectiveness of education in scientific materialism continued through the remaining years of the Brezhnev era and into the Andropov and Chernenko periods (A Long Walk to Church 43). slowly eroded Orthodox institutional strength bringing the possibility of the church facing its ultimate extinction. though afraid. The commentator further says that. Pospielovsky asserts that “It was the first time since the revolution that the deceased patriarch had not named a preferred heir in his will. 1967. However. the situation of the Russian Orthodox Church in the late 1960s was better than it had been under Khrushchev. yet priests were still banned to baptize children outside church premises and still had to record both parents’ internal passport data. In this sense. Although the Soviet authorities chose the candidate for political convenience. Pimen’s election was the first formally canonical one since the election of Tikhonin 1917 (The Russian 353 . thus exposing them to harassment and reprisal. and had ceased canceling their registrations. after Khrushchev’s headlong assault on the Orthodox Church in the early 1960’s.Chapter 3: Russian Church History For Davis. that the authorities no longer persecuted priests indiscriminately. a priest could be registered –yet this situation changed for the worst in the following years. priests kept going to people’s homes to perform baptisms. On August 14. If needed in a diocese and he wished to go. Brezhnev’s “period of stagnation. a Posev reporter noted that forcible church closings had stopped. Besides. Between 1971 and 1975 churches continued to be closed and there were just a small number of newly opened churches (43-44). 1910) as his successor (Zernov 166). The Central Committee of the Communist Party passed a resolution calling for intensified atheistic propaganda. The Patriarch Aleksii died in 1970.” although less dramatic. and in 1971. at the age of 93. b. Early in 1968. the practice of keeping children from attending church had eased off. and an allRussian National Sobor chose Pimen (Isvekov.

the number of registered Orthodox societies stabilized. Yet he did a last act of granting autocephaly to the Orthodox Church in America (OCA). In July of 1973 the USSR Supreme Soviet passed an educational law that placed an obligation on parents “to bring up their children in a spirit of high Communist morality. about sixty church societies were deregistered in those years and thirty new societies were inscribed.” In 1982. during the last years of Patriarch Alexii of having won back the positions. parishes. had ruled the American diocese from 1898 to 1907 (The Orthodox Church in the History of Russia 331). probably. “to accommodate Russian settlers and to promote Russification in politically and strategically sensitive non-Russian areas (A Long Walk to Church 46). Tikhon. formed in the last decades of the nineteenth century after the sale of Alaska to the United States. this law would have forced believing parents to raise their children as atheists. seminaries and monasteries lost in the preceding five years (387). Brezhnev on his death bed authorized the Council for Religious Affairs (CRA)—which has arbitrarily been ruling during the Communist 354 . Canonical links were reestablished with Orthodox Christians in America with the granting in 1970 of the Tome of Autocephaly to the former metropolia of the Russian Orthodox Church in America.” In theory. but closings there were partially counterbalanced by the registration of new communities in the rest of the country. although this interpretation seems never to have been enforced (44).Chapter 3: Russian Church History Church under the Soviet Regime 387)”. Overall. In the five years between 1976 and 1981. there is no evidence. In spite of having subsided direct persecutions after Khrushchev was ousted from power. then Archbishop. Davis asserts. This did not mean that church closings in the western lands stopped. The 1978-1980 period was the best time during the 1970s and early to mid 1980s for the authorization of new Orthodox communities. They were also more responsive to believers’ desires in remote areas of Asia.

an atmosphere of cynicism. as Pospielovsky asserts. so that the historic monastery complex could be rehabilitated to become the central headquarters of the patriarchate during the celebration of the Millennium. If anything it intensified in the early 1980s (A Long Walk to Church 47). This did not mean. Brezhnev’s successor. that the repression of dissidents stopped. and recurring cycles of dissident activity and repression (43). In Soviet society as a whole. ideological rigidity. there were some stirring of changes. slowing economic growth.moscow.info>. a creeping return to Stalinist attitudes. However. the Brezhnev period was characterized by corruption. 355 . Illustration 65: Danilov Monastery110 Andropov During the year and three months he was in power (November 1982-February 1883) Yuri Andropov. however. cronyism.Chapter 3: Russian Church History era—to return Danilov Monastery in Moscow to the Church to mark the Millenium of Russia’s Christianity (1988). Andropov was much better informed of the real situation in the country than his predecessor. and he knew the only way of solving the country’s problems namely repression. he acknowledged that believers were more 110 See: <www. A former head of the KGB. So he tried by force to put and end to corruption and loafing.

both in concentration camps and in “psycho-prisons” in a number reaching its post-Khrushchev peak. the church had to pay millions of rubles in bribes to high party officials and ha to decide to call it a religious administrative center with the Department of External Church Relations as its focal point instead of a monastery. Gorbachev was the real leader and the maker of the aggressively anti-religious turn (The Orthodox Church in the History of Russia 340-1). responsible and conscientious. There was even an attempt to take St Daniel’s Monastery back from the Church. Pospielovsky reminds that the ideological head of the Party under Chernenko was Gorbachev. had a more respectful attitude towards the established religion and their clergy. but also caused the end of the political supremacy of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) and the dissolution of the Soviet Union.Chapter 3: Russian Church History honest. Chernenko presided the Supreme Soviet from April 11. during Andropov’s reign some churches were reopened (The Orthodox Church in the History of Russia 340). Gorbachev. was the leader of the Soviet Union from 1985 until 1991. Enormous restrictions were placed upon the functioning of the Church in Russia. Furthermore. returned to most of the policies of Brezhnev. drank less and worked more than the atheists. being Chernenko ill for almost a half of his short tenure in power. 1984 until his death in 1985. His successor. yet he fomented the use of terror against religious initiatives such as study circles. and religious activities. and stagnation again settled across the land. lasting until his death in March 1985. Religious education in Russia had been wiped out to be replaced 356 . His attempts at reform led to the end of the Cold War. Andropov’s successor. Nevertheless. he imprisoned religious activists. Chernenko. The period from the early 1960s to the beginning of Soviet reforms in the mid-1980s saw the Church enter the ecumenical movement and the World Council of Churches. reducing her to little more than a cultic institution. To reverse this decision. Also. Chernenko Chernenko’s government was characterized by a less tolerant religious. seminars.

The spiritual life did continue in hidden forms. Tavrion (Batozsky. often with the risk of imminent arrest by the KGB. were read (in samizdat form) and listened to by crowds of believers on his occasional visits (“A History of the Russian Church”).Chapter 3: Russian Church History with compulsory study of ‘scientific atheism’. The tradition of spiritual eldership was continued in the remarkable figure of Fr. Yet to characterize this particular period of the Church’s history as one of ‘stagnation’ would be mistaken. Davis tells that early in his mandate. during the Gorbachev era a turnabout occurred in the fortunes of the Russian Orthodox Church: By the close of 1988. Sunday schools. For whatever reasons. seminaries. and schools for psalmists. After six decades of suppression. Sermons preached by Metropolitan Antony (Bloom) of Sourozh. priests. Gorbachev was already searching for allies to make perestroika work. never the ideological fighter Khrushchev had been. new monasteries and nunneries had been established. theological training institutes. Table 43: Period early 1960’s to mid-1980’s Gorbachev Being the deviser of Chernenko’s anti-religious hard line. the head of the Russian Orthodox diocese in London. and overt Christian study groups had reappeared.1979). In the 1980s there was a rediscovery of traditional iconography and a renewal of the theology of the icon through the labors of Archimandrite Zenon (Teodor). Gorbachev was never confined to atheistic militancy and had a relatively benevolent attitude toward the church (53). over 800 newly opened parishes had been registered. Alexander Men who disseminated the Word of God to the intelligentsia. A population sodden with alcohol and devoid of a work ethic could not implement 357 . church-run charitable activities. whose numerous iconostases and icons have now become known beyond the confines of Russia. Gorbachev himself was a pragmatist. yet as Davis states. The Church found herself alienated from society with no voice in the communist-controlled media. the millennial year. There were pastors and preachers such as Fr. priests were not even permitted to make pastoral visits to parishioners’ homes. Bishops. and faithful could once again march down to the rivers on Epiphany Day to bless the waters and hail the baptism of Christ (A Long Walk to Church 52). d. who had spent seventeen years of his life in the labour camps. It was also public that his mother was a believer. Gorbachev’s ascent to power promised not relaxation in soviet religious policy. choir directors. Personally. Vsevolod Schpiller and Fr. and church administrators had opened. He understood that his country needed a moral reawakening from the corruption and cronyism that had prevailed during the Brezhnev era. Gorbachev confirmed publicly in 1989 that both he and his wife had been baptized as infants.

For him. encouraging the development and rapid growth of the infamous Russian Mafia (701). Gorbachev’s felt need for new sources of support. Alcoholism has always been widespread in Russian society. and the total number of Orthodox communities in the country continued to sink. he began a campaign against the consumption of alcohol. glasnost in its original conception was less freedom of speech than it was the license to speak up and to denounce the wrongdoer and the evil done. all these goals would require higher ethical standards. yet. the Millennium of the baptism of Rus’ in 988. did not implement changes in religious policy right away nor did he have a clear line of action. As a result. According to Riasanovsky. Gorbachev. Davis adds. Restrictions could not stem the tide of the demanding market. his desire for international acceptance. in A History of Russia (1999). In 1987 reformist publications began writing sympathetically about believers’ rights and publicizing their struggles to have 358 . glasnost and democratization. as compared to two new registrations the previous year. In the 1985-1986 period some pro-Christian literary works were successfully published. illegal manufacture and trafficking of vodka and other spirits prospered. the church was praised publicly for its generous response to the Chernobyl tragedy. several pro-church speeches were given at the Eighth Writers’ Union Congress. and the church could help (A Long Walk to Church 53). In April of 1985. who took office in March of 1985. and his pragmatism led to a new Soviet religious policy. New Orthodox parish registrations that year totaled exactly three. Deregistration outnumbered new parishes in both years. But in the late 1980s.” But the government policy on religion did not begin to change significantly until the end of the year.Chapter 3: Russian Church History perestroika (A Long Walk to Church 73). For Gorbachev. in June 1986. the party directed members not to permit the “violation of believers’ feelings. Also. but the people resented the new changes. As Davis continues.

the opening of church edifices closed down. on Easter of 1994 even the bells of the Kremlin’s churches and towers pealed out over Moscow (56. the pace of beneficent change quickened. and the building of new churches. Davis also says that on April 29. Publicly expressed Soviet governmental attitudes were sounding more tolerant (54). Pimen somewhat pointedly added to the list of benefits that he hoped might be extended by the Soviet government. In his reply. Permission to publish scriptures and liturgical books in the USSR was becoming easier to obtain. which had been in effect since 1961.Chapter 3: Russian Church History churches returned to them. After the Millennium celebrations. The authorities relaxed their ban on ringing church bells. He also acknowledged that both Stalin and Khrushchev had mistreated the church and believers. He thanked the church leaders for the Russian Orthodox Church’s patriotism and material contributions during World War II and for the leaders’ participation in the fight for peace and against nuclear destruction. In truth. aggressive Marxist ideological materialism in Russia is a 359 . and that they. Gorbachev received Patriarch Pimen and five metropolitans who were members of the Holy Synod in the Kremlin. mentioning. among others. 1988. and Optina convents and for government assistance in planning the millennial celebration. Tolga. Gorbachev’s government responded to the church’s appeals in all of these areas. Some years later. like other Soviet citizens. He also took credit on behalf of the Soviet government for the return of the Danilov. After the collapse of the communist institution. the registration of new church societies. Pimen blessed Gorbachev and his labors for the welfare of the motherland. deserved the benefits of democratization and glasnost. 59). restoration of the church societies closed in the 1960s. Gorbachev promised to refer the patriarch’s specific requests and concerns to his colleagues for resolution. Moreover.

who permitted a full local council of the Russian Church to be held for the first time since the October Revolution. following shortly after the failed coup in August 1991. Scorer adds that it stipulated: “the regular convening of both Bishops’ Councils and of Local Councils. as well as the establishment of local diocesan councils. The council took important decisions returning to the principles proclaimed at the famous council of the Russian Church in 1917-18. 1991. The following year. By 1991 Gorbachev found himself president of a non-existent nation. which would also be elected. Riasanovsky states that on the foreign relations front. and the Soviet Union collapsed (722). Peter Scorer. who survived just long enough to see the first fruits of Gorbachev’s glasnost’ affect the Church by permitting the millennium celebrations to take place. Once the armies were gone. the priest was restored to his rightful position as head of the parish council. republics began falling away and demanding political autonomy. fruit of the fresh air brought by Gorbachev to the Soviet Union. It closely coincided with the death of Patriarch Pimen. Once again the church is rising like a phoenix from the ashes of misfortune (3). as there was no money to fight another war. Gorbachev could only stand and watch. This was a celebration. yet he had brought the Church back from its communist darkness. the situation was not good. to which members would be elected. A Bishop’s 360 . Even Russia itself demanded freedom from the Soviet Union. in “The Russian Orthodox Church 1991-1994. was another jubilee year when the Church celebrated 400 years since the establishment of the Patriarchate in Russia (1589). 1989. Financial shortfalls resulted in the Soviet army being removed from eastern Europe and the Soviet Republics.” asserts that the end of the Soviet Union took place on December 31.Chapter 3: Russian Church History whispered memory. In parishes.

the figure had increase by only 100. The law confirmed that Russia was a secular state. 1990. Patriarch Aleksii II. with multiple candidates. Scorer continues by saying that the last two years before the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. Job. was elected. a relatively young and energetic leader. they must finance themselves through private donations or other private sources. a year later. Church representatives were invited to collaborate in the preparation of a final text and law Russian Republic law on religion was finally issued in October 1990. the first Patriarch of Russia. If in 1986 there were 6794. 367-366). including churches and other buildings. At the June 1990 Sobor. recognized the Church as a social organization and as a person-in-law. He also asserts that the new Patriarch’s assignment from the Sobor was his complaint to Gorbachev of the Soviet bureaucrats’ revision of the first version of the draft on religion freedom. with then right to own property. in which neither atheistic nor religious organizations are subsided by the state. The registration of religious community became an act of certification instead of authorization (The Orthodox Church in the History of Russia. parishes. Consequently. a revision in which the Church was not consulted. the whole population was 361 . Furthermore. i. by stating that it recognized such form of religious organization as required by that religion’s canons. Yet in the following two years there were nearly 10. On May 3. had already seen a quick increase in the number of parishes. Pospielovsky asserts that “This was the first council since 1917 at which a genuine secret ballot.. La law recognized not only actual religious society. but also the whole hierarchical structure of the Church. and Patriarch Tikhon.e. the URSS ceased to exist and. Fourteen months later. These two canonizations were regarded as a real advance in the freedom and independence of the Church. by 1988.000: some 29 new monasteries had been opened along with seven theological schools. following the death of the Patriarch Pimen. the old and sick Patriarch Pimen died—he had been elected Patriarch at the Sobor of 1971. occurred” (The Orthodox Church in the History of Russia 336).Chapter 3: Russian Church History council was held that year deciding on the canonization of two patriarchs. once Pospielovsky adds: The Russian Law abolished the CRA.

mass unemployment. summarize the sixth stage in the Russian Church struggle with the Soviet government. He opposed the policies of Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. In addition. poverty. Yeltsin remained in power. together with a general feeling of resentment. in 1991. were ready to confront. Activity 97: Sixth stage in the struggle Church-State SOME NOTES ON THE RUSSIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH 1991 TO MODERN DAYS After the Soviet Union collapsed. endemic corruption. Scorer asserts that the period 1991-1994 were years of changes which totally transformed Russian society. nor the people. a total lack of civic responsibility and bankruptcy in the economic sphere.Chapter 3: Russian Church History extremely supportive of the church and the clergy had to baptize a great number of people. changes which neither the state. Activity With telegraphic sentences. Yeltsin came to power eager to speed up reforms. and at least two heart attacks. and despite political setbacks. hunger. The initial euphoria during the extraordinary summer of 1991 following the putsch. yet was instrumental in defeating a coup against Gorbachev in 1991. an escalation of crime and corruption. Yet during Yeltsin’s years in 362 . coming to a climax in the confrontation between the president and his parliament in October 1993. was soon to be followed by discontent. Apathy has tended to dominate the mood of the people. In these years forces of inertia and of change become so polarized that the country was nearly thrown into civil war in October 1993. was reelected to office in 1996 and retired abruptly on 31 December 1999. the tragic inheritance of the years of socialist totalitarian control has become apparent in the last four years: the absence of any real moral foundations. rumors of heavy drinking. and certainly not the Church.

according to the head of the Russian Orthodox Church. and restoring buildings which for so many years had been used for other purposes. the new church is considered a visible acknowledgment of the mistakes of the Soviet past. There were 213 monasteries and 35 theological schools of various sorts. Financed mainly by private donations. Some representatives of the church.000 Russian Orthodox churches were opened. Patriarch Aleksii II. The church became involved in charitable works. In a sense. the Russian government returned numerous religious facilities that had been confiscated by its communist predecessors. Furthermore. providing some assistance in the repair and reconstruction of damaged structures.000 priests. He asserts: The ensuing process was taken out of its hands. including senior bishops. polls said that in the first half of the 1990s the church inspired greater trust among the Russian population than most other 363 . by those who had already begun to open new parishes. The Church began to blossom even more. Having supported Yeltsin during the presidential campaign. The most visible such project was the building of the completely new Christ the Savior Cathedral.000. His appearance at a Moscow Easter service in 1991 was considered a major factor in his success in the presidential election held two months later. There were 127 bishops (including suffragan bishops). books and religious pamphlets began to appear in every kiosk and book shop. he says. the number of parishes in Russia had grown to 14. not everything went as smoothly as could be hoped. the rush to be baptized gathered pace. between 1990 and 1995 more than 8. Scorer wonders how the Church was to behave in this new situation. more new theological schools were opened to cope with the sudden demand for new priests. while Bibles. Patriarch Aleksiiy officiated at his inauguration that year (The Russian Orthodox Church) and he spoke out spoke out in a crucial moment during the August putsch. In the first half of the 1990s. Sunday schools began to flourish. metropolitans and even Aleksii II were accused of having been collaborators of the KGB. and just over 12. Yet. the Holy Synod did little. erected in Moscow at an expense of about US$ 300 million to replace the showplace cathedral demolished in 1931 as part of the Stalinist campaign against religion. calendars. (The Russian Orthodox Church) Yet. together with icons. By the beginning of 1993. doubling the number of active parishes and adding thirty-two eparchies (dioceses). those demanding the return of churches.Chapter 3: Russian Church History power there was a positive alliance with the church.

and 102 clerical schools in the territory of former Soviet Union. In Russian. the Russian Orthodox Church is the largest of the eastern Orthodox churches in the world. political leaders regularly seek the approval of the church as moral authority for virtually all types of government policy. There are over 90% of ethnic Russians who identify themselves as Russian Orthodox.Chapter 3: Russian Church History social and political institutions. and saw it as a throwback to prior attempts by the Vatican to proselytize the Russian Orthodox faithful to become Roman Catholic. however. Nowadays. the Church has over 23. which refused to recognize the authority of the Russian Orthodox Church in Communist Russia. The latter was formed by some Russian communities outside of Russia. most of these being in a deteriorated condition (“Russian Orthodox Church after the Revolution of 1917”) Furthermore. During the last fifteen or more years. there has been a difficult relationship between the Russian Orthodox Church111 and the Vatican. Also. Not a new situation if we review the History of Byzantium and that of the Russian Church itself. The arrival of President Vladimir Putin in 2000 and his economic and political reforms have brought some stability to the Russian society and economy. Patriarch Aleksii had condemned the Vatican’s creation of a Catholic diocesan structure for Russian territory. Recently. 154 bishops. 635 monasteries.000 parishes. Aleksii II was found to elicit greater grassroots confidence than most other public figures in Russia. This perspective is based upon the fact that for the Russian Orthodox Church (and the eastern Orthodox Church) the Church of We should not confuse the Russian Orthodox Church with the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia. since 2002. It also has a well-established presence in many other countries all over the World. Today. 111 364 . Russia has experienced nearly fifteen years of “wild west” capitalism. There remains. a great deal of adjustment and continued dedication to the building of a democratic system. some of the church buildings were officially returned to the Church. as in most eastern countries.

Having just come out of 70 years of Communist oppression. The law was formally intended to combat the destructive cults. smaller religious movements (particularly. no matter how ancient. They refer to the 1997 Russian law. under which. that could not document its presence in the Soviet Union before the fall of Communism was automatically affected by this law. which was already christianized by the Christian Orthodox Church. Consequently. The situation is expected to normalize as the 15-year window starts to slide over the post-Communist period (“Russian Orthodox Church”). and by many destructive sects can be seen as taking unfair advantage of the still-recovering condition of the Russian Church. was the target of communism. and that as such it is straying into the territory. Protestant denominations. But they were unable to 365 . A particularly sensitive issue for members of the Russian Orthodox Church is the encroachment by other Christian denominations into Russia. Baptists and members of other Protestant denominations. CONCLUSION TO THE CHAPTER Religion. such as Orthodox Christianity. The leaders of the godless movement did what was humanly possible to secure victory. brought into Russia by western missionaries in the past decade) claim that the state provides unfair support to one religion and suppresses others. an area of the individual’s private life. proselytizing by mostly foreign-based Catholics. those religious organizations that could not provide official proof of their existence for the preceding 15 years were significantly restricted in their rights and abilities to proselytize. but to eliminate it. this law gave full rights only to a small number of “first-rank” religions. not merely control and rechannel. it was worded in such a manner that any organization. Buddhism. Furthermore.Chapter 3: Russian Church History Rome is but one of many equal Christian organizations. and Judaism. Nevertheless. For seventy years communism pledged to structurally and systematically eliminate religion. Islam.

from the primitive Christians. Geographically. No one can deny that the history of the Russian Church has been a tragedy in itself and in its encounter within itself and with the West. who acts. and Christ was a pitiful deceiver. but the truth of the Christian Revelation triumphed. truth was on Karl Marx’s side. and those who assaulted it were unable to find a substitute for the unique power and beauty which belong to the Church of Christ” (94). Undoubtedly. for it is the Church of the Living God. but not different from the roots from which its sprang. with whom it shares an agonizing awareness of cruel persecution. 112 See excerpts edited by Bishop Alexander Mileant. and the sad differences and divisions between Christians. Zernov is right when saying that: “The Church in Russia was purged as by fire. who loves and protects His people.Chapter 3: Russian Church History achieve their end. could be solved if we were able to contemplate with the aid and the sound vision of the Spirit. unconquerable soul. whose spiritual history goes back to the miracle of Pentecost. the Church of Russia seemed to develop apart from the Christian world since the Middle Ages. 366 . Russia’s primitive Christian Orthodox inspiration and grasp its untamable. but it did not lack unity with Christianity. through it. and. For the Communists. however. They could not foresee that they were challenging a Power superior to man’s intelligence. Separation from other Christians and internal problems of Orthodoxy in Russia and the world. painful encounter with the West was essential for its full growth and its true calling. but a tragedy that makes it creatively unique in its Christian experience. and the sufferings of its members were great. at the same time. It preserved a longing for the eternal truth that sprang from Byzantium and. the inevitable. namely Orthodoxy. of God who does exist. and science and human planning could solve all the problems of human life (93). of spiritual revival. For them. Many of them perished. mankind was the master of its destiny. Zernov112 states that Church could not be destroyed in Russia.

in spite of many social. has a spiritual dimension. Add your own reflection. FINAL CONCLUSION ON CHURCH HISTORY With all what has been said. who indwells in everyone’s mind and heart—the truth of the genuine tradition of the Church. As with the Byzantine Church. so that it can serve as an aid to better understand and grasp the spiritual dimension of Orthodoxy.Chapter 3: Russian Church History with its deep spiritual understanding and illumination. b) body or development. the truth way of believe. at the same time. namely Orthodoxy. monks and saints. I tried to reveal this spiritual dimension through the socio-cultural situations and events. Activity 98: Final activity on Russian Church History 4. which also were the inspirational source of so many Russian writers. and done all its activities. the one inhabited. cultural and political obstacles and rejections or the ecstatic embracement of its truth. Russia’s primitive Christianity irradiates a spiritual light which incited its own spiritual resurgence because it addressed in its own consciousness the vital and eternal sources of Jesus’ faith and his message of the Fatherhood and the brotherhood of all believers. continues. guided. which is not alien to the understanding and experience of anyone who is aware of the inner Spirit. This Church history was presented as an intellectual. as we end these two millenniums of Church history. almost cerebral and pedagogical history which. A spiritual dimension of true belief. 367 . the indwelling Spirit. developed and endlessly recreated by the Spirit. it is not easy to draw conclusions as the history of the true Church. follow the following diagram: a) introductory or topic paragraph. Final Activity Having read this their chapter on the Russian Church. write a five-page paper incorporating its main ideas. and c) concluding paragraph.

in full fellowship. yet. in the postJustinian period. After World War I. as noted. nearly a thousand years later.” The Finnish and Japanese Orthodox Churches are autonomous or autocephalous. Russia. Greece. but the Church was unified until the 11th century. and order with the Church of Christ born in the Pentecost experience. Latvia. a great number of Orthodox Greek and Russian congregations (of the Russian Church Abroad) developed in many parts of 368 . the other four Patriarchates remain intact. There were occasional heretical or schismatic groups disturbing this communion. Today. in events culminating in A. in the first thousand years of its history the Church was essentially one. Antioch. Georgia. the Roman Patriarch pulled away from the other four.Chapter 3: Russian Church History SOME NOTES ON TODAY’S SITUATION OF THE ORTHODOX CHURCH As we have seen.D. it was not until the seventh century. Nowadays. Poland. 1054. that one of the main branches of Orthodox Christianity developed and was able to give its precious and unchanged Orthodox faith and timeless religion to the neighboring Slav people. North and South America headed by the patriarchal clergy in Istanbul. Bulgaria. Turkey). Rumania. Czechoslovakia. Alexandria (Egypt). Albania. the organization of the Orthodox Church consists of churches centered in Constantinople (with a great number of believers in Europe. Then. Jerusalem. Syria). and Constantinople—formed a cohesive whole and were in full communion with each other. faith. Alexandria. Five historic Patriarchal centers—Jerusalem. pursuing its long-dormant wish and claim to be the universal ruler and major leader of the Church. maintaining that Orthodox apostolic faith of the inspired New Testament canon. Rome. Antioch (with its capital in Damascus. Serbia. The Orthodox Church believes that its has maintained a direct and unbroken continuity of love. and the “Orthodox Church in America.

The Relations of Orthodoxy with Roman Catholicism and Protestantism. [An example of c) http://www.ua and d) Kiev.org too. The total number of eastern Orthodox Christians in the world is now estimated at about 225 million (http://www.kievpatr.] 3. Greeks and Arabs. Read and summarize the section called “The Twenty Century. b) List the different eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox jurisdictions.org.holytrinitymission. and their total membership.Chapter 3: Russian Church History the world.adherents. Also check Kallinikos’s The History of the Orthodox Church at holitrinitymission. In <http://www. Activity 99: The major Christian denominations and Orthodox Jurisdictions 369 . You can also see Kallinikos’s The History of the Orthodox Church at holitrinitymission.org. and d) Indicate the Country and city where each jurisdiction has its centre. c) Where possible. Use http://www. 2.com) and continues growing as converts increase in the western world.org/index_s. list the official website for each Orthodox Jurisdiction.php> find excerpts of Ware’s The Orthodox Church.com and other sources to obtain information for the following activity: a) List the three major Christian denominations. Your Own Research 1.” which deals with the different situations of today’s Orthodox Church outside the former communist spheres. Ukraine.adherents.

and Dogmatics) 370 . HISTORY OF DOCTRINE. the History and Development of Doctrine. AND DOGMATICS PART II (A Study of the Fathers of the Church.PART II: PATRISTIC.

5. History of Doctrine Chapter 6. and 6. GOALS AND OBJECTIVES PLUS SOME BASIC BACKGROUND INFORMATION Church history is of vital importance for historical theology and even for systematic theology because it gives theology a context. In Chapter 4. The students will do their own research in Christology and Ecclessiology. Dogmatics In these three chapters I discuss crucial issues in Orthodoxy. creation. 1.” For its clarity. namely the Fathers as defenders of faith and the Fathers and Liturgical Practice. I deal with theosis and uncreated or divine energies as a part of the divine plan of salvation. deals with three main topics of Systematic theology. and also on the dogmas regarding the Trinity. In Chapter 5. according to the classification Aghiorgoussis makes in “The Dogmatic Tradition of the Orthodox Church. where historical and 371 . Patristics Chapter 5. In this chapter. AND DOGMATICS INTRODUCTION TO PART II Part II. namely: Chapter 4. students will have to do their own research on two more issues. But before starting the discussion of these complex topics it is necessary to deal with some preliminary concepts. This is especially true in Orthodoxy. the longest chapter for the relevance of the Fathers for the Orthodox Church. mainly based on this article. HISTORY OF DOCTRINE. I focus on the role of ascesis in the lives and teachings of the Fathers and on hesychasm. and eschatology. after an overview of the Church Fathers. the student will do his or her own research on other dogmas of this plan of salvation including the Christological and the ecclesiological. a composite of chapters 4. I study in detail the development of the doctrine of the Trinity. In Chapter 6. explaining the milieu which produced and defined it.PART II: PATRISTIC.

we will approach Patristics. when the Sacred Tradition of the church. In Part II. since a distinct. HISTORY OF DOCTRINE. Formative stage of theology. Thus. and Systematic Theology from an Orthodox perspective. o Later Fathers (V-VIII) o Recent Fathers (VIII-XV) • Modern period: not treated thoroughly here because the development of doctrine stopped with the last ecumenical council. The choice of this frontier is not arbitrary. and individually. trying to grasp their experience as men of God. (2) examine the history and development of the principal Christian doctrines. when needed. Golden age of the Fathers. The main divisions of this Part II are the following: • Classical period (II-V centuries). highly specialized field of study started with the post-apostolic age. Thus. Post-apostolic writers went from kerygma to dogma. with the discussion of the Ante-Nicean period.PART II: PATRISTIC. we will start with the literature outside the New Testament. o Ante-Nicene: II-IV centuries: Apostolic. the differences in theological temperament between East and West as a complement to the theological or historical discourse. we will (1) study the Fathers of the Church both collectively as they established doctrines and decrees and dogmas. We will also point out. Apologists and Anti-heretical Fathers. we studied history of the Orthodox Church from the first Pentecost in first century Jerusalem and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon Christ’s small number of disciples to the twenty-first century. Historical Theology. and suggested areas in which theology and theologians went their separate ways. though discussion—as with the Christological issue—continued to be under controversy for generations. AND DOGMATICS timeless dimensions intersect in the Sacred Tradition. the modern debate on theological issues shows that Byzantine theology is at the center of theological thinking today. o Post-Nicene: IV-V centuries: end of Church’s first doctrinally creative period. roughly spanning the same time period as Part I. and (3) analyze Orthodox dogmas. During the first hundred years of Church history. Yet. In Part I. the literature consisted exclusively of 372 . • Byzantine period: V-XV: No more fresh ideas.

a heretic such as Marcion contributed to this canonization. did the tendency to insist upon precise definition and rigid uniformity assert itself (4). For the church as a whole. In Part I. The reverence for the Old Testament did not diminish when most of the New Testament writings were recognized as inspired Scripture in the final decades of the second centuries. it was a book which spoke of the Savior on every page. During this period the Church had to struggle with persecutions and heresies such as Gnosticism. the Old Testament was accepted as the word of God. starting in 325 after the reconciliation between the Church and the Empire achieved by Constantine. the unimpeachable source book of saving doctrine (Kelly. AND DOGMATICS the Old Testament. was an era of acute ecclesiastical 373 . The post-Nicene period. He explains that this does not mean that the Early Church was indifferent to a distinction between orthodoxy and heresy. HISTORY OF DOCTRINE. however. its theological explication was to a large extent left unfettered. The books which would later comprise the New Testament already existed since practically all of them were written before the end of the first century. we saw how paradoxically.PART II: PATRISTIC. and even then in regard to comparative few doctrines which became subjects of debate.” He gives the example of the extraordinary contrast between the versions of the Church’s teaching given by the second-century Apostolic Fathers and by an accomplished fifth-century theologian such as Cyril of Alexandria. “being still at the formative stage. Early Christian Doctrines 52-53). the theology of the early centuries exhibits the extreme of immaturity and sophistication (3). Christian writers of the second century were familiar with them and often used them. Only gradually. As Kelly points out in Early Christian doctrines. while from the beginning the broad outline of the revealed truth was respected as a sacrosanct inheritance from the apostles. but rather it is that. Throughout the whole patristic as well as in all subsequent Christian centuries. they had not yet been elevated to the category of canonized books.

following the Orthodox Church. we will deal with the Church Fathers. not included in the biblical canon. Dogmatic Theology normally discusses the same doctrines and often uses the same outline and structure as systematic theology. and Systematic Theology. the patristic period lasts not just until the eighth century (the Later Fathers). the development of doctrine. Normally the period of the Fathers of the Church coincides with the above division. By the sixth century. Forms of the Holy or Sacred Tradition The Orthodox Church and the books of the Old Testament • • 2. ORTHODOX THEOLOGY In this Part II. ethics. definition of Orthodox theology. AND DOGMATICS controversy with councils of bishops becoming the accepted instrument for defining the dogmatic or doctrinal tradition of the Church. but also included the Recent Fathers of the fifteenth century. Thus I will provide the following: • Definition of Systematic Theology and Historical Theology and other relevant concepts: distinction between dogma and doctrine. the reign of formalism and scholasticism was well under way.PART II: PATRISTIC. and the Old Testament and the Orthodox Church. but does so from a particular 113 This term is thought to have first appeared in 1659 in the title of a book by L. Historical Theology. as we will see in the next chapter. CHRISTIAN ETHICS. But before we start this Part IV. both in East and West. which correspond with three common academic divisions of Patristics or Patrology. because the writings of the Fathers of the Church start with the first post-apostolic writing. we need to define several key terms and make important distinctions among these terms. However. HISTORY OF DOCTRINE. and Dogmatics113—the study of religious dogmas—. Reihhardt (“Dogmatic Theology”) 374 . TRADITION. until generally the IV Ecumenical Council of Chalcedon (451). SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY AND HISTORICAL THEOLOGY: DOGMA AND DOCTRINE. Systematic Theology and Dogmatics will be used interchangeably.

10:30. and confessed on the basis of the word of God” (3). Biblical Theology focuses on the investigation and interpretation of the Scriptures. The Bible is born within the Tradition and at the same time bears witness to it. • • • 375 . since analyses of dogmas are doctrinal. as we deal with Historical Theology and study the development of specific doctrines. but making some conceptual delimitation as Pelikan. but not simply in their own terms. in the next section. church doctrine derives from the teaching of the Sacred Scripture and on Sacred Tradition. asserts: “The private beliefs of theologians do belong to the history of doctrine. Clearly. AND DOGMATICS theological stance. which Orthodoxy considers as one entity. or dogmatic theology) is an attempt to arrange and interpret ideas current in the religion. in this case. For clarity.. for example the Orthodox dogma of the Trinity. let us view some academic subdisciplines within the field of Theology: • • Systematic Theology (or doctrinal theology. we are also equating Historical Theology with the history of doctrine. even though these might be the Fathers and Teachers of the Church. dogmatic theology is really doctrinal in itself. the Gospel of John is very Christological since it focuses heavily on the deity of Christ (John 1:1. HISTORY OF DOCTRINE. the doctrines of the Orthodox Church today are not founded on the rational conceptions of certain individuals.PART II: PATRISTIC. As a matter of fact. Dogmatic Theology—often used interchangeably with Systematic Theology—is a study of the doctrines of certain Christian groups that have systematized doctrine. Rather. taught. For example. the Orthodox Church. Before we continue with our discussion. Also. affiliated with a specific denomination or church. we approach Dogmatics since our goal is to define certain Orthodox dogmas. in The Christian Tradition: A History of the Development of Doctrine.. 14. His personal opinions must be set into the context of what the church has believed. 8:58.. It is studying a certain book (or books) of the Bible and emphasizing the different aspects of theology on which it focuses. Historical Theology is the study of doctrines and how they have developed over the centuries within the Christian church Patrology or Patristics studies the teaching of Church Fathers.

step-children. In fact. Christian Anthropology is the study of humanity. intermarriages. Christology is the study of God the Son. • • • Comparative religion focuses on the comparison of common themes among different religious traditions Moral Theology explores the moral dimensions of the religious life Practical Theology is dedicated to the practical application of theological insights. among others. therefore the division of theology into systems that explain its various areas. Christian Demonology is the study of demons from a Christian perspective. Table 45: Division within Systematic Theology SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY. etc. Systematic refers to something being put into a system. ETHICAL CONCERNS As seen above. many 114 A system shows the relations of its details to one another. systematically expounding it. It may have mysteries.PART II: PATRISTIC. but not contradictions. all theology—literary defined as “discourse concerning God. a major characteristic of Dogmatics is its systematic character. The most common way of organizing the details is in terms of nodes on a tree—like a family tree with no divorces. Contemporary theology is the study of doctrines that have developed or come into focus in recent times (Adapted from “What is systematic theology?”) Table 44: Common divisions of Theology • Theologians also make divisions within the field of Systematic Theology: • • • • • • • • • • Theology Proper or Paterology is the study of God the Father. Dogmatics approaches the beliefs of the Church thematically.” or “the science which treats of God”—is systematic. as theology does. HISTORY OF DOCTRINE. Hamartiology is the study of sin. Angelology is the study of angels.114 Systematic Theology is. Generally includes the sub disciplines of pastoral theology. It is even more explanatory if things are derived from basic axioms/premises. Pneumatology is the study of God the Holy Spirit. it is an organization that is directly opposed to a list. Ecclesiology is the study of the church.” “the study of God. the Lord Jesus Christ. 376 . HISTORICAL THEOLOGY. and Christian education. Eschatology is the study of the end times. For example. A true system has no inconsistencies. Soteriology is the study of salvation. Bibliology is the study of the Bible. homiletics. AND DOGMATICS 20:28).

PART II: PATRISTIC. based on that information. logical. Systematic theology takes all the information about angels from all the books of the Bible. teach us about a given topic?” But while Systematic Theology attempts to create a statement of faith with the leading doctrines of the Holy Tradition. as a coherent. coherent. No single book gives all the information about the angels. improvements or adherence need to be made in the present. In short. in contrast with Historical Theology is synchronic. Historical Theology then. and well-ordered presentation. and organizes it into a system—angelology (“What is systematic theology?”). HISTORY OF DOCTRINE. it is nearly impossible to “do theology” as if it has never been done before. unified whole. and as seen in the seven ecumenical councils. Systematic Theology is any study that answers the question. treats the Holy Tradition as a finished product. “What does the Holy Tradition as portrayed by the Fathers of the Church. and what corrections. serves as both as pedagogic tool (for systematic theology) and as a critical tool (highlighting various important topics as key elements of the Christian faith) (“Historical Theology”). The systematic theologian knows that. Systematic Theology is generally defined as the study of Christian theology organized thematically as opposed to historically as in Historical Theology. A synchronic reading however. The historical context is of supreme importance in the interpretation of a text. It represents an attempt to expound the various ideas of the Christian religion—as seen in the Scriptures and the Holy Tradition—into a single. who continued the apostolic teaching. A diachronic reading of the Bible would treat it as a book with a history. as revealed and written over time rather than all at once. critically. In a 377 . This definition suggests that Systematic Theology. AND DOGMATICS books of the Bible give information about the angels. Historical Theology embodies both of these concepts as a way of informing theologians about what beliefs the church has held.

in which he attempts to order and demonstrate the coherence of the theology of the classic texts of the eastern theological tradition. which became the basis of a medieval scholastic tradition of thematic commentary and explanation—best exemplified in Thomas Aquinas’ Summa Theologiae. by grasping their interrelatedness or internal relationships.PART II: PATRISTIC. In this standard manual of doctrine in Greek Christianity. Peter Lombard also includes ethical concerns in his writings on the virtues 378 . which is a dogmatic treatise on God and the world. organized thematically a large collection of quotations from the Church Fathers. was the first to attempt this heightened systematization. whereas a diachronic reading is concerned with what a text meant in its original historical context (human author and audience).” Moreover. he not only discusses doctrinal themes regarding Christology and the Trinity. but it was not long until the human mind. 185-253). and imagination. During the first two hundred years of Christianity there was little attempt to expound the doctrinal truth coming from the Word of God. anger. an early illustration is offered by John of Damascus’ 8th century Exposition of the Orthodox Faith. it becomes the irradiation core of “timeless truths. synchronic reading is concerned with what a text means in the light of the Biblical canon as a whole. This definition indicates that systematic theology involves collecting and understanding all the relevant passages by biblical authors and the Fathers on various topics and then summarizing and systematically categorizing their teachings clearly so that we know what the Orthodox church believes about each topic. began to systematize them. HISTORY OF DOCTRINE. This effort of the early Christian increased from the beginning of the third century onward. AND DOGMATICS sense. In Orthodoxy. In the West a Latin counterpart Peter Lombard. but also ethical concerns such as matters of fear. We have the results in his work De Principiis (or Peri Archon). seeking to understand its isolated truths. Origen (c. to classify them. in his 12th century Sentences.

or forgets the truth. The historical approach limits itself to establishing the facts of the past. with Philip Melanchthon’s Loci Communes and John Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion. On the other hand. which includes the Greek Fathers of the fourth century. which is its raison d’etre (11). as held by the Orthodox Catholic Tradition. Both historical and systematic methods can shed light on important aspects of the revelation. which simply ceases to be Orthodox if it neglects Tradition uncovered in history. ordered exposition of the whole of Christian theology (Protestant Orthodoxy) emerged in the 16th century. George Callixtus. this consistent tradition represents the mainstream of theological thought in Byzantium and coincides with the content of Orthodox religious experience. A Protestant tradition of the thematic. and in reference to the Byzantium period. yet. shows the existence of a remarkable and theological consistent tradition. often chosen to support an arbitrary interpretation of the truth. AND DOGMATICS created by grace. In his Byzantine Theology: Historical Trends and Doctrinal Themes. and the synthesis of Maximus the confessor and Gregory of Palamas. which serves to overthrow idols and to avoid misconceptions.PART II: PATRISTIC. says that “This dichotomy is particularly dangerous for Orthodox theology.” The permanent goal for a theologian trying to express the Christian faith. while the systematic approach neglects the rigorous demands of historical criticism and uses the past merely as a source of proof-text. neither of these approaches is fully satisfactory from an Orthodox perspective.. leaving open the issue for objective criticism. Meyendorff justifies the combination of historical and systematic methods: Theological orthodoxy itself cannot be fully defined and conceptually expressed without careful and critical historical research. effected a division between doctrine and life. HISTORY OF DOCTRINE. this same research. is to be able to do justice to history as well as to “systematic” thought addressed to contemporaries. if it is really objective. The work of the seventeenth century protestant theologian. in his Foreword to Zizioulas’ Being as Communion. Meyendorff. (viii) 379 . the Christology of Cyril of Alexandria..

John—the Theologian as he is called in the Orthodox tradition—and the first epistle of the same author. may well be subordinated to the interests of a confessional. individual system of Christian divinity. These fruits seen on the two levels of theology described in the next sections will also be depicted as they are understood by present-day Orthodox Christians. but instead is the result of combining the teachings of two or more biblical authors on a particular subject. This will involve the use of terms and concepts that were not used by any individual biblical author. If it is read only in the context of the history of ideas. as it usually has been. (9) Consequently. From the first verse of 380 .” are not specifically mentioned in the Bible. and exegesis of the Christian community will be sacrificed to a historical treatment analogous to than employed by the history of philosophical systems. both as a continuation of pre-Christian lines of development and as a persistent object of intellectual curiosity. HISTORY OF DOCTRINE. its indispensable setting within the worship. AND DOGMATICS In this text we can also see an important feature of Orthodoxy. dogmatic authority or of a speculative. namely the coincidence of both theological thought and religious experience. emerges the timeless Tradition that produces the fruits of Orthodox faith. devotion. For example the terms “Incarnation”—the point of departure for theology—and “Trinity. I will approach history to see how prominent Christians in different periods have understood various theological topics and apologetics in ways that provided a defense of the truthfulness of the Christian faith both for the purpose of convincing unbelievers and for developing doctrine. He adds: If it is read only as a branch of theology. in my exposition. namely Dogmatics. As Lossky tells us in Orthodox Theology the chief source of our knowledge of the Trinity is the Prologue of St.PART II: PATRISTIC. Pelikan further remarks that the development of doctrine must be studied by the criteria of both Christian theology and history. from history. Paradoxically. but they usefully summarize biblical concepts. I will try to give a combined emphasis on both the systematic—also experiential—and historical levels of theology. Both terms are also inseparable in Orthodox theology.

” These are all summaries of what patristic texts say. the adjective systematic in systematic theology should be understood. The same was in the beginning with God (John 1:1-2). to mean something like “carefully organized by topics.” In systematic theology topics are treated in an orderly or “systematic” way. Nowhere in Scripture do we find doctrine studied for its own sake or in isolation from life. in a sense. doing “systematic theology.PART II: PATRISTIC. For example: “The Fathers teach us that Christ has two natures” or the Creed speaks of “God the Father All-Governing. Christ is called the Word—who is at once God— and other than the Father: In the beginning was the Word. But defining systematic theology as what the Church teaches us implies that application to life is a necessary part of the proper pursuit of systematic theology.” with the understanding that the topics studied will be seen to fit together in a consistent way. any Christian reading this text should find his or her life enriched and deepened during this study. Furthermore. every time a Christian says something about what the Church teaches. and the Word was God. “What do the sacred texts teach us today?” In short. Both biblical and patristic writers consistently apply their teaching to life. and as such. as mentioned above. and will include all the major Orthodox doctrinal topics.” He or she is thinking about various topics and answering the question. they are systematictheological statements. many Christians actually do systematic theology (or at least make systematictheological statements) many times a week. HISTORY OF DOCTRINE. Therefore. seen from the perspective of what the church teaches us today. the Father is called God. In fact. Thus “systematic” should be thought of as the opposite of “randomly arranged” or “disorganized. 381 . he or she is. while simultaneously guarding against misunderstandings and false teachings. and the Word was with God. AND DOGMATICS the Prologue. Thus any doctrine being considered is seen in terms of its practical value for living the Christian life.

44 And all that believed were together. 4:16) 382 . didache—in the Vulgate. HISTORY OF DOCTRINE. and had all things common. and breaking bread from house to house. 43 And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles. In the Scriptures “doctrine” means “a teaching” as well as “that which is taught. continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself. in this Part II we deal with Dogmatics and as well as with the history and development of doctrine. continued to teach this essential message: Then the deputy. the term “doctrine” means the core message of Jesus Christ.” Most often in the Church. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved. understood in a rather specific sense. and in prayers. following the death and resurrection of the Savior. (1 Tim. (1Tim. then. and them that hear thee. especially in the Pastoral Epistles. 46 And they. doctrina—are often used in the New Testament. and parted them to all men. it refers to the teachings or doctrine of Jesus Christ. 47 Praising God. Scripturally. 6:1) They used the word “doctrine” most often in reference to what a person must believe and do in order to be saved. believed. being astonished at the doctrine of the Lord. and having favour with all the people. 45 And sold their possessions and goods. that the name of God and his doctrine be not blasphemed. AND DOGMATICS DOCTRINES AND DOGMAS As noted. (Acts 2:41-47) 16 Take heed unto thyself. Didaskalia. (Acts 13:12) Let as many servants as are under the yoke count their own masters worthy of all honour. as every man had need. Let us analyze both the concepts of dogma (Greek do/gma meaning “decree”) and doctrine (Latin doctrina meaning “a body of teachings” or “instructions”) from different perspectives in order to grasp the meaning of these two terms. The apostles. when he saw what was done. thus adding an ethical component: 41 Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. and in breaking of bread.PART II: PATRISTIC. continuing daily with one accord in the temple. did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart. and unto the doctrine. 42 And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship.

PART II: PATRISTIC. exhort with all long suffering and doctrine. As a Christian. (Heb. Furthermore. out of season. (1 Tim 13. and unto the doctrine. be instant in season. a (true or false) doctrine makes clear what a dogma means in a given framework and therefore gives life (or death. or political. who taught that dogmatic faith consists of obedient assent to the voice of authority.. and of faith toward God. and them that hear thee. and of eternal judgment. especially religious. 2 Of the doctrine of baptisms. a dogma can be seen as a field of discourse or even a 383 . (2 Tim 4:2) Dictionaries define “doctrine” as a “set of principles or beliefs. if God permit. ones. AND DOGMATICS 1 Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ. a set of beliefs) as dogma and a set of doctrines. A dogma can thus be seen as a doctrine of a practice or a body of doctrines formally and authoritatively affirmed. to exhortation. 16) Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour.” and “dogma” as “a belief or set of beliefs that people are expected to accept without asking questions” (political/religious dogma). A doctrine can be necessary to maintain the integrity of the dogma it interprets. if not older. continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself. let us go on unto perfection. and of resurrection of the dead. 6:1-3) Paul also insists upon teaching or explaining “doctrine” as one of the most important duties of a bishop: Till I come. give attendance to reading. while dogmas are essential in a way that doctrines are not. and of laying on of hands. (1 Tim 5:17) Preach the word. it is not surprisingly. to doctrine. reprove. in the case of a faulty doctrine) as well as meaning to the dogma in question. as essential for salvation. 3 And this will we do. especially they who labour in the word and doctrine. Thus. Take heed unto thyself. HISTORY OF DOCTRINE. not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works. one is expected to accept certain things (beliefs. Often “doctrine” specifically connotes “a corpus of religious dogma as it is promulgated by a church.” Along with this definition goes the fundamental Catholic view of “dogmatic faith”. The expression is as old as Cyril of Jerusalem (died 386). rebuke..

By “essential” question. faculty. as is the teaching that Jesus Christ is both completely God and completely human. as opposed to that of energeia. HISTORY OF DOCTRINE. a way of representing things inanimate as animate. more complete definition: “What the church of 115 According to Aristotle. 116 Greek dógma has often been used for a doctrine as well as a dogma. different groups can accept the same dogma while differing on doctrines intended to explain what the dogma means. Kelly specifies that “what it means by Christian doctrine is the teaching of the Catholic Church from the end of the first century onwards (Early Christian Doctrines 29). heretical. every sensible and intelligible thing in the universe is constituted by this triple principle which manifests on distinct levels as ousia (existence. In a sense. or. natural capacity and virtual existence of action. potentiality) and energeia (action.115 It is a potential that gets energized (actualized. In addition. Moreover. Thus for Aristotle the term for actuality is energeia. in this process of actualization. being). while doctrines are ways of answering the question posed. This process is not wholly finished because context and exegesis ceaselessly transform dogma or rather give them a new understanding. thus giving the term “doctrine” a broader. using Aristotelian terminology. according to Litsas’ A Dictionary of Orthodox Terminology. a process of actualization. AND DOGMATICS dynamis. failure to be involved in it is heterodox. Obviously. meaning vividness. more usually. but dynamic entities. giving them an authoritative shape. what dogmas do is deconstruct doctrinal meanings and reconstruct new ones. dogma is “the basic beliefs and truths contained in the Bible and the Holy Tradition of the Church as defined by the Ecumenical Councils and the Fathers of the Church. Pelikan adds “belief” and “confession” to his definition. one means a matter that must be examined or resolved in order to be Orthodox. are not static. realized) with the doctrines that tell us what the given dogma means (“How Are Certain Terms to Be Used?”).” 384 . actuality). means potentiality.” A dogma116 is in some ways more like an essential question. Yet.PART II: PATRISTIC. paidevma is a more accurate word for “doctrine. The concept of dynamis. That God is both three (in one sense) and one (in another sense) is a dogma. dynamis (power. dogmas.

both theology and ethics. articulated in polemics and in apologetics. and love in teaching and confession. I have already mentioned that John of Damascus discusses not only doctrines such as those regarding Trinity and Christology but also matters of fear or anger (Pelikan 2-3). HISTORY OF DOCTRINE. hope. AND DOGMATICS Jesus Christ believes. and worship What is taught is: the content of the word of God extracted by exegesis from the witness of the Bible and communicated to the people of the church trough proclamation. Christian writers began to distinguish between teachings concerning Christ and those intended to the correct behavior. teaches. He adds that “Doctrine is not only. as Pelikan notes. it works for the transformations of this world and awaits the consummation of its hope in the next (1). As noted above. then distinguishes between the knowledge of God and the service of God. derived from the word of God” (2). “doctrine may be defined as the content of that saving knowledge. Thus. • 385 . activity of the Church. spirituality.” For Pelikan the church is always more than a school. not even in the technical sense. in creed and dogma—creeds and decrees are important in the histories of dogmas. and confesses on the basis of the word of God is doctrine. they included teaching about confession and conduct.PART II: PATRISTIC. He thinks that the church would not be the church as we know it without Christian doctrine (1). These terms. The Church worships God and serves mankind. but cannot be less than a school. instruction and church theology. not even the primary. when the New Testament talked about “doctrines”—and the Old Testament talked about “instructions”—. between pious doctrines and virtuous practices. • • What is believed is: the form of Christian doctrine present in the modalities of devotion. What is confessed is: the testimony of the church. It expresses its faith. did not always have the same meaning. both against false teaching from within and against attacks from without. The term “doctrine” as Pelikan says. For him.

not even the dogma of the Trinity has remained unchanged still since its adoption and clarification. This also means that both the subject matter and the source material for the history of the development of doctrine will have to shift. has concentrated on what is confessed. increasingly though by no means exclusively. that when a doctrine is formulated it stops developing and becomes fixed. To trace its further development we shall have to look. both before or after the formulation of such normative statements. the history of doctrine. AND DOGMATICS Since its emergence as a distinct field of investigation in the eighteen century. moving from what the church confessed to what it taught to what it believed. as they studied it and criticizes. as he explains. to its professional expositors. as Pelikan points out. which he defines as “as the normative statements of Christian beliefs adopted by various ecclesiastical authorities and enforced as the official teaching of the Church. he comments further. He adds that It does mean that having developed from what is taught. as already suggested. and perhaps even to what was confessed. (5) 386 .” Yet. for example. gradually but steadily as we trace it back through the history of the church. we will have to look backwards.PART II: PATRISTIC. as they speculated on it both in their philosophy and mystagogy. Before we examine the dogma of the Trinity. has paid attention supposedly to doctrinal development. we will have to analyze the divine triad as seen by the Apostolic Fathers and the Apologists and also the conflicting tendencies in Trinitarian thought in the third century. the history of dogma. To some extent then. in Chapter 6. when centered on the history and development of doctrines. the theologians. HISTORY OF DOCTRINE. and as they expanded and revised it. notes Pelikan. as they used it to interpret the very Scriptures on which it was supposed to be based. Pelikan also reasons that what the church confesses is what the church has believed and taught or at least part of what the church has believed and taught. only for the sake of its relationship to the development of dogma (3-4). The study of a doctrine does not mean. on dogmas. a doctrine gradually became part of the authorized deposit of faith.

A doctrine may apply to a specific community within the Church. who died in 604 was a bishop who had become a monk.PART II: PATRISTIC. Logically. but what the church has understood them to have taught. he says. in the West. But. as already said.D.” the word tradition refers simultaneously to the process of communication and to its content. most theologians were bishops. This is an ongoing process rather than a static product (6). AND DOGMATICS Thus. we will see the work of theologians not only as refuters or formulators of dogmas or defenders of faith. but it also means that which was handed down. Thus tradition means the handing down of Christian teaching during the course of the history of the church. He illustrates his point by saying that from 100 to 600 A. moving back and fourth among believing. HISTORY OF DOCTRINE. as we know. Martin Luther. Each of these life styles has left its marks not only on the job description of the theologian. they have been university professors. was a monk who had become a university professor. but also on the way doctrine has continued to developed. is not incompatible with history: The form which Christian doctrine. (7) He believes that. Pelikan very clearly relates doctrine with tradition. every dogma is a doctrine but not every doctrine is a dogma. who died in 1546. tradition without history has homogenized all the stages of development into one statistical truth. Besides. Furthermore. and since 1500. since Christian doctrines are based on the Word of God. history without tradition has produced had relativized the development of Christian doctrine in such a way as to make the distinction 387 . we will not deal with the doctrinal content of Old Testament and the New Testament. which. because for our purpose is not what the apostles might have taught. teaching and confessing (5). but as Bible exegetes trying to draw certain doctrinal implications from their proof texts. the history of doctrine becomes the history of philosophy. from 600 to 1500. Like the term “doctrine. Gregory I. has taken in history is tradition. so defined. they were monks.

Pekka Metso. as both early and later theologians sought to follow the way of Tradition in a true development and growth from kerigma to dogma. Theology focuses on what God wants His children to know and believe about Him and His nature.or at least theology claims to express eternal revelation. ethics takes these beliefs and applies them to everyday life. Theology has always been reactive. in an e-mail to the author dated 13/1/2006. Tradition is the living faith of the dead. and confessing. Saying all this one should also notice that the content of Theology is timeless truth . and it cannot be fully understood without a diachronic approach. Thus. from the Orthodox University of Joensuu in Finland. both the variety of Christian teachings through history and their possible unity within tradition are integral to this Part II. HISTORY OF DOCTRINE. This fact is seen in the acceptance of sincere novelty and change through Christian history. This puts the historical factors in line with the synchronic element . Christian Ethics Firth of all.hopefully giving birth to a fruitful dialogue between the time-bound and timeless elements of the one and same theology. an understanding of history and tradition will help us trace the historical development of a doctrine and the way in which one’s place at some point in that historical development affects one’s understanding and application of that particular doctrine. AND DOGMATICS between authentic growth and cancerous aberration seemed completely arbitrary (9). 388 . we need to make a distinction between systematic theology and Christian ethics. makes the following key observation: Evolving of the Doctrine bears a tremendous importance in Orthodoxy. Theology has not been expressed and come to existence ex-nihilo. following Pelikan’s discussion. as well as to our theological position: from an Orthodox perspective. and at the same time it is an avenue into the authentic continuity of Christian believing. Prof. traditionalism is the dead faith of the living (9) Thus. teaching. Pelikan concludes that the history of Christian doctrine is The most effective means to expose the artificial theories of continuity that have assumed normative status in the churches.PART II: PATRISTIC.

however. If we have only knowledge about God but do not understand how to live out His commandments in our lives and actions. Theology gives us the theoretical basis of our Christian faith. history. Theology can explain the nature of God and how He works in our world. abortion. Were the Fathers of the Church developers of doctrine individually or collectively? 4. then our knowledge remains theoretical and incomplete. will help guide us as Christians in areas of our lives such as friendships. “Faith without works is dead. and Fathers of the Church TWO TYPES OF THEOLOGIES IN ORTHODOXY Evagrius (345–99). we recognize that God is truth and love. and the one who is a true theologian has purity in 389 . What is Christian Ethics? What is the difference between it and Systematic Theology? Why do they frequently overlap? Activity 100: Systematic Theology. dogma. AND DOGMATICS Although certainly theology and ethics overlaps some. Ethics guides us in the application of these theories to the situations we face daily. a monk and influential theologian.PART II: PATRISTIC. As James says in his letter. Activity 1. Ethics. our relationship to our government and our responsibilities to the poor and the dispossessed. marriage. Thus. in this section we will offer a discussion both of systematic theology and its application in the realm of Christian ethics. the fundamental difference is that theology focuses on ideas. ethics helps us to apply these concepts to the problematic situations in which we find ourselves. possession of property.” Thus. said “The one who has purity in prayer is a true theologian. Explain the difference between a diachronic and a synchronic approach to theology. How does it apply to the history of doctrine and to Dogmatics? 3. What is Systematic Theology? 2. therefore. whereas ethics focuses on the application of these ideas. doctrine. HISTORY OF DOCTRINE. child rearing. Obviously theology and ethics overlaps at certain points.

faith in Christ. These techniques were intended to separate men from the material world. believers saw theology as intertwined with prayer. is not a mere doctrine. Nil Sorski”). For Orthodoxy. But Lossky. he stressed a solitary. statically. implies a state of silence (the hesychasts are the ‘silents’) and demands the surmounting and arrest the thought. faith and a personal adherence to the personal presence of God who reveals Himself (13). not through faith. in Orthodox Theology: An Introduction. in the sense of the theology of contemplation and silence. reciprocity. It implies faith in the personal presence of God. They believed in salvation through gnosis. 117 390 . mortified and vivified by contemplative faith.” Already in the fourth century. As a strict ascetic. It is different from “gnosis” as seen by Gnostics. as the Son of God. the incarnation of the Word has no other aim than leading us to the Father. For Evagrius prayer was “an assent of the mind to God” (On Prayer 35). as Lossky adds that Theology as a word and thought must necessarily conceal a Gnostic dimension. but life itself. However. without the mediation of intelligence or teaching system. gnosis is an illumination by grace which transforms our intelligence and connotes contemplation. suggesting two levels of theology. he says. He reasons that the theological foundation of any theological teaching is the Incarnation of the Word and the Word can be thought and taught. trying to relate gnosis to theological teaching continues by saying that the notion of silent gnosis117 as true theology differs from theological teaching. a simple statement which is at the very core of Evagrius’ thoughts. Thus. does not seize. AND DOGMATICS prayer. from a theology that can be expressed through language. monastic life. and the development of virtues.PART II: PATRISTIC. but finds itself included and seized. So In Christianity. It is matter of a new mode of thought where thought does not include. “purity of prayer” implies gnosis. In this sense. it is the acquisition of knowledge in a mystic condition. Lossky says. It is a matter of opening our thought to a reality which goes beyond it. This means. encounter. control of passionate thoughts. HISTORY OF DOCTRINE. to allow the mind to perform its proper activity: the contemplation of God (“Prayer in Evagrius Ponticus and St. or knowledge. Purity of prayer.

conditioned by the presence of in us of the Holy Spirit. I am seized by the Unity. in terms used by Lossky. of viewing itself as a science sufficient unto itself. (3) While episteme implies space and time. in Oratio XL. when the ecclesial awareness of God in human history was being formulated. contemplative and existential knowledge—and episteme—science and knowledge. which is so limited to comprehend a single One. gnosis implies eschatology. he relates theology and liturgy. there is no room for any more. St. Gregory places himself between gnosis and episteme. I think that it is the whole. the skill to adapt one’s thought to revelation. which he calls “sophia”: Theology as sophia would therefore be the capacity. in sanctum baptisma 41. so fully the abundance escapes me. The primacy of prayer therefore protects theology from the ever present danger of closing in upon itself. When one of the Three appears to me. Consequently Lossky sees two conjoined levels of theology. thereby losing any link to living ecclesial reality (2). to pure prayer where thought stops. Bobrinskoy asserts that “the doctrine of the Church is a synthesis made by the Fathers and the councils over centuries. As soon as I begin to think of the Trinity.PART II: PATRISTIC. Regarding prayer and doctrine. Therefore. (17) A contemporary to Evagrius. to embrace theology as sophia. to the ineffable”. It is a matter of the internal reconstruction of our faculties of knowing. stating that their common link “prevents the liturgy from closing in upon itself. Additionally. said regarding the Tri-Unity: As soon as I begin to contemplate the Unity. St Gregory of Nazianzus. to find the skillful and inspired words which would bear witness in the language—but nor in the limits—of human thought. but “must set the spirit on the path to contemplation. For in my mind. between contemplation and speculative reflection. In his theological perspective. When I join the Three in a single thought. the Trinity bathes me in its splendor. in 391 . also. a theologian cannot reduce himself to a mere epistemological process. HISTORY OF DOCTRINE. I behold the frame. and I am able neither to divide nor to analyze the unified Light. AND DOGMATICS theological teaching locates itself with difficulty between gnosis—charisma and silence. in replying to the needs of the moment. so fully my eye is filled. from this Orthodox position.

revealed theology.” delineate two levels of theology in the Orthodox Church. the divine revelation.” They add that: In bestowing the title “theologian” on so few of the Fathers (and only on several. This is a changeless. It primarily concerns the explanation of the spiritual life. only translating. 392 . guides.PART II: PATRISTIC. universal vision of the Church of all ages (2). formally). the particular preoccupation of the moment.” a “preacher of Grace. Gregory Palamas. from the spiritual vision of the Godbearing Fathers. and imparts to the humble and Faithful: a truth which is the highest form of theology. is secondary theology. Secondary theology can help us in our endeavors to understand what is fundamentally incomprehensible. St. two ways from which the divine truth can be approached. they assert. “a theologian invincible among theologians. then. the revealed truth of essential theology. It cannot be separated from the spiritual life itself. consequently. HISTORY OF DOCTRINE. Archbishop Chrysostom and Bishop Auxentios. according to. The first one or “essential theology” springs from the spirit of the Church. whom the Church characterized as “the perfection of monks. Chrysostom and Ausentios give the example of the great luminary of Orthodoxy. in “Introduction to Scripture and Tradition. as a consequence of this. we focus our efforts on approaching God in a form of a mental discipline as we recognize the crucial importance of essential theology and. The second form of theology. In secondary theology.” and. of remaining true to Patristic tradition. which is inextricably bound to the spiritual life which She directs. AND DOGMATICS a rootless subjectivism. Similarly. the Orthodox Church pays great homage to the truth which She embodies. and cut off from the great catholic. a “spiritual knowledge’’ of God. This type of experience is not the domain or concern of the scholar. and consistent with.” the “wonder working Gregory. which the Orthodox Church allows.

They are her domain and She alone fully and correctly understands them. AND DOGMATICS Thus. Orthodox theologians need to be aware that the relationship between Scripture and Tradition is of great relevance in the history of Orthodox theological thought. we appeal to the Apostles. It was in the bosom of the Church that Scripture and Tradition matured. for example. The witness of the Fathers belongs. This was so. in “St Gregory Palamas and the Tradition of the Fathers.. in the opening of the Decree of Chalcedon.. Chrysostom and Ausentios state that: It is imperative that we understand. Those who advocate current western-style “Bible studies. and not just to an abstract ‘Apostolicity. To do so is to understand the correct. Indeed. the truth of which is open to textual analysis). If the Orthodox Church is the historical Church. we can dispense with the dangerous trend. with the truth of the Fathers. to understand Scripture and Tradition in non-Orthodox ways.” This is not a reference to some abstract tradition. Understanding this. After all. in formulas and propositions. then She embodies the historical Truth of Christianity. 393 .’ In the similar manner do we refer to the Fathers. understanding this relationship was crucial to the Christian Church.” concentrating on a spiritually dangerous dissection of Scripture (as though it were human poetry or a literary text.” cites phrases such as “Following the Holy Fathers” that the early church used normatively to introduce its doctrinal statements. Heretics such as Arius misused the Scripture and broke with Tradition. intrinsically and integrally. then. It is primarily an appeal to holy witnesses. to the very structure of Orthodox belief. Another example is the more elaborate phrase used in the Seventh Ecumenical Council—summoned to solve the serious iconoclastic crisis—to introduce its decision: “Following the Divinely inspired teaching of the Holy Fathers and the Tradition of the Catholic Church. From the time of the Apostles. HISTORY OF DOCTRINE. true attitude of the Church. to distort the image and icon of Truth contained in Holy Scripture and expressed in all Tradition. are obviously motivated by an improper understanding of Orthodoxy. the singular attitude of the Orthodox Church toward Scripture and Tradition. it was out of the Orthodox Church Herself that Scripture arose. The Church is equally committed to the kerygma of the Apostles and to the dogma of the Fathers. among some Orthodox. George Florovsky.PART II: PATRISTIC.” Florovsky explains regarding this normative term of reference that: “Following the Holy Fathers.

interpret. and which. albeit in a substantially different way from the West. Biblical scholarship has often rendered itself irrelevant to the life of both Church and society by a gravitational pull toward historical.” They focused on the spirit rather than the letter of Scripture (50).e.PART II: PATRISTIC. He concludes. Meyendorff asserts that: The concept of theologia in Byzantium. theology could not be—as it was in the West—a rational deduction from “revealed” premises. Orthodox theology. HISTORY OF DOCTRINE. Stylianopoulos says: God did not merely dictate words or propositions to passive authors. patristic and doctrinal interests have held sway (30). the Bible was both a book of God and a book of the Church. philological. from Scripture or 394 . Orthodox theologians have strong ecclesial and doctrinal anchors. allowing them actively to comprehend. in Byzantine Theology: Historical Trends and Doctrinal themes. as with the Cappadocian Fathers. i. have spared them from turmoil experienced in the west. However. but rather he impacted personally their whole beings.. helping it to avoid repeating the errors of western colleagues. which he says should be taken into account when approaching Byzantine theology. “but primarily from Renaissance humanism and Enlightenment philosophy. It is important to note that the inspiration of the Holy Spirit embraces a far deeper and broader process than the composition of single books. the life of a particular author. and convey his will to others according to the limitations of their understanding and language. and technical preoccupations (29). also refers to this concept of revelation. he adds. and they approached it with “a certain freedom and boldness. as is Orthodox theology. holds to a personal and dynamic. he adds. a theology which is based on both the ecclesial as well as an intense spiritual or prayer life. AND DOGMATICS Stylianopoulos states that for the Fathers. concept of inspiration. (14) Consequently. In Orthodoxy. Inspiration involves the entire community of faith. the composition of particular books. Meyendorff. as well as their gradual gathering into a sacred collection. He thinks that modern western theology is often derived neither from Scripture nor the classic Christian tradition. rather than mechanistic and verbal. was inseparable from theoria (contemplation).

HISTORY OF DOCTRINE.” which place the whole man—intellect. it was a vision experienced by the saints. rather. to be checked against the witness of Scripture and Tradition. “atonement” in the western church refer only to the Crucifixion. the west splits Salvation into a negative side (“Redemption”—with Atonement. of course. (8-9) He further comments that the True theologian was the one who saw and experienced the content of his theology. but it represented for the Byzantine the lowest and least reliable level of theology. and this experience was considered to belong not to the intellect alone (although the intellect was not excluded from its perception).PART II: PATRISTIC. a debate which started the theological controversies of the fourteenth century (1337-1340). 2:13) 395 . and considers reasoned theology the opposite of mysticism. 2:20: For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. whereas the eastern Church typically considers good works as a part of the whole thing—which is Grace. (9) Meyendorff also states that this difference in approach constituted the contents of the initial debate between Gregory of Palamas—an advocate of hesychasm—and Balaam the Calabrian. less chopped up into different subtopics than western theology. Orthodoxy tends to be look at things more holistically. divides monastic life into active and contemplative types. whose authenticity was. emotions. If Orthodoxy does not separate theology and mysticism (or mystical theology) in the western manner—whose thinking is not framed in the ontological worldview of Orthodoxy—. whereas Orthodoxy gives at least equal weight to the Incarnation and the Resurrection of Jesus Christ in considering this term. (Philp. Satisfaction. and even senses— in contact with the divine existence. AND DOGMATICS from the statements of an ecclesiastical magisterium. Adoption. 2:13 or Gal. Eastern theology is more compact and holistic. for example.) and a positive side (“Sanctification”). etc. Nor that a rational deductive process was completely eliminated from theological thought. Justification. but to the “eyes of the Spirit. it also does not divide up the topics in the western manner (9). The western church. Orthodoxy cites Philip.

the most authoritative part of the Sacred Tradition. yet not I. Therefore. in “The Dogmatic Tradition of the Orthodox Church” asserts that. the Divine Liturgy. Nevertheless. AND DOGMATICS I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live. is the product and epiphenomenon of the life of the Church. the doctrine of the ecumenical and local councils. the doctrine of the Fathers.PART II: PATRISTIC. 2:20) as a basis for this comprehensive view. so as to arrive at the true Glory and Divinization in the Vision of uncreated Light. but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God. the Bible does not contain all the doctrines and teachings of Christ. How does Orthodox theology differ from western theology? Activity 101: Orthodox theology 3. HISTORY OF DOCTRINE. Why is it important to understand Orthodox theologians? 2. the church is subordinated to the authority of the Bible. working in this life of the Church. the Sacred Tradition has attained various forms: the Bible. regarding faith and doctrine. who loved me. but also the work of the Holy Spirit of God. Important parts of these doctrines and teachings continued to evolve through the Holy Fathers of the Church—the Orthodox Church is intrinsically the Church of the Fathers. Christ shares His uncreated Energies with each member of His Body. He explains that the Bible. and were established most authoritatively through the ecumenical councils. Explain the Orthodox concept of theology. energizing them to do works to please him and not lose Grace. (Gal. 396 . This concept derives from a view of the ontological unity of divine and human natures in Jesus Christ (Orlapubs). and gave himself for me. and the architectural and iconography of the Church. Activity 1. FORMS OF THE SACRED OR HOLY TRADITION AND DOCTRINE Aghiorgoussis.

convened during the seventeenth century to counteract Protestant infiltrations in the East. It is considered a Christological Council. such as the ones held in 1341 and 1351. which considers itself to be the Church of Christ and is both apostolic and Patristics. Councils. and the “uncreated light. However. against the Spirit fighters (Pneumatomachs) Established the Christological dogma: Christ as true God and true man. Other Councils. such as the Councils of Jassy (1662) and Jerusalem (1672). established the Orthodox Christian doctrine regarding grace. Against Nestorianism 3º) Council of Ephesus (431) 4º) Council of Chalcedon (451) Against Eutyches and Monophysitism 6º) Council of Constantinople III (680) Against Monothelitism 5º) Council of Constantinople II (553) Also Christological issues 7º) Council of Nicea II (787) Condemned the writings of exponents of the school of Antioch. Christ is a divine person who assumed a perfect humanity. has not given the name “ecumenical” to Councils which do not represent the “undivided Church” of the Byzantine Empire. separated in 1054. AND DOGMATICS The Orthodox Church. Let us briefly delineate the doctrines and truths of the Church established by both early and later ecumenical councils: 1º) Nicea I (325) Established faith in the Holy Trinity 2º) Constantinople I (381) Established the divinity of Christ. Gregory Palamas. who gave an Alexandrian interpretation of the decrees of Chalcedon Defended the doctrine of icons. after the separation. the incarnate Word (Logos) of God Established the divinity of the Holy Spirit. the divine energies of God. thus saving and deifying it.PART II: PATRISTIC.” according to St. also affirmed Orthodox truths promulgated by the Ecumenical Councils and the ancient Fathers of the Church. insofar as the doctrine of icons is a consequence of the Christological dogma: the Son of God became human. 397 . HISTORY OF DOCTRINE.

and of all things visible and invisible. of one substance with the Father. AND DOGMATICS therefore. true God of true God. HISTORY OF DOCTRINE. the Father All-sovereign. maker of heaven and earth. of whose kingdom there shall be no end. “The Dogmatic Tradition of the Orthodox Church”) Table 46: Ecumenical Councils and later Councils along with their doctrines or documents Furthermore. and sits on the right hand of the Father. We believe in one Lord Jesus Christ. the creed of the Church of Rome. the Athanasian Creed. We believe in the Holy Spirit. and ascended into the heavens. and the only-begotten Son of God.” To counteract Protestant infiltrations in the East and establish the Orthodox doctrine vis-à-vis the Protestant teachings. and suffered and was buried. (Aghiorgoussis. and became man. Yet their authority is subjected to the authority of the Ecumenical Councils and the Fathers of the Church [Later councils] Doctrine regarding grace. Council of 1341 Council of 1351 Council of Jassy (1662) Council of Jerusalem (1672) “Symbolic Books”: witnesses of Orthodox faith once handed down to the Fathers and perpetuated in the Orthodox Church. Documents from these councils plus other documents received the name of “Symbolic Books” of the Orthodox Church. Table 47: The Creed of Nicea 398 . and the Creed of Nicean/Constantinople: For eastern Christianity. and the “uncreated light. through whom all things were made. the Lord and the Life-giver. We look for a resurrection of the dead. he can be depicted in His humanity. begotten of the Father before all the ages. and rose again on the third day according to the Scriptures. Light of Light. and was made flesh of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary. and comes again with glory to judge living and dead. We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic church. western Christianity recognizes a series of creeds as ecumenical or universal: the Apostolic Creed. the divine energies of God. who with the Father and Son is worshiped together and glorified together. and the life of the age to come. that proceeds from the Father. created in the West around the end of the fifth or beginning of the sixth century. who spoke through the prophets. We acknowledge one baptism unto remission of sins. and was crucified for us under Pontius Pilate. only the Creed of Nicea/Constantinople is ecumenical. Let us cite it here to have a reference for further discussion: We believe in one God. who for us men and for our salvation came down from the heavens. begotten not made.PART II: PATRISTIC.

and the truest. which adds an extra dimension to the faith. It is characterized by its poetry. HISTORY OF DOCTRINE. include—or even be based on—the liturgical tradition of the Orthodox Church. by necessity. degree. in The Mystery of the Trinity. by its use of direct and indirect quotations of both Old and New Testament.cc>. given the fact that ontologically they are not differentiated from one another (2).” He comments. which has the Divine Liturgy as its core. Another form of the Sacred Tradition is the rich liturgical tradition of the Orthodox Church. Bobinskroy. AND DOGMATICS This creed was first promulgated by the Council of Nicea (325) and edited and completed by the first Council of Constantinople in 381. The Orthodox Church accepts this Creed as the summary of all the important Christian doctrines and uses it for catechism and for the worship of the Church. asserts that “liturgy and theology lead into one another. (2) Illustration 66: Council of Nicea I. 399 . 325118 118 See: <www. a “heart” one. and by dogmatic accuracy: doctrinal and dogmatic statements. either from the doctrine of the Councils or from that of the Fathers of the Church. any endeavor to bear witness to he unutterable reality of experiencing the presence of the Trinitarian communion in our life. that any valid attempt to deepen our understanding of the Trinitarian Revelation.PART II: PATRISTIC. must. It is there we discern the theological awareness of the Church to the most intimate.osl.

as being a “historical” Church. relating to church order. To the one who knows how to read them. The Orthodox Church may rightly glory in its history. Christian art—iconography and architecture—provides a way of expressing the doctrinal tradition of the Church. In ecclesiastical terminology if dogmas are the truths of Christian teaching. HISTORY OF DOCTRINE. equal to that of the decrees of faith promulgated by the same Ecumenical Councils that also produced the canons (“The Dogmatic Tradition of the Orthodox Church”).com).PART II: PATRISTIC. canons are the prescriptions. Byzantine iconography also provides a means of expressing the faith. “express the doctrine of the Church in a clear. the truths of faith. which flow from the moral foundations of the evangelical and Apostolic teaching (OrthodoxPhotos. a rudder. icons teach most of Orthodox faith. AND DOGMATICS Moreover. The word “canon” comes from Greek and means literally “a straight rod. indisputable way. For example. because theologically the fundamental center of iconography is the Incarnation of the Word. All these expressions of Tradition are interwoven and help to establish the context and the very meaning of the Christian faith and doctrine. of which the history has no 400 . church government. doctrine. the obligations of the church hierarchy and clergy and of every Christian. elements of the Byzantine church such as the sanctuary (the “Holy of Holies”) and the altar in its center represent the “holy dwelling place” of God and God’s throne. especially the “dogmatic” ones. we can agree with Aghiorgoussis when he points out that: Beliefs. Many of the canons. a measure of precise direction”. the canons of the Church are parts of Practical Theology. The canons represent the Church’s attempt to re-express its teaching and readjust its strategies to contemporary needs. Aghiorgoussis asserts. and dogma of the Orthodox Church are in direct continuity with the doctrine of the Bible and the uninterrupted tradition of the Church of which the Bible is the authoritative exponent. In addition. From what we have said about Tradition. Thus canons serve as an important witness of the faith of the Church and offer information concerning the doctrine of the Church.

AND DOGMATICS innovations to present. in which the opinions and experiences of the Fathers of the Church are crucial. but rather an absolute faithfulness to the basic Christian message as preserved in the Bible. Activity 102: Forms of Holy Tradition After these preliminary concepts and before we discuss the history of development of Doctrine and Dogmatics. let us examine Patristics. We need to see them as both theologians and men of faith. 401 . HISTORY OF DOCTRINE.PART II: PATRISTIC. Activity Enumerate the forms of the Holy Tradition and give a short explanation of each of them regarding doctrine.

This chapter. if we limit ourselves to this viewpoint we would confine Patristic to ecclesiastical literature parallel to the history of doctrines and dogmas. 402 . apologetic and polemic tracts on enriching. but recognize it as perfect and based on it their own doctrinal reflection upon it. in Los Padres de la Iglesia I: Los Padres griegos. defining it and complementing it. in contrast with the Apostolic Fathers or the immediate post-Apostolic Fathers. However. Hans von Campenhausen. and even historic content. Such an approach provides a valid perspective from which to understand the Fathers. limited to the eastern Fathers.119 states that the Fathers of the Church. attempts to portray the Fathers of the Church as they saw themselves and how they perceived their own faith vocation. while simultaneously retaining complete freedom. It discusses the Patristics as men who had their own peculiar character and spiritual goals within their own historical and cultural milieu and the particular roles they had in the Church. did not consider themselves direct witnesses of Christ’s revelation. but rather comments and dissertations. but the 119 Spanish translation of The Fathers of the Greek Church (London. the Fathers created a solid tradition. Such stance would somehow demean the faith and the individual theological contributions of these Fathers. Campenhausen says that it is more difficult to determine the end of the era of the Church Fathers than the beginning. He adds that thanks to their secular efforts.Chapter 4: Patristics Chapter 4 PATRISTICS INTRODUCTION As we will see the Church Fathers are frequently cited and studied in the development of the doctrine and in the definition of dogmas. systematic. These Fathers did not write gospels or apostolic epistles. 1959). They offered their own gifts and capabilities to the service of the Church.

Clement of Rome. and virtually embraces all the remains of primitive Christian literature antedating the great apologies of the second century. is held by many to have written during the last decade of the first century. An accepted tradition. and forming the link of tradition that binds these latter writings to those of the New Testament. John. In Chapter 4. Ignatius was the second successor of St. cit. Peter in the Papacy. iii. Eccl. Chief in importance are the three first-century Bishops: St. iii. gives colour to his claim. op. III. 4) and had been a disciple of St. declares him a disciple of St. The former affirms that his teaching is that of the Apostles. Polycarp of Smyrna. b) the Fathers and Hesychasm. III. whose rank as Apostolic Fathers in the strictest sense is undisputed. or are considered. For this theologian that moment of requiring belief in the tradition marks the end of the patristic era. even if he be not the Apostle and companion of St. after the fifth century when the authority of the old Fathers started to prevail in the Church over the personal influence of the spiritual teachers (1213). or to have been so influenced by them that their writings may be held as echoes of genuine Apostolic teaching. I will be dealing with a) the role of ascesis in the lives and teaching of the Fathers. of whose intimate personal relations with the Apostles there is no doubt. Paul. cit. Peter in the See of Antioch (Eusebius.. “had seen the blessed Apostles [Peter and Paul] and had been conversant with them” (Irenaeus. Hist. 36.. Haer. I will address doctrinal issues. and St. and his work.Chapter 4: Patristics moment in which believing in the tradition became definitive and obligatory. Bishop of Rome and third successor of St. Clement. substantiated by the similarity of Ignatius’ thought with the ideas of the Johannine writings. I will try to quote the Fathers as much as possible to offer a better idea of their individuality. c) the Fathers as 403 .. III. Ignatius of Antioch. (“The Apostolic Fathers”) Table 48: Apostolic Fathers This chapter will also serve as a reference to which we can look back as I proceed with history and development of doctrine and dogma in the next two chapters. it limited freedom regarding systematic biblical research. while the publication (Constantinople. Though restricted by some to those who were actually disciples of the Apostles. op. perhaps the earliest extant piece of uninspired Christian literature. III. though his Epistle does not clearly suggest it. In the next chapter. as previously noted. This transition occurred. Christian writers of the first and second centuries who are known. the latter. John (Eusebius. Polycarp was “instructed by Apostles” (Irenaeus. 3). St. according to him. there are two first-century writers whose place with them is generally conceded: the author of the Didache and the author of the “Epistle of Barnabas”. the term applies by extension to certain writers who were previously believed to have been such. 36) and during his life in that centre of Christian activity may have met with others of the Apostolic band. Besides these. and may have come under direct Apostolic influence. to have had personal relations with some of the Apostles. V. 20) whose contemporary he was for nearly twenty years. literary criticism having removed some who were formerly considered as second-century writers. 1883) of the Didache has added one to the list. The list of Fathers included under this title has varied. Adv..

whose matchless learning and morality give splendor to the Church both in their lifetime and afterwards. to the middle of the eighth century. e.Chapter 4: Patristics defenders of faith. who died a Montanist. 155225). who showed a marked leaning towards Hellenism. Their teachings have proved useful continuously useful from the days of the early Church until today in the current Church. Parts C and D will have to be part of your own research. Cyprian (d. OVERVIEW OF THE CHURCH FATHERS120 To put it briefly.g. both strayed far from the path of orthodoxy. I offer a general outline of the lives and works of many of these exceptional men. orthodoxy.D. and d) the Fathers and liturgical practice. 379). The Church depends on these Fathers and the insights they had regarding the living faith of the Church.” Even some of the Fathers. 258) and St. went astray 120 See brief biographies of most Fathers in Glossary. They strengthened others in the Christian life by their written and spoken word. and Origen. 1. However these fourfold qualification can be misleading since some who can also be regarded as “Fathers of the Church” produced teaching marred by some doctrinal errors and/or who lived lives that were far from exemplary. St. Tertullian (c. I will include both the eastern and western fathers. holiness. Because of the limits of this work. great Christian writers passed on and clarified Christian doctrine from approximately the end of the first century A. they are called “ecclesiastical teachers. thus. Although they had every kind of knowledge and contributed all that was humanly possible. In this overview. 404 . Gregory of Nyssa (d. But to grasp the following discussions better. The title of “Father of the Church” gradually came to be applied to certain Christian leaders distinguished by four characteristics: antiquity. These men combined profound learning with a saintly life and perfect purity of faith. they are not entitled to equal honor with the Fathers. and Church approval.

the bishops who gathered in church councils were from early times referred to as “council fathers.” that in the doctrinal disputes that made the Ecumenical Councils needed. In fact. in “Early Church Fathers Overview: A Snapshot of the Fathers of the Church.” Marcellino D’Ambrosio asserts.. Therefore. St. and priests (e. since the principal teacher of any Christian community was its bishops.. because many of the most important early Christian teachers were laymen (e.g. yet. because of closeness to that era. Clement of Alexandria gives us a clue to understand the title “Church Father. Ephrem). Jerome). Hence we call those who have instructed us.” They showed how the apostles themselves and those who followed them understood and applied scriptures. the term “Father of the Church” finally came to refer to important Christian writers after the New Testament era who. the former in regard to the baptism of heretics.” explaining.” Additionally. all parties recognized the inspired Scriptures as the first court of appeal. While all early Christian pastors and catechists “fathered” their own group of the faithful during their lifetime. the latter in the matter of apocatastasis. when there was conflict about the truly Catholic interpretation of the Scriptures.g. I will make no differences in my discourse among these men as these distinctions developed later mainly the canon and do not aid in our understanding of these men and their contributions. 1). Without questioning the fairness of these distinctions. St. Thus. Justin). deacons (e. St. Wisdom is a communicative and philanthropic thing” (The Stromata. St. fathers. 405 . “But words are the progeny of the soul.g.. Chap. the title was first applied to them. only those who expressed their teaching in writing could continue to serve as a guide to the whole Church in every age.Chapter 4: Patristics on individual points of doctrine. all sought backing for their position in the writings of “the Fathers. it became a custom by the fourth century to recognize them also among “the Fathers.

until about 200.g.” 406 . John Damascene (d. were defined once and for all during the period of the Fathers—the patristic era. commonly regarded as closing with St. roughly spans the period of the first seven great Ecumenical Councils which defined these two central mysteries of the faith and drew out their most important implications. From that moment on.. In their writings. at least in its most fundamental features. While the Church’s understanding of revelation will continue to deepen until the Lord returns. St. As D’Ambrosio states. which stand at the center of the “Hierarchy of Truths”. the Church Fathers from all parts of the World used Greek. some Christian authors (e. wrote a treatise in Latin. Nevertheless. especially in the urban areas controlled by the Byzantine Empire. Ephrem) began to write in local vernaculars such as Syriac-Aramaic—a dialect of the language spoken by Christ. many continued to write in Greek. Also. when Tertullian. These writers played an indisputably crucial role in transmitting Christian doctrine and bringing it to mature expression. the dogmas of the Trinity and the Incarnation. whenever the Fathers teach the same doctrine or describe the same liturgical practice. in the eastern half of the Mediterranean world. “this wonderful diversity of culture and location makes it that much clearer that. Latin gradually became the language of the western Fathers of the Church. they are witnessing to something that came not from them. but to them—the apostolic Tradition. Significantly the age of the Church Fathers. 749). in rural localities and territory outside the empire. a North African theologian.Chapter 4: Patristics witnessed the authentic apostolic way of interpreting the Scriptures handed down to them by the Tradition. the language of the New Testament.

ca.Chapter 4: Patristics GENERAL PERIODIZATION AND CLASSIFICATION Ante-Nicene Fathers The first Ecumenical Council. who also preached the Gospel with Paul. epistles from Barnabas the Cypriot. They are the ones who wrote during a generation or two after the close of the New Testament era. bishop of Antioch in Syria martyred in Rome by beasts. otherwise known as the Didache. For this reason. Schools commonly divided them into two groups: a) The Apostolic Fathers (from about 90-140)121 Though I have already talked about the Apostolic Fathers in Part I. probably written around the same time as John’s Gospel. ca. 100). ca. who worked with the Apostle Paul and wrote to the Church in Corinth around 95 AD. the writers working before this meeting are known as the Ante-Nicene Fathers. They were fellow-workers or contemporaries of the Apostles. 407 . let us note some of their characteristics and writings relevant for further use such as quoting them in the development of doctrines. from St.50. Clement’s epistle. Polycarp (d. who reportedly sat at the feet of the apostle John. the first bishop of Rome (d. chiefly in the form of occasional epistles to various Christian communities. Clement. between 98-117). are pastoral and practical rather than speculative. bishop of Smyrna. 155? 167?). They receive this name because they are believed to have had living contact with the Apostles and thus witnessed first hand primitive apostolic Christianity. (325) marked a momentous event for the Church. St. which is the earliest work describing Christian sacramental life. d. and St. Ignatius (b. held in the city of Nicea. The few writings from this period that have survived. They include the anonymous Teaching of the Twelve Apostles. was regarded as so authoritative in the early church that it was 121 The dates of the periods slightly vary according to different authors. Asia Minor.

fragments of Papias. It 408 . • First Epistle of Clement to the Corinthians (ca 96) A formal letter written on behalf of the Roman Christian community. The letter does not name its writer. ending with a short apocalyptic section. and The Martyrdom of Polycarp. Polycarp. Coming from so disparate geographical locals. Many consider it as part of the New Testament Scriptures. the current form of the document is probably midsecond century at the earliest. • Second Epistle of Clement to the Corinthians (ca 150) A sermon thought not to be the writing of Clement himself. The Epistle to Diognetus is also frequently considered an apostolic writing. these writings together form a slender but precious volume of the works of the Apostolic Fathers written immediately after the holy books of the New Testament. said to have been bishop of Hieropolis and a friend of St. A second epistle is also attributed to him. who is believed to be brother of Pius.Chapter 4: Patristics copied and passed around to churches all over the known world. the resurrection. this epistle advocates a sound view of Christ. it urges Christians who had been rebelling against Church authority to be submissive and obedient to their Church officers and to harmonize their differences. and holiness unto God. The following list summarizes some of the main features of these writings: • Didache (Teaching of the Lord through the Apostles) It is an eleventh century manuscript discovered by Philotheus Bryennios. Other apostolic writings include The Shepherd. Bishop of Rome. it starts with the “Two Ways” a body of ethical instruction and includes community rules for liturgical practices and leadership conduct. written by Hermas. and inspired by a supreme love of and devotion to the Savior. Consisting of various parts. though it is more an apologetical work. • The Epistle of Barnabas (ca 130) This letter. It enters into battle against the ways of this world and works out salvation through strength in Christ. repudiates the claims of Jewish Christians of the same time who advocated observance of the Mosaic Law. While some of the material may date before the year 100. probably not authored by Barnabas.

he is likely not the recipient.” Diognetus was a tutor of the emperor Marcus Aurelius. 1-2 century) On his way to Rome. However. It deals with practical matters of church purity and discipline in second century Rome. probably from the latter part of the second century (not too long after the event). as the author seems to prefer the use of the term “the Word. and by St. who was biased against him. bishop of Smyrna. In the Epistle to Smyrna. 150) The Shepherd of Hermas is an apocalyptic document (in the sense that it claims to be revealed). Scholars believe that the original versions of his works appear in a Syriac translation. and contrasts holy life with unrighteousness. (It is found in the Sinaitic Codex. exhorting them. Oracles or Explanations of the Sayings of the Lord. It records the tradition of the trial and execution (burning at the stake) of Polycarp. The epistle also describes ministry and practical aspects of Christians’ daily life. his Shepherd became very popular in orthodox circles and was even included in some copies of the New Testament. Yet the term “Jesus” or “Christ” is found nowhere in it. and endorsed his theology. who admired him for his freedom from superstition and sound educational advice. not just in spirit.) • The Martyrdom of Polycarp It is the earliest preserved document on Christian martyrology. He also writes ahead to Rome and to Polycarp. Although Hermas was not a bishop and did not hold an official position in the Church. What does the word “scepter of the majesty of God” suggest to you? What does he say 409 . Activity Read Chapter 16 of the First Epistle of Clement to the Corinthians and summarize it. survives only in fragments quoted by Eusebius of Caesarea. Ignatius’ writings are difficult to interpret because of interpolations in the texts by later copyists. Polycarp possessed Ignatius’ writings. Irenaeus. and opposes Gnosticism and Docetism. he visits and then writes to various churches. He warns the church against heresies that threatened peace and unity. • The Epistle of Polycarp to the Philippians (ca 130?) Polycarp exhorts the Philippians to holy living. good works and steadfast faith. Ignatius insists that Christ came in the flesh. modeled after the Book of Revelation.Chapter 4: Patristics also argues that Christ provides salvation and man is no longer bound by the Law. or even the assumed recipient (Adapted from Guide to Early Church Documents). These fragments are valuable sources for the history of the church. • Epistle of Mathetes to Diognetus (130? 200?) It is an apology for Christians addressed to a certain Diognetus about whom nothing else is known. • Papias (130) Papias’ five-volume work. • The writings of Ignatius (ca. • The Shepherd of Hermas (ca.

Unlike the Apostolic Fathers who were generally simple. It is used in this sense when referring to the Sadducees and Pharisees in Acts 5:17 and 15:5. where Christianity is opposed by Jewish religious authorities.) understood “heresy” to indicate deviation from the accepted teaching or practice of the dominant Christian community. who succeeded the Apostolic Fathers.D. It was used as a designation of a sect. Later Christian usage (from the late second century A. who were teachers and philosophers. Employing the rigorous intellectual tools of Greek philosophy in their reflection on the mysteries of the faith. Something of this sense may be found in the treatment of Christians as a “sect of the Nazarenes” in Acts 24:5. originally meant an opinion or way of thinking. 11:19) (“Heresies.” Heresy. They were ardent monotheists who were determined not to compromise this fundamental truth. Although Justin (100–165) was the most important author. and Church Social Cliques”). Table 49: Concept of Heresy The Apologists.newadvent. represent. there were others who also played important roles in 410 . the adolescent phase of Church Literature. these writers contributed to the clarification and development of Catholic doctrine as well as to its faithful transmission. 5:20. Paul used the word for an internal faction within the Christian community (Gal. a term derived from the Greek word hairesis. the Apologist and Anti-Heretical Fathers were the first great Christian intellectuals who sought a synthesis between biblical truth and the best of classical wisdom. as it were. so that their pagan contemporary might accepted it.Chapter 4: Patristics about the Holy Ghost? Find this epistle in New Advent (http://www. wrote their works for pagan readers with the intention of defending and explaining the Christian faith to unbelievers and of demonstrating that Christianity was a good philosophy. Activity 103: Reading the Apostolic Fathers b) Apologists and Anti-Heretical Fathers (130-325AD) These writers. They are generally known as Apologists and Anti-heretical writers because virtually all of them wrote either treatises combating various Christian heresies or written defenses of Christianity addressed to the Roman government known as “apologies. party. org/fathers/). 14 and 28:22. 1 Cor. or philosophical school. uncultivated men. Cults.

The Logos being divine. the Christians had to refute defamation and prove that they not only were not injurious to the government. Aristides. Athenagoras. in consequence of the high moral basis of the new teaching. To the Greeks. was forced to disclose the delusions of the pagans and Hebrews. This explains the character of early Christian Apologetics. As Edward Hardy. Aristides. and by retrospect for the divine appearances in the Old Testament. however. namely Quadratus. asserts. Dulle tells that “the Apologists adopted this philosophy. and to the Hebrews that Christ is the Messiah promised by the prophets.. tailoring it where necessary. Justin’s use of it is partly Biblical and partly apologetic. the Logos. was an impersonal entity. It was necessary to prove to the pagans that the Christian God is the true God. It was floating in the air of popular Greek philosophy and Hellenistic Judaism . in order to make the gospel acceptable to the general population. accounts both for the divinity which Christians have found in Jesus. In answer to the persecutions of the governing powers.Chapter 4: Patristics defending the Christian faith. an urgent need became apparent: to show forth Christianity as a coherent system of thought or philosophy with a reasonable argumentation which could be contrasted to and could respond to pagan philosophical systems” (3). both of whom presented apologies to the Emperor Hadrian on behalf of their unjustly persecuted fellow-Christians. Andreyev. and yet not the Father himself. The idea of God’s Logos could be found in a variety of sources.. but on the contrary. who saw Christianity as foolishness. states that: Appearing in a Judeo-pagan world. existing in the realms of ideas—an intermediary between the Ineffable One and the physical realm—and a controlling principle of the universe. (2) He further comments that: “In the struggle between the young Christian idea and the age old pagan philosophy. 122 See Richardson et al. in Orthodox Apologetic Theology. (233) Among the Apologists we find Quadratus. 411 . Aristides. and the Athenian philosopher.” For example. Another. Christianity. the philosopher Justin. in Early Christian Fathers122. Bishop of Athens. were very useful. to depict a pre-existing Jesus. Tatian. an apologist such as Justin takes the concept of the Logos. and Theophilus of Antioch. in defending itself from attack.

without finding satisfaction for his spiritual search. Athenagoras.130-200) became the implacable foe of Gnosticism and one of the most important early Fathers. This irenic note is characteristic of Justin. and a Jew named Trypho. Greeks. who submitted an exposition of the Christian faith to his pagan friend Autolycus. Justin naturally allegorizes the Jewish scriptures in the manner of interpretation customary among Jews. he went through every system of philosophy. born in Assyria and trained in Greek philosophy. that the Dialogue may be regarded as a counterattack against Marcion’s book. who flourished between the years 170-180. (Goodspeed 64) Table 50: Justin’s Dialogue with Trypho Some Christian writers tried to stop heresies. a disciple of Justin. 182). begun on one day and continued on the next. Justin especially was an excellent apologist. Many of them presented a sincere and detailed account of the beliefs of the Christians and of their manner of life. His contention that the Jewish prophecies are fulfilled in Christ is so contrary to the position taken by Marcion in his Antitheses. and defended Christianity not only against the pagans. addressed an “Intercession on behalf of the Christians” to the Emperors Marcus Aurelius and Commodus. Other apologists include Tatian. the Against Heresies. convinced that Christianity was the only infallible philosophy of life. To the end of his days. His life was a tireless search for truth. addressed two apologies to the emperor Marcus Aurelius. and Theophilus of Antioch (d. while others also fought paganism. under whom he was martyred in 166. It describes the discussion. Justin’s Dialogue with Trypho was probably the longest Christian book written up to that point. a name perhaps suggested by a wellknown Jewish rabbi named Tarphon. one after another. he continued to wear the philosopher’s gown.” against the Jews. in another work entitled “A dialogue with Trypho. but also. Irenaeus (c. whether he deals with Jewish prophecy or Greek philosophy. Yet another. known almost entirely for one work. or Contradictions. the Athenian.Chapter 4: Patristics the pagan philosopher who turned Christian apologist. and sat under every learned man of his age. 412 . between Justin. speaking in the first person. Justin makes a great deal of the argument from prophecy. until finally he attained peace in Christianity. In the end. while Trypho is not converted. St. they part with courtesy and good feeling. and Christians in antiquity.

Fragments from the Lost Writings of Irenaeus Tertullian .On Repentance .On Monogamy You can find information about their lives and work of these and the remaining Fathers cited in this chapter in New Advent (http://www.On Prayer . the title can give the reader an idea of both the teachings and the heresies the writers struggled to counteract.Scorpiace .The Extant Works and Fragments of .On the Apparel of Women .First Apology .Martyrdom of Justin.Discourse to the Greeks .On the Pallium .Miscellaneous Fragments from Lost Writings .Against Praxeas .The Refutation of All Heresies . Origen.Fragments of the Lost Work on the Resurrection .Hippolytus: Exegetical .Of Patience .The Antichrist .The Soul’s Testimony . Aristides the Philosopher . the first writer to use the term “Trinity.On Exhortation to Chastity .Against Marcion . In many cases.Origen Against Celsus .Adversus Haereses .newadvent.Discourse on the Holy Theophany .To Scapula .Hortatory Address to the Greeks .On the Veiling of Virgins .On the Sole Government of God .Chapter 4: Patristics Clement of Alexandria denounced the idolatry of the pagans. became the greatest Scripture scholar of the Ante-Nicene period.An Answer to the Jews .On the Resurrection of the Flesh .De Spectaculis (The Shows) .Against Hermogenes .Ad Nationes .Second Apology .” stand more or less directly in the line of the Apologists and Irenaeus. On the Cause of the Universe .The Apology .Commentary on the Gospel of Matthew (Sometimes attributed to Tertullian) .To His Wife .On Baptism .Ad Martyras .A Treatise on the Soul . Hippolytus.Against the Heresy of Noetus .Against Plato.On Idolatry .Letter of Origen to Gregory .org/fathers/).Against the Valentinians . Chariton.Expository Treatise Against the Jews .The Apology Athenagoras .A Plea for the Christians .On the Flesh of Christ .The Prescription Against Heretics .Commentary on the Gospel of John .(A Fragment) . Bellow appears a list with of some of the works123 of Apologists and Antiheretical Fathers.The Martyrdom of Perpetua and Felicity Origen to Gregory .De Corona (The Chaplet) .Dialogue with Trypho . pupil of Clement. and other Roman Martyrs Hippolytus [SAINT] .Appendix (Against All Heresies) .Appendix Irenaeus of Lyons [SAINT] . and Tertullian.The Resurrection of the Dead Justin Martyr [SAINT] . 123 413 .

Max Weber. 9) of Irenaeus’ Against Heresies. Read Chapter 1 of Tertullian’s Against Praxeas and describe Praxeas’s heresy. 4. yet their influence was also great. and. Anthony (251.The Instructor .356) and St. as well as hermits who live alone). Anthony’s writings.Exhortation to the Heathen .Fragments . Read Chapter 32 of Justin’s First Apology and summarize what he says about the Logos.On Fasting . in The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism (1958) distinguishes between “worldly” and “otherworldly” asceticism. 4) of Origen’s De Principiis.Chapter 4: Patristics Clement of Alexandria . Read Book 1 (Chap. 124 414 .” and “begotten”? Find these passages at New Advent (http://www.The Stromata.Africanus to Origen . and the monastic life as a spiritual struggle. the latter. or Miscellanies . Pachomius (292-346). Of St. 30.On Modesty . Activity 104: Reading Apologists and Anti-heretical Fathers c) The Desert Fathers (Third and Fourth Centuries) Among the Pre-Nicene Fathers.2. to people who withdraw from the world in order to live an ascetic life (this includes monks who live communally in monasteries. 2.org/fathers/).Origen to Africanus .De Principiis . Read Book 2 (Chap.Fragments Origen . the fathers of monasticism. some sermons on the This etymology describes just one aspect of later monasticism as many monastics lived and live in community. only seven letters addressed to Egyptian monasteries concerning moral perfection. These early monastics (from “monos” meaning alone)124 who lived in the Egyptian desert did not leave much writing. the former referring to people who live ascetic lives but do not withdraw from the world. I have included the Desert Fathers.Address to the Greeks . What does he say about the relationship between the Father and His Son? 3. How does he apply the terms “unbegotten.The Diatessaron Theophilus Theophilus to Autolycus Table 51: Apologists and Anti-Heretical Fathers Activity 1.Who is the Rich Man That Shall Be Saved? . especially the Egyptians St.newadvent.De Fuga in Persecutione Tatian .

John Chrysostom consecrated him bishop (Florovsky 69). of ascetic and monastic principle. and a Rule for monastics. not regarded as an authentic work of St Anthony. and many more were apocryphal inventions. attributed to the more prominent hermits and monks who peopled the Egyptian deserts in the fourth century.. but no doubt many were attributed to wrong persons. Jerome. Though none of Pachomius’ manuscripts has survived. This historian took monastic vows in Jerusalem in the 380s. his famous Rule for monks and eleven letters are preserved in Latin translations by St.Chapter 4: Patristics virtues. 365-425) was bishop of Helenopolis in Bithynia. (Adapted from ““Apophthegmata Patrum”) Table 52: Apophthegmata Patrum The Evergetinos. There is no reason to doubt that these sayings and anecdotes were in large measure authentic. first published in Greek in Venice in 1783 by Saint Makarios of Corinth and Saint Nikodemos of the Holy Mountain. They are arranged alphabetically or according to the subject-matter. Let us read the following explanation about the Apophthegmata: The Apophthegmata Patrum are various collections of aphorisms and anecdotes. These single sayings tended to coalesce into groups. and of Christian ethics. sometimes as the apophthegmata of one Father. Many of the sayings of the Desert Fathers are collected in the Apophthegmata Patrum and the Evergetinos. and thus circulated. Bishop Chrysostom. For centuries. have come down to us. Some admonitions and a small section of catechetical instructions are also extant. sometimes as those dealing with the same subject. The stages in the growth of the extant collections of “apophthegmata” may be traced with some certainty. illustrative of the spiritual life. translator Palladius (c. In the course of the fourth century this or that saying of the more famous ascetics was repeated by their disciples. Out of these groups were formed the great collections which we have. 125 415 . It is claimed that St. the standard Byzantine recession of the Apophthegmata. contains narratives from the lives and teachings of the fathers of the Egyptian deserts. Also. his life and bibliography have been preserved by the 5th-century historian Palladius125 in his Lausiac History.. these two collections have provided spiritual inspiration and guidance.

This book has exercised a great influence in the history of the Greek Orthodox Church. Roman and Byzantine) took on many of their distinctive characteristics. scholars often refer to this 126 St Nikodimos and St Makarios also compiled and published the Philokalia (Venice. 1782) a collection of writings by some thirty Fathers living between 300 and 1400 approximately. the biblical canon and the Nicene Creed. assumed their final shape and the various liturgical rites of the Christian Church (e. and submission to the will of God. He relies on a fairly short list of sources. In the Evergetinos we see the virtuous lives of the desert monks who. previously cited. for which the Evergetinon is one of the most important textual witnesses. The first volume concerns itself with the general principles of monastic asceticism. using the Apophthegmata Patrum most of all. in the Evergetinos we are guided to the pragmatic life of humility and self-control (composure). The work is divided into four volumes. For these reasons. surviving in no less than forty manuscripts today.. an early monastic reformer of the eleventh century. the Evergetinos provides us with anecdotal evidence that the practice of Christian virtues. The Evergetinos enjoyed a wide circulation in the Byzantine world. in “The Ancient Fathers of the Desert: Introduction and Commentary. and the fourth with progress in the spiritual life. 416 . such as humility. It constitutes his legacy to Byzantine monasticism. fled to the barren deserts around the Mediterranean and lived the most extreme and awe-inspiring lives of asceticism in a search for God.g. (Adapted from “Byzantine Monastic Foundation Documents”) Table 53: The Evergetinos The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers (IV-V Centuries) The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers (those who lived after 325) comprise what is called the Golden Age Period of Patristics. the indispensable requisites for the more advanced endeavor of the former. The fourth and fifth centuries are the era of the first four ecumenical councils which defined the dogmas of the Trinity and Christ’s divinity and full humanity. the third with personal morality. chastity. Under the influence of the Fathers of this period.Chapter 4: Patristics of the Evergetinos to English.” compares it with the Philokalia:126 If the Philokalia teaches pure prayer and the path to deification and union with God. Now let us read this explanation of the Evergetinos: The Evergetinos is a massive ascetic florilegium authored by Paul Evergetinos. The author’s emphasis is on the practical aspects of monastic life. If from the Philokalia we are instructed in the philosophical way to perfection. can bring us to the brink of the ultimate encounter with the divine by which we are elevated to the philosophical and higher struggle for perfection. each of which is subdivided into fifty hypotheses. the second with monastic usages and the requirements of cenobitic life. love for our neighbor. during the first few centuries of Christianity.

Four Discourses Against the Arians . and the incomparable Augustine.Vita S.Against the Heathen .On Luke 10:22 (Matthew 11:27) . Ephrem. and John Chrysostom. the great but irascible Scriptural scholar. The first major church historian.Epistles on the Arian Heresy and the Deposition of Arius Athanasius [SAINT] . whose corpus of over five million words came to serve as the second bible of the western church.De Decretis .Letters Gregory Nazianzus [SAINT] . Basil the Great.Answer to Eunomius’ Second Book . the most poetic of all the Fathers. and Gregory of Nyssa. Anthony) . and of the Godhead of the Holy Spirit (To Eustathius) .The Great Catechism .Deposition of Arius . tireless defender of Christ’s divinity.On the Holy Spirit (Against the Followers of Macedonius) .On the Incarnation of the Word . Antoni (Life of St.De Sententia Dionysii . is also included in this division.Circular Letter .Letters Table 54: Fathers of the Golden Age Period (1) 417 .Nine Homilies of Hexaemeron .On the Baptism of Christ (Sermon for the Day of Lights) .Apologia Contra Arianos . whose name is associated with the principal Byzantine liturgy.On “Not Three Gods” (To Ablabius) .Orations .On the Soul and the Resurrection . the three Cappadocian Fathers.Ad Episcopus Aegypti et Libyae . Notable among the eastern Fathers of this period are Athanasius.On the Faith (To Simplicius) .De Spiritu Sancto . Jerome.Chapter 4: Patristics era as the Golden Age of the Fathers of the Church.Apologia de Fuga . Eusebius.Against Eunomius .Historia Arianorum .De Synodis Basil the Great [SAINT] . The western Church Fathers of this period include Ambrose.On the Holy Trinity. Gregory of Nazianzus.Funeral Oration on Meletius .Apologia ad Constantium .On Virginity . bishop of Caesarea.On Infants’ Early Deaths .Letters Gregory of Nyssa [SAINT] .On the Making of Man . Alexander of Alexandria [SAINT] . covering the period between the councils of Nicea (325) and Chalcedon (451).On Pilgrimages . the fearless bishop of Milan.

Centuries) This period is divided into two groups: Later Fathers and Recent Fathers: a) Later Fathers (VI-VIII Centuries) The fathers of the sixth through the eighth centuries.Four Letters to Olympias . Their role.Homilies on the Epistle to the Hebrews .newadvent. did not have the same decisive impact on Tradition.Homily on the Passage “If your enemy hunger. often referred to as the Later Fathers.Homilies on Second Timothy .Three Homilies on the Power of Satan . Babylas .Homily Against Publishing the Errors of the Brethren .Homilies on First Thessalonians .Homilies on Philippians .Homilies on Titus .Homilies on Second Corinthians .First Homily on Eutropius . Read Discourse 5 (Introductory paragraph) of Athanasius’ Against the Arians.Homilies on First Timothy .Commentary on Galatians .On the Priesthood Table 55: Fathers of the Golden Age Period (2): John Chrysostom Activity 1.Homilies on Philemon .Homily Concerning “Lowliness of Mind” .Homily on St.Homilies on Acts . How does he use the term “substantiality?” 2.Homilies on the Statues . Read passage 6 of Basil’s Letter 214.Homilies on the Gospel of St. Ignatius .Chapter 4: Patristics John Chrysostom [SAINT] . Read John Chrysostom’s homily on the Corinthians and find quotes referring to Christian’s gathering for a common meal.org/fathers/).” .Correspondence with Pope Innocent I . if it be possible .Homilies on First Corinthians . feed him.” .Homily on the Paralytic Lowered Through the Roof . Matthew .Homilies on the Gospel of John . What difference does he make between ousia (substance) and hypostasis (person)? 3. was mainly to 418 .No One Can Harm the Man Who Does Not Injure Himself .Second Homily on Eutropius (After His Captivity) . Activity 105: Reading Fathers of the Golden Period The Byzantine Period (VI.Two Letters to Theodore After His Fall . and the role of the three ecumenical councils that took place in this period. Find these passages at New Advent (http://www.Homily on the Passage “Father.Homilies on Second Thessalonians .Letter to a Young Widow ..Instructions to Catechumens .Homilies on Romans . 4.Letter to Some Priests of Antioch .Homilies on Colossians .Homilies on Ephesians ..Homily on St. Read Gregory of Nyssa’s On Virginity and explain his position on the ascetic technique of chastity.

among whom St Gregory of Palamas. Gregory of Nazianzus. The other two Theologians are St. He is one of three great Fathers whom the Orthodox Church has granted the title of “Theologian”. Activity 106: Reading Later and Recent Fathers 419 . “The Dogmatic Tradition of the Orthodox Church”). Symeon the New Theologian. to “know” God. in the fourteen century. in the history of Christianity. Symeon the New Theologian Activity On the internet. John of Damascus [SAINT] . the most outstanding figures are Maximus the Confessor. John the Evangelist and St. find passages by Damascus. b) Recent Fathers (VIII-XV) Besides acknowledging the Old Fathers of the patristic tradition (up to the end of the eighth century). If possible identify the work from which they are taken. Gregory the Great. the Orthodox Church also acknowledges the “Recent Fathers” of the Byzantine Era. who was the abbot of St. occupies a preeminent place (Aghiorgoussis.Exposition of the Faith Maximus the Confessor -Quaestiones ad Thalassium -Ambigua -Paraphrases of the works of Dionysius the Areopagite -Several dogmatic treatises against the Monothelites -Liber Asceticus -Capita de Caritate -Mystagogia—a mystical interpretation of the Divine Liturgy Symeon the New Theologian -The Discourses Gregory of Palamas [SAINT] -Triads in defense of the Holy Hesychasts -One Hundred and Fifty Chapters -Numerous homilies Table 56: Some Later and Recent Fathers One of the most beloved Holy Fathers is St. because he is one of a few. monk turned Pope. Symeon the Theologian and offer a brief comment on them.Chapter 4: Patristics defend and draw out important implications of the Trinitarian and christological teaching of the first four councils. Mamas in Constantinople. who suffered torture in defense of Christ’s full humanity. (“St Symeon the New Theologian”) Table 57: St. In the east. is the greatest figure in the West during this time. Maximus the Confessor. and John Damascene who defended the veneration of icons against those who attacked them.

those who hold this view emphasize or maintain a more spiritual than historical perspective on its contents. In fact Patristics or Patrology (the study of the Church Fathers) underwent a renaissance following the Protestant Reformation as Roman Catholic and Protestant scholars alike sought patristic support for their respective doctrines. the Fathers infallibly witness to the authentic Catholic tradition. Basil the Great. St Gregory of Nyssa St. Maximus the Confessor St. Theodore of Studion. because as otherwise the scope of the field becomes too vast to handle. Yet. Gregory the Theologian. Also. though some are more suspicious of writings produced after the Church became entangled with the Roman state.” we must mark the limits of early Christianity somewhere. 420 .Chapter 4: Patristics I have based this classification on more or less an academic agreement. Within Orthodoxy. Rather in their common teaching. Since “patristics” is equivalent to “early Christian studies. The following list offers a quick review of the heresies the Church Fathers had to face: Against Arianism Against Nestorianism Against Monophysitism and Monotheletism Against Iconoclasm St. Anglicans and many other Protestants revere the Fathers as well. though it tends to be somewhat critical of Augustine. Cyril of Alexandria St. some however claim that the patristic era has never stopped. John of Damascus Table 58: Nice and Post-Nicene Fathers’ struggle against heresies AUTHORITY AND RELEVANCE AS UNDERSTOOD BY THE THREE CHRISTIAN BRANCHES It is important to remember that the western Church does not regard the Fathers as personally infallible in all that they teach. or consensus. many of the most important texts of the Ante-Nicene Fathers were not generally available at the time of the Reformation. However. St. Some. St. the eastern Church considers the Fathers as authoritative as does the western Church.

catechists like Cyril of Jerusalem. The following chart lists the works of the historian Eusebius. • • . of Alexandria. The Alexandrian School: a speculative. Bishop of Carthage. and controversialists like Cyril of Alexandria. Jerome. among whom Ambrose. VARIOUS SCHOOLS OR METHODS OF STUDY AND INTERPRETATIONS As suggested by the diverse origin of the Fathers mentioned. a presbyter of Carthage. have been recovered only in the last 150 years (D’Ambrosio. Christian learning. and allegorical spirit. broadened out into various schools. Kallinikos identifies other Fathers including historians like Eusebius of Caesarea and Socrates. Representative: Irenaeus. and the three Cappadocians—Basil the Great. Kallinikos highlights the chief characteristics of each of these schools: • • The School of Asia Minor: devotion to a primitive and un-corrupted orthodoxy of faith. Gregory of Nyssa. and of Antioch. of Africa. an important author for this text: 421 . which provide invaluable information regarding disputed points. and Gregory of Nazianzus. He also adds the previously mentioned eminent Latin Fathers of the West. Representative: John Chrysostom (ca. philosophical. Saint Athanasius. The Antiochian School: the sober and literal interpretation of the Scriptures. 347–407). The African School: the practical and austere nature of their moral code. commentators like Theodoret of Cyrus. and Augustine are the most relevant (Kallinikos 21-24). which had had such small beginnings. Representatives: Clement the Alexandrian. Representative: Tertullian.Chapter 4: Patristics like the Didache and the Apostolic Tradition of Hippolytus. Origen. 258). Apart from the above-mentioned Fathers. or methods of study and interpretation such as the Schools of Asia Minor. Bishop of Lyons. Kallinikos 21-24). and Cyprian (d.

Church History or Ecclesiastical History . as it were.” establishes an interrelationship between two inherent features of the Orthodox Church: Apostolicity and Patristics: The Church is “Apostolic” indeed. But now it is.Oration in Praise of Constantine . As it has been well said. Gregory Palamas and the Tradition of the Fathers. in “St. an internal necessity.” The immense faith of the Fathers of the Church must always stand as an example for the Orthodox believer.Life of Constantine . once for ever. Their faith was able to resist doubt and withstand fear. There was an inner urge.” She is intrinsically “the Church of the Fathers. no less than the word of Holy Scripture.Oration of Constantine “to the Assembly of the Saints” . a constant and ultimate measure and criterion of right faith. But the Church is also “Patristic. What are the four main schools of the Fathers of the Church that can be found? List their main characteristics. a voice from the past. He further comments: In this sense. not only merely preserved. testes veritatis.. 265-c. They are rather witnesses of the true faith. the teaching of the Fathers is a permanent category of Christian existence. “The mind of the Fathers” is an intrinsic term of reference in Orthodox theology. are still the same “simple message” which has been once delivered and deposited. The apostolic preaching is kept alive in the Church. 265-c. properly and fully articulated.Letter on the Council of Nicea Table 59: Works of Eusebius of Caesarea (c. by the Apostles. in this transition from kerygma to dogma. and indeed never separated from it. a faith both positive and 422 . Explain the main divisions of church Fathers discussed above.Chapter 4: Patristics Eusebius of Caesarea (c.” These two “notes” cannot be separated. Only by being “Patristic” is the Church truly “Apostolic. 3. the teaching of the Fathers and the dogma of the Church. 340) . Who were the Fathers of the Church? Which languages did they use in their writings? What authority did they have for the eastern Church? 2. Theirs was a faith that always triumphed over doubt.340) Activity 1. an inner logic. testes antiquitatis.. “the Catholic Church of all ages is not merely a daughter of the Church of the Fathers—she is and remains the Church of the Fathers.” The witness of the Fathers is much more than simply a historic feature. Indeed. . Activity 107: Characteristics of the Fathers of the Church Florovsky. The Fathers are not only witnesses of the old faith.

” In a spirit of prayer. in A History of Monastic Spirituality. It is true that their effort for attaining divine perfection on earth was not to be final in their experience. The Fathers struggled ascetically to approach divine perfection. is a supernatural reality which remains mysterious and hidden. even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect (Matt. in the hope of experiencing the mystical event of deification. as “God created man in his own image (Gen.”127 Theirs was a mystical aspiration. many Fathers of the Church tried ardently to pursue God’s injunction “Be ye therefore perfect. and self-denial. Luc Brésard. 423 . the God-Man. to achieve a kind of mystical self-realization and attainment of mind in their own sphere just as God is perfect in His sphere of eternity and infinity. Thus. in search of perfection. THE ROLE OF ASCESIS IN THE LIVES AND TEACHING OF THE FATHERS INTRODUCTION Having allegiance to the teachings of the Scriptures. they embarked on an eternal adventure in search of God. struggle against worldly things. 2. 1:27)”. especially of the oriental Fathers. 5:48). Let us now move to examine the role of ascesis in the lives and teaching of the Fathers. however. It was a life-long adventure. Yet. no page number appear in all material taken from the internet. Although they realized that they could never be perfect in an absolute sense it was entirely possible for men to attain the supernal and divine goal that the Infinite God set for human beings by the model of Jesus as the incarnation of Himself. a strong desire for communion with this hidden reality. and.Chapter 4: Patristics living. it was indeed final 127 As noted in Part I. explains that “Real union with God through belonging to Christ. they became imitators of Christ. they felt that their aspiration for perfection and deification was a supernal reality which remained forever hidden.

and by their cultivation of the consciousness of the presence of God that led them to this state of mysticism. These Desert Fathers did not leave many writings. of a vision of God. but it is more frequently facilitated. monastic ideal. fled to isolated areas afraid of persecutions. Others. Although they lived the imitation of Christ in monastic solitude and withdrawal. many of them facing martyrdom. As we will see in 424 . Furthermore. True spirituality should not reject the living of a religious life in the open field of human society. But since many became hermits they continued their search of perfection in social isolation. Basil a fierce anti-hermit envisioned. True religion must not exclude action. the eastern Fathers had the certitude that God could only be demonstrated through their experience by means of the indwelling ministry of the Holy Spirit. by wholehearted and loving service in unselfish ministry to one’s fellow creatures. divinity of will. and God-consciousness. however. as St. as we saw in the first Christian communities as they strove for perfection in the imitation of Christ and wrestled for the ascetic ideal. and thus exposed themselves to the threat of fanatical practices. Even the Apostolic Fathers and many pre-Nicene Fathers did not have to withdraw from the world to live their ascetic ideal. But when Constantine institutionalized Christianity as the official religion of the state. their experience of God’s presence in the shining starry nights of the desert in the midst of a voluntary life of renunciation left a heritage of beautiful chords for the spirituality of Orthodoxy: the ascetic. many sought the solitude and harshness of the desert to find self-martyrdom and extreme self-denial as a renewed way of reaching perfection. They realized that it was only in the realms of human experience.Chapter 4: Patristics and complete regarding finite aspects of perfection of personality motivation. They remained in society. It is true that devotion to meditation and contemplation favor the mystical experience.

who started in a non-Greek milieu. Thirdly. or who by perverting ethical concepts and by setting a bad example give a false tendency to man’s sensuality. which was to achieve its peak in the fourteen century with Palamas. lest we should lose heart. The ideal of salvation is an ideal of “deification. In Eastern Christian asceticism in general there is more mysticism and metaphysics than ethics. 425 . the ascetic Fathers had to face four main dangers which could frustrate these attempts: The first danger to be noticed is evil concupiscence. not satisfied with indicating the general means to be used for waging a victorious combat. lest we should fall a prey to his cunning wiles. developed this ascetic ideal. suffering. before them many other Fathers had been imbued by this ascetic ideal in their attempt to follow Jesus’ teachings and in their search for perfection and deification. their ideal of salvation. labor. to the same class belong the enticements of the sinful. corrupt world (1 John 5:19). The means for realizing the Christian ideal was prayer.” of “theosis” and the path to it is “courting the Spirit”—a path of spiritual struggle and spiritual grasping. but. This was primarily an ideal of spiritual birth and perfection. They laid the foundations of asceticism. but also with his weakness. This is not so much a moral ideal as a precisely religious one. motivated by and through the experience of withdrawal: An ascetic ideal was elaborated and developed in the novitiate and in the experience of the life of withdrawal. the Desert Fathers.Chapter 4: Patristics their search for Christian perfection in union with God through continual prayer. In their attempts to accomplish Christian perfection and deification. an ideal of a “spiritual life” and life in the Spirit. This ideal developed by the Desert Fathers mainly in the fourth century was continued by many other Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers. Finally. self-denial in the constant combat between spirit and flesh. the monks also developed Hesychasm. in The Byzantine. and virtue (“Ascetic Theology”). those men who promulgate vicious and ungodly doctrines and thereby dim or deny man’s sublime destiny. a charismatic path. which occupy man’s heart to the exclusion of the highest good. ascetics offers us particular remedies for special temptations (“Ascetic Theology”). ascetics acquaint us not only with the malice of the devil. as suggested above. that is. A second danger lies in the allurements of the visible creation. Ascetic and Spiritual Fathers. As Florovsky asserts.

some type of personal enlightenment or the service of God not only through prayer. St. celibacy. Gregory Nazianzus. Ascetics are counted among the most fruitful spiritual and theological writers. and in some periods. meditations and the interior life in a cloister or hermitage. Thus. Basil the Great. The entire person repents—soul and body—seeking purity of mind and soul. that the monastic life carried its essential aim of union with God. In the Orthodox Church monks were and are regarded as a privileged 426 . Jesus as God incarnate on earth was the model to follow and imitate. and others such as fasting or silence. John Cassian. they very often refer to themselves as “imitators of Christ” and for them the word “Christianity” was equivalent to an ascetic way of life. Of great importance too was the spiritual warfare against evil spirits. San Gregory Nyssa (also the father of eastern mysticism). but for it. but also through meditation or good works such as teaching or nursing. It was through the practice of ascesis. namely poverty. when approaching the Fathers and their ascetic way of living and teaching. the story of monastic spirituality is almost identical with that of theology in general. obedience to a spiritual leader. Augustine of Hippo. St. Athanasius of Alexandria.Chapter 4: Patristics These means also involved other ascetic practices. Many individuals who spent part of their lives in the desert or in monasteries became important figures in the Church and society of the fourth and fifth century. Christian asceticism was not a battle against the body. of a complete renunciation of the life of this present world. John Chrysostom. notably during the Middle Ages. The goal of these and many other ascetic practices to be mentioned later was a more intense relationship with God. among them St. detachment from family. Thus quite logically for them. we need to understand that for them asceticism was not an end in itself. and Gregory Palamas. Their renunciation of the world was a way of removing all the obstacles to loving God and reaching Christian perfection. a philosophy of life.

(8-9) Eastern monks practiced periods of purgation and contemplation and illumination as a way to ascend to the divine presence of God and obtain unity with the Divine. theology is an expression. As Lossky puts it. the eastern tradition has never made a sharp distinction between mysticism or personal experience of the divine mysteries and theology and dogmas affirmed by the Church. It is necessary to add that in Orthodoxy. of all objectivity. enemy of the spiritual life. But contemplation also entailed being active. To attain to union with God. This is why monastic institutions have always enjoyed great veneration in every country of the Orthodox world. for the profit of all. asceticism and mysticism often went together. One is impossible without the other. Outside the truth kept by the whole Church personal experience would be deprived of all certainty. theology and mysticism support and complete each other. in the measure in which it is realizable here on earth. which has a range which is not only spiritual but also bodily—and hence cosmic.” Lossky says: If the monks occupy themselves from time to time with physical labors. more precisely. in Mystical Theology of the Eastern Church. (18) The mystical union is always a secret between man and God. the ascetic rule and the school of interior prayer received the name of “spiritual activity. it must be more and more transfigured by grace in the way of sanctification. but the Fathers would integrate their practice of the ascetic rule and its inward and personal aspect of the mystic experience with their advice for edification as reflected in their writings. even superior to the academic discipline of theology.Chapter 4: Patristics theological elite and the ascetic experience is advocated as the highest form of theology. Human nature must undergo a change. of that which can be experienced by everyone. an unceasing vigil that the integrity of the inward man. 427 . In fact. as well as to avoid idleness. He continues: Far from being mutually opposed. “the union of heart and spirit” (to use an expression of Orthodox asceticism). it is above all with an ascetic end in view: the sooner to overcome their rebel nature. The spiritual work of a monk living in community or a hermit withdrawn from the world retains all its worth for the entire universe even though it remain hidden from the sight of all. If the mystical experience is a personal working out of the content of the common faith. requires continual effort or. withstand all the assaults of the enemy: every irrational movement of our fallen nature.

an asceticized version of Christianity (“Monasticism and Asceticism.” “Asceticism and Christian Monasticism. 18). For ought the man who lives in the world to have any advantage over the solitary. xiii. to fulfill the lusts thereof. and mysticism—are concerned with the Christian life and its last end in the next world. “Watching with all perseverance and supplication” (Eph. Moral theology. in the process. in “The Universal Character of Monastic Spirituality. but they differ. It is also necessary to add that when the monastic Fathers talk. it made a few key differences distinctions between them as regarding moral theology: All these disciplines—ascetics. Special emphasis was given to the Song of Solomon. With an emphasis on desert life. The Fathers addressed themselves to all the members of the Church. John Chrysostom. but it is his duty to do all things equally with the solitary. “Make not provision for the flesh. They do not make any distinction between monks and lay people.Chapter 4: Patristics Although in Orthodoxy. Table 60: Relation of Ascetics to Moral Theology and Mysticism An allegorical interpretation of the Bible was also important for asceticism. asceticism was closely associated with mysticism. Ascetical theology. save only the living with a wife? In this point he has allowance. Paul Evdokimov. is the doctrine of the duties. it shows how Christian perfection may be attained by earnestly exercising and schooling the will. Christian authors such as Origen. on the other hand. and Augustine interpreted Biblical texts within a highly asceticized religious environment. Mysticism treats essentially of “union with God” and of the extraordinary. when he says.” and. the life of Moses as well as the Genesis account of the earlier patriarchs. has for its subject-matter the striving after Christian perfection. using the specified means both to avoid the dangers and allurements of sin and to practice virtue with greater intensity. Jerome.” (Rom. vi. They spoke to the universal priesthood.” states that there is a universal character to eastern monastic spirituality. they do not address only monks. they created a new “asceticized Scripture. but in others none. the mystical Body. 428 . but to all that are in cities. though not totally. Saint John Chrysostom says. 14. moral theology. in their mode of treatment.” “Desert Fathers”). in Homily 7 on Hebrews: What then are these things to us (one says) who are not monastics? Sayest thou this to me? Say it to Paul. so-called mystic prayer (Adapted from “Ascetical Theology”). Through their commentaries. when he says.) For surely he wrote not these things to solitaries only. which has been separated from moral theology and mysticism. and in discussing the virtues is satisfied with a scientific exposition.

editor of the Philokalia. i. Chrysostom. Anthony. Once they were conversing and the bishop said concerning prayer that all Christians must struggle in prayer always and must pray constantly just as the Apostle Paul exhorts: pray without ceasing (I Thess. and as the prophet David says of himself [in spite of the fact that he was king and had to take care of his entire kingdom]: I beheld the Lord ever before me (Ps. Then Nicodemus says: “So. Pachomius and St. 128 Also called St. No. and obedience (Brésard). secondly. But. Basil. my Christian brethren. Imitate those I have mentioned and follow in their footsteps as far as you can. Clement of Alexandria. a simple man but full of good deeds. 429 . all of us Christians have the duty of being always in the state of prayer. who delineated the basis for the ascetic.5:l7).e. together also with St. common life.128 (1748-1809). Nicodemus the Hagiorite. and the like. in The Life of St. Origen. no.Chapter 4: Patristics St. Gregory the Theologian teaches all Christians and tells them that they should remember the name of God more often than they breathe. and fourthly through the continuation of this ascetic. Philotheus writes in the life of St. mindfulness of God with prayer. Nicodemus of the Holy Mountain. And St. through its roots and influence from some Pre-Nicene Fathers such as Clement of Rome. that the duty of praying unceasingly and always belongs only to those of priestly rank and monastics and not to laymen. thirdly with the Desert Fathers such as St. to understand what asceticism is and describe some personal ascetic experiences and teachings of the Fathers. a Cappadocian Father. let us approach asceticism first through its etymology and biblical origin. 15:8). tell us about Gregory Palamas’ regarding unceasing prayer as being the duty of Christians: Let no one think. Gregory Palamas. St. Just see what the holy Patriarch of Constantinople. my dear brothers in Christ. monastic ideal with rules regarding charity. for the sake of saving your souls. monastic ideal in other Nicene and post-Nicene Fathers. I too implore you. do not neglect the practice of this prayer. Gregory of Thessalonika: This hierarch had a beloved friend whose name was Job. in my mind’s eye I always see the Lord before me in my prayer.

or to contend with the dedication of an athlete. ye noble athletes of Christ. in his “Letter to the Alexandrians” (Letter 139). a renunciation of worldly pursuits as part of the great 430 . Activity 108: Summary of main ideas of Introduction “ASKESIS”: MEANING OF THE TERM.” or “spiritual training. and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means. but let us await the revelation from heaven. Paul uses these images: “I therefore so run. and the manifestation of our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ. so fight I.Chapter 4: Patristics Activity Briefly summarize the main ideas of this introduction on the topic of asceticism. Paul mentions is a spiritual struggle.” “spiritual striving. selfdenial. With the Fathers. the race St.” Basil. For this theologian. For early Christians. a disciplined practice. 9:26-27). 1987. refers to these Alexandrians as “athletes of Christ”: “But if the temptation is for a season. not as one that beateth the air: But I keep under my body. training. the Father of Greek monasticism. the term “askesis” acquired a Christian meaning. 14). as commented above. trial. 10. Basil of Caesarea. St. “askesis” connoted “spiritual discipline. bodily exercise.” When referring to his own spiritual self-discipline. among other things. If the world is being delivered to complete. “ascetic” or “ascetical”) derives from the ancient Greek term “askesis” meaning practice. not as uncertainly. who adopted this Greek term. In this same line. when I have preached to others. was writing to them to give them courage in the face of the cruel persecution ordered by Valens in the 370’s in all the eastern Empire against the Nicene Christians and pagan philosophers. St. SOME FEATURES The term “ascesis” (adj. an indication that St. For them Christian asceticism implied. Paul believes that he can participate in his own salvation (vol. and final destruction. bear it. I myself should be a castaway (1 Cor. two centuries later.” Florovsky sees this passage as very monastic and ascetic in content. let us not lose heart for the present.

(Letter to the Corinthians. any personal element of self-satisfaction which enters the motive vitiating it more or less. as we have seen. Both a state of penance and Christian perfection are intrinsic to the ascetic. the ascetic] refrain from boasting of it. with the continued and necessary cultivation of the virtues which the Creator intended man to possess. meant the supernatural or highest spiritual union with God he could attain in this life. using charity a substitute for martyrdom (143). and let each man be subject to his neighbour. and obedience. Clement refers to the self-discipline of the ascetic as being a gift of God about which one cannot boast: Let our whole body be preserved in Christ Jesus. As stated above. Its object is the subordination of the lower appetites to the dictates of right reason and the law of God. monastic ideal. In “Asceticism (1)” we find a short.. as he has had his place assigned by his spiritual gift. clear definition of this concept: [Asceticism] is prompted by the desire to do the will of God. and obedience or spiritual submission to a leader or to a set of rules governing life. As St. in El monacato en el oriente cristiano.. esteems itself as having wrought nothing. chastity. it consists mainly of three principles: poverty or abandonment of the world’s goods. by reason of its insatiable aspiration after God. chastity the refusal of the pleasure of the flesh. broadly corresponding to the same three evangelical counsels of poverty. the monk’s highest ideal. Let the pure in flesh [sc. for the purpose of earning the habits of virtue and of personal enlightenment of attaining higher spiritual goals. . Spidlik. Interestingly. Although. knowing that it is Another who supplies his self-discipline. Though it should exhaust the 431 . was a search for life with God and a manifestation of love. says that Christian askesis more than a mere exercise of self-will. a continuous search for Christian perfection. Makarios of Egypt states most correctly: “The soul that really loves God and Christ. Let the strong not neglect the weak. let the weak respect the strong. asceticism has taken different forms. though it may do ten thousand righteousnesses.Chapter 4: Patristics struggle against the devil for a spiritual purpose. xxxviii). of charity.

” 130 It should be noted also that the expression “fasting and abstinence” is commonly used in Scripture and by ascetic writers as a generic term for all sorts of penance (“Asceticism”). and that all extremes are of the nature of vice. Moreover. Elder Siluan.129 Yet the Church Fathers regarded with suspicion extreme external penances. Moreover. It is only a help. for perfection does not consist in this virtue. one of the doctors of the Latin says in his Letter 148. while curbing the desires of the flesh. asceticism is an effort to attain true perfection. lay on you as an obligation any extreme fasting or abnormal abstinence from food. It is a maxim of the philosophers that virtues are means. in his letter to Demetria (Letter 130:11).Chapter 4: Patristics body with fastings. and to observe vigils.” You must not go on fasting until your heart begins to throb and your breath to fail and you have to be supported or carried by others. a disposition. and it is in this sense that one of the seven wise men propounds the famous saw quoted in the comedy. a means though a fitting one. Jerome addresses the principles and methods of a holy life. Jerome (345-420). No. 25-26). the ascetic Fathers gave obedience great importance. to Matron Celantia: “Be on your guard when you begin to mortify your body by abstinence and fasting. gives several reasons for this fact: Because asceticism without obedience leads to vanity. 129 432 . For fasting is not a complete virtue in itself but only a foundation on which other virtues may be built. he also warns of the effect of extreme fasting or abstinence: I do not. a nineteen-century schema-monk of Mt. if a novice merely does what he is told. he has no reason to be proud. its attitude towards the virtues is as if it had not yet even begun to labour for them” (Homily 26. to sing psalms. for the attainment of true perfection. Penance by means of abstinence or fasting130 is only an auxiliary virtue thereto.” In this letter. you must keep sufficient strength to read scripture. According to Jerome. with watchings. Such practices soon break down weak constitutions and cause bodily sickness before they lay the foundations of a holy life. the obedient has cut off Qtd in Balamand Monastery: “One Hundred & Twenty Wise Sayings from The Holy Fathers of the Orthodox Church.” In nothing too much. St. lest you imagine yourself to be perfect and a saint. however. Athos. Among the many ascetic practices. Being prone to austerity himself makes Jerome an especially valuable authority on this point.

hate. the ascetic parables and writings of those who struggled with the passions for perfection in Christ.” refers to other features of these Fathers. and became obedient unto death. doctrines. The model and basis for obedience was that of Jesus to the Father’s will and the humbleness. purity. thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 7 But made himself of no reputation. while the disobedient’s mind is full of various business and condemnation for his elder. or dogmas. The eastern Fathers did live these ascetic. The obedient has in mind only God and the word of his elder. jealousy. In contrast with western monasticism. Chrysostom adds. to be plastic virtues. which was also in Christ Jesus: 6 Who. Until we know what we believe as it is expressed in lives lived and transformed by real individuals. also explaining how they can help the modern world: The desert Fathers speak of sexual desire. in “The Ancient Fathers of the Desert: Introduction and Commentary. by their examples. and the locus of these facts is personal spiritual experience and practice. doctrines. stated in the following Bible passage: 5 Let this mind be in you. Seeing today monuments of faith built with stone and mortar. monastic ideals. And to know these real individuals. and was made in the likeness of men: 8 And being found in fashion as a man. and for that reason he cannot see God. the desert dwellers show us monuments of faith built on flesh and blood. and dogmas reflect a “theology of facts. Hearing today of virtues. Beliefs. For. And though we probably cannot attain to the fullest extent the virtues by which these holy hermits overcame human depravity. which quickly took an important social and evangelistic dimension. the ancient Fathers show them. They let us see with alarming clarity the depth of our depravity and the labyrinths of our sinful inner chasms. we can see clearly the folly of a modern world seeking goodness. we cannot adequately express to the Westerner the truth of the Orthodox Faith. Chrysostom. ultimately Orthodoxy is not expressed only in correct beliefs. They expose to us what is all too familiar and obvious. even the death of the cross. we must turn to the largely unknown spiritual treasures of Orthodoxy. he humbled himself.” as one great Church Father expressed it. and took upon him the form of a servant.Chapter 4: Patristics his will in everything and listens to his spiritual father. It is lived and felt and experienced. envy. greed. truth. being in the form of God. rather than from logical dicta rising out of rigorous philosophical systems. and for this reason his mind is clear of any concern and his prayer is pure. and the most complex human foibles. and virtue without first humbling itself before its Creator and the subtle inward world of spiritual truth. these incarnate pillars of philosophical truth. (Philippians 2: 5-8) Rev. eastern monasticism remained highly individualistic and 433 .

In Apophthegmata or Sayings of the Father of the Desert (Patrologia Graeca 65. under a special vow: 1 And the LORD spake unto Moses. monastic ideal are the Nazarites and the prophets of Israel. nor eat moist grapes. the ascesis and contemplative movements became linked together. ASCETIC IDEAL Old Testamental Basis The ancient models of the modern Christian ascetic.Chapter 4: Patristics contemplative in its emphasis. The search for deification fully changed the lives of those involved in it. BIBLICAL BASIS OF THE MONASTIC. he shall be holy. Seraphim of Sarov’s transfiguration. 4 All the days of his separation shall he eat nothing that is made of the vine tree. Basil looking after the sick in the hospital at Caesarea or St.” 434 . but also St. contemplation in the eastern Church did not imply merely negation and renunciation—the emphasis in the western Church—but rather the achievement of perfection. of a deifying union with God’s Spirit in an experience of spiritual illumination after all intellectual activity ceased. or vinegar of strong drink. 6 All the days that he 131 Quoted in “Orthodox Mysticism: Teachings of the Desert Fathers. With this process of deification we should not only envision a hesychast praying in silence or St. Agatho 26).”131 The ascetic Fathers knew that God was love and that their nearest and dearest approach to God was by and through love. neither shall he drink any liquor of grapes. one of these Fathers says: “If it were possible for me to find a leper. As already mentioned. and shall let the locks of the hair of his head grow. of “theosis”. A Nazarite was a person voluntarily separated to the Lord. to separate themselves unto the LORD: 3 He shall separate himself from wine and strong drink. 5 All the days of the vow of his separation there shall no razor come upon his head: until the days be fulfilled. and say unto them. and to give him my body and to take his. and shall drink no vinegar of wine. or dried. John the Almsgiver caring for the poor of Alexandria. from the kernels even to the husk. 2 Speak unto the children of Israel. saying. Thus. For this is perfect love. I would gladly do it. in the which he separateth himself unto the LORD. When either man or woman shall separate themselves to vow a vow of a Nazarite.

or for his mother.2 • Acts 13:1-3. The Dead Sea Scrolls revealed ascetic practices of the ancient Jewish sect of Essenes too. (Number 6: 1-8) The pre-Abrahamic prophets. or for his sister. One can think of the Israelites` wandering for forty years in the wilderness. 7 He shall not make himself unclean for his father. when they die: because the consecration of his God is upon his head. The first is given to you. or suffering. Forty was a common number in the Bible to describe a period of hardship.5 • 1 King • 2 Chronicles 20:1-3 • Judges 20:26 • Especially read and • Mark 2:18 • 2 Samuel 12:16 study Isaiah 58 to discover the many • Nehemiah 1:4. for example. namely.28: • 2 Corinthians • Ezra 8:21-23 Moses 11:27 • Esther 4 • 1 Samuel 8:5. for his brother. Elijah (1 King 19:8) and Moses before delivering the Ten Commandments (Exodus 34:28).18 benefits of fasting 3 • Luke 2:36. 14:23 • 2 Corinthians 6:4. difficulty. 37 when done God’s way. • Exodus 34:27. 9:1• Daniel 6:9. also provide a complete code of ethical conduct and virtues practiced by the mass of the people of God under the Old Law. or Decalogue. as we will see in the case of Jesus. There are also other citations in the Old Testament about the number forty. (Source: “40 Days Fast”) Activity 109: Bible quotes on fasting The Ten Commandments. and especially the Jewish prophets Elijah and his disciple Elisha are also important to Christian monastic tradition. 435 . 8 All the days of his separation he is holy unto the LORD. we can find many passages regarding fasting. Enoch and Melchizedek.Chapter 4: Patristics separateth himself unto the LORD he shall come at no dead body. Let us do the following activity: Activity Read the following Bible passages about 40 days fasting and find out who is in the process of fasting. testing.6 • Jonah 3:5-10 • Matthew 4:1. In the Old Testament. often 40 days and nights.

but love. hope. and the like. The first three. reverence and prayer. filial piety. self-control. which are positive in their character. Finally the fourth insists on obedience. do not connote only the repression of the lower appetites. continence. respect for authority. The following is an illustration of the Decalogue: Illustration 67: The Ten Commandments132 The negative commandments. honesty. the call for penance and mortification. the final five.caverun. patience. but the practice of virtue took on another aspect: the dominant motive presented to