Continuities and Discontinuities in Byzantine Religious Thought John Meyendorff Dumbarton Oaks Papers, Vol. 47. (1993), pp. 69-81.

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A certain empathy for religious topics is. the creed of Nicaea and Constantinople)' was sufficient for the knowledge and confirmation of Orthodoxy . or to compose another faith beyond the faith of the holy fathers gathered in Nicaea. 'At Chalcedon "the faith" included not only the Nicaean statement. There was already a major misunderstanding as to which creed was self-sufficient and could not be added to. to write. it would be continuity and consistency. having condemned Nestorius. ed. but since the enemies of truth produced innovations by their heresies. 1973). (Bologna." ' In spite of this rejection of "novelty" at Ephesus. economic life. 84. however. . T h e argument." a new statement of faith is made neces~ a r y The Chalcedonian text. two decades later in Chalcedon (451) a new statement about the faith is nevertheless approved. not only because Byzantine thought patterns and aesthetic models survive in the Orthodox church and other branches of Eastern Christendom. or ecclesiastical. a condition for the development of a critical historical approach to Byzantium-an empathy that implies interest and understanding. 65. . does not formulate any new definition but solemnly forbids one "to produce.~ only. had in fact been made irrelevent by the Council of 381.. but because scholars studying Byzantine society. but also criticism of what Byzantine religion represented historically.. The same apologetic concern for preserving the T l " Q g t a ~ v &yia o.Continuities and Discontinuities in Byzantine Religious Thought here is no doubt that the religious legacy of the Byzantine civilization pervades practically all aspects of Byzantine studies.irvo8o<ktbgav niattv yq8evi keeivat n~o+dgetv yoav avyyga+etv tj o21vtt@bvat a g a 4 tj n tqv 6eto0~ioav a e d rhv & y I ~ na~bgwvtQv kv rfi Ntna60v a u v a ~ @ d v t ~ v .e. . J . or art are also necessarily involved in analyzing religious. however. but also the creed of Constantinople (381). If one reads the decisions of church councils. If there was a quality of that religion which the Byzantines themselves liked to emphasize." In 43 1. 3rd ed. the Council of Ephesus. documents or monuments. or definition (OQOS) . was seen as a statement. had been ignored at Ephesus." Tonciliorum oecumenicorum decreta. Alberigo et al. used later against the Latin jilioque and interpreting the decree of Ephesus as forbidding additions to the creed. The status of a "creed" remained reserved for the "Nicaean" faith alone. which constitute by far the greatest part of the primary historical evidence. but it is preceded by an apologetic preamble: "The wise and salvific symbol of divine grace (i. which. one is immediately struck by their deliberate rejection of "novelty. therefore. not a "creed" for baptismal or liturgical use. n v Conciliorum oecumenicorum decreta. who "added to" the "Nicaean faith.

hierarchical divine world. These two questions-one doctrinal and one belonging to the area of spirituality-are: (1) what was the nature of "continuity" and "discontinuity" in the christological debates of that period. 1 Pet. including those made by ecumenical councils. Thus. seen as an event happening "once for all" ( h a g . The conciliar definitions were not supposed to be "new" revelations." or "wills.. Such was certainly the intention of the statement of the Council of 1351. cannot be added to. often tended to see the historical process of change as an imperfect and fallen reflection of a permanent. However. of course. the historical "completeness" of the Christian revelation-which being historical itself did not exclude subsequent history-was frequently. defining the doctrines of Palamas on the "energies" of God as a "development" (hvantvgi~) the decrees of the Sixth Ecumenical of Council on the two "energies. 125. and that later doctrinal statements. as witnessed by a single group of people who "saw" and "touched" it (cf. in Christ. 1 John 1:l ) . of "all the fullness of divinity in the flesh" (Col. but restatements of the truth aimed at countering heretical objections. were clarifications made necessary by the appearance of false doctrines or heresies. was used only rarely in the Byzantine theological language. 41bid. after the revelation occurred human history continued.. which took doctrinal decisions. GSynodal Tome. jIbid." made popular in nineteenth-century Roman Catholic thought by Cardinal Newman. This is the meaning of what is called the Christian Tradition. and (2) what happened to the Byzantine liturgy in the same period? The third issue belongs historically to the later period: it is the much debated problem of Palamite hesychasm. The principle which guided them was the belief that the fullness of revealed truth was contained in the "apostolic" faith. not to speak of the Synodikon of Orthodoxy." of C h r i ~ t . ~ "without subtracting or adding" ( 0 6 6 8 ~ h+aio66bv ~v)~ QOO~EV. introduced for liturgical use in 843 at the end of iconoclasm. ~ The concern for preserving the integrity of the "apostolic" faith is. that continuity was the major oficial motivation of conciliar decisions. though unconsciously. Even the concept of "doctrinal development. therefore. In this presentation. since it is based upon the acceptance of a revelation occurring at a particular point of history. and of the many later synods. 3: 18) with a manifestation. confused with the Platonic or Neoplatonic vision of an essentially immobile. immovable world of concepts and ideas. 2:9). essentially immune to change. There is no doubt. I will attempt to discuss briefly three issues. . It always emphasizes continuity rather than novelty. PG 15 1. col. There was an implicit reluctance in making definitions. taken as a cultural vision. The first two belong historically to a period-the sixth and the seventh centuries-when society at large was changing rapidly. 134. an essential element of the Christian tradition in general. 7 2 2 ~ .70 BYZANTINE RELIGIOUS T H O U G H T faith "without novelties" ( h ~ a i v o t 6 p y t a ) . That revelation. But the Byzantine mind. n ~ o c r t i 8 ~ yis emphasized by the councils of Constantinople I11 (68081) and Nicaea I1 (787).

"as the outward expression of the growing nationalistic trends in that province against the gradual intensification of Byzantine imperialism.The opponents of the Council of Chalcedon were neither anti-Greek. and that. in the case of the Armenians. the great figure of Patriarch Severus. Mass. They were rather attempting to bring about imperial policies which would support their christological position. on both sides. 11 (1959). in a simplistic way. 220-50." whereas Chalcedon was silent on this point. N. Copts and Syrians began gradually to interpret their religious tradition as a sort of stubborn fundamentalism. This was true of all the anti-Chalcedonian archbishops of Alexandria. Indeed. being "true God of true God" had "suffered under Pontius Pilate." in Okeanos: Essays Presented to Ihor Sevtenko on his Sixtieth Birthday (Harvard Ukrainian Studies 7 ) (Cambridge. It continued for a century and a half following Chalcedon. Nicaea specifically affirmed "Theopaschism": Christ. What may be true. nor disloyal to the empire. n. political.~ fifth c e n t ~ r yBut this was not the case in Egypt and Syria. "Secular Jurisdiction over the Armenian Church (Fourth-Seventh Centuries). 'A. gQuite important in showing this point was an article published three decades ago by A."' There is no doubt. 1968).s. living under Persian rule. G. until the seventh century. in his humanity. was also "consubstantial to us" (as proclaimed at Chalcedon).J O H N MEYENDORFF It was once common among historians to explain the christological controversies of the fifth and sixth centuries as an expression of the cultural and national opposition of non-Greeks to Byzantium and the cultural dominance of Hellenism in the imperial Orthodox church. and cultural factors contributed greatly to the permanence of the schism. and Severus. The popular Coptic element took full control of the patriarchate only after the Arab conquest. dominated the Monophysite camp. indeed. 1983).. In Syria in the sixth century. in every way. Atiya. the creed of ~ Nicaea affirmed that the Son was "consubstantial ( 6 p o o v o ~ 0to )the Father. Thus. Garsoian. Greek philosophy was. S. such factors may have been decisive already in the . Indeed. Ind. Greek philosophical terms and terminology. the rejection of the Council of Chalcedon in Egypt is sometimes explained. using. It was taking place between Greeks. whose Greek intellectual upbringing was. History of Eastern Christianity (Notre Dame. 280-98. soon to reach its consummation during the reign of Justinian. similar to that of the great Cappadocian Fathers.. The Chalcedonian definition was rejected because it was seen as a departure from the "faith of Nicaea" and from the christology of Athanasius and Cyril of Alexandria. is that the Syrian and Coptic masses felt estranged by the refinement of theological debates between Greeks. that eventually social. Syriac-speaking theologians like Philoxenus (or Xenaia) of Mabbugh played a supportive role only. and violently victimized for the support they gave to these leaders." but did not say that Christ. Jones. an alien medium. Monophysitism was essentially a conservative movement. 69. Once driven into schism by Dioscorus. best expressed in their own languages and customs. M. successors of Cyril. T f . to gain the empire to their side. however. . H. that is. "Were Ancient Heresies National or Social Movements in Disguise?" JTS. For them. of course. Timothy Aelurus. The entire christological debate began with the controversy between Cyril and Nestorius in 428-431.

that position. with his episodic and wavering policies of repression. which was endorsed by the official church under Justinian. . 1954). therefore giving credit to Latin 4 xa0ohtx4 xal hnoatoh~x4 knxhyuia. Finally. A. and that both Cyril's stand against Nestorius and the Chalcedonian definition were expressing the same Orthodox christology. because he was a man. but also in order to preserve unity between the two Romes. It is precisely in the name of continuity that the conservative instinct of Eastern Christian masses would oppose the well-balanced Chalcedonian formula-that "committee documentM-which departed from strict Nicaean and Cyrillian terminology not only in order to counteract the extreme Monophysites. In the light of this preference for the Antiochenes. introducing a christology which understood Christ as one hypostasis in two natures ($OOELS). Bacht (Wiirzburg. Indeed. when." Only the "Son of Mary" could "suffer. to have the upper hand. also. for essentially political reasons. Grillmeier and H. he forced upon the Byzantine church the condemnation of the "Three Chaptersn-that is." they said. both in exegesis and in christology. capitulated to the Monophysite opposition. is labeled "neo-Chalcedonianism.72 BYZANTINE RELIGIOUS T H O U G H T and was supported by Antiochian theologians (former friends of Nestorius) who specifically and decidedly denied that the Son of God himself could be the subject of "suffering. as it had been expressed in the famous Tome of Leo. littiraire et thiologique sur la risistance monophysite e a u concile de Chalcidoine jusqu' a la constitution de 1'Eglise jacobite (Louvain. ed. 425-580. in which the anti-Chalcedonian side seemed. Le Monophysitisme siuirien: ~ t u d historique. for a long time.cii. the person of Theodore of Mopsuestia and the anti-Cyrillian writings of Theodoret of Cyrrhus and Ibas of Edessa." in Das Konzil uon Chalkedon. I . or essences (06oiai).cteasBnoataaews 4 o6oda~ hva0epa. "La christologie d u monophysitisme syrien. Since Theodoret and Ibas had been defenders of Chalcedon. Justinian. neither Cyril-who was hardly a promoter of democracy and Robert's Rules of Order at ecclesiastical meetings-nor Justinian. The debate between the Chalcedonians and the Monophysites was therefore very much a debate about continuity. by the same author. This negative judgment on "neo-Chalcedonianism" is connected with the trend which prevailed among many historians of early Christianity since the nineteenth century: a trend which shows preference for Antioch over Alexandria. 1909). at the Council of Constantinople of 5 5 3 . Nestorius appears as an innocent victim of Alexandrian bullying-as John Chrysostom was before him-and the policies of Justinian seem as nothing but a de facto surrender to Monol0Toirs 66 heyovta~ [to+ vibv] k t &. l 1 Cf. 5. like Eutyches." l 1 The prefix "neo-" is used by many authors in a somewhat pejorative sense: in their view. Lebon. The debate about continuity would also be pursued during the period which determined all the later developments of Byzantine theology and spirituality: the age of Justinian. their condemnation by "neo-Chalcedonians" made it appear that Chalcedon itself had been betrayed. Conciliorum oecumenicorum decreta. the imperial court of the sixth century had no other goal than to convince the Monophysites that continuity had not been broken at Chalcedon.1° whereas the Chalcedonian definition specifically distinguished between them. are seen as appealing personalities. Furthermore on ethical grounds. J. Nicaea used synonymously the terms oeoia ("essence") and 6xootao~g(the term designating the "person" of Christ in the Chalcedonian text). Since the well-known works of Joseph Lebon on Severus of Antioch.

I . La charite'. there are also defenders of "Cyrillian" christology in the name of "neothomism". H. The distinction. essentially "Greek" Neoplatonic idea. This basic understanding of "deification" was central to the thought not only of Athanasius. particularly. for instance. 125-60.owi." l 4 To express both the unity and the distinction Chalcedon introduced a new terminology: one hypostasis in two natures. 78. It would include J.op6vqg 8k pahhov r45 i 8 t 6 t q t o ~ kxatkeas + l j a s o ~ Ibid. the theology of Cyril. "The Immutability of Christ and Justinian's Condemnation of Theodore of Mopsuestia. had to remain distinct.irr45 TOY@I~OEWY Gta@oeag ixvgeqpSvqs Gtdr rijv &voatv. It is that interpretation. repr. The problem arose. 86. Furthermore. which influenced several more recent studies on Maximus the Confessor (for instance.a key reality in conceiving salvation and spirituality. 19731. The Christology of Theodore of Mopsuestia (Analecta Gregoriana 82) (Rome. 1963). F.J O H N MEYENDORFF 73 physitism. since these policies were not even successful in reconciling the Monophysites with the imperial church. Vselenskie Sobory (Paris. Guarrigues. totally irreconcilable with "pure" biblical Christianity. 119-40. The two natures of Christ-the divine and the human-though united. because Cyril and (as also the Antiochenes) used the terms 6 x 6 o . A." in Das Konzil von Chalkedon. 19761. but rather the characteristic property of each nature being preserved. For a more historically sophisticated approach. . Essai sur Thiodore de Mopsueste (ST 141) (Vatican City. idem. expressed in respectively appropriate actions (tenet enim sine defectu proprietatem suam utraque natura). is precisely giving the doctrine of theosis its christological basis. "Le Chalcedonisme et le NeoChalcedonisme en Orient d e 451 a la fin d u VIe siecle. Indeed. . Le monde et l'e'glise selon Maxime L Confesseur [Paris.ljo~sOEOG hoyov oe"One could give a long list of authors who adopt this view. 1948). The terminology was not Cyrillian. M. C'ne e'tude de christologie de lYAnatolieancienne (Oostzrhout. Diepen. that made the Chalcedonian definition crucially important." DOP 6 (1951). and F. Nestorius and His Teaching (Cambridge. Divinity and humanity are not existentially incompatible: it is when humanity achieves communion with God that it becomes most authentically human. or 0 6 o o ~as . 1956). on the contrary." DOP 16 (1962). However. see also A. in Mit ihm und im ihm: Christologische Forschungen und Perspektiven (Freiburg-BaselWien. and. A. Moeller. M. M. it was discarded ~ by many nineteenth-century historians of dogma (well-represented by Adolf Harnack) as a dangerous. exemplified by the Constantinopolitan abbot Eutyches. characteristic of Eastern Christianity ever since. avenir divin e de L'homme [Paris. 1975). Sullivan. Grillmeier. Riou." HJ 77 (1958). 13Conciliorum oecumenicorum decreta. Les Trois-Chapitres au Concile de Chalce'doine. 151-66. formulated in the Tome of Leo. when deification implied absorption of humanity: this was the essence of "Eutychian" Monophysitism. Kartashev. their only result is said to be a cryptoMonophysitism. 1908). Indeed.13was reaffirmed at Chalcedon: "the distinction of natures being in no way abolished because of the union. 140irGapo. Anastos. its separation from God is dehumanizing. "Der Neu-Chalkedonismus. "Nestorius was Orthodox. Um die Berechtigung eines neuen Kapitals in der Dogmengeschichte. V. 637-720. and spoke of "one incarnate nature of God the Word" (pia +. R. however. A. Ch. but also of the Cappadocian Fathers: between them and Cyril there is certainly direct continuity. 1953). based upon the hypostatic unity of the Incarnate Logos. Bethune-Baker.12 The theological issue which stands behind this judgment on Eastern Christianityand Byzantine Orthodox Christianity in particular-is the issue of deification. and J.. which affirmed that the two natures of Christ always preserve their respective characteristics. c a o ~ ~ +fiois interchangeably. Maxime le Confesseur. Devreesse.

like Severus of Antioch. Ephesus.74 BYZANTINE RELIGIOUS T H O U G H T a a ~ * . At the fourth session. . and Cyril. cf. During the third session of the council. had only a limited appeal for the average churchman. 251. Anatolius made sure to make a formal statement that the deposition did not involve the Cyrillian doctrine. 102-3 (298-99). Thus. Athanasius. 82-107. the text of the Tome of Pope Leo provoked so much criticism on the part of Illyrian and Palestinian bishops that the imperial commissioners had to close the session and arrange for Anatolius of Constantinople-an avowed Cyrillian and former friend of Dioscorus of Alexandria-to privately alleviate the fears of the opposition that the council was abandoning the faith of Cyril. p. the decree faced the opposition of terminological conservatives. 19041. sponsored in the sixth century by the court of Justinian to prove to the anti-Chalcedonian opposition that Cyril had not been disavowed at Chalcedon. 1.Y. 124 (320). H. by declaring. Lietzmann. also the pertinent comments by H." 16AC0. who preferred to follow people who." This incident alone can serve as a preamble to the theological developments. ' ~ was it Latin." Revue Thomiste 55 (1955). Diepen in "Les douze anathematismes au concile dlEphi. but only disciplinary misdeeds of the Alexandrian archbishop. it was coming from a letter of Apollinaris of Laodicea. 2. nor philosophically justified. therefore. such as the Twelve Anathemas. cf. 168-76. ~ ~ o p 6 v q ) . And yet. since Dioscorus had refused to appear personally. The intention of the council. M. other and rich evidence of the "Cyrillian" convictions of the council in J. whereas Leo could be suspect. N. it is noteworthy that Cyril did not use this "Monophysite" formula in his most solemn christological Where there was a difference. S. Meyendorff. 300-338. As examples. The "grammarians" of the imperial court of Constantinople. (Crestwood. the bishops gave their approval to the Tome.. Constantinople. "To Jovian. The rather obscure. 450-680 A. at Chalcedon. IaCf. one by one." (Cf. However.D. I would argue that there is no real difference in substance between Chalcedon and neoChalcedonianism." GOTR 10 (1965-66). the blatant admission of terminological discontinuity was neither explained. It can be argued. philosophically developed meaning which was found for the term hypostasis.) However. Romanides. also J. held by Dioscorus. Cyril's 'One Physis or Hypostasis of God the Logos Incarnate. that his terminological inconsistencies d o not imply "Monophysitism.. is in the vocabulary used. 11. since the Latin equivalent of d x 6 a t a o i ~ Neither would be substantia. This meaning and its implications would be worked out by a group of theologians around Justinian. academic style of their writing failed to make a significant impact on the Monophysite masses. which was a deposition in absentia.16 In the mind of the council Cyril was and always remained the criterion of Orthodoxy. or the Formula of Union (433).' and Chalcedon. two episodes of the conciliar procedures themselves will be sufficient. was certainly not to disavow Cyril or discard his theology. This can be shown in many ways. they actually made a substantial contribution to a philosophy of the per15This particular-and famously controversial-formula was thought by Cyril to have been used by St. however. The second characteristic episode occurred in connection with the deposition of Dioscorus. supported as they were by the might of the state. Apollinaris von Laodicea und seine Schule [ etjusqu'en 519. that it was in agreement with Nicaea. and particularly in the newly refined. 1989). I7Ibid. pp. as distinct from "nature" (Q-iro15). Imperial Unity and Christian Divisions: The Church. however. "St. in fact. although. Thus. represented for them the conservative trend of the "great" Cyrillian tradition. also a rough equivalent of natura.

45-60. . Gray. particularly Leontius of Byzantium (Cf. VladimirS Theological Quarterly 31 (1987). political inconsistency. and certainly "new. at the right hand of the Father. trans. even if it still proved inadequate in sustaining the emperor's attempts at healing the schism of Eastern Christendom. 19701). Cyril ("one nature incarnate")." The divine nature would remain immutable and impassible. however. could die on the cross. The whole content of the Christian faith is personalized. Attempts at relating its forms and its character to the christological debates. cf. and I would propose to consider the liturgy of the age of Justinian as a starting point. The Byzantine Liturgy: Symbolic Structure and Faith Expression. in my opinion.. 231-5 1. This general philosophical. This discontinuity is even formally admitted in the decree of the Fifth Council of 553. 29-3 1. J 21Cf. as person.J O H N MEYENDORFF 75 son." placing it." the subject. in The Byzantine Legacy in the Orthodox Church (Crestwood. is seen independently of the what. 65-95. the religious policy of Justinian had an "ecumenical" aspect which deserves to be noted. and thus be the subject of the fullness of humanity. 1985). B. Obviously. although terminologically and philosophically there has been obvious discontinuity." Me'langes de science religzeuse 2 (1945). K. The immutable and unchangeable God is seen as "becoming" man and "suffering death. therefore. provided one did not reject the Chalcedonian decree:20there were several ways in which Christ could be spoken of. The Logos. but this cannot be done in this paper. who played a role at Justinian's court.. Meyendorff (New York. as hypostasis." DOP 22 (1968). and Christ in Eastern Christian Thought (repr. "Christ as Savior in the East. D. T.Y. beyond its clumsiness. D. Meyendorff." and each human person. "L'introduction du mot 'hypostase' dans la theologie de l'incarnation. which we have just discussed. O'Connell (New York. Meyendorff. 20Cf. is that the age of Justinian saw and defined a legitimate continuity between Cyril and Chalcedon. and repressiveness. 43-66." in Christian Spirituality: Origins to the Twelfth Century. 69-90. reaching beyond human nature to God himself. Richard. the Empire and the Church. McGinn and J.Anathema 8. unsuccessful. B . see hl. which he was called first to assume. while remaining a possessor of the divine nature. could suffer and be ignorant. A divine hypostasis was therefore conceived as the "someone. 1975). these theological points could be developed much further. are. "The Christology of Leontius of Jerusalem: Monophysite or Chalcedonian?" St. In fact. 117. Crestwood. The substance of the debate is also well described in P. also J. P.22Except in the appearance of some special hymns (like '0 povoyev+lg ui6g) and some specific rituals lgOn this use of hypostasis. These were not mutually exclusive. N.Y. 22Cf. 5-32. in Conciliorum oecumenicorum decreta. Evans.C. 1982). If David Evans is correct in his identifications and hypotheses. Wesche." The second aspect of my discussion of continuity and discontinuity concerns the Byzantine liturgy.H. "Emperor Justinian. then to save and "deify. ed." definition of hypostasis (which did not exist in Aristotle) was also applicable to human persons. could be born as a man. R. . with himself. What can be asserted. 1986). J. J. N. by M .. able to reach out beyond divine nature and "become flesh." l g The who. there may have been a substantial contribution to the debate by the group of Origenists. and Orthodoxy was not attached to a single terminological system. 1979). which allowed the use of the inadequate terminology of St. 243-70. Schulz. and particularly. The Defense of Chalcedon in the East (451-553) (Leiden. Leontius of Byzantium: A n Origenist Christology [Washington. becomes able to transcend the limitations of created human nature. repr. in "deification. but the hypostasis would be open to "change" and passibility.

"L'audition de l'ana137. Thus it began to be said silently with disjointed sentences proclaimed aloud. 503-5. . A priest stands at the altar and speaks the words spoken of old. the culmination of that process. but by the spectacle of ceremony. people saw gestures. 1955). in CIC Nov. 25. . as the church endeavored to protect the sacrament from casualness and profanation by crowds of nominal Christians filling the basilicas. see many other texts quoted in P. and sometimes more aesthetically oriented hymns or petitions. the changes were determined by external factors: the basic liturgical forms of the Christian sacraments (e. The prayer of the Eucharistic anaphora-which by nature and intent can only be said in the first person plural. but the power and the grace are from Soon. while chanters.. and ceremonial actions which increasingly lost their obvious meaning and had to be interpreted symbolically. were exhorting the people to pray in less elaborate. 207-20. so that the congregation could not be united by words any more. at Hagia Sophia of Constantinople. But the evolution of the original. Justinian himself tried to reverse the trend and formally prescribed that "all bishops and priests pronounce the prayers of oblation and of the holy baptism not silently but aloud. col. 15. 6 (PG 49. horn. who now stood within a sanctuary protected by a barrier from the crowd's access. By contrast. in many ways. Trembelas. 380). 2 5 H ~ cat. attendance at a festal Eucharistic liturgy could include tens of thousands. but the emphasis placed upon the mysterious and the symbolic developed more and more." in L'Eglise et les e'glises: Etudes et travawc offerts a Dom Lambert Beauduin I1 (Chevetogne. 24Deprod. the theological debates made little impact upon popular religiosity of either the Chalcedonians or the non-Chalcedonians. which since the fourth century had begun to radically modify the character of worship. phore eucharistique par le peuple. the words of prayer (and of preaching) could not carry the attention of the crowd. It corresponded to an evolution of ideas. when Christianity was a minority religion and its worship was taking place within relatively small congregations. Of the celebrant. ed. or deacons. Les home'lies cat6che'tiques de The'odore de Mopsuestia. Thus. . especially when pronounced by aging patriarchs. . Since there was no sound system.76 BYZANTINE RELIGIOUS T H O U G H T (like the zeon).. blessings.g. communal liturgy into spectacular ceremonial was not occurring in an intellectual void. For Theodore of Mopsuestia-Chrysostom's contemporary-the deacons should be seen as ang e l ~ and ~Isidore of Pelusium extends symbolism further: "the pure linen that is . symbolic interpretations began to dominate liturgical thinking. . Chrysostom still insists in his sermons on the relationship between the liturgical action and the historical Jesus: "He who waited on that table of old also waits on this one now. O n the one hand. . 1949). . Tonneau and R. Iudae. baptism and the Eucharist) go back to the pre-Constantinian period. And yet both the liturgy itself and the people's attitudes toward the liturgy were undergoing spectacular changes since the fourth century: the age of Justinian was. How otherwise the ranks of simple people will be able to answer Amen to the E u c h a r i ~ t ?But~even the imperial will could not prevail "~ over physical conditions. Not that this evolution started from nothing: the element of liturgical and ceremonial mystery was present in the Eucharist from its Jewish beginnings. 699.~ 2 3 N ~ v e l 6. Devreesse m (ST 145) (Vatican City. R. This evolution of the liturgy was not welcomed by all. uniting celebrant and congregation before the common meal-could not be heard by anyone. which can be followed in the texts. 1 . as imperial patronage and general church wealth created immense basilicas in all major urban centers. p.

chneider. author is not to be a spiritual revolutionary. Of course the intention of the famous. the way Christian liturgy was celebrated in the sixth century and interpreted 2%pist. " These are '~ to be found particularly in Origen and Origenism. 428-429~. even in his style and in the selection of gestures and liturgical actions which he chooses to comment upon in his Ecclesiastical Hierarchy. i. of a hierarchic world. cols. and not-as implied in the early Christian liturgy-a common prayer with Christ revealed by the Holy Spirit as a presence "within" the community. has been connected with the history of architecture. freely and untrammeled by anything beneath him. . becoming recipients of spiritual graces. Biblical and Liturgical Symbols within the Pseudo-Dionysian Sylzthesis (Toronto. . Pseudo-Dionysius writes for those who contemplate the liturgy. 27 There are certainly Christian antecedents for such a vision. while proceeding gradually outward because of goodness to commune with those who partake of him. But nobody."2g Thus. interpreting it in terms of a gnostic initiation. mosaic and gem. with the words being largely ignored and practically never quoted. revolutionary expression in the writings of Pseudo-Dionysius. with a movement of "procession and r e t ~ r n . . this trend toward symbolism finds its consistent and. tr. accessible to their "minds. 2 6 4 ~ .J O H N MEYENDORFF 77 spread [on the altar] for the sake of the sacrificial gifts represents the liturgical service of Joseph of Arimathea. . Rorem. a symbolic involvement in the contemplation of a divine hierarchical presence above us. He resorts to a multitude of sacred enigmas." We must look attentively upon the beauty which gives it so divine a form and we must turn a reverent glance to the double movement of the hierarch when he goes first from the divine altar to the far edges of the sacred place spreading the fragrance and then returns to the altar." And yet. it is pluralized in a sacred variegation of symbols. Geistesgeschichte der antzkes Christentu~w S (Munich. 1954). . . there is no evidence of a direct relationship between Pseudo-Dionysius and Hagia Sophia. Of course. he returns to his own starting point without having any loss. borrowed from Neoplatonism. though unknown. marble and gold. Furthermore. 19871. . simple. Quite to the contrary: he is fully aware of the link between the Eucharist and the historical Jesus. never actually departs from his essential stability and immobility. 212-13). and refers to that connection in his own peculiar way. his pseudonym must be interpreted as a confession of conservatism. 2 7 E ~ Hier.2 6 5 ~ ) . and his view of the relationship between God and creatures in general. but as an expression of Neoplatonic Christianity. 100. The Dionysian conception of the liturgy. before PseudoDionysius. and indivisible and yet. at the time of Justinian. . Then.3 (PG 3. In his mind he journeys toward the One.""j Finally. col. which transcends all being. as witnesses of a mystery. he always projects that which is seen. . The divine sacrament of the synaxis remains what it is. applied such a vision to the very details of the Christian liturgy. Byzantine domed churches are Dionysius the Areopagite translated into stone and brick. but it has been said that the dome of Byzantine churches "was not chosen for practical reasons. 111. by Colm Luibheid [New York. . out of love for humanity. [The divine hierarch] generously hands down to his inferiors that unique hierarchic understanding which is especially his own. 28Cf.particularly the detailed study by P. ~l. unique. the spectacle. For the blessed divinity. 123 (PG 78. 2T. 1984). in some respects. or at least as a desire to be interpreted "within the tradition.

expresses the identity of the Christian community both in time and in space. the fundamental and hotly debated christological doctrine was still based on interpreting the historical Incarnation. Meyendorff. J. Translated into Slavic. a major sign of discontinuity. if one considers not only the texts. Byzantine Liturgy. by definition. but there was also. the liturgy could be used much more systematically by Byzantinists interested-as all historians necessarily are-in the problem of continuity and discontinuity. and even until today. "The Liturgy of the Great Church: An Initial Synthesis of Structure and Interpretation on the Eve of Iconoclasm. and reflect often quite important changes in culture and piety. their use. Arabic. the texts of the most central sacramental prayers-particularly baptism and the Eucharistic canons-remained the same. Schulz. typologically. Germanus of Constantinople on the Divine Liturgy: The Greek Text with Translation.78 BYZANTINE RELIGIOUS T H O U G H T by Pseudo-Dionysius was. which distinguishes its contents-where its continuity lies-from interpretations which vary greatly.. As a whole. Actually. . and integrating theological concepts almost routinely within daily language and daily life. and aesthetic shape to the whole of the Byzantine Orthodox world and served as a powerful instrument of continuity and unity. Following the age of Justinian. N. memorizing texts. Dionysian ideas remained very strong among some Byzantine interpreters of the liturgy and they also influenced popular piety.particularly R. or even daily-singing. Georgian. several scholars have begun a study of the Byzantine liturgy. In order to understand the Byzantines. these forms gave a spiritual. the influence of PseudoDionysius and the iconoclastic crisis. And although some Dionysian ideas were used by both sides during the iconoclastic debates. the elements of variety and discontinuity immediately become apparent. indeed. Doctrinal disputes between Palamites and anti30Cf. we discover some parallelism with the situation of preiconoclastic times. cultural. the church of Constantinople acquired a set of liturgical forms and liturgical hymnography which would remain rather stable for the rest of the medieval period. it is still the person of Jesus of Nazareth-historical and representable-which served as the decisive argument of the iconodules to affirm the legitimacy of holy images. And yet. if compared to the earlier period. Introduction and Commentary (Crestwood. the liturgy. In the past two decades. a christological corrective to those ideas. However. Les commentaires byzantzns de la divine liturgze de VIIe au XVe sibcles (Paris. or in the commentaries of the liturgy. and were never rewritten in the Dionysian style or in order to reflect his theology. 1984). two. H. The Alexandrian. and "vertical" approach is complemented by an "Antiochian" search for a liturgy which is. St. but also their interpretation. in architectural form. and other languages. connected with the historical events described in the Bible and also anticipating the eschatological fulfillment. it is important to remember that all of them spent long hours in church-weekly. in style and iconography. P. which should be encouraged. among most interpreters. Considering briefly the late Byzantine period. 45-76. their ordering. Bornert. as they appear in changing Typika. within Byzantine Orthodoxy. Taft. contemplative.Y.30This is a fruitful methodology. also R." DOP 34-35 (1980-81). there were also two decisive elements of continuity: one. 22-99. 1966).

1984). contradicted that tradition. Hero [Washington." R E B 30 (1972). 19831. trans. E. pour le deifier. The One Hundred and Fify Chapters: A Critical Edition. even if ""Entierement fidele a la perspective biblique et traditionnelle. 1983). as fierce as the christological controversies of the earlier period. in order to deify him. Without going into detail. indeed. so that theological options taken in Byzantium have an impact on a wide range of cultural and political events. Saint Gregory Palamas. (2nd ed. not without his ~ollaboration. see D. "Entirely faithful to the biblical and traditional perspective." theosis) and not in terms of external gifts of divine grace bestowed upon a created habitus. Tinnefeld [Turnhout-Leuven. through which they One reach the baptized. 1973). it can be said here that the Palamite theology. The Triads. see further bibliography in the works of A. therefore. 823. 1962-88). 1Vikephoros Gregoras Antirrhetika I . repr. Gre'goire Palamas: Dqense des saints ht!sychastes.C. Furthermore. and considers that they proceed freely from God. by Nicholas Gendle (New York. 1987])." Ire'nikon 48 (1975). Textausgabe. Maximus the Confessor or. quoted above. 19831. "Palamism places the uncreated energies within God himself. Both sides of the theological debate of the fourteenth century were accusing their opponents of being "innovators" and were claiming to be themselves alone the guardians of doctrinal continuity. that the definitions of the Palamite councils of the fourteenth century (1341. D. ~bersetzung Anmerkungen. a travers laquelle elles atteignent le baptise." writes Andre de Halleux. D. Louvain. 'Ioofi@Kaho06tou avyyedppata. 231-341 (303 titles published beween 1959 and 1970). Meyendorff. which triumphed in late Byzantium. G. or opposing it (Letters of Gregory Akindynos. Tsames [Thessaloniki. Einleitung. E. de Halleux and R. le palamisme situe les energies increees en Dieu luim&me. 1351) witness doctrinal continuity in the Byzantine church." in DSp 12. by A.d'ou il les voit proceder librement. to ascertain whether Palamite distinction between divine essence and the divine uncreated energies was based on the theology of the Cappadocian Fathers and St. One of the issues was. Sinkewicz. @~h006ow xoxxivow 6oyyattxa E ~ y aed. that the Christian faith was to be expressed in terms of communion with God (or "deification. 2 vols. It is fortunate that the confessionally charged and voluminous literature which has appeared on the subject in the past few decades seems to be reaching irenic conclusions. end with doctrinal statements issued by councils. in Patrologie et oecume'nisme ( = Bibliotheca Ephemeridum Theologicarum Lovaniensium XCIII) (Leuven. dans l'economie de l'incarnation du Verbe. There are also modern editions of contemporary Byzantine theologians. Lr. with an introduction by John Meyendorff. . 19801. ed.-V. Khrestuo. that. 1347. on the contrary."~~ can conclude. generally favorable to Palamas. ed. D. even in the writings of Western theologians. The difference is that the debates occur on a much smaller scale within the exiguous confines of the shrinking state of the Palaiologi. also J. within the economy of the Word's incarnation. "Palamas.J O H N MEYENDORFF Palamites.. R. Meyendorff. Gregory Palamas. Stierund non. C. iki. was concerned primarily (as was also the christological settlement of the Justinianic era) with preserving the idea that God and humanity could interpenetrate each other while remaining distinct. et non sans sa collaboration. (Thessaloniki. H. 1990). Greek text and English trans. both sides were invoking the authority of Pseudo-Dionysius. but fully existing both in his essential transcendence and in the gift of himself to creatures. ed. Voordeckers and F. 81-107.col. "Bulletin sur le palamisme.Johannis Cantacuzeni Refutationes due Prochori Cydonii et Disputatio cum Paulo. 1988). For secondary literature. Sinkewicz. E. God remains transcendent. But the church of Constantinople still exercises administrative control and strong spiritual and intellectual influence over Eastern Europe. and J. 19761). 486. reyyo~iow IIahapd a u y y ~ d p p a t a4 vols to13 . either defending the Palamite view (for instance. Klimakes [Thessalon. For the writings of Palamas see P. Beyer [Wien. ed. Translation and Study (Toronto. 1 (Paris. while giving himself to humanity.

251-67. Epstein." in A. brought about by Theophanes and the "hesychast" influence. hegoumenos. but their "development" ( C ~ V ~ ~ T V ~ I . Maria Cheremeteff. identifications and commentary in G. 1935). Twice he occupied the patriarchal throne (1353-54. M. then disappearing behind the screen and the curtain. which was actually in the making since the late thirteenth century. Through him the reform was accepted as a pattern in the entire church (including the Slavic During the same period. . Leong. "A Codicological Analysis of the Illuminated Akathistos of the Virgin. "The Origins of the Iconostasis.36 Consequently. The Great Entrance [Rome." in Eastern. N. the Byzantine origin of the phenomenon is certain (cf. 28v (cf. 32Cf. 107-24. 988-1988 (Crestwood. Prokhorov. 35Cf. Athos. 5v. And yet. Goar. 1-3. ed. where one sees the entire ecclesiastical attendance of those assemblies-including bishops and patriarchs-wearing the black monastic The full monastic set of priorities cannot be discussed again here. This last study seems to imply that the "solid" iconostasis was a Russian phenomenon. R. Synodal Gr. Gr. the description of the process in R. composed while he was still on Athos. P. this intimacy did not seem to have restored to the liturgy the more communal character it possessed during the Early Christian period.. more than ever. in a process also undoubtedly initiated by the new monastic leadership. J. and the almost contemporary Mosq. It is in the late fourteenth century that the sanctuary barrier was transformed into a solid wall covered with icons. in fact. 1242. W. 1730). Ai teeis hettoveyiat n a t h t o i r ~ ' A ~ ~ ~ xh6tnas ~ EY YCIL (Athens." DOP 42 (1988).supra. 1-25. "Mount Athos: A Late Chapter in the History of the Byzantine Rite. The Millennium: Christianity and Russia. Moscow. There can be no real doubt that the monastic influence contributed to these developments in Byzantium and to their transmission to the Balkans and to Russia. both in Turkishdominated areas and in Russia.80 BYZANTINE RELIGIOUS T H O U G H T some of the terminology was considered by Palamas himself not as a repetition of earlier statements. 429. and later biographer of Gregory Palamas. S ) . can be discovered even visually in the representation of the church councils of the period. 136476) and was the author of a liturgical codification. N. This take-over. note 6. fol. ~ * But the victory of Palamism also had results other than doctrinal. ALdtaEts tqs 0eias hettozreyias. 1990). 190-94. continued to be seen as a mystery being contemplated with the celebrant making appearances. Sabas of Palestine was accepted everywhere except southern Italy. the monastic Typikon of St.Y. a friend. Taft. was one of the major promoters of the new monastic rule in the church. with the vision and perspective of Pseudo-Dionysius being confirmed in the legitimacy it received in the sixth century. It was a victory of monastics who practically took over much of the administration of the church and imposed their priorities on much of its religious and cultural policies. 33Seeparticularly the miniature representing the council of 1351 in the Paris gr. "Middle Byzantine Sanctuary Barrier: Templon or Iconostasis?" JBAA 134 (1981). fol. Trempelas. the liturgy. 237-54. Walter.sive rituale graecorum (Venice. ed. disciple. Eir~oh6ytov." DOP 26 (1972). 36Cf. A. However. Taft. State Historical Museum. 34AtataEt<zqs 'le~o6~axovias. 413) and the "hesychast" influence rather conjectural. Philotheos Kokkinos. 19751.35 Within the framework of that process one can better understand the architecture and internal arrangement of many churches built in this period: smaller in size and more congenial to intimate monastic forms of worship. I will only point out the changes which occurred in the liturgy and which determined liturgical piety in the following century. Syn. or abbot of Lavra. 429. "The Transformation of the Russian Sanctuary Barrier and the Role of Theophanes the Greek. 1-16. C. on Mt. Churches Review 3 (1973).

38N. Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary 37Besidesthe Migne text (PG 150. and quite some discontinuities in liturgy. as a memorial of an historical event.Egender in the introduction to La pribre des heures: 'Q~ohbytov. The Roman rite through all its history. 368-492). Gouillard. Nulty (London. 1967).JOHN MEYENDORFF in this case as in the case of Palaiologan style and iconography. which reveal various phenomenologies of the liturgical action and help to understand not only internal processes within the Byzantine church. A. 88-89. J. more than theological ideas. 124-32. very general. on the contrary. I L (Chevetogne. . cols. has undergone multiple influences of place. theological currents. an an English tr.qv~ia)of the divine liturgy by R. found in the sacramental texts themselves. by J. comment: there was in Byzantine Christianity unquestionable continuity in doctrine. that of Nicholas Cabasilas. and P. even after the reform of Vatican 11. persons." 38 In studying and understanding those changes. 1960). M. Byzantine Liturgy. The Byzantine rite. but perhaps surprising. The christocentric and realistic theology expressed by people like Palamas and Cabasilas stems really not from Dionysius. as an initiatory mystery and as a locus of communion of people with God. or at least marginalizes them.37He is a lay theologian who succeeded in reestablishing a balance between the various dimensions of the Eucharist. but from the fundamental vision. St. there is a critical edition of Cabasilas' Interpretation ('Ee. Conservative popular piety. Hussey and P. Cabasilas. Both in style and in his overall interpretation of the liturgy. Perhaps this flexibility contributed to its expansion beyond the Greekspeaking world. Bornert.-J. the monastic take-over of the Byzantine church in the fourteenth century did not determine a simplified and uniform religious vision. In the late fourteenth century there appears a new interpretation of the liturgy. One recent French scholar could even write: "No rite in our Christian churches has known such dynamism and so many changes as the Byzantine. On Cabasilas. one should be careful not to reduce this monastic influence to a stereotype. 1975). My considerations on continuities and discontinuities in Byzantine religious thought can be concluded with the following. being certainly a Palamite. see the comments by H. Thus. continued to reflect the Dionysian model of liturgical interpretation. but also its flexibility and ability to assume cultural changes and different phenomenologies. which at the time of its appearance had been a revolution. a prihre des iglises de rite byzantin. Schulz. bis) (Paris. Perichon (SC 4. one has to refer not only to the texts themselves but also to the commentaries. departs from Dionysian models. . has remained a rite singularly archaic in its structure and theology.

47.0. Anastos Dumbarton Oaks Papers. 123+125-160. Stable URL: http://links. pp. pp. Vol. (1962).jstor. Stable URL: http://links. (1980 .CO%3B2-%23 This article references the following linked citations. (1951). 45-75.CO%3B2-N NOTE: The reference numbering from the original has been maintained in this citation list. 16. Please visit your library's website or contact a librarian to learn about options for remote access to JSTOR.1981).0. pp. you may be required to first logon via your library web site to access JSTOR. Vol.CO%3B2-5 12 Nestorius Was Orthodox Milton V. 117-140.0. If you are trying to access articles from an off-campus location. Stable URL: http://links. 34. pp. .org/sici?sici=0070-7546%281980%2F1981%2934%3C45%3ATLOTGC%3E2. Anastos Dumbarton Oaks Papers.jstor. 6.0. Stable URL: http://links.CO%3B2-6 30 The Liturgy of the Great Church: An Initial Synthesis of Structure and Interpretation on the Eve of Iconoclasm Robert Taft Dumbarton Oaks Papers.jstor.jstor. [Footnotes] 12 The Immutability of Christ and Justinian's Condemnation of Theodore of Mopsuestia Milton Vol.Page 1 of 1 - You have printed the following article: Continuities and Discontinuities in Byzantine Religious Thought John Meyendorff Dumbarton Oaks Papers. Vol. (1993).org LINKED CITATIONS .

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