Orthodoxy (TREDITION CLASSICS)
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The Eastern Orthodox jurisdictions with the largest number of adherents in modern times are the Russian and the Romanian Orthodox churches. The most ancient of the Eastern Orthodox communities existing today are the churches of Jerusalem , Antioch , Alexandria , Constantinople , and Georgia. Christianity first spread in the predominantly Greek -speaking eastern half of the Roman Empire.
The Apostles traveled extensively throughout the empire, establishing communities in major cities and regions, with the first community appearing in Jerusalem , followed by communities in Antioch , Ethiopia and others. Early growth also occurred in the two political centers of Rome and Greece , as well as in Byzantium initially a minor centre under the Metropolitan of Heraclea, but which later became Constantinople.
Orthodoxy believes in the apostolic succession that they believe was established by the Apostles in the New Testament ; this played a key role in the communities' view of itself as the preserver of the original Christian tradition. Historically the word "church" did not mean a building or housing structure for which Greek-speakers might have used the word " basilica " but meant a community or gathering of like peoples see ekklesia.
The earliest Ecclesiology would posit that the Eucharistic assembly , under the authority and permission of a Bishop , is what constitutes a Church. As St. Ignatius of Antioch said, "Let no man do anything connected with the Church without the bishop. Let that be deemed a proper Eucharist, which is [administered] either by the bishop, or by one to whom he has entrusted it.
Wherever the bishop shall appear, there let the multitude [of the people] also be; even as, wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church. It is not lawful without the bishop either to baptize or to celebrate a love-feast. The original church or community of the East before the Great Schism comprised:. Systematic persecution of the early Christian church caused it to become an underground movement. The first above-ground legal churches were built in Armenia see Echmiadzin. However, illegal churches before "Christian legalization" are mentioned throughout church history; for example, in the City of Nisibis during the persecutions of Diocletian.
Of the underground churches that existed before legalization, some are recorded to have existed in the catacombs of Europe i. Much of the official organizing of the ecclesiastical structure, clarifying true from false teachings was done by the bishops of the church. Their works are referred to as Patristics. This tradition of clarification can be seen as established in the saints of the Orthodox Church referred to as the Apostolic Fathers , bishops themselves established by apostolic succession.
This also continued into the age when the practice of the religion of Christianity became legal see the Ecumenical Councils. The Biblical canon began with the officially accepted books of the Koine Greek Old Testament which predates Christianity. This canon , called the Septuagint or seventy , continues to be the Old Testament of the Orthodox faith, along with the New Testament 's Good news gospels , Revelations and Letters of the Apostles including Acts of the Apostles and the Epistle to the Hebrews.
The earliest text of the New Testament was written in common or Koine Greek.
The early Christians had no way to have a copy of the works that later became the canon and other church works accepted but not canonized. Much of the original church liturgical services functioned as a means of learning these works. Orthodox Church services today continue to serve this educational function. The issue of collecting the various works of the eastern churches and compiling them into a canon, each being confirmed as authentic text was a long protracted process.
Much of this process was motivated by a need to address various heresies. In many instances, heretical groups had themselves begun compiling and disseminating text that they used to validate their positions, positions that were not consistent with the text, history and traditions of the Orthodox faith. Liturgical services, especially the Eucharist service, are based on repeating the actions of Jesus "do this in remembrance of me" , using the bread and wine, and saying his words known as the words of the institution.
The church has the rest of the liturgical ritual being rooted in Jewish Passover , Siddur , Seder , and synagogue services, including the singing of hymns especially the Psalms and reading from the Scriptures Old and New Testament. The final uniformity of liturgical services became solidified after the church established a Biblical canon , being based on the Apostolic Constitutions and Clementine literature.
In the Orthodox view, Bible represents those texts approved by the church for the purpose of conveying the most important parts of what it already believed. The oldest list of books for the canon is the Muratorian fragment dating to c. Salvation or Soteriology from the Orthodox perspective is achieved not by knowledge of scripture but by being a member of the church or community and cultivating phronema and theosis through participation in the church or community. By the 5th century, Christian ecclesiology had organized a hierarchical " pentarchy ", or system of five sees patriarchates , with a settled order of precedence.
The first four of the patriarchs were located in the largest cities of the Roman Empire, while the fifth was in Jerusalem, a city deriving its importance from being the place where the Christian Church was founded, despite its relatively small size. All five locations also had Christian communities who traced their lineage back to one or several Apostles. Thus, in order of precedence, the five patriarchates and the Apostles claimed as founders by each patriarchate were as follows:.
Two patriarchates are noted to have been founded by St Peter, the patriarchate of Rome and the patriarchate of Antioch. It was not until then, that systematic Roman persecution of Christians stopped, although it did resurface later, though temporarily, under Roman Paganism Emperor Julian the Apostate.
This council put an end to the Arianism controversy by establishing the Trinitarian doctrine. Legalization included the calling of the Ecumenical Councils to resolve disputes and establish church dogma on which the entire church would agree. These councils being also the continuation of the church council tradition that predated legalization see Synod.
According to Joseph Raya , "Byzantine culture and Orthodoxy are one and the same. In the s the second Church of the Holy Wisdom Hagia Sophia was built in Constantinople under emperor Justinian I , to become the center of the ecclesiastical community for the rulers of the Eastern Roman Empire or Byzantium. The first church had been destroyed during the Nika riots.
Several doctrinal disputes from the 4th century onwards led to the calling of ecumenical councils which from a traditional perspective, are the culmination and also a continuation of previous church synods. These Pre Ecumenical councils include the Council of Jerusalem c. The first ecumenical council in part was a continuation of Trinitarian doctrinal issues addressed in pre-legalization of Christianity councils or synods for examples see Synods of Antioch between —AD and Synod of Elvira. These ecumenical councils with their doctrinal formulations are pivotal in the history of Christianity in general and to the history of the Orthodox Church in particular.
Specifically, these assemblies were responsible for the formulation of Christian doctrine. As such, they constitute a permanent standard for an Orthodox understanding of the Trinity, the person or hypostasis of Christ, the incarnation. The tradition of councils within the church started with the apostolic council of Jerusalem , but this council is not numbered as an ecumenical council.
It was convened to address the Abrahamic tradition of circumcision and its relation to converted Gentiles Acts Its decisions are accepted by all Christians,  and later definitions of an ecumenical council to conform to this sole Biblical council. The First seven Ecumenical Councils were held between the First Council of Nicaea and the Second Council of Nicaea , which the Orthodox recognize as the definitive interpretation of Christian dogma.
The Orthodox Church also recognizes the Fourth Council of Constantinople in as Ecumenical, and continues to participate in dogmatically binding councils. The First Ecumenical Council was convened to address the divinity of Christ once more see Paul of Samosata and the Synods of Antioch but this time through the teachings of Arius , an Egyptian presbyter from Alexandria , who taught that Jesus Christ was created, albeit divine, and not God in essence: both the Father and the Son where of "like" essence or being see homoiousia but not of the same essence or being see homoousia.
Much of the controversion was over the kenotic phrasing that Christ expressed in the New Testament to express submission to God the Father. Jesus was God in essence, being and nature ousia or substantia. The first council did not end the conflict. When Emperor Constantine I was baptized, the baptism was performed by an Arian bishop and relative, Eusebius of Nicomedia.
Also the charges of Christian corruption by Constantine see the Constantinian shift ignore the fact that Constantine deposed Athanasius of Alexandria and later restored Arius, who had been branded a heresiarch by the Nicene Council. It was not until the co-reigns of Gratian and Theodosius that Arianism was effectively wiped out among the ruling class and elite of the Eastern Empire.
Theodosius' wife St Flacilla was instrumental in his campaign to end Arianism. The Iconoclasm — and — was a movement within the Byzantine church to establish that the Christian culture of portraits see icon of the family of Christ and subsequent Christians and biblical scenes were not of a Christian origin and therefore heretical. The iconoclasts considered the tradition of icons as contrary to the ban on 'graven images' [Exodus ] , interpretated in a narrow sense as 'engraved or carved'.
This forbade many of the ornaments that Moses was commanded to create in the passages right after the commandment was given, i. The Orthodox Church understands this in a wider sense as a ban on no carved images : the people of God are not to create idols and then worship them. The cracks and fissures in Christian unity which led to the East—West Schism started to become evident as early as the 4th century. Although is the date usually given for the beginning of the Great Schism, there is, in fact, no specific date on which the schism occurred.
What really happened was a complex chain of events whose climax culminated with the sacking of Constantinople by the Fourth Crusade in The events leading to schism were not exclusively theological in nature. Cultural, political, and linguistic differences were often mixed with the theological. Unlike the Coptics and Armenians, who broke from the Church in the 5th century and established ethnic churches at the cost of their universality and catholicity, the eastern and western parts of the Church remained loyal to the faith and authority of the seven ecumenical councils.
They were united, by virtue of their common faith and tradition, in one Church. Nonetheless, the transfer of the Roman capital to Constantinople created mistrust and rivalry between the two great sees, Rome and Constantinople. Rome refused to recognize the conciliar legislation which promoted Constantinople to second rank.
But the estrangement was also helped along by the German invasions in the West, which effectively weakened contacts. The rise of Islam with its conquest of most of the Mediterranean coastline not to mention the arrival of the pagan Slavs in the Balkans at the same time further intensified this separation by driving a physical wedge between the two worlds.
The once homogeneous unified world of the Mediterranean was fast vanishing. Communication between the Greek East and Latin West by the 7th century had become dangerous and practically ceased. Furthermore, the loss of the Patriarchate of Alexandria following the schism regarding the Council of Chalcedon , which led to the separation between the Byzantine Church and the Alexandrian Coptic Church , as well as the fall of the Patriarchates of Antioch and Jerusalem following the conquest of Palestine and Syria during the rise of Islam , made the theory of the Pentarchy more of a simple theory, than a practical reality.
These events also lead to the Patriarch of Constantinople centralizing more power in his office, acting alone as the sole Patriarch remaining in the East until the fall of the Byzantine Empire in Two basic problems—the primacy of the bishop of Rome and the procession of the Holy Spirit—were involved. These doctrinal differences were first openly discussed during the patriarchate of Photius I. Rome began to interpret her primacy among the Pentarchy of five sees in terms of sovereignty, as a God-given right involving universal jurisdiction in the Church.
While the Pentarchy had been determined by canonical decision and did not entail hegemony of any one local church or patriarchate over the others, the collegial and conciliar nature of the Church, in effect, was gradually abandoned in favor of a supremacy of unlimited papal power over the entire Church. These ideas were finally given systematic expression in the West during the Gregorian Reform movement of the 11th century.
The Eastern churches viewed Rome's understanding of the nature of episcopal power as being in direct opposition to the Church's essentially conciliar structure and thus saw the two ecclesiologies as mutually antithetical. This fundamental difference in ecclesiology would cause all attempts to heal the schism and bridge the divisions to fail. Rome bases her claims to "true and proper jurisdiction" as the Vatican Council of put it on St.
This "Roman" exegesis of Mathew , however, has been unacceptable for the Orthodox Church. For them, specifically, St. Peter's primacy could never be the exclusive prerogative of any one bishop. All bishops must, like St. Peter, confess Jesus as the Christ and, as such, all are St. Peter's successors. The churches of the East gave the Roman See primacy but not supremacy, i. The other major irritant to Orthodoxy was the Roman Catholic interpretation of the procession of the Holy Spirit. This theologically complex issue involved the addition by Catholics of the Latin phrase filioque "and from the Son" to the original Creed "the Holy Spirit, the Lord and Giver of Life, who proceeds from the Father" , sanctioned by the councils and still used today by the Orthodox Church.
Theologically, the Latin interpolation was unacceptable to Orthodoxy since it implied that the Spirit now had two sources of origin and procession, the Father and the Son, rather than the Father alone. Photius refused to accept the supremacy of the pope in Orthodox matters, or accept the Filioque clause that had been added to the Nicene Creed by the Latin church, and was later the theological breaking point in the ultimate Great Schism in the 11th century.
The controversy also involved ecclesiastical jurisdictional rights in the Bulgarian church. Photios did provide concession on the issue of jurisdictional rights concerning Bulgaria, and the papal legates made do with his return of Bulgaria to Rome. This concession, however, was purely nominal, as Bulgaria's return to the Byzantine rite in had already secured for it an autocephalous church.
Without the consent of Boris I of Bulgaria , the papacy was unable to enforce any of its claims. As their mother was a Slav from the hinterlands of Thessaloniki, the two brothers had been raised speaking the local Slavonic vernacular. Once commissioned, they set about creating an alphabet for the Slavic language, the Glagolitic alphabet , and then translated the Scripture and the liturgy into Slavonic. This Slavic dialect became the basis of Old Church Slavonic which later evolved into Church Slavonic which is the common liturgical language still used by most Slavic Orthodox Churches.
In Great Moravia, the two brothers encountered Frankish missionaries from Germany, who represented the Latin branch of the Church, more particularly representing the Holy Roman Empire as founded by Charlemagne , and committing to linguistic and cultural uniformity. They insisted on the use of the Latin liturgy, and regarded Moravia as their rightful mission field. When friction developed, the brothers, unwilling to be a cause of dissension among Christians, traveled to Rome to see the Pope, seeking his approval of their missionary work and the use of Slavonic liturgy which would allow them to continue their work.
Constantine entered a monastery in Rome, taking the name Cyril, by which he is now remembered; he died only a few weeks thereafter. Not long after, Prince Ratislav, who had originally invited the brothers to Moravia, died, and his successor did not support Methodius. In the Frankish king Louis and his bishops deposed Methodius at a synod at Ratisbon, and imprisoned him for a little over two years. In , Methodius was summoned to Rome on charges of heresy and of using Slavonic liturgy. Pope John was convinced by the arguments Methodius made in his defense and sent him back cleared of all charges, and with permission to use Slavonic.
The Carolingian bishop who succeeded him, Wiching , suppressed the Slavonic Liturgy and forced the followers of Methodius into exile. Many found refuge with King Boris of Bulgaria — , who commissioned them to establish schools where Bulgarian clergymen received theological education in the Slavic language, with the goal of replacing the mainly Greek clergy present in Bulgaria at the time. Meanwhile, Pope John's successors adopted a Latin-only policy for the Western Church which lasted for centuries.
In the 9th and 10th centuries, Christianity made great inroads into Eastern Europe : first in Bulgaria and Serbia, then followed by Kievan Rus'. The evangelization, or Christianization, of the Slavs was initiated during the administration of one of Byzantium's most learned churchmen, the Patriarch Photios the "Godfather of all Slavs" [ citation needed ]. For a period of time, there was a real possibility that all of the newly baptized South Slav nations, Bulgarians, Serbs, and Croats would join the Western church, but in the end, only the Croats joined.
The Serbs were baptised during the reign of Heraclius — by "elders of Rome" according to Constantine Porphyrogenitus in his annals r. Boris realized that the Christianization of his subjects by the Byzantine mission would facilitate the undesired spread of Byzantine influence in Bulgaria, as the liturgy was carried out in the Greek language, and the newly established Bulgarian Church was subordinate to the Church of Constantinople.
A popular revolt against the new religion prompted the King to request that the Bulgarian Church be granted independence, which was refused by Constantinople. Boris turned to the Pope, and the arrival of the Roman clerical mission concluded the activity of the Byzantine mission, which was ordered by the King to leave Bulgaria. Constantinople nervously watched the events taking place in their northern neighbour, because a pro-Rome Bulgaria threatened its immediate interests. A religious council was held in the summer of in the Byzantine capital, during which the Roman Church's behaviour was harshly condemned.
As a personal culprit, Pope Nicholas I was anathematized. In a letter to Boris, the Byzantine emperor Michael III expressed his disapproval of Bulgaria's religious reorientation and used offensive language against the Roman Church. The old rivalry between the two Churches burned with new power.
Subversive Orthodoxy: Traditional Faith and Radical Commitment by K. Leech
The Pope refused, and his successor Pope Adrian II turned out to be even more disinclined to comply, so Boris turned again to Constantinople. This resulted in the creation of an autonomous national Bulgarian Archbishopric. In the next 10 years, Pope Adrian II and his successors made desperate attempts to reclaim their influence in Bulgaria, but their efforts ultimately failed. The foundations of the Bulgarian national Church had been set.
The next stage was the implementation of the Glagolitic alphabet and the Slavonic language as official language of the Bulgarian Church and State in AD. Clement , St. Naum and St. Angelaruis returned to Bulgaria, where they managed to instruct several thousand future Slavonic clergymen in the rites using the Slavic language and the Glagolitic alphabet. In the 11th century the East—West Schism took place between Rome and Constantinople , resulting in a separation between the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church with both claiming to represent the sole legitimate continuation of the original Church.
There were doctrinal issues like the filioque clause and the authority of the Pope involved in the split, but these were exacerbated by cultural and linguistic differences between Latins and Greeks. Prior to that, the Eastern and Western halves of the Church had frequently been in conflict, particularly during the periods of iconoclasm and the Photian schism. My dearest brother, we do not deny to the Roman Church the primacy among the five sister patriachates and we recognize her right to the most honorable seat at the Ecumenical Council.
But she has separated herself from us by her own deeds when through pride she assumed a monarchy which does not belong to her office How shall we accept decrees from her that have been issued without consulting us and even without our knowledge? If the Roman pontiff seated on the lofty throne of his glory wished to thunder at us and, so to speak, hurl his mandates at us from on high and if he wishes to judge us and even to rule us and our churches, not by taking counsel with us but at his own arbitrary pleasure what kind of brotherhood, or even what kind of parenthood can this be?
We should be the slaves not the sons, of such a church and the Roman see would not be the pious mother of sons but a hard and imperious mistress of slaves. Under church tradition the practice of Hesychasm has it beginnings in the bible, Matthew and the Philokalia. It is a form of constant purposeful prayer or experiential prayer, explicitly referred to as contemplation.
The tradition of contemplation with inner silence or tranquility is shared by all Eastern asceticism movements, having its roots in the Egyptian traditions of monasticism exemplified by such Orthodox monastics as St Anthony of Egypt. The Hesychasts stated that at higher stages of their practice they reached the actual contemplation-union with the Tabor Light , i. It is depicted in icons and theological discourse as tongues of fire.
Around the year , Hesychasm attracted the attention of a learned member of the Orthodox Church, Barlaam, a Calabrian monk who at that time held the office of abbot in the Monastery of St Saviour's in Constantinople and who visited Mount Athos. There, he encountered Hesychasts and heard descriptions of their practices, also reading the writings of the teacher in Hesychasm of St Gregory Palamas , himself an Athonite monk. Trained in Scholastic theology, Barlaam was scandalized by Hesychasm and began to campaign against it. As a teacher of theology in the Scholastic mode, Barlaam propounded a more intellectual and propositional approach to the knowledge of God than the Hesychasts taught.
In particular, he took exception to the Hesychasts doctrine to the nature of the uncreated light , the experience of which was said to be the goal of Hesychast practice. Barlaam held this concept to be polytheistic , inasmuch as it postulated two eternal substances, a visible immanent and an invisible God transcendent. On the Hesychast side, the controversy was taken up by Antonite St Gregory Palamas , afterwards Archbishop of Thessalonica , who was asked by his fellow monks on Mt Athos to defend Hesychasm from Barlaam's attacks.
St Gregory was well-educated in Greek philosophy dialectical method and thus able to defend Hesychasm. In the dispute came before a synod held at Constantinople and was presided over by the Emperor Andronicus ; the synod, taking into account the regard in which the writings of the pseudo-Dionysius were held, condemned Barlaam, who recanted and returned to Calabria , becoming a bishop in the Roman Catholic Church. Three other synods on the subject were held, at the second of which the followers of Barlaam gained a brief victory.
One of Barlaam's friends, Gregory Akindynos , who originally was also a friend of Gregory's, later took up the controversy. Following the decision of , there was strong repression against anti-Palamist thinkers, who ultimately had no choice but to emigrate and convert to Catholicism. This exodus of highly educated Greek scholars, later reinforced by refugees following the Fall of Constantinople of , had a significant influence on the first generation that of Petrarca and Boccaccio of the incipient Italian Renaissance.
During the early 5th century the School of Edessa had taught a Christological perspective stating that Christ's divine and human nature were distinct persons. A particular consequence of this perspective was that Mary could not be properly called the mother of God, but could only be considered the mother of Christ. The most widely known proponent of this viewpoint was the Patriarch of Constantinople Nestorius. Since referring to Mary as the mother of God had become popular in many parts of the Church this became a divisive issue.
The councils ultimately rejected Nestorius' view. Many churches who followed the Nestorian viewpoint broke away from the Roman Church, causing a major schism. The Nestorian churches were persecuted and many followers fled to the Sasanian Empire where they were accepted. The Sasanian Persian Empire had many Christian converts early in its history tied closely to the Syriac branch of Christianity.
The Empire was officially Zoroastrian and maintained a strict adherence to this faith in part to distinguish itself from the religion of the Roman Empire originally the pagan Roman religion and then Christianity. Christianity became tolerated in the Sasanian Empire and as the Roman Empire increasingly exiled heretics during the 4th and 6th centuries, the Sasanian Christian community grew rapidly. This church evolved into what is today known as the Church of the East. In the Council of Chalcedon was held to further clarify the Christological issues surrounding Nestorianism.
The council ultimately stated that Christ's divine and human nature were separate but both part of a single entity, a viewpoint rejected by many churches who called themselves miaphysites. The resulting schism created a communion of churches, including the Armenian, Syrian, and Egyptian churches. Monasticism is a form of asceticism whereby one renounces worldly pursuits and goes off alone as a hermit or joins a tightly organized community. It began early in the Church as a family of similar traditions, modelled upon Scriptural examples and ideals, and with roots in certain strands of Judaism.
John the Baptist is seen as an archetypical monk, and monasticism was also inspired by the organisation of the Apostolic community as recorded in Acts 2. Eremetic monks, or hermits , live in solitude, whereas cenobitics live in communities, generally in a monastery , under a rule or code of practice and are governed by an abbot. Originally, all Christian monks were hermits, following the example of Anthony the Great. However, the need for some form of organised spiritual guidance lead Pachomius in to organise his many followers in what was to become the first monastery.
Soon, similar institutions were established throughout the Egyptian desert as well as the rest of the eastern half of the Roman Empire. Women were especially attracted to the movement. Central figures in the development of monasticism were Basil the Great in the East and, in the West, Benedict , who created the famous Rule of Saint Benedict , which would become the most common rule throughout the Middle Ages, and starting point for other monastic rules. The transition into the Middle Ages was a gradual and localised process.
Rural areas rose as power centres whilst urban areas declined. Although a greater number of Christians remained in the East Greek areas , important developments were underway in the West Latin areas and each took on distinctive shapes. The Bishops of Rome , the Popes, were forced to adapt to drastically changing circumstances. Maintaining only nominal allegiance to the Emperor, they were forced to negotiate balances with the "barbarian rulers" of the former Roman provinces.
In the East the Church maintained its structure and character and evolved more slowly. The stepwise loss of Western Roman Empire dominance, replaced with foederati and Germanic kingdoms, coincided with early missionary efforts into areas not controlled by the collapsing empire. Prominent missionaries were Saints Patrick , Columba and Columbanus. The Anglo-Saxon tribes that invaded southern Britain some time after the Roman abandonment, were initially pagan, but converted to Christianity by Augustine of Canterbury on the mission of Pope Gregory the Great.
Soon becoming a missionary centre, missionaries such as Wilfrid , Willibrord , Lullus and Boniface would begin converting their Saxon relatives in Germania. The largely Christian Gallo-Roman inhabitants of Gaul modern France were overrun by the Franks in the early 5th century. The native inhabitants were persecuted until the Frankish king Clovis I converted from paganism to Roman Catholicism in Clovis insisted that his fellow nobles follow suit, strengthening his newly established kingdom by uniting the faith of the rulers with that of the ruled.
After the rise of the Frankish Kingdom and the stabilizing political conditions, the Western part of the Church increased the missionary activities, supported by the Merovingian kingdom as a means to pacify troublesome neighbour peoples. After the foundation of a church in Utrecht by Willibrord , backlashes occurred when the pagan Frisian king Radbod destroyed many Christian centres between and In , the English missionary Boniface was sent to aid Willibrord, re-establishing churches in Frisia continuing missions in Germany.
Following a series of heavy military reverses against the Muslims , the Iconoclasm emerged in the early 8th century. The Byzantine Iconoclast Council , held at Hieria in , ruled that holy portraits were heretical. The movement destroyed much of the Christian church's early artistic history. The iconoclastic movement itself was later defined as heretical in under the Second Council of Nicaea the seventh ecumenical council , but enjoyed a brief resurgence between and The Carolingian Renaissance was a period of intellectual and cultural revival of literature, arts, and scriptural studies during the late 8th and 9th centuries , mostly during the reigns of Charlemagne and Louis the Pious , Frankish rulers.
To address the problems of illiteracy among clergy and court scribes, Charlemagne founded schools and attracted the most learned men from all of Europe to his court. From the 6th century onward most of the monasteries in the West were of the Benedictine Order. Owing to the stricter adherence to a reformed Benedictine rule , the abbey of Cluny became the acknowledged leader of western monasticism from the later 10th century. Cluny created a large, federated order in which the administrators of subsidiary houses served as deputies of the abbot of Cluny and answered to him. The Cluniac spirit was a revitalising influence on the Norman church, at its height from the second half of the 10th centuries through the early 12th.
The next wave of monastic reform came with the Cistercian Movement. The keynote of Cistercian life was a return to a literal observance of the Benedictine rule , rejecting the developments of the Benedictines.
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The most striking feature in the reform was the return to manual labour, and especially to field-work. Inspired by Bernard of Clairvaux , the primary builder of the Cistercians, they became the main force of technological diffusion in medieval Europe. By the end of the 12th century the Cistercian houses numbered , and at its height in the 15th century the order claimed to have close to houses. Most of these were built in wilderness areas, and played a major part in bringing such isolated parts of Europe into economic cultivation.
Bernard of Clairvaux , in a medieval illuminated manuscript. A third level of monastic reform was provided by the establishment of the Mendicant orders. Commonly known as friars, mendicants live under a monastic rule with traditional vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience , but they emphasise preaching, missionary activity, and education, in a secluded monastery. Beginning in the 12th century , the Franciscan order was instituted by the followers of Francis of Assisi , and thereafter the Dominican order was begun by St.
The Investiture Controversy , or Lay investiture controversy, was the most significant conflict between secular and religious powers in medieval Europe. The end of lay investiture threatened to undercut the power of the Empire and the ambitions of noblemen. Bishoprics being merely lifetime appointments, a king could better control their powers and revenues than those of hereditary noblemen. Even better, he could leave the post vacant and collect the revenues, theoretically in trust for the new bishop, or give a bishopric to pay a helpful noble.
The Church wanted to end lay investiture to end this and other abuses, to reform the episcopate and provide better pastoral care.
Henry IV's rejection of the decree led to his excommunication and a ducal revolt. Eventually Henry received absolution after dramatic public penance see Road to Canossa , though the Great Saxon Revolt and conflict of investiture continued.
Anselm , Archbishop of Canterbury, over investiture and episcopal vacancy. The English dispute was resolved by the Concordat of London, , where the king renounced his claim to invest bishops but continued to require an oath of fealty. This was a partial model for the Concordat of Worms Pactum Calixtinum , which resolved the Imperial investiture controversy with a compromise that allowed secular authorities some measure of control but granted the selection of bishops to their cathedral canons.
As a symbol of the compromise, both ecclesiastical and lay authorities invested bishops with respectively, the staff and the ring. The Medieval Inquisition is a series of Inquisitions Roman Catholic Church bodies charged with suppressing heresy from around , including the Episcopal Inquisition —s and later the Papal Inquisition s. It was in response to movements within Europe considered apostate or heretical to Western Catholicism , in particular the Cathars and the Waldensians in southern France and northern Italy.
These were the first inquisition movements of many that would follow. The inquisitions in combination with the Albigensian Crusade were fairly successful in ending heresy. Historian Thomas F. Madden has written about popular myths regarding the Inquisition. Ansgar, a native of Amiens , was sent with a group of monks to Jutland Denmark in around at the time of the pro-Christian Jutish king Harald Klak.
The mission was only partially successful, and Ansgar returned two years later to Germany, after Harald had been driven out of his kingdom. Although by Western Europe was ruled entirely by Christian kings, East and Central Europe remained an area of missionary activity. For example, in the 9th century Cyril and Methodius had extensive missionary success in the region among the Slavic peoples , translating the Bible and liturgy into Slavonic. In the 9th and 10th centuries, Christianity made great inroads into Eastern Europe , including Bulgaria and Kievan Rus'. The evangelisation, or Christianisation, of the Slavs was initiated by one of Byzantium's most learned churchmen—the Patriarch Photios I of Constantinople Photius.
The Byzantine emperor Michael III chose Cyril and Methodius in response to a request from Rastislav , the king of Moravia who wanted missionaries that could minister to the Moravians in their own language. The two brothers spoke the local Slavonic vernacular and translated the Bible and many of the prayer books. Methodius later went on to convert the Serbs. In a short time the disciples of Cyril and Methodius managed to prepare and instruct the future Slavic clergy into the Glagolitic alphabet and the biblical texts.
Bulgaria was officially recognised as a patriarchate by Constantinople in , Serbia in , and Russia in All these nations, however, had been converted long before these dates. The missionaries to the East and South Slavs had great success in part because they used the people's native language rather than Latin as the Roman priests did, or Greek. As their mother was a Slav from the hinterlands of Thessaloniki, the two brothers had been raised speaking the local Slavonic vernacular.
Once commissioned, they immediately set about creating an alphabet, the Glagolitic alphabet. They then translated the Scripture and the liturgy into Slavonic. This Slavic dialect became the basis of Old Church Slavonic which later evolved into Church Slavonic which is the common liturgical language still used by the Russian Orthodox Church and other Slavic Orthodox Christians.
Bulgaria was a pagan country since its establishment in until when Boris I — converted to Christianity. The reasons for that decision were complex; the most important factors were that Bulgaria was situated between two powerful Christian empires, Byzantium and East Francia ; Christian doctrine particularly favoured the position of the monarch as God's representative on Earth, while Boris also saw it as a way to overcome the differences between Bulgars and Slavs. In some of the disciples of Cyril and Methodius, including Clement of Ohrid , Naum of Preslav and Angelaruis, returned to Bulgaria where they were welcomed by Boris I who viewed the Slavonic liturgy as a way to counteract Byzantine influence in the country.
In a short time they managed to prepare and instruct the future Bulgarian clergy into the Glagolitic alphabet and the biblical texts. The success of the conversion of the Bulgarians facilitated the conversion of other East Slavic peoples , most notably the Rus' , predecessors of Belarusians , Russians, and Ukrainians, as well as Rusyns.
By the beginning of the 11th century most of the pagan Slavic world, including Rus', Bulgaria and Serbia, had been converted to Byzantine Christianity. The traditional event associated with the conversion of Rus' is the baptism of Vladimir of Kiev in However, Christianity is documented to have predated this event in the city of Kiev and in Georgia. The cracks and fissures in Christian unity which led to the East-West Schism started to become evident as early as the 4th century.
Cultural, political, and linguistic differences were often mixed with the theological, leading to schism. The transfer of the Roman capital to Constantinople inevitably brought mistrust, rivalry, and even jealousy to the relations of the two great sees, Rome and Constantinople. It was easy for Rome to be jealous of Constantinople at a time when it was rapidly losing its political prominence. Estrangement was also helped along by the German invasions in the West, which effectively weakened contacts. The rise of Islam with its conquest of most of the Mediterranean coastline not to mention the arrival of the pagan Slavs in the Balkans at the same time further intensified this separation by driving a physical wedge between the two worlds.
The once homogeneous unified world of the Mediterranean was fast vanishing. Communication between the Greek East and Latin West by the 7th century had become dangerous and practically ceased. Two basic problems were involved: the nature of the primacy of the bishop of Rome and the theological implications of adding a clause to the Nicene Creed , known as the Filioque clause. These doctrinal issues were first openly discussed in Photius's patriarchate. By the 5th century, Christendom was divided into a pentarchy of five sees with Rome accorded a primacy.
The four Eastern sees of the pentarchy considered this determined by canonical decision and not entailing hegemony of any one local church or patriarchate over the others. However, Rome began to interpret her primacy in terms of sovereignty, as a God-given right involving universal jurisdiction in the Church. The collegial and conciliar nature of the Church, in effect, was gradually abandoned in favour of supremacy of unlimited papal power over the entire Church. These ideas were finally given systematic expression in the West during the Gregorian Reform movement of the 11th century.
The Eastern churches viewed Rome's understanding of the nature of episcopal power as being in direct opposition to the Church's essentially conciliar structure and thus saw the two ecclesiologies as mutually antithetical. For them, specifically, Simon Peter's primacy could never be the exclusive prerogative of any one bishop.
All bishops must, like St. Peter, confess Jesus as the Christ and, as such, all are Peter's successors. The churches of the East gave the Roman See primacy but not supremacy, the Pope being the first among equals but not infallible and not with absolute authority. This too developed gradually and entered the Creed over time. In the final analysis, only another ecumenical council could introduce such an alteration. Indeed, the councils, which drew up the original Creed, had expressly forbidden any subtraction or addition to the text.
In addition to this ecclesiological issue, the Eastern Church also considered the Filioque clause unacceptable on dogmatic grounds. Theologically, the Latin interpolation was unacceptable since it implied that the Spirit now had two sources of origin and procession, the Father and the Son, rather than the Father alone. Photios was refused an apology by the pope for previous points of dispute between the East and West. Photios refused to accept the supremacy of the pope in Eastern matters or accept the Filioque clause. The Latin delegation at the council of his consecration pressed him to accept the clause in order to secure their support.
The controversy also involved Eastern and Western ecclesiastical jurisdictional rights in the Bulgarian church, as well as a doctrinal dispute over the Filioque "and from the Son" clause. That had been added to the Nicene Creed by the Latin church, which was later the theological breaking point in the ultimate Great East-West Schism in the 11th century. Photios did provide concession on the issue of jurisdictional rights concerning Bulgaria and the papal legates made do with his return of Bulgaria to Rome.
This concession, however, was purely nominal, as Bulgaria's return to the Byzantine rite in had already secured for it an autocephalous church. Without the consent of Boris I of Bulgaria , the papacy was unable to enforce any of its claims. It was the first major division since certain groups in the East rejected the decrees of the Council of Chalcedon see Oriental Orthodoxy , and was far more significant.
Though normally dated to , the East-West Schism was actually the result of an extended period of estrangement between Latin and Greek Christendom over the nature of papal primacy and certain doctrinal matters like the Filioque , but intensified by cultural and linguistic differences. The "official" schism in was the excommunication of Patriarch Michael Cerularius of Constantinople, followed by his excommunication of papal legates.
Attempts at reconciliation were made in by the Second Council of Lyon and in by the Council of Basel , but in each case the eastern hierarchs who consented to the unions were repudiated by the Orthodox as a whole, though reconciliation was achieved between the West and what are now called the " Eastern Rite Catholic Churches ". More recently, in the mutual excommunications were rescinded by the Pope and the Patriarch of Constantinople, though schism remains.
Both groups are descended from the Early Church, both acknowledge the apostolic succession of each other's bishops, and the validity of each other's sacraments. Though both acknowledge the primacy of the Bishop of Rome, Eastern Orthodoxy understands this as a primacy of honour with limited or no ecclesiastical authority in other dioceses. The Orthodox East perceived the Papacy as taking on monarchical characteristics that were not in line with the church's tradition and violating the First Council of Constantinople of which recognized the sees of Rome and Constantinople as being equal in authority.
The final breach is often considered to have arisen after the capture and sacking of Constantinople by the Fourth Crusade in Crusades against Christians in the East by Roman Catholic crusaders was not exclusive to the Mediterranean though see also the Northern Crusades and the Battle of the Ice. The sacking of Constantinople and the Church of Holy Wisdom and establishment of the Latin Empire as a seeming attempt to supplant the Orthodox Byzantine Empire in is viewed with some rancour to the present day.
Many in the East saw the actions of the West as a prime determining factor in the weakening of Byzantium. This led to the Empire's eventual conquest and fall to Islam. In , Pope John Paul II extended a formal apology for the sacking of Constantinople in ; the apology was formally accepted by Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople. Many things that were stolen during this time: holy relics , riches, and many other items, are still held in various Western European cities, particularly Venice , Italy. Generally, the Crusades refer to the campaigns in the Holy Land against Muslim forces sponsored by the Papacy.
There were other crusades against Islamic forces in southern Spain, southern Italy, and Sicily, as well as the campaigns of Teutonic Knights against pagan strongholds in North-eastern Europe see Northern Crusades. A few crusades were waged within Christendom against groups that were considered heretical and schismatic also see the Battle of the Ice and the Albigensian Crusade.
Thereafter, Christians had generally been permitted to visit the sacred places in the Holy Land until , when the Seljuk Turks closed Christian pilgrimages and assailed the Byzantines, defeating them at the Battle of Manzikert. He probably expected money from the pope for the hiring of mercenaries. Instead, Urban II called upon the knights of Christendom in a speech made at the Council of Clermont on 27 November , combining the idea of pilgrimage to the Holy Land with that of waging a holy war against infidels. The First Crusade captured Antioch in and then Jerusalem. The Second Crusade occurred in when Edessa was retaken by Islamic forces.
Jerusalem would be held until and the Third Crusade , famous for the battles between Richard the Lionheart and Saladin. This was effectively the last crusade sponsored by the papacy, with later crusades being sponsored by individuals. Jerusalem was held by the crusaders for nearly a century, and other strongholds in the Near East would remain in Christian possession much longer. The crusades in the Holy Land ultimately failed to establish permanent Christian kingdoms.
Islamic expansion into Europe would renew and remain a threat for centuries culminating in the campaigns of Suleiman the Magnificent in the 16th century. Crusades in southern Spain, southern Italy, and Sicily eventually lead to the demise of Islamic power in Europe. In Hesychasm —a mystical teaching at Mount Athos came under attack from Barlaam of Calabria , an abbot in Constantinople. Barlaam propounded a more intellectual and propositional approach to the knowledge of God than the Hesychasts taught. Hesychasm is a form of constant purposeful prayer or experiential prayer, explicitly referred to as contemplation focusing on the idea of stillness and the characteristic mystical idea of light as the vehicle for knowing God.
Gregory Palamas , afterwards Archbishop of Thessalonica , defended Hesychasm. Several synods took one position or the other until in at a synod under the presidency of the Emperor John VI Cantacuzenus , Hesychast doctrine was established as the doctrine of the Orthodox Church. In , Constantinople fell to the Ottoman Empire. By this time Egypt had been under Muslim control for some seven centuries, but Orthodoxy was very strong in Russia which had recently acquired an autocephalous status; and thus Moscow called itself the Third Rome , as the cultural heir of Constantinople.
Under Ottoman rule, the Greek Orthodox Church acquired substantial power as an autonomous millet. The ecumenical patriarch was the religious and administrative ruler of the entire "Greek Orthodox nation" Ottoman administrative unit , which encompassed all the Eastern Orthodox subjects of the Empire. Eastern Christians fleeing Constantinople, and the Greek manuscripts they carried with them, is one of the factors that prompted the literary renaissance in the West at about this time.
As a result of the Ottoman conquest of the Byzantine Empire in , and the Fall of Constantinople , the entire Orthodox communion of the Balkans and the Near East became suddenly isolated from the West. For the next four hundred years, it would be confined within a hostile Islamic world, with which it had little in common religiously or culturally.
The Russian Orthodox Church was the only part of the Orthodox communion which remained outside the control of the Ottoman Empire. It is, in part, due to this geographical and intellectual confinement that the voice of Eastern Orthodoxy was not heard during the Reformation in 16th-century Europe. As a result, this important theological debate often seems strange and distorted to the Orthodox. They never took part in it and thus neither Reformation nor Counter-Reformation is part of their theological framework. The new Ottoman government that conquered the Byzantine Empire followed Islamic law when dealing with the conquered Christian population.
Christians were officially tolerated as People of the Book.
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As such, the Church's canonical and hierarchical organisation were not significantly disrupted and its administration continued to function. One of the first things that Mehmet the Conqueror did was to allow the Church to elect a new patriarch, Gennadius Scholarius. Because Islamic law makes no distinction between nationality and religion, all Christians, regardless of their language or nationality, were considered a single millet , or nation.
The patriarch, as the highest-ranking hierarch, was thus invested with civil and religious authority and made ethnarch , head of the entire Christian Orthodox population. This meant that all Orthodox Churches within Ottoman territory were under the control of Constantinople. However, these rights and privileges, including freedom of worship and religious organisation, were often established in principle but seldom corresponded to reality. Christians were viewed as second-class citizens , and the legal protections they depended upon were subject to the whims of the Sultan and the Sublime Porte.
Under Ottoman occupation the Church could no longer bear witness to Christ. Christian missionary work among Muslims was illegal and dangerous, whereas conversion to Islam was entirely legal and permissible. Converts to Islam who returned to Orthodoxy were put to death as apostates. No new churches could be built and even the ringing of church bells was prohibited. The Hagia Sophia and the Parthenon , which had been Christian churches for nearly a millennium, were converted into mosques.
Education of the clergy and the Christian population either ceased altogether or was reduced to the most rudimentary elements. Violent persecutions of Christians were common, and reached their climax in the Armenian , Assyrian , and Greek genocides. The Orthodox Church found itself subject to the Turkish system of corruption. The patriarchal throne was frequently sold to the highest bidder, while new patriarchal investiture was accompanied by heavy payment to the government.
In order to recoup their losses, patriarchs and bishops taxed the local parishes and their clergy. Few patriarchs between the 15th and the 19th centuries died a natural death while in office. The forced abdications, exiles, hangings, drownings, and poisonings of patriarchs are well documented. The hierarchy's positions were often dangerous as well.
The hanging of patriarch Gregory V from the gate of the patriarchate on Easter Sunday was accompanied by the execution of two metropolitans and twelve bishops. The Avignon Papacy , sometimes referred to as the Babylonian Captivity, was a period from to during which seven Popes resided in Avignon , in modern-day France. Troubles reached their peak in when, Gregory XI died while visiting Rome. Urban soon alienated the French cardinals, and they held a second conclave electing Robert of Geneva to succeed Gregory XI, beginning the Western Schism.
The conflict was political rather than doctrinal. For sixty-nine years popes resided in Avignon rather than Rome. In the Lives of the Saints it … [Read More Maximus the Confessor ca. After the Ascension of Christ, she, the treasure house of all good things, being thus in her own country, took charge of every good thing, and while she was dwelling in the land, she was herself … [Read More Nicholas , "What do you think, Father, about the calendar? From the earliest Christian centuries the Church has celebrated her saints — first the Apostles and martyrs who died for Christ, then the desert-dwellers who crucified themselves for the love of Christ, and the … [Read More Sophronius of Jerusalem ca.
Actually, not to keep the secret of a king is perilous and a … [Read More Translated into our English Tongue by "P. In the time that Trajan the emperor reigned, and on a time as he went toward a battle out of Rome, it happed that in his way as he should ride, a woman, a widow, came to him weeping and said I pray thee, sire, that thou avenge the death of one my son which innocently and without cause hath been slain. The emperor … [Read More Andrew, the Fool for Christ of Constantinople ca.
Once during a terrible winter when St. Andrew lay in a city street frozen and near death, he suddenly felt a warmth within him and beheld a splendid youth with a face shining like the sun, who conducted him to paradise and the third heaven. Seraphim of Sarov Near St. Seraphim's cell was the cell of a monk called Paul who, being his neighbor, performed the duties of his cell attendant.
When he went from the monastery to his near hermitage, St. Seraphim used to leave candles burning in his cell which he had lit from morning before the … [Read More He became a Martyr, having remained faithful to the Ruler of those who rule, and accepted death in the same way as the martyrs accepted it. Archbishop John Maximovitch. Very soon after Russia accepted the seed … [Read More Bede the Venerable ca. On coming into the … [Read More Although Orthodoxy does not have an official and dogmatic position on the later times, this book provides very useful information from the Holy Fathers and Scripture.
History of the Eastern Orthodox Church
Chapter … [Read More By Paul Schroeder In St. Basil the Great, St. Gregory describes the legacy of St. All throughout the Scripture we see how Christ and the Apostles speak of us battling demons. We see Christ cast them out of people. We see Saint Paul insist, in … [Read More Christ says in Matthew 16 that nothing will prevail against the Church. This is how the Church worships: without being … [Read More Many at least … [Read More Solzhenitsyn Solzhenitsyn's warning of Western decline is as relevant today as it was twenty-five years ago.
The Orthodox World-View by Father Seraphim Rose of Platina Before beginning my talk, a word or two on why it is important to have an Orthodox world-view, and why it is more difficult to build one today than in past centuries. In past centuries—for example, in 19th century Russia—the Orthodox … [Read More Many times there is confusion within Orthodox and western conversation that seems to be somewhat of bandit; that is, there is a problem that swiftly and frequently snatches an important state of solitude from the minds of those discussing and even considering Orthodoxy.
What seems to happen is that the western … [Read More