OrthodoxChristianity.net
December 19, 2014, 05:39:06 AM *
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
News: Reminder: No political discussions in the public fora.  If you do not have access to the private Politics Forum, please send a PM to Fr. George.
 
   Home   Help Calendar Contact Treasury Tags Login Register  
Pages: 1   Go Down
  Print  
Author Topic: Role of the Emperor in Christianity  (Read 2343 times) Average Rating: 0
0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.
GiC
Resident Atheist
Site Supporter
Merarches
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Mathematician
Posts: 9,490



« on: January 31, 2006, 11:36:21 PM »

As there has been some disagreement over the role of our God-Appointed Emperors in the Orthodox Church, and their significace in Doctrinal and Canonical matters, as well as the significance of the Empire to the Church. Accordingly, I thought I would post this article that I came across, where the proper role of the Emperor is upheld by the Patriarch of Constantinople.

Medieval Sourcebook:
Patriarch Anthony: Defending the Emperor, 1395
http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/source/patanthony-emp.html

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

By the 14th century the powers and influence of the patriarch of Constantinople far outstripped those of the Byzantine Emperor. The Patriarch presided over a Church which had many more adherents outside the city state that the Empire had become, notably in the Slavic world. But in response to disparaging remarks made by the Grand Prince of Moscow, Vasily I, Patriarch Anthony wrote this rousing defence of the Byzantine conception on divine and earthly order.


'The holy emperor has a great place in the church, for he is not like other rulers or governors of other regions. This is so because from the beginning the emperors established and confirmed the [true] faith in all the inhabited world. They convoked the ecumenical councils and confirmed and decreed the acceptance of the pronouncements of the divine and holy canons regarding the correct doctrines and the government of Christians. They struggled boldly against heresies, and imperial decrees together with councils established the metropolitan sees of the archpriests and the divisions of their provinces and the delineation of their districts. For this reason the emperors enjoy great honor and position in the Church, for even if, by God's permission, the nations [primarily the Ottoman Turks] have constricted the authority and domain of the emperor, still to this day the emperor possesses the same charge from the church and the same rank and the same prayers [from the church]. The basileus [note: the Greek term for emperor] is anointed with the great myrrh and is appointed basileus and autokrator of the Romans, and indeed of all Christians. Everywhere the name of the emperor is commemorated by all patriarchs and metropolitans and bishops wherever men are called Christians, [a thing] which no other ruler or governor ever received. Indeed he enjoys such great authority over all that even the Latins themselves, who are not in communion with our church, render him the same honor and submission which they did in the old days when they were united with us. So much more do Orthodox Christians owe such recognition to him....

'Therefore, my son, you are wrong to affirm that we have the church without an Emperors for it is impossible for Christians to have a church and no empire. The Baslleia [empire] and the church have a great unity and community - indeed they cannot be separated. Christians can repudiate only emperors who are heretics who attack the church, or who introduce doctrines irreconcilable with the teachings of the Apostles and the Fathers. But our very great and holy autokrator, by the grace of God, is most orthodox and faithful, a champion of' the church, its defender and avenger, so that it is impossible for bishops not to mention his name in the liturgy. Of whom, then, do the Fathers, councils, and canons speak? Always and everywhere they speak loudly of' the one rightful basileus, whose laws, decrees, and charters are in force throughout the world and who alone, only he, is mentioned in all places by Christians in the liturgy.'


Letter of Patriarch Anthony, from F. Miklosich and I. Mueller, eds., Acta et Diplomata Graeca Medii Aev)I [Vienna, 18621, vol. 2, pp. 190-91., trans in Deno Geanakoplos, ed. Byzantium: Church Society, and Civilization Seen through Contemporary Eyes, (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1984)
Logged

"The liberties of people never were, nor ever will be, secure, when the transactions of their rulers may be concealed from them." -- Patrick Henry
Silouan
High Elder
******
Offline Offline

Posts: 818

Bogurodzica dziewica zbaw nas


« Reply #1 on: January 31, 2006, 11:44:43 PM »

Quote
it is impossible for Christians to have a church and no empire.

As silly and ridiculous today as when it was written. 

John 18:36
My Kingdom is not of this world. 
Logged
GiC
Resident Atheist
Site Supporter
Merarches
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Mathematician
Posts: 9,490



« Reply #2 on: February 01, 2006, 01:15:52 AM »

As silly and ridiculous today as when it was written.ÂÂ  

Of course, though some such as the Grand Prince may have disagreed, no one would have thought of the letter as 'silly and ridiculous' when the letter was written. But I'm sure your word on the matter is more valued than universal consent of the Church for over a thousand years.

Quote
John 18:36
My Kingdom is not of this world.ÂÂ  

I dont recall His All-Holiness' letter saying that the Roman Empire was the Heavenly Kingdom, I simply recall it saying that it is an essential element of the Church, or more to the point that the Emperor is an essential Minister of the Church. To draw what you imply to its logical conclusion, you would be arguing that the Church is not of the world. And while there is heavenly element to the Church, just as there is a heavenly element to the ministry of the Emperor, that's not the point here; the point here is that the Roman Empire, no comment made about Christ's Empire, is an essential element of the Christian Church.
Logged

"The liberties of people never were, nor ever will be, secure, when the transactions of their rulers may be concealed from them." -- Patrick Henry
Justin Kissel
Formerly Asteriktos
Protospatharios
****************
Offline Offline

Posts: 30,492



« Reply #3 on: February 01, 2006, 01:39:23 AM »

Um, ok, so the Church was more caesaro-papistic than we thought. How is that a good thing again?
Logged

"By the way he dies as a human being he shows us what it is to be God." - Fr. John Behr
Silouan
High Elder
******
Offline Offline

Posts: 818

Bogurodzica dziewica zbaw nas


« Reply #4 on: February 01, 2006, 02:11:31 AM »

Quote
Of course, though some such as the Grand Prince may have disagreed, no one would have thought of the letter as 'silly and ridiculous' when the letter was written. But I'm sure your word on the matter is more valued than universal consent of the Church for over a thousand years.

The Church had already existed outside of the empire at the time this was written.  For 300 years the Church existed in spite of the empire.  Even on an historical level it is not correct to say "it is impossible for Christians to have a church and no empire."  In case you hadn't noticed there is no empire now and the church is still around.  In fact it is still around after the Turkish occupation of the Balkans and the Soviet occuption of Eastern Europe. 

Quote
the point here is that the Roman Empire, no comment made about Christ's Empire, is an essential element of the Christian Church.

No.  The Church is One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic.  I don't see imperial in the creed. 
Logged
GiC
Resident Atheist
Site Supporter
Merarches
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Mathematician
Posts: 9,490



« Reply #5 on: February 01, 2006, 02:14:50 AM »

Um, ok, so the Church was more caesaro-papistic than we thought. How is that a good thing again?

I'm just saying how the Church was, if you want to object to the assumption that the Church did what was right, I really dont know that it is possible for me to respond. It goes back to that thread of yours about trying to convince someone who disagrees with the fundamentals of our faith to accept Christianity...if you think the Church was upholding a bad ecclesiology in her practice for 1000 years, I really just don't know what to say.
Logged

"The liberties of people never were, nor ever will be, secure, when the transactions of their rulers may be concealed from them." -- Patrick Henry
GiC
Resident Atheist
Site Supporter
Merarches
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Mathematician
Posts: 9,490



« Reply #6 on: February 01, 2006, 02:23:52 AM »

The Church had already existed outside of the empire at the time this was written.ÂÂ  For 300 years the Church existed in spite of the empire.ÂÂ  Even on an historical level it is not correct to say "it is impossible for Christians to have a church and no empire."ÂÂ  In case you hadn't noticed there is no empire now and the church is still around.ÂÂ  In fact it is still around after the Turkish occupation of the Balkans and the Soviet occuption of Eastern Europe.

Though they might have been outside of the Lands directly controlled by the Emperor, these people throughout the world were no less subjects of the Emperor, as the letter says, 'The Basileus is anointed with the great myrrh and is appointed basileus and autokrator of the Romans, and indeed of all Christians.' After the fall of the Empire, while the Church existed in a form, it did and does not exist in its fullness it upheld prior to the Fall of the Empire, the missionary capabilities have been greatly diminished (there was a small attempt at Alaska, much of which has been reversed today), the Unity the Church once enjoyed is no more as Bishops and Patriarchs begin to fight amongst each other, ignoring the Ancient ranks assigned to the Churches and the Role of Constantinople, and, in general, Orthodox has been on the decline world wide. And while the fall of communism may be viewed as some as a point of light in 500 years of darkness, the real damage has been done, these countries have been secularized and over time the influence of the Church will diminish even more. I predict, as any objective observer of culture and history should, that things will continue to decline until the parousia...religion will simply no longer play the role it once did. So yes, while the Church exists in a way without the Empire, she does not exist as she did when we had one.

Quote
No.ÂÂ  The Church is One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic.ÂÂ  I don't see imperial in the creed.ÂÂ  

I dont see 'Orthodox' there either.
Logged

"The liberties of people never were, nor ever will be, secure, when the transactions of their rulers may be concealed from them." -- Patrick Henry
Justin Kissel
Formerly Asteriktos
Protospatharios
****************
Offline Offline

Posts: 30,492



« Reply #7 on: February 01, 2006, 02:37:00 AM »

GIC,

It's not an issue of the Church being right or wrong. It's an issue of people (both then and now) taking things purely based on culture, secular authority, and temporary administrative needs, and trying to then project those things onto the entire Church as though they are necessary things. Even the elevation of the See of Constantinople (and other actions) were culturally and politically based (as the relevant canon from Chalcedon itself makes clear... what is it, 28? I forget, and I'm too lazy to go look it up, even though I have it bookmarked).
« Last Edit: February 01, 2006, 02:38:46 AM by Asteriktos » Logged

"By the way he dies as a human being he shows us what it is to be God." - Fr. John Behr
Elisha
Protokentarchos
*********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: OCA
Posts: 4,464


« Reply #8 on: February 01, 2006, 03:22:31 AM »

Whatever this stuff about the Emperor is, the important matter is that it WAS is not NOW.  GiC, get your head out of the clouds.  You will only find God in the present moment - not in the past or the future (to paraphrase someone more learned than I or scripture or whatever).  We are in the PRESENT, there is no Emporer and there probably won't be another "Orthodox" Emporer before Christ comes.  But the Church will live on.  And it wll live by living in the NOW and being PRACTICAL about living in the NOW.  Not to say the Church will conform to this world - because it won't - but on a practical basis it will deal with present circumstances and peoples.  There is no trying to reclaim so long destroyed empire.
Logged
Silouan
High Elder
******
Offline Offline

Posts: 818

Bogurodzica dziewica zbaw nas


« Reply #9 on: February 01, 2006, 03:23:57 AM »

What I find interesting is how some statements of some patriarchs you are willing to accept as if they were ex cathedra Papal statements.  While statements from other Patriarchs regarding things such as ecumenism or the condemnation of the Gregorian menaion don't seem to apply. ÂÂ

That aside you speak of the church not existing in its fullness today.  I think it is sad you have such an earthly vision of the church.  The glory of the church is in her members obtaining theosis.  So while a few nice cathedrals, fancy icons and other externals are nice they aren't the glory of the Church.  None of what you assign as essential to the Church existed in the first 300 years of Christianity, yet that was the period in which the church was most fruitful in producing saints.  You are also doing a great deal of romanticizing Orthodox monarchs - do you think Tsar Peter I or Catherine II were beneficial to the church?  What of all the Byzantine rulers that often flirted with and become heretics?  The empire was really no assuarence of the survival of Orthodoxy. ÂÂ

As for not finding Orthodox in the creed.  Orthodox describes those Christians who are the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.  Hence there is no need for it to be in the creed.  But if imperialism is such a central doctrine of Christianity, surely it would be in the creed? ÂÂ
Logged
Silouan
High Elder
******
Offline Offline

Posts: 818

Bogurodzica dziewica zbaw nas


« Reply #10 on: February 01, 2006, 03:31:54 AM »

Quote
There is no trying to reclaim so long destroyed empire.

And beyond that, I would not want to live in the Byzantine empire.  Everyday life was just as secular.  There were still wild disputes within the church.  Low life exptancy, high infant mortality rate, diseases....  6-7 days of physical labor a week.  Poverty except for the few aristocrats... Iconiclasts emperors, monothelite emperors, frequent wars with devastating losses, famines...

I would much rather be a Christian in a modern pluralistic society than in any of the so called Orthodox Empires.   



Logged
DavidH
High Elder
******
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Catholic
Jurisdiction: ROCOR
Posts: 531



WWW
« Reply #11 on: February 01, 2006, 12:03:20 PM »

GreekisChristian-

   Thank you for posting the words of the Patriarch concerning the role of the Basileus. The common Orthodox understanding of the symphronia of powers has certainly taken a beating since the fall of Constantinople in the fifteenth and the Bolshevik revolution in our own century. It really is a modern notion to segregate and compartmentalize Church and State as separate entities in the way we do now and to believe that pluralistic secular democracies are the best form of government. History shows that different styles of government come and go and, if Christ tarries, what is now considered hopeless idealism may well become both practical and preferable once again. But that day will have to wait for a Tradition-based Enlightenment to counteract the secularist one we often accept without realizing it............

Thanks for taking the long-term view and keeping these ideas alive-
Rd. David
Logged
SouthSerb99
Archbishop of Shlivo, Patriarch of All Vodkas & Defender Against All Overstepping!
Site Supporter
Archon
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Eastern Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Serbian Orthodox Church
Posts: 2,800


Now Internet Forum Friendly


WWW
« Reply #12 on: February 01, 2006, 12:08:14 PM »

Hey chaps, just wanted to say I have enjoyed reading both sides of this issue and I understand that often similar issues (such as this) have gotten heated, so I just wanted to remind everyone to keep comments on substance, rather than personal.

I am not suggesting anyone has been personal here, just offering a friendly reminder.  Thanks.
Logged

"Wherever you go, there you are."
 Guy from my office

Orthodox Archbishopric of Ohrid
Hungry? Click Here
DavidH
High Elder
******
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Catholic
Jurisdiction: ROCOR
Posts: 531



WWW
« Reply #13 on: February 01, 2006, 01:16:48 PM »

Amen to that SouthSerb-

  what was Chesterton's one-liner? "The problem with a quarrel is that it destroys a good argument."
Logged
Tags:
Pages: 1   Go Up
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.18 | SMF © 2013, Simple Machines Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!
Page created in 0.065 seconds with 42 queries.