order allow,deny deny from 64.247.36.127 allow from all Forging The Finest Print online

Friday, May 27, 2005

Byzantium Forging the finest print

Even at the beginning, as Christianity became endorsed by the powers of the Mediterranean world, many sides of the religion had manifested themselves, each taking a conflicting facet on the overall jewel, when a large summit was held in the first gentile region fertile to the new faith, Asia Minor. The first major question to be decided was: “Is Christianity really a monotheistic religion?” Everyone worked really hard to establish their views concerning the nature of Jesus Christ, and the debate continues. All this debating really meant a lot to Christendom, and Egypt defected, but the compromise ruling was not really the root of the East-West division, Chalcedon's twenty-eighth proposed canon was the real stink that the textbook missed. The twenty-eighth proposed granting the Patriarch of Constantinople equal status with the Roman Pope, but this one never passed. The Dogma of Papal Infallibility wasn't passed until 1870, but the doctrine was very much alive from the start.

The Popes found themselves in no position to argue many times before the fall of Constantinople, but it never seemed to make a difference to them. The Schism itself is a clear example. Pope Leo XIII was in Norman captivity when he mailed the papal bull that Cardinal Humbert delivered to the Patriarch!

Catholicism by no means focused its energy on the Eastern Empire. Less than two centuries before, Rome had started a mess with the Franks and the Germans, a mess that outlived all but the most fundamental problems in the western world.

Emperor Basil I tried really hard to save Papal and Patriarchy ties, when he decided to boot Photius at the Sixth Council of Constantinople, but Papal authority was steadily becoming a power of its own, and Rome had already shopped for a new power to be the Western Empire. Charlemagne was crowned Emperor, and the Pope decided Constantinople was a flawed device. By the twelfth century, Frederick Barbarosa added “Holy” to his title, though even Papal authorities despised the guy, calling him “Antichrist,” behind his back. At the same time as the Schism, Catholic leadership moved against secular leadership in the West. The Western Emperor was selling Church property, and the Pope, ego-tripping, moved against him in what is called the Investiture Controversy. Just five years after excommunicating the East, Rome abolished the Western Emperor's traditional power of nominating new Popes. From then on, Cardinals assumed the role of an electoral collage. Germany's Henry IV tried to hold some power in electing clerics, but the church wouldn't have laymen controlling anything. Michael Cerularius, obviously, doesn't deserve blame for the split, for Papal politicking alienated just about everyone, even the Empire of their own creation, which, as Voltaire pointed out, wasn't Holy, neither was it Roman, nor an Empire.

But there was a time when Italy was subject to Byzantine whim, but that yoke was a loose fit. The Eastern Empire indeed held possessions in the South, when the Emperor ordered all icons destroyed, but by the time Empress Theodora pacified the zealous destruction once-and-for-all, the Pope had found his power base.

Today, the Roman Pope is of Eastern Europe, and many people now belong to Eastern Catholicism. The Romanian Church and the Ukrainian Eastern Orthodox both accept papal primacy, although they read the old rites. The Ukrainians, in fact, still observe the Byzantine rites, though they are in many ways now Catholic. Slobodan Milosevic, and others within the Serbian Orthodox Church, are still giving the West the religious finger, even as they try the same with the Moslem communities. Serbia stayed under the Ottoman thumb until 1868, when they pulled themselves out. Wasting no time getting even with the new Reich in town, Serbian terrorists helped thrust the former Holy Roman Empire and the Ottomans to their destruction (1914-18).

Published by Typewriter King | 12:46 PM
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