Ελληνική ιστορία και προϊστορία

Ελληνική ιστορία και προϊστορία
Ελληνική ιστορία και προϊστορία

Κυριακή, 6 Νοεμβρίου 2016

The Byzantine Papacy, the medieval Greek Popes of Rome and the Great Schizm of 1054 AD

The Byzantine Papacy was a period of Byzantine domination of the papacy from 537 to 752, when popes required the approval of the Byzantine Emperor for episcopal consecration , and many popes were chosen from the apocrisiarii (liaisons from the pope to the emperor) or the inhabitants of Byzantine Greece , Byzantine Syria , or Byzantine Sicily. Justinian I conquered the Italian peninsula in the Gothic War (535–554) and appointed the next three popes , a practice that would be continued by his successors and later be delegated to the Exarchate of Ravenna . With the exception of Pope Martin I , no pope during this period questioned the authority of the Byzantine monarch to confirm the election of the bishop of Rome before consecration could occur; however, theological conflicts were common between pope and emperor in the areas such as monotheletism and iconoclasm. Greek-speakers from Greece, Syria, and Byzantine Sicily replaced members of the powerful Roman nobles in the papal chair during this period. Rome under the Greek popes constituted a "melting pot" of Western and Eastern Christian traditions, reflected in art as well as liturgy. After his invasion of Italy, the Gothic War (535–554) , Emperor Justinian I forced Pope Silverius to abdicate and installed Pope Vigilius , a former apocrisiarius to Constantinople in his place; Justinian next appointed Pope Pelagius I , holding only a "sham election" to replace Vigilius; afterwards, Justinian was content to be limited to the approval of the pope, as with Pope John III after his election. Justinian's successors would continue the practice for over a century. Although the Byzantine troops that captured Italy called themselves Romans, many inhabitants of the city had a deep seated mistrust of Greeks, and Hellenistic influence more generally. Before long, the citizens of Rome petitioned Justinian to recall Narses (who captured Rome in 552), declaring that they would rather still be ruled by the Goths. Anti-Byzantine sentiment could also be found throughout the Italian peninsula, and reception of Greek theology in Latin circles was more mixed. The continuing power of appointment of the Byzantine emperor can be seen in the legend of Pope Gregory I writing to Constantinople, asking them to refuse his election. Pope Boniface III issued a decree denouncing bribery in papal elections and forbidding discussion of candidates for three days after the funeral of the previous pope; thereafter, Boniface III decreed that the clergy and the "sons of the Church" (i.e. noble laymen) should meet to elect a successor, each voting according to their conscience. This abated factionalism for the next four successions, each resulting in quick elections and imperial approval.  The prestige of Gregory I ensured a gradual incorporation of Eastern influence, which retained the distinctiveness of the Roman church; Gregory's two successors were chosen from his former apocrisiarii to Constantinople, in an effort to gain the favor of Phocas, whose disputed claim to the throne Gregory had enthusiastically endorsed. Pope Boniface III was very likely of Greek extraction, making him the "Easterner on the papal throne" in 607 (many authors incorrectly regard Pope Theodore I, who reigned from 642 to 649, as the first Eastern pope of the Byzantine papacy). Boniface III was able to obtain an imperial proclamation declaring Rome as "the head of all the churches" (reaffirming Justinian I's naming the pope "the first among all the priests"), a decree Phocas intended as much to humiliate the Patriarch of Constantinople as exalt the pope. Phocas erected a column of himself in the Roman Forum only three weeks after Boniface III's consecration, and in 609 by iussio authorized the conversion of the Pantheon into a Christian church, the first pagan Roman temple so converted. Boniface III himself attempted to outdo Phocas's efforts to Christianize the site, collecting twenty-four cartloads of martyr bones from the Catacombs of Rome to enshrine in the temple. A 610 synod ruled that monks could be full members of the clergy, a decision that would massively increase the hordes of Greek monks about to flee to Rome as the Slavs conquered much of the Balkan coast. At this time Salona in Dalmatia , Prima Justiniana in Illyricum , peninsular Greece, Peloponnesus, and Crete were under the ecclesiastical jurisdiction of Rome, and Constantinople was one of "the last places to which one could turn for refuge in the early seventh century". Another wave of monastic refugees, bringing with them various Christological controversies , arrived in Rome as the Sassanid Empire ravaged the eastern Byzantine possessions. The following Muslim conquests of the seventh century in effect reversed the "avalanche of ascetics to the East" and the "brain drain of ascetic emigrations to the Holy Land" that followed the Gothic invasions of 408–410. Although the immigrating monastics were relatively small in number, their influence was immense: "Amidst an atmosphere that warmly welcomed them, the small force of monks and clerics who came to Rome at this time would combine their zeal for Chalcedon , their intellectual acumen and higher learning, and the spiritual authority of the Roman church and the Papacy to mobilize the battle and win the war against the last of the great Christological controversies to confront the church." The inhabitants of both East and West had "grown weary of the decades of religious warfare", and the arrest of Martin I did much to dissipate the "religious fever of the empire's Italian subjects". Rapprochement the empire was viewed as critical to combatting the growing Lombard and Arab threat and thus no pope "referred again to Martin I" for seventy-five years. Although the Roman uneasiness of electing a successor while Martin I lived and the Byzantine desire to punish Rome for the council caused the immediate sede vacante to last fourteen months, the next seven popes were more agreeable to Constantinople, and approved without delay, but Pope Benedict II was impelled to wait a year in 684, whereafter the Emperor consented to delegate the approval to the exarch of Ravenna. The exarch, who, invariably, was a Greek from the court of Constantinople, had the power to approve papal consecration from the time of Honorius I. Emperor Constans II, the abductor of Martin I, resided himself in Rome for a period during the reign of Pope Vitalian. Vitalian himself was possibly of Eastern extraction, and certainly nominated Greeks to important sees, including Theodore of Tarsus as Archbishop of Canterbury . Much has been said of Constans II's motives—perhaps to move the imperial capital to Rome or to reconquer large swathes of territory in the mold of Justinian I—but more likely he only intended to achieve limited military victories against the Slavs, Lombards, and Arabs. Vitalian heaped upon Constans II honors and ceremony (including a tour of St. Peter's tomb), even while Constans II's workmen were stripping down the bronze from the monuments of the city to be melted down and returned to Constantinople with the Emperor when he departed. However, both Vitalian and Constans II would have been confident upon his departure that the political and religious relationship between Rome and Constantinople was effectively stabilized, leaving Constans II free to focus his forces against the Arabs. After Constans II was murdered in Sicily by Mezezius , Vitalian refused to support Mezezius's usurpation of the throne, gaining the favor of Constans II's son and successor, Constantine IV.  Constantine IV returned the favor by refusing to support the striking of Vitalian's name from the diptychs of Byzantine churches and depriving Ravenna of autocephalous status, returning it to papal jurisdiction. Constantine IV, abandoned the policy of monothelitism and summoned the Third Council of Constantinople in 680, to which Pope Agatho sent a representative. The council returned to the Chalcedonian Creed , condemning Pope Honorius and the other proponents of monothelitism. Over the next ten years, reconciliation increased the power of papacy: the church of Ravenna abandoned its claim to independent status (formerly endorsed by Constans II), imperial taxation was lessened, and the right of papal confirmation was delegated from Constantinople to the Exarch of Ravenna . It was during this period that the Papacy began "thinking of the Universal Church not as the sum of individual churches as the East did, but as synonymous with the Roman Church". Pope Agatho , a Greek Sicilian, started "a nearly unbroken succession of Eastern pontiffs spanning the next three quarters of a century". The Third Council of Constantinople and the Greek Popes ushered in "a new era in relations between the eastern and western parts of the empire". During the pontificate of Pope Benedict II (684–685), Constantine IV waived the requirement of imperial approval for consecration as pope, recognizing the sea change in the demographics of the city and its clergy. Benedict II's successor Pope John V was elected "by the general population", returning to the "ancient practice". The ten Greek successors of Agatho were likely the intended result of Constantine IV's concession. The deaths of Pope John V and Pope Conon resulted in contested elections, but following Pope Sergius I the remainder of the elections under Byzantine rule were without serious issue. During the pontificate of John V (684–685), the Emperor substantially lessened the taxation burden on papal patrimonies in Sicily and Calabria , also eliminating the surtax on grains and other imperial taxes. Justinian II during the reign of Conon also decreased taxes on the patrimonies of Bruttium and Lucania , releasing those conscripted into the army as security on those payments. Popes of this period explicitly recognized imperial sovereignty over Rome and sometimes dated their personal correspondence in the regnal years of the Byzantine Emperor. However, this political unity did not also extend to theological and doctrinal questions. Leo III responded in 732/33 by confiscating all papal patrimonies in south Italy and Sicily, together constituting most papal income at the time. He further removed the bishoprics of Thessalonica , Corinth, Syracuse, Reggio , Nicopolis,
Athens , and Patras from papal jurisdiction, instead subjecting them to the Patriarch of Constantinople. This was in effect an act of triage: it strengthened the imperial grip on the southern empire, but all but guaranteed the eventual destruction of the exarchate of Ravenna, which finally occurred at Lombard hands in 751. In effect, the papacy had been "cast out of the empire". Pope Zachary , in 741, was the last pope to announce his election to a Byzantine ruler or seek their approval. Within 50 years (Christmas 800), the papacy recognised Charlemagne as Holy Roman Emperor . This can be seen as symbolic of the papacy turning away from the declining Byzantium towards the new power of Carolingian Francia . Byzantium suffered a series of military setbacks during this period, virtually losing its grip on Italy. By the time of Liudprand of Cremona 's late-10th-century visits to Constantinople , despite Byzantium's recovery under Romanos I and Constantine Porphyrogenitus , relations were clearly strained between the papacy and Byzantium. Indeed, he notes the anger of the Byzantine civil service at the Emperor being addressed by the Pope as "Emperor of the Greeks" as opposed to that of the Romans. The East–West Schism , also called the Great Schism and the Schism of 1054 , was the break of communion between what are now the Eastern Orthodox and Catholic churches, which has lasted since the 11th century. It is not to be confused with the Western Schism (which is also sometimes called the "Great" Schism). The ecclesiastical differences and theological disputes between the Greek East and Latin West pre-dated the formal rupture that occurred in 1054. Prominent among these were the issues of the source of the Holy Spirit, whether leavened or unleavened bread should be used in the Eucharist , the Bishop of Rome 's claim to universal jurisdiction , and the place of the See of Constantinople in relation to the Pentarchy. In 1053, the first step was taken in the process which led to formal schism : the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople Michael I Cerularius ordered the closure of all Latin churches in Constantinople , in response to the Greek churches in southern Italy having been forced to either close or conform to Latin practices. According to the historian J. B. Bury, Cerularius' purpose in closing the Latin churches was "to cut short any attempt at conciliation". In 1054, the papal legate sent by Leo IX traveled to Constantinople for purposes that included refusing to Cerularius the title of " Ecumenical Patriarch " and insisting that he recognize the Pope's claim to be the head of all the churches. The main purpose of the papal legation was to seek help from the Byzantine Emperor in view of the Norman conquest of southern Italy and to deal with recent attacks by Leo of Ohrid against the use of unleavened bread and other Western customs, attacks that had the support of Cerularius. Historian Axel Bayer says the legation was sent in response to two letters, one from the Emperor seeking assistance in arranging a common military campaign by theeastern and western empires against the Normans , and the other from Cerularius. On the refusal of Cerularius to accept the demand, the leader of the legation, Cardinal Humbert of Silva Candida, O.S.B. , excommunicated him, and in return Cerularius excommunicated Humbert and the other legates. This was only the first act in a centuries-long process that eventually became a complete schism. The validity of the Western legates' act is doubtful, since Leo had died and Cerularius' excommunication applied only to the legates personally. Still, the Church split along doctrinal , theological , linguistic, political, and geographical lines, and the fundamental breach has never been healed, with each side sometimes accusing the other of having fallen into heresy and of having initiated the division. The Crusades, the Massacre of the Latins in 1182, the West's retaliation in the Sacking of Thessalonica in 1185, the capture and Siege of Constantinople in 1204, and the imposition of Latin patriarchs made reconciliation more difficult. Establishing Latin hierarchies in the Crusader states meant that there were two rival claimants to each of the patriarchal sees of Antioch, Constantinople, and Jerusalem, making the existence of schism clear. Several attempts at reconciliation did not bear fruit. In 1965, Pope Paul VI and the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople Athenagoras I nullified the anathemas of 1054, although this nullification of measures taken against a few individuals was essentially a goodwill gesture and did not constitute any sort of reunion. Contacts between the two sides continue: every year a delegation from each joins in the other's celebration of its patronal feast, Saints Peter and Paul (29 June) for Rome and Saint Andrew (30 November) for Constantinople, and there have been a number of visits by the head of each to the other. The efforts of the Ecumenical Patriarchs towards reconciliation with the Catholic Church have often been the target of sharp criticism from some fellow Orthodox.

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