The Byzantine continuation

A s we have suggested, it seems fitting that in carrying our story into the period which follows the first five hundred years we should begin with that portion of the narrative which centres about Constantinople and which leads into an account of what may be designated as the Greek or Byzantine segment of Christianity. It was through the administrative structure which had its headquarters at Constantinople that the Roman Empire persisted without a break. Through it, accordingly, the relationship between Church and state which had its inception under Constantine continued its most characteristic development. We have seen that Christianity had its first extensive spread in the Hellenistic, Greek-using elements in the Mediterranean world. It was through Greek that all of the early Christian writings incorporated in the New Testament were given their permanent and authoritative form. Greek was the language of most of the oldest leaders in Christian thought. In the course of the centuries with which this chapter is to deal Greek became the prevailing language of that continuation of the Roman Empire which, dominated by Con stantinople, is usually called Byzantine, from Byzantium, the pre-Constantinian designation of that city. Through extensive geographic expansion in subsequent centuries this Greek or Byzantine Christianity was to become the faith of the majority in Eastern Europe and the Balkan Peninsula and as such was to remain one of the numerically major forms of Christianity.

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