And Hispanic Christendom

In the fourth century A.D., there were distinct geo-cultural spheres in Christendom. Byzantine Christendom had its focal point in the city of Constantinople, the chief city of Christendom. Constantinople carne into being as a Christian city and faded out as a Christian city-struggling to the very end to preserve Christian culture as a unity. Constan-tine founded it in 330 A.D .with the aim of making it the seat of a new empire, allying himself to the Christian majority living in Anatolia. As a seat of Christian culture it met its demise in 1453, when it was conquered by the Turks. It was the only center of Christian culture, the only version of Christendom, which went through its full cycle.

From Byzantine Christendom there arose the Russian version of Christendom. The Russians, who appeared on the scene for the first time in the ninth century, derived from the Varangians. The latter were Scandinavian traders and warriors (the word Wahr signifies "economic goods" or "merchandise"). The Russians carne into contact with Byzantium and eventually built the third Rome: Moscow. This Russian culture was a marginal Byzantine culture. Through it, Christendom moved eastward and reached the Pacific Ocean.

Latin Christendom was much smaller in numbers at the start of the fourth century. Due te the civilizing efforts of the monks, the newly arrived Germanic tribes were . evangelized and the foundations of a future Europe were laid. It would be a Europe dominated by Christendom, thanks to the baptism of various barbarian leaders. Soon Spain boasted great theologians and saints. Isidore of Seville was the last representative of the tradition embodied in the Latin Church Fathers. In 710-711 A.D., this tradition was buried under the encroaching wave of Arab invaders. From 718 A.D. on, the effort to expel these invad ers gave shape and form to Spain. By the sixteenth century the Christian people of Spain were inured to war. The ideals of Christendom and Crusade continued to live on in Spain long after they had faded from the consciousness of other peoples in Europe, because the struggle against the Muslims continued for many centuries. They gradually pushed back the frontiers of the encroaching Muslims, conquering Granada in the same year that Columbus discovered America.

These frontier-fighters continued their struggle here in the new world, crusading against the native em pires of this region. Only when victory was achieved here did these warriors lay down their arms. It was all part of one great battle, which extended over almost a thousand years. If one does not realize that fact, one cannot understand the events which took place here from 1492 on. It is the old ideal ofthe Christian cavalier that is upheld by Cortez, Pizarro, and the other conquistadores. It is Latin Christendom, in its hispanic form, that is brought to our shores.

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