Conclusion

The "Byzantine Orthodoxy" that emerged in this period, with roots that went a long way back, is highly ambivalent. For such Orthodoxy became, and was established as, imperial policy, and the Byzantine state was, in aspiration at least, absolutist. It had little time for those who questioned that Orthodoxy; indeed, Christian heretics had fewer rights than the Jews, who had some small protection as a "standing witness" to the truth of the faith they rejected. However, in the first part of our period, the emperor and his advisers adopted as Orthodoxy theological positions - monenergism, monothelitism, and finally iconoclasm - that were eventually to be rejected as heresies. The proclamation of the "triumph of Orthodoxy" in 843 was intended to draw a veil over that period, and to set out clearly the nature of "Byzantine Orthodoxy." The Syn-odikon of Orthodoxy, which made that proclamation a yearly liturgical event, was later to become a political manifesto of the Orthodoxy claimed by the Comneni and Palaeologan emperors. What came to be known as "Byzantine Orthodoxy" was forged, however, not at the capital, but on the periphery - in regions on the edge, or beyond the edge - of the Byzantine Empire. Nevertheless, it was only as received in the Byzantine tradition that these theologians -Maximus, Anastasius, John, and others - made their mark, and the Byzantine tradition was increasingly to be defined by what went on in Constantinople. This suppression of diversity was part of a whole outlook, and doubtless represents an impoverishment: the voices of those in the country and in cities outside the capital were drowned out, as were the voices of those who questioned Byzantine Orthodoxy. But its establishment as tradition enabled the exploration of the abundant resources of the riches of Christian reflection as it had developed in the Greek East, leaving a legacy that still commands attention.

0 0

Post a comment