persist in the villages, with monasteries and other holy places providing a focus for popular devotion. In Islamic countries of the Middle East, a minority church is strugglingto adapt and protect itself in an often hostile and intolerant environment. In the west - and increasingly in other parts of the Orthodox world - a culture of secularism, of liberal democracy and of a market economy is challenging the church to find new ways of expressing its life. In this rich and confusing variety of forms of church life, it may seem an impossible task to identify either a single modern spirituality or a single Orthodox spirituality. However, it is precisely the teaching of the Orthodox Church that there is a single unified spiritual tradition, handed down through generations, which creates the church. From this tenaciously held conviction comes its common life shared by a widespread and varied community of believers.
This unified stream of tradition, which is Orthodoxy, comes out of two sources. These are the two distinct and different types of experience which the Orthodox communities have experienced over the 2000-year history of the church. The spiritualities which derive from them can be called Christendom and Martyrdom.2
The beginning of the Christian Byzantine Empire - or Christendom - in the east can be conveniently, although crudely, dated to the year 312, when Christianity came under the protection of the Emperor Constantine (312-337). This not only brought about a new relationship between church and state, but was also the start of the Byzantine Empire, which continued until 1453 when the city of Constantinople fell to the Turks. During this great sweep of over a millennium of history a Christian emperor and a Christian patriarch saw themselves as working together to create and direct a universal Christian society. Under this Byzantine regime a Christian culture was formed - with its own distinctive architecture, literature, philosophy, theology, liturgy, monastic life, iconography, hymnography and legal code. The Orthodox Church as we know it, at least in its Chalcedonian form, is the product of this cultural development. The liturgy of St John Chrystostom, for example, reached the form in which it is now celebrated in the fourteenth century under the influence of architecture, court ceremonial and monastic worship.3 Some have expressed dissatisfaction with this ever-present Byzantinism, fearing that its influence will lead to a conservative clinging to a specific cultural form rather than the fresh presentation
2 B.Jackson, Hope for the Church: contemporary strategies for growth (London: Church House, 2002), 56, succinctly defines Christendom as 'society organised around an alliance of church and state, where the Christian faith is the official glue, the guiding principle of its laws and culture'.
3 See H. Wybrew, The Orthodox Liturgy (London: SPCK, 1989).
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