the laity that the safety of the wayfarer and the bounty of the water supply were under divine protection.
Within the public and private spheres, then, whether in city or countryside, whether in border fortresses or the homes of the elite, the Byzantine laity was confronted with buildings imbued with sacred meaning and infused with holy presence. These structures were powerful reminders of an affiliation to a single church and the unification of the empire under a single rite - factors that assumed political significance in times of internal and external crisis. These constructions helped situate laypeople within a sacred topography that both mandated and guided their adherence to correct faith and encouraged, through the omnipresence of physical reminders, a deep religiosity that was both reflexive and potent.
Parallel to this physical structuring of a religious landscape was a temporal framework that ordered the life of the laity according to church rite and calendar. Attendance at weekly church services was expected in city, town and village. Considering the available sources, however, the degree to which the average Byzantine adhered to such expectations is impossible to gauge. Styliane, the lamented young daughter of Michael Psellos, 'would attend vespers readily, taking part in the doxology, and in the chanting of hymns'. According to her father, she faithfully attended the church liturgy, as well as holy feasts, and chanted matins.10 Such descriptions oflay piety are counterbalanced by sources suggesting that not everyone attended church with regularity. Although a contemporary panegyric claimed that in Thessalonike the churches were open day and night to facilitate access for services and private devotions,11 Gregory Palamas complained that the city's churches were deserted for several months of the year as the faithful engaged in agricultural activity outside the city's walls.12 Images of the Last Judgement in late Byzantine rural churches depict parishioners who spend Sunday in bed - an artistic statement condemning sexual intercourse on holy days, but one that also hints at diminishing church attendance. In the early fourteenth century the patriarch Athanasios I sought to encourage the faithful to go to services by ordering that taverns and baths be closed from mid-afternoon on Saturday to mid-afternoon on Sunday.13
10 K. N. Sathas, MsaaiwviK-q Bi/3Aio6r)Ki] (Paris: Maisonneuve, 1876), v, 67.9-18; M. J. Kyriakis, 'Medieval European society as seen in two eleventh-century texts of Michael Psellos', Byzantine Studies/Etudes Byzantines 3 (1976), 86. Cf. A. Leroy-Molinghen, 'Styliane', B 39 (1969), 755-63.
13 PG 161, 1066C-D. On further Sunday restrictions, see G. Dagron, 'Jamais le dimanche', in Euyuxia: melanges offerts aHelene Ahrweiler, ed. M. Balard etal. (Paris: Publications de la Sorbonne, 1998), 165-75.
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