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Author: admin, 31.03.2015. Category: Positive Thought For The Day

In China the dominant Han dynasty had given to China a highly developed central government, a state-embraced Confucianism, and nation-wide unity (the major ethnic group in China today calls itself the Han). In Continental Europe for a host of reasons the Western Roman Empire was falling into decline and by about 400 B.C. In Mesoamerica the first highly organized civilization, the Olmec, emerged around 400-500 B.C. In Constantinople, as if he had supernatural insight, Constantine took important steps in 312-330 A.D. Some writers in the Renaissance referred to the middle ages as the a€?dark agesa€? because with the disintegration of the Pax Roman, Europe fell into a time of disorder. Feudalism developed as a means for surviving against barbarians invading from the north and from North Africa in the south.
When the feared war-like Huns in the fourth century moved westward into German areas from Mongolia, many of the Goths were subdued and became vassals of the Huns, but a large group fled for safety to the Romans. Valensa€™ first condition was that all Goths (Thervingi) would have to leave their weapons behind when they crossed the Danube.
One escaped, Fritigern, who declared war on the Romans and sent word throughout the Gothic world, calling on all the Goths for revenge. The Visigoths, who were their other allies and inhabitants of the western country, were terrified as their kinsmen had been, and knew not how to plan for safety against the race of the Huns. When Valens learned this, he gladly and promptly granted what he had himself intended to ask.
Moreover, from the love they bore them, they preached the gospel both to the Ostrogoths and to their kinsmen the Gepidae, teaching them to reverence this heresy, and they invited all people of their speech everywhere to attach themselves to this sect.
Soon famine and want came upon them, as often happens to a people not yet well settled in a country.
When their goods and chattels failed, the greedy trader demanded their sons in return for the necessities of life.
Now it came to pass in that troublous time that Lupicinus, the Roman general, invited Fritigern, a chieftain of the Goths, to a feast and, as the event revealed, devised a plot against him.
Thus these valiant men gained the chance they had longed for--to be free to die in battle rather than to perish of hunger-- and immediately took arms to kill the generals Lupicinus and Maximus. When the Emperor Valens heard of this at Antioch, he made ready an army at once and set out for the country of Thrace. Now in the place of Valens, his uncle, the Emperor Gratian established Theodosius the Spaniard in the Eastern Empire. The Visigoths had earlier migrated down through France into Spain where they had established up a kingdom and ruled Spain until they were overcome by the Islamic invasion from North Africa in 711 A.D. This marked the end of the Roman Empire in the West and the city of Rome ceased as a military and political center. The Byzantines considered themselves to be the legitimate continuation of the Roman Empire.
Locating the capitol of the empire in Constantinople (see map above) had a positive impact on governing the empire. Because it was located at the Hellespont, which was the front door to the Black Sea to the north and Mediterranean Ocean on the south. Its location also enabled Constantinople to be missionary hub to the peoples of the Balkans, Russia, and Ukraine. Its location in Euro-Asia likely also enabled the Gospel to be more readily received than from Europeans from Italian Rome. Theodosius I and his son Theodosius II were key leaders in the early stage of the Byzantine Empire.
All persons under the jurisdiction of the Empire were required to adhere to the Nicene faith. The Code protected and supported the institution of marriage, and increased the rights of wives and legitimate children.
The Code was based upon the principle of Peoplea€™s Law and provided the equality of all citizens before the law. The Byzantine Empire and Church sent missionaries throughout northern Europe and the Balkans. Relocating the governmental power base to Constantinople enabled the empire to take advantage of the high levels of civilization and trade routes that had been established for centuries in the eastern Mediterranean area. In the early years of the Eastern Empire doctrinal division threatened to destroy the unity of the Church. In 451 the Council of Chalcedon divided Christendom into five patriarchies, each overseen by a patriarch or major bishop -- Constantinople, Rome, Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem.
When Islam two hundred years later overran Alexandria, Jerusalem, and Damascus in the 7th century, Constantinople became the dominant center of the Eastern Church. This greatly weakened the Byzantine Empire that had already been in bitter battles with Islam all along its shrinking borders.
The Byzantine Empire served as a blockade against Islama€™s expansion into Europe for over 400 years. The bishop at Rome saw this as an opportunity to gain power and force submission of the Orthodox Church to Rome and refused to mobilize assistance.
When the Ottomans broke through the walls in 1453, the last emperor, Constantine XI, was killed in the battle to defend the city. After the conquest of Constantinople, the Ottomans were victorious in their sweep through the Balkans and Eastern Europe. Sharia Law required that the a€?people of the Booka€? (Jews and Christians) pay heavy taxes, not look an Islamic person in the eye, not ride horses (donkeys were permitted!), were required to cross the street when approached by an oncoming Muslim, and pay the a€?tax of children.a€? Every four years the Ottomans required a taxation payment in the form of sons and daughters of the Orthodox Christians.
After the fall of Constantinople, the Russian Church assumed the title of a€?the New Rome,a€? viewing themselves now as the major preservers of the Orthodox faith.
The Orthodox Church maintains that it is the only true Christian Church and that it alone possesses and preserves the traditions and teachings of the Apostles. The Orthodox Church views Protestants as a€?departeda€? younger brothers who err in leaving the true Church. It has a worship tradition filled with incense, mystery, icons, and frescos depicting stories from the Scriptures. It centers on the doctrine of a€?theosisa€? wherein a believer is united to the resurrection life of Christ at baptism and the union continues throughout this life and into eternity. A true believer, one who is baptized into the Orthodox Church and who adheres to the Churcha€™s teaching, can become in this lifetime more and more like God.
Orthodox Christians believe that the Scriptures were revealed by the Holy Spirit to its inspired human authors. Historically the Orthodox Church has maintained monasteries primarily in Greece and in Palestine. Describe the consolidation of the Byzantine state after the breakup of the Roman Empire and assess how Byzantium transmitted ancient Christian traditions and created a new Christian civilization in its domains.
Analyze the rejection by the four other Patriarchies of the Church of the claims of superiority issued by the patriarchy of Rome.


Describe the activity of missionaries sent from Constantinople to Russia, Bulgaria, Romania, and other portions of Eastern Europe.
Describe the difficulties encountered by the Byzantines in maintaining trade with Euro-Asia and Asia while surrounded by Islam. What is the primary issue that separates the Orthodox or Byzantine Church from the Roman Catholic Church?
What is the primary issue that separates the Orthodox Church from Protestant Christian churches? What theosis means, and what its relationship is to a€?conversiona€? and a€?sanctificationa€? in Protestant churches. Constantine XI (1449-1453) -- last Byzantine emperor who died in defense of Constantinople.
In 376 AD the Thervingi crossed over the Danube into Moecia, in present-day Bulgaria, a territory that had been brought into the empire by the emperor Claudius.
Because it was located at the Hellespont, which was the front door to the Black Sea to the north and Mediterranean Ocean on the south.A  The empire could now control major shipping lanes from the Mediterranean ports to Europe, and control trade routes between Europe and Asia, including the important Silk Road. The Romans were expert at demolishing traditional government processes in territories they had conquered. Local chieftains (lords) and their body-guards (knights) emerged to rule small regions and to dominate a peasant class.
They appealed to the emperor Valens for permission to cross the Danube to the safety of the empire, but Valens set certain terms. The Romans treated them badly, made food available only at extremely high prices, or required the remaining children to be sold as slaves. After long deliberation by common consent they finally sent ambassadors into Romania to the Emperor Valens, brother of Valentinian, the elder Emperor, to say that if he would give them part of Thrace or Moesia to keep, they would submit themselves to his laws and commands. He received the Getae into the region of Moesia and placed them there as a wall of defense for his kingdom against other tribes. Their princes and the leaders who ruled them in place of kings, that is Fritigern, Alatheus and Safrac, began to lament the plight of their army and begged Lupicinus and Maximus, the Roman commanders, to open a market. And the parents consented even to this, in order to provide for the safety of their children, arguing that it was better to lose liberty than life; and indeed it is better that one be sold, if he will be mercifully fed, than that he should be kept free only to die. While he was dining in the praetorium he heard the dying cries of his ill-fated men, for, by order of the general, the soldiers were slaying his companions who were shut up in another part of the house. Thus that day put an end to the famine of the Goths and the safety of the Romans, for the Goths no longer as strangers and pilgrims, but as citizens and lords, began to rule the inhabitants and to hold in their own right all the northern country as far as the Danube.
Military discipline was soon restored to a high level, and the Goth, perceiving that the cowardice and sloth of former princes was ended, became afraid.
They were Arian Christians and were in constant conflict in North Africa with their neighbors, the Romans, who were Nicene Christians. They were a€?true Romans.a€? They viewed themselves to be in their Christian faith what the Roman Empire should have been all along, but was prevented from being due to their paganism. Constantinople was situated on an easily defended peninsula at the Hellespont, close to Asia, and able to respond to crises in Asia faster than when the capitol was located in Rome.
Constantinople now made it possible to bring a show of strength, power, and quick response on its borders with Persia and the rest of Asia. It ultimately shaped the cultures and faith of Albania, Armenia, Bulgaria, Cypress, Greece, Romania, Serbia, Ukraine, Russia, Belarus, and Georgia.
Both were intent on a policy of abolishing paganism and reclaiming territories lost after the death of Constantine.
Theodosius issued an edict proclaiming Christianity as the only official religion of the Empire and banned pagan worship, sacrifices, places of worship, holidays, and priesthood. When thinking a€?Byzantinea€? also think a€?Justinian.a€? He is remembered together with his very capable wife, Theodora, for several major undertakings. This was illustrated by the central role of his wife, Theodora, in overseeing several important programs in the empire.
This was directly aimed at heresies and in particular the Arians who still survived in North Africa and other remote parts of the empire. Jews could not testify against Christians in court and were disqualified from holding a public office.
They especially targeted the Rus and the kingdom of Kiev, that vast population living in present-day Ukraine and Russia. The patriarch was the dominant bishop over other bishops in a particular region or patriarchy. Increasingly the empire was reduced to Constantinople, its surrounding areas, and a number of smaller area throughout the region. By his actions he demonstrated that he would rather see Constantinople under the rule of the Islamic Ottomans than to remain the center of the a€?heretica€? Orthodox Church. The Christian defenders and their families fled to the Hagia Sophia for safety but were butchered by the Moslem invaders.
His death marked the end of the Roman Empire in the East which had continued for 977 years after the fall of the Western Empire in 476 A.D.
However, in virtually every country the Orthodox Christians refused to bend the knee to Islam during centuries of occupation. The young boys were sent to Constantinople (Istabul) to be trained as militant defenders of Islam, forming the Janissairies, the special body guards of the Sultans.
The Orthodox Church is the national church of Russia, Bulgaria, Serbia, Greece, Armenia, and Ukraine.
God became man so that man can become like God -- not completely in this earthly life, but more and more through faithful participation in the Orthodox Church and faithful following its teachings and liturgy.
As the worshippers enter the church the altar is at the front and behind it are paintings depicting the life and death of Jesus. They themselves as we have said, crossed the Danube and settled Dacia Ripensis, Moesia and Thrace by permission of the Emperor. However, the Greeks and the Romans had given to Western Civilization art, poetry, civil government patterns, language, and philosophy upon which future generations could build.
He (1) moved the center of government away from the aged and decrepit Rome, (2) moved it to a geographic region that provided an intellectual and cultural revival, and (3) embraced Christianity, the most dynamic and fastest growing religion of the world, and used it to shape a revived Empire. When the Romans were gone, little traditional patterns for leadership remained which the Europe peoples could fall back on.
Education, literature, art, drama, and music that grew in the previous classical period fell into decline. Wulfia lived in Greece during the Arian controversy, and finding himself on the losing side in the debate settled at the Council of Nicea in 325 AD, Wulfia gained permission from Constantius II to move with his followers to present-day Bulgaria and there began his missionary activity. And since at that time the Emperor Valens, who was infected with the Arian perfidy, had closed all the churches of our party, he sent as preachers to them those who favored his sect. The loud cries of the dying fell upon ears already suspicious, and Fritigern at once perceived the treacherous trick. However, upon the death of Theodocius, his sons proved to be faithless, untrustworthy leaders.


The Vandals, Suebi, Alamanns, Burgundians, and non-Germanic Alans stampeded across the Rhine River at present-day Mainz, Germany.
As the result of an internal dispute between the Roman commander in North Africa and the military leaders in Rome, the Vandals were recruited to cross the Mediterranean into Italy.
Because Constantinople was located in Byzantium, it became increasingly known as the Byzantine Empire, an entity that carried both a political and a religious connotation.
The Orthodox Church, born within the Eastern Empire, today remains the major Christian church in these countries and is the official national church in Russia, Ukraine, Serbia, and Ukraine.
Named, Hagia Sophia (a€?Holy Wisdoma€?), the church became the spotlight of the Christian empire. Doing so, however, in addition to the constructions costs of the Hagia Sophia, placed the empire in financial hardship.
Proof that they did not desire to turn everyone into little Greeks and Italians is shown in the work of the two brothers, Cyril and Methodius, who were sent in 862 A.D. They were permitted in most instances to keep their religious and cultural distinctiveness, yet were required to live as second-class citizens under Islamic Sharia Law. They were often sent mockingly as shock troopers against European Christian nations (a€?Wea€™ll defeat you using your own sons!a€?) The young girls were taken as wives and members of harems.
Icons are painted images of Jesus, Mary, or the saints on small pieces of wood that can be placed on mantles, tables, or shelves to remind the believer of the presence of Christ throughout the day. To their Islamic neighbors, this is viewed as the deification of a human (Jesus) and is therefore blasphemy. When the worshippers turn to exit, the back walls contain paintings depicting the resurrection and present throne of Christ in heaven--reminding them of Christa€™s present rule as the resurrected Christ. Upon reaching the a€?heretica€? city, the crusaders destroyed and plundered the city, believing Byzantium to be a€?apostatea€? due to its refusal to submit to the supremacy of the Bishop of Rome. China was not led again by a truly unified dynasty until the rise of the Tang Dynasty in 618 A.D. In that sense he was both the emperor that lived during the closing years of the old Roman Empire and yet became the emperor that brought it new life. In addition to the conversion of many of the Goths to Arian Christianity, Wulfia also created an alphabet for the Goths, began to teach literacy among them, and translated the Bible from Greek into the Gothic language. The Goths, also known as the Thervingi, had for many decades fought ferociously against the Romans. They came and straightway filled a rude and ignorant people with the poison of their heresy. The generals, swayed by avarice, sold them at a high price not only the flesh of sheep and oxen, but even the carcasses of dogs and unclean animals, so that a slave would be bartered for a loaf of bread or ten pounds of meat. He drew his sword and with great courage dashed quickly from the banqueting-hall, rescued his men from their threatening doom and incited them to slay the Romans. The Goths, not knowing that an emperor lay hidden in so poor a hut, set fire to it (as is customary in dealing with a cruel foe) , and thus he was cremated in royal splendor.
The Roman army could not stem the tide people and they poured into France for many months on end. Besides, the Germans had been providing military and government leadership in the Western empire for a long time.
And Christians are heirs to Judaism and therefore are now the carriers of this wisdom, was the idea of the early Church. It was known for its architectural magnificence and for the murals and frescoes in its interior. Several earlier attempts to conquer the city failed but in 1450-1453 the Ottoman Turks laid heavy siege to Constantinople.The Byzantines used their unique weapon called a€?Greek firea€? composed of oil and phosphorus which they poured down over their walls onto the Ottoman attackers. The Goths, also known as the Thervingi,A  had for many decades fought ferociously against the Romans. By stern commands and by generosity and kindness he encouraged a demoralized army to deeds of daring. Several earlier attempts to conquer the city failed but in 1450-1453 the Ottoman Turks laid heavy siege to Constantinople.The Byzantines used their unique weapon called a€?Greek firea€? composed of oil and phosphorus whichA  they poured down over their walls onto the Ottoman attackers.
The Teothihuacans developed a system of hierogpyphic writing, the making of adobe bricks, extensive agriculture, ceramics, fortified towns, and provided a form of central government in the region. When the Goths moved later into other areas of Europe and North Africa, their Arian beliefs set them apart from the Nicene or Orthodox (Catholic) majority. Finally, Valens offered a two-part condition: (1) all Gothic children were to be taken to Constantinople to be raised in the orthodox (Nicene) faith, and (2) the Goths were required to provide soldiers for the Roman legions. Plainly it was a direct judgment of God that he should be burned with fire by the very men whom he had perfidiously led astray when they sought the true faith, turning them aside from the flame of love into the fire of hell. It was also known as the Eastern Roman Empire, in distinction from the Western European Empire with its central power located in Rome.
Hence, Christians a€?are truer to Romea€™s original heritage than are polytheistic pagans.a€? (Paraphrase of Tertullian, Christian apologist of the later second century, by Leithart, In Defense of Constantine, p.
The desire was to give to new converts not the Greek Bible but one in their own Slavic language. The attackers were burned to death since there is no way to extinguish the burning phosphorus. Its main presence in the United States is the Greek Orthodox Church, although there are also Armenia, Syrian, and Russian Orthodox churches in the USA. Frescoes are heavily used, harkening back to the time when many of the believers were illiterate and who learned the Gospel and Bible stories through the painted images.
The loot and booty from Constantinople was more valuable than fighting the Turks, so they returned home to Europe. From this time the Visigoths, in consequence of their glorious victory, possessed Thrace and Dacia Ripensis as if it were their native land. The bishop at Rome proved to be theA  catalyst that provided whatever cohesion that remained in Europe. It was a€?middlea€? between the classical period of Greece and Rome and the outbreak of the Renaissance in Italy. Although under the control of the Islamic Ottoman Empire for hundreds of years, Serbia Bulgaria, Romania, Armenia, Belarus, Georgia, and Greece remained faithful to the Orthodox faith, even under great persecution.
Several European Christian states sent token ships and troops to assist the Byzantines but to no avail. On the walls in the front are frescoes telling the story of Christa€™s birth, stories about the apostles, and containing the crucifixion of Christ. On the walls at the rear are frescoes depicting the resurrection of Christ, so that in leaving the church building the people are reminded that they belong to and serve a resurrected Christ.



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