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Theodosius

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Everything posted by Theodosius

  1. Theodosius

    San Vitale Mosiac Theodora and Justinian

    I have a copy of Giuseppe Bovini's, Ravenna: Art and History, Longo Publisher, Ravenna (English Ed) 1991(?). Unfortunately, not much more light is shed in that work. The names supplied for the Emperor fresco: Bishop Maximian. Between the Emperor and the Bishop: "We do not know precisely who he was; some critics have suggested that he is Julianus Argentarius [...] but recently this supposition has been doubted as improbable, and the latest theory [...] is that here we see the "Praefectus Praetorio of Italy, the high functionary who represented the imperial authority at the consecration of the Church[...]" (p. 44) The Theodora fresco: "She is preceded by two civil dignitaries and is followed by a crowd of court ladies" (p. 44) An attempt has been made two name the two expressive ladies, "A not improbable theory identifies them as Antonina and Giovannina, wife and daughter of Belisaurius[...]; this is all the more likely as we learn from the historian Procopius of Caesarea, that they were the Empress's intimate friends." (p. 48) The Church of San Vitale was consecrated in 547 (possibly 548). Construction began under the Goths by the Bishop Ecclesius. However, the work does not state when the frescoes were completed. If you can get your hands on the book, by all means do so; it is a pictorial work (not just S. Vitale, but also of St Apollinaire etc) and I treasure it like you wouldn't believe. The pictures taken of all the mosaics are exquisite and some details of the mosaics are truly breathtaking.
  2. Theodosius

    The Date Of Christmas

    Hello eggers, you'll permit me to make one small clarification (not a correction). Both East and West employed the Julian calender for a great number of years until Rome adopted the Gregorian calender. Although some Eastern Orthodox Churches (ie. mainly the Slavic and fanatical, schismatic Greek elements who see the adoption of the new calender as anathema to Orthodoxy...) have adopted the Gregorian, viz. the Ecumenical Patriarchate (apart from Mount Athos and possibly a few other monasteries). The Slavic Churches, although becoming signatories (I think in 1923) to the adoption of the Gregorian calender, eventually did not come to ratify its implementation for reasons of their own, unconnected to the Greek schismatic elements. Only with regards to Easter is the old calender universally upheld throughout Orthodoxy. my bad No, not at all. I did say it was a clarification, and not a correction.
  3. Theodosius

    Roman Exorcism

    Hi Onasander, All Orthodox (I presumed this to have been the case also with the Roman Catholic Church) are exorcised as part of the Baptismal rite, right before the Confession of Faith.
  4. Theodosius

    Latin Speakers

    Hello Tobias, I know for a fact that many Theological institutions teach it (unfortunately, my one did not at the time I was there). A co-student of mine was taught Latin in the Ecclesiastical School of "Athoniada" (Αθωνιάδα), which is a high school, consisting of both a gymnaseum and lyceum.
  5. Theodosius

    The Date Of Christmas

    Hello eggers, you'll permit me to make one small clarification (not a correction). Both East and West employed the Julian calender for a great number of years until Rome adopted the Gregorian calender. Although some Eastern Orthodox Churches (ie. mainly the Slavic and fanatical, schismatic Greek elements who see the adoption of the new calender as anathema to Orthodoxy...) have adopted the Gregorian, viz. the Ecumenical Patriarchate (apart from Mount Athos and possibly a few other monasteries). The Slavic Churches, although becoming signatories (I think in 1923) to the adoption of the Gregorian calender, eventually did not come to ratify its implementation for reasons of their own, unconnected to the Greek schismatic elements. Only with regards to Easter is the old calender universally upheld throughout Orthodoxy.
  6. Theodosius

    Byzantine's Nero?

    Viggen, Thank you very much for cleaning up my post, everything looks as it should have looked. Apologies for the hassles. @thread, I really do hope that what I quote from Procopius' book is relevant to this thread, otherwise the moderators or admins may be do as they wish to this post. On page 134 of the present book in question, Williamson provides a footnote to the question of how many people died during the reign of Justinian. Efforts are taken in Procopius' text to indicate that at least half of the purported deaths are due to the plague at that time. Following is Procopius' assertion (although I do not provide in the following what Procopius stated about the plague): p. 130. Procopius then goes on to give a brief account of the "millions" of lives lost in Libya, as well as in Italy and, obviously, the plague. After this brief excursis, Williamson goes on to provide his footnote, where he writes the following: p. 134 Although Williamson does exhibit both sides of the coin (ie. the non-lietralist interpretation as well as Gibbon's 100 million assertion), he is obviously not in a posiiton to provide his own view as he is the translator, and is not providing an exegesis of the text. Would anyone here have more information on this issue? Is Gibbon's assertion pretty close to the mark? Far-fetched? I have the 3 volume series on Byzantium by Norwich (buried somewhere in the midst of my other books... long story) but I don't remember reading anything about it. Again, apologies if this post should not have been included within this thread.
  7. Theodosius

    Roman Catholics

    Thank you very much Ursus, I'm glad to have found this site. I already feel at home!:-) The Catholic Church is the Church Universal, both Militant and Triumphant. Unfortunately, until the four Eastern Sees and the one Western See reunite, the name applied is somewhat (I am not wanting to slander Rome here) of a non-starter. Yes and no. There are enough utterances in John's Gospel to dispel your second last notion. It is only that the terminology had not developed far enough to have enabled the Apologists to have formulated the precise definition. Origen's use of homoousion (ὁμοούσιον [hope the Greek shows up here]) allowed for its adoption in Nicea. cf. St Athanasius' adage, that a man nor an angel could have saved man, only God. The same occured with the Holy Spirit, where you have the pneumatomachoi (πνευματομάχοι = fighters of the Spirit) and through this heresy, St Basil and then St Gregory the Theologian expounded the doctrine of the Third Person. You must realise one thing. That the way in which Christian dogma has been developed, has been through the rise and battle against heresy. What do I mean? The faithful experience God's energies within the Church, yet human nature is such that we desire to read into something that may not be there or whatever. This gives rise to a differing thought, ie a heresy (in ancient Greece, this term I think, from memory, was employed within the medical field as those who held differing opinion on this or that subject). The Catholic, read Universal, Church comes together at a Synod and expounds the doctrine which is not something new, but is a reaffirmation of that which is already practised by the faithful, but needs to be articulated. For example, it is being said within theological and Ecclesiastical circles, that if an Eighth Ecumenical Council were to be convened, the hot topic to be discussed will be the Ark of Salvation, ie., the Church itself. It is something that the faithful live, but needs to be further articulated as is already found within the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed "In One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church". Don't forget that all the Ecumenical Council were held in the East. Yes and no. The unfortunate history of human adventure. You are right, there are many instances in which the temporal powers of this Earth mixed with the spiritual. But in all honesty, this did have its benefits too, such as the restoration of the icons, which saw two great Fathers of the Eastern Church expound the dogma of the Faith as it related to the icon! (viz. St Theodore the Studite and St John of Damascus), and which after 1264 led to the flourishing of the greatest period of Byzantine art and culture. Especially post-Vatican 1 and pre-Vatican II. The fact that Rome is attempting mutual rapproachment with the East is evidence enough that things are changing. Not entirely true, given the fact that ordinarily (at least with Orthodoxy) local customs give each local Church different colour. The dogma has remained (within Orthodoxy, it has not convened any new Ecumenical Councils after the Seventh) in tact. Roman Catholicism has unfortunately, added a fair few new pieces of dogma: Immaculate Conception, Infallibility of the Pope etc., and this without consulting the East. Hopefully the future will see a rectification of these wrongdoings (on both sides mind you).
  8. Theodosius

    The Date Of Christmas

    One thing that we must not forget to factor in is that Liturgical time need not necessarily correspond with historical time, as is the case with Easter for example. (Talk of historical timelines can be very Nestorian. )
  9. Theodosius

    Roman Catholics

    Ursus, Both East and West, as you rightly assert, adhered to the Pauline strictures, obviously with the exceptions of the various heresies, mostly Gnostic (again, mostly Alexandrine) and the Nestorian (mostly Antiochian). They obviously adhered to the precepts expounded by St Paul, but fell wayward due to misinterpretation or whatever else. The five Ancient Sees (Rome, Constnatinople, Alexandria, Antioch and Jerusalem) for the most part followed and maintained Apostolic Succession as well as, the Synod. This is at the core of the Schism, really. The filioque if explained further can be "accepted" by the Orthodox, but the insertion and its attempted enforcement on the East (cf. Council of Florence) never held sway. During Ottoman ruled Greece, a book by a gentleman named Vulgaris (I may be wring there) accounts for joint liturgical ceremony on the Greek islands amongst other things. As I said, the issue of Apostolic Succession and the Synod are at the heart of the split. No learned Orthodox can ever state that Rome does not maintain a valid Apostolic Succession (the lifting of the anathemas of 1965 by Patriarch Athenagoras is proof of this). The main problem lies in the perception of the Synod, ie. the College of Bishops, which in the East, as was originally adhered to by Rome as well for a LONG time, is still held as the basic premise on which the militant Church is founded upon and as is found when Christ gathered His Twelve Apostles. Unfortunately, Rome due to History and its associated sideffects, led to the Roman pontificate adopting the monarchical role in addition to the spiritual, the issue of Primacy as it always was versus the Supremacy outllok. Once this is overcome, the rest of the problems that seperate East and West can be mostly overcome. So for someone to seperate the East and West (ie. Orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism), slaps in the face of historical reality. Both Roman Catholicism and Orthodoxy, as you state Ursus, are heirs of ancient Christendom, for there was the time when both were one... I hope I have not gone off-topic here. -edit- forgot to put in one Ecclesiological premise in the post.
  10. Theodosius

    Byzantine's Nero?

    Firstly, let me thank you for the time you put aside to reply to me. The edition that I am reading, as indicated in my original post, is the Penguin edition and is translated by G.A. Williamson (1981). He too, in his introduction, states what you have just written me and indeed does doubt much of the historicity of Procopius' record. One fact which he does poignantly bring up, but which, unfortunately, does not dwell upon, is the fact that Procopius' book "Secret History" was never published in his own lifetime. Of course, to have done so would have spelt certain death as he died along with Justinian and Belisarius (I if recall correctly) in the same year. If he knew of his impending death, then he would have nothing to lose by a publication, but still, he kept it... secret. I am not saying (after having unfortunately re-read my post now, I unfortunately did not make it clear enough) that I take Procopius' "account as gospel. But Williamson does indeed state that there is much there which could be close to the truth. He wrote thus: And, in fairness to what you wrote about the work being more of entertainment value than of true historical account, as well as what you allude to the account of Theodora's prodigal ways, by stating thus: Williamson has this to say, though not directly to the above statement as asserted by yourself: Neos Dionysos wrote: Indeed, this is an undeniable fact. The book, to the extent that I have currently read up to, postulates the theorem that most of those who would have been in a position to have written anything (ie. those who were learned... λόγιοι) were put to the sword. How true this is, is probably the crux of the matter anyhow. Indeed, as his patronage of the most beautiful mosaic iconography adorning the Church of S. Vitale in Ravenna. I think my assertion of an undecidedness regarding Theodosius' stature as becoming that of a Nero was possibly too strong. In any case, an equivalent need not be an exact reproduction of a forebear's actions, but within one's own particular context in time. Indeed, and I have answered this in a round about way in a previous paragraph of this post. Yes, her memory is revered by Orthodoxy for her philanthropic efforts as well as her most striking repentance. Unless there was something I had not read into, I made the claim that Theodosius attacked pagans. Although I do recall Theodosius' suppresion of a sect of Christianity. I don't remember which one though.. In then end, some can argue Justinian did more harm than good by trying to retake the West, but given all of his actions and reforms and policies and even building projects he left Constantinople greater than he had received it and I would not equate him with the likes of Nero, afterall, a man who is sometimes called Justinian the Great is in no way a Nero. Sometimes, one is forced to play at diabolus advocatus in order to learn more. I thank you for the opportunity. :-) -edit- bah, I borked the quote tags, what are they here? :-( admin note; there seems to be a limit on how many times one can use quotes in a post, i made the last quote inverted, hope it makes sense...
  11. Theodosius

    Byzantine's Nero?

    Hello all. A mighty fine forum this is. I am currently reading Procopius' "The Secret History" (the Penguin Edition). Although I am not certain how Procopius' account is in this particular work is viewed by academia in general, Justinian and Theodora did in fact (according to Procopius) promote civil unrest amongst the populace throughout the Empire. For example, ever the great law reformer, Justinian is said to have acquired through such reforms, vast amounts of monies which he then spent on either massive public projects or on paying off foreign invaders. This last, especially, Procopius detested. According to him, the monies which Justinian forcibly took off the unfortunate subjects, were used to pay off the various inavders. However, as each tribe got wind of what was being offered for peace, they took in turns to "invade" various villages and the sort. This began to seriously hurt the Treasury. However, the ways in which the monies were confiscated from the people (I have not yet read much of the book, so you will have to bear with me here) displaced many so much so, that he caused emigration to be effected as people were not able to survive under the Emperor's edicts. Money was also drawn through his encouragement of the blue/green factionalism, where many people of note were murdered and robbed of their goods. So much so that night life was curtailed as though military curfew had been imposed. One last point. Procopius pours disdain on Justinian for his treatment of those who did not venerate Christianity and many were put to death, as apparently happened in Procopius' hometown of Caesarea. Theodora also, although she abandoned her waywardness, still engaged in much court intrigue and supported Antonina's unfaithful actions towards her famous husband, Belisarius. Unfortunately, this is all that I have read until this point. Whether Justinian was a Nero, would be hard to decide. He may not have been as tyrannical as Nero (although Procopius would probably beg to differ), but he certainly did institute many policies which caused upheaval and injustice throughout the Empire.
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