…Continued from Part 1
Councils, Synods and Civilization (Part 2)
By Protopresbyter John Romanides
The method underlying this presentation is rather simple. The New Testament writers and the Fathers read back into history their own experience of purification and illumination of the heart and glorification [theosis] which they identify with that of the Prophets of all ages beginning at least with Abraham. This is parallel to repetition of cure in medical science passed on from doctors to doctors, except that in this case Christ is the doctor Who personally cures and perfects His doctors in both the Old and New Testaments. This historical succession of cure and perfection in the Lord of Glory, both before and after His incarnation, is the heart and core of the Biblical and Patristic Tradition and the Synodical System.
We divide our presentation into 1) Historical Context, 2) Synods as Associations of Psychiatric Clinics, 3) Synods and Civilisations, 4) Conclusions.
1) Historical Context.
Biblical Faith is one’s co-operation with the Holy Spirit Who initiates the cure of the sickness of possessive love in the heart and transforms it into love which does not seek its own. This cure is consummated in glorification (theosis) and constitutes the heart of the Orthodox Catholic Church, which replaced paganism as the core of the Hellenic Civilisation of the Roman Empire.
Political architects whose historians report history within the context of their plans for the future claim that the world is being Westernised by means of technology and economics. Orthodox Civilisation is listed among those which are arrested.
Their claim that the Hellenic Civilisation of the Roman Empire disappeared in the 8th century [ 2 ] and was replaced in the East by a “Byzantine” Civilisation and Empire and in the West by a European Civilisation is a modern modification of Charlemagne’s theology of history.
Charlemagne (768-814) fabricated this disappearance of the Roman Empire and its Civilisation in order to solve a family problem. His grandfather, Charles Martel (715-741), had finally suppressed Gallo-Roman revolutions in the battles of Poitiers and Provence in 732 and 739, which were supported by Arabs and Numidian Romans who, together with the Spanish Romans, had recently overthrown the Goths in Spain (711-719). The Numidian Romans were under the command of Gonstantinople’s governor of Mauritania in Ceuta. Another Gallo-Roman revolution was suppressed by Charlemagne’s father and uncle in 742, the year he was born.
Charlemagne had to find a way to break the religious and cultural unity between his own enslaved Romans and the Roman Empire which now extended from parts of Italy to the frontiers of Persia. He devised a plan to convince his subjugated Romans that the Papal States, called Romania and Res Publica Romana, under his family’s control since 756, was all that was left of the Roman Empire. The rest of the Empire would become “heretical” and therefore a hateful “Greece”, inhabited not by Romans, but by “Greeks”, and headed not by an Emperor of the Romans, but by an Emperor of “Greeks”. The Franks called the Empire Roman for the last time in their Libri Carolini which attack the Empire as pagan and heretical. The Franks then decided by their Council of Frankfurt in 794 to give the names Graeci to the free Romans and Graecia to free Romania. This became Franco-Latin customary law.
The modern guardians of this law 1) replaced “Greek” with “Byzantine”, and “heresy” with “change of Civilisation”. 2) Following Napoleon’s plans for the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire and of the ecclesiastical remains of the Roman Empire within it, these same guardians destroyed the legal identity of the citizens of Greece with the Romans of Constantinople, by presenting them as having been under the yoke of this so-called “Byzantine Empire”. 3) They have used this fabrication to Balkanize the “Roman Milet” [ 3 ] and destroy its Ecumenical Patriarchate of New Rome Constantinople in the process.
Turning to 8th century Western Europe we are indeed confronted by real and radical changes. Europe is dominated in its centre by the Empire of Charlemagne. Gothic Spain is overrun by Arabs and Numidian Romans, who together had fought as liberators of the Spanish Romans but ended up as their masters. These Numidians were converted to Islam several times according to Ibn Khaldoun.
The birth of Frankish Civilisation is described in a letter of St. Boniface to Pope Zacharias (natione Graecus [ 4 ]) in 741. The Franks had rid the Church in Francia of all Roman bishops by 661 and had made themselves its bishops and clerical administrators. They had divided up the Church’s property into fiefs which had been doled out as benefices according to rank within the pyramid of military vassalage. These Frankish bishops had no Archbishop and had not met in Synod for eighty years. They had been meeting as army officers with their fellow war-lords. They are, in the words of St. Boniface, “voracious laymen, adulterous clergy and drunkards, who fight in the army fully armed and who with their own hands kill both Christians and pagans” [ 5 ].
Fifty three years later the successors to these illiterate barbarians condemned the East Roman Empire as “heretical” and “Greek” on Icons at their Council of Frankfurt in 794 and then on the Filioque at their Council of Aachen in 809. For 215 years the Roman Popes refused to conform to their Frankish masters on Icons and the Filioque.
These Frankish bishops were neither familiar with the Fathers of the Seven Ecumenical Councils, nor were they aware of, nor interested in learning anything about, illumination and glorification which were the presuppositions of these Councils. Between the end of the 8th and the l2th centuries the Franks were familiar only with Augustine, who was neither a Father of an Ecumenical Council, nor did he understand Biblical illumination and glorification, which he confounded with Neo-Platonic mysticism. He therefore did not understand the Apostolic Tradition and succession and deviated sharply from St. Ambrose who had baptized him. What the Franks finally accepted from the Eastern and Western Fathers they forced into Augustinian categories and so created the myth of Platonising Eastern Fathers, which is still dominant.
The Frankish bishops encountered by St. Boniface understood Apostolic succession as a magical power which allowed them to make it the property of their race and use it as the prime means of keeping their subjugated populations pacified by fear of their religious and military powers. Augustine’s theories about original sin and predestination helped them in this direction.
This schism between Franks and Romans expanded into a schism between Franco-Latin and Roman Christendom with their diametrically opposed understandings of the mission of bishops and their synods within the Church and in society. The Franks literally captured a medical association and transformed it into a quack medical association. The East Franks completed the job when they took over the Papacy definitively between 1012-1046.
While the Norman Franks were in process of expelling the Roman army from Southern Italy and of helping the Italo-Franks wrest the Papacy from the Franconian emperors, their Duke, William of Normandy, invaded England with Pope Alexander II’s blessing in 1066. He had his Lombard friend, the “Blessed Saint” Lanfranc, the pope’s teacher, installed as the first non-Roman /Saxon Archbishop of Canterbury in 1070, and together they replaced all native bishops with Franco-Latins. All Celtic and Saxon bishops and abbots were dismissed en masse [ 6 ] and sentenced to prison to die premature deaths by torture and starvation [ 7 ]. The new noblemen bishops from the Frankish Empire were in turn killed by the people whenever opportunity presented itself [ 8 ]. Indeed the Saxons and Celts celebrated the death of Lanfranc in 1089 by launching their third and most severe revolt against the foreign intruders [ 9 ]. Such reforms by military might became crusades in both East and West. They ultimately provoked the Protestant Reformation and met with little success among the East Romans and some among the Slavs.
This tradition of killer bishops, clergy and monks was given its near final theological foundation by “Saint” Bernard of Clairvaux in his sermons “De Laude novae militiae ad midites Templi” [ 10 ] in which he argues that the religious Knight Templer “who kills for religion commits no evil but rather does good, for his people and himself. If he dies in battle, he gains heaven; if he kills his opponents, he avenges Christ. Either way, God is pleased,” [ 11 ]. Its final form was given by the Inquisition which condemned to death but usually turned executions over to laymen:
Orthodox Civilisation may indeed become arrested, not, however, because of Westernisation; but because of strong doses of Franco-Latinisation introduced by Peter the Great (1682-1725), whose religious policies became the law of the Neo-Hellenic Nation in 1827.
Western Europe had been in a long process of De-Franco-Latinisation by means of powerful elements of Re-Greco-Romanisation, but not in its Apostolic form. Its embryo appeared in the 12th century with the rise of the middle class and went into labor during the Renaissance and the Protestant Reformation. It was born in the Enlightenment and matured during the American and French Revolutions. American and French Democracies, based on human rights and the equality of all citizens, began the progressive destruction of the class distinctions which had been imposed by the Franks and their allies, who had brought Latin Christendom into existence on the ruins of those parts of Roman Christendom they conquered, including the Papacy. Franco-Latin metaphysics, cosmology and psychology were made past history by parallel developments in modern science.
But this has neither all happened everywhere, nor at the same time. Royalties, nobilities, the Papacy, and those Reformation Churches which still serve as props for the remnants of Teutonic royalty and nobility, badly need the identification of Franco-Latin and Western Civilisations for their own survival.
It is exactly this identity which parts of the Reformation and the American and French Revolutions rejected.
…to be continued