May 20, 2014

The Empire of Constantine the Great

The Roman Empire at the death of Constantine the Great in 337 A.D.

By His Eminence Metropolitan Hierotheos
of Nafpaktos and Agiou Vlasiou

In the Christian Roman Empire there were three main features, namely the Hellenistic and Hellenic Tradition, Roman Law, and the Orthodox Faith. The Romans are Orthodox and their Orthodoxy is expressed through ancient Greek terminology. In the Roman Empire (Byzantium) the residents came from various nationalities and races, but they had common features, such as the Hellenistic and Hellenic tradition and Orthodoxy. There were two basic languages, namely Greek and Latin. Certainly there was a cultural and linguistic osmosis and various influences. But the cultural and religious traits were certainly common.

The inhabitants of the Roman Empire felt similarly to how the inhabitants of America do today, who know very well that they originate from various nationalities, but they have the same cultural and linguistic tradition, and naturally they feel that they are Americans, and so there is no ethnophyletism. Of course, in so-called Byzantium things were different, since the people had a common religious life, as it was developed from the Orthodox faith and worship.

What one observes in the inhabitants of the Roman Empire are two basic virtues, which are love for the divine and philanthropy....

That monastics and saints were the models of political and social life is proof that asceticism, deprivation, temperance and generally the ascetic way of life was what dominated and of course this was the method by which people were healed. This is why the Roman emperors sought the prevalence of the Orthodox faith. Moreover, Orthodoxy is not an ideology, but a particular way of life.

Source: From the book Γέννημα και θρέμμα Ρωμηοί (Romans Born and Bred). Translation by John Sanidopoulos.