(I want to dedicate these series of texts to those of my former Greek students, male and female, who in the end chose “mediocrity” and “virtual reality” for the sake of their own society, their own families and their own “survival”.)
We shall return once again to the first years of the Byzantine Empire, when the “conspiracy” between its political authorities, the clerical authorities and the International Jewish Establishment was initiated, and progressively evolved and took roots.
The Byzantine Empire was founded by Constantine the Great(272A.D.-337A.D.), son of the Roman Caesar Flavius Valerius Constantius and his wife Helen. The Roman Emperor Diocletian, who introduced the political institution of the “tetrarchy”(four individual rulers) in 293A.D., appointed Constantius A’(293A.D.-306A.D), Caesar of Gaul, Spain and Britain, meaning the Western Provinces of the Roman Empire. Constantine the Great, son of Constantius A’, ruled as Emperor of the Western Roman Empire from 312A.D. to 324A.D., and as sole Emperor of the Empire from 324A.D. to 337A.D.
Constantine the Great implemented three major historic decrees which would define concretely , the political, the historical and the cultural identity of Byzantium until its demise, during the middle of the 15th century A.D..
First of all , he signed the decree of Mediolanum(Milan) in 313A.D., when he was Emperor of the Western Roman Empire, enacting the legislation of “religious tolerance”, therefore, legalizing Christianity as a “tolerated religion” which would be under the protection of the Emperor himself!!! Byzantine Emperor Theodosius A’ was the one who on February 28, 380A.D., in Salonika, passed the legislation, making Christianity “the official religion” of the Byzantine Empire. Theodosius, had activated the decisions taken by the First Ecumenical Synod in Nicaea in 325A.D., under the rule of Byzantine Emperor, Constantine the Great!!!
The second political initiative taken by Constantine the Great was the official relocation of Rome as capital of the Roman Empire to Constantinople, which pragmatically meant the creation of the Eastern Roman Empire.
Finally, he organised the First Ecumenical Synod of Nicaea in 325A.D., which was a determinant historical factor concerning the evolution of Christianity as a World Religion. This Synod defined , validated and formalized the various Christian dogmas, the church institutions and finally, the socio-political status of the Church in relation to the powers of the Emperor, his court and the local administrations throughout the territory of the Byzantine Empire!!!
The Byzantine Empire was a “superficial simile” of the Roman Empire, as the Roman Empire had been “a rough copy” of the political and social culture of the Greek City States!!! The political, cultural and institutional cohesion of the Byzantine Empire was superficial and not the end product of a historical evolution!!!
The Byzantine political leadership , most of the time, functioned in an arbitrary way and dictatorially, because they had not established those political institutions such as a constitution and an official political opposition, which could oversee its political decisions and decrees.
The Byzantine political leadership, and more specifically the Byzantine Emperor, his court and his political and administrative officials, exercised a political legitimacy through physical intimidation, violence and a despotic governance, always with the support of the Greek Orthodox Church and its Elders!!! The Church ensured the absolute obedience of the simple Christian Citizen of the Empire by utilizing the “terrorism” of religious persecution, of social marginalization and excommunication!!! As it was with the Political Establishment of the Byzantine State, similarly ,the Clerical Establishment’s main goals were the accumulation of great wealth for themselves and the means to control and determine the everyday lives and actions of all Byzantine citizens!!!
The real image of the Byzantine Empire as a political regime and as a political culture has been described comprehensively by famous scholars and thinkers of the European Enlightenment during the 17th and 18th century A.D. , whose basic analytical instruments were rationalism and the dialectic thought process!!! A.A. Vasiliev, a famous Russian historian , specializing in Byzantine Studies, in his book ‘The History of the Byzantine Empire,324-1453’ ,on pages 16 and 17, notes the following: “…. The epoch of Rationalism with its basic features, the negation of the past, religious scepticism and a forceful critique of the powers of the clergy and of despotic monarchy, could not find an interesting element in the Byzantine Empire….Voltaire, judging the historical epoch of the Roman Empire, adds, ‘There is another history more comical than that of Rome, since the period of Tacitus; this being the history of the Byzantium. This unworthy historic collection is made up of nothing else except orations and miracles. It is an anathema to the human intellect.’…”.(translation of the Greek text)(Vasiliev,A.A., The History of the Byzantine Empire, 324-1453, pp.16-17, Edited by Pelekanos, Athens 2006, University Press, 1928-1929)
We shall continue with a historical commentary made by Mrs. Helene Glykatzi Ahrweiler in an interview she gave to the journalist Niko Bakounaki for the Greek newspaper ‘to Vima’ and which was published on April 2010. Mrs. Ahrweiler is a world famous Byzantinologist , who served as vice-Rector(1970-1973) and from 1976 as Rector of the University of Sorbonne. Similarly, in 1982, she was elected Chancellor of all the Universities of Paris, while from 1989 to 1991, she presided as President of the French Cultural Centre , Georges Pompidou-Beaubourg.
The title of the interview of Mrs. Ahrweiler is in English translation, ‘We are all Byzantines’!!! Through her various answers to the Greek reporter, she tries to convince her Greek readers that the Byzantine Empire functioned historically as “the Saviour” of Greek Civilization and of the Greek Language.
This “set up” historical position concerning Mrs. Ahrweiler, we shall try to disprove, by referring to authentic historical facts and objective historical analyses, formulated by “objective” and “responsible” historical scholars !!! We shall therefore reveal the “murky role” played by Mrs. Ahrweiler in her efforts to distort historical reality and historical truth, thus accommodating the “cultural distortions” propagated by the Christian Church and the International Jewish Establishment!!! A “cultural conspiracy” whose main focus is to downgrade the Historical Status of Ancient Greek Civilization and its Historical Contributions in defining the societal institutions of the Modern Western World!!!
In her interview for the Greek newspaper ‘to Vima’, on April 2010, answering the query of the reporter as to the reason for the recent public interest in Greece concerning the Byzantium, Mrs. Ahrweiler, as a “good diplomat” , gave the following answer: “ …because Byzantium is the Greek language and Christian Orthodoxy, meaning the two basic components of the Greek identity . Surely, the Byzantium was a multi-ethnic empire, but a Greek-speaking empire. The fact that Byzantium was Greek speaking, it saved all of Greek civilization…”!!! (translation of the Greek text)(p.1,http://www.tovima.gr/culture/article/?aid=324009)
What else could Mrs. Ahrweiler provide as an answer, knowing full well the “sinister role” she is constantly playing , distorting the historical and cultural experiences of the Greek Nation and the Greek Race under the various “repressive” political but also clerical leaderships of the Byzantine Empire!!!
Nevertheless, there is a different valuation concerning the role played by Byzantine political authorities and the clerical leadership of the Greek Orthodox Church, related to the cultural identity of the Greek Nation. This historical differentiation comes from “well respected” and “objective” Greek Byzantologists like Nicolaos Tomathakis, professor of Byzantine Literature at the University of Athens.
Nicolaos Tomathakis in his work ‘Introduction to Byzantine Literature’, volume A, second edition, Athens 1956, explains the following:”…Christianity was hostile mainly towards the Hellenic social component as a mode of life and thinking…The most effective insinuation of Christianity against the Greek classical world was its exposure as being idolatrous. For idolatry were often accused non-Christians by organised mobs, a religious ritual(idolatry) which was unknown to them… Nevertheless, very soon, the name designation for a Greek person(ethnikos) was identified with the ritual of idolatry…”(translation of the Greek text)(p.9,http://cloudconnected.pblogs.gr/2014/01…)
Mrs. Ahrweiler, a world famous historian of the Byzantium, “throwing dust” in the eyes of her Greek lecturers, in her book ‘the Ideology of the Byzantine Empire’, describes the persecution of the Greek citizens of the Byzantine Empire by its political leaders and by the Greek Orthodox Clergy as initiatives and actions taken against idolaters, underestimating in this way the cultural identity of the Greeks then. At the same time, Mrs. Ahrweiler identifies with the “unhistorical position” of the Christian Church Establishment that the Ancient Greeks were idolaters and naturally “spiritually imperfect”!!!
In the Ancient Greek Religion, there was no worship of idols, only of nature in all its forms. Idolatry was a religious ritualistic characteristic of all the religions of the Middle East and of Asia Minor, including the Traditional Jewish Religion which through time, had adopted in an incremental way, the religious beliefs of the various communities and tribes of Canaan in Palestine!!!
Mrs. Ahrweiler, in her book ‘ the Political Ideology of the Byzantine Empire’, makes the following comments:”….There were political measures taken against the idolaters which often took the form of real persecutions. The Oracle at Delphi was to silence itself, the Olympic Games and the Religious Rituals of Eleusis or the Eleusinian Mysteries were forbidden. Sacred Greek sites were pillaged and the pagan priests were obliged to discontinue their religious functions or face death, as historian Livanios informs us…..”.( translation of the Greek text)(Glykatzi-Ahrweiler,Helene, ‘The Political Ideology of the Byzantine Empire’, p.17,Editing House Psichogios, Athens 1988)
In order to better comprehend “the conspiracy” between the political elites of the Byzantine Empire, the Greek Orthodox Church with its center in Constantinople, and the International Jewish Establishment, we shall refer to the last “pagan” Byzantine Emperor, Julian, who during the period he ruled(as Caesar with his cousin Constantius B’ from 355A.D. to 360A.D.,and alone as Augustus from 361A.D. until 363A.D.), tried through his state policies to restore Ancient Greek Culture during a time when his Judeo-Christian citizens were defining and controlling to a large degree the image of the political culture of his Empire!!!(p.1,http://www.theasis.gr/koinonia/art-new/313-o-ioulianos-)
Julian was the last Byzantine emperor of the dynasty of the Constanteens and the only “pagan” emperor after Constantine the Great(272A.D.-337A.D.). Julian was the first cousin of Emperor Constantius B’ and was born in Constantinople in 331A.D. Immediately after the death of Constantine the Great, Byzantine soldiers lynched Constantine’s half – brothers, one of them being Julius, the father of Julian and Gallo, as well as many of his relatives and supporters, including Dalmatian, Julian’ older brother. The official historical narrative at that time ,was that the army had acted spontaneously and forcefully on the evidence that Constantine the Great had been poisoned by his brothers. Nevertheless, later evidence revealed that Constantius B’, his son, was the person responsible for the murder of Julian’s relatives, this, in order to control absolutely the political hegemony of the Byzantine Empire after his father’s death!!!(p.1,https://el.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ioulianos)
All of Julian’s family were murdered by Coonstantius B’ in the course of one night, except for himself and his younger brother Gallo. Constantius spared them because they were still very young and did not pose any threat to his political power hold. Julian grew up far from the royal court and its political intrigues, while he went first to Nicomedia and then to Cappadocia( then, major cities of Asia Minor) , where he studied the Ancient Greek Civilization. At the age of 11, Julian’s and his younger brother’s education were assigned to the bishop Georgios of Cappadocia, where they studied Christian, but also non-Christian manuscripts, kept within the rich library of bishop Georgiou!!!
In 348A.D., Julian returned to Constantinople and studied with the Ethnic teacher(non-Christian Greek) Neoclis and the Christian teacher Eccuolio. From 350 to 351A.D., he went to Pergamos and studied with the philosopher Aedesius, there, becoming acquainted with the neo-platonic philosopher Maximos of Ephesus. With the aid of the wife of Emperor Constantius B’, Eusevia, who liked and greatly respected Julius, he escaped execution by the Emperor, who had dethroned and then executed his brother Gallus, since after he had appointed him Caesar of the Eastern Roman Provinces, he proved to be an incapable political administrator and an incompetent military commander!!!(p.1,https://el.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ioulianos)
After the execution of Gallus in 354A.D., Julian, with the help of Empress Eusevia went to Athens and studied in the Greek Academies there. In those Traditional Greek Institutions of higher learning, he had as schoolmates, Gregory the Theologian and Basil the Great, two of the three First Fathers of the Greek Orthodox Church. In 355A.D., Julian was appointed Caesar of the Western Provinces of the Roman Empire by Emperor Constantius B’, his first cousin, while the Emperor also named him his successor before his death in 361A.D.!!!
On December 361A.D., Julian entered Constantinople as Emperor, while very soon after, he initiated his policy of reviving the Greek and the Roman religions, Greek education and learning , as well as Greek culture!!! This policy by Julian ,which essentially undermined the cultural influence as well as the economic and political interests of the Greek Orthodox Church was fought zealously by Gregory the Theologian and by Basil the Great, his former schoolmates from the Greek Academies of Athens. His two school companions had by then become powerful and influential clerics within the Church Establishment!!!( Tsolis, Michalis, Saint Gregory the Theologian, pp.37-38, The Orthodox Press, Athens 1997, a Greek text).
From the moment that Julian functioned as a political leader within the Byzantine Empire, first as Caesar with Constantius B’ from 355A.D. to 360A.D., and then as sole ruler or as Augustus from 361A.D. to 363A.D., the Leadership of the Greek Orthodox Church, with its advocates, the ruling classes of the Byzantine Empire and the International Jewish Establishment, assigned to Julian the nicknames of “transgressor” and “apostate”; judging his stance towards the Christian Religion!!! This discriminating position was not only related to Julian reviving the Ancient Greek Civilization, meaning the Ancient Greek Religion, Ancient Greek Education, the Ancient Greek philosophic thought process, Ancient Greek Arts and Sciences, but also these powerful societal forces wanted to stain Julian’s character. They were identifying Emperor Julian as an immoral, undemocratic, non-condescending and a psychologically unbalanced politician!!!
This propaganda against the moral and spiritual integrity of Julian was since that time permanent and relentless, an “unhistorical reality” which is still being diffused by today’s Ecclesiastic Scholars and Theologians.”…the Judeo-Christians wanting to besmirch Julian’s name, did not hesitate to attach to him unfounded rumours which were started by the Byzantine commentator and monk, Gergios Kedrinos, who had lived during the end of the 11th and the beginning of the 12th century A.D.. Therefore, thanks to Kedrinos, we learn that Julian made libations to the Gods, disemboweling babies and pregnant women in order to prepare a type of wine potion which included their entrails…”!!! ( translation of the Greek text)(p.4,http://www.theasis.gr/koinonia/art-new/313-o-ioulianos-)
Well established Greek historians like Constantinos Paparigopoulos, the professor Caterina Christophilopoulou who has written ‘the History of the Byzantium’, the historian Ioannis Karagianopoulos, who wrote about Julian in his first volume of ‘the History of the Byzantine State’, as well as Mrs. Polymnia Athanasiadou, a Doctor in History; all of them, describing in detail the life and personality of Julian, as well as his political and cultural initiatives, put great emphasis on the psychology of this “extraordinary” Emperor!!!
This last historical component is not at all coincidental, since these noteworthy historians are able to pass on the message to their readers, that Julian due to his traumatic experiences when he was only 6 years old(337A.D.), when all of his family and relatives, except for his younger brother Gallo were assassinated( by the soldiers of Caesar Constantius B’, successor to Constantine the Great and first cousin of Julian), had obstructed a normal physiological development of his personality and character!!!
The emphasis given by these historians concerning the disturbed psyche of Julian since his childhood, provides them with a viable inference to question his mental and behavioral constitution when he put into place his radical policies. The crux of his policies was to revitalize Ancient Greek Civilization within the Byzantine Empire, while also marginalizing the influence of the Christian Orthodox Church and the Judeo-Christian Byzantine citizens in all sectors of Byzantine society. Julian wanted to obstruct their influence in defining Byzantium’s political culture, its religion, its education and its philosophical mode of thought, which had been based to a large degree on the Jewish Cultural and Religious Traditions of the Old Testament and the Jewish Prophets!!!
For example, in a historical text devoted to the life and philosophy of Emperor Julian, providing historical commentaries made by distinguished Greek historians, it is stated that “…(historian) Constantinos Paparigopoulos, emphasizes the difficult childhood years on Julian’s character. In a scholarly way, with an affinity for understanding, he attributes the hostile position taken by Julian in relation to the new religion(Christianity), not only on psychological and personal reasons but also on the influence which had exercised upon him the “glorious aesthetic beauty” of an Athens in decline…”!!! Similarly, we read that “…(historian)Caterina Christophilopoulou, in her book ‘the History of the Byzantium’, she often refers to the Emperor(Julian)…Christophilopoulou does not omit to talk about the events during the childhood years of the Emperor…She assigns great importance on the psychological effects of so many killings experienced by a small child…”!!!( translation of the Greek text)(p.3,https://el.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ioulianos)
In the same biographical text, there is also an analysis made on the personality of Julian, undertaken by the historian Ioannis Karagianopoulos in the first volume of his work, ‘The History of the Byzantium’, where he states that “…in the political arena, and especially in his clashes with Constantius, Julian seems to be in a state of anxiety and fear, almost a precautionary fear, by products of circumstances. As a human being he is presented as oversensitive and unbalanced, courteous and amiable, loved by his peers and the simple folk, studious with an impressive education. His religious policy is characterized as ‘unrealistic’ and he is considered as ‘a romantic emperor’…”!!!( translation of the Greek text)(p.3,https://el.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ioulianos)
From the historical descriptions of these eminent Greek historians, related to the personality and the work of Julian, we observe that on the one hand they consider him a gifted politician , intellectually and scholarly, yet on the other hand, they describe him as unstable psychologically and a romantic ideologically, which means not a realist and a pragmatist!!! Under this particular historical perspective, these Greek historians invalidate in “an indirect way”, Julian’s policy in reviving Ancient Greek Civilization in the Byzantium and marginalizing the influence of the Church Establishment, socially, politically, culturally, but also economically!!!
How unstable psychologically, inconsistent mentally and romantic or fanciful ideologically Julian was, we shall discover by examining his personal acts and his written words!!!
We have already mentioned that the historical epochs of European Renaissance and European Enlightenment, when the Ancient Greek Ideological Standards, like rationalism ,the dialectic thinking process, equanimity and the freedom of thought and expression, were accepted as “sacred” for the aesthetics and the quality of life as a whole, the intellectuals of those time periods, “stigmatized” the Byzantium as a state entity without any political, cultural and social cohesion, without any historical identity!!! Contrary to this position, these same intellectuals and scholars considered the Byzantine Political Career of Julian, as a bright historical exception and a spiritual parenthesis to the autocratic policies of the Byzantine Emperors and to the ideological obscurity of the Greek Orthodox Church and the International Jewish Establishment which it supported and promoted !!!(p.2,http://www.mixanitouxronou.gr/san-simera-gia-afrio-ioulianos-)
The founding fathers of European Renaissance and European Enlightenment recognized Emperor Julian as a hero, a radical, a well – read philosopher and a good political leader, someone who had been unfairly treated by his peers. Through their “objective” historical analyses, these European intellectuals, utilizing rationalism , empiricism and a dialectic critique, concerning the vast societal powers of the Church and the authoritarianism of Byzantine political rule, they explained that the hostile position taken by the Political and the Clerical Establishment in relation to Emperor Julian was a consequence of his “unorthodox policies” ,undermining their own societal status and personal interests. They said that, “… then, they(the Church establishment) had characterized a truly great human as a ‘transgressor’, because he prevented them from plundering the empire. Also, because he prevented them from destroying philosophy , the letters, the arts and the Hellenic philosophic way of thinking, of living and of acting freely. In a world where darkness, intellectual ignorance and Christianity were prevalent, like today…”.(translation of the Greek text)(p.1,http://www.theasis.gr/koinonia/art-new/313-o-ioulianos-pragmatikos-)
The Greek historian Constantinos Paparigopoulos, in his famous work, ‘The History of the Greek Nation’, explains that even though Emperor Julian had instituted the policy of ‘religious tolerance’ of Constantine the Great, the official Greek historiography and the Greek Orthodox Church, never stopped categorizing him as an “apostate” and as a “transgressor”, the moment that he personally had rejected Christianity as his own belief system and had dispensed with the state privileges of the Christian clerics.
As with Constantine the Great(306A.D.-337A.D.), the universal application of the social institution of “religious freedom” within the Byzantine Empire, meant that all religions were protected by the governing institutions of the state, on condition that the particular religion did not entrench on or undermine the political integrity and the political stability of the Byzantine State.
Using the same prerogatives as Constantine the Great in applying “religious freedom” within Byzantium, Julian utilized state policies, with the only difference being that for him any religion which obstructed or distorted his policy of reviving and then establishing Ancient Greek Civilization as representative of all sectors of the state and society in general, had to be marginalized and weakened. For Julian, this religion was Christianity, because first of all, it came into conflict culturally and ideologically with Greek Civilization, which Julian had embraced through his Greek education, as well as the fact that the Christian clerics were legally unaccountable , while permanently enriching themselves, burdening financially the state funds through government grants and tax exemptions on their property and revenues!!!
At the same time, Emperor Julian, considered that an accumulation of great wealth by the Greek Orthodox Church and its clergy, undermined the economic self-reliance and naturally the powers of the local governments and administrations, while it also provided the Greek Orthodox Church with the means, ”the gold coins”, to buy off the consciences and the loyalty of local state officials, therefore influencing their state policies and legal decisions !!!(p.2,http://www.theasis.gr/koinonia/art-new/313-o-ioulianos-pragmatikos-)
Through the state legislation for “religious tolerance”, Julian ”…provided general amnesty to the exiled Christian heretics, returned their confiscated property and brought back from exile those Orthodox Christians who had been banished by the Arian(heretical Christian dogma) Emperor Constantius B’…”.(translation of the Greek text)(p.2,http://www.theasis.gr/koinonia/art-new/313-o-ioulianos-pragmatikos-)
Even with the Jewish Community of the Byzantine Empire, in 363A.D., before starting his military campaigns against Persia of the Sassanids, Julian allowed the Byzantine Jews to return to Palestine, clarifying to them that he was responding to”… their deep historical and religious desire to go back to Jerusalem, their holy city, which they yearned for in such a long time to rebuild…”. At the same time, he permitted them to renovate the Holy Temple of Solomon in Jerusalem!!!(p.6,http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jewish-history)
Julian did not implement a policy of religious persecution against his Christian citizens, because from his long experience in public life, as a political official of the Byzantine Empire, he knew very well that Christian Martyrs elevated the religious status and the popular appeal of the Christian Orthodox Church, which “theoretically”, its ideology and social values did not condone religious violence.
Even though Julian as Byzantine Emperor did not wish to induce the persecution of his Christian subjects because of the state policy of “religious freedom”, he nevertheless enforced strict legal stipulations concerning any activity by the Christians which would undermine public order so that they could protect their own economic interests and privileges at the expense of the financial self-sufficiency of the ordinary citizen and the state departments and institutions!!!
In his letter to the inhabitants of Basra, Julian addressing the Christian population of that major city in Asia Minor, writes the following:”…Instead of feeling content that they have not been punished for their wrongful actions, they long for their previous powers, and because they cannot anymore direct trials, draw up wills, usurp other people’s estates and make them their own, they are “pulling the strings” to instill social unrest, adding fuel to the fire, exploiting old tribulations to create new ones and leading the public to social discord.
I have therefore decided to announce to all of the city’s inhabitants that it is forbidden for them to rise up with the clerics , to be misled by them and to take up stones, demonstrating insubordination towards their state officials.
They are free to assemble whenever they want and to pray for themselves the manner they choose. Nevertheless, if some want to convince them to rise up, supposedly for their own proper interests, they should not participate in these type of disturbances so as not to have to face heavy punishment…”.(translation of the Greek text)(p.4,http://www.theasis.gr/koinonia/art-new/313-o-ioulianos-pragmatikos-)
Emperor Julian’s policy and strategy of reviving Ancient Greek Civilization did not only involve limiting the religious, political, cultural and economic influence exercised by the Greek Orthodox Church and its Christian followers, always with the International Jewish Establishment “lobbying behind the scenes”, but it also aimed at reinstating Ancient Greek Religion and its institutions. Julian initiated the promotion and the consolidation of Ancient Greek Philosophy and the Ancient Greek Sciences in education, and finally, the application of Ancient Greek Social Standards in the upbringing and character formation of young people!!!(p.3,https://el.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ioulianos)
In order to ensure that Ancient Greek Education and Ancient Greek Character Formation would be propagated and diffused within the schools and the academies of the Byzantine Empire, he passed a decree excluding all Christian educators from teaching in schools, because he believed that these school instructors would distort the context of their curriculum , reinforcing their Christian propaganda and spreading the Christian Religion within the various educational institutions and throughout Byzantine Society.
Since the “driving force” behind the propagation and the consolidation of the Judeo-Christian Religion in the Byzantine Empire was the Greek Orthodox Church with its seat in Constantinople, Emperor Julian with a number of decrees “…put a break at the license of the clerics and the enrichment of the Church, without nevertheless proceeding to their persecution…he prohibited bequests to the churches and obliged Christians to compensate for all the damages they had caused to the holy temples of the Ethnics(pagan Greek citizens)…”.(translation of the Greek text)(p.2,http://www.theasis.gr/koinonia/art-new/313-o-ioulianos-pragmatikos-)
Justifying his stance on forbidding Christian educators teaching in public educational institutions, Emperor Julian sent a letter to the inhabitants of the city of Edessa in Macedonia, telling them the following:”…I believe that a proper education does not only entail the handling of words and language in an organised manner, but also in excelling, by having a healthy disposition to thinking logically, to having the correct opinion of what is right and what is wrong, what is beautiful and what is obscene.
Therefore, the person who does not believe in what he is teaching to his students, I think has distanced himself to the same degree from education as from his own integrity… And if the difference between one’s thoughts and what one says involves trivial matters, then the harm can be tolerated. Nevertheless, in critical matters, if someone teaches the opposite of what he believes, how can he not be considered a sly person, very different from being honest and conscientious, who speaks in a positive way about things which he considers worthless; misleading and enticing with praises all those who he wants to transmit his own improprieties.
As a consequence, all those people who call themselves teachers, have to be just and logical human beings, and the ideas that they have embraced should not come into conflict with their public functions…”.(translation of the Greek text)(pp.2-3,http://www.theasis.gr/koinonia/art-new/313-o-ioulianos-pragmatikos-)
Basil the Great, the future archbishop of Caesaria in Cappadocia( Asia Minor) and Gregory the Theologian , the future archbishop of Constantinople, had been schoolmates with Julian at the Ethnic Academies of Athens, when the last one was Caesar, approximately between 354A.D. and 355A.D.. These first two Fathers of Christian Orthodoxy, had then, tried through discussions and religious arguments to convince Julian not to attempt to revive Ancient Greek Civilization and the Pagan Religion of the Ancient Greeks, which for them meant “idolatry”. Finally, they were not able to change Julian’s beliefs.
When in 361A.D., Julian became Emperor and absolute ruler of the Byzantine Empire, reinstating the culture and the religion of the Ancient Greeks, his former companions and classmates, now, powerful and influential clerics, fought him in a coarse and shameless way through their Christian propaganda diffused within the churches, the archdioceses and the monasteries of the Byzantium!!!
In one of the sermons given by Gregory the Theologian, directed against Emperor Julian, he assigns to him the following defamatory epithets:”…disrespectful, persecutor, traitor, tone deaf, insatiable, dogmatic, a sophist, a killer of Christians, hateful towards God, a dragon, an apostate, a pig covered in mud, a public enemy, etc…”.( translation of the Greek text)(p.38,Tsolis,Michalis,’Saint Gregory the Theologian’, The Orthodox Press, Athens 1997)
The Greek historian , Polymnia Athanasiadou, in her joint work for the Athens Editing House, ‘The History of the Greek Nation’, describes the 16 month reign of Julian as positive, based on his policies involving the development of the cities, his social and administrative reforms, as well as his initiatives related to innovations he made in Byzantium’s military complex and justice system.
Doctor Athanasiadou characterizes Emperor Julian as “…one of the most gifted, courteous and amicable figures in world history…”(translation of the Greek text)(p.3,https://el.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ioulianos).While according to the French Historian, Cousin, in his book, ’The History of Greek Philosophy’, he emphasizes the fact that “… the whole world of Ancient Greek Philosophy essentially came to an end with the death of Julian…”.(translation of the Greek text)(p.2,https://el.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ioulianos)
Immediately after the death of Julian in June of 363A.D.,”…a wave of terror broke out in the Eastern regions of the Byzantine Empire. At the same time, the Great Library of Antioch(major city in Asia Minor) was set ablaze. There followed mass persecutions and violent killings of philosophers, convictions for magic were imposed against the believers of the ancient Greek divinities, there was destruction of ancient Greek temples but also of places of popular gathering by non-Christian Greeks, which did not represent locations of ritual, like gymnasiums(schools) and museums. This went to its final phase, with the interdiction of the ancient Greek religion by Byzantine Emperor Theodosius in November 392A.D. and the simultaneous prohibition of the Olympic Games…”.(translation of the Greek text)(p.5,http://www.theasis.gr/koinonia/art-new/313-o-ioulianos-prgamatikos-)
From the three Fathers of the Greek Orthodox Church, we have already mentioned St. Basil the Great and St. Gregory the Theologian in relation to the propaganda war they waged against Emperor Julian, concerning his policy of reviving Ancient Greek Civilization and the Ancient Greek Religion within the Byzantium. St. John Chrysostom , the third Father of Christian Orthodoxy, who was appointed Archbishop of Constantinople by Byzantine Emperor Arcadius on December 15, 398A.D., proved to be more influential and more forceful in his battle against the Ethnics(non-Christian Greek citizens), compared to St. Basil and St. Gregory. This was because he enjoyed the absolute political support and backing of Emperor Arcadius(395A.D.-408A.D.) and that of the Political Elites of the Byzantine State.
We shall therefore present some historical commentaries and historical facts which relate to the position and the actions taken by St. John Chrysostom , concerning the religious freedoms of the Ethnics(Byzantine Greek pagans), as well as their cultural institutions and their religious traditions which stemmed from Ancient Greek Civilization!!!
St. John Chrysostom, criticizing the ideology of the Ethnics(non-Christian Greek citizens) and their Ancient Greek Philosophers, remarks the following:”…If you examine closely the inner thoughts of the Greeks, you will find ashes and dust , and nothing wholesome, just an open tomb(the Ancient Greek Philosophers), full of filth and pus, with their dogmas swarming with maggots… these are the things that the Greeks begot and augmented, from what they acquired from the philosophers…We shall not abandon our fight against them…”.(translation of the Greek text)(pp.2-3,http://apollonios.pblogs.gr/2015/06/oi-anthellhnes-orthodoxoi-patere-)
In the following text by St. Chrysostom, comparing the quality of the person who is a Christian believer and the Greek Byzantine citizen who feels an affinity towards the Ancient Greek Spirit, he notes the following:”…the more uncivilized a nation seems and refrains from Greek education, so much more brilliant our followers seem… So that the uncivilized believer, has conquered the whole world… and while everything which is related to the Greeks is dying off and is annihilated, those things involving the uncivilized believer, become brighter everyday…”.(translation of the Greek text)(pp.2-3,http://apollonios.pblogs.gr/2015/06/oi-anthellhnes-orthodoxoi-patere-)
After the above commentary, St. Chrysostom expresses his total abhorrence towards the major Greek Libraries, like the Library of Alexandria, comparing their books and the knowledge they contain to “demons”. He says,”…What kind of a holy place is the Temple of Serapis(library of Alexandria) through its books??? This cannot be …since demons inhabit this place….probably their own demons(of the Greeks)…and due to them(books) stands an invisible altar of deception, where human souls are being sacrificed….therefore understand and reveal(spread the message) that demons live there…”.(translation of the Greek text)(pp.2-3,http://apollonius.pblogs.gr/2015/06/oi-anthellhnes-orthodoxoi-patere-)
The next narrative is an ecclesiastical edict written by St. Chrysostom as Archbishop of Constantinople, which sets the standards for the names chosen by Byzantine Christians when they baptize their children in Church. The choice has to be a Jewish name and not a Greek one. He dictates that “…No one should choose a name which comes from one’s forefathers(Greek), like the name of the father, the mother, the grandfather or the great-grandfather, but those of the just ones( personalities from the Old Testament)…”.(translation of the Greek text)(pp2-3,http://apollonios.pblogs.gr/2015/06/oi-anthellnes-orthodoxoi-patere-)
As a final historical record, clearly demonstrating the personal hate and intolerance nursed by St. John Chrysostom, archbishop of Constantinople, against all elements of Byzantine Society which were related to Ancient Greek Civilization, we shall quote one of his ecclesiastic decrees directed to the Prefect of the Eastern Provinces of the Byzantine Empire, dealing with the demolition of Ancient Greek Temples and the utility of their marble to construct Christian Churches and the houses of rich Byzantine Christians. The authentic document is presented in a study which was undertaken by the history professors Angeliki Vlachaki-Dimitriou, Maria Drakou and Christos Rigopoulos in 2013, which was subsidised by the municipality of Galatsi within the metropolis of Athens. The title of their joint study in Greek translation is, ‘Lime-kilns and quarries- symbols of civilization in Galatsi and beyond’.
Part of the narrative notes the following:”…During the first years of the Byzantine Empire and more precisely on the 13th of July 399, a decree was sent out to the prefecture of the east(from John Chrysostom , Archbishop of Constantinople), which expressed ,’the initiative of John Chrysostom(347-407), under the rule of emperor Arcadius(395-408), ordering that if there remained in the countryside temples standing , to demolish them quietly, so that the last traces of superstition can be eradicated’…”.
Then the authors commenting on this well documented historical information, say the following:”…Consequently, all the marble from ancient temples which was not used for the construction of churches and houses, they transported it secretly to the voracious lime-kilns of the limestone masons. What a Cultural Crime by the Christian Byzantine Administration and by the Christian Byzantine Church, something similar to today’s Moslem Fanatics who destroy in a systematic way ancient temples, old churches, monasteries and mosques which they consider as centers of idolatry, in the context of an Extreme Islamic Dogma which they say they follow. Then and now!!!..”(translation of the Greek text)(Vlachaki-Dimitriou,Angeliki,Dakou,Maria,Rigopoulos,Christos,’Lime-kilns and quarries – symbols of civilization in Galatsi and beyond’,p.19,edited by the Municipality of Galatsi, Attica, 2013).
I wish everyone a happy new year and a little more self-criticism, and to my old friend that I dedicated a whole text in the past, less ephasis towards his Facebook and his social image, and more attention to his psyche, so that he would not have to take anti-depressant pills every single day!!!