Month: September 2014

56-The Crusades Part 3 file | Play in new windowThe Crusades, Part 3. A significant result of the First Crusade was the further alienation of the Eastern & Western Churches. The help provided Byzantium by the crusaders were not what The Emperor Alexius was looking for. It also resulted in an even greater alienation of the Muslims than had been in place before. 200 years of Crusading rampages across the Eastern Mediterranean permanently poisoned Muslim-Christian relations and ended the spirit of moderate tolerance for Christians living under Muslim rule. The only people who welcomed the crusaders were a handful of Christian minorities who’d suffered under Byzantine or Muslim rule; people like the Armenians and Lebanese Maronites. The Copts in Egypt saw the Crusades as a calamity. They were now suspected by Muslims rulers of holding Western sympathies while being treated as schismatics by the Western Church. Once the Crusaders took Jerusalem, they banned the Copts form making pilgrimage there. Things really went sour between East & West when the Roman church installed Latin Latin patriarchates in historically Eastern centers at Antioch & of course Jerusalem. Then, during the 4th Crusade, a Latin patriarch was appointed to the church in Constantinople itself! To give you an idea of what this would have “felt” like to the church in Constantinople, imagine how Southern Baptists would feel if a Mormon bishop was installed as the...

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55-The Crusades Part 2 file | Play in new windowEpisode 55 – The Crusades, Part 2 As Bruce Shelly aptly states in in his excellent book Church History in Plain Language, for the past 700 years Christians have tried to forget the Crusades, though neither Jews nor Muslims will let them. Modern Christians want to dismiss that era of Church History as the insane bigotry of the illiterate & superstitious. But to do so is to shows our own kind of bigotry, one neglectful of the historical context of the European Middle Ages. The Crusaders were human beings, who like us, had mixed motives that were often in conflict. The word crusade means to “take up the cross,” hopefully after the example of Christ. That’s why on the way to the Holy Land crusaders wore the cross on their chest. On their return home they wore it on their back. [1] In rallying the European nobility to join the First Crusade, Pope Urban II promised them forgiveness of past sins. Most of them held a deep reverence for the land Jesus had walked. That devotion was captured later by Shakespeare when he has King Henry IV say: We are impressed and engag’d to fight … To chase those pagans in those holy fields, Over whose acres walked those blessed feet, Which fourteen hundred years ago were nail’d, For our advantage on the...

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54-The Crusades – Part 1 file | Play in new windowEpisode 54 – The Crusades – Part 1 In the first episode of Communio Sanctorum, we took a look at the various ways history has been studied over time. In the Ancient world, history was more often than not, propaganda. The old adage that “History is written by the winners” was certainly true for the ancients. With the implementation of the Scientific Method in the Modern Era when, the researching & recording of history became more unbiased and accurate. It was far from a pure report, but it could no longer be considered blatant propaganda. But the Post-Modern Era saw a return to bias; this time an almost knee-jerk suspicion of ALL previous attempts to record history. Even the attempts of the Modern Era to document history are suspect and assumed guilty of recording little more than the bias of the authors, though their works were footnoted & peer-reviewed. Many Post-modern critics adopt a presupposition all recorded history is fabrication, especially if there’s anything heroic or virtuous in it. If it’s a dark tale of hopelessness & tragedy, well, then, maybe it can be accepted. It’s almost as though Post-moderns want to make up for the ancient historians’ penchant for propaganda. Post-Moderns cast history as “neg-paganda” if I can coin a new word. Let’s attempt a shedding of our bias, even though we...

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53-Crazy Stuff file | Play in new windowThis episode of CS is titled, “Crazy Stuff” because . . . we’ll you’ll see as we get into it. A short while back, we took at look at the Iconoclast Controversy that took place in the Eastern, Greek Orthodox church during the 8th & 9th Cs. While we understand the basic point of controversy between the icon-smashers, called iconoclasts, and the icon-supporters, the iconodules; the theology the iconodules used to support the on-going use of icons is bit complex. The iconoclasts considered the use of religious images as simple idolatry. The iconodules developed a theology that not only allowed, it encouraged the use of icons while avoiding the charge of idolatry. They said such images were to be respected; venerated even – but not worshiped. Though, for all practical purposes, in the minds of most worshipers, there was no real difference between veneration & the adoration of worship. The acceptance of icons as intrinsic to worship in the East marked the entrance of a decidedly mystical slant that entered the Orthodox Church at this time, and has remained in it ever since. All of this was seen in the career of an author now known as PSEUDO-DIONYSIUS THE AREOPAGITE. He’s called “Pseudo-Dionysius” because while we know his writings were produced in the early 6th C in Syria, they claim to have been written...

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