Wednesday, July 16, 2003

Book I’m dipping into
Byzantium and the Rise of Russia by the late Fr John Meyendorff

Am learning bits and pieces from it, like how the Pope pre-German empire was basically seen as an employee of the Byzantine emperor, 'God's vicar on earth' (pretty hollow now that he's been gone since 1453), how the Byzantines really did see 'empah' and their rite as universal vs. anything else, how medieval princes switched churches, getting dunked and redunked by either side to play politics (shameful), how Ukrainianness (as something separate from Russianness) dates back to about 1340 and Polish rule over Galicia-Volhynia, and obscure stuff like the Legend of the White Cowl (клобук), the Byzantino-Russian version of the Donation of Constantine. (Interesting coincidence that the Pope has worn white since the late 1500s — because St Pius V was a Dominican and wore his habit when he was Pope.) Now I know why all Russian metropolitans wear white hats - thank the legend and Peter the Great.

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