Byzantine Rome and the Greek Popes

Byzantine Rome and the Greek Popes : Eastern Influences on Rome and the Papacy from Gregory the Great to Zacharias, A.D. 590-752

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Byzantine Rome and the Greek Popes examines the scope and extent to which the East influenced Rome and the Papacy following the Justinian Reconquest of Italy in the middle of the sixth century through the pontificate of Zacharias and the collapse of the exarchate of Ravenna in 752. A combination of factors resulted in the arrival of significant numbers of easterners in Rome, and those immigrants had brought with them a number of eastern customs and practices previously unknown in the city. Greek influence became apparent in art, religious ceremonial and liturgics, sacred music, the rhetoric of doctrinal debate, the growth of eastern monastic communities, and charitable institutions, and the proliferation of the cults of eastern saints and ecclesiastical feast days and, in particular, devotion to the Theotokos or Mother of God. From the late seventh to the middle of the eighth century, eleven of the thirteen Roman pontiffs were the sons of families of eastern provenance. While conceding that over the course of the seventh century Rome indeed experienced the impact of an important Greek element, some scholars of the period have insisted that the degree to which Rome and the Papacy were 'orientalized' has been exaggerated, while others argue that the extent of their 'byzantinization' has not been fully appreciated. The question has also been raised as to whether Rome's oriental popes were responsible for sowing the seeds of separatism from Byzantium and laying the foundation for a future papal state, or whether they were loyal imperial subjects ever steadfast politically, although not always so in matters of the faith, to the reigning sovereign in Constantinople. Finally, there is the important issue of whether one could still speak of a single and undivided imperium Roman christianum in the seventh and early eighth centuries or whether the concept of imperial unity in the epoch following Gregory the Great was a quaint and fanciful fiction as East and West, ignoring and misunderstanding one another, began to go their separate ways. Byzantine Rome and the Greek Popes provides a guide through this complicated and often contradictory history.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 302 pages
  • 147.32 x 223.52 x 27.94mm | 544.31g
  • Lexington Books
  • Lanham, MD, United States
  • English
  • 0739119788
  • 9780739119785
  • 1,192,975

About Andrew J. Ekonomou

Andrew J. Ekonomou is lecturer in Byzantine history and literature at Emory University as well as a privately practicing lawyer.show more

Review quote

Ekonomou has penned an important scholarly work on the little studied and poorly documented political and religious history of Rome under Byzantine rule in the seventh and eighth centuries... Recommended. CHOICE There is a great deal to learn from this new take on an important phase in the history of the papacy. The Catholic Historical Review A significant and serious work of scholarship...Ekonomou...amply and convincingly documents the often unexpected and even counterintuitive ways in which the Greek-speaking East influenced the West-Roman Church and papacy. Logos: Journal Of Eastern Christian Studies Dr. Ekonomou's book is a nicely written monograph on a topic that cried desperately for attention in the course of the last century and more. Apart from shedding much more light on some crucial aspects of what is considered the darkest of the Dark Ages, this is a work that for the first time focuses on the Greek/Byzantine/Hellenic dimension of the Roman Papacy and thoroughly investigates the background to a number of Popes of Greek/Byzantine/Hellenic/Eastern origin that shaped the Roman Church. This is a book that will be greatly appreciated by anyone interested in the early Papacy, Rome and Byzantium. A great complement to books such as The Republic of St. Peter by T.F.X. Noble and the translated parts of the Liber Pontificalis. -- Alexander Alexakis, University of Ioannina A learned, interesting, wide-ranging book that tackles an important subject that has long been controversial. Journal of Religionshow more

Table of contents

Chapter 1 Rome and the East in the Time of Gregory the Great Chapter 2 The Impact of the Barbarian Invasions of the East on Rome and the Papacy in the Early Seventh Century Chapter 3 The Monothelite Controversy Chapter 4 The Lateran Council of 649 Chapter 5 The Italian Expedition of Constans II: Prelude to the Eastern Popes, 649-678 Chapter 6 Rome and the Papacy From Agatho to Sergius I, 678-701 Chapter 7 Eastern Influences on Rome and the Papacy From Sergius to Zacaharias, 701-752 Chapter 8 Epilogue: Zacharias, Son of Polychronios: The Last of the Greek Popesshow more

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