“ROMEOSYNE” ACCORDING TO PROTOPRESBYTER JOHN ROMANIDES AND CHRISTOS YANNARAS: A RESPONSE TO PANTELIS KALAITZIDIS by James L. Kelley

In his 2013 article “The Image of the West in Contemporary Greek Theology,” Pantelis Kalaitzidis, director of the Volos Academy for Theological Studies, has launched a critique of the supposed ideological, nationalistic, and even racist underpinnings of the theologies of Fr. John Romanides and Christos Yannaras.[1] Though Kalaitzidis’s critique of Fr. John Romanides’s theology (and of details of his public life) is both alarmingly glib and blatantly misinformed, the article does have a bright spot—its critique of Yannaras’s Hellenophilism. In these pages, we will first offer a brief consideration of Yannaras’s problematic “logos”-motif; the second, more substantial part will summarize and refute Kalaitzidis’s contentions about Father John Romanides.

I have always felt that the weakest point of Yannaras’s theology was his idiosyncratic idea of a philosophico-theological principle of “logos.” Yannaras’s “logos” purportedly explains why Greeks and others in Eastern Europe were especially equipped to accept the revelation of Christ. This Hellenic “logos”-mindset has as its dialectical opposite the “ratio” mentality of the barbarian hordes that destroyed the Roman empire in the West, and which became the leaders of the Frankish Empire and then the leaders of Western European states, or so Yannaras’s metanarrative would have it.[2] In light of the foregoing, I agree with Kalaitzidis that this “logos” theme in Yannaras, despite the Greek theologian’s good intentions, cannot avoid tinges of Hellenocentrism.[3] Yannaras is indeed off-base in holding the decisive factor in Christian history to have been the Greeks’ purported relational and communal-participatory thinking, the latter supposedly having led Eastern Roman society as a whole to embrace Orthodoxy.

But Kalaitzidis does not delve deep enough to see that Yannaras’s socio-cultural and philosophico-theological “logos” idea is not simply wrong-headed; rather, Yannaras’s quasi-phyletist ideas about the Greek nation and its supposed “logos” is the wrong answer to a specific tacit question, namely, “Why did Orthodoxy continue in the Roman East even after Orthodoxy was replaced by Augustinian Roman Catholic Christianity in the former West Roman Empire?” Yannaras’s question, I contend, can be subsumed under a more fundamental query: “How are human beings saved from death and sin by being united to Christ in His Church?” Fr. John Romanides’s work is focused firmly upon the latter question, and so the Greek-American theologian avoids accepting the presuppositions behind the Western-Augustinian tradition; not avoiding the Western approach leads Yannaras and others to ineffectual railing against the Christian West. However, Father John also answers Yannaras’s question in the following way: Orthodoxy continued in the Eastern Roman Empire, not because of any Hellenic intellectual acumen or cultural predisposition, but rather because the tradition of the cure of the noetic energy through the “threefold path” was not stamped out in the Christian East, as it was in the West once it was taken over by the Franks.

Fr. John Romanides asks the question of how man is saved by Christ in the Church, and he restates with great vigor the Patristic Orthodox answer: The Church of Christ is not built upon any particular set of philosophical principles, and She is not built upon any particular type of socio-political organization; rather, the Church is made up of those whose noetic faculties are being healed, the goal being the illumination of the heart, and ultimately, glorification, which is vision of God’s uncreated energies by means of those selfsame energies.[4]

By pointing out Fr. John’s success vis-à-vis Yannaras’s theological shortcomings, I do not mean to single out Yannaras’s theology as at every point erroneous. However, it seems that Yannaras’s mistaken concept of “logos” misled him into accepting the brand of pseudo-Orthodox “personalism” and “anti-essentialism” that Kalaitzidis rightly traces back to German Romantic-derived theology and history that Yannaras imbibed at Western universities, and which is taught at most Orthodox seminaries today (evidence that the “Orthodox seminary” as it exists is problematic from the perspective of cure of the heart; that is, from the perspective of Orthodoxy).[5] In short, Yannaras is not alone among Orthodox theologians in failing to comprehend that the core of Orthodoxy is more than “socio-religious communion with all beings” per sé, and it is more than adherence to any philosophical approach (whether we call it “logos” or “faith seeking understanding”) as the “inner coherence of things.”

So, if the core of Orthodoxy is glorification, what can we say about it? As Fr. John and the Church Fathers repeat, when one is granted glorification, one does not achieve mental equilibrium or self-satisfied autonomy as in the eudaemonia imagined by pre-Christian Greeks and by the Augustinophile West. Rather, glorification is the only way for man to share in the Cross; glorification is the crucifixion of one’s selfish love and is the abolition of all concepts and dogmas, since it is what holy words and teachings therapeutically point toward. Glorification “is liberation even from the blameless passions [such as hunger, sleep, fear of death, etc.]. Thus human beings are restored to the original purpose of their creation which is to be independent of creation, dependent fully of God, co-glorified with Christ and therefore co-rulers over creation.”[6]

With these points in mind, we now turn to Kalaitzidis’s analysis of Fr. John’s theology.

Kalaitzidis makes four assertions about Fr. Romanides and his work:

(1) Fr. John Romanides’s articles and books written before 1975 are less anti-Western than those written in 1975 and after, showing that Fr. John slid into extremism in his theology in the mid-seventies;

(2) Fr. John’s post-1975 work equates “Romeosyne” with certain nations, and also exempts any of the inhabitants of these “Roman” nations from any criticism;

(3) Fr. John restricts theology (and thus glorification) to Romans only; this leads us to refute the biggest mistake Kalaitzidis makes, that

(4) It follows from points 1 through 3 that Fr. John’s theology “has promulgated…racism.”

Now, we will answer these objections one by one:

(1) Fr. John Romanides’s articles and books written before 1975 are less anti-Western than those written in 1975 and after, showing that Fr. John slid into extremism in his theology in the mid-seventies.

Kalaitzidis claims that the Fr. John Romanides who wrote between 1956 and 1965 was less anti-Western and more open to non-Orthodox theology than the later Fr. John who wrote about “Romeosyne” and the Franks. To cite Kalaitzidis’s own words, Fr. John’s pre-1975 “theological interests are wide and broad-minded, as can be seen from his involvement in the ecumenical movement, which he assessed positively, and his concern for religious freedom, and even…Islam.”[7]

First let us dispense with the idea that Fr. John was “soft on the West” in his early work by looking at one of Fr. John’s earliest articles, “Original Sin According to Saint Paul,” published in 1955, along with his doctoral dissertation, published as The Ancestral Sin in 1957.[8] In these works Fr. John contends that Western theology is, at its core, enslaved to a conception of God’s justice based upon natural law. Behind this Western legalism is a conception of man as destined either for punishment or for happiness as beatific vision of the principles in God’s essence in the next life. Either man can build up merits through works and go to eudaemonistic heaven, or he is predestined for beatitude by God. Other false doctrines follow for the legalistic West, such as the equation of the energies with the essence of God, which leads to the heresy of created graces, and the filioque, which Fr. John traces back to the West’s teaching that God as actus purus can only be moved toward Himself.[9]

But what is the source of these Western theological errors? Even as early as 1957 Fr. John named Augustine as the conduit for these heresies. Augustine’s rejection of hesychasm and embrace of neoplatonic illuminism is the historical cause for this total deviation from Orthodoxy.[10] Therefore, Kalaitzidis’s idea that Fr. John went off the deep end by starting to become unyielding toward the West after 1975 is groundless; also unfounded is Kalaitzidis’s notion that Fr. John’s opposition to the West and to Augustinian theology is “one-sided” or “ideological.”[11] Kalaitzidis approves of the measured, restrained tone of Ancestral Sin; but this book insists that Augustine is the source of all of the West’s doctrinal deviations, which Fr. John in this book condemns as in every way inimical to man’s salvation!

Another work that Kalaitzidis cites as indicative of Fr. John’s supposed early “broadmindedness” is “An Orthodox Look At the Ecumenical Movement.” Even the most cursory glance at the contents of this piece, though, shows that Fr. John’s stance toward ecumenism is the same as it was in his later life—he went into the movement knowing that the approach to “Church union” held by every non-Orthodox involved (and many Orthodox as well) was determined by the heterodox teachings of Augustine (with the possible exception of some of the Oriental Orthodox[12]), and that any success would be the result, not of democratic head-counts in WCC meetings, but in convincing the non-Orthodox that they had to rid themselves of any heresies (Augustinianism) in order to find the only true unity in Christ’s Church. Father John has the following to say in “An Orthodox Look At the Ecumenical Movement”:

Perhaps the most popular Protestant approach has been the insistence that St. Paul is the ultimate in the Christian understanding of the message of Christ, and the only Father in the ancient Church who had a real understanding of St. Paul was St. Augustine, and the only ones who understood both St. Paul and St. Augustine were the Reformers. Since the Roman Catholics also had a claim on St. Augustine, the quarrel between Catholics and Protestants resolved a great deal around him. As a spectator to this debate the Orthodox is both amused and confused. The Greek Fathers never paid any attention to St. Augustine but they did pay an enormous amount of attention to the theology of St. Paul. After listening patiently to this debate over St. Augustine and St. Paul, the Orthodox is amazed when he reads St. Augustine himself who claims that he abandoned his attempt to write an interpretation of St. Paul’s Epistle to the Romans because of its difficulty.[13]

Here Fr. John is bemused at how the Protestants and Roman Catholics at these interfaith meetings still knowingly follow Augustine as the number one extra-biblical authority on Holy Tradition, despite the fact that his hit-and-miss approach to Biblical interpretation proves that, far from being inspired by God to interpret the Bible, Augustine could not figure out what St. Paul was talking about and so he gave up trying.

Another article Kalaitzidis cites as an example of Father John’s early openness to the West is “A Greek Orthodox View of Ecumenism,” which originally appeared in 1964.[14] In this essay, though, Father John speaks about all of Western Christianity as having its origin in a Frankish “theological provincialism” based upon Augustine’s theology of the filioque that transformed the Papacy into a “vassal kingdom of the Frankish Empire.”[15] Father John is here calling to our attention the historical circumstances that led the Western half of the Roman Empire to become captured by a Frankish warrior elite that were truly “one-sided” and “anti-ecumenical” in declaring all who denied their heretical theology of the filioque to be heretics in 794 A.D. So this is how Fr. John—supposedly more “broadminded” in his early days—pats the non-Orthodox on the head at ecumenical gatherings? One is tempted to conclude that Kalaitzidis simply read the titles of Fr. John’s early articles without considering the texts that go along with them, and then leaped to misjudgment.

(2) Fr. John’s post-1975 work equates “Romeosyne” with certain nations, and also exempts any of the inhabitants of these “Roman” nations from any criticism.

We now move on to Kalaitzidis’s second point, though our response may answer points 3 and 4 in the process. Kalaitzidis says that

Romanides’s broadmindedness suffered a dramatic retreat after 1975, when his book Romiosyne was published. In this work, the notorious divine of Greek (Orthodox) east versus Latin (Roman Catholic) West gives way to the radical and absolute chasm between so-called Orthodox ‘Romiosyne’ Greek and Latin-speaking, on the one hand, and a heretical ‘Francosyne,’ on the other. From the appearance of Romiosyne onward, Romanides’s discourse has nothing in common with the moderate and carefully qualified prose of The Ancestral Sin and other early theological writings. Hereafter, the West is wholly demonized and proclaimed responsible for all the misfortunes of the Orthodox, both theological and historical/national.[16]

There are many separable claims made in this passage by Kalaitzidis. One is that Fr. John after 1975 suddenly decided to go from thinking of the East and West division of Christendom in theological terms to thinking of it in culturo-historical terms as well. For Kalaitzidis, this inclusion of history in the discussion of theological differences is equivalent to polarizing the Christian East and Christian West in to two opposed sides, making them political enemies that cannot sit at a table and negotiate a theological settlement. But Fr. John’s historical thesis about the Carolingian capture of Western Christendom behind the banner of Augustine and the possible conspiracy against West Romans with the Feudal Revolution is only an extension and expansion of Fr. John’s earlier approach to ecumenism, which, as we have outlined, showed Western Christians that they have no connection to true cure of the soul and body in Christ as long as they base their theology on Augustine, who himself declared his first philosophical principle and his first theological principle to be identical—the Neoplatonic “One,” which is also the essence of God. Augustine also seems to have conspired against a form of hesychasm he encountered in North Africa.[17]

So, Fr. John conceived of an “absolute chasm” between Orthodoxy and the Christian West from his earliest writings, and not, as Kalaitzidis holds, only after 1975. In fact, within three years of publishing Ancestral Sin, we already find Father John exploring the historical reality of Western elites who guide the cultural development of non-European countries according to their own twisted notions of “progress,” in the aforementioned “A Greek Orthodox View of Ecumenism.” The prototype of every instance of Westernization, Fr. John argues, is Charlemagne and the Franks’ late 8th and early 9th century establishment of the Frankish Empire and Church, based on Augustine’s theology generally and Augustine’s filioque specifically. That the Franks were scheming to get both the theological upper-hand as well as the sociopolitical upper-hand by putting forward a newfangled filioquist, Augustinian theology at councils full of Frankish warrior-bishops is hard to deny, and many Western historians admit as much without being “conspiracy theorists.” Moreover, do not some of today’s geopolitical shenanigans echo the Franks’ stratagems in the middle ages? Is Father John wrong that the Great European Powers have toyed around with the Balkans and Eastern Europe to keep the peoples there divided and thus manipulable? There is too much evidence to the contrary, as Father John has shown us. However, Kalaitzidis is not interested in taking Father John’s arguments seriously; Kalaitzidis thinks that showing Father John to be “anti-ecumenical” in outlook is sufficient to condemn him as non-Orthodox. In truth, the term “ecumenism” means many things to many people, and thus to prove that a person is an “ecumenist” without defining the latter term is a completely futile exercise (in these pages we use the term “ecumenistic” and its variants as a pejorative meaning “compromising and thus denying the truths of Orthodoxy through false unions with non-Orthodox”). Futile, that is, unless Kalaitzidis wishes to cast aspersions on a theologian whose defense of Orthodoxy in the face of the West’s Augustinian heresies offends his own pro-Western sensibilities.

Also, as I have written elsewhere, Fr. John’s thesis about the Franks taking the Western lands of the Roman Empire hostage is echoed in strands of the West’s own historiography. Think of the voluminous literature that continues to accumulate about the Coronation of Charlemagne in 800 A.D., much of which bases itself on the assumption that the Frankish king and his advisers, on the one hand, and the Pope, on the other hand, both had power-based ulterior motives in setting up (and, in the Pope’s case, possibly hijacking) the former’s crowning. Also, we should recall the in-depth studies by Duby, Bonnaissie and Poly about the “feudal revolution”; these historians speak of a power-grab that reduced non-Franks to servitude across an entire continent.[18] Is this conspiracy theory, or just a theory that clashes with Kalaitzidis’s “two branches” ecclesiology?[19]

On the other side of the coin, anyone who thinks with Kalaitzidis that Fr. John is casting all blame for the Greek people’s woes on the Franks and on Western Europeans has not payed attention to the harsh words Fr. John delivers to the Greeks in Athens and Thessaloniki in his lectures collected in Patristic Theology. Since Fr. John chides the Greeks in the audience about their gullibility and their misunderstandings every five pages or so, I pick the following quotations only because close to hand: “[Though many in Greece have become hesychasts and experienced noetic prayer,] Naturally, some [scientists], especially here in Greece, will say that [noetic prayer] is something made up by priests.”[20] Fr. John also upbraids “modern Greek theologians [who] follow their teacher Adamanios Korais and use metaphysics to [do theology].”[21] Also, “modern Greeks have some trouble recognizing [that the Fathers rejected Platonic-style teachings on the soul] because they are in such awe of Plato and Aristotle. Modern Greeks learn to admire them so much in school that the Fathers turn into performers on the stage who dance to the music of Plato and Aristotle.”[22]

Here Father John is not exempting the people of Greece, as geographical successor to the Eastern Roman Empire, from criticisms. Indeed, Father John is aware that the Eastern Roman Empire instigated intrigues similar to those always put in motion by political entities. It would be naïve beyond all measure for anyone to single out a socio-political entity as exempt from self-interestedly exploiting the “information asymmetry” between rulers and ruled. If some state or ethnos existed that could glide magically above power politics, we would be fools not to worship it instead of the Holy Trinity. Sadly, I fear many in the name of Orthodoxy worship Enlightenment ideals of man-made progress which they think are operative in their ecumenistic schemes.

Besides, if disagreeing with a heretical theological tradition is tantamount to “demonizing” it, then we Orthodox are demonizers every Sunday of Orthodoxy, when we anathematize Augustine without naming him for believing in eidola or forms in God. Incidentally, we also “demonize” Protestants and Roman Catholics so many times on the Sunday of Orthodoxy that no one present could possibly miss it, unless perhaps they are so ecumenistically-minded that they see the anathemas as an outmoded historical accretion that we must try to erase through liturgical reform! So, using Kalaitzidis’s hot-button words and phrases like “demonizing” and “disregarding the Other,” though they provoke a frisson up and down so-called theological progressives’ backs, prove absolutely nothing about Father John Romanides’s teaching. We have to dig into the works of Fr. John to find out what his purpose was in writing about Romeosyne and about the Franks. Now, we will close our piece by answering the last two items on our list of unproven points by Kalaitzidis, which are:

(3) Fr. John restricts theology (and thus glorification) to Romans only; this leads us to refute the biggest mistake Kalaitzidis makes, that

(4) It follows from points 1 through 3 that Fr. John’s theology “has promulgated…racism.”

According to Kalaitzidis, Father John’s theology features a “reductive geographical identification of all those graced with the vision of God and the uncreated light with the so-called citizens of Romanity and Romiosyne.”[23] Kalaitzidis goes on to say that

Beyond the terrain of Romiosyne—Greek or Latin—Romanides sees no possibility for such things as repentance, spiritual struggle, holiness, sanctification, or even salvation. It seems as if he delimits all these to a certain cultural domain. Therefore…in the eyes of [Romanides], holiness, the vision of God, and Orthodoxy in its pure form, is intrinsically intertwined with a certain empire; i.e., the Roman Empire and its citizens. Thus, even…the Slavs…are…openly denounced as collaborators with the Francs….[24]

A third quotation from Kalaitzidis’s piece includes the outrageous accusation that Father John taught racism. So that we can be as fair and precise as possible in our answer to this accusation, here is Kalaitzidis:

It will have to suffice to indicate here, for our present purposes, the existence of a deeper, underlying link between Romanides’s peculiar ecclesiological oligarchy (i.e., his demand for a proven and objectified vision of God as a prerequisite for doing theology, and the restriction of this possibility to ‘Romans’) and the peculiar racism and anti-Westernism that his theology has promulgated.[25]

Let us answer the racism accusation by pointing the reader’s attention to the second part of Father John’s four-part study “The Cure of the Neurobiological Sickness of Religion.” In section 17 Father John states quite clearly that racism is tied to pagan ideas of Romeosyne, which deified the Roman State and conferred a quasi-deification on those organically united to Her through blood and soil:

All humans suffer from [the darkening of the noetic energy] “since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Rom. 3:23) The difference among humans is not equality or inequality of race, but whether one is being cured or not. Within this context we have a complete reversal of the above foundation of the Hellenic paganism of the Roman Empire. The great struggle between paganism and Christianity in the time of Emperor Constantine the Great (306-337) is reflected in the difference between Roman Greeks (meaning Pagans) and Roman Christians. All Pagan Romans were defending their aristocratic ancient Hellenic identity and traditions which was being torn apart by the aristocratic identity of the cure of glorification which was open to all Romans, both gentis and non-gentis, and to all non-Romans. The “Aristocracy” of Glorification is no respecter of the aristocracy of birth.[26]

Just in case the foregoing passage does not convince everyone that Father John recognized that the Romanity or Roman-ness of Orthodoxy—far from being preferential to any particular ethnos—is in fact the overturning of racism in society and especially theology, I reproduce the following statement from Father John’s 1978 article, “Critical Examination of the Applications of Theology”:

…[A]ll men regardless of nationality, race, and colour have the noetic faculty and therefore the possibility of reaching illumination by means of purification and then if God pleases they may experience glorification at its varying degrees. (…)

Such a spiritual life and theology is neither Greek, nor Russian, nor Bulgarian, nor Serbian, etc., but rather prophetic, apostolic, or simply christian.

In the light of this one may put the question, what is “Russian Spirituality,” and why is it presented as something higher than or simply different from other Orthodox spiritualities?[27]

It is fitting that we close with this quotation, since it not only defeats Kalaitzidis’s claim that Father John spread racism, but further gives the lie to Kalaitzidis’s assertion that Father John denied salvation in Christ to those not in a particular geographical region of “romanity.” As a bonus, this passage shows Kalaitzidis’s notion that Father John favored Greek and Latin Romans over Russians to be groundless. What is the Orthodox “good news” according to Father John Romanides? The barbaro-pagan notion that one man is inherently inferior to another has now been buried by the revelation in Christ and His Saints that the only difference between one man and another is whether or not his noetic energy has been healed.

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen.

 

NOTES

[1] Pantelis Kalaitzidis, “The Image of the West in Contemporary Greek Theology,” 142-160 in Orthodox Constructions of the West, edited by George E. Demacopoulos and Aristotle Papanikolaou (New York: Fordham University Press, 2013).

[2] On Yannaras’s “logos” concept, see Evaggelia Grigoropoulou, The Early Development of the Thought of Christos Yannaras, D.Phil. dissertation (University of Durham, 2008), pp. 87-89.

[3] Kalaitzidis, “The Image of the West,” p. 158.

[4] Father John S. Romanides, in Metropolitan of Nafpaktos Hierotheos, Empirical Dogmatics of the Orthodox Catholic Church According to the Spoken Teaching of Father John Romanides, Volume Two, translated by Sister Pelagia Selfe (Levadia, Greece: Birth of the Theotokos Monastery, 2013), p. 49.

[5] Ibid., pp. 158-159. Father John Romanides, though he does not refer to Yannaras by name, makes the following comment against the heresy that will or energy is opposed to or elevated above nature in God and/or man: “…[S]alvation is not a matter of doing good things by will as opposed to the necessities of nature, but rather a renewal of the natural freedom of human nature itself. (…) In His human nature Christ was not free by an act of will. He was free by His very nature” (“Highlights in the Debate over Theodore of Mopseuestias Christology and Some Suggestions For a Fresh Approach,” Greek Orthodox Theological Review 5 (1959-1960), pp. 140-85, here p. 173).

[6] Father John S. Romanides, “Justice and Peace in Ecclesiological Context,” 234-249 in Come Holy Spirit—Renew the Whole Creation, edited by G. Limouris (Brookline, MA: Holy Cross Orthodox Press), p. 235.

[7] Kalaitzidis, “The Image of the West,” p. 145.

[8] Father John S. Romanides, “Original Sin According to Saint Paul,” Saint Vladimir’s Theological Quarterly 4 (1955-56), pp. 5-28; and idem, The Ancestral Sin, translated by George S. Gabriel (Ridgewood, NJ: Zephyr, 2002 [orig. pub. In Greek as Ton Propatorikon Hamertema (Athens, 1957)]).

[9] Romanides, Ancestral Sin, p. 104, footnote.

[10] See James L. Kelley, A Realism of Glory: Lectures on Christology in the Works of Protopresbyter John Romanides (Rollinsford, NH: Orthodox Research Institute, 2009).

[11] Kalaitzidis, “The Image of the West,” p. 143.

[12] See Kelley, Realism of Glory, pp. 91-93. Fr. John felt that the Oriental Orthodox were not essentially in thrall to Augustinian categories of theology, but that they were in danger of sliding into a more wholesale acceptance of Augustine the more they used Roman Catholic and Protestant historiographies to justify their strict adherence to the notion that Christ had “one ousia after the union.” Fr. John’s comment made at an interfaith conference at Aarhus, Denmark in August 1964 to Bishop Sarkissian indicates his approach and concerns: “It is easy for you to use the Latin interpretation of Chalcedon as a stick against us, but if we are to get anywhere you will have to take the Greek Chalcedonian interpretation of the place of Leo’s Tome at the Fourth Council more seriously” (Does Chalcedon Divide or Unite?: Toward Convergence in Orthodox Christology, edited by Paulos Gregorius, William H. Lazareth and Nikos A. Nissiotis [Geneva: WCC, 1981], p. 73). Cf. idem, “St. Cyril’s One Physis or Hypostasis of God the Logos Incarnate and Chalcedon,” Greek Orthodox Theological Review 10 (1964-65), pp. 82-102.

[13] Fr. John Romanides, “An Orthodox Look at the Ecumenical Movement,” Greek Orthodox Theological Review 10 (1964), pp. 7-14. Online version at: http://romanity.org/htm/rom.30.en.saltonstall.htm.

[14] Father John Romanides, “A Greek Orthodox View of Ecumenism,” Orthodox Observer 535 (Nov. 1964), pp. 335, 339; 537 (Dec. 1964), pp. 370-71.

[15] Ibid., p. 335.

[16] Kalaitzidis, “The Image of the West,” p. 145.

[17] See Father John S. Romanides, “Notes on the Palamite Controversy and Related Topics,” Greek Orthodox Theological Review 6 (1961), pp. 186-285; and idem, “Notes on the Palamite Controversy and Related Topics,” II, Greek Orthodox Theological Review 9 (1963-1964), pp. 225-270.

[18] See George Duby, France in the Middle Ages: 987-1460, translated by Juliet Vale (Oxford: Blackwell, 1991), especially p. 59, which comments on the frenzy of castle-building engaged in by the Franks in order to consolidate their hold over the Gallo-Roman masses in the early 11th century. Cf. Jean-Pierre Poly and Eric Bournazel, The Feudal Transformation, 900-1200, translated by Caroline Higgitt (New York and London: Holmes and Meier, 1991), pp. 24ff. Also note the following passage from Pierre Bonnassie, which describes the enserfment of millions of Gallo-Romans by the Franks as a more effective (because more indirect) form of Frankish enslavement:

The decline of the [Frankish] slave system…took the form of enfranchisement cum obsequio, motivated by economic factors. In the ninth century…manumissions had already had an effect; slaves constituted only a minority amongst the tenants of the great estates.

Several centuries later, around 1200, servitude existed but was no longer the same. An old name—servus, serf—concealed a new reality: serfdom was not…the continuation of slavery[, since] it affected a much larger number of people…” (From Slavery to Feudalism in South-Western Europe, translated by Jean Birrell [Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991], pp. 315-316).

Bonnaissie’s analysis makes no sense unless we agree that the Franks, through some combination of scheming and/or taking advantage of the opportunities in their geopolitical grasp, isolated the Gallo-Romans in Europe until, by the 1200s, they knew of no Christendom save that of the Regnum Francorum. Whether you call it a conspiracy or simply a historical reality is immaterial: Those who were Romans in the West came to accept the filioque only after they were enserfed by the Franks, who, over many generations, made sure that their filioquist theology was the only option for their former Gallo-Roman servants.

[19] Kalaitzidis, “The Image of the West,” p. 143.

[20] Father John Romanides, Patristic Theology: The University Lectures of Fr. John Romanides, translated by Father Alexis Trader (The Dalles, OR: Uncut Mountain Press), p. 52.

[21] Ibid., p. 63.

[22] Ibid., p. 65.

[23] Kalaitzidis, “The Image of the West,” pp. 148-149.

[24] Ibid., 149.

[25] Ibid.

[26] Father John Romanides, “The Cure of the Neurobiological Sickness of Religion…, Part Two,” accessed 23 September, 2016, http://www.romanity.org/htm/rom.02.en.the_cure_of_the_neurobiological_sickness_of_rel.02.htm, italics added.

[27] Father John Romanides, “Critical Examination of the Applications of Theology,” 413-441 in Procès-verbaux du deuxième Congrès de théologie Orthodoxe à Athenes, 19-29 août 1976, edited by Savvas C. Agourides (Athens: Theological School of the University of Athens, 1978), p. 438.

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This entry was posted in Breaks and Links Series, Christos Yannaras, Eastern Orthodox Theology, Eastern Religions; Orthodoxy; Eastern Orthodox Theology, Franks, George Duby, Greco-Roman History, Greeks, Hellenes, Historiography, Middle Ages, Modern Orthodox Theologians, Orthodoxy, Pantelis Kalaitzidis, Romaic Thesis, Romanides, Romanity, Romanity Press, Romeic Thesis, Romeosyne and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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