Movies
The History of Orthodox Christianity
(Part 1 - Byzantium)
Mark Merlino - Home page

The History of Orthodox Christianity - Byzantium, produced by the Greek
Orthodox Archdiocese of America, briefly describes Church history as it
unfolded during the age of Byzantium, from the fourth through fifteenth
centuries AD.

The first topic described in basic terms in this film is the history of the first
seven ecumenical councils. In presenting the history of these councils, the
video gives a basic summary of the issues they addressed - the nature of
Christ, and iconoclasm. Furthermore, the film explains how at the same time as
doctrine was being defined, the Byzantines were developing their own
understanding of the role of a Christian emperor and how the Church should
relate to a state run by Christians. According to this film, the Church of Haghia
Sophia is the epitome of the Byzantine understanding of church-state relations,
as it was a great act of imperial patronage in honor of divine worship.

The film then traces at length how Byzantium and the Latin West gradually
grew apart. One of Byzantium's greatest achievements, its missions to convert
the slaves to Christianity, was also one of the first issues to heighten tensions
with the West. The video then explains how increasing structural and doctrinal
differences led to first the Photian Schism, then to the Great Schism, which
was reinforced by the Fourth Crusade's sack of Constantinople. The film ends
by describing how the small late Byzantine state struggled against the advances
of the Ottoman Turks, until Constantinople's eventual fall to the Ottomans in
1453.

If you would like to watch a rather quick survey of the main points in
Byzantium's long history and how they related to ecclesiastical history, this
video is for you.