Page:Vactican as a World Power.djvu/62

This page needs to be proofread.


CONSULS OF GOD

Church, in the sense of Constantine and his successors, was for the deepest reasons incompatible with the nature of the state and of the Church. The new monarchy, which sought to be church and state at one and the same time and was therefore neither church nor state, was comparable to a mother who in order to prove the fullness of her affection stifles her beloved ones in a vigorous embrace. The basilicas of Constantinople arose in alien air. Every sentence of the Gospel, which was read there as if it were the true code of the Empire, struck at the Basileus, divinely crowned, who, on his throne beside the altar, termed himself the earthly husk of Christus Itnperator. The Church was in the state, but the state was not in the Church.

After Constantine's rime, the great Councils met in the East. The emperors who convened them and presided over them knew how to affirm their royal priesthood, now in a wordly sense as abstinence and again in a spiritual sense as influence. Wearing the Cross as their sceptre, preaching before the assembled court, and proclaiming their laws acts of Providence which would redound to the eternal salvation of their subjects, they so nearly identified their persons with the Divine Will that only a step remained to be taken. Based on formula: of this kind, a dangerous belief that all powers had really been united in one representative of God on earth began to spread already during the century of Constantine. The diadem of Byzantium suffered as a consequence, even as would the tiara of Rome later on.

After the division of the Empire under Theodosius the First (395) the will to achieve political unity still existed, it is true, but the Church was the only force that actually held East and West together. But it, too, was forced to be on guard lest the opposition between East and West destroy its own unity. The Western dioceses were ce- mented more and more firmly to Rome. In the East a consciousness of solidarity against Rome became stronger after the Patriarchates were established. Moreover, the pressure brought to bear by the Imperial Protector on the Bosphorus, and the spiritual genius of Central Asian, Syrian and Egyptian thought were bound in the end to seem alien to the Christian West, despite the dominance there of Greek culture. East- ern Christianity seemed sometimes merely a chill cult of the state, sometimes a fitful fever of the intellect, and sometimes the self-immola- tion of a spirit fled into the desert. In Rome and in territories adjacent


THE