Tuesday, September 18, 2018

The West That Could Have Been, Part 3: The Spread of Orthodox Romanity

 . . . in 587, King Reccared renounced the Arian heresy, and converted to Orthodoxy.  Thereafter, Reccared labored with zeal to bring all the Visigothic people into the Church.

In 589 King Reccared, along with a group of newly converted nobles and ecclesiastical officials, attended the Third Council of Toledo.  A decisive moment in the history of the Iberian Peninsula, both governmentally and ecclesiastically, this council has been called the birth of Spain.  Likewise, its resounding promise of political and religious unity has led some to compare it to the First Council of Nicaea and King Reccared to Emperor Constantine.

Many contemporaries saw the political ascendancy of the Visigoths and their embrace of the Orthodox Faith as the working of divine Providence.  St. Leander’s younger brother and successor as bishop of Seville, St. Isidore (+636, commemorated April 4), declared that the Visigoths be seen as not invaders but as heirs to the Roman Empire.

After the Visigoths had gained control of the Iberian Peninsula, not only did they embrace the Orthodox Faith of the people they had conquered, but they adopted Latin as the official language and Roman law in their governance of the population.  Seeing their rule as a sort of continuation of imperial Rome, Visigothic kings adopted Roman imperial customs and symbols, in time undergoing significant influence from the Byzantine East as well.

During the reign of King Leovigild (568-586), the Visigothic royal capital was moved from Toulouse, in southern Gaul, to Toledo, in the center of the Iberian Peninsula, about forty-five miles from modern-day Madrid.  Just as Rome sat upon seven hills and was traversed by the Tiber River, so the fortified imperial city of Toledo was located on seven hills astride the river Tago.  . . .  The outskirts of the city were marked by a number of men’s and women’s monasteries.  . . .

Under the Visigoths, Spain experienced a golden age, where literature, poetry, and the arts flourished, and high-quality theological works were produced in abundance.  Great importance was given to education, with schools designed on the classical Roman model, emphasizing the writings of both the Greek and Latin Fathers of the Church.

--Monk Moses, Saint Herman Calendar 2017: Orthodox Saints of the Iberian Peninsula, Platina, Cal., pgs. 2-3


Holy Ælfred the Great, King of England, South Patron, pray for us sinners at the Souð, unworthy though we are!

Anathema to the Union!

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