UNIA: The Face and the Disguise
3. The historical framework
The idea of developing an expansionist policy in the Orthodox East by the Papal Throne of Rome must be linked to the Frankish subjugation of the Orthodox (Roman) West and its permanent imposition on the peoples that remained faithful to the Empire of New Rome-Constantinople and its Orthodox Patriarchates (of Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch and Jerusalem). After the breaking away of the Patriarchate of the West (Old Rome) from the Patriarchates of the East on account of its conquest by the Frankish powers, the latter have striven to maintain the antithesis between the two and to use the Papal Throne against the Empire of New Rome (Romania - Romany).
However, from the 7th to the 11th century, the gradual subjugation of Western Romania (the western section of the Empire of New Rome) to the Frankish-Germanic tribes took place. The Empire of New Rome in the West was subjugated to the Franks and Germans, while in the East it was overcome by the Arabs (7th century) and the Ottomans (14th century onwards). Conquest in the West was facilitated by the gradual substitution of Roman bishops with Franks. Thus, while in the East the Bishops had undertaken the role of Ethnarchs in the territories being conquered, protecting the people and preserving their identity and their unity, in the West, bishops became the instruments of the conquerors and an integral part of the Frankish feudal system and hated by the people, as proved during later centuries (1789) by the French Revolution, which began not only as an anti-feudal revolution but also as an anti-Papist one.
Nowadays, Western historiography is being subjected to the Franks’ catalytic influence, just as differentiated Western Christianity was. As of the 7th century the seeds of schism appeared among the Goths (Germans), who were initially Arian and eventually became Orthodox, but only in name. Among the Visigoths of Spain, the insertion of the “Filioque” in the Sacred Creed was effected. It was also the Visigoths of Spain who were the first to replace the Roman Bishops with Goths, and it was there that in 654 the Roman (‘Byzantine’) Empire was abolished. This example was to be followed a century later by the Franks, until they succeeded in taking over the very throne of Rome (between 1009 and 1046).
The subjugated Romans (“Byzantines”) resisted with continuous revolutions, in order to salvage their connection to Constantinople. They even joined forces with the Arabs against the Franks and Visigoths, choosing the lesser of the two perils. However, the alliance between Romans (“Byzantines”) and Arabs was quashed by Charles Martel, grandfather of Charlemagne, at Poitiers (732) and in Province (739). But the tales that our (Greek) school History lessons teach have remained in place; that is, that Europe was saved from the Arabs during these wars. What actually happened was that the Franks had subjugated the Romans of Constantinople-New Rome. The Franks had prevailed, and had thereafter spread throughout Western Romania-Romany.
The irremovable objective of the Franks eventually became the splitting of the unity between the Romans of the East and the West. To achieve this, they used the Church and Her theology. Through their feudal system (which was based on racism), their scholastic theology (which discredited Patristic theology) and most of all through the Papal Throne, they succeeded in thoroughly subjugating the conquered Romans of the West. By condemning the 7th Ecumenical Council (Frankfurt, 794) and dogmatizing the “Filioque” (that the Holy Spirit not only proceeds from the Father according to John 15:26, but ALSO FROM THE SON), in 809 in Aachen they managed to condemn the eastern Romans as heretics. Thereafter, they ceased to refer to the Orthodox East as Romania and its citizens as Romans, because these terms now signified the Orthodox and their Country. For this reason, they coined the name “Graecia” and “Graeci” (Greeks) for its citizens - terms that were linked to the notion of “heretic”.
It was within these developments – and chiefly through scholastic theology – that the differentiation of the Christian West was accomplished; in other words, the removal of ecclesiastic spirituality as well as the prerequisites of ecclesiastic theology (catharsis-enlightenment-theosis). The altering of the monastic lifestyle also led to this alienation. Monasteries were turned into military battalions, siding either with the Pope or the Emperor.
The theory regarding the Pope, as developed in the 11th century (Gregory VII: the Pope: “absolute leader of the universal Church”, “master of the world”) is what founded European totalitarianism, simultaneously altering the very Church Herself in the West. Now alienated from the Tradition of the Prophets, Apostles and Fathers, the Papal Throne embarked on an unrelenting struggle to claim temporal power (from the end of the 11th to the end of the 14th centuries), to be finally transformed into a secular power–State (the Papal State), with all the obvious consequences. Secularization was thus legislated ecclesiastically – in other words, dogmatized – having now taken on a soteriological character. All actions of the Papal Throne thereafter took on a purely political character, only hidden beneath a religious disguise. The Pope was now to be political Leader, and in pursuit of expanding his political authority. It was precisely for this reason that the recognition of the Pope by the Orthodox had taken on the significance of not only an ecclesiastic subjugation, but a political one also.
The idea of Unia as a method and a means of subjugation is linked to the expansionist will of (Frank-run) Old Rome, which aspired to the spreading and the imposition of the Papal primacy of power. That is also why it is not unusual that Unia, as an idea, was developed in parallel to the “Holy Inquisition”. Holy Inquisition and Unia proved to be the sibling fruits of the Papal-Frankish spirit. While the Holy Inquisition undertook to impose Papal-Frankish authority within the boundaries of the Frank-occupied West, Unia shouldered the task of expanding the religious-political Papal authority into the East. The Holy Inquisition aspired to eliminate those who were insubordinate to Papal-Frankish authority; Unia aspired to the Latinizing of the Easterners who denied the supremacy of Old Rome. That is why in the East, subordination to the Pope – whether through simple Latinization or through the method of Unia – was expressed with the term “he has become a Frank”. Unia will historically walk hand-in-hand with the Holy Inquisition, as the one sheds light on the other’s role.
Article published in English on: 21-11-2008.
Last Update: 4-11-2014.