Orthodox Church of Ukraine
The Orthodox Church of Ukraine, or Ukrainian Orthodox Church known as the Most Holy Church of Ukraine is a recognized autocephalous Eastern Orthodox church whose canonical territory is Ukraine. The church was established by a unification council on 15 December 2018, received its Tomos of autocephaly on 5 January 2019; the council voted to unite the existing Ukrainian Orthodox jurisdictions: the Ukrainian Orthodox Church – Kiev Patriarchate, the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church and a part of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate. The primate of the church is the Metropolitan of all Ukraine; the unification council elected Epiphanius Dumenko as its primate the Metropolitan of Pereiaslav-Khmelnytskyi and Bila Tserkva. The other Orthodox jurisdiction in Ukraine is the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, an autonomous branch of the Russian Orthodox Church, which considers the Orthodox Church of Ukraine to be schismatic. According to the Statute of the OCU adopted at the 2018 unification council, "Orthodox Christians of Ukrainian provenance" shall be forthwith subject to the jurisdiction of the diocesan bishops of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
This provision is enshrined in the OCU′s Tomos of autocephaly. In March 2019, Metroplitan Epiphanius said that the transfer of parishes of the dissolved Kiev Patriarchate to the jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarchate had begun; the official name of the united Ukrainian church is the "Orthodox Church of Ukraine" and the name of its primate is "His Beatitude, Metropolitan of Kyiv and all Ukraine". The Tomos of autocephaly of the OCU refers to the OCU as the "Most Holy Church of Ukraine". On 30 January 2019, the OCU was registered under the name "Kievan Metropolitanate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church"; the head of the Ukrainian Department of Religious Affairs of the Ministry of Culture, Andriy Yurash, clarified: "These two terms will be used as synonymous and this is expressly agreed with the Phanar. Therefore, the use of the terms, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church and the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, is affixed to the administrative unit, called the Kievan Metropolitanate". Following months of negotiations and preparations, on 15 December 2018, all the bishops of the UOC-KP and the UAOC as well as two metropolitans of the UOC-MP convened in Kiev's Saint Sophia Cathedral, presided over by the Metropolitan of the Ecumenical throne, Emmanuel, to merge into the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, elect their primate and adopt the statute of the new independent Church of Ukraine.
Metropolitan Epiphanius of the UOC-KP, chosen on 13 December by the UOC-KP as its only candidate, was believed to be Filaret's right arm and protégé, was elected Metropolitan of Kiev and all Ukraine by the unification council by the second round of voting. In his speech upon the election, Metropolitan Epiphanius thanked President Poroshenko, the Ecumenical Patriarch, the Ukrainian Parliament, as well as Filaret. Epiphanius said that the doors of his church were "open to everyone". Epiphanius made clear that no weighty decision would be taken by his church as long as he had not received the church's formal ecclesiastical decree; the Ecumenical Patriarch congratulated and blessed the newly elected Metropolitan on the day of his election and said the newly elected primate was invited to come to Istanbul to concelebrate the Divine Liturgy with the Ecumenical Patriarch and receive the Orthodox Church of Ukraine's tomos on 6 January 2019. After the council, Filaret became the "honorary patriarch" of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, serving in the St Volodymyr's Cathedral.
On 16 December 2018, Filaret held a Divine Liturgy in which he came wearing the headgear of a patriarch. During this Filaret declared in his sermon, that he was still patriarch: "The Patriarch remains for life and, together with the Primate, governs the Ukrainian Orthodox Church". After the Divine Liturgy, he was acclaimed by the hierarchs of the church as "great vladyka and father Filaret, the holiest patriarch of Kiev and all Ukraine-Rus and sacred archimandrite of the Holy Dormition Kiev-Pechersk Lavra". Metropolitan Epiphanius said on 21 December. Advertisements to promote a united Ukrainian Orthodox church had been made months prior to the unification council. Petro Poroshenko declared "not a dime" from the Ukrainian State had been paid for them, that he paid those advertisements with his own money. Poroshenko refused to state. On 5 January 2019, Patriarch Bartholomew and Metropolitan Epiphanius celebrated a Divine Liturgy in St. George's Cathedral in Istanbul; the Tomos was signed thereafter in St. George's Cathedral.
The Tomos "had come into force from the moment of its signing." The signing of the tomos established the autocephalous Orthodox Church of Ukraine. After the Tomos was signed, Patriarch Batholomew delivered a speech addressing Metropolitan Epiphanius. President Poroshenko and Metropolitan Epiphanius delivered speeches, Epiphanius addressing Poroshenko by saying this: "Your name, Mr President, will remain forever in the history of the Ukrainian people and the church next to the names of our princes Volodymyr the Great, Yaroslav the Wise, Kostiantyn Ostrozky and Hetman Ivan Mazepa". On 6 January 2019, after a Divine Liturgy concelebrated by Metropolitan Epiphanius and Patriarch Bartholomew, P
Eastern Christian monasticism
Eastern Christian Monasticism is the life followed by monks and nuns of the Eastern Orthodox Church, Oriental Orthodoxy, the Church of the East and Eastern Catholicism. Some authors will use the term "Basilian" to describe Eastern monks. Monasticism began in the East, it is in the East that it continues to this day to have the strongest influence on the daily life of the local Christian communities; the mystical and other-worldly nature of the Christian message early laid the groundwork for the ascetical life. The example of the Old Testament Prophets, of John the Baptist and of Jesus himself, going into the wilderness to pray and fast set the example, followed by the devout. In the early Christian literature evidence is found of individuals who embraced lives of celibacy and mortification for the sake of the Kingdom of Heaven, these individuals were not yet monks, as they had not renounced the world, but lived either in towns or near the outskirts of civilization. We read of communities of virgins living a common life committed to celibacy and virtue.
The accounts of some of these virgins are preserved in the martyrologies of the day. The beginning of monasticism per-se comes right at the end of the Great Persecution of Diocletian, the founder is Saint Anthony the Great; as a young man he heard the words of the Gospel read in church: If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, give to the poor, thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me. St. Anthony was among the Desert Fathers - those who left the world to seek God in the silence and seclusion of the Egyptian desert. Around him gathered many disciples, whom he guided in the spiritual life; these first monks were solitaries who battled temptation alone in the wilderness. As time went on, monks began to congregate into closer communities. Saint Pachomius is regarded as the founder of cenobitic monasticism, wherein all live the common life together in a single place under the direction of a single Abbot; the first such monastery was in Egypt. Saint Theodore of Egypt, the principle disciple of St. Pachomius, succeeded him as head of the monastic community at Tabennisi.
He would go on to found a third type of monastic institution, the skete, as a "middle road" between anchorites and cenobites. A skete is composed of individual monastic dwellings surrounding a common church; each monk lives by himself, or with one or two others, coming together only on Sundays and feast days. The rest of the time they spend praying alone. On this threefold foundation all subsequent Christian monasticism was built; as the birthplace of monasticism, Egypt has continued the monastic tradition unbroken until the present day. After the Council of Chalcedon, the Alexandrian Patriarchate broke communion with those churches which accepted the council, became what today is known as the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria. Like the Byzantines, monasticism has continued to play a crucial role in the life of the church, bishops are always chosen from among the ranks of monks. After the Islamic invasion in 639, the Egyptian Christians found themselves dispossessed in their own land. However, despite persecutions and intense pressure to convert, Coptic monasticism has survived, some of the most ancient monastic communities in the history of Christianity continue to be inhabited to this day.
A number of Coptic monasteries have been established in the New World. Ethiopia was one of the first nations to accept Christianity converting in 341. King Abreha became the first sovereign in the world to engrave the Sign of the Cross on his coins. From the year 341 it was subject to the Patriarch of Alexandria, gaining its independence only in 1959; the church is known as the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church. In 480 the Nine Saints came from the Mediterranean world to establish Ethiopian monasticism which has continued to flourish despite wars and persecutions. Ancient and inaccessible monasteries are still occupied to this day throughout the Christian regions of the country; the Ethiopian Church maintains monasteries in the Holy Land, most notably Deir Es-Sultan, on the roof of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. The monastics of Armenia, of the Syrian countries in general were influenced by neither the ecclesiastical nor imperial authority of Byzantium, continued those observances which were known among them from the time of St. Anthony.
Monasticism was popular in early Syrian and Mesopotamian Christianity, all monks and nuns there were hermits. Members of the covenant, an early monastic community was active since the 3rd century in Edessa and its environs. About 350 Mar Awgin founded the first cenobitic monastery of Mesopotamia on Mt. Izla above the city of Nisibis and monastic communities began to thrive. Under pressure from their Zoroastrian rulers, the Synod of Beth Lapat in 484 declared that the teaching of Nestorius was to be the official doctrine of the Assyrian Church of the East, decreed that all monks and nuns should marry; this weakened the church and spiritual life declined. Some opponents to this decision joined the newly established Monophysite church; this decision was reverted in 553, in 571 Abraham the Great of Kashkar founded a new monastery on Mt. Izla with strict rules; the third abbot of this monastery was his student Babai the Great. Babai drove out the married monks from Mt. Izla, as "visitor of the monasteries of the north" ensured that the monastic ideal was taken throughout northern
Macedonian Orthodox Church – Ohrid Archbishopric
The Macedonian Orthodox Church – Ohrid Archbishopric, or the Macedonian Orthodox Church, is the largest body of Christians in the Republic of North Macedonia. It claims ecclesiastical jurisdiction over the Republic of North Macedonia and is represented in the Macedonian diaspora. In 1959, the Holy Synod of the Serbian Orthodox Church granted autonomy to the Macedonian Orthodox Church in the then-Socialist Republic of Macedonia as the restoration of the historic Archbishopric of Ohrid, it remained in canonical unity with the Serbian Church under their Patriarch. In 1967, on the bicentennial anniversary of the abolition of the Archbishopric of Ohrid, the Macedonian Holy Synod unilaterally announced its autocephaly and independence from the Serbian Orthodox Church; the Serbian Holy Synod condemned the clergy as schismatic. Thenceforth, the Macedonian Church has remained unrecognized by the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople and all the other canonical Orthodox churches in defense of Serbian opposition.
Since May 2018 however, the Church′s status has been under examination by the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople. The primate of the Macedonian Orthodox Church is the Metropolitan of Skopje and Archbishop of Ohrid and Macedonia and of Justiniana Prima. After the fall of the First Bulgarian Empire, Byzantine Emperor Basil II acknowledged the autocephalous status of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church and by virtue of special imperial decrees set up its boundaries, dioceses and other privileges; the Archibishopric was seated in Ohrid in the Byzantine theme of Bulgaria and was established in AD 1019 by lowering the rank of the autocephalous Bulgarian Patriarchate and its subjugation to the jurisdiction of the Patriarchate of Constantinople. In 1767 the Archbishopric was abolished by the Ottoman authorities and annexed to the Patriarchate of Constantinople. Efforts were made throughout the nineteenth and the first part of the twentieth centuries to restore the Archdiocese, in 1874 it became part of the newly established Bulgarian Exarchate.
The Christian population of the bishoprics of Skopje and Ohrid voted in 1874 overwhelmingly in favour of joining the Exarchate, the Bulgarian Exarchate became in control of most of the Macedonian region. Following Vardar Macedonia's incorporation into Serbia in 1913, several of the Bulgarian Exarchate's dioceses were forcefully taken over by the Serbian Orthodox Church. While the region was occupied by Bulgaria during World War I and World War II, the local dioceses temporarily came under the control of the Bulgarian Exarchate; the first modern assembly of Macedonian clergy was held near Ohrid in 1943. In 1944, an Initiative Board for the organization of the Macedonian Orthodox Church was formed. In 1945, the First Clergy and People's Synod met and adopted a Resolution for the restoration of the Ohrid Archbishopric as a Macedonian Orthodox Church, it was submitted to the Serbian Orthodox Church, which since 1919 had been the sole church in Vardar Macedonia. The resolution was rejected, but a one, submitted in 1958 at the Second Clergy and People's Synod, was accepted on June 17, 1959 by the Serbian Orthodox Church under pressure from the Socialist authorities.
Dimitrija Stojkovski, a Macedonian, was appointed the first archbishop of Ohrid and Metropolitan of Macedonia under the name Dositheus II. The Macedonian Orthodox Church at that time only held autonomous status. After the Serbian Church agreed with the decisions, the agreement was celebrated in a common liturgy by the Macedonian priests and the Serbian Patriarch German in Skopje, a sign that the Serbian church recognized the autonomy of the Macedonian Church. In 1962, Serbian Patriarch German II and Russian Patriarch Alexy visited the Macedonian republic. At its third synod in 1967, on the bicentennial anniversary of the abolition of the Archbishopric of Ohrid, the Macedonian Church proclaimed its autocephaly; the Serbian Church bishops condemned the clergy as schismatic. For all the subsequent efforts to gain recognition, the autocephaly of the Macedonian Church is not recognized by other canonical Orthodox churches in defense of Serbian opposition; the Macedonian Orthodox Church has about 1,200 churches in North Macedonia organized in 10 eparchies, whose bishops make up the "Holy Synod of Bishops", headed by the "Archbishop of Ohrid and Macedonia".
At its session in 1994, the Holy Synod stated that The autocephalous status of the Macedonian Orthodox Church and the interest of the Macedonian people and state are holy and inalienable values, which it has no intentions of giving up. After Archbishop Mihail was elected in as head of the Macedonian Orthodox Church in 1993, he stated that the church wanted to cooperate with neighboring Greek and Serbian churches, he hoped that: we will find understanding after we give our true information about the restoration and autocephaly of the Ohrid Archbishopric and the activities of our dear Macedonian Orthodox Church... the Macedonians are an ancient nation, we are an ancient church, we did not create a church, we renewed our illegally abolished Ohrid Archbishopric. The church pays special attention in preserving the national identity and cultural traditions among Macedonian expatriates in Western countries. Many Orthodox churches who are recognized with the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople admit the faithful of the Macedonian Orthodox Church to holy communion.
The hierarchy of some churches serve with the Macedonian Orthodox priests, but will not
Hagia Sophia is the former Greek Orthodox Christian patriarchal cathedral an Ottoman imperial mosque and now a museum in Istanbul, Turkey. Built in 537 AD at the beginning of the Middle Ages, it was famous in particular for its massive dome, it was an engineering marvel of its time. It is considered the epitome of Byzantine architecture and is said to have "changed the history of architecture"; the Hagia Sophia construction consists of masonry. The structure is composed of mortar joints that are 1.5 times the width of the bricks. The mortar joints are composed of a combination of sand and minute ceramic pieces displaced evenly throughout the mortar joints; this combination of sand and ceramic pieces could be considered to be the equivalent of modern concrete at the time. From the date of its construction's completion in 537 until 1453, it served as an Eastern Orthodox cathedral and the seat of the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, except between 1204 and 1261, when it was converted by the Fourth Crusaders to a Roman Catholic cathedral under the Latin Empire.
The building was converted into an Ottoman mosque from 29 May 1453 until 1931. It was secularized and opened as a museum on 1 February 1935, it remained the world's largest cathedral for nearly a thousand years, until Seville Cathedral was completed in 1520. The current building was constructed as a church between 532 and 537 on the orders of the Byzantine Emperor Justinian I and was the third Church of the Holy Wisdom to occupy the site, the prior one having been destroyed by rioters in the Nika Revolt, it was designed by the Greek geometers Isidore of Anthemius of Tralles. The church was dedicated to the Wisdom of God, the Logos, the second person of the Trinity, its patronal feast taking place on 25 December, the commemoration of the birth of the incarnation of the Logos in Christ. Although sometimes referred to as Sancta Sophia, sophia being the phonetic spelling in Latin of the Greek word for wisdom, its full name in Greek is Ναός της Αγίας του Θεού Σοφίας, Naos tēs Hagias tou Theou Sophias, "Shrine of the Holy Wisdom of God".
The church contained a large collection of relics and featured, among other things, a 15-metre silver iconostasis. The focal point of the Eastern Orthodox Church for nearly one thousand years, the building witnessed the excommunication of Patriarch Michael I Cerularius communicated by Humbert of Silva Candida, the papal envoy of Pope Leo IX in 1054, an act, considered the start of the East–West Schism. In 1453, Constantinople was conquered by the Ottoman Empire under Mehmed the Conqueror, who ordered this main church of Orthodox Christianity converted into a mosque. Although some parts of the city of Constantinople were falling into disrepair, the cathedral was maintained with an amount of money set aside for this purpose; the Christian cathedral made a strong impression on the new Ottoman rulers and they decided to convert it into a mosque. The bells, altar and other relics were destroyed and the mosaics depicting Jesus, his Mother Mary, Christian saints, angels were destroyed or plastered over.
Islamic features – such as the mihrab and four minarets – were added. It remained a mosque until 1931, it was re-opened in 1935 as a museum by the Republic of Turkey. Hagia Sophia was, as of 2014, the second-most visited museum in Turkey, attracting 3.3 million visitors annually. According to data released by the Turkish Culture and Tourism Ministry, Hagia Sophia was Turkey's most visited tourist attraction in 2015. From its initial conversion until the construction of the nearby Sultan Ahmed Mosque in 1616, it was the principal mosque of Istanbul; the Byzantine architecture of the Hagia Sophia served as inspiration for many other Ottoman mosques, such as the aforementioned mosque, the Şehzade Mosque, the Süleymaniye Mosque, the Rüstem Pasha Mosque and the Kılıç Ali Pasha Complex. On 24 March 2019, the President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said that the Hagia Sophia is to be reverted to a mosque; the first church on the site was known as the Μεγάλη Ἐκκλησία, or in Latin Magna Ecclesia, because of its larger dimensions in comparison to the contemporary churches in the City.
Inaugurated on 15 February 360 by the Arian bishop Eudoxius of Antioch, it was built next to the area where the imperial palace was being developed. The nearby Hagia Eirene church was completed earlier and served as cathedral until the Great Church was completed. Both churches acted together as the principal churches of the Byzantine Empire. Writing in 440, Socrates of Constantinople claimed that the church was built by Constantius II, working on it in 346. A tradition, not older than the 7th or 8th century, reports that the edifice was built by Constantine the Great. Zonaras reconciles the two opinions, writing that Constantius had repaired the edifice consecrated by Eusebius of Nicomedia, after it had collapsed. Since Eusebius was bishop of Constantinople from 339 to 341, Constantine died in 337, it seems possible that the first church was erected by the latter; the edifice was built as a traditional Latin colonnaded basilica with a wooden roof. It was preceded by an atrium, it was claimed to be one of the world's most outstanding monuments at the time.
The Patriarch of Constantinople John
History of Eastern Orthodox theology
The history of Eastern Orthodox Christian theology begins with the life of Jesus and the forming of the Christian Church. Major events include the Chalcedonian schism with the Oriental Orthodox miaphysites, the Iconoclast controversy, the Photian schism, the Great Schism between East and West, the Hesychast controversy; the period after the Second World War saw a re-engagement with the Greek, more Syriac, Fathers that included a rediscovery of the theological works of St. Gregory Palamas, which has resulted in a renewal of Orthodox theology in the 20th and 21st centuries; the Orthodox Church considers itself to be the original church started by his apostles. For the early years of the church, much of what was conveyed to its members was in the form of oral teachings. Within a short period of time traditions were established to reinforce these teachings; the Orthodox Church asserts to have been careful in preserving these traditions. When questions of belief or new concepts arise, the Church always refers back to the primitive faith.
They see the Bible as a collection of inspired texts that sprang out of this tradition, not the other way around. The Bible has come to be a important part of "Tradition", but not the only part; the Orthodox Church has always recognized the gradual development in the complexity of the articulation of the Church's teachings. It does not, believe that truth changes and therefore always supports its previous beliefs all the way back to the direct teachings from the Apostles; the Church understands that not everything is clear. It is this contention; the Church sees this as the action of the Holy Spirit on history to manifest truth to man. The Church is unwavering in upholding its dogmatic teachings, but does not insist upon those matters of faith which have not been defined; the Orthodox believe. Individuals are permitted to hold theologoumena so long as they do not contradict traditional Orthodox teaching. Sometimes, various Holy Fathers may have contradictory opinions about a certain question, where no consensus exists, the individual is free to follow his conscience.
Tradition includes the Nicene Creed, the decrees of the Seven Ecumenical Councils, the writings the Church Fathers, as well as Orthodox laws, liturgical books and icons, etc. In defense of the extra-biblical tradition, the Orthodox Church quotes Paul: "Therefore, stand fast, hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by our spoken word, or by our epistle.". The Orthodox Church believes that the Holy Spirit works through history to manifest truth to the Church, that He weeds out falsehood in order that the Truth may be recognised more fully. Eastern Orthodox Church Orthodoxy interprets truth based on three witnesses: the consensus of the Holy Fathers of the Church; the consensus of the Church over time defines its catholicity—that, believed at all times by the entire Church. Those who disagree with that consensus are not accepted as authentic "Fathers." All theological concepts must be in agreement with that consensus. Those considered to be authentic "Fathers" may have some theological opinions that are not universally shared, but are not thereby considered heretical.
Some Holy Fathers have made statements that were defined as heretical, but their mistakes do not exclude them from position of authority. Thus an Orthodox Christian is not bound to agree with every opinion of every Father, but rather with the consensus of the Fathers, only on those matters about which the church is dogmatic; some of the greatest theologians in the history of the church come from the fourth century, including the Cappadocian Fathers and the Three Hierarchs. However, the Orthodox do not consider the "Patristic era" to be a thing of the past, but that it continues in an unbroken succession of enlightened teachers from the Apostles to the present day. Christianity first spread in the predominantly Greek-speaking eastern half of the Roman Empire; the Apostles traveled extensively throughout the Empire, establishing communities in major cities and regions, see Early centers of Christianity, with the first community appearing in Jerusalem, Antioch and others, the two political centers of Rome and Greece and later Byzantium which became Constantinople.
Orthodoxy believes in the apostolic succession, established by the Apostles in the New Testament. The word "church" did not mean a building, but a community or gathering of like-minded people; the earliest forms of Christianity were Greek as contemporary ecclesiastical historian Henry Ha
Serbian Orthodox Church
The Serbian Orthodox Church is one of the autocephalous Eastern Orthodox Christian Churches. It is the second-oldest Slavic Orthodox Church in the world; the Serbian Orthodox Church comprises the majority of the population in Serbia and the Republika Srpska entity of Bosnia and Herzegovina. It is organized into metropolises and eparchies located in Serbia and Herzegovina, Croatia, but all over the world where Serb diaspora lives; the Serbian Orthodox Church is an autocephalous, or ecclesiastically independent, member of the Eastern Orthodox communion. Serbian Patriarch serves as first among equals in his church; the Church achieved autocephalous status in 1219 under the leadership of St. Sava, becoming independent Archbishopric of Žiča, its status was elevated to that of a patriarchate in 1346, was known afterwards as the Serbian Patriarchate of Peć. This patriarchate was abolished by the Ottoman Turks in 1766; the modern Serbian Orthodox Church was re-established in 1920 after the unification of the Patriarchate of Karlovci, the Metropolitanate of Belgrade and the Metropolitanate of Montenegro.
Christianity spread to the Balkans beginning in the 1st century. Florus and Laurus are venerated as Christian martyrs of the 2nd century. Constantine the Great, born in Niš, was the first Christian Roman Emperor. Several bishops seated in what is today Serbia participated in the First Council of Nicaea, such as Ursacius of Singidunum. In 380, Eastern Roman Emperor Theodosius decreed that his subjects would be Christians according to the Council of Nicea formula. Greek was used in the Byzantine church. With the definite split in 395, the line in Europe ran south along the Drina river. Among old Christian heritage is the Archbishopric of Justiniana Prima, established in 535, which had jurisdiction over the whole of present-day Serbia. However, the Archbishopric did not last, as the Slavs and Avars destroyed the region sometime after 602, when the last mention is made of it. In 731 Leo III attached Illyricum and Southern Italy to Patriarch Anastasius of Constantinople, transferring the papal authority to the Eastern Church.
The history of the early medieval Serbian Principality is recorded in the work De Administrando Imperio, compiled by the Byzantine Emperor Constantine VII Porphyrogenitus. The DAI drew information on the Serbs among others, a Serbian source; the Serbs were said to have received the protection of Emperor Heraclius, Porphyrogenitus stressed that the Serbs had always been under Imperial rule. His account on the first Christianization of the Serbs can be dated to 632–638; the establishment of Christianity as state religion dates to the time of Prince Mutimir and Byzantine Emperor Basil I. The Christianization was due to Byzantine and subsequent Bulgarian influence. At least during the rule of Kocel in Pannonia, communications between Serbia and Great Moravia, where Methodius was active, must have been possible; this fact, the pope was aware of, when planning Methodius' diocese as well as that of the Dalmatian coast, in Byzantine hands as far north as Split. There is a possibility that some Cyrillomethodian pupils reached Serbia in the 870s even sent by Methodius himself.
Serbia was accounted Christian as of about 870. The first Serbian bishopric was founded at Ras, near modern Novi Pazar on the Ibar river. According to Vlasto, the initial affiliation is uncertain; the early Ras church can be dated to the 9th–10th century, with the rotunda plan characteristic of first court chapels. The bishopric was established shortly after 871, during the rule of Mutimir, was part of the general plan of establishing bishoprics in the Slav lands of the empire, confirmed by the Council of Constantinople in 879–880; the names of Serbian rulers through Mutimir are Slavic dithematic names, per the Old Slavic tradition. With Christianization in the 9th century, Christian names appear; the next generations of Serbian royalty had Christian names, evident of strong Byzantine missions in the 870s. Petar Gojniković was evidently a Christian prince, Christianity was spreading in his time; the Bulgarian annexation of Serbia in 924 was important for the future direction of the Serbian church, by at latest, Serbia must have received the Cyrillic alphabet and Slavic religious text familiar but not yet preferred to Greek.
In 1018–19, the Archbishopric of Ohrid was established after the Byzantines conquered Bulgaria. Greek replaced Bulgarian Slavic as the liturgical language. Serbia was ecclesiastically administered into several bishoprics: the bishopric of Ras, mentioned in the first charter of Basil II, became part of the Ohrid archbishopric and encompassed the areas of southern Serbia, by the rivers Raška, Ibar and Lim, evident in the second charter of Basil II. In the chrysobulls of Basil II d
Ascension of Jesus
The ascension of Jesus is the departure of Christ from Earth into the presence of God. The biblical narrative in Chapter 1 of the Acts of the Apostles takes place 40 days after the resurrection: Jesus is taken up from the disciples in their sight, a cloud hides him from view, two men in white appear to tell them that he will return "in the same way you have seen him go into heaven." In the Christian tradition, reflected in the major Christian creeds and confessional statements, the ascension is connected with the exaltation of Jesus, meaning that through his ascension, Jesus took his seat at the right hand of God: "He ascended into heaven, is seated at the right hand of God the Father Almighty." In modern times the Ascension is seen less as the climax of the mystery of Christ than as "something of an embarrassment", in the words of McGill University's Douglas Farrow. In Christian art, the ascending Jesus is shown blessing an earthly group below him, signifying the entire Church; the Feast of the Ascension is celebrated on the 40th day of Easter, always a Thursday.
Luke-Acts, a single work from the same anonymous author, provides the only narrative account of the ascension. Luke 24 tells how Jesus leads the eleven disciples to Bethany, a village on the Mount of Olives, where he instructs them to remain in Jerusalem until the coming of the Holy Spirit: "And it came to pass, while he blessed them, he parted from them, was carried up into heaven, and they worshiped him, returned to Jerusalem with great joy." Acts 1 describes a meal at which Jesus commands the disciples to await the coming of the Holy Spirit, a cloud takes him upward from sight, two men in white appear to tell them that he will return "in the same way you have seen him go into heaven." Luke and Acts appear to describe the same event, but present quite different chronologies, Luke placing it on the same day as the resurrection and Acts forty days afterwards. The Gospel of John has three references to ascension in Jesus' own words: "No one has ascended into heaven but he who descended from heaven, the son of man".
In the first and second Jesus is claiming to be the apocalyptic "one like a son of man" of Daniel 7. Various epistles refer to an ascension, like Luke-Acts and John, to equate it with the post-resurrection "exaltation" of Jesus to the right hand of God. There is a broad consensus among scholars that the brief ascension account in the Gospel of Mark is a addition to the original version of that gospel. Theologian James Dunn describes the ascension as at best a puzzle and at worst an embarrassment for an age which no longer conceives of a physical heaven located above the Earth; the cosmology of the author of Luke-Acts was quite different: his age believed in a three-part cosmos with the heavens above, a flat earth centered on Jerusalem in the middle, the underworld below. Heaven was separated from the earth by the firmament, the visible sky, a solid inverted bowl where God's palace sat on pillars in the celestial sea. Humans looking up from earth saw the floor of heaven, made of clear blue lapis-lazuli, as was God's throne.
Ascension stories were common around the time of Jesus and the gospel-authors, signifying the deification of a noteworthy person, in Judaism as an indication of divine approval. Another function of heavenly ascent was as a mode of divine revelation reflected in Greco-Roman, early Jewish, early Christian literary sources, in which particular individuals with prophetic or revelatory gifts are thought to have experienced a heavenly journey during which they learned cosmic and divine secrets. Figures familiar to Jews would have included Enoch. Non-Jewish readers would have been familiar with the case of the emperor Augustus, whose ascent was witnessed by Senators; the common thread linking all the New Testament ascension references, reflected in the major Christian creeds and confessional statements, is the exaltation of Jesus, meaning that through his ascension Jesus took his seat at the right hand of God in Heaven: "He ascended into heaven, is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty."
It implies the human Jesus being taken into Heaven and marks the beginning of Christ's heavenly rule, its hold o