Hagia Sophia was a Greek Orthodox Christian patriarchal basilica, an imperial mosque, and now a museum in Istanbul, Turkey. 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, famous in particular for its massive dome, it is considered the epitome of Byzantine architecture and is said to have changed the history of architecture. It remained the worlds largest cathedral for nearly a thousand years and it was designed by the Greek geometers Isidore of Miletus and Anthemius of Tralles. The church contained a collection of relics and featured, among other things. In 1453, Constantinople was conquered by the Ottoman Empire under Mehmed the Conqueror, by that point, the church had fallen into a state of disrepair. Nevertheless, the Christian cathedral made an impression on the new Ottoman rulers. Islamic features—such as the mihrab and four minarets—were added and it remained a mosque until 1931, when it was closed to the public for four years.
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 almost 3.3 million visitors annually. According to data released by the Turkish Culture and Tourism Ministry, from its initial conversion until the construction of the nearby Sultan Ahmed Mosque in 1616, it was the principal mosque of Istanbul. The first church on the site was known as the Μεγάλη Ἐκκλησία, or in Latin Magna Ecclesia, 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, a tradition which is 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, and Constantine died in 337, the edifice was built as a traditional Latin colonnaded basilica with galleries and a wooden roof. It was preceded by an atrium and it was claimed to be one of the worlds most outstanding monuments at the time. The Patriarch of Constantinople John Chrysostom came into a conflict with Empress Aelia Eudoxia, wife of the emperor Arcadius, during the subsequent riots, this first church was largely burned down. Nothing remains of the first church today, a second church on the site was ordered by Theodosius II, who inaugurated it on 10 October 415
In Christian iconography, Christ Pantocrator refers to a specific depiction of Christ. Pantocrator or Pantokrator is, used in context, a translation of one of many names of God in Judaism. When the Hebrew Bible was translated into Greek as the Septuagint, in the New Testament, Pantokrator is used once by Paul. Aside from that one occurrence, John of Patmos is the only New Testament author to use the word Pantokrator, the most common translation of Pantocrator is Almighty or All-powerful. In this understanding, Pantokrator is a word formed from the Greek words πᾶς, pas, i. e. all and κράτος, kratos, i. e. strength, might. This is often understood in terms of power, i. e. ability to do anything. Another, more literal translation is Ruler of All or, less literally, in this understanding, Pantokrator is a compound word formed from the Greek for all and the verb meaning To accomplish something or to sustain something. This translation speaks more to Gods actual power, i. e, the Pantokrator, largely an Eastern Orthodox or Eastern Catholic theological conception, is less common by that name in Western Catholicism and largely unknown to most Protestants.
In the West the equivalent image in art is known as Christ in Majesty, Christ Pantocrator has come to suggest Christ as a mild but stern, all-powerful judge of humanity. The icon of Christ Pantokrator is one of the most widely used images of Orthodox Christianity. Some scholars consider the Pantocrator a Christian adaptation of images of Zeus, the development of the earliest stages of the icon from Roman Imperial imagery is easier to trace. The image of Christ Pantocrator was one of the first images of Christ developed in the Early Christian Church, in the half-length image, Christ holds the New Testament in his left hand and makes the gesture of teaching or of blessing with his right. The gessoed panel, finely painted using a wax medium on a panel, had been coarsely overpainted around the face. It was only when the overpainting was cleaned in 1962 that the ancient image was revealed to be a high quality icon. The left hand holds a book with a richly decorated cover featuring the Cross. An icon where Christ has a book is called Christ the Teacher.
Christ is bearded, his brown hair centrally parted, and his head is surrounded by a halo, the icon is usually shown against a gold background comparable to the gilded grounds of mosaic depictions of the Christian emperors. Often, the name of Christ is written on each side of the halo, as IC, christs fingers are depicted in a pose that represents the letters IC, X and C, thereby making the Christogram ICXC
Eastern Orthodox theology
Eastern Orthodox Christian theology is the theology particular to the Eastern Orthodox Church. Orthodox Christians believe in a single God who is three and one, the Father and Holy Spirit, one in essence. The Holy Trinity is three unconfused and distinct divine persons, who share one divine essence, uncreated and eternal, the Father is the eternal source of the Godhead, from whom the Son is begotten eternally and from whom the Holy Spirit proceeds eternally. The essence of God being that which is beyond human comprehension, Orthodox Christians believe the incarnate Word of God is one person in two natures, both fully divine and fully human, perfectly God and perfectly man. Throughout the ages this has been a point of contention between schismatic Christian theological factions and the body of Christian believers. Christ had a divine will, or set of desires and spiritual incentives, and he had a human body, human mind, and human spirit able to be tempted with sin and to suffer the same way as we would.
In this way God is said to have suffered and died in the flesh of Jesus, although the nature is itself impassible. He is said to have been begotten timelessly as God without a mother, Orthodox Christians believe in the betrayal, execution and resurrection of Jesus Christ, that he truly rose from the dead on the third day following his crucifixion. The feast of the resurrection of Christ, which is called Easter in Germanic languages, is known as Pascha in the Orthodox Church and this is the Aramaic variant of the Hebrew Pesach, meaning Passover. The resurrection of Christ is the Christian Passover, Pascha is called the Feast of Feasts and is considered the greatest feast of all the Churchs liturgical feasts, including the feasts of the Nativity and the Annunciation. Energies and essence are both inseparably God, the divine energies are the expressions of divine being in action according to Orthodox doctrine, whereas the persons of the Trinity are divine by nature. Hence, created beings are united to God through participation in the divine energies, Orthodox Christians hold that man was originally created in communion with God, but through acting in a manner contrary to his own nature, he disrupted that communion.
Because of mans refusal to fulfill the image and likeness of God within him, but when Jesus came into the world He Himself was Perfect Man and Perfect God united in the divine Hypostasis of the Logos, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity. Through his assumption of human nature, human existence was restored, enabling human beings, the Word of God came in His own Person, because it was He alone, the Image of the Father, Who could recreate man made after the Image. In order to effect this re-creation, however, He had first to do away with death, therefore He assumed a human body, in order that in it death might once and for all be destroyed, and that men might be renewed according to the Image. St. Athanasius, On the Incarnation Salvation, or being saved, refers to process of being saved from death and corruption. The Orthodox Church believes that its teachings and practices represent the path to participation in the gifts of God. Yet, it should be understood that the Orthodox do not believe that you must be Orthodox to participate in salvation, the Orthodox believe that there is nothing that a person can do to earn salvation
Polish Orthodox Church
The Polish Autocephalous Orthodox Church, commonly known as the Polish Orthodox Church, or Church of Poland is one of the autocephalous Eastern Orthodox Churches in full communion. In total, it has approximately 600,000 adherents, the establishment of the church was undertaken after the Treaty of Riga left a large amount of territory previously under the control of the Russian Empire, as part of the Second Polish Republic. Eastern Orthodoxy was widespread in the Belarusian Western Belarus regions and the Ukrainian Volhynia, during the interwar period, the Polish authorities imposed severe restrictions on the church and its clergy. The most famous example, the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral in Warsaw was destroyed, in Volyhnia a total of 190 Orthodox Churches were destroyed and a further 150 converted to Roman Catholicism. Several court hearings against the Pochayiv Lavra took place, the remaining parishes that were now on the territory of the Polish Peoples Republic were kept by the PAOC, including most of the mixed easternmost territories such as around Chełm and Białystok.
In 1948, under pressure from the Russian Orthodox Church, the Ecumenical Patriarchate granted the PAOC autocephalous status, the European bishops, have left the jurisdiction on 2000, which eventually resulted on senior Bishop Chrysostom being raised to archepiscopal dignity. There are now parishes in the states of Rio de Janeiro and Paraíba, in 2003, following the decision of the Holy Sobor of Bishops of the Polish Autocephalous Orthodox Church, the New Martyrs of Chelm and Podlasie suffering persecution during the 1940s were canonized. The church is headed by the Archbishop of Warsaw and Metropolitan of All Poland, Sawa Hrycuniak
Christianity is a Abrahamic monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus Christ, who serves as the focal point for the religion. It is the worlds largest religion, with over 2.4 billion followers, or 33% of the global population, Christians believe that Jesus is the Son of God and the savior of humanity whose coming as the Messiah was prophesied in the Old Testament. Christian theology is summarized in creeds such as the Apostles Creed and his incarnation, earthly ministry and resurrection are often referred to as the gospel, meaning good news. The term gospel refers to accounts of Jesuss life and teaching, four of which—Matthew, Luke. Christianity is an Abrahamic religion that began as a Second Temple Judaic sect in the mid-1st century, following the Age of Discovery, Christianity spread to the Americas, sub-Saharan Africa, and the rest of the world through missionary work and colonization. Christianity has played a prominent role in the shaping of Western civilization, throughout its history, Christianity has weathered schisms and theological disputes that have resulted in many distinct churches and denominations.
Worldwide, the three largest branches of Christianity are the Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church, and the denominations of Protestantism. There are many important differences of interpretation and opinion of the Bible, concise doctrinal statements or confessions of religious beliefs are known as creeds. They began as baptismal formulae and were expanded during the Christological controversies of the 4th and 5th centuries to become statements of faith. Many evangelical Protestants reject creeds as definitive statements of faith, even agreeing with some or all of the substance of the creeds. The Baptists have been non-creedal in that they have not sought to establish binding authoritative confessions of faith on one another. Also rejecting creeds are groups with roots in the Restoration Movement, such as the Christian Church, the Evangelical Christian Church in Canada, the Apostles Creed is the most widely accepted statement of the articles of Christian faith. It is used by Presbyterians and Congregationalists and this particular creed was developed between the 2nd and 9th centuries.
Its central doctrines are those of the Trinity and God the Creator, each of the doctrines found in this creed can be traced to statements current in the apostolic period. The creed was used as a summary of Christian doctrine for baptismal candidates in the churches of Rome. Most Christians accept the use of creeds, and subscribe to at least one of the mentioned above. The central tenet of Christianity is the belief in Jesus as the Son of God, Christians believe that Jesus, as the Messiah, was anointed by God as savior of humanity, and hold that Jesus coming was the fulfillment of messianic prophecies of the Old Testament. The Christian concept of the Messiah differs significantly from the contemporary Jewish concept, having become fully human, suffered the pains and temptations of a mortal man, but did not sin
History of the Eastern Orthodox Church
The history of the Orthodox Church is traced back to Jesus Christ and the Apostles. The Apostles appointed successors, known as bishops, and they in turn appointed other bishops in a known as Apostolic succession. Over time, five Patriarchates were established to organize the Christian world, in the early Middle Ages, Orthodox missionaries spread Christianity towards the north, to the Bulgarians, Serbs and others. In the Late Middle Ages, the Fall of Constantinople brought a part of the worlds Orthodox Christians under Ottoman Turkish rule. Nevertheless, Orthodoxy continued to flourish in Russia, as well as within the Ottoman Empire among the latters Christian subject peoples, four stages of development can be distinguished in the history of the Orthodox Church. Early Christianity, which represents the first three centuries through the age of Constantine the Great, constitutes the Apostolic and ancient period. The Byzantine period, beginning with the time of the Ecumenical Councils, the last stage is the modern period.
The Orthodox jurisdictions with the largest number of adherents in modern times are the Russian, the Ethiopian, the most ancient of the Orthodox communities existing today are the churches of Jerusalem, Alexandria, Armenia and Ethiopia. Christianity first spread in the predominantly Greek-speaking eastern half of the Roman Empire, early growth occurred in the two political centers of Rome and Greece, as well as in Byzantium. Historically the word church did not mean a building or housing structure, the earliest Ecclesiology would posit that the Eucharistic assembly, under the authority and permission of a Bishop, is what constitutes a Church. As St. Ignatius of Antioch said, Let no man do anything connected with the Church without the bishop, Let that be deemed a proper Eucharist, which is either by the bishop, or by one to whom he has entrusted it. Wherever the bishop shall appear, there let the multitude be, even as, wherever Jesus Christ is and it is not lawful without the bishop either to baptize or to celebrate a love-feast.
The church of Rome by tradition was founded by both Saint Peter and Saint Paul, systematic persecution of the early Christian church caused it to become an underground movement. The first above-ground legal churches were built in Armenia, Armenia became the first country to legalize Christianity under King Tiridates III and embrace it as the state religion in 310 AD. However, illegal churches before Christian legalization are mentioned throughout history, for example. Also noteworthy are the Church of St Peter in Antioch and the Cenacle in Jerusalem, much of the official organizing of the ecclesiastical structure, clarifying true from false teachings was done by the bishops of the church. Their works are referred to as Patristics and this tradition of clarification can be seen as established in the saints of the Orthodox Church referred to as the Apostolic Fathers, bishops themselves established by apostolic succession. This continued into the age when the practice of the religion of Christianity became legal, the Biblical canon began with the officially accepted books of the Koine Greek Old Testament
First Council of Nicaea
The First Council of Nicaea was a council of Christian bishops convened in the Bithynian city of Nicaea by the Roman Emperor Constantine I in AD325. Constantine I organized the Council along the lines of the Roman Senate and presided over it and this ecumenical council was the first effort to attain consensus in the Church through an assembly representing all of Christendom. Hosius of Cordoba, who was one of the Papal legates. The First Council of Nicaea was the first ecumenical council of the Church, St. Alexander of Alexandria and Athanasius took the first position, the popular presbyter Arius, from whom the term Arianism comes, took the second. The council decided against the Arians overwhelmingly, through it a precedent was set for subsequent general councils to adopt creeds and canons. This council is considered the beginning of the period of the First seven Ecumenical Councils in the History of Christianity. The First Council of Nicaea was convened by Emperor Constantine the Great upon the recommendations of a synod led by Hosius of Córdoba in the Eastertide of 325 and this synod had been charged with investigation of the trouble brought about by the Arian controversy in the Greek-speaking east.
To most bishops, the teachings of Arius were heretical and dangerous to the salvation of souls and this was the first general council in the history of the Church summoned by emperor Constantine I. In the Council of Nicaea, The Church had taken her first great step to define revealed doctrine more precisely in response to a challenge from a heretical theology. Constantine had invited all 1,800 bishops of the Christian church within the Roman Empire, Eusebius of Caesarea counted more than 250, Athanasius of Alexandria counted 318, and Eustathius of Antioch estimated about 270. Later, Socrates Scholasticus recorded more than 300, and Evagrius, Hilary of Poitiers, Dionysius Exiguus and this number 318 is preserved in the liturgies of the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria. Delegates came from every region of the Roman Empire, including Britain, the participating bishops were given free travel to and from their episcopal sees to the council, as well as lodging.
These bishops did not travel alone, each one had permission to bring him two priests and three deacons, so the total number of attendees could have been above 1,800. Eusebius speaks of an almost innumerable host of accompanying priests, the Eastern bishops formed the great majority. Of these, the first rank was held by the three patriarchs, Alexander of Alexandria, Eustathius of Antioch, and Macarius of Jerusalem and this position is supported by patristic scholar Timothy Barnes in his book Constantine and Eusebius. Historically, the influence of these marred confessors has been seen as substantial, Athanasius of Alexandria, a young deacon and companion of Bishop Alexander of Alexandria, was among the assistants. Athanasius eventually spent most of his life battling against Arianism, Alexander of Constantinople, a presbyter, was present as representative of his aged bishop. The supporters of Arius included Secundus of Ptolemais, Theonus of Marmarica, other supporters included Eusebius of Nicomedia, Paulinus of Tyrus, Actius of Lydda, Menophantus of Ephesus, and Theognus of Nicaea
Clergy are some of the main and important formal leaders within certain religions. The roles and functions of clergy vary in different religious traditions but these usually involve presiding over specific rituals, some of the terms used for individual clergy are cleric, clergywoman and churchman. In Islam, a leader is often known formally or informally as an imam, mufti. In Jewish tradition, a leader is often a rabbi or hazzan. Cleric comes from the ecclesiastical Latin clericus, for belonging to the priestly class. This is from the Ecclesiastical Greek clericus, meaning appertaining to an inheritance, Clergy is from two Old French words, clergié and clergie, which refer to those with learning and derive from Medieval Latin clericatus, from Late Latin clericus. Clerk, which used to mean one ordained to the ministry, in the Middle Ages and writing were almost exclusively the domain of the priestly class, and this is the reason for the close relationship of these words. Now, the state is tied to reception of the diaconate.
Minor Orders are still given in the Eastern Catholic Churches, and it is in this sense that the word entered the Arabic language, most commonly in Lebanon from the French, as kleriki meaning seminarian. This is all in keeping with Eastern Orthodox concepts of clergy, which include those who have not yet received, or do not plan to receive. A priesthood is a body of priests, shamans, or oracles who have religious authority or function. Buddhist clergy are often referred to as the Sangha. This diversity of monastic orders and styles was originally one community founded by Gautama Buddha during the 5th century BC living under a set of rules. The interaction between Buddhism and Tibetan Bon led to a uniquely Tibetan Buddhism, within which various sects, the interaction between Indian Buddhist monks and Chinese Confucian and Taoist monks from c200-c900AD produced the distinctive Chan Buddhism. In these ways, manual labour was introduced to a practice where monks originally survived on alms, layers of garments were added where originally a single thin robe sufficed and this adaptation of form and roles of Buddhist monastic practice continued after the transmission to Japan.
For example, monks took on administrative functions for the Emperor in particular secular communities, again, in response to various historic attempts to suppress Buddhism, the practice of celibacy was relaxed and Japanese monks allowed to marry. This form was transmitted to Korea, during Japanese occupation, as these varied styles of Buddhist monasticism are transmitted to Western cultures, still more new forms are being created. This broad difference in approach led to a schism among Buddhist monastics in about the 4th century BCE
Second Council of Nicaea
The Second Council of Nicaea is recognized as the last of the first seven ecumenical councils by both West and East. Orthodox and Old Catholics unanimously recognize it, Protestant opinions on it are varied and it met in AD787 in Nicaea to restore the use and veneration of icons, which had been suppressed by imperial edict inside the Byzantine Empire during the reign of Leo III. His son, Constantine V, had held the Council of Hieria to make the suppression official, the veneration of icons had been banned by Byzantine Emperor Constantine V and supported by his Council of Hieria, which had described itself as the seventh ecumenical council. The emperors vigorous enforcement of the ban included persecution of those who venerated icons, Constantines iconoclastic tendencies were shared by Constantines son, Leo IV. After the latters death, his widow, Irene of Athens, as regent for her son, began its restoration, moved thereto by personal inclination. However, a council, claiming to be ecumenical, had abolished the veneration of icons, Pope Adrian I was invited to participate, and gladly accepted.
However, the intended for the oriental patriarchs could not even be delivered to them. The Roman legates were an archbishop and an abbot, both named Peter, in 786, the council met in the Church of the Holy Apostles in Constantinople. However, soldiers in collusion with the opposition entered the church, as a result, the government resorted to a stratagem. Under the pretext of a campaign, the bodyguard was sent away from the capital — disarmed and disbanded. The council was summoned to meet, this time in Nicaea. The council assembled on September 24,787 at the church of Hagia Sophia and it numbered about 350 members,308 bishops or their representatives signed. Tarasius presided, and seven sessions were held in Nicaea, first Session — Three bishops, Basilius of Ancyra, Theodore of Myra and Theodosius of Amorium begged for pardon for the heresy of iconoclasm. Second Session — Papal legates read the letters of Pope Hadrian I asking for agreement with veneration of images, third Session — Other bishops having made their abjuration, were received into the council.
Fourth Session — Proof of the lawfulness of the veneration of icons was drawn from Exodus 25,19 sqq, ezekiel 41,18, and Genesis 31,34, but especially from a series of passages of the Church Fathers, the authority of the latter was decisive. Fifth Session — It was claimed that the iconoclast heresy came originally from Jews, sixth Session — The definition of the pseudo-Seventh council was read and condemned. Seventh Session — The council issued a declaration of faith concerning the veneration of holy images, and exhibited on the walls of churches, in the homes, and in all conspicuous places, by the roadside and everywhere, to be revered by all who might see them. For the more they are contemplated, the more they move to fervent memory of their prototypes, eighth Session — The last session was held in Constantinople at the Magnaura Palace
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 population in Serbia and the Republika Srpska entity of Bosnia and Herzegovina. It is organized into metropolises and eparchies located primarily in Serbia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Croatia, the Serbian Orthodox Church is an autocephalous, or ecclesiastically independent, member of the Orthodox communion. Serbian Patriarch serves as first among equals in his church, the current patriarch is Irinej, 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 and 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, 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, 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, while the Roman church used Latin, with the definite split in 395, the line in Europe ran south along the Drina river. Tim Judah says that the Roman split resulted in that Serbs are Orthodox, 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, in 731 Leo III attached Illyricum and Southern Italy to Patriarch Anastasius of Constantinople, transferring the papal authority to the Eastern Church.
Slavs invaded and settled the Balkans in the 6th and 7th centuries, 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 from, among others, the Serbs were said to have received the protection of Emperor Heraclius, and Porphyrogenitus stressed that the Serbs had always been under Imperial rule. The Christianization was due partly 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 presumably aware of, when planning Methodius diocese as well as that of the Dalmatian coast, there is a possibility that some Cyrillomethodian pupils reached Serbia in the 870s, perhaps 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 affiliation is uncertain, it may have been under the subordination of either Split or Durazzo. The early Ras church can be dated to the 9th–10th century, the names of Serbian rulers through Mutimir are Slavic dithematic names, per the Old Slavic tradition
Eastern Christian monasticism
Eastern Christian Monasticism is the life followed by monks and nuns of Eastern Orthodoxy, Oriental Orthodoxy, the Church of the East and Eastern Catholicism. Monasticism began in the East, and it is in the East that it continues to this day to have the strongest influence on the life of the local Christian communities. The mystical and other-worldly nature of the Christian message very 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 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, and the founder is Saint Anthony the Great. St. Anthony was among the Desert Fathers - those who left the world to seek God in the silence, around him gathered many disciples, whom he guided in the spiritual life.
These first monks were hermits, 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 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 Tabennisi, 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 type of monastic institution. 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 working and 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, like the Byzantines, monasticism has continued to play a crucial role in the life of the church, and 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, a number of Coptic monasteries have been established in the New World. Ethiopia was one of the first nations to accept Christianity, officially 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, the church is officially 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 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, Monasticism was very popular in early Syrian and Mesopotamian Christianity, and originally all monks and nuns there were hermits
Greek Orthodox Church of Jerusalem
Headed by the Patriarch of Jerusalem, it is regarded by Eastern Orthodox Christians as the mother church of all of Christendom. It is often called Σιωνίτις Εκκλησία, the number of Orthodox Christians in the Holy Land is estimated at about 500,000. A majority of Church members are Palestinians and Jordanians, and there are many Russians, the Churchs hierarchy is dominated by Greek clergy, which in effect excludes the Arab majority from the Churchs upper ranks. The headquarters of the Orthodox Church in Jerusalem is the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, certainly no spot in Christendom can be more venerable than the place of the Last Supper, which became the first Christian church. In the Apostolic Age, Christianity consisted of a number of local Churches that in the initial years looked to Jerusalem as its main centre. Some found their way to Antioch, where they undertook evangelical efforts, before the outbreak of the First Jewish–Roman War and the destruction of Herods Temple in 70 by Titus, Christians led by Simeon fled to Pella in Decapolis, where they remained until 135.
The Jews of Judea again revolted against Rome in the Bar Kokhba revolt, by or during that time, the Christians had returned to Jerusalem. However, to punish the Jews for their revolt and to prevent further unrest, Jerusalem was made a Roman colony, in 135, the Metropolitan of Caesarea appointed Marcus as the first bishop of the renamed Church of Aelia Capitolina. He was the first gentile bishop of the Church of Jerusalem, the persecution of Jews by Roman authorities in Judea increased, with most of the Jewish and Christian population of Judea being enslaved and dispersed throughout the Roman Empire. The importance and place of Jerusalem in the life of the Christian Church diminished, though a Jewish and Christian remnant always remained in the city, despite the strife and meager population, bishops continued to be elected or named. Eusebius of Caesarea provides the names of a succession of thirty-six Bishops of Jerusalem up to the year 324. The first sixteen of these bishops were Jewish—from James the Just to Judas —and the remainder were Gentiles, the Metropolitans of Caesarea continued to appoint the bishops of Aelia Capitolina until 325.
Since then, the Church of Jerusalem has remained an autocephalous Church, the Persians occupied Jerusalem in 614 and took Patriarch Zachariah prisoner, along with the palladium of Christianity, the Precious Cross. Anything good that existed was destroyed or was plundered by the invaders, the monks were slaughtered mercilessly, especially those of St Savvas Monastery. In 637, after a siege of Jerusalem, Patriarch Sophronius surrendered Jerusalem to Caliph Umar, but secured the Covenant of Umar I. In 638, the Armenian Apostolic Church began appointing its own bishop in Jerusalem, after 638, Christians suffered many persecutions. Christian shrines were repeatedly ransacked and defaced by the successors of Umur, the most deadly persecution occurred during the time of the Fatamid Al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah, a schizophrenic, named the Nero of Egypt for his merciless acts. He persecuted ferociously both Christians and Jews and he ordered that in public Jews were to wear masks representing the head of an ox and bells around their necks, Christians were to wear mourning apparel and crosses one yard in length