Eastern Orthodox Church
The Eastern Orthodox Church the Orthodox Catholic Church, is the second-largest Christian church, with 200–260 million members. It operates as a communion of autocephalous churches, each governed by its bishops in local synods, although half of Eastern Orthodox Christians live in Russia; the church has no central doctrinal or governmental authority analogous to the Bishop of Rome, but the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople is recognised by all as primus inter pares of the bishops. As one of the oldest religious institutions in the world, the Eastern Orthodox Church has played a prominent role in the history and culture of Eastern and Southeastern Europe, the Caucasus, the Near East. Eastern Orthodox theology is based on the Nicene Creed; the church teaches that it is the One, Holy and Apostolic church established by Jesus Christ in his Great Commission, that its bishops are the successors of Christ's apostles. It maintains, its patriarchates, reminiscent of the pentarchy, autocephalous and autonomous churches reflect a variety of hierarchical organisation.
Of its innumerable sacred mysteries, it recognises seven major sacraments, of which the Eucharist is the principal one, celebrated liturgically in synaxis. The church teaches that through consecration invoked by a priest, the sacrificial bread and wine become the body and blood of Christ; the Virgin Mary is venerated in the Eastern Orthodox Church as the God-bearer, honoured in devotions. The Eastern Orthodox Church shared communion with the Roman Catholic Church until the East–West Schism in 1054, triggered by disputes over doctrine the authority of the Pope. Before the Council of Chalcedon in AD 451, the Oriental Orthodox churches shared in this communion, separating over differences in Christology; the majority of Eastern Orthodox Christians live in Southeast and Eastern Europe, Cyprus and other communities in the Caucasus region, communities in Siberia reaching the Russian Far East. There are smaller communities in the former Byzantine regions of the Eastern Mediterranean, in the Middle East where it is decreasing due to persecution.
There are many in other parts of the world, formed through diaspora and missionary activity. In keeping with the church's teaching on universality and with the Nicene Creed, Orthodox authorities such as Saint Raphael of Brooklyn have insisted that the full name of the church has always included the term "Catholic", as in "Holy Orthodox Catholic Apostolic Church"; the official name of the Eastern Orthodox Church is the "Orthodox Catholic Church". It is the name by which the church refers to itself in its liturgical or canonical texts, in official publications, in official contexts or administrative documents. Orthodox teachers refer to the church as Catholic; this name and longer variants containing "Catholic" are recognised and referenced in other books and publications by secular or non-Orthodox writers. The common name of the church, "Eastern Orthodox Church", is a shortened practicality that helps to avoid confusions in casual use. From ancient times through the first millennium, Greek was the most prevalent shared language in the demographic regions where the Byzantine Empire flourished, Greek, being the language in which the New Testament was written, was the primary liturgical language of the church.
For this reason, the eastern churches were sometimes identified as "Greek" before the Great Schism of 1054. After 1054, "Greek Orthodox" or "Greek Catholic" marked a church as being in communion with Constantinople, much as "Catholic" did for communion with Rome; this identification with Greek, became confusing with time. Missionaries brought Orthodoxy to many regions without ethnic Greeks, where the Greek language was not spoken. In addition, struggles between Rome and Constantinople to control parts of Southeastern Europe resulted in the conversion of some churches to Rome, which also used "Greek Catholic" to indicate their continued use of the Byzantine rites. Today, many of those same churches remain, while a large number of Orthodox are not of Greek national origin, do not use Greek as the language of worship. "Eastern" indicates the geographical element in the Church's origin and development, while "Orthodox" indicates the faith, as well as communion with the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople.
There are additional Christian churches in the east that are in communion with neither Rome nor Constantinople, who tend to be distinguished by the category named "Oriental Orthodox". While the church continues to call itself "Catholic", for reasons of universality, the common title of "Eastern Orthodox Church" avoids casual confusion with the Roman Catholic Church; the first known use of the phrase "the catholic Church" occurred in a letter written about 110 AD from one Greek church to another. The letter states: "Wheresoever the bishop shall appear, there let the people be as where Jesus may be, there is the universal Church." Thus from the beginning, Christians referred to the Church as the "One, Holy and Apostolic Church". The Eastern Orthodox Church claims that it is today the continuation and preservation of that same early Church. A number of other Christian churches make a similar claim: the Roman Catholic Church, the Anglican Communion, the Assyrian Church and the Oriental Orthodox.
In the Eastern Orthodox v
Constantinople was the capital city of the Roman Empire, of the Byzantine Empire, of the brief Crusader state known as the Latin Empire, until falling to the Ottoman Empire. It was reinaugurated in 324 from ancient Byzantium as the new capital of the Roman Empire by Emperor Constantine the Great, after whom it was named, dedicated on 11 May 330; the city was located in what is now the core of modern Istanbul. From the mid-5th century to the early 13th century, Constantinople was the largest and wealthiest city in Europe; the city was famed for its architectural masterpieces, such as the Greek Orthodox cathedral of Hagia Sophia, which served as the seat of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the sacred Imperial Palace where the Emperors lived, the Galata Tower, the Hippodrome, the Golden Gate of the Land Walls, the opulent aristocratic palaces lining the arcaded avenues and squares. The University of Constantinople was founded in the fifth century and contained numerous artistic and literary treasures before it was sacked in 1204 and 1453, including its vast Imperial Library which contained the remnants of the Library of Alexandria and had over 100,000 volumes of ancient texts.
It was instrumental in the advancement of Christianity during Roman and Byzantine times as the home of the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople and as the guardian of Christendom's holiest relics such as the Crown of Thorns and the True Cross. Constantinople was famed for its complex defences; the first wall of the city was erected by Constantine I, surrounded the city on both land and sea fronts. In the 5th century, the Praetorian Prefect Anthemius under the child emperor Theodosius II undertook the construction of the Theodosian Walls, which consisted of a double wall lying about 2 kilometres to the west of the first wall and a moat with palisades in front; this formidable complex of defences was one of the most sophisticated of Antiquity. The city was built intentionally to rival Rome, it was claimed that several elevations within its walls matched the'seven hills' of Rome; because it was located between the Golden Horn and the Sea of Marmara the land area that needed defensive walls was reduced, this helped it to present an impregnable fortress enclosing magnificent palaces and towers, the result of the prosperity it achieved from being the gateway between two continents and two seas.
Although besieged on numerous occasions by various armies, the defences of Constantinople proved impregnable for nearly nine hundred years. In 1204, the armies of the Fourth Crusade took and devastated the city, its inhabitants lived several decades under Latin misrule. In 1261 the Byzantine Emperor Michael VIII Palaiologos liberated the city, after the restoration under the Palaiologos dynasty, enjoyed a partial recovery. With the advent of the Ottoman Empire in 1299, the Byzantine Empire began to lose territories and the city began to lose population. By the early 15th century, the Byzantine Empire was reduced to just Constantinople and its environs, along with Morea in Greece, making it an enclave inside the Ottoman Empire. According to Pliny the Elder in his Natural History, the first known name of a settlement on the site of Constantinople was Lygos, a settlement of Thracian origin founded between the 13th and 11th centuries BC; the site, according to the founding myth of the city, was abandoned by the time Greek settlers from the city-state of Megara founded Byzantium in around 657 BC, across from the town of Chalcedon on the Asiatic side of the Bosphorus.
The origins of the name of Byzantion, more known by the Latin Byzantium, are not clear, though some suggest it is of Thraco-Illyrian origin. The founding myth of the city has it told that the settlement was named after the leader of the Megarian colonists, Byzas; the Byzantines of Constantinople themselves would maintain that the city was named in honour of two men and Antes, though this was more just a play on the word Byzantion. The city was renamed Augusta Antonina in the early 3rd century AD by the Emperor Septimius Severus, who razed the city to the ground in 196 for supporting a rival contender in the civil war and had it rebuilt in honour of his son Marcus Aurelius Antoninus, popularly known as Caracalla; the name appears to have been forgotten and abandoned, the city reverted to Byzantium/Byzantion after either the assassination of Caracalla in 217 or, at the latest, the fall of the Severan dynasty in 235. Byzantium took on the name of Kōnstantinoupolis after its refoundation under Roman emperor Constantine I, who transferred the capital of the Roman Empire to Byzantium in 330 and designated his new capital as Nova Roma'New Rome'.
During this time, the city was called'Second Rome','Eastern Rome', Roma Constantinopolitana. As the city became the sole remaining capital of the Roman Empire after the fall of the West, its wealth and influence grew, the city came to have a multitude of nicknames; as the largest and wealthiest city in Europe during the 4th–13th centuries and a centre of culture and education of the Mediterranean basin, Constantinople came to be known by prestigious titles such as Basileuousa and Megalopol
Pope Honorius I
Pope Honorius I was Pope from 27 October 625 to his death in 638. Honorius, according to the Liber Pontificalis, came from Campania and was the son of the consul Petronius, he became pope two days after the death of his predecessor, Boniface V. The festival of the Elevation of the Cross is said to have been instituted during the pontificate of Honorius, marked by considerable missionary enterprise. Much of this was centered on England Wessex, he succeeded in bringing the Irish Easter celebrations in line with the rest of the Catholic Church. Honorius became involved in early discussions regarding the doctrine of Monothelitism, the teaching that Christ has only one energy and one will, in contrast with the teaching that He has two energies and two wills, both human and divine. Patriarch Sergius I of Constantinople wrote an initial letter informing Honorius of the Monothelite controversy, asking Honorius to endorse a position that Church unity should not be endangered by having any discussions or disputes over Christ’s possessing one energy or two.
Sergius added that the doctrine of two energies could lead to the erroneous belief that Jesus has two conflicting wills. Pope Honorius’ reply in 635 endorsed this view that all discussions should cease, agreed that Jesus does not have two conflicting wills, but one will, since Jesus did not assume the vitiated human nature tainted by Adam's fall, but human nature as it existed prior to Adam's fall, he was aware of the rise of Islam and viewed this new religion's tenets as resembling those of Arius. More than forty years after his death, Honorius was anathematized by name along with the Monothelites by the Third Council of Constantinople in 680; the anathema read, after mentioning the chief Monothelites, "and with them Honorius, Prelate of Rome, as having followed them in all things". Furthermore, the Acts of the Thirteenth Session of the Council state, "And with these we define that there shall be expelled from the holy Church of God and anathematized Honorius, some time Pope of Old Rome, because of what we found written by him to Sergius, that in all respects he followed his view and confirmed his impious doctrines."
The Sixteenth Session adds: "To Theodore of Pharan, the heretic, anathema! To Sergius, the heretic, anathema! To Cyrus, the heretic, anathema! To Honorius, the heretic, anathema! To Pyrrhus, the heretic, anathema!"However, Pope Leo II's letter of confirmation of the Council interprets the council as intending to criticize Honorius not for error of belief, but rather for "imprudent economy of silence". Leo's letter states: "We anathematize the inventors of the new error, that is, Sergius... and Honorius, who did not attempt to sanctify this Apostolic Church with the teaching of Apostolic tradition, but by profane treachery permitted its purity to be polluted." The New Catholic Encyclopedia notes: "It is in this sense of guilty negligence that the papacy ratified the condemnation of Honorius." Persons such as Cesare Baronio and Bellarmine have challenged accusations that Pope Honorius I taught heresy. This anathema against Honorius was one of the main arguments against Papal infallibility in the discussions surrounding the First Vatican Council of 1870, where the episode was not regarded as contrary to the proposed dogma.
This was because Honorius was not considered by the supporters of infallibility to be speaking ex cathedra in the letters in question and he was alleged to have never been condemned as a Monothelite, asserted the proponents of infallibility, was he condemned for teaching heresy, but rather for gross negligence and a lax leadership at a time when his letters and guidance were in a position to quash the heresy at its roots. Historian Jaroslav Pelikan notes: "It is evident, as Maximus noted in exoneration of Honorius, that his opposition to the idea of'two wills' was based on the interpretation of'two wills' as'two contrary wills.' He did not mean that Christ was an incomplete human being, devoid of a human will, but that as a human being he did not have any action in his body nor any will in his soul that could be contrary to the action and will of God, that is, to the action and will of his own divine nature." List of popes Meyendorff, John. Imperial unity and Christian divisions: The Church 450-680 A.
D. The Church in history. 2. Crestwood, NY: St. Vladimir's Seminary Press. ISBN 9780881410556. Harkianakis, Stylianos; the Infallibility of the Church in Orthodox Theology. Sydney: St Andrew's Orthodox Press. ISBN 9781920691981. Bury, John B. A history of the Roman empire from Arcadius to Irene, Volume 2 Hefele, Charles J. A History of the Councils of the Church, From the Original Documents, Volume 5 Guilty Only of Failure To Teach History of the Christian Church, Volume IV: Mediaeval Christianity. A. D. 590–1073, Philip Schaff Original text taken from a paper copy of the 9th edition Encyclopædia Britannica and the Catholic Encyclopedia
Jesus referred to as Jesus of Nazareth and Jesus Christ, was a first-century Jewish preacher and religious leader. He is the central figure of Christianity, is described as the most influential person in history. Most Christians believe he is the incarnation of God the Son and the awaited Messiah prophesied in the Old Testament. All modern scholars of antiquity agree that Jesus existed although the quest for the historical Jesus has produced little agreement on the historical reliability of the Gospels and on how the Jesus portrayed in the Bible reflects the historical Jesus. Jesus was a Galilean Jew, baptized by John the Baptist and began his own ministry, he preached orally and was referred to as "rabbi". Jesus debated with fellow Jews on how to best follow God, engaged in healings, taught in parables and gathered followers, he was arrested and tried by the Jewish authorities, turned over to the Roman government, crucified on the order of Pontius Pilate, the Roman prefect. After his death, his followers believed he rose from the dead, the community they formed became the early Church.
The birth of Jesus is celebrated annually on December 25th as Christmas. His crucifixion is honored on his resurrection on Easter; the used calendar era "AD", from the Latin anno Domini, the equivalent alternative "CE", are based on the approximate birthdate of Jesus. Christian doctrines include the beliefs that Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit, was born of a virgin named Mary, performed miracles, founded the Christian Church, died by crucifixion as a sacrifice to achieve atonement for sin, rose from the dead, ascended into Heaven, from where he will return. Most Christians believe; the Nicene Creed asserts that Jesus will judge the living and the dead either before or after their bodily resurrection, an event tied to the Second Coming of Jesus in Christian eschatology. The great majority of Christians worship Jesus as the incarnation of God the Son, the second of three persons of the Trinity. A minority of Christian denominations reject Trinitarianism, wholly or as non-scriptural. Jesus figures in non-Christian religions and new religious movements.
In Islam, Jesus is considered one of the Messiah. Muslims believe Jesus was a bringer of scripture and was born of a virgin, but was not the son of God; the Quran states. Most Muslims do not believe that he was crucified, but that he was physically raised into Heaven by God. In contrast, Judaism rejects the belief that Jesus was the awaited Messiah, arguing that he did not fulfill Messianic prophecies, was neither divine nor resurrected. A typical Jew in Jesus' time had only one name, sometimes followed by the phrase "son of <father's name>", or the individual's hometown. Thus, in the New Testament, Jesus is referred to as "Jesus of Nazareth". Jesus' neighbors in Nazareth refer to him as "the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon", "the carpenter's son", or "Joseph's son". In John, the disciple Philip refers to him as "Jesus son of Joseph from Nazareth"; the name Jesus is derived from the Latin Iesus, a transliteration of the Greek Ἰησοῦς. The Greek form is a rendering of the Hebrew ישוע, a variant of the earlier name יהושע, or in English, "Joshua", meaning "Yah saves".
This was the name of Moses' successor and of a Jewish high priest. The name Yeshua appears to have been in use in Judea at the time of the birth of Jesus; the 1st-century works of historian Flavius Josephus, who wrote in Koine Greek, the same language as that of the New Testament, refer to at least twenty different people with the name Jesus. The etymology of Jesus' name in the context of the New Testament is given as "Yahweh is salvation". Since early Christianity, Christians have referred to Jesus as "Jesus Christ"; the word Christ was a office, not a given name. It derives from the Greek Χριστός, a translation of the Hebrew mashiakh meaning "anointed", is transliterated into English as "Messiah". In biblical Judaism, sacred oil was used to anoint certain exceptionally holy people and objects as part of their religious investiture. Christians of the time designated Jesus as "the Christ" because they believed him to be the Messiah, whose arrival is prophesied in the Hebrew Bible and Old Testament.
In postbiblical usage, Christ became viewed as a name—one part of "Jesus Christ". The term "Christian" has been in use since the 1st century; the four canonical gospels are the foremost sources for the message of Jesus. However, other parts of the New Testament include references to key episodes in his life, such as the Last Supper in 1 Corinthians 11:23. Acts of the Apostles refers to the early ministry of its anticipation by John the Baptist. Acts 1:1 -- 11 says more about the Ascension of Jesus. In the undisputed Pauline letters, which were written earlier than the gospels, the words or instructions of Jesus are cited several times; some early Christian groups had separate descriptions of the life and teachings of Jesus that are not included in the New Testament. These include the Gospel of Thomas, Gospel
Heraclius was the Emperor of the Byzantine Empire from 610 to 641. He was responsible for introducing Greek as the Byzantine Empire's official language, his rise to power began in 608, when he and his father, Heraclius the Elder, the exarch of Africa, led a revolt against the unpopular usurper Phocas. Heraclius's reign was marked by several military campaigns; the year Heraclius came to power, the empire was threatened on multiple frontiers. Heraclius took charge of the Byzantine–Sasanian War of 602–628; the first battles of the campaign ended in defeat for the Byzantines. Soon after, he initiated reforms to strengthen the military. Heraclius drove the Persians out of Asia Minor and pushed deep into their territory, defeating them decisively in 627 at the Battle of Nineveh; the Persian king Khosrow II was overthrown and executed by his son Kavadh II, who soon sued for a peace treaty, agreeing to withdraw from all occupied territory. This way peaceful relations were restored to the two strained empires.
Heraclius soon experienced the Muslim conquests. Emerging from the Arabian Peninsula, the Muslims conquered the Sasanian Empire. In 634 the Muslims marched into Roman Syria. Within a short period of time, the Arabs conquered Mesopotamia and Egypt. Heraclius entered diplomatic relations with the Serbs in the Balkans, he tried to repair the schism in the Christian church in regard to the Monophysites, by promoting a compromise doctrine called Monothelitism. The Church of the East was involved in the process; this project of unity was rejected by all sides of the dispute. Heraclius was the eldest son of Heraclius the Elder and Epiphania, of a family of possible Armenian origin from Cappadocia, with speculative Arsacid descent. Beyond that, there is little specific information known about his ancestry, his father was a key general during Emperor Maurice's war with Bahram Chobin, usurper of the Sasanian Empire, during 590. After the war, Maurice appointed Heraclius the Elder to the position of Exarch of Africa.
In 608, Heraclius the Elder renounced his loyalty to the Emperor Phocas, who had overthrown Maurice six years earlier. The rebels issued coins showing both Heraclii dressed as consuls, though neither of them explicitly claimed the imperial title at this time. Heraclius's younger cousin Nicetas launched an overland invasion of Egypt. Meanwhile, the younger Heraclius sailed eastward with another force via Cyprus; as he approached Constantinople, he made contact with prominent leaders and planned an attack to overthrow aristocrats in the city, soon arranged a ceremony where he was crowned and acclaimed as Emperor. When he reached the capital, the Excubitors, an elite Imperial Guard unit led by Phocas's son-in-law Priscus, deserted to Heraclius, he entered the city without serious resistance; when Heraclius captured Phocas, he asked him "Is this how you have ruled, wretch?" Phocas's reply—"And will you rule better?"—so enraged Heraclius that he beheaded Phocas on the spot. He had the genitalia removed from the body because Phocas had raped the wife of Photius, a powerful politician in the city.
On October 5, 610, Heraclius was crowned for a second time, this time in the Chapel of St. Stephen within the Great Palace. After her death in 612, he married his niece Martina in 613. In the reign of Heraclius's two sons, the divisive Martina was to become the center of power and political intrigue. Despite widespread hatred for Martina in Constantinople, Heraclius took her on campaigns with him and refused attempts by Patriarch Sergius to prevent and dissolve the marriage. During his Balkan Campaigns, Emperor Maurice and his family were murdered by Phocas in November 602 after a mutiny. Khosrau II of the Sasanian Empire had been restored to his throne by Maurice, they had remained allies until the latter's death. Thereafter, Khosrau seized the opportunity to attack the Byzantine reconquer Mesopotamia. Khosrau had at his court a man who claimed to be Maurice's son Theodosius, Khosrau demanded that the Byzantines accept this Theodosius as Emperor; the war went the Persians' way because of Phocas's brutal repression and the succession crisis that ensued as the general Heraclius sent his nephew Nicetas to attack Egypt, enabling his son Heraclius the younger to claim the throne in 610.
Phocas, an unpopular ruler, invariably described in historical sources as a "tyrant", was deposed by Heraclius, who sailed to Constantinople from Carthage with an icon affixed to the prow of his ship. By this time, the Persians had conquered Mesopotamia and the Caucasus, in 611 they overran Syria and entered Anatolia. A major counter-attack led by Heraclius two years was decisively defeated outside Antioch by Shahrbaraz and Shahin, the Roman position collapsed. Over the following decade the Persians were able to conquer Palestine and Egypt and to devastate Anatolia, while the Avars and Slavs took advantage of the situation to overrun th
The True Cross is the name for physical remnants which, by a Christian Church tradition, are said to be from the cross upon which Jesus was crucified. According to post-Nicene historians such as Socrates of Constantinople, the Empress Helena, mother of Emperor Constantine, the first Christian Emperor of Rome, travelled to the Holy Land in 326–328, founding churches and establishing relief agencies for the poor. Historians Gelasius of Caesarea and Rufinus claimed that she discovered the hiding place of three crosses that were believed to have been used at the crucifixion of Jesus and of two thieves, St. Dismas and Gestas, executed with him. Many churches possess fragmentary remains that are by tradition alleged to be those of the True Cross, their authenticity is not accepted by all Christians Protestants. The acceptance and belief of that part of the tradition that pertains to the early Christian Church is restricted to the Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox Church, Oriental Orthodox Church, the Church of the East.
The medieval legends that developed concerning the provenance of the True Cross differ between Catholic and Orthodox tradition. In the Latin-speaking traditions of Western Europe, the story of the pre-Christian origins of the True Cross was well established by the 13th century when, in 1260, it was recorded by Jacopo de Voragine, Bishop of Genoa, in the Golden Legend; the Golden Legend contains several versions of the origin of the True Cross. In The Life of Adam, Voragine writes that the True Cross came from three trees which grew from three seeds from the "Tree of Mercy" which Seth collected and planted in the mouth of Adam's corpse. In another account contained in Of the invention of the Holy Cross, first of this word invention, Voragine writes that the True Cross came from a tree that grew from part of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, or "the tree that Adam ate of", that Seth planted on Adam's grave where it "endured there unto the time of Solomon". After many centuries, the tree was cut down and the wood used to build a bridge over which the Queen of Sheba passed, on her journey to meet King Solomon.
So struck was she by the portent contained in the timber of the bridge that she fell on her knees and revered it. On her visit to Solomon, she told him that a piece of wood from the bridge would bring about the replacement of God's covenant with the Jewish people by a new order. Solomon, fearing the eventual destruction of his people, had the timber buried. After fourteen generations, the wood taken from the bridge was fashioned into the Cross used to crucify Christ. Voragine goes on to describe its finding by Helena, mother of the Emperor Constantine. In the late Middle Ages and Early Renaissance, there was a wide general acceptance of the origin of the True Cross and its history preceding the crucifixion of Jesus, as recorded by Voragine; this general acceptance is confirmed by the numerous artworks that depict this subject, culminating in one of the most famous fresco cycles of the Renaissance, the Legend of the True Cross by Piero della Francesca, painted on the walls of the chancel of the Church of San Francesco in Arezzo between 1452 and 1466, in which he reproduces faithfully the traditional episodes of the story as recorded in The Golden Legend.
The Golden Legend and many of its sources developed after the East-West Schism of 1054, thus is unknown in the Greek- or Syriac-speaking worlds. The above pre-crucifixion history, therefore, is not to be found in Eastern Christianity. According to the sacred tradition of the Eastern Orthodox Church the True Cross was made from three different types of wood: cedar and cypress; this is an allusion to Isaiah 60:13: "The glory of Lebanon shall come unto thee, the fir tree, the pine tree, the box together to beautify the place of my sanctuary, I will make the place of my feet glorious." The link between this verse and the Crucifixion lies in the words "the place of my feet", interpreted as referring to the suppedāneum on which Jesus' feet were nailed.. There is a tradition that the three trees from which the True Cross was constructed grew together in one spot. A traditional Orthodox icon depicts the nephew of Abraham, watering the trees. According to tradition, these trees were used to construct the Temple in Jerusalem.
During Herod's reconstruction of the Temple, the wood from these trees was removed from the Temple and discarded being used to construct the cross on which Jesus was crucified. According to the 1955 Roman Catholic Marian Missal, Helena went to Jerusalem to search for the True Cross and found it September 14, 320. In the eighth century, the feast of the Finding was transferred to May 3, September 14 became the celebration of the "Exaltation of the Cross", the commemoration of a victory over the Persians by Heraclius, as a result of which the relic was returned to Jerusalem. Eusebius of Caesarea who, through his Life of Constantine, is the earliest and main historical source on the rediscovery of the Tomb of Jesus and the construction of the first church at the site, does not mention the finding of the True Cross. In his Life of Const
The Pannonian Avars were an alliance of several groups of Eurasian nomads of unknown origins. They are best known for their invasions and destruction in the Avar–Byzantine wars from 568 to 626; the name Pannonian Avars is used to distinguish them from the Avars of the Caucasus, a separate people with whom the Pannonian Avars may or may not have been linked. They established the Avar Khaganate, which spanned the Pannonian Basin and considerable areas of Central and Eastern Europe from the late 6th to the early 9th century. Although the name Avar first appeared in the mid-5th century, the Pannonian Avars entered the historical scene in the mid-6th century, on the Pontic-Caspian steppe as a people who wished to escape the rule of the Göktürks; the earliest clear reference to the Avar ethnonym comes from Priscus the Rhetor. Priscus recounts c. 463, the Šaragurs and Ogurs were attacked by the Sabirs, attacked by the Avars. In turn, the Avars had been driven off by people fleeing "man-eating griffins" coming from "the ocean".
Whilst Priscus' accounts provide some information about the ethno-political situation in the Don-Kuban-Volga region after the demise of the Huns, no unequivocal conclusions can be reached. Denis Sinor has argued that whoever the "Avars" referred to by Priscus were, they differed from the Avars who appear a century during the time of Justinian; the next author to discuss the Avars, Menander Protector, appeared during the 6th century, wrote of Göktürk embassies to Constantinople in 565 and 568 AD. The Turks appeared angry at the Byzantines for having made an alliance with the Avars, whom the Turks saw as their subjects and slaves. Turxanthos, a Turk prince, calls the Avars "Varchonites" and "escaped slaves of the Turks", who numbered "about 20 thousand". Many more, but somewhat confusing, details come from Theophylact Simocatta, who wrote c. 629, describing the final two decades of the 6th century. In particular, he claims to quote a triumph letter from the Turk lord Tamgan: For this Chagan had in fact outfought the leader of the nation of the Abdeli, conquered him, assumed the rule of the nation.
He... enslaved the Avar nation. But let no one think that we are distorting the history of these times because he supposes that the Avars are those barbarians neighbouring on Europe and Pannonia, that their arrival was prior to the times of the emperor Maurice. For it is by a misnomer. So, when the Avars had been defeated some of them made their escape to those. Taugast is a famous city, a total of one thousand five hundred miles distant from those who are called Turks.... Others of the Avars, who declined to humbler fortune because of their defeat, came to those who are called Mucri; these make their habitations in the east, by the course of the river Til, which Turks are accustomed to call Melas. The earliest leaders of this nation were named Chunni. While the emperor Justinian was in possession of the royal power, a small section of these Var and Chunni fled from that ancestral tribe and settled in Europe; these named themselves glorified their leader with the appellation of Chagan. Let us declare, without departing in the least from the truth, how the means of changing their name came to them....
When the Barsils, Onogurs and other Hun nations in addition to these, saw that a section of those who were still Var and Chunni had fled to their regions, they plunged into extreme panic, since they suspected that the settlers were Avars. For this reason they honoured the fugitives with splendid gifts and supposed that they received from them security in exchange. After the Var and Chunni saw the well-omened beginning to their flight, they appropriated the ambassadors' error and named themselves Avars: for among the Scythian nations that of the Avars is said to be the most adept tribe. In point of fact up to our present times the Pseudo-Avars are divided in their ancestry, some bearing the time-honoured name of Var while others are called Chunni.... According to the interpretation of Dobrovits and Nechaeva, the Turks insisted that the Avars were only pseudo-Avars, so as to boast that they were the only formidable power in the Eurasian steppe; the Gokturks claimed. Furthermore, Dobrovits has questioned the authenticity of Theophylact's account.
As such, he has argued that Theophylact borrowed information from Menander's accounts of Byzantine-Turk negotiations to meet political needs of his time – i.e. to castigate and deride the Avars during a time of strained political relations between the Byzantines and Avars. According to some scholars the Pannonian Avars originated from a confederation formed in the Aral Sea region, by the Uar known as the Var or Warr and the Xūn or Xionites (also known as the Chionitae, Chunni, H