Between Petrine Ideology and Realpolitik

Philippe Blaudeau

in Two Romes

Published in print April 2012 | ISBN: 9780199739400
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199933006 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Studies in Late Antiquity

Between Petrine Ideology and Realpolitik

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This chapter focuses on the process by which the Acacian schism (484-519) between the Roman church and the churches of the eastern empire ended. A remarkably detailed and nuanced picture of the process of reconciliation can be drawn from the letters assembled in the collectio Avellana. Pope Hormisdas learned within weeks of his accession in 518 that the new emperor, Justin I, intended to restore unity to the churches; with the opportunity came the challenge of maintaining his lofty status as the heir of Peter, while dealing with a determined emperor (and his nephew Justinian), and an eastern empire long sundered from the see of Rome—all of which necessitated a balanced, disciplined and well-informed embassy to Constantinople. The papacy needed to reconsider its relationship with the see of Constantinople: while an entente cordiale between the two churches under imperial patronage sent a decisive message of restored communion, the papacy had to avoid losing face. This chapter explores what its author calls the “geo-ecclesiology” of the period, and in particular the gap between between Petrine ideology and Realpolitik by which the see of Rome was tested.

Keywords: Rome; Constantinople; papacy; Hormisdas; pope; Justin I; Acacian schism; Geo-ecclesiology; Collectio Avellana; Petrine ideology

Chapter.  10926 words. 

Subjects: Classical History

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