Constantinople A Rival Religious Papacy
By Cohen G. Reckart, Pastor
The City of Constantinople was originally named Byzantine, and is now called Istanbul. It is a fact of history that when Constantine defeated Maxentius, he did give the Church of Rome the Lateran Palace as its official residence and built a number of Churches there. He did grant to the Pope of Rome temporal authority equal to the emperor.
Although the "Donation" letter as concocted in the ninth century, was a fraud, the issues were of old commonly understood to be true. Because there is no mention of the "Donation"would not negate its veracity. The fact of the Roman Church at the Lateran Palace is evidence of itself of some agreement with Constantine, nothing to the contrary existing. Constantine moved the Imperial throne from pagan Rome to Byzantine and renamed it Constantinople for his name sake (38). It is a well documented fact of history, that Constantinople was called the "new Rome (39)," but only as to the Imperial palace not that it was the seat of true Catholicism.
With Constantinople the new seat of the Roman Empire, it was only a matter of political power for the Bishop of Byzantine to come into prominence, since the Bishop of Rome was at a great distance and to his disadvantage. The Church at Byzantine was not of any importance as might be reflected in the history of the Synods of the first three centuries. In the case of the Quartodecimans, the Synod [150 AD] was held in Smyrna by Polycarp who was recognized as the Bishop of the Eastern Churches. In the case of Polycrates and the Quartodecimans, the Synod was held at Ephesus [195 AD]. Nothing would indicate that Byzantine was any more than a small Church that was established much later than the Asia Churches. In fact, other than the Councils, it is not even mentioned in the Ante-Nicene Fathers at all. No notable men came from there and no men of that city played a principal role at Nicaea. The rise to noticeability and power came during the fourth century. It was after Nicaea that Byzantine, later Constantinople, comes into focus as a religo-political power that had wrestled the Eastern Churches into a confederacy, after the divisions into dioceses gave it broad Imperial authority. The unity of the Eastern Churches was no doubt solidified as a result of the Nicaean Decree of Constantine: 1.) Abolishing the Quartodeciman practice of the Lord's Passover on the 14th of Nisan; 2.) The enforcement of the doctrine of the trinity at the point of excommunication and imprisonment; 3.) Abolishment of baptism in the name of Jesus Christ according to Acts 2:38.
The truth that Constantine recognized only the supremacy of the Roman Bishop, is evidence that it is not true, that Constantinople at the Nicaean Council was a separate but equal power of the Church. The conflict between Constantinople and Rome lasted between 400-1054 AD and was finally ended with a perpetual breaking of fellowship, all to he blame of the "Filioque" doctrine, and which group was the true Holy Catholic Church.
The fact remains, that the New Testament Church bears no likeness at all with either the Roman or the Constantinople Churches. These groups are off-shoots of the Nico-Latin trinity Gnostic heresy, that was rising to power in the Asia Churches. These are mentioned in Revelation 2:6, 15. According to Irenaeus, the Gnostics [of which the Nico-Laitans were an off-shoot], started the practice of making images of the saints and Christ: some of which were painted and made of different kinds of materials. He reports that they "crowned these images" (40). The Eastern Orthodox cannot defend the fact that this Nico-Laitan Gnostic practice, is the source of their iconology today. It can not be traced to the Apostolic Church in Israel during the first century at all! The Christian Jews would have been repulsed at the idea of making an image of God, even in the person of Jesus Christ.
The Old and New Testaments specifically teach against idolatry and making images like unto man [Romans 1:23]. On Mars hill in Acts 17:25, Paul pointedly informs the pagans who had erected an image [altar] to an unknown god, that the true God is not worshiped after the objects of man's invention and imagination (41). Yet after the deaths of the Apostles and Saints, the Nico-Laitan Gnostics, and then the Eastern and Western Churches, set up icons and idols of saints and the "holy family," and begin to worship them with men's hands contrary to the instruction of the Apostle Paul. In the final apostasy, many will worship the image set up by antichrist, having been desensitized to the horror of such a practice, by centuries of such worship and veneration. Worship of this alleged "holy and sublime image" would not be considered a sin to millions already deceived to worship images. Is not Revelation 13:14 a continued warning not to worship any images at all? The Eastern Church now rejects idols but accepts icons or pictures that may be worshiped. In my travels, I have seen plenty of Eastern Orthodox Church members with idols anyway. The crucifix itself is an idol. It is one thing to have reverence for the Cross, but to worship and pray to it, is idolatry.
In the Scriptures, pictures or icons were forbidden to be worshiped. God commanded the Israelites to destroy all pictures [icons], in the land of Canaan, when they began the conquest [Num 33:52]. Jews knew perfectly well that images and pictures [icons], of God, even by those who had seen a theophany of God: and pictures [icons] of Prophets and Kings, were not to be erected or set up for veneration or worship. If the law was a "schoolmaster" [Gal. 3:24-25], to lead us to righteousness in Christ, idolatry in any form of an idol or icon is prohibited.
(38) Encyclopedia Britannica, 1910 Edition, Vol. 20, p 334. Note: Actually he moved his throne to Nicomedia, as Constantinople was being built at the time of his death [H. G. Wells, Outline of History, 1920 Edition, p 521]. Byzantine is not named among those who followed Polycarp or Polycrates. We are left to the conclusion that they opposed both Polycarp and Polycrates, and followed the Western custom of Bishop Victor of Rome, during that controversy.
(39) Ibid, p 337
(40) Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol 1, p 351
(41) This graphic taken from the book: Christian Doctrine, by Shirley C. Guthrie, Jr.
Copyright Notice | Tribute | Introduction | The Eastern Greek Orthodox Church | Greek Claims of Orthodoxy
The Cabbalist Jewish Connection | Nicaea Where Truth Was Declared Illegal | Constantine Takes The Bait
Constantinople A Rival Religious Papacy | A Religion Of Works For Salvation
Things Greek Orthodoxy Must Admit | The Curse Of Nicaea Upon Constantine And His House
Additional Trinity Notes | Patripassianism | Gnosticism
Quotes Worthy Of Notice | True Orthodoxy
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