And the LORD said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do.
Verily, verily, I say unto you, Hereafter ye shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man.
“We do not content ourselves with a pluralist marketplace of gods. Polyarchy and utter, brawling anarchy are one and the same. Division is strife, and hastens to dissolution…One is the might of my Trinity, One the knowledge, One the glory, One the power. so again, the Unity cannot dissolve, being greatly honored in the one harmony of Divinity.”
St. Gregory of Nazianzus
The organic body sang together; dialects of the world sprang in Byzantium; back they rang to sing in Byzantium; the streets repeat the sound of the Throne
I’m sorry that this post has languished for as long as it has. At one point I wanted to make the ever-so-obvious point that the problem of the One and the Many has its reflection in the political sphere, and that an over-emphasis on the One leads to Tyranny, such as that which would obtain were the Islamic Universal Caliphate ever to be instantiated, and that an over-emphasis on the Many leads inevitably to Anarchy.
Over against this I wanted to deposit the idea of the Chalcedonian Commonwealth, of which the most consistent example were the Christian Empires of New Rome and Moscow, with their deeply ingrained idea of synergy, the working together of the Church and the State according to the Chalcedonian formula, although that synergy was honored far more in the breach than in the ideal in Byzantine and Russian societies. Nevertheless, I believe that something akin to a Christendom, a commonwealth of Orthodox Christian nations, would most closely incarnate the life of the Trinity in the political sphere.
It appears from a reading of history that this state of affairs was beginning to coalesce in the West at the beginning of the fated eleventh century. The Western Empire, as it was thought of at that time, had moved from Carolingian hands into the Saxon Ottonian dynasty, who with the help of a series of sympathetic popes culimnating in Sylvester II, was moving towards just this sort of Byzantine model of symphony. The untimely death of the half-Greek Otto III lead to the severing of the two powers, and the development of the monarchial Papacy and the reaction of the development of the secular power as autonomous, and operating in an autonomous sphere.
Orthodoxy requires a fall-of-the-West story. At one time I considered this a defect in the Orthodox narrative. Papal Catholicism, after all, does not appear to require a fall-of-the-East story to complete its narrative, but its narrative does not have, to me, the compelling nature of the Orthodox narrative. The post-schism history of the Christian West makes better sense in the context of a gradual Dying-Of The-Light, a thousand-year summer twilight in which the memory of the Kingdom of God is replaced by the Kingdom of Man, first in its ecclesiastical, then it its secular, and finally in its radical form.
Empire is the exterior of Church. Church is the interior of Empire.