The position of the Emperor in the civilized world the oecumene and his direct

The position of the emperor in the civilized world

This preview shows page 179 - 181 out of 241 pages.

The position of the Emperor in the civilized world, the oecumene, and his direct link with God were stressed in the elaborate ceremonial at receptions, banquets, and audiences in the vast 179
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halls of the Great Palace, particularly the Golden Hall (chrysotriclinus), the main throne room. The same emphasis characterized the festivals of the Christian year celebrated in Hagia Sophia and in other churches in the capital, often accompanied by processions to particularly venerated shrines, as the Blachernae church which housed the robe of Theotokos. Secular and religious ele- ments were closely integrated. Ambassadors were formally received in the main throne room where in the post-iconoclast period Christian themes associated with the Empire were stressed, as in the icon of Christ in majesty above the imperial throne and the Theotokos standing as the protector of the City. Thus at every turn figural art stressed the link between the heavenly and the earthly kingdom. 6 It was the same with the ritual and responses in the liturgy. And in the festi- vals linked with episodes in the life of Christ the Emperor had a special role. Everything stressed his unique and sacred character though he never had the authority of the priesthood. Within Ha- gia Sophia there was (as in the imperial palace) a special porphyry rota where the Emperor stood to pray before entering the sanctuary at special times. Ritual was laid down whereby he met the Patriarch in the narthex at the Royal Door. The procession, imperial guards, court, clergy, then entered the cathedral, before the people crowding the outer narthex and atrium were admitted. Further details can be was originally crowned in the imperial palace, but by the early seventh century this took place in a church, soon to be established as the patriarchal Great Church of Ha- gia Sophia and accompanied by an elaborate liturgy stressing the divine nature of the appoint- ment. Whatever part may have been played by army, senate, and people, it was God who placed power in imperial hands and set up the Emperor as autocrator. There was no intermediary be- tween God and the Emperor, but a resolute Patriarch could impose certain limitations on imperial activities or demands if he disapproved of these. Such was Polyeuctus's refusal to accord the sta- tus of martyr to Nicephorus II's troops who fell in battle. The position of the Emperor in the civilized world, the oecumene, and his direct link with God were stressed in the elaborate ceremonial at receptions, banquets, and audiences in the vast halls of the Great Palace, particularly the Golden Hall (chrysotriclinus), the main throne room. The same emphasis characterized the festivals of the Christian year celebrated in Hagia Sophia and in other churches in the capital, often accompanied by processions to particularly venerated shrines, as the Blachernae church which housed the robe of Theotokos. Secular and religious ele- ments were closely integrated. Ambassadors were formally received in the main throne room
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