Church History: Studies in Christianity and Culture

Research Article

Church and State in the Byzantine Empire: A Reconsideration of The Problem of Caesaropapism

Deno J. Geanakoplosa1

a1 Professor of History, University of Illinois

In the medieval theocratic societies of both the Byzantine East and the Latin West, where the influence of Christian precepts so strongly pervaded all aspects of life, it was inevitable that the institutions of church and state, of sacerdotium and regnum to use the traditional Latin terms, be closely tied to one another. But whereas in the West, at least after the investiture conflict of the eleventh century, the pope managed to exert a strong political influence over secular rulers, notably the Holy Roman Emperor, in the East, from the very foundation of Constantinople in the fourth century, the Byzantine emperor seemed clearly to dominate over his chief ecclesiastical official, the patriarch.