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A brief, enlightening introduction to the profound spirituality of the Christian East and the culture that it created
Byzantine Church and Culture is the perfect introduction to the East for a Western Christian who is intrigued by Byzantine spirituality and wants to learn more. Long ago, Archbishop Joseph Raya s friend Martin Luther King, Jr., asked him, Father Joe, what are the roots of your church culture? In this book is the answer.
Archbishop Joseph traces the influences that formed, in the cauldron of first-millennium Constantinople, the Byzantine Church and its unique and profound perspective on the great truths of our Christian faith. Archbishop Joseph outlines the Emperor Constantine s decision to build a new imperial capital in the East, which became the great city of Constantinople, and provides a brief but comprehensive sketch of the historical development of the Eastern and Western churches. He explains how and why differing views of papal power and the Creed (particularly the Filioque clause) ultimately led to a breach that has lasted a thousand years and remains unhealed today. Recalling history and pious legend, Archbishop Joseph recounts the tale of the last Divine Liturgy in the great Hagia Sophia cathedral in Constantinople, the radiant devotion of the people of Constantinople for the Mother of God, the union in Constantinople of heavenly Jerusalem and Babylon, and more. He even includes a bibliography, so that you will know where to turn for more information about this glorious civilization that has given so much to the universal Church.
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Archbishop Joseph Raya, the first associate priest of Madonna House, was deeply involved in the American civil rights movement, and later, while serving as Archbishop of Akko, Haifa, Nazareth and all Galilee, he campaigned for justice for Palestinians. A priest of the Melkite Greek Catholic Church who taught at universities in the U.S.A., Canada and Lebanon, Archbishop Raya is one of the world s foremost writers on Byzantine Christianity. He strove to bring a better understanding of the Byzantine rite Eastern Church to the Latin rite Western world.Review:
All that Archbishop Raya is, and all that he has done in his life, can be summed up as a hymn of praise to the Trinity. He has touched many lives because he is able to communicate through his own generous and loving heart, the immense, incomprehensible tenderness of God.
He has written many books, books that open doors to the mystery of God, not to explain or argue some fine points of theology but to bring the Gospel to us in a vibrant, joyous way. May all who read Archbishop Rayas words be blessed with a new awareness of Gods loving presence and with a fresh insight into the sacredness of life, into the awesomeness of human dignity and its divine worth. --Catherine de Vinck, poet of Catholic America
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