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Hidden History: The monastic military order – part II
Topic:Hidden History
Hidden HistoryChristianity spread around the Mediterranean basin through small communities that diffused a message of hope and faith among the subdued, poor and outcasts, promoting a proselytism that didn’t skimp on critics to rich and powerful people.

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The monastic military order – part II

Origins of the western religion

Christianity spread around the Mediterranean basin through small communities that diffused a message of hope and faith among the subdued, poor and outcasts, promoting a proselytism that didn't skimp on critics to rich and powerful people. In this way the Christian apology ended up by inspiring resentment in the rich and dominant classes, both political and religious. The resentment became persecution when their activities were considered subversive and destabilizing for the constituted order. They lasted until a political pact was made with the roman emperor Constantine who, in exchange for their support in war, gave them protection. *

It was a defense that lasted until the emperor Theodosius, for similar reasons, declared Christianity a State religion. **

(*) Emperor Constantine , follower of the God of Sun (Osiris). The day before the battle of the Milvian Bridge (28 th October 312), where he defeated Maxentius, he told about a vision. God inspired him promising victory if he had used the Christian chrismon (Christ's monogram) as an insignia and the cross as a symbol.

Fortified by this statement, the Christian prelates persuaded their people to fight the battle on Constantine's side, who eventually rewarded them in 313 with an edict in which he declared the freedom of Christian cult.

The empire, in order to protect its expansionism, watched any ideology that could make them independent from Rome to which it wanted them to be subdued. For this reason autochthon religions such as paganism and Judaism were always opposed.

The supposed conversion of Constantine to Christianity was never verified; the bishop Eusebius of Nicomedia declared that he baptized him while he was unconscious on the point of dying.

The Christian myth around his character, therefore, doesn't have any correspondence with history.

There isn't either any documents proving the «imperial donation» that Constantine promised to the Christian church. We only have the tale of the prelate Silvestro who proclaimed himself bishop of Rome and started the temporal power of popes in this city.

Therefore the name of Constantine was associated with the ascent of Christianity and he was considered the unlikely paladin of Christianity against paganism.

(**) The emperor Theodosius , after obtaining the title of «Augustus» and the government of the East from the emperor Gratianus, thought of reconciling the peoples subdued to the empire by imposing religious unification. In the edict of Thessalonica (380) he proclaimed Christianity following the Nicene Creed the only State religion.

This strategy allowed State Christianity to submit any local cult.

The nationalization of the cult wasn't welcomed by the most orthodox patriarchs; they were loyal to the apolitical principles of faith and didn't accept the commixtion with the cults of the empire. Therefore they separated and abandoned Rome; they moved to the East where they contributed to build purer models of Christian spirituality.

Those who chose to stay under the protection of the empire found themselves competing with the wide scientific-philosophic patrimony of ancient Greece and the numerous Divinities of the empire, full of traditions and symbolical meanings. Therefore, poor with tradition but rich with political talent, the Christian-roman church took the spiritual primacy away from the people of Israel.

The emperor Constantine had all the interest to support the religion that was so successful amongst his people; he supported the roman Christians whilst they traced their roots by selecting many texts that told the life of their Messiah, Jesus.

The selection method was draconian. On one side the gospels that divinized the words and acts of Jesus (*) were highlighted; on the other side the books that talked about the life of Jesus Son of Man with a mother, brothers and sisters were obscured. A young Church which needed a great Divinity to obscure all the others didn't like the tales of a prophet Jesus with features that were too human. Therefore those gospels were branded as apocryphal. The word heretical was created for those who had followed those testimonies considered “too human”. Although the word heretical in Latin means “choice” it became since then a derogatory title, synonymous of blasphemer, non-religious and swearer.

Once Jesus was divinized, the heirs of the only begotten Son of God became the new People Elected by God, depositary of His Word and consecrated to redeem Humankind from the abyss of Evil.

Based on this, Christians started building their religious primacy, outshining the excellence of the Jewish chrism of their Messiah and the principles connected to it; starting from the sacredness of circumcision which was ratified by the clearest Law of the pact between God and His favorite people.

The annulment of the rite of the Law on circumcision was cause of open conflict between the apostle Peter (who never came to Rome, he always stayed in Lebanon, between Tyro and Sidon) and the roman exegete Paul of Tarsus. The latter, even though he never met the Messiah and never heard his word, changed his teachings and the Laws in which Jesus believed quite a lot.

(*) the canonical Authors of the Gospels

Title

Author

Date

Place

Origins of the data on Jesus

Gospel of Mark

John of Jerusalem ( Marcus ). Greek translator of Peter

c. 75-80 A.D. [60-70A.D.]*

Italy

Mark's annotations taken from the memories that Peter mentions in his preaching

Gospel of Matthew

Levi, apostle of Jesus called Matthew; tax collector

c. 90 A.D. [60-70A.D.]

Egypt

Mark's Gospel , prophetical parts of the O.T. and other Jewish and non Jewish sources

Gospel of Luke

Luke, doctor and companion of Paul of Tarsus (roman) in his preaching

End 1 st century A.D. [60 A.D.]

Rome

O.T., writings of the historian Flavius Joseph, material from Paul, Mark and Matthew etc.

Acts of the Apostles

Luke

End 1 st century A.D. [60-62 A.D.]

Rome

Same as above

I to the Thessalonians

Paul of Tarsus (roman)

c. 51 A.D.

Corinth

II to the Thessalonians

Paul? False author

c. 52 A.D. ?

Corinth

To the Galatians

Paul of Tarsus (roman)

c. 53 A.D.

Antioch?

I to the Corinthians

Paul of Tarsus (roman)

c. 55 A.D.

Ephesos

II to the Corinthians

Paul of Tarsus (roman)

c. 56 A.D.

Ephesos

To the Romans

Paul of Tarsus (roman)

c. 57 A.D.

Corinth

To the Philippians

Paul of Tarsus (roman)

c. 61-62 A.D.

Rome

To the Ephesians

Paul? Uncertain author

c. 61-62 A.D. ?

Rome

To the Colossians

Paul? Uncertain author

c. 61-62 A.D. ?

Rome

To Philemon

Paul of Tarsus (roman)

c. 62 A.D.

Rome

To Titus

Paul? False author

62 or 2 nd century. A.D.?

Rome

I to Timothy

Paul? False author

63 or 2 nd century A.D.

Rome

II to Timothy

Paul? False author

63 or 2 nd century A.D.?

Rome

Letter to the Hebrews

Apollos, Alexandrian Hebrew Paul's companion

c. 65-67 A.D.

Italy

Considerably influenced by the work of the Alexandrian Hebrew Philo

I letter of Peter

Simon/ Cephas/ Peter one of the three closest to Jesus

? Peter dies in 64-65 A.D. [67 A.D.]

Rome

Influenced by the Letters to the Romans and to the Ephesians by Paul

Letter of James

Uncertain Author, James brother of Jesus or nephew of the other brother Judah

75-80? (James dies in 62 A.D.)

Jerusalem?

This document is probably based on another older and original document by James

Letter of Judah

Uncertain author, Judah brother of Jesus or one of his nephews

?

?

II Letter of “Peter”

Unknown, but not of the apostle Peter

c. beginning of the 2 nd century A.D.

Egypt

Considerably influenced by the Antiquities by the historian Flavius Joseph and by the Letter of Judah

Gospel of John

John the Elder, a Christian Greek

c. end of the first decade of the 2 nd century A.D.

Asia minor

Memories of John the Hebrew Priest – not John the Apostle – and Hebrew and Essenes books

I of John

John the Elder

idem

Asia minor

II of John

John the Elder

idem

Asia minor

III of John

John the Elder

idem

Asia minor

Apocalypse

John the Priest (Hebrew)

c. 95-96 A.D.

Asia minor

Considerably influenced by apocalyptic Hebrew literature

To ensure the excellence of its chrism, Christianity had to obscure other cults; in order to cancel any other religious memory it started absorbing the most significant parts of pagan cults, Christianizing their forms and uses, so that the people could find the ancient uses of cult in the new religion.

The most significant parts were institutionalized giving new names to old divinities and validating their rites and festivities. Therefore old cults didn't disappear but they were transformed. Solar symbols are an example; they were transformed into the aureoles of saints. Idolatry was re-accepted. The adoration of an intangible God was replaced by the cult of images. Human figures carved in stone and wood, painted on walls or tapestry were consecrated and accepted for the veneration of collective cults. Through the rite of “communion” was reinstated the totemic banquet, which was in use in archaic faiths in order to feed on God's body and to drink his sacrificial blood (totemic divinity).

The most sensational example of religious absorption was the falsification of the birth of the Messiah Jesus Christ, Son of God.

In Mediterranean cultures Osiris, the God of sun was celebrated during the shortest day of the year.

In 273 (A.D) the emperor Aurelian ratified that the 25 th December, anniversary of the birth of Osiris, was to be the day dedicated to the Solar Cult.

In 336 through the letter Depositio Martyrium the pope Liberius transformed the solstitial festivity into the anniversary of the birth of Jesus. Pope Leon Magnus (440-461) helped its consolidation turning this date into the sacred festivity of Christianity.

In conclusion, by becoming the religion of the empire and by absorbing most of the pagan cults, roman Christianity lost the original spiritual identity. So much that Eusebius of Caesarea (Christian writer 263-339) defined the Christian Church «the most sacred of the heresies».

Anywhere, in the shadow of religious theocracies, people who were attracted by pure spirituality didn't recognize themselves in the power of a religious power, indeed, they rejected it. The reason is that the stability of any theocracy is based on the power and the order governed together with other sovereign powers. We can believe, then, that eastern and western monasticisms are based on the refusal of any kind of religious royalty.

Athos A. Altomonte



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