A factor of unity and identity
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The 7th century is characterized by the wars of the Byzantines against the Persian which end in 627 A.D. with the total victory of Emperor Heracleius over them. Wars between the Byzantines and the Arabs do follow (629-717 A.D.) resulting in the annexation of many territories of the Empire to the Arabs.
In 626 A.D. the Akathist Hymn is composed, i.e. praises of thanksgiving to the Mother of God for the successful defense against the Avars, a Turko-Mongolian race, who coveted Constantinople.
Palestine falls to the Arabs and the Holy Land is not any more under Christian administration.
In 622 A.D. Islam sees the light of day, the religion of Mohamed in Arabia, and in a short while spreads through warfare to the southern and eastern coasts of the Mediterranean, in the Middle East and up to the Iberian peninsula (Spain).
The heavy taxation which is imposed by the Arabs on the Christian populations of the conquered lands coerces a significant number among them to convert to Islam.
At the same time the “Luminous religion”, i.e. Christianity arrives in China, through the Nestorians, and in 635 A.D. the founder of the Tang dynasty, Emperor T’ai Tsung orders the translation of the Bible and encourages its preaching.
Actually , his successor, Kao Tsung decrees the foundation of a monastery in each province of his Empire!
In 691 A.D. Buddhism becomes the official religion of China, and in 698 A.D. an active but unofficial persecution of the Christians begins.
In the West the Church continues, and with great success, her missionary and civilizing work among the various tribes which by then were part of the mosaic of the populations in Europe after the barbarian invasions.
The Catholic faith becomes a strong factor of unity and identity for the people!
The monasteries become important poles of attraction, and small communities and cities start to develop around them.
The Patron Saint of the Internet
Saint Isidore, (560-636 A.D.), Archbishop of Seville (Spain), is considered “antiquity’s last sage”.
A polymath and a prolific writer, he wrote the first ENCYCLOPEDIA of the Medieval Ages. It is a work of 448 chapters in twenty volumes. He named it “Etymologies” and he attempted to include in it all the available knowledge of his time!
From Arabic translations he made Aristotle known to the West, and only between the years 1470-1530 A.D. his “Etymologies” were printed at least ten times, a fact that indicates his popularity even at the time of the Renaissance.
His defensive strategy against the barbarian danger was two-fold: the Catholic faith and education.
He encouraged the foundation of seminaries in every Cathedral church and he insisted on the study of the Greek and Hebrew languages, of the liberal arts as well as of Law and Medicine- wherever possible!
His memory is celebrated on April 4th and he is considered the patron Saint of the Internet and of all those who work with computers, as well as of all pupils and students.
Did you know…
In his “Etymologies”, Saint Isidore wrote regarding the etymology of the word medicine the following: “The name of medicine seems to come from the word moderation, (Latin root modus = way, manner).
That means that medicine advises all things to be done in their right proportion, not in an exaggerated degree, but little by little.
Nature suffers from greed, satiation and saturation.
On the contrary, nature is content with measured actions, i.e. with actions done in moderation.
For that reason, the people who, all the time and in big doses, take medicine and antidotes, find themselves in a difficult position because by doing so they are led not to health, but to dangerous and unhealthy situations”.
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