Church and Society in Byzantium under the Comneni, 1081-1261 by Michael Angold

By Michael Angold

During this significant research the topic of "church and society" presents a way of studying the of the Byzantine Empire at a massive interval of its historical past, as much as and way past the autumn of Constantinople in 1204.

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There are one or two examples which suggest that in the mid-eleventh century there were some extremely wealthy bishops. The monasteries presented a different kind of a problem. From the turn of the tenth century they started to be administered under a form of lay patronage known as kharistike. Its origins are still not entirely clear, but they appear to be connected in one way or another with legislation introduced by Nicephorus Phocas (963-9). 7 There was a decisive growth of kharistike in the later part of Basil IPs reign.

A similar community existed in the theme of Opsikion in northwestern Anatolia. It was founded by a certain Tzourillas. He repudiated his wife, but then appointed her abbess and himself abbot of the community. Under Alexius the Studite Euthymios, a monk of the Peribleptos monastery in Constantinople, was sent to investigate. The members of this cult are called Phoundagiagitai, or Bogomils - the first time that this term is applied in a Byzantine context The relationship of this sect to the Bulgarian Bogomils remains problematical.

They were heads of families, whose tentacles might spread far and wide through society. Even eunuchs who were esteemed for their devotion to the imperial office had family connections which they were often eager to promote. Within the elite there were cliques who cultivated the interest of the group rather than of the state. In other words, the Byzantine imperial establishment was permeated by private interests. ' All kinds of churches passed into private ownership, including 'Catholic churches', as parish churches were called.

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