Mission and/or conversion: strategies of Byzantine diplomacy

International Journal of Orthodox Theology. 2015;6(3):81-105


Journal Homepage

Journal Title: International Journal of Orthodox Theology

ISSN: 2190-0582 (Print)

Publisher: International Journal of Orthodox Theology

Society/Institution: Otto-Friedrich University of Bamberg, Germany

LCC Subject Category: Philosophy. Psychology. Religion: Practical Theology: Practical religion. The Christian life: Moral theology

Country of publisher: Germany

Language of fulltext: German, English

Full-text formats available: PDF



Marius Telea (Faculty of Orthodox Theology of “December 1st 1918” University of Alba Iulia, Romania)


Blind peer review

Editorial Board

Instructions for authors

Time From Submission to Publication: 4 weeks


Abstract | Full Text

The religious element has always represented, inevitably, a feature of Byzantine diplomacy, offering it the instruments necessary for a fruitful dialogue with the pagan peoples in Eastern Europe. As one could notice, the classical policies of Constantinople involved different strategies, as well as exorbitant expenses, which did not always ensure long-term peace. On the other hand, religion operated at an abstract level, and in the medieval mentality, celebrating rituals such as baptism or marriage to a Byzantine Porphyrogenita established a stronger connection than the one constituted through peace treaties. Although one cannot assert a decisive opinion concerning the spread of eastern Christianity, whether it was a purpose of the external Byzantine politics or just a means of obtaining peace, one thing is certain: preaching the Gospel represented a diplomatic practice with an immense power of persuasion. These successes of the mission patronized by the Patriarchate of Constantinople, especially in the IXth and Xth centuries show us that in this direction, the Byzantines were one step ahead of the Western world.