By Eleni Sakellis
Titles, Offices, & Ranks in the Byzantine Empire and Orthodox Church by Rev. Dr. Milton Efthimiou and Dr. Matthew Briel is a remarkable achievement that took years to produce. For those interested in the history of the Byzantine Empire and the Orthodox Church, the book promises to offer fascinating insights and explanations by the two authors and distinguished scholars of Church History. The foreword to the book was written by His All-Holiness Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople.
As noted in the book’s description, “The Patriarchal Archon Offikia (Offices) for the Order of Saint Andrew derive from some of the most prestigious of offices of the ancient world. Originating in the Ancient Greek City-States, these civic offices were transformed when the Roman Empire embraced the Christian faith during the fourth century. As a consequence of this transition, not only were the office holders important leaders of the Christian community, the offices themselves took on specific religious responsibilities for the service and promotion of the faith in the Roman Empire. The ancient order of Archons is, in fact, the oldest and most prestigious honor that can be bestowed upon a layman in the entire Christian world.”
Rev. Dr. Efthimiou told The National Herald about the book, “At present, it is distributed, gratis, to all Archons, by the Office of the Archons at the Archdiocese. All Archons and clergy may get one or more copies, by calling the Archon Office.”
He continued, “This project began during the tenure of Archbishop Iakovos, of blessed memory, and when Dr. Anthony Borden was National Commander. It was a complicated project, worked on by several people, using as a basis the work, (in Greek), of bishop Iakovos of Catania, (retired). Credit must be given to the late Dean Timothy Andrews, of the first graduating class of Pomfret, who began the first translation. When he became ill and passed away, I continued what he started, and after many years brought the project to fruition, with the help of my co-author, Dr. Matthew Briel of Fordham University. (Eventually, we had to condense many pages into what is now the present book).
Although a reading audience for such a book might be limited, it is, nevertheless, I believe, an important document which, as Archbishop Demetrios writes, ‘…this publication will be a substantive resource…,’ which not only honors Archons, but as His All-Holiness, Patriarch Bartholomew also cites, ‘…the book expresses the essential features of a particular centuries-old diakonia.’ The book, in essence, defines the Byzantine period, reminiscent of the book I wrote years ago, Greeks and Latins on 13th Century Cyprus, which defined Cyprus in medieval times. To understand Orthodoxy, one must understand the mechanics of how Orthodoxy worked 1000 years after Christ.”
He concluded by saying, “I have received much positive feedback from many Archons, as well as brothers who have also requested copies for their Church bookstore/library.”
More information about the Archons is available online at www.archons.org. Greeks and Latins on 13th Century Cyprus by Rev. Dr. Milton Efthimiou is available online at Amazon.com.