Church and Monastery in the Later Byzantine World

  • John Haldon


The situation of the church after the Seljuk and Turkmen occupation of much of central Anatolia from the 1070s is very difficult to gauge. A series of six lists of bishops’ sees {notitiae episcopatuum) dating from the middle of the eleventh to the middle of the thirteenth century throws some light on the extent of church authority in the provinces and in areas no longer held by the empire. The lists suggest a total of over 80 metropolitan sees, although only 50 or so had more than a handful of suffragan, or dependent, bishoprics under their authority. Many were in exposed frontier areas and the lists alone tell us nothing about the extent of episcopal control over the Christian population of the areas in question. Some 31 metropolitanates, consisting of just under 400 sees, were within the imperial frontiers. There was a great density of sees around Constantinople, in Bithynia and Thrace, and in western and south-western Asia Minor, for historical reasons – these were regions which had the most ancient traditions of church organisation, stretching back to early Christian times, and it was also a hallmark of Byzantine ecclesiastical administration that organisational conservatism was very strong – change was always to be avoided, where possible, and was certainly regretted.


Thirteenth Century Fourteenth Century Eleventh Century Church Organisation Imperial Rule 
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© John Haldon 2005

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  • John Haldon

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