A government may negatively affect religion because of the political ambitions of a state’s civil leaders. For example, there was an incident in the High Middle Ages when Byzantine Emperor John VIII Palaeologus ordained a person he could influence to be a Metropolitan of Kyiv (“Ecumenical Council of Florence (1438–1445)”, n.d.). Kyiv and Rus’ then were religiously subdued to Byzantine Orthodox Church. The Emperor wanted to unite Orthodox Church with the Catholic to gain help from the Pope and Western Europe. Consequently, his choice of a Metropolitan and intervention into the religious process in Kiev and Rus’ were met with hostility. As a result, the region demanded independence from the Byzantine Church, causing the further schism of Christianity (“Ecumenical Council of Florence (1438–1445)”, n.d.). The division of religious beliefs and institutions undoubtedly negatively affects the faith, produces hatred among its adherents, and dispatches the initial doctrine from ongoing practice. Therefore, the intervention of civil governors into ecclesiastical matters when driven by politics corrupts religion, dividing it into antagonistic factions.
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The mentioned example is important for understanding the corruption of the Christian religion in terms of a doctrine of apostolic succession. Namely, this tenet was propagated in the Early Church, ordering its participants to select bishops and other religious authorities only with the help of already existing ones (Brattston & Ryman, 2020). The purpose of this was that Christ’s teaching acquired by Apostles would be passed to further clerics in its correct form, to preserve the meaning of it. The Catholic and Orthodox Church accept the apostolic succession even now since it serves for the conservation of religion. In turn, civil governors that intervene in the selection of religious leaders violate this doctrine. Henceforth, they destroy the transmission of original teaching and contaminate the religion.
Brattston, D. W. T., & Ryman, M. E. (2020). Apostolic succession: An experiment that failed. Resource Publications.
Ecumenical council of Florence (1438–1445). (n.d.). EWTN Global Catholic Television Network. Web.