The Byzantine Empire fell, and in its place was founded the Latin Empire, which lasted 57 years exactly to this day – 21 July 1261. Catholics were punished the Orthodox, and most importantly, the political system of feudalism brought with them to Greece, flatly contradicted the Orthodox doctrine of the Empire and the Symphony of powers. Many Orthodox then decided that it was over and the world would end – because the Byzantine Orthodox Empire, and the Emperor was considered a barrier to the coming of the Kingdom of the Antichrist.
We are the heirs of Byzantium as a state and as an empire since the fall of Constantinople. We took up the mission of becoming the Third rome and the heirs of Pan-Orthodoxy, as the Russian Orthodox Church has preserved the Byzantine traditions. We are Byzantine in our soul, our roots, and in our identity. The Russian president and Patriarch’s visit to the Holy Mountain is a manifestation of the Byzantine tradition. It is a living fragment of Byzantium. On Athos, the monks still live as in the times of Byzantium. The old Byzantine calendar is still in use and the spiritual life of Byzantium flourishes.
In this cradle of Hesychasm and intellectual endeavor, the monks, just like thousands of years ago since the spread of Holy Orthodoxy in these lands in Greece, continue to live the same spiritual life.