In fact, Jesus was very much kept alive by the Procopius' of his time, and the Bible was considered the Secret History of Christ for nearly 100 years after the death of Christ. The Bible was burned wherever it was found until God judged the Jews and had most of them exterminated, so that earliest Bibles can only be traced back to 77 AD - several years after the destruction of Jerusalem.
It's not even clear that the Gospels were written
before 77 AD. The notes in the Orthodox Study Bible place them sometime between 60 AD to 100 AD, with John coming in 96 AD. The "Bible" didn't even exist until long after 77 AD.
Was not known to their contemporaries. It was hidden by those wishing to preserve the truth, and was not rediscovered until the Catholics sacked Constantinople and stole the library there. It was brought back amidst a treasure haul of books to the Vatican, and was only discovered by a librarian monk in the 15th or 16th century. It was quite literally Secret history.
Did you get this from a Dan Brown novel?
The “Secret History” is mentioned in the 10th century Byzantine encyclopedia, the Suda. Meaning it was already known about and wasn’t being hidden. It was simply treated as a joke, as it is.
Procopius's now famous Anecdota also known as Secret History (Greek: Ἀπόκρυφη Ἱστορία, Apókryphe Historía; Latin: Historia Arcana) was discovered centuries later at the Vatican Library in Rome and published in Lyon by Niccolò Alamanni in 1623. Its existence was already known from the Suda, which referred to it as Procopius's "unpublished works" containing "comedy" and "invective" of Justinian, Theodora, Belisarius and Antonina.
Here’s a well-known Byzantine account of the sack of Constantinople, which was (according to you) when the “secret history” was finally
Finding that the corpse of Emperor Justinian
had not decomposed through the long centuries, they looked upon the
spectacle as a miracle, but this in no way prevented them from keeping
their hands off the tomb's valuables: In other words, the Western nations
spared neither the living nor the dead, but beginning with God and his
servants, they displayed complete indifference and irreverence to all.
- Niketas Choniates, O City of Byzantium
So, in the 10th century, the Byzantines considered Procopius’ Anekdota
a joke. And in 1204, the Byzantines were testifying that Justinian’s remains were incorrupt, meaning he was a saint.
But according to you, that was only because they were… afraid of Justinian, who had been dead for 500+ years? That’s dozens of emperors and multiple dynasties later.
And then the hidden codex, suppressed by the mean Christians, was discovered in its super secret hiding place that no one found for over half a millennia, and the “truth” was revealed. Not only are you factually wrong, you’re repeating something that so clearly follows the basic pattern of every other stupid gnostic fairy tale of all time.
Meanwhile, after centuries of modern Byzantine scholarship throughout Greece, Russia, and the rest of the world, who all had access to and read the “secret history”, Justinian is still
considered a saint.
For instance, there’s an entire book on Justinian published by the Institute of Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies, written by a Greek Orthodox priest who did his doctoral research on the topic.
Did he not have access to the "secret history"?
Your comparison to the Soviets only proves my point. The rest of the Church broke communion with Moscow during that period. Even much of the Russian church did, which explains both the Russian Church Abroad and the Catacomb Church.
Everything the Moscow Church did during that period was heavily scrutinized – and still is, to this day.
And if we look at an easy parallel, the canonization of Tsar Nicholas II and the Royal Family right after the fall of the USSR, this was debated for years because of how widespread Bolshevik lies were. He was “weak” and “cruel” and a “tyrant” and “impious”. Weird how well that lines up with the exact same claims you’re making about Justinian, and have been made about pretty much every other Christian ruler at one time or another.
As more resources were made available and the evidence was examined, the Royal Family’s canonization was made official and accepted by the entire Church.
The idea that everyone has ad hoc accepted Justinian as a saint for 1500+ years because he supposedly suppressed the Church during his 40-year rule is ahistorical and completely out of line with an Orthodox view of history and sanctity. Sainthood isn’t even officially recognized until long after a person’s death.
These same faulty assumptions fill all of your other supposed critiques. A Christian emperor isn’t required to let people burn down the whole city and overthrow him. He is justified in using violence, as Justinian did during the Nika revolt. The Byzantines weren’t libertarians or anarchists.
Even if you want to claim he went too far… okay? So did many other royal and military saints. And Justinian had 30+ more years of successful rule after that.
"Ye shall know them by their fruits"
Constantine - built a massive Christian empire that set cultural Christianity for the next 1000 years.
Justinian - completely tyrannized his population to steal wealth and murder his population in endless pointless wars, building projects (the Hagia Sophia belongs to Muslims now because it was an affront to God), and utterly failed to create a self-sustaining culture which is why nothing he did survived.
Byzantium immediately started to dissolve after his death, and never recovered until Basil the great. This is not a coincidence. He consumed too much of his population with insane taxes and wars, leaving nothing for the common folk to prosper with. He was one of the worst tyrants I've ever read about, and it only makes sense from reading about the Secret History God preserved of this awful man.
1. Being a saint doesn’t require you live up to the accomplishments of Constantine.
2. Being a saint doesn’t require worldly achievements at all. There are numerous royal saints who are recognized specifically because their kingdom fell and they were martyred, for instance, like St. Edmund.
3. I just provided many examples of the “fruits” of Justinian’s reign, including the Fifth Ecumenical Council, the Hagia Sophia, and his own theological writings. I even forgot to mention the Code of Justinian, which is and has been a major source of legal knowledge for the entire Christian world ever since.
You simply hand wave the “fruits” you don’t like, which makes the comparison pointless.
Your argument about the Hagia Sophia is just completely nonsensical. The Hagia Sophia is in Constantinople, which is also in Muslim hands. Constantinople was founded and named after Constantine. So, he’s clearly not a saint, right, if something he built was conquered by Muslims?
Was Solomon’s temple also unholy because it was destroyed? How about all of the Christian sites throughout the Middle East and Anatolia, which aren’t controlled – and haven’t been for even longer than the Hagia Sophia?
Jerusalem, Antioch, and countless other locations were all affronts to God, obviously. And Kiev too, while we're at it.
Why do these things actually happen, according to the Bible? As punishment for bad deeds by God’s people. That’s why He allows monuments to be destroyed, cities to be sacked, nations to be overthrown, and peoples to be persecuted or enslaved. It doesn't mean the building itself was created by a demon-possessed maniac.
I will lay your cities to waste, and bring your holy things to desolation; and I will not smell the odor of your sacrifices. I will bring your land to desolation, and your enemies will dwell in it and be astonished at it.
- Leviticus 26:31-32
Lastly, Basil the Great was a 4th century bishop.
Are you talking about Basil II? The same Basil who spent years repairing and restoring the Hagia Sophia? But I thought the Hagia Sophia was bad?
After the great earthquake of 25 October 989, which collapsed the Western dome arch, Emperor Basil II asked for the Armenian architect Trdat, creator of the cathedrals of Ani and Argina, to direct the repairs. He erected again and reinforced the fallen dome arch, and rebuilt the west side of the dome with 15 dome ribs. The extent of the damage required six years of repair and reconstruction; the church was re-opened on 13 May 994. At the end of the reconstruction, the church's decorations were renovated, including the addition of four immense paintings of cherubs; a new depiction of Christ on the dome; a burial cloth of Christ shown on Fridays, and on the apse a new depiction of the Virgin Mary holding Jesus, between the apostles Peter and Paul. On the great side arches were painted the prophets and the teachers of the church.
In reality, it was a spiritual center of the empire for a millennia which was honored by successive emperors, and an architectural wonder that had vast influence throughout the Christian and non-Christian world.
It’s disappointing that you’d choose to slander an important saint over such a half-baked and contradictory theory.