[St. Pachomius Library]


Perhaps because the ancients disliked crossing open water, Sardinia was considered a remote and isolated part of the Roman Empire, and its history diverges in many ways from that of other parts of Western Europe. Once the frontier of Justinian's domains, Sardinia in the XI Century was an outpost of liturgically "Eastern" Orthodoxy and as such became a target for papal reformers. Whereas a policy of uniatism was adopted in southern Italy and other areas with large Greek minorities, Latinisation was pursued aggressively in Sardinia, where the Eastern Rite had a cultural rather than an ethnic basis (and where, indeed the native inhabitants spoke a language closer to popular Latin than is Italian). Modern historians seem to have largely overlooked this unusual episode, or discussed it in terms of local conflicts between Rome and mainland Latin Rite episcopates; it would be an interesting subject for an Orthodox researcher to investigate. The Latinisation was of course eventually successful; even the old sanctuaries were in many cases demolished and rebuilt on Occidental lines.

Norman Hugh Redington


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