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
Return to St Pachomius Library.