The eighth-century document Historia Ecclesiastica of Germanus, Patriarch of Constantinople (715-730), was for centuries the quasi-official explanation of the Divine Liturgy for the Byzantine Christian world. Although "allegorical" in content, its interest lies in its historical value, for it appeared at a time of great flux in the life of the Byzantine Church, at the outbreak of the iconoclastic controversies, a period which marked a strong shift in theology and piety.
The theological significance of this document and its usefulness in understanding the form of the liturgy celebrated in the eighth century is discussed in an extensive introduction by the translator, Paul Meyendorff. The introduction includes an exposition on mystagogical catecheses and the development of an historicizing system of liturgical symbolism.
Letters from the Desert is part of the POPULAR PATRISTIC SERIES.