Michael Prokurat, Alexander Golitzin, Michael D. Peterson
The A to Z of the Orthodox Church

MIDDLE EAST MILLENNIALISM MILVIAN BRIDGE

MILLENNIALISM

MILLENNIALISM. Millennialism (in Greek, chiliasmos, also called millenarianism and chiliasm) is the belief in a literal thousand-year reign by Christ prior to the general Resurrection and Last Judgment (premillennialism) or after it (postmillennialism). It is based on such texts as Rev 20, Jewish apocalyptic literature, and a widespread belief at the beginning of the first millennium in a period of seven thousand years, the “seven ages,” between the world’s creation and its end. Some of the early Church Fathers, notably Justin Martyr, Irenaeus of Lyons, and Hippolytus (qq.v.), held to it. Still, it was condemned by later bishops and survived, in the East at least, only on the fringes of the Church-e.g., in the various legends of the apocalypse popular in the Byzantine era (q.v.) and subsequently. This may be due to the very late admission of Rev into the Eastern Church’s canon of Scripture, the only book of the New Testament not read from in the liturgical year. One might point to the undoubted influence on this issue from the school of Alexandria (q.v.). When the gnostics, among others, emphasized the carnal pleasures that were to be enjoyed by the saints (q.v.) during the thousand-year reign of Christ, Clement and Origen (qq.v.) eschewed their literalism and promoted a more spiritualized Christianity.


MIDDLE EAST MILLENNIALISM MILVIAN BRIDGE