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The response of Constantinople was of course largely military but it also took the form of a policy of conversion to Christianity with the understanding that adoption of Christianity meant incorporation into 'Christendom' and therefore acknowledgement of the authority (albeit often rather notional) of the Emperor.

In 862, missionaries from Constantinople were invited to Moravia (modern Czech Republic). This was in the period when Photios, recognised in Orthodoxy as a Saint but, at least until recently, regarded by the Latin church as a schismatic, was Patriarch of Constantinople and many of the liturgical texts used in the Orthodox churches were being finalised. Moravia was a Slav kingdom on the frontiers of the Latin church and the two Eastern missionaries soon found themselves in conflict with missionaries from the West.

One of the points of disagreement between them was the language to be used in church services. The Latins argued that there were only three sacred languages suitable for liturgical purposes - Latin, Greek and Hebrew. They were insisting on the use of Latin. Constantine and Methodius engaged in a great work of translating the texts into the language used in Moravia at the time, now known as 'Old Slavonic'. To this end Constantine (who at the end of his life changed his name - in old Rome, as it happens - to Cyril) devised a written alphabet. It is generally reckoned that this was not what we now know as the 'Cyrillic' alphabet, but the Giaglolitic (more difficult because more remote from the Greek alphabet but apparently more sensitive to the actual sounds used by the Slavs). 'Cyrillic' was developed later by disciples of Methodius. It is somewhat ironic that although the Orthodox missionaries were arguing for the use of the vernacular in church services, their translations in the no longer spoken old Slavonic, are still used throughout the Slav world.

In 864 King Boris of Bulgaria converted to Christianity making Bulgaria, according to Dmitry Obolensky's the Byzantine Commonwealth (my main source for this account), 'the first well-organised state in Eastern Europe to accept Byzantine Christianity.' Meanwhile South of Moravia and also abutting onto Latin territory another distinct Slav entity had emerged, divided between Croats (increasingly under Latin influence) and Serbs (under the influence of Constantinople). Obolensky dates the 'final conversion' of the Serbs to between 867 and 874.

After the death of Methodius in 885, his disciples, expelled from Moravia, spread the use of the Slavonic liturgy through Bulgaria and Macedonia.

In 874 Kiev, with its Viking ruling caste and Slav population (as Bulgaria had a Bulgar ruling caste and a Slav population) accepted an Archbishop from Constantinople but this was still very far from a conversion. The regent in Kiev, Saint Olga converted in 957 but this was followed by a pagan reaction. The 'baptism of Rus' took place in 987-8 under her grandson, Saint Vladimir, as part of a process of alliance with Constantinople.

Icon of the baptism of Rus'. The two crowned figures are Vladimir and his grandmother Olga. The central figure is St Andrew who is said to have travelled widely in the area, including to Byzantium, the town that later became Constantinople, and to Kiev, thus giving their respective churches an apostolic origin.

With the conversion of the Slavs, Eastern Christendom was once again a geographically substantial entity. Here is the division of West and East in 1027 shortly before 1054, the date usually taken as convenient for marking the final break between the papacy and Constantinople (though this was actually a long process. Tensions had existed long before hand, and attempts at a restoration of good relations continued long afterward).