Byzantium fell on May 29, 1453, but its cultural, religious, and political concepts and convictions live on, not only in the lands that once comprised the Byzantine Empire, but throughout the world. As a synthesis of Hellenic, Roman, and Christian ideas and ideals, Byzantium not only brought those diverse traditions together to form a single whole but also imparted that synthesis to the modern world. In consequence, Byzantine civilization has impacted nearly every aspect of the modern West, from art, to legal theory, to politics, to moral reflection and ethics.
The Orthodox Church, the embodiment of a two-thousand-year Christian tradition, is led by His All-Holiness, the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople. Since the demise of the Byzantine empire, the Patriarch has assumed some of the roles once performed by the emperor, including the dispensation of imperial ὀφφίκια.
In this study concerning the imperial class and its offices, titles, and ranks can be discerned the extent to which Orthodox Christianity transformed and perfected traditions that had begun in Hellenism. Many of the ὀφφίκια of Byzantium had their start in Ancient Greece. Others originated in imperial Rome. But it was in Christian Byzantium that those traditions and honors found their fullest expression and they remain alive today through the Ecumenical Patriarchate and its dutiful servants, the Order of St. Andrew.