It is not at all easy to distinguish the borders between periods in the fluid and unbroken element of human life. Moreover, the incommensurability of successive historical cycles is quite manifestly revealed. New life themes come to light, new forces start to make themselves felt, new spiritual centers form. Someone’s very first impression is that the late fourth century signifies some indisputable boundary in the history of the Church, in the history of Christian culture. Someone may conditionally define this boundary as the beginning of Byzantinism.
A glorious vision was granted to the Prophet. By the hand of the Lord the prophet Ezekiel was taken to the valley of death, a valley of despair and desolation. There was nothing alive there. There was nothing but dry bones, and very dry they were indeed. This was all that had been left of those who were once living. Life was gone. And a question was put to the Prophet: "Can these dry bones live again? Can life come back once more?" The human answer to this question would have been obviously, no. Life never comes back. What is once dead, is dead forever. Life cannot come out of dust and ashes. "For we must needs die, and are as water spilt on the ground, which cannot be gathered up again" (2 Sam. 14:14).