July 23, 2014

The Greek Ecclesiastical Settlement

A really interesting passage from "The legacy of the French Revolution: Orthodoxy and nationalism," an essay by Paschalis Kitromilides, which explains, among other things, the historical process by which the Church of Greece was granted autocephaly. While the Enlightenment confronted the church with a secular universalist ideology, which, questions of doctrine aside, could in some instances complement and even sustain its own ecumenical values, nationalism gave rise to a conflict, where the issues not only were on the level of secular versus transcendental values but also set the ecumenicity of Christian ideals against the parochialism of nationalism. The history of this conflict turned out to be identical with the history of the Orthodox Church in the nineteenth century. Ultimately, writes Kitromilides, "the ecumenical patriarchate, once its own formal requirements were satisfied, supplied the canonical sanction for turning regional churches into instruments of secular … [Read more...]