The Geopolitics of the Orthodox Church - Geopolitical Futures
According to the church canons, those Orthodox Christians who marry .. This is the part of love which is usually very dominant early in a relationship. . In the Roman Catholic Church, for example, artificial birth control is. still prevails in the Eastern Orthodox Church in the 21st century. Eastern Orthodoxy is the large body of Christians who follow the faith and practices .. The Byzantine “symphony” (harmonious relationship) between the emperor and the. Ian happily undergoes a Greek Orthodox baptism and wedding to please the girl he loves. dominant in the West and Orthodoxy dominant in the East. relationship with the Church, you are in right relationship with God.
The handover brought millions of faithful and half a dozen dioceses under the ultimate administrative care of the Patriarch of Moscow and all Rus' and later of the Holy Synod of Russialeading to the significant Ukrainian presence in the Russian Church, which continued well into the 18th century, with Theophanes ProkopovichEpiphanius SlavinetskyStephen Yavorsky and Demetrius of Rostov being among the most notable representatives of this trend.
This was the situation until shortly after the Russian Revolution ofat which time the Local Council more than half of its members being lay persons adopted the decision to restore the Patriarchy. On November 5 according to the Julian calendar a new patriarch, Tikhonwas named through casting lots. The late 18th century saw the rise of starchestvo under Paisiy Velichkovsky and his disciples at the Optina Monastery.
This marked a beginning of a significant spiritual revival in the Russian Church after a lengthy period of modernization, personified by such figures as Demetrius of Rostov and Platon of Moscow. Aleksey KhomyakovIvan Kireevsky and other lay theologians with Slavophile leanings elaborated some key concepts of the renovated Orthodox doctrine, including that of sobornost.
No less evident were non-conformist paths of spiritual searching known as "God-Seeking". Writers, artists and intellectuals in large numbers were drawn to private prayer, mysticism, spiritualismtheosophy and Eastern religions.
A fascination with primitive feeling, with the unconscious and the mythic was apparent, along with visions of coming catastrophes and redemption. Ina volume of essays appeared under the title Vekhi "Milestones" or "Landmarks"authored by a group of leading left-wing intellectuals, including Sergei BulgakovPeter Struve and former Marxists. They bluntly repudiated the materialism and atheism that had dominated the thought of the intelligentsia for generations as leading inevitably to failure and moral disaster.
The essays created a sensation. It is possible to see a similarly renewed vigor and variety in religious life and spirituality among the lower classes, especially after the upheavals of Among the peasantry there was widespread interest in spiritual-ethical literature and non-conformist moral-spiritual movements, an upsurge in pilgrimage and other devotions to sacred spaces and objects especially iconspersistent beliefs in the presence and power of the supernatural apparitions, possession, walking-dead, demons, spirits, miracles and magicthe renewed vitality of local "ecclesial communities" actively shaping their own ritual and spiritual lives, sometimes in the absence of clergy, and defining their own sacred places and forms of piety.
Also apparent was the proliferation of what the Orthodox establishment branded as "sectarianism", including both non-Orthodox Christian denominations, notably Baptistsand various forms of popular Orthodoxy and mysticism. Russian Revolution Inthere were 55, Russian Orthodox churches and 29, chapels, priests and deaconsmonasteries and convents with a total of 95, monks and nuns in Russia.
On 15 August O. The Council continued its sessions until September and adopted a number of important reforms, including the restoration of Patriarchya decision taken 3 days after the Bolsheviks overthrew the Provisional Government in Petrograd on 25 October O. Legal religious activity in the territories controlled by Bolsheviks was effectively reduced to services and sermons inside church buildings.
The Decree and attempts by Bolshevik officials to requisition church property caused sharp resentment on the part of the ROC clergy and provoked violent clashes on some occasions: In the first five years after the Bolshevik revolution, 28 bishops and 1, priests were executed. Toward that end, the Communist regime confiscated church property, ridiculed religion, harassed believers, and propagated materialism and atheism in schools.
Actions toward particular religions, however, were determined by State interests, and most organized religions were never outlawed. Orthodox clergy and active believers were treated by the Soviet law-enforcement apparatus as anti-revolutionary elements and were habitually subjected to formal prosecutions on political charges, arrests, exiles, imprisonment in campsand later could also be incarcerated in mental hospitals.
It was impossible to build new churches. Practising Orthodox Christians were restricted from prominent careers and membership in communist organizations the party, the Komsomol. Anti-religious propaganda was openly sponsored and encouraged by the government, which the Church was not given an opportunity to publicly respond to. The government youth organization, the Komsomolencouraged its members to vandalize Orthodox churches and harass worshippers.
Seminaries were closed down, and the church was restricted from using the press. Theological schools were closed until some were re-opened in the latter sand church publications were suppressed. However, the Soviet policy vis-a-vis organised religion vacillated over time between, on the one hand, a utopian determination to substitute secular rationalism for what they considered to be an outmoded "superstitious" worldview and, on the other, pragmatic acceptance of the tenaciousness of religious faith and institutions.
In any case, religious beliefs and practices did persist, not only in the domestic and private spheres but also in the scattered public spaces allowed by a state that recognized its failure to eradicate religion and the political dangers of an unrelenting culture war. Sophia Cathedral in Harbinnortheast China. The Russian Orthodox church was drastically weakened in Maywhen the Renovated Living Churcha reformist movement backed by the Soviet secret police, broke away from Patriarch Tikhon also see the Josephites and the Russian True Orthodox Churcha move that caused division among clergy and faithful that persisted until The sixth sector of the OGPUled by Yevgeny Tuchkovbegan aggressively arresting and executing bishops, priests, and devout worshippers, such as Metropolitan Veniamin in Petrograd in for refusing to accede to the demand to hand in church valuables including sacred relics.
In the time between andthe number of Orthodox Churches in the Russian Republic fell from 29, to less than Between and, Orthodox priests were arrested. Of these, 95, were put to death. Many thousands of victims of persecution became recognized in a special canon of saints known as the " new martyrs and confessors of Russia".
When Patriarch Tikhon died inthe Soviet authorities forbade patriarchal election. Patriarchal locum tenens acting Patriarch Metropolitan Sergius Stragorodsky, —going against the opinion of a major part of the church's parishes, in issued a declaration accepting the Soviet authority over the church as legitimate, pledging the church's cooperation with the government and condemning political dissent within the church.
By this declaration Sergius granted himself authority that he, being a deputy of imprisoned Metropolitan Peter and acting against his will, had no right to assume according to the XXXIV Apostolic canonwhich led to a split with the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia abroad and the Russian True Orthodox Church Russian Catacomb Church within the Soviet Union, as they allegedly remained faithful to the Canons of the Apostles, declaring the part of the church led by Metropolitan Sergius schismsometimes coined Sergianism.
Due to this canonical disagreement it is disputed which church has been the legitimate successor to the Russian Orthodox Church that had existed before Inafter taking part in a prayer service in London in supplication for Christians suffering under the Soviets, Evlogy was removed from office by Sergius and replaced.
Most of Evlogy's parishes in Western Europe remained loyal to him; Evlogy then petitioned Ecumenical Patriarch Photius II to be received under his canonical care and was received inmaking a number of parishes of Russian Orthodox Christians outside Russia esp.
Photograph taken of the demolition of the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in Moscow Moreover, in the electionsthe Orthodox Church attempted to formulate itself as a full-scale opposition group to the Communist Party, and attempted to run candidates of its own against the Communist candidates.
Article of the Soviet Constitution officially allowed for freedom of religion within the Soviet Union, and along with initial statements of it being a multi-candidate election, the Church again attempted to run its own religious candidates in the elections. However the support of multicandidate elections was retracted several months before the elections were held and in neither nor were any candidates of the Orthodox Church elected. On September 4,Metropolitans Sergius StragorodskyAlexius Simansky and Nicholas Yarushevich had a meeting with Stalin and received a permission to convene a council on September 8,which elected Sergius Patriarch of Moscow and all the Rus'.
This is considered by some as violation of the XXX Apostolic canonas no church hierarch could be consecrated by secular authorities. The Moscow Theological Academy Seminarywhich had been closed sincewas re-opened. In December Security Service of Ukraine lifted classified top secret status of documents reveals that the NKGB of the USSR and its units in the Union and autonomous republics, territories and regions were engaged in the selection of candidates for participation in the council from the representatives of the clergy and the laity.
To this end, it was necessary to outline "persons who have religious authority among the clergy and believers, and at the same time checked for civic or patriotic work". The number of open churches reached 25, By about 22, Russian Orthodox churches had become active.
But in Nikita Khrushchev initiated his own campaign against the Russian Orthodox Church and forced the closure of about 12, churches. By fewer than 7, churches remained active. Members of the church hierarchy were jailed or forced out, their places taken by docile clergy, many of whom had ties with the KGB. This decline was evident from the dramatic decay of many of the abandoned churches and monasteries that were previously common in even the smallest villages from the pre-revolutionary period.
Persecution under Khrushchev[ edit ] A new and widespread persecution of the church was subsequently instituted under the leadership of Nikita Khrushchev and Leonid Brezhnev.
A second round of repression, harassment and church closures took place between and when Nikita Khrushchev was in office. The number of Orthodox churches fell from around 22, in to around 8, in ;  priests, monks and faithful were killed or imprisoned and the number of functioning monasteries was reduced to less than twenty. Subsequent to Khrushchev's overthrow, the Church and the government remained on unfriendly terms until In practice, the most important aspect of this conflict was that openly religious people could not join the Communist Party of the Soviet Unionwhich meant that they could not hold any political office.
However, among the general population, large numbers remained religious. Some Orthodox believers and even priests took part in the dissident movement and became prisoners of conscience. The Orthodox priests Gleb YakuninSergiy Zheludkov and others spent years in Soviet prisons and exile for their efforts in defending freedom of worship. Although he tried to keep away from practical work of the dissident movement intending to better fulfil his calling as a priest, there was a spiritual link between Fr Aleksandr and many of the dissidents.
For some of them he was a friend; for others, a godfather; for many including Yakunina spiritual father. Glasnost and evidence of KGB links[ edit ] Main article: To gain the valuable support of the papacy against Charles, Michael sent a Latin-inspired confession of faith to Pope Gregory Xand his delegates accepted union with Rome at the Council of Lyons This capitulation before the West, sponsored by the emperor, won little support in the church.
Throughout the 14th century, numerous other attempts at negotiating union were initiated by Byzantine emperors. Formal meetings were held in,and All these attempts were initiated by the government and not by the church, for an obvious political reason—i. But the attempts brought no results either on the ecclesiastical or on the political levels. The majority of Byzantine Orthodox churchmen were not opposed to the idea of union but considered that it could be brought about only through a formal ecumenical council at which East and West would meet on equal footing, as they had done in the early centuries of the church.
The project of a council was promoted with particular consistency by John Cantacuzenuswho, after a brief reign as emperor —54became a monk but continued to exercise great influence on ecclesiastical and political events. The idea of an ecumenical council was initially rejected by the popes, but it was revived in the 15th century with the temporary triumph of conciliarist ideas which advocated more power to councils and less to popes in the West at the councils of Constance and Basel.
Challenged with the possibility that the Greeks would unite with the conciliarists and not with Rome, Pope Eugenius IV called an ecumenical council of union in Ferrara, which later moved to Florence. The Council of Ferrara-Florence —45 lasted for months and allowed for long theological debates.
Political desperation and the fear of facing the Turks again, without Western support, was the decisive factor that caused them to place their signatures of approval on the Decree of Union, also known as the Union of Florence July 6, The metropolitan of Ephesus, Mark Eugenicusalone refused to sign.
Upon their return to Constantinople, most other delegates also renounced their acceptance of the council and no significant change occurred in the relations between the churches. The official proclamation of the union in Hagia Sophia was postponed until Dec.
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Theological and monastic renaissance Paradoxically, the pitiful history of Byzantium under the Palaeologan emperors coincided with an astonishing intellectualspiritual, and artistic renaissance that influenced the entire Eastern Christian world. The renaissance was not without fierce controversy and polarization. After much debate, the church gave its support to the main spokesman of the monks, Gregory Palamas —who showed himself as one of the foremost theologians of medieval Byzantium.
The councils of, and adopted the theology of Palamas, and after the patriarchal throne was consistently occupied by his disciples. John VI Cantacuzenuswho, as emperor, presided over the council ofgave his full support to the Hesychasts. His close friend, Nicholas Cabasilasin his spiritual writings on the divine liturgy and the sacraments, defined the universal Christian significance of Palamite theology. The influence of the religious zealotswho triumphed in Constantinople, outlasted the empire itself and contributed to the perpetuation of Orthodox spirituality under Turkish rule.
It also spread to the Slavic countries, especially Bulgaria and Russia. The monastic revival in northern Russia during the last half of the 14th century, which was associated with the name of St.
Sergius of Radonezhas well as the contemporaneous revival of iconography e. The brothers Prochorus and Demetrius Cydonesunder the sponsorship of Cantacuzenus, for example, were systematically translating the works of Latin theologians into Greek.
Thus, major writings of St. Anselm of Canterburyand St.
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Thomas Aquinas were made accessible to the East for the first time. Most of the Latin-minded Greek theologians eventually supported the union policy of the emperors, but there were some—like Gennadios II Scholariosthe first patriarch under the Turkish occupation—who reconciled their love for Western thought with total faithfulness to the Orthodox church.
Accordingly, provided that Christians submitted to the dominion of the caliphate and the Muslim political administration and paid appropriate taxes, they deserved consideration and freedom of worship. Any Christian mission or proselytism among the Muslims, however, was considered a capital crime. In fact, Christians were formally reduced to a ghetto existence: Thus, under the new system, the patriarch of Constantinople saw his formal rights and jurisdiction extended both geographically and substantially: To the enslaved Greeks, he appeared not only as the successor of the Byzantine patriarchs but also as the heir of the emperors.
In order to symbolize these new powers, the patriarch adopted an external attire reminiscent of that of the emperors: The new system had many significant consequences. Most important, it permitted the church to survive as an institution. Indeed, the prestige of the church was actually increased because, for Christians, the church was now the only source of education, and it alone offered possibilities of social promotion.
Moreover, through the legal restrictions placed on mission, the new arrangement created the practical identification of church membership with ethnic origin. And finally, since the entire Christian millet was ruled by the patriarch of Constantinople and his Greek staff, it guaranteed to the Phanariotesthe Greek aristocracy of the Phanar now called Fener, the area of Istanbul where the patriarchate was, and still is, locateda monopoly in episcopal elections.
Thus, Greek bishops progressively came to occupy all the hierarchical positions. The ancient patriarchates of the Middle East were practically governed by the Phanar.Jordan Peterson - Thoughts On Orthodox Christianity
The Serbian and Bulgarian churches came to the same fate: This Greek control, exercised through the support of the hated Turks, was resented more and more by the Balkan Slavs and Romanians as the Turkish regime became more despotic, taxes grew heavier, and modern nationalisms began to develop. It is necessary, however, to credit the Phanariotes with a quite genuine devotion to the cause of learning and education, which they alone were able to provide inside the oppressed Christian ghetto.
The advantages they obtained from the Porte the Turkish government for building schools and for developing Greek letters in the Romanian principalities of Moldavia and Walachia that were entrusted to their rule came to play a substantial role in the rebirth of Greece.
Relations with the West The Union of Florence became fully inoperative as soon as the Turks occupied Constantinople In a council of bishops condemned it officially. Neither the sultan nor the majority of the Orthodox Greeks were favourable to the continuation of political ties with Western Christendom. The Byzantine cultural revival of the Palaeologan period was the first to experience adverse effects from the occupation.
Intellectual dialogue with the West became impossible. Through liturgical worship and the traditional spirituality of the monasteries, the Orthodox faith was preserved in the former Byzantine world. Some self-educated men were able to develop the Orthodox tradition through writings and publications, but they were isolated exceptions.
Probably the most remarkable among them was St. Nicodemus of the Holy Mountain, the Hagiorite —who edited the famous Philocalia, an anthology of spiritual writings, and also translated and adapted Western spiritual writings e. Ignatius of Loyola into modern Greek. The only way for Orthodox Greeks, Slavs, or Romanians to acquire an education higher than the elementary level was to go to the West.
Several of them were able to do so, but in the process they became detached from their own theological and spiritual tradition. The West, in spite of much ignorance and prejudicehad a constant interest in the Eastern church. At times there was a genuine and respectful curiosity; in other instances, political and proselytistic conversion concerns prevailed.
Although interesting as a historical event, this correspondence, which includes the Answers of Patriarch Jeremias II patriarch —95shows how little mutual understanding was possible at that time between the reformers and traditional Eastern Christianity.
Relations with the West, especially after the 17th century, were often vitiated in the East by the incredible corruption of the Turkish government, which constantly fostered diplomatic intrigues.
Western diplomats were often ready to provide the amount needed in order to secure the election of candidates favourable to their causes. The French and Austrian ambassadors, for example, supported candidates who would favour the establishment of Roman Catholic influence in the Christian ghetto, while the British and Dutch envoys supported patriarchs who were open to Protestant ideas. Thus, a gifted and Western-educated patriarch, Cyril Lucariswas elected and deposed five times between and His stormy reign was marked by the publication in Geneva of a Confession of Faithwhich was, to the great amazement of all contemporaries, purely Calvinistic i.
The episode ended in tragedy. Cyril was strangled by Turkish soldiers at the instigation of the pro-French and pro-Austrian party. Six successive Orthodox councils condemned the Confession: Constantinople, ; Kiev, ; Jassy; Constantinople, ; Jerusalem, ; and Constantinople, Both, especially Petro Mohyla, were under strong Latin influence.
These episodes were followed in the 18th century by a strong anti-Western reaction that was inspired in part by Roman Catholic missionary activity and the church unions of Brest-LitovskUzhhorodand Antiochformal agreements under which several Orthodox priests agreed under political coercion in the case of Brest-Litovsk to accept the authority of the pope in Rome while being allowed to preserve liturgical and linguistic independence.
In the Synod of Constantinople decreed that all Westerners—Latin or Protestant—had invalid sacraments and were only to be admitted into the Orthodox Church through baptism. Having signed the decree, he returned to Moscow in as a Roman cardinal but was rejected by both church and state, arrested, and then allowed to escape to Lithuania. Inafter much hesitation, the Russians received a new primate, Jonas, elected by their own bishops. Inhowever, this metropolitan broke the union with the Latins and reentered—nominally—the jurisdiction of Constantinople, by then under Turkish control.
Basil the Blessed built —60Moscow. The metropolitanate of Kiev developed under the control of Roman Catholic Poland. Hard pressed by the Polish kings, the majority of its bishops, against the will of the majority of their flock, eventually accepted union with Rome at Brest-Litovsk Inhowever, an Orthodox hierarchy was reestablished, and a Romanian nobleman, Petro Mohyla, was elected metropolitan of Kiev He suppressed the old school at Kiev that taught a curriculum based on Greco-Slavic letters and literature and created the first Orthodox theological school of the modern period, the famous Academy of Kiev.
Modelled after the Latin seminaries of Poland, with instruction given in Latin, this school served as the theological training centre for almost the entire Russian high clergy in the 17th and 18th centuries. In Ukraine was finally reunited with Muscovy, and the metropolitanate of Kiev was attached to the patriarchate of Moscow, with approval given by Constantinople.
Muscovite Russia, meanwhile, had acquired the consciousness of being the last bulwark of true Orthodoxy. The Muscovite sovereign began to use more and more of the Byzantine imperial ceremonial, and he assumed the double-headed eagle as his state emblem.
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It occurred inwhen the patriarch of Constantinople, Jeremias IIwas on a fund-raising tour of Russia. Relations between patriarch and tsar After the 16th century the Russian tsars always considered themselves as successors of the Byzantine emperors and the political protectors and financial supporters of Orthodoxy throughout the Balkans and the Middle East.
The patriarch of Moscow, however, never pretended to occupy formally the first place among the patriarchs. Within the Muscovite empire, many traditions of medieval Byzantium were faithfully kept. A flourishing monastic movement spread the practice of Christian asceticism in the northern forests, which were both colonized and Christianized by the monks.
Sergius of Radonezh c. He was followed by numerous other missionaries who promoted Orthodox Christianity throughout Asia and even established themselves on Kodiak Island off the coast of Alaska The secular goals of the Muscovite state and the will of the monarch always superseded canonical or religious considerations, which were still binding on the medieval emperors of Byzantium.
Muscovite political ideology was always influenced more by the beginnings of western European secularism and by Asiatic despotism than by Roman or Byzantine law. Although strong patriarchs of Constantinople were generally able to oppose open violations of dogma and canon law by the emperors, their Russian successors were quite powerless; a single metropolitan of Moscow, St. Philip metropolitan —68who dared to condemn the excesses of Ivan IVwas deposed and murdered. Nikon reigned —58a strong patriarch, decided to restore the power and prestige of the church by declaring that the patriarchal office was superior to that of the tsar.
He forced the tsar Alexis Romanov to repent for the crime of his predecessor against St. Philip and to swear obedience to the church. Simultaneously, Nikon attempted to settle a perennial issue of Russian church life: Originally translated from the Greek, the books suffered many corruptions through the centuries and contained numerous mistakes.
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In addition, the different historical developments in Russia and in the Middle East had led to differences between the liturgical practices of the Russians and the Greeks.
His liturgical reform led to a major schism in the church. The Russian masses had taken seriously the idea that Moscow was the last refuge of Orthodoxy. They wondered why Russia had to accept the practices of the Greeks, who had betrayed Orthodoxy in Florence and had been justly punished by God, in their view, by becoming captives of the infidel Turks.
The reforms of Peter the Great reigned — The son of Tsar Alexis, Peter the Greatchanged the historical fate of Russia by radically turning away from the Byzantine heritage and reforming the state according to the model of Protestant Europe.
Peter also issued a lengthy Spiritual Regulation Dukhovny Reglament that served as bylaws for all religious activities in Russia.
Weakened by the schism of the Old Believers, the church found no spokesman to defend its rights and passively accepted the reforms. With the actions of Peter, the Russian Orthodox Church entered a new period of its history that lasted until The immediate consequences were not all negative. Throughout the 18th century the Russian church also continued missionary work in Asia and produced several spiritual writers and saints: Mitrofan of Voronezh diedSt.
Tikhon of Zadonsk died —an admirer of the German Lutheran Johann Arndt and of German Pietism —as well as other eminent prelates and scholars such as Platon Levshin, metropolitan of Moscow died All attempts at challenging the power of the tsar over the church, however, met with failure.
The metropolitan of Rostov, Arseny Matsiyevich, who opposed the secularization of church property by the empress Catherine the Greatwas deposed and died in prison The atmosphere of secularistic officialdom that prevailed in Russia was not favourable for a revival of monasticismbut such a revival did take place through the efforts of a young Kievan scholar, Paissy Velichkovsky —94who became the abbot of the monastery of Neamts in Romania.
His Slavonic edition of the Philocalia contributed to the revival of Hesychast traditions in Russia in the 19th century. Orthodox churches in the 19th century Autocephalies in the Balkans The ideas of the French Revolutionthe nationalistic movementsand the ever living memory of past Christian empires led to the gradual disintegration of Turkish domination in the Balkans.
According to a pattern existing since the late Middle Ages, the birth of national states was followed by the establishment of independent autocephalous Orthodox churches.
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Thus, the collapse of Ottoman rule was accompanied by the rapid shrinking of the actual power exercised by the patriarch of Constantinople. Paradoxically, the Greeks, for whom—more than anyone—the patriarchate represented a hope for the future, were the first to organize an independent church in their new state. The patriarchate, being the official Turkish-sponsored organ for the administration of the Christians, issued statements condemning and even anathematizing the revolutionaries.
These statements, however, failed to convince anyone, least of all the Turkish government, which on Easter Day in had the ecumenical Constantinopolitan patriarch Gregory V hanged from the main gate of the patriarchal residence as a public example. Numerous other Greek clergy were executed in the provinces. After this tragedy the official loyalty of the patriarchate was, of course, doubly secured. The ecclesiastical regime adopted in Greece was modelled after that of Russia: