The Ecumenical Patriarchate on the Eve of War, 1840-1852


The great Ecumenical Patriarch Gregory VI was deposed by the Ottoman authorities in 1840. After this, next few Ecumenical Patriarchs came and went in rapid succession: after a year on the throne, Anthimus IV was deposed by the Sultan and replaced by Anthimus V, who lasted a year himself before...

The Patriarch Who Defied the Ottoman Empire


  Previously, I told the story of the Ecumenical Patriarchs from the outbreak of the Greek Revolution in 1821 until the resignation of the weak and ineffective Patriarch Constantius II in 1835. Today we're picking up where we left off, and the protagonist of this story is one of the...

The Ecclesiological Vision of Patriarch Bartholomew


Thirty years ago, October 22, 1991, the 51-year-old Metropolitan Bartholomew of Chalcedon was elected Ecumenical Patriarch, inaugurating a new era in not only the Patriarchate of Constantinople but the Orthodox Church globally. One of the first major acts of the new Patriarch was to convene a Synaxis of the primates...

The Ecumenical Patriarchate at the Mercy of the Sultan


At around five o’clock in the afternoon on Holy Saturday, 1821, Ecumenical Patriarch Gregory was celebrating the Vesperal Divine Liturgy at the Phanar when Ottoman police surrounded and seized Gregory and the other bishops who were concelebrating with him. They dragged the Patriarch, fully vested, to the main gate of...

Turkish Interference in the 1972 Ecumenical Patriarchate Election


Athenagoras Spyrou was elected Ecumenical Patriarch in 1948 thanks largely to the influence of the United States government, particularly Secretary of State George Marshall. At the time, Marshall had consulted the powerful Greek-American businessman Spyros Skouras, and Skouras recommended the Athenagoras, who was then the Archbishop of the Greek Archdiocese...

Jerusalem Wasn’t Really Autocephalous from 1669-1845


From the fall of the Byzantine Empire until the 17th century, it was customary for the Patriarch of Jerusalem to appoint his own successor, usually by making the chosen heir the Metropolitan of Caesarea. In 1666, Patriarch Nektarios of Jerusalem appointed his 25-year-old archdeacon, Dositheos Notaras, as Metropolitan of Caesarea,...

Was Alexandria Really Autocephalous in the 19th Century?


The Patriarchate of Alexandria was founded by the Apostle Mark, at a time when Alexandria was essentially the second city of the Roman Empire, after Rome itself. Largely because of this, in the earliest centuries of church history, the Church of Alexandria was second only to Rome in preeminence among...

Protopresbyter Pontius Rupyshev – a spiritual light from Vilnius


I serve in Vilnius Cathedral of the Dormition which is the historical cathedral of the Orthodox Church in Lithuania. Today it functions as a simple parish, our metropolitan lives and mostly serves the Divine Liturgy in the monastery of the Holy Spirit. It was so already in the 19th century...