The “Bulgarian Question” and the 1872 Council of Constantinople, Part 6

This is the final Methodist Quarterly Review article dealing with the aftermath of the 1872 Council of Constantinople. From the Methodist Quarterly Review, April 1874.


Patriarch Joachim II of Constantinople (image from Wikimedia Commons)

The Bulgarian Church question has, on the whole, attracted less attention during the year 1873 than in the previous years. The Bulgarians, undoubtedly, have the sympathy of the Slavic Churches of Russia, Austria, Roumania, Servia, and Montenegro; but the Turkish government was again, as usual, very vacillating in its policy. The Bulgarians complained of the partiality of the new Minister of Justice, Midhat Pasha, in favor of the Greeks. When, however, on June 25, the Patriarch of Constantinople, Anthomos [sic], refused to join the other dignitaries of the country in congratulating the Sultan upon the twenty-fifth anniversary of his accession to the throne, because the Turkish government declined to exclude, in accordance with his request, the Bulgarian exarch from the official reception, the Turkish government declared to the Patriarch its decided disapproval of his conduct. In September the Synod of Constantinople expressed to the Patriarch their want of confidence in him, whereupon he resigned his office. In December a new Patriarch of Constantinople was elected in place of the deposed Anthomos. The Turkish government did not exercise her right of striking out one or several names of the ten candidates whom the Electoral Synod had chosen, the Grand Vizier, Raschid Pasha, declaring that all of them were acceptable to the government. The Synod, which consists of priests as well as delegates of the laity, then elected the former patriarch, Joachim II, as Patriarch of Constantinople.

As the immense majority of the members of the Oriental Church of European Turkey are Slavic, the Greeks who prevail in the government of the Church of Constantinople begin to appreciate the necessity of making concessions to them, lest the movement for the establishment of independent Churches on the basis of nationality, which already has emancipated the Churches of Roumania, Serbia, and Bulgaria from the jurisdiction of the Patriarch of Constantinople, become general. The new Patriarch, Joachim, being called upon to appoint a new Metropolitan of the Slavic Churches of Bosnia in January, 1874, has gained the universal approval of Bosnians by appointing to that office Bishop Anthomos, who is an enthusiastic supporter of the national movement among the Slavi of Turkey.


I’ll be a guest on Kevin Allen’s live call-in show “Ancient Faith Today,” on Ancient Faith Radio, this Sunday, December 9. The topic is “ethnocentrism.” The show begins at 5 PM Pacific / 6 Mountain / 7 Central / 8 Eastern, and you can listen live at this link: You can also download the show after it’s finished and listen later. If you do listen live, feel free to call in with a question. I’d love to hear from some of our readers!

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