Ecumenical Patriarch Opposes American Slavery in 1862

Patriarch Joachim II of Constantinople (image from Wikimedia Commons)

Patriarch Joachim II of Constantinople (image from Wikimedia Commons)

At the close of 1862, the Ecumenical Patriarch Joachim II wrote an annual retrospective on the year that had just ended. An American anti-slavery newspaper called the Liberator picked up this part of Joachim’s letter in its April 24, 1863 issue:

The United States of America, after many years of union and peace, after gigantic material and moral development, are separated into two hostile camps. The Northern States, guided by true reason and evangelical principles, persistently seek the abolition of the slavery of the blacks. The Southern States, blinded by a badly understood material interest, obstinately and anti-Christianly seek the perpetuation of slavery. This war of ideas and physical interests is prosecuted to desperation. Bloody battles are delivered, but victory until the present is doubtful, and the return of peace does not seem near. But if we cast a careful eye upon the wonderful events of this age, we shall be inclined to believe that those who contend so nobly for the most unquestionable and humane rights, will, God helping them, reach the object of their desires.

The Patriarch’s letter was published in the Anatolikos Aster (Oriental Star), the official organ of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. The Liberator picked up the excerpt and translated it into English. Unfortunately, I don’t have a full copy of the letter — if anyone else does, I’d love to see it (or, for that matter, the Ecumenical Patriarch’s year-end retrospective for any other year).

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