Category: Global Orthodoxy


The War of the Two Kyrilloses


On May 22, 1900, Archbishop Sophronios II of Cyprus died. This left just two bishops in the entire Church of Cyprus – the Metropolitan of Kition and the Metropolitan of Kyrenia. Both of these men were named Kyrillos. They would spend the next nine years vying for the Archiepiscopal throne....

Romanian Autocephalies & the Birth of the Modern Patriarchate of Romania


Today I’m going to try to tell the story of how the Romanian Orthodox Churches became independent. You’ll notice that I said “Churches,” not “Church” – that’s because, in the 19th century, there were no fewer than three distinct, independent Romanian Orthodox Churches: The “Danubian Principalities” of Wallachia (aka Muntenia,...

When Did Today’s Autocephalous Churches Come into Being?


The oldest autocephalous church in the world attained its current form in 1845. Today, depending on whom you ask, there are fourteen or fifteen or maybe sixteen (or seventeen?) autocephalous Orthodox Churches in the world. In dispute are the Orthodox Church in America (OCA), which everyone accepts as canonical but...

The Athens Gospel Riots of 1901


At the end of the 19th century, the Russian-born Queen Olga of Greece commissioned her private secretary to translate the four Gospels into Modern Greek to make them more accessible to the ordinary laypeople. In December 1898, the secretary completed this project, and the Queen presented the translation to the...

Orthodoxy in Ukraine: A Brief Overview


Even before the current war, the landscape of Orthodoxy in Ukraine was incredibly complicated, and any attempt to summarize it will inevitably fail to do the subject justice. This is compounded by the fact that it’s nearly impossible to avoid bias. If I refer to the head of the “Orthodox...

Meletios Metaxakis’s Failed Jerusalem Coup d’Etat


In the summer of 1908, an insurgent group known as the "Young Turks" rebelled against the Ottoman Emperor Abdul Hamid II, forcing him to restore the long-suspended Ottoman constitution. In the wake of the Young Turk Revolution, the local Palestinians in the Patriarchate of Jerusalem saw an opportunity to increase...

Orthodoxy’s Holy War and the Ecumenical Patriarchate


In a previous article, I wrote about the Ecumenical Patriarchate during the challenging years of 1840-52, leading up to the Crimean War. During this period, the Ottoman government repeatedly meddled in the internal affairs of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, which created tensions between Turkey and Russia, which viewed itself as the...

Trouble in Istanbul: The Early Years of Patriarch Athenagoras


Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras was elected at the end of 1948, thanks in no small part to the intervention of the United States government, in coordination with the governments of Turkey and Greece. Athenagoras was flown to Istanbul in January 1949 aboard a plane provided by U.S. President Harry Truman. Born...

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...