Category: Global Orthodoxy


The Georgian Patriarch’s Rebuke of St Tikhon


For centuries, the Orthodox Church in Georgia was autocephalous, with its own Patriarch (also known as "Catholicos"). In fact, for a long time there were actually two autocephalous Georgian Churches, one in the east and one in the west, each led by its own Catholicos-Patriarch. In 1783, the King of...

The Origins of the ‘Barbarian Lands’ Theory


This paper was originally presented at the conference “The Greek Archdiocese at 100 Years,” Hellenic College-Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology, October 7, 2022. I am indebted to numerous friends and colleagues who reviewed the paper in advance and provided feedback. I am especially grateful to M., who provided...

Who Had Jurisdiction Over the Diaspora in 1907?


As readers of this website surely know, a large Greek diaspora emerged at the turn of the last century, with hundreds of thousands of Greeks (and other Orthodox Christians) emigrating from their homelands, particularly to the United States. These new immigrants established churches that were loosely tied to various Old...

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...