Tag: Athenagoras Spyrou


Athenagoras Didn’t Want the Hagia Sophia Returned to the Church


The Hagia Sophia in Constantinople was the greatest cathedral in the Orthodox world -- an architectural wonder built during the reign of St. Justinian, which, according to legend, inspired the emperor to declare, "Solomon, I have outdone thee." Centuries later, Prince Vladimir of Kiev sent envoys to study Orthodoxy in...

Chronology of Terror: The Anti-Orthodox Istanbul Pogrom of 1955


It's well known that the Greek Orthodox population in Istanbul is infinitesimally small -- estimates these days usually put the number at under 2,000. It's also well known that most Greeks in Turkey were deported in the early 1920s as part of the forced "population exchange" with Greece under the Lausanne...

Athenagoras: The Apostle of America to Orthodoxy


  In a previous article, I shared some of Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras' declarations of loyalty to the United States, documented in U.S. State Department files from 1950-51. Thanks to Aram Sarkisian, I have since obtained many more State Dept. documents from the rest of the 1950s. In two of these...

Secret 1950 State Dept Memo on Ecumenical Patriarch


Lately I've begun to publish a series of articles on the relationship between the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the United States government during the early Cold War period. The most recent of those articles focused on various statements of loyalty made by Patriarch Athenagoras to U.S. State Department officials. As I...

Patriarch Athenagoras’ Declarations of Loyalty to America


Thanks to my colleague Aram Sarkisian, I recently came into possession of the first batch of a trove of U.S. State Department documents related to the Orthodox Church -- and particularly the Ecumenical Patriarchate -- in the early 1950s. It will take me months -- maybe years -- to sift...

Patriarch Athenagoras Clearly States How Autocephaly Must Be Granted


Editor's note: On Friday, Orthodox History published a 1970 letter by Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras in response to the Moscow Patriarchate's decision to grant autocephaly to the "Orthodox Church in America." After posting the letter, we received the following article by “Petrus Antiochenus.”   Today, the Ecumenical Patriarchate is on the...

1970 Letter from Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras on Autocephaly


Editor's note: In 1970, the Patriarchate of Moscow issued a Tomos of Autocephaly to its former archdiocese in North America, which was commonly known as the "Russian Metropolia" and is now the "Orthodox Church in America." Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras protested against this act in multiple letters to the leaders of the...