Tag: Autocephaly


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...

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 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...

The Ecumenical Patriarchate at the Mercy of the Sultan


At around five o’clock in the afternoon on Holy Saturday, 1821, Ecumenical Patriarch Gregory was celebrating the Vesperal Divine Liturgy at the Phanar when Ottoman police surrounded and seized Gregory and the other bishops who were concelebrating with him. They dragged the Patriarch, fully vested, to the main gate of...

Turkish Interference in the 1972 Ecumenical Patriarchate Election


Athenagoras Spyrou was elected Ecumenical Patriarch in 1948 thanks largely to the influence of the United States government, particularly Secretary of State George Marshall. At the time, Marshall had consulted the powerful Greek-American businessman Spyros Skouras, and Skouras recommended the Athenagoras, who was then the Archbishop of the Greek Archdiocese...

Jerusalem Wasn’t Really Autocephalous from 1669-1845


From the fall of the Byzantine Empire until the 17th century, it was customary for the Patriarch of Jerusalem to appoint his own successor, usually by making the chosen heir the Metropolitan of Caesarea. In 1666, Patriarch Nektarios of Jerusalem appointed his 25-year-old archdeacon, Dositheos Notaras, as Metropolitan of Caesarea,...

Was Alexandria Really Autocephalous in the 19th Century?


The Patriarchate of Alexandria was founded by the Apostle Mark, at a time when Alexandria was essentially the second city of the Roman Empire, after Rome itself. Largely because of this, in the earliest centuries of church history, the Church of Alexandria was second only to Rome in preeminence among...

Fr. Alexander Schmemann in Detroit, 1962


Recently, I was alerted to several photographs of a visit Fr. Alexander Schmemann made to Detroit in the winter of 1962.  Today would have been Fr. Alexander's ninety-first birthday, so I thought this to be as good an opportunity as any to share these pictures with our readers. 1962 was...

Met. Leonty: A Life in Moments


As Matthew pointed out in his post yesterday, this week marks the 47th anniversary of the death of one of the truly  great Orthodox churchmen of the 20th century, Metropolitan Leonty Turkevich.  With an ecclesiastical career in the United States spanning from 1906 to 1965, there are few figures in the...