Tag: civil authorities


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 Patriarch Who Defied the Ottoman Empire


  Previously, I told the story of the Ecumenical Patriarchs from the outbreak of the Greek Revolution in 1821 until the resignation of the weak and ineffective Patriarch Constantius II in 1835. Today we're picking up where we left off, and the protagonist of this story is one of the...

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...

How the State Dept. Got Interested in Orthodoxy


In recent days, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visited the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Istanbul. After the meeting, Pompeo tweeted that the Ecumenical Patriarchate is a "key partner" of the United States. This is no secret; the close relationship between the United States government and the Ecumenical Patriarchate is well...

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...