Chapter IX. The Orthodox Churches and the Ecumenical Movement Prior to 1910
For many centuries, the Eastern and Western Churches lived in almost complete separation from one another. Yet this separateness is always to be understood in the light of the complementary truth that these differing blocks of insights and convictions grew out of what was originally a common mind. The East and the West can meet and find one another only if they remember their original kinship and the unity of their common past.
Christian unity was not long maintained, or rather has never been fully realized. Yet there is justification for speaking of the undivided Church of the first millennium. Throughout that period, there was a wide consensus of belief, a common mind such as has not existed at any later date. Men were convinced that the conflicting groups still belonged to the same Church, and that conflict was no more than estrangement caused by some grievous misunderstanding. The disruption of the Church was abhorred by all concerned, and division, when it came, was accepted with grief and reluctance.
Permanent separation between East and West was preceded by the decay of the common mind and of the sense of mutual responsibility within the one Body. When unity was finally broken, this was not so much because agreement could not be reached on certain doctrinal issues, as because the universe of discourse had already been disrupted. The East and the West had always been different, but the differences had prevented neither Jerome from being at home in Palestine nor Athanasius in his western exile. But gradually the point was reached at which the memories of the common past were obliterated and faded away, and Christians came to live contentedly in their own particular and partial worlds, mistaking them for the Catholic whole.
This separation was partly geographical, a matter literally of east and west. It was also in part a matter of language. Greek had been the universal language of the Mediterranean world, the common tongue of civilization, as of Christian thought and expression. But this factor of unity grew weaker, as Greek came to be generally forgotten in the west. Even Augustine knew it only imperfectly. Translations of Greek Christian classics into Latin were rare, of Latin classics into Greek even rarer. When the new barbarian nations came on the scene, they were unable to assimilate __________
«The Orthodox Churches and the Ecumenical Movement Prior to 1910» appeared in A History of the Ecumenical Movement, edited by R. Rouse and S.C. Neill (London, SPCK, 1954), pp. 171 – 215. Reprinted by permission of the author.
more than a small part of the traditions of the classical past. When the cultural recovery of the West at last arrived, very little of the Greek heritage was saved, and living continuity with the common past of the Church universal was broken. There were now two worlds, almost closed to one another.
The division also involved a conflict between the old and the new. Byzantium continued in the old ways. The West, as it recovered its intellectual vigour, developed a new method and a new technique of thought; under the influence of the great philosophical development of the 13th century, Western Christian doctrine took its definitive shape. Between the old patristic and the new scholastic approach there is a great gulf fixed. To the Eastern, union presented itself as the imposition of Byzantinism on the West; to the Western, as the Latinization of the East. Each world chose to go on in its own way; the Westerns neglecting the Greek patristic tradition, which came more and more to be forgotten; the Greeks taking no account of anything that had happened in the West since the separation. In all ecumenical conversations today, the greatest difficulty of all is the recovery of the common universe of discourse.
The papal claims appear to be the main cause of the separation, and indeed present a continual obstacle to any rapprochement. But these claims should not be considered out of relationship to political factors. All Christians were agreed that there must be one universal Christian commonwealth. It was natural to identify that spiritual body with the one existing «world-wide» commonwealth, the Roman Empire. The only question was where the centre of direction of this commonwealth was to be found. Constantine had transferred the centre to Byzantium; the West maintained that in A.D. 800, with the coronation of Charlemagne, there had been a new translatio imperii,100 and that now once again the whole of Christendom must be ruled from Rome. It was this extension of the schism from the theological to the social and political realm which made it clear how deep and irrevocable it had become.
The Byzantine Empire grew weaker and finally disappeared; the West flourished and grew increasingly strong. Because of its strength, the West has tended to regard its Christianity as normal Christianity, and to look upon the classical, patristic tradition of the East as an exotic or aberrant growth. Byzantium has been either tacitly ignored or disapproved. This judgement has not been without its plausibility. The centuries of Turkish bondage have grievously thwarted the development of Eastern Christendom. Regard for tradition may easily develop into a supine archaism. Byzantium has sometimes slept. But Byzantium is still alive in the things of the spirit, the representative of an authentic Christian tradition, linked by unbroken continuity with the thought of the apostolic age. Recovery of a genuine ecumenical unity will be possible only through mutual rediscovery of East and West and a wider synthesis, such as has sometimes been attempted but never yet achieved.
Even after the Reformation, the political factor played a large and unhelpful part. The point of departure was still the centrality of the West. Participants thought in terms of two opposing blocs; there was still too much of the spirit of «conversion,» and of the imposition of one system of thought on the other world. Discussions were usually on particular points, and not on the basic issues. It was only in the 19th century that better understanding of history made possible more sympathetic rapprochement. The genuine theological issues have been brought into the foreground, and it has been realized that the problem of Christian unity is primarily a problem of the doctrine of the Church. Even though no practical ways to a solution have been found, at least the lines have been set in such a way as to make meeting fruitful and ecumenical discussion a promise of ecumenical fulfilment.
II. Bohemians and Byzantines
There is hardly any period at which negotiations of one kind or another were not in progress between the Orthodox and the Churches of the West, but over almost all these negotiations hung the heavy shadow of political opportunism. The complete failure of the union patched up between the East and the West at Florence (1439)101 showed that along this path there was no true way out from division, that true solutions could be found only through unfettered theological understanding, and that this could be achieved only through a general council of the Church.
Throughout the 15th century the idea of a general council was constantly before the eyes of men. The Fathers at the Council at Basle had desired the participation of the Greeks, and had even sent a special message to Constantinople to invite the presence of a delegation – unsuccessfully, since Pope Eugenius IV was able to divert the Greeks to his own Council of Ferrara, later of Florence. But the clearest appeal to the whole of Christendom was made by a Western group which anticipated the Reformers of the l6th century, not only in a number of their convictions, but also in the hope that allies might be found among the Greeks against the nearer power of Rome. At Basle in 1434 the Hussites demanded that their cause should be submitted to a plenary council, at which the Greeks, including the Patriarch of Constantinople, and the Armenians should be present.102
The extent to which John Hus himself was influenced by the Eastern tradition is still an open question. There is obvious exaggeration and bias in the contention of some early historians,103 that the whole Hussite movement was a deliberate return to the Eastern tradition, which had once been established in Moravia by St. Cyril and St. Methodius. Hus himself can hardly have been well acquainted with the Orthodox Church, and derived his teaching mainly from Wyclif. On the other hand, it is interesting to note that Wyclif did on occasion invoke the authority of the Greeks, if only because they were opposed to Rome. It is certain that not all memories of the Slavonic rite had been obliterated in Bohemia. We may with confidence go so far as to say that some of the Hussites were interested in the Greek Church chiefly as an example of what might be termed non-Roman Catholicism, but also because in the teaching and practice of the Eastern Church they could find an extra argument in favour of Communion in both kinds104 which to them was as the Ark of the Covenant. At a later stage of development, when it had become clear that there was no further possibility of reconciliation with Rome, there was a specially strong reason for an appeal to the East, in the hope of securing recognition from the Patriarchs, and so of dealing with the problem of a regular succession in the ordained ministry.
It is probably in this context that we are to understand the remarkable attempt made shortly before the fall of Constantinople to establish communion between the Utraquist branch of the Hussite movement and the Church of Constantinople. Although a number of official documents and the testimonies of some contemporary writers have survived, it is impossible to draw up a clear narrative of what happened. In particular, it is not clear by which side the initiative was taken. A Czech source, the Historia Persecutionum Ecclesiae Bohemicae,105 states plainly that the initiative was taken by Rokyzana, the Calixtine Archbishop-elect of Prague, that an appeal was made to the Greek Church in 1450, and that a satisfactory reply was received. Some scholars doubt whether this evidence is reliable, and a rather different account is given in the Greek sources. The main facts, however, seem to be well established.
In 1452 one Constantine Platris Anglikos, «a humble priest of Christ,» arrived in Constantinople and presented on behalf of the Czechs a «book of faith,» i.e. a confession, on the strength of which he was favourably received by the Greeks. In this confession Constantine refers to the change of faith at a recent council, obviously the Council of Florence. He declares that he himself had been persecuted by the Papists, and had to wander from city to city, until finally he arrived at the city «of true priesthood.» He utterly repudiates the claims of the Pope. In order to test the extent of his agreement with Orthodox doctrine, the Greeks required him to answer a number of questions; these were drawn up by Gennadius Scholarius, the future Patriarch of Constantinople, one of the best Greek scholars of the day, who was also well acquainted with Western doctrine. The Greeks seem to have been satisfied that Constantine held the true faith and expressed right ideas on all points of doctrine, sacraments, and orders. Upon his departure he was given an ekthesis (statement) of the Faith, signed by a number of Greek bishops and theologians. Both documents still exist in Greek.106
Who was this Constantine Anglikos? He calls himself «Constantine Platris, and otherwise Czech Anglikos, a humble and unworthy priest of Christ.» No person of this name is known from any other document. Clearly he was a foreigner – otherwise there would have been no point in examining him as to his beliefs. Why was he called Anglikos? Was he an Englishman, or at least in some way connected with England? In that case, what had he to do with the Czechs? It has been suggested that he was in fact no other than the famous Peter Payne, at one time Master of St. Edmund Hall, Oxford, a fervent Wyclifite, who was deeply involved in the Hussite movement. This identification must be judged highly improbable. All that we know of Peter Payne suggests that his associations were with the Taborites, the more radical among the Hussites, and it is hard to imagine a more unsuitable emissary from the Calixtine, or more conservative, party to the Church of Greece. Peter Payne was known in Bohemia as «Peter Anglikos,» or simply as «Anglikos,» but it is not necessary to conclude that he had a monopoly of this title.
In the reply of the Greeks to «the confessors of the true faith of Jesus Christ,» it is stated, on the evidence of «Anglikos,» that there were many people of the same conviction in various countries – Moldavia, Bohemia, and within the Teutonic and Hungarian borders – and that even in England, among emigrants from these countries, there was a considerable group of Christians inclined to the Orthodox faith. A brief exposition of Orthodoxy follows. In conclusion, it is plainly stated that a profession of true faith is not of itself sufficient, and that it is necessary to be in communion with the true Church, i.e. with the four Eastern patriarchates. The Czechs are invited to join the Greeks. Priests will be sent to instruct them, and some adjustments in matters of ritual are not impossible. As far as we can judge from the reply sent by the Czechs to the Greeks, this message was favourably received by the Prague Consistory of Hussites of the Calixtine section.107
Who were the Greeks with whom Constantine was negotiating? The signatures to the Greek document are revealing. Every single one of the signatories, including Gennadius, belongs to the group of irreconcilable opponents of the agreement of union made at the Council of Florence. The intransigent enemies of the union had a special interest in negotiation with the Czechs, who were also bitterly opposed to Rome, and had been excommunicated by that same Council which had succeeded in annexing the East. We have already indicated the motives which may have led the Utraquists to seek a rapprochement with the Greeks. It was a case of two minority groups reaching out to one another in order to overcome the isolation from which each was suffering.
Confusion is thrown into this picture by the only Greek source in which the episode is mentioned – the well-known Chronicon Ecclesiae Graecae of Philip Cyprius.108 Here it is suggested that the first step in the negotiations was taken in Constantinople. When word reached the Greeks of the noble effort of the Bohemians to reform the Church, they were filled with hope and confidence that communion could be established with them, and this they greatly preferred to communion with the Italians, of whom they had learned more than enough at the Council of Florence. They therefore sent a priest, Constantine Anglikos, to Prague to inquire into the matter. The report of this Greek delegate being satisfactory, he was sent again to Bohemia with a formal proposal. But in the following year, 1453, negotiations were terminated by the fall of Constantinople.
It is difficult to reconcile the two versions of the story; yet the episode is deeply revealing. It shows that already at that date the East had become involved in the actions and reactions of west European ecclesiastical policy. While standing firm in its own tradition, it could readily find points of contact with those in the West who were in opposition to Rome. Conversely, the East presented itself as a welcome ally to all non-Roman Christians in the West.
The episode of Constantine Anglikos as such had no results. The Calixtine party grew weaker rather than stronger and the further development of the Hussite movement took other directions. Yet it is interesting to note that again in 1491 delegates of the Czech Brethren were sent to the East in search of a living faith and a pure tradition. Unfortunately, very little is known of the results of this mission, though it seems probable that one of the delegates at least reached Moscow. Even more remarkable is the fact that in 1599, at the meeting with the Orthodox at Wilna with a view to the reopening of negotiations, Simon Turnovsky, one of the prominent Brethren leaders in Lithuania, referred in his proposals to the negotiations undertaken by Constantine Anglikos nearly one hundred and fifty years before.109
III. East and West Relationships From the Reformations Until the 19th Century
The Reformation was a crisis of the Western Church and did not directly affect the Church in the East. But before long the Reformation spread to some countries with a large Orthodox population, and the Orthodox were thereby compelled to face the implications of the new religious situation in the West. Poland was specially important in this respect.
The Orthodox, and especially the Greeks, were vitally interested in the political changes brought about by the religious strife in the West. They still cherished the hope of liberation, and still hoped that some help might come from the Western powers. But now the situation was markedly changed. The West itself was divided. The main political consequence of the Reformation was that Europe was split into two hostile camps; religious divisions gradually hardened into the two great political alliances which were to struggle for victory in the Thirty Years War (1618 – 1648). The Greeks had now to decide with which of the two power blocs it was wisest to associate their hope of freedom.
These Western powers themselves were interested in the moral support of the Orthodox, at that time under Turkish domination. We can trace through the centuries the close interest taken by foreign embassies at Constantinople in all discussions between the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the various European Churches. All ecumenical conversations unfortunately came to be complicated by diplomatic intrigues and political calculations. The inescapable fact was that at that period no political alliance with any European power – whether Roman Catholic or Protestant – was possible without some regulation of relationships in the religious as well as in the political field. Thus many of these ecumenical conversations were initiated, not so much because of any immediate theological concern, as from heavy diplomatic pressure arising from the general international situation.
There was another aspect of this general situation which should not be overlooked. Both religious groups in the West were interested in the witness of the Orthodox Church, which was regarded by all as a faithful representative of an ancient tradition. One of the matters of debate between Rome and the Reformers was precisely this: had Rome been loyal to the ancient tradition, or was it guilty of many unwarranted innovations and accretions? Conversely, was the Reformation really a return to the doctrine and practice of the primitive Church or was it a deviation from it? In this debate the witness of the Eastern Church was of primary importance. Like the great reforming Councils and Wyclif before him, Luther would on occasion invoke the Greek testimony to the fact of Roman departures from the tradition of the Faith. In the I6th and 17th centuries we find the witness of the Eastern Church quoted constantly by both parties in the Roman-Protestant controversy. Roman apologists would insist on the complete agreement between Rome and the East, recently consolidated by the Union of Florence. They would insist on the unbroken unity of doctrine between the two Catholic communions through the ages, in spite of the «schism.» On the other hand, various Protestant writers, and especially German Lutherans, would try to prove that the East was basically irreconcilable with Rome. They would point out that the very fact of the separation was the proof that the two Churches were not in agreement.
The Protestants were always interested in the life and destiny of the Christian East. On the one hand, they were interested in securing exact and first-hand knowledge of the Turkish Empire, and especially of the Christian population in these conquered areas, for whom Western Christians could not fail to feel sympathy. On the other, Russia was becoming an increasingly decisive factor in the general shaping of European policy, especially in the East. Many books, of various types and of different degrees of competence, were written in the period after the Reformation on the life, doctrine, and ethos of the Eastern Churches, partly by travellers, partly by foreign chaplains and diplomats resident in the East, partly by scholars who could use not only written or printed material, but also information obtained from Greek exiles or from occasional visitors. No comprehensive survey of this literature exists; it was, nevertheless, of decisive importance in shaping European public opinion on oriental affairs.
It is difficult to summarize the impressions which Western readers might gather from these various sources. There was usually a tension between two general impressions. On the one hand, Western visitors were often bewildered by the low standards of life prevailing among the Orthodox, in the main the consequence of centuries of bondage; and by the unfamiliar character of life in the Near East and even in Russia. Some concluded that this East did not really belong to Europe, but was another and an alien world, more closely linked with Asia. The Protestants tended to be unfavourably impressed by the ritualistic character of the Church, which they would describe as superstitious and even idolatrous. Some Roman Catholics shared this opinion, if for different reasons, and wished to plan a fresh evangelization of the barbarian and schismatic East.
On the other hand, true scholars could easily detect, beneath this unappealing surface, a deep spiritual life and the glorious heritage of the early Church. They were inclined to suggest that this heritage should be disentangled from its barbaric and superstitious setting, that is to say, that the Eastern Church should experience its own Reformation, and free itself from the embarrassing legacies of its own Middle Ages. In this way it might come very close to the Protestant world. Few Continental Protestants felt that there was anything they themselves could learn from the East. Anglicans, on the contrary, were inclined to believe that the prospective contribution of the Eastern Church might be considerable, simply because in the Greek Church continuity with the undivided Church of the first centuries had never been broken.
It is against this complicated background that we have to consider the various ecumenical contacts between the East and the West.
In 1557 a special Swedish delegation visited Moscow. Two prominent Church leaders were among the delegates – Laurentius Petri, the first Lutheran Archbishop of Uppsala, and Michael Agricola, the Finnish Reformer. The delegates met with the Metropolitan of Moscow (Macarius), obviously on the initiative of the Tsar Ivan the Terrible. The main topics for discussion were the veneration of icons and fasting.
Greek was the language of the conversation, but Russian interpreters were very poor. The episode is interesting as a proof of interest on both sides in the religious aspect of relationship between the two nations.110
In the year 1573 a new Imperial Ambassador was appointed to Constantinople, Baron David Ungnad von Sonnegk. He took with him a Lutheran chaplain, Stephen Gerlach, a graduate of Tubingen University and subsequently professor at the same, who carried private letters for the Ecumenical Patriarch from Martin Crusius, a prominent Hellenic scholar of the time, and Jakob Andreae, Chancellor of the University. It might seem that Crusius had originally no ecclesiastical concern; he was interested rather in getting first-hand information on the contemporary state of the Greek nation under Turkish rule. Yet even in these first letters unity and fellowship in the Faith had been emphatically mentioned. A few months later a further letter was dispatched from Tübingen under the joint signature of Crusius and Andreae, to which a copy of the Augsburg Confession in Greek had been appended. Gerlach was directed to submit it to the Patriarch, and to obtain from him a reply and comments. It was suggested that the Patriarch might see that there was basic agreement in doctrine between the Orthodox and the Lutherans, in spite of an obvious divergence in ritual practice between the two Churches.
The reply of the Patriarch, Jeremiah II, was friendly, but disappointing from the Lutheran point of view. The Patriarch suggested that the Lutherans should join the Orthodox Church and accept its traditional teaching. He wrote in his own name, as an individual and not with synodical authority, but naturally he had the advise and co-operation of other Greek hierarchs and scholars. It seems that Theodosius Zygomalas was the main contributor, but the final draft was carefully revised by Jeremiah himself. The document was by no means an original composition, nor did it claim originality. It was deliberately compiled from traditional sources. The main authorities were Nicolas Cabasilas, Symeon of Thessalonica, and Joseph Bryennios, all renowned Byzantine theologians of the 14th and 15th centuries, and, among the early Fathers, especially St. Basil and St. John Chrysostom. Great emphasis was laid on loyalty to tradition. This constituted probably the greatest difficulty for the Lutherans, with their emphasis on «Scripture only.»
There were some special points on which the Patriarch could not agree with Lutheran teaching. He agreed, in general, with the Lutheran view of original sin, but wished to stress human freedom as well. Nothing can be done without the divine initiative, yet the grace of God is freely received, and therefore faith and good works cannot be separated, nor should they be opposed to each other or sharply contrasted. In the chapter on the sacraments, the Patriarch insisted that there are seven sacraments. He could not accept the doctrine of Holy Eucharist, as expounded in the Augsburg Confession; the Eucharist is not only a sacrament, but also a sacrifice. The Patriarch stressed the importance of the Sacrament of Penance, from both the theological and the moral points of view. He disavowed all abuses which had crept into penitential practice, but strongly insisted on penitential exercises as a helpful medicine for sinners. In conclusion, the Patriarch dwelt at length on some controversial points of practice – the invocation of saints and monastic vows.
Strangely enough, the Patriarch said hardly anything on the doctrine of the Church, and nothing at all about eschatology. He seemed to be satisfied with the statement on Holy Orders in the Augsburg Confession, that no man can administer the sacraments and preach the Word of God, «unless he has been duly called and ordained to this function.» This was a vague statement and could be variously interpreted. Clearly the Orthodox interpretation was not the same as the Lutheran. The Patriarch concluded his message with a concrete proposal. If the Lutherans were prepared wholeheartedly to adhere to the Orthodox doctrine as expounded in his reply, he was prepared to receive them into communion, and in this way the two Churches could be made one.
The whole document is irenical in tone, and perhaps for that very reason it failed to carry conviction. It was not so much an analysis or criticism of the Augsburg Confession as a parallel exposition of Orthodox doctrine. It is the last doctrinal statement set forth in the East, in which little or no influence of Western tradition can be detected. It was, in some sense, an epitome of and an epilogue to Byzantine theology. It is clear that the Patriarch was interested in the new move in the West away from Rome, and he was probably asking himself to what extent it was possible to expect the Western dissenters to join the Eastern Church. For him, this was the only natural approach to the problem of unity, and possibly it was the only approach which in the 16th century could have been considered. The East had been for centuries estranged from the West, and the crux of the separation was the papal claim to supremacy. Now there was a new anti-Roman movement in the West. Might this develop as a return to that earlier tradition, which the East had for ages steadfastly maintained?
The Lutherans at Tübingen were interested in exactly the same problem, but from an opposite point of view. Was the Orthodox East prepared to accept that sound doctrine which, as they held, had been formulated in the Confession of Augsburg? The Patriarch’s comments were a disappointment. The Tubingen theologians felt themselves obliged to offer explanations, and supplied the Patriarch with some fresh material. The correspondence went on for several years, but was at last terminated by the Patriarch’s refusal to enter into any further discussions on doctrine. He was prepared to continue friendly contacts, and in fact some years later another series of letters was exchanged between Jeremiah and his Tübingen correspondents; in these doctrinal topics were not handled.
Two points remain for consideration. First, the Greek translation of the Augsburg Confession which was sent to Constantinople was itself a remarkable document. The translation was first published in Basle in 1559 under the name of Paul Dolscius, and was reprinted in Wittenberg in 1587. There seems to be little doubt that the translation was in reality made by Melanchthon himself, with the help of a certain Demetrios, a deacon of the Greek Church, who was on mission in Germany and was staying with Melanchthon at the very time at which the translation was being made. The text used was not the official version, but a special version of the Variata of 1531; the translation was a free interpretation of the text, rather than a literal rendering. There is no doubt that this Greek translation was intended primarily for the Greeks and not for domestic circulation: Melanchthon was much annoyed by its publication, as he alleged, without his knowledge and consent. Was this just a diplomatic disguise or an adaptation to Greek usage? Or was the whole venture inspired by a deep conviction that basically and essentially Lutheran doctrine was in agreement with the patristic tradition? Melanchthon was a good patristic scholar and his respect for the Greek Fathers was genuine. He could sincerely believe that the Lutheran Confession might be acceptable to the Greeks. In 1559 he had sent a copy, with a personal letter, to the Patriarch Joasaph. His letter, however, probably never reached the Patriarch.
It does not seem that the Tübingen theologians intended their correspondence with the Patriarch Jeremiah for publication. They were compelled to publish by an unfortunate breach of confidence on the part of the Greeks. A copy of the Patriarch’s first reply, by inadvertence or by a deliberate indiscretion, came into the hands of a Polish priest, Stanislaus Sokolovius, who was chaplain to the King of Poland, Stephen Batory, and he published it in Latin, with some comments of his own, under an offensive title: The Judgement of the Eastern Church: on the main doctrines of the heretics of our century (1582). The book immediately obtained wide currency and was translated into German. Pope Gregory XIII himself, through a special messenger, congratulated the Patriarch upon his noble rejoinder to the «schismatics.» This unexpected and premature publicity compelled the Lutherans to publish all the documents (1584). This publication at once provoked a rejoinder by the Roman Catholics. An irenical approach had proved to be a call to battle.
This intervention by a Polish priest becomes immediately intelligible in the light of the religious situation in Poland at the time.111 The Reformation had quickly spread to Poland, and at first had great success. Numerous Lutheran and Calvinistic communities were established, especially in Lithuania. The attitude of the Roman Catholic episcopate and clergy was hesitant and passive. The Reformation had the support of the royal court. Poland, in the first half of the 16th century, could be described by a contemporary as a «paradise for heretics.» It took a long time before the Roman Church could mobilize its forces. The invitation issued to the Jesuits (upon the initiative of Cardinal Stanislaus Hosius, one of the leaders at the Council of Trent) decided the struggle. At the same time there was a change of dynasty in Poland, and the new king was whole-heartedly on the Roman Catholic side. But there was also a large Orthodox population in the country. Roman propaganda was concerned not only with the suppression of the «Protestant heresy,» but also with the abolition of the «Eastern schism.» In the resulting conflicts, it was of importance whether the Orthodox attached themselves to the Roman or to the Protestant side.
Ultimately there was a split among the Orthodox themselves. Some of the higher clergy were in favour of Rome, and in the end almost all the bishops, repudiating the authority of Constantinople, went over to Rome; thus a Uniate Church was inaugurated in Poland by the so-called Union of Brest (1596).112
This secession of the Orthodox bishops created a strained and difficult situation for the Orthodox. The Polish Government, now avowedly pro-Roman, contended that the action of the bishops was binding on the people, that, from the legal point of view, the Orthodox Church no longer existed in Poland, and that those Orthodox who refused to follow their bishops were nothing but schismatics and rebels, and as such outlaws. Very few, however, among the clergy and laity were ready to follow the bishops. For many years a vigorous struggle raged between the Orthodox and the Uniates, not without bloodshed and the use of violence. There was also a continuous effort, in the name of religious freedom, to secure legal recognition for the Orthodox Church. It was natural for the Orthodox to seek the aid of their Protestant brethren, who were, at least from the legal point of view, in the same situation.
In 1577 a book was published by a Polish Jesuit, Peter Skarga, On The Unity of the Church and the Greek Apostasy, and this was followed later by another book in defence of the Uniate Church in Poland (1596). The Orthodox published a rejoinder – the Apokrisis (1597) – under the pseudonym of Christopher Philalethes. This was the chief apology from the Orthodox side. It was widely distributed, and reissued even in the 19th century, as a genuine statement of Orthodox belief. But in reality it was compiled by a Protestant. A Calvinist layman, Martin Bronsky, a distinguished Polish diplomat, was the author of this pro-Orthodox volume. It was based mainly on Calvin’s Institutes and on the Calvinist anti-Roman polemical literature, a fact which could not escape detection by the Jesuites.
More important than theological controversy was the close co-operation between Orthodox and Protestants in the common fight for freedom. The Council convened at Brest in 1596 for the official promulgation of the union with Rome was broken up by the Orthodox laity. They were aided by the delegates of the Ecumenical Patriarch, one of whom, Nicephorus, was arrested and executed by the Polish Government as a political spy and rebel. The Council was split into two separate meetings – the Uniate minority with all the bishops, and an overwhelming majority of clergy and laity. The latter drafted a vigorous protest against the violation of their faith and religious freedom. The antipathy of the Orthodox to the Union was obvious, but their problem remained unsolved. The Orthodox had no legal status in Poland and no bishops. Canonically the Orthodox Church in Poland and Lithuania was under the jurisdiction of Constantinople, and thus Constantinople became vitally interested in the result of the struggle,
Politically much depended on the side taken by Poland in the general European conflict, by the result of which the solution of the Eastern question would be determined. Poland was already at loggerheads with Hungary and Sweden, which were associated with the Protestant cause. Again, the attitude of Moscow was of grave importance. Since the end of the 15th century, the Holy See had been deeply interested in the attitude of Moscow, and had made various attempts to secure its political support. In these attempts political and ecclesiastical problems were always intermingled. In the latter part of the 16th century, Rome was desperately interested in the question of the relations between Poland and Moscow. One of the greatest of Roman diplomats, who was also an expert theologian, Antonio Possevino, was sent to Moscow in the days of the Tsar Ivan IV (the Terrible). His political mission was to secure the adhesion of Moscow to the pro-Roman European league, and also its participation in the projected offensive against the Turks, in which the Orthodox living under Turkish rule were naturally vitally concerned. At the same time, Possevino was one of the promoters of the Uniate Church in Poland. At one time Ivan IV was regarded as a candidate for the Polish throne, and in the electoral campaign he had the support of both the Orthodox and the Protestants but was strongly opposed by the Roman Catholics.
It is in this confused perspective that we have to interpret the unexpected visit of the Ecumenical Patriarch (the same Jeremiah II who had corresponded with Crusius and his friends at Tübingen) to Moscow, a few years before the Council of Brest. Certainly he had reasons of his own for making this difficult and dangerous journey. The Emperor at Moscow was at that time the only Orthodox ruler of international importance. The result of the Patriarch’s visit was also unexpected. The Church of Russia was raised to the status of a new Patriarchate (1589); in the following year this was officially recognized by all the Patriarchs in the East, but was bitterly resented in Poland. As leader of the Greeks in Turkey, the Patriarch was interested both in the support of the Orthodox ruler of Russia and in the sympathy of the Protestant nations. For this reason he wished to continue friendly contacts with Protestant theologians. He wrote to Tübingen again during his stay in Moscow. All these non-theological factors weighed heavily on the ecumenical deliberations of that time.
Two special episodes must be recorded at this point. The first was more curious than important. In 1570 a Polish diplomatic mission went to Moscow. One of the delegates, John Krotovsky, was a member of the Church of the Czech Brethren and a convinced Protestant. He was accompanied by a theologian of that Church, John Rokyta, a prominent Senior of the community in Lytomysl. They had hoped to convert the Tsar to their faith. This was of importance, inasmuch as they were prepared to support Ivan as a candidate for the throne of Poland and Lithuania. The Tsar himself was interested in theology and was well read in patristic writings. He arranged for a public disputation about the Faith to be held. The Tsar imagined Rokyta to be a Lutheran, and dealt with Protestantism in general in his replies. Rokyta presented his statement, and Ivan answered with a lengthy theological treatise repudiating Lutheran heresies, a copy of which was handed to Rokyta.113 This was in no sense an original work, but the argument was conducted on a genuinely theological level. The documents were published in Latin shortly after the meeting took place.
In the meantime, the legal position of the Orthodox in Poland remained unsatisfactory. Constantinople was interested in the situation. It is of interest to record that for several years an official representative of the Patriarchate was in Poland, helping the Orthodox resistance. This was Cyril Loukaris, the future Patriarch of Alexandria and Constantinople and author of the famous pro-Calvinist Confession. It seems that he made his first contacts with Protestants during his stay in Poland, and that his experience there to a great extent determined his later position in the interconfessional situation.
In 1599 an important conference met in Wilna. A small group of Protestant ministers, including Lutherans, Calvinists, and Brethren, met with the representatives of the Orthodox clergy and laity. The Orthodox leader was Prince Constantine Ostrogsky, one of the greatest magnates under the Polish Crown and a prominent leader in the field of education and literature. It was on his initiative and with his help that the first Slavonic Bible was printed, in his city Ostrog in Volhynia, in 1580. In a sense, he can be described as one of the first supporters in the Orthodox Church of the ecumenical idea. He was deeply concerned for Christian unity, and, above all, he desired that Christians in Poland should be united. For that reason he was interested at the same time in a rapprochement between the Orthodox and the Roman Catholics, and in a confederation of the Orthodox with the Protestants. He was more of a statesman than a churchman, and there was some ambiguity in his vision of Christian unity. Yet he did much to strengthen his own Church.
The immediate purpose of the Wilna meeting in 1599 was to agree on the policy to be followed in the struggle for religious freedom. A kind of confederation for that purpose was established, and then the further question of union was raised. The initiative was taken by the President of the Brethren Church in Poland, Simon Turnovsky, who suggested that an attempt to achieve complete religious unity should be made. The Orthodox representatives at the meeting were evasive, not to say openly hostile. Some questions for further discussion were drafted and sent to Constantinople, under the joint signature of the Protestant leaders. The letter was acknowledged by the Locum Tenens of the Patriarchate, the future Patriarch of Alexandria, Meletios Pigas. The reply was non-committal, as Meletios was anxious to avoid at that moment an open conflict with the Polish Government. No further action was taken. The initiative taken by the Brethern Church was indicative of a sincere desire for unity. Yet there was a Utopian flavour about the whole enterprise, since the authors of the proposal were unaware of the depth of the differences between themselves and the Greek Church.
Since the fall of Constantinople, the Greek Church had had to face a very grave problem. An increasing number of Greeks was going to study in western universities, especially in Italy. Even those who kept the faith of their fathers were in danger of being inwardly Westernized or Latinized. In 1577 the famous College of St. Athanasius had been established at Rome, specially for Greek students. Roman propaganda among the Greeks was steadily growing, and was usually supported by some among the Western powers.The only alternative available was to send students to Protestant universities in Germany, Holland, or Switzerland. The real harm done by this Western education was not so much that some unorthodox ideas were adopted by the Orthodox, as that they were in danger of losing their Eastern or Orthodox mentality, and of thereby becoming estranged from the living tradition. At the same time the Orthodox Church was compelled to clarify its position in the raging conflict between Rome and the Reformation. It became usual at that time to use Protestant arguments against Rome and Roman arguments against Protestants, without checking either carefully in the light of Eastern tradition.
This was the root of a «pseudomorphosis» of Orthodox thought. This term was used by Oswald Spengler «to designate those cases in which an older alien culture lies so massively over the land that a young culture, born in this land, cannot get its breath and fails not only to achieve pure and specific expression-forms, but even to develop fully its own self-consciousness.» We may use the term also in a wider sense. «Pseudomorphosis» may become a kind of schism in the soul, in cases where an alien language or symbolism, for some imperative reason, is adopted as a means of self-expression. «Thus,» to continue the quotation from Spengler, «there arise distorted forms, crystals whose inner structure contradicts their external shape, stones of one kind presenting the appearance of stones of another kind.»
Many reasons led Orthodox theology in those ages to speak in the idiom of the Roman or Protestant worlds. At first the influence was confined to theological vocabulary and method. The term «transubstantiation,» unknown in patristic Greek, was first adopted without any desire to innovate in doctrine. The next step was to borrow the full scholastic terminology to express the doctrine of the sacraments. On the other hand, it was tempting to use Protestant terminology, e.g. on the doctrine of original sin, which had never been adequately formulated in the age of the Fathers or in Byzantine theology.
Further, we must not forget the continued pressure of non-theological factors. The Turkish Government used frequently to intervene in the election of Patriarchs, and paid special attention to the political orientation of the candidates. Patriarchs, especially in Constantinople, were often deposed, sometimes again re-elected. The long list of Patriarchs in the late 16th and 17th centuries gives the impression that usually a pro-Roman candidate was followed by a pro-Protestant, and vice versa.
It is in this connection that we must understand the strange and tragic career of Cyril Loukaris.
This remarkable man was born in Crete in 1572, and, after a period of study in Italy, was sent to Poland to serve as a champion of the Orthodox faith. In 1602, at the early age of thirty, he became Patriarch of Alexandria, and held this position for nearly twenty years. He was then transferred to Constantinople as Ecumenical Patriarch. His eighteen years’ tenure of the patriarchal throne was marked by endless trials and reversals of fortune. From the time of his service in Poland, he had been a strenuous opponent of the Roman Catholic Church, which, supported by France, was bending all its energies towards making its position dominant in the Turkish Empire. The Roman Catholics retaliated by using against Loukaris every possible weapon of calumny, intrigue, and even violence. Four times he was deposed from his office, and four times reinstated. At last his enemies were successful in compassing his destruction: on 7 July 1638 he was executed by Orders of the Sultan Murad, and his body thrown into the Sea of Marmora.
Loukaris was a high-minded man, with a profound desire to bring about a reformation in the life of the Orthodox Churches and a restoration of the life of the sorely-oppressed Greek people. But the political complexities of his time often drew him away from his religious duties on to the slippery paths of politics, and his career was marked by uncertainty of principle and inconsistency of action. He «failed to reconcile his duty as the Primate of the Orthodox Church with the exigencies of high politics and with his aims at spiritual leader of his Nation.»114 Yet he stands out as the most remarkable figure in the history of the Orthodox Churches since the capture of Constantinople by the Turks (1453), and he is still widely venerated in Greece and in Crete, his native island, as a great national leader and martyr.
The Greek Churches, under Turkish domination, were desperately in need of Western help. From an early date Loukaris was convinced that the Roman Catholics were wholly unreliable, and that such help as was desired could be obtained only from the Protestant powers. At Constantinople he was in touch with the embassies of all the Protestant nations, and corresponded with King Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden and his famous Chancellor Axel Oxenstierna, and the Transylvanian prince Bethlen Gabor, the champion of Protestantism in Hungary.
As early as 1602, Loukaris had become acquainted with the Dutch diplomat Cornelius Haga, who was later Dutch Minister at Constantinople, and with the Calvinistic theologian Uytenbogaert. The exact nature of Loukaris’ relations with Protestants and Protestantism has been and is still a matter of controversy; but it seems clear that from this time on he became deeply interested in the study of Protestant theology, and tended to combine certain Calvinistic elements with his Orthodox convictions.
Later on Loukaris entered into relations with the Anglicans through the mediation of the British Ambassador at Constantinople, Sir Thomas Roe, a man of wide ecumenical vision and a friend and adviser of John Dury. Through Roe, he made contact with Archbishop Abbot of Canterbury, to whom he presented an ancient codex of the Pentateuch in Arabic. He also presented to King James I the famous Codex Alexandrinus of the Bible.115 The Anglicans reciprocated with the gift of a printing-press with new typography, on which a number of theological works were printed before it fell victim to the fury of the Jesuits. According to one witness,116 Loukaris had intended to dedicate his Confession of Faith to Charles I of England.
Even during his days at Alexandria Loukaris had begun to enter into contact with the Church of England. It was no accident that in 1617 he sent his Protosynkellos, Metrophanes Kritopoulos, to study theology at Oxford. We do not know exactly what instructions were given to Kritopoulos; but, on his way back to Greece after the completion of his studies at Oxford and Helmstedt, he stopped at Geneva, and certainly entered into discussion with the pastors and professors there as to the possibility of closer relations between the Orthodox and Protestant Churches. It was as a result of these discussions that the Geneva Church dispatched a representative to Constantinople, the Piedmontese Antoine Leger, a convinced Calvinist, who was to play a most important part in the subsequent history of Loukaris.
In 1629 Leger published at Geneva, in Latin, a work entitled The Confession of Faith of the Most Reverend Lord Cyril, Patriarch of Constantinople, set forth in the name and with the consent of the Patriarchs of Alexandria and Jerusalem and other heads of the Eastern Churches. French, English, and German translations followed almost immediately, though it appears that the complete Greek text was not printed until 1633.
The sensation was immense. Here was one of the greatest Patriarchs of the Orthodox Churches of the East setting forth his faith in the authentic terms of Calvinism. The experts could recognize in the eighteen articles of the Confession the influence of the writings of Calvin himself, and of the Confessio Belgica. Immediate use was made of the Confession by both sides in the Roman Catholic-Protestant controversy – by the Protestants to prove the essential oneness of their faith with that of the Eastern Churches, by the Roman Catholics to prove the apostasy of the Greeks.
It was not long before efforts were made to prove that the Confession was a forgery. These, however, cannot be sustained. The original of the Confession is preserved in the Public Library at Geneva. The manuscripts, allusions in the letters of Loukaris, and the testimonies of contemporaries combine to prove beyond a shadow of doubt that the Confession really was his work. Nor can this be regarded as really surprising. It is probable that the emotional and political pressure exercised by Leger strengthened the Calvinistic impress on the Confession; but Loukaris had been deeply influenced by his contacts with the West, and there is no doubt that he had come to accept certain identifiably Calvinistic tenets. As Hugo Grotius commented, in this matter Loukaris was actuated by political rather than by theological motives. The setting forth of the Confession was an ecumenical gesture, intended to facilitate the rapprochement between the Orthodox and the Protestants which Loukaris judged to be necessary, and to secure the support of the Protestants in the conflicts which he saw to be inevitable. Yet this procedure was highly dangerous. An element of falsity was introduced into inter-ecclesiastical relationships, and reactions within the Orthodox Church were such as to make impossible the very thing that Loukaris had desired.
Loukaris was by no doubt an outstanding personality. Yet his following within his own Church was comparatively small, and his position as Patriarch gave him no right to speak on behalf of the whole Church. Shortly after his death, the Confession was condemned by two synods, and this not only because the successor of Loukaris, Cyril of Beroea, was inclined to support the Roman Catholic cause; the condemnations represented fairly the Orthodox reactions to the situation. But it was not enough to condemn Loukaris; the harm, from the Orthodox point of view, could be undone only by the official substitution for the unorthodox Confession of another Confession, genuinely Eastern and Orthodox. The violence of the controversies which raged in the 17th century, and the repeated efforts to refute Loukaris, testify to the gravity of the situation.
The first theological refutation of Loukaris came from Kiev. This was the famous Orthodox Confession, commonly known by the name of its author or editor, Peter Mogila, a Moldavian by birth, of Polish education and training, and Metropolitan of Kiev. The work was a kind of catechism, and the name of Loukaris was not even mentioned. But contemporary writers unanimously regarded the document as a reply or rejoinder to the heretical Confession of Loukaris. It is difficult to say to what extent Mogila himself was the author of this catechism; probably it was a collective work. Originally it was written in Latin, and the original text has recently been discovered and published. There is no doubt that the book was written not only under Latin influences but also on the basis of Roman sources, e.g. the Catechism of Peter Canisius. Serious objections were raised against the original draft by Greek theologians, especially Meletios Syrigos I, during the consultation on the document at Jassy in 1642, and certain changes were made in the text. Meletios translated the document into Greek, and this edited and amended text received the approval of the Ecumenical Patriarch Parthenios in 1643. It was first printed in Holland in 1667, and was immediately used by the Roman Catholics for polemical purposes.
Peter Mogila may be regarded as almost an extreme case of the pseudomorphosis of which we have already spoken. It was he who organized in Kiev the first theological school for the Church of that region. For a variety of reasons, this school was organized on a Roman Catholic pattern. It was a Latin school, in the sense that all subjects, including theology, were taught in Latin. In Kiev in the early 17th century, this method might be considered normal, since in Poland Latin was the official language of education and even of the courts. When, however, the system was extended to Great Russia, the situation became abnormal. And this is what happened. All the theological schools were established on the Kiev model, and until the early 19th century all theological education was given in Latin, which was neither the language of public worship nor the spoken language of the worshippers. Thus theology became detached from the ordinary life of the Church, while the Orthodox schools became closely linked to the theological schools of the West, in which, whether Protestant or Roman Catholic, Latin was the language of instruction. In Kiev in the 17th century, the identification went so far that Roman Catholic textbooks were actually used in the theological school.
In the 18th century, the contrary pseudomorphosis occurred. Theophanes Prokopovich (1681 – 1736) had studied in the Jesuit College in Rome, and had actually become a Roman Catholic. However, on returning to Kiev in 1704, he resumed his Orthodox faith, and became professor of theology and later rector of the theological academy in that place. In 1718 he was appointed the bishop of Pskov by Peter the Great. By reaction against Roman Catholicism, he introduced a number of Protestant theological text-books unto the course of studies and his own System of Theology, written in Latin, was in the main based on the Syntagma of Amand Polanus, a Reformed theologian of Basle. The successors of Prokopovich followed his lead.117
It is important not to exaggerate the effects of these contacts in either direction. Certain scholars were influenced by Western theological ideas, and this influence made easier a number of genuinely ecumenical contacts. But, although it took a long time for Orthodox theology to recover its native independence, those who had undergone these external influences were never truly representative of the Orthodox tradition, and there was always an element of illusion in hopeful contacts based on their presentation of the Eastern faith.
An interesting exchange of views between Russian theologians and Lutherans took place in Moscow in the early 17th century. The new Tsar of Russia, Michael Romanoff, planned to marry his daughter to a Danish prince, Valdemar, who was a Lutheran. There were difficulties in the way. The Russians would not agree to the marriage of the princess to a prince who was not Orthodox. Matters were not helped on by the decision of a Church Council held in Moscow in 1620 not to recognize any baptisms other than those of the Orthodox Church. Prince Valdemar naturally refused to be «rebaptized» and was deaf to all the attempts of the Russians to persuade him. For a considerable time discussion continued between the prince’s chaplain, Pastor Faulhaber, and a group of Orthodox clergy. This was not so much an ecumenical exchange of ideas as a confessional dispute; yet it gave an opportunity for frank discussion of agreements and disagreements between the two Churches, Orthodox and Lutheran. In the end, however, the marriage proposals broke down, and Prince Valdemar went home.
The Roman Catholics had long been accustomed to invoke the witness of the Greek Church. The most interesting example of this use of the Eastern witness is to be found in the negotiations between the French Ambassador at Constantinople, the Marquis de Nointel, and the Greek bishops in the last quarter of the 17th century. These were connected with the famous French controversy on the Eucharist between the group of Port-Royal, Arnauld, Nicole, and others, including Renaudot the liturgiologist, and the Calvinist theologians, especially Claude, the Huguenot minister of Charenton.118 One of the main questions discussed by the controversialists was the Eucharistic faith and doctrine of the ancient Church, and in this connection the testimony of the Eastern Church was sought and scrutinized. A careful study of the ancient liturgies of the East became necessary, and the great liturgiological publications of E. Renaudot were directly connected with the dispute. Reference to Eastern belief and practice was one of the main arguments on both sides, but the Eastern witness was differently interpreted.
The Western controversy naturally centred on the term «transubstantiation,» the shibboleth of the Roman party, and it was essential to determine the meaning attached by the Orthodox to this particular terminology. The inquiry was pursued along two lines. First, the testimonies of the Greek Fathers, including the early liturgical texts, were scrutinized; secondly, an authoritative statement and interpretation was sought from the contemporary Eastern Church. The Calvinists used regularly to invoke the Confession of Loukaris, while the Romans were anxious to discredit and to discard this document; but nothing would serve to discredit Loukaris, who after all had held for many years two great patriarchal sees in the East, except an official document of authority at least equal to his.
The Roman Catholics were searching for witnesses everywhere, using the help of French diplomatic and consular officials in the various Orthodox centres. De Nointel was able to obtain a series of statements from individuals and from hierarchical groups; but the greatest reward of his zeal was that he succeeded in securing a «conciliar» statement, signed by all the Eastern Patriarchs and by other prelates, the famous Decree of the Council of Jerusalem of 1672. It is certain that a copy of the Decree was communicated to de Nointel officially and directly by the Patriarch Dionysius of Constantinople himself, and that the Ambassador was asked to produce an official acknowledgement of its receipt. It is difficult to say to what extent he had exercised any direct pressure. It seems, however, that he was urging the Orthodox to dissociate themselves, as clearly as possible, from the pro-Protestant tendency exhibited in the Confession of Loukaris.
We must not identify the «Romanizing» tendency in the Orthodox theology of the 17th century with a leaning towards union with Rome. Strangely enough, on most cases these «Romanizing» theologians were openly «anti-Roman.» Peter Mogila himself, in spite of his close dependence upon Roman sources in his theological and liturgical publications, was the head of the Orthodox Church in Poland, whose very purpose and aim was to defy the Uniate Church of that country. Dositheos, the Patriarch of Jerusalem, who was chiefly responsible for the Council of 1672, was also a staunch «anti-Roman» (or «anti-Latin,» as he would have been described in his own time), an ardent defender of tradition, a vigorous fighter against Roman propaganda and proselytism in the East. Later on, it was he who was persistently to dissuade Peter the Great from using in Russia any of the graduates of the Kiev college, or any «foreigners,» meaning probably Greeks educated in Italy, whom he suspected of a «Latinizing» tendency.
The whole situation had a definite ecumenical significance. For historical reasons, the Orthodox had to restate their tradition with direct reference to the Roman-Protestant conflict and tension. At that time, the main problem was that of faith and doctrine, with a special emphasis on sacramental theology. The problem of Orders was touched upon but slightly and occasionally. The most interesting feature in this early phase of Orthodox ecumenical contacts was that it was recognized, in practice and implicitly, that the Christian East belonged organically to the Christian world, and that its witness and attitude were highly relevant to the life and destiny of Christendom at large. This was in itself an ecumenical achievement: it was no longer possible for the East and the West to ignore each other.
Peter the Great (1672 – 1725) was seriously concerned with ecclesiastical affairs. During his first visit to Holland, England, and other countries in 1699, he was interested not only in west European techniques, but in questions of ecclesiastical organization. In London he had conversations with Archbishop Tenison of Canterbury and with Bishop Burnet of Salisbury, who wrote of him: «I have been oft with him. On Monday last I was four hours there… He hearkened to no part of what I told him more attentively than when I explained the authority that the Christian Emperors assumed in matters of Religion and the Supremacy of our Kings. I convinced him that the question of the Procession of the H. Ghost was a subtlety that ought not to make a schism in the Church. He yielded that Saints ought not to be praied to and was only for keeping the image of Christ, but that it only to be a Remembrance and not an object of worship. I insisted much to show him the great designs of Christianity in the Reforming men’s hearts and lives which he assured me he would apply himself to.»119
The interest displayed by Peter was in line with what is known of his outlook at that time. It seems that he was already fairly well acquainted with the problems of the Reformation, especially in its political aspect. He may well have been introduced to the subject by those foreigners in the «German Settlement» in Moscow, with whom he was very intimate. In London he had contacts with the Quakers. Apparently his interest in ecclesiastical problems was widely known; if so, we can understand why, as early as 1708, Leibniz should select Peter as the most suitable person for convening a new Ecumenical Council.
There was a general feeling among German Protestants at that time that a rapprochement between them and the Church of Russia was quite feasible. It was felt that the necessary adjustments in faith and doctrine could easily be made. Only the Church in Russia had to be somehow «reformed.» What is usually called «the ecclesiastical reform» of Peter was in fact a sort of political Reformation, with an open proclamation of the Emperor’s ultimate authority both in spiritual and in temporal affairs, a complete disregard of the traditional Canon Law of the East. The fact that the Eastern Patriarchs agreed to the change and recognized the new arrangement does not obscure the true meaning of the reform.
What was even more important was that, in the newly organized theological schools, a kind of Lutheran Orthodoxy was established as normal teaching. The greatest representative of this «Lutheranized Orthodoxy» was Theophanes Prokopovich, a very learned man, the chief ecclesiastical adviser of Peter.120 Prokopovich was in constant intercourse with foreign scholars. There was a group of foreign scholars in the new Academy of Science at St. Petersburg, and one of its members published in 1723 an interesting booklet under the provocative title: Ecclesia Graeca Lutheranizans.121
Some special links existed between Russia and the famous Pietist centre in Halle. The ecumenical interests of the Halle circle had always a missionary as well as an ecumenical connotation. Slavonic publications of the Halle centre show that there was an attempt to propagate Lutheran ideas in Russia.122 In connection with the marriage of Peter’s son Alexius to a German princess, the Berlin Academy, upon the proposal of Heineccius, the author of an interesting book on the Eastern Church,123 was considering a plan for the «evangelization» of Russia, and sought the advice of Leibniz.
There was one Russian (or Ukrainian) student at Halle, Simon Todorsky, a brilliant student of Oriental languages, who was later Bishop of Pskov and instructed Catherine II in religion. Catherine II says of him that, in his opinion, there was no real difference between Lutheran doctrine and that of the Eastern Church. Under these presuppositions, a rapprochement between the two Churches could easily be achieved. No practical proposal to that effect, however, was ever brought forward on the Orthodox side. The only result was that the concept of the Church became increasingly vague in Russian theology.
Two episodes of the early 18th century call for special attention: the attempt by the doctors of the Sorbonne to negotiate a reunion with the Church of Russia, and the proposal of a concordat made by British Non-juring bishops to the Orthodox Churches in Russia and in the Near East. These proposals were very different in scope and nature, yet in both cases the initiative was taken by a minority group which desired to escape from its historical isolation.
During his stay in Paris in 1717, Peter the Great was received in a solemn session at the Sorbonne, and the question of the restoration of unity between the Churches of the East and of the West was raised. The French Church at that time was sorely agitated by debates on the famous Bull Unigenitus, which had been promulgated by Pope Clement XI in 1713.124 Immediately upon the publication of the Bull, the Sorbonne had accepted it, but reluctantly, under the threats and pressure of the State. But after the death of Louis XIV the doctors reversed their decision, and voted almost unanimously in favour of an appeal to a future general council.
The Appellants, as they were then labelled, wished to strengthen their position by an alliance with other Churches. They had, as it seems, no special interest in the Eastem tradition, of which probably they had only vague notions, and no particular sympathy for the Eastern ethos. What they were interested in was prospective allies against the papacy, and doubtless they had been impressed by the growing prestige and influence of Peter the Great in the international field. Peter declined to take any action himself, but suggested that a direct approach might be made to the Russian bishops. A memorandum was drafted, signed by eighteen doctors, and registered at the Archbishop’s office. It was a typical «uniate» proposal, except that the position of the Pope was explained in the Gallican spirit. The difference in rite and doctrines was admitted. On the Filioque clause it was said that both interpretations, Western and Eastern, were essentially to the same effect. The memorandum ended with a pathetic appeal to the Tsar, who, as a new Cyrus, could achieve the peace and unity of the separated Churches.
The document was sent to Russia, and a non-committal reply was communicated to the Appellants through official channels. It was pointed out that the Church of Russia was not competent to act on its own authority, being but a part of the Orthodox Communion. It was suggested, however, that correspondence might be opened between theologians of the two groups. This reply was drafted by Prokopovich, who had no sympathy with the Roman Catholic Church, even in a Gallican disguise. Another reply, compiled by Stefan Javorski (d. 1722), was in the meantime published in Germany, with the signatures of several bishops. It was to the same effect, though drafted by a man of «Romanizing» tendencies. The Sorbonne proposal was at the same time attacked from the Protestant side by Johann Franz Buddeus, in his interesting pamphlet Reconciliation between the Roman and Russian Churches impossible.125 Buddeus was an intimate correspondent of Prokopovich, from whom he had obtained full information.
The second approach to Peter the Great was made by British Non-jurors.126 The canonical position of the Non-juring group was precarious; its bishops had no recognized titles and but a scattered flock. Some leaders of the group took up the idea that they might regularize their position by a concordat with the Churches of the East. Non-jurors maintained in theology the tradition of the great Caroline divines, who had always been interested in the Eastern tradition and in the early Greek Fathers. The Greek Church had remonstrated strongly against the execution of Charles I; the Russian Government had acted to the same effect, cancelling on that occasion the privileges of English merchants in Russia. Among the original Non-jurors was Bishop Frampton, who had spent many years in the East and had a high regard for the Eastern Church. Archbishop Sancroft himself had been in close contact with the Eastern Church a long time before. Thus there were many reasons why Non-jurors should look to the East.
In 1712 an opportunity was given them to establish contact with the Eastern Churches through a travelling Greek bishop, Arsenius, Metropolitan of Thebais in the Patriarchate of Alexandria, who came to England with a letter from the newly elected Patriarch Symeon Capsoules to Queen Anne. Some of the Non-jurors seized this opportunity to make inquiry on certain points of doctrine, especially on Eucharistic doctrine, so loudly discussed in connection with the controversy between Claude and Arnauld. Finally they commissioned Arsenius, who was going to Russia, to present their memorandum to Peter the Great. Another copy was simultaneously dispatched to the East, through Arsenius’ Protosynkellos, the Archimandrite Joseph. The signatories regarded themselves as «the Catholick Remnant» in Britain, and applied for recognition and intercommunion. Their intention was to revive the «ancient godly discipline of the Church,» and they contended that they had already begun to do this.
This phrase probably referred to that liturgical reform or revision on which the same group was engaged at that time. A new «Communion Office taken partly from Primitive Liturgies and partly from the first English Reformed Common Prayer Book,» was published in 1718. It was at once translated into Greek and Latin, and copies were forwarded to the Orthodox. The compilers probably thought that this new Office, deliberately shaped on an ancient and Eastern pattern (and especially on the «Clementine» Liturgy, i.e. that of the Apostolic Constitutions), would be the best proof and recommendation of their doctrinal orthodoxy in the eyes of Eastern people. The Greeks, however, were unfavourably impressed by the idea of composing a new Communion rite, and insisted on the exclusive use of the traditional Eastern Liturgy. Certain doctrinal points called, in the opinion of the applicants, for careful reserve. The Filioque clause was explained as referring only to the temporal mission of the Son; the writers were prepared to omit it, if reunion were likely to be hindered by its retention. Purgatory should be rejected, but a «certain inferior mansion» is to be admitted as a dwelling-place of the departed. Canons of the ancient Councils must be respected, but cannot be regarded as being of the same authority as «the Sacred Text,» and therefore can be dispensed with if need be. No invocation of saints should be permitted, but communion with them in their perfect charity should be maintained. Concerning the Eucharist, it was stated that no «explanation» of the Mystery can be made obligatory, so that everyone may freely receive the Sacrament in faith, and worship Christ in spirit, «without being obliged to worship the sacred Symbols of His presence.» Finally, serious misgivings were recorded concerning the use of pictures in worship. Strangely enough, the question of Orders was not even mentioned. The signatories expressed the hope that a concordat could be agreed on, and that a church might be built in London or elsewhere to commemorate the achievement, «to be called Concordia,» under the jurisdiction of Alexandria, in which services might be conducted according to the Eastern rite and according to the rite of «the united British Catholicks.»
The Νοn-jurors’ document was signed in London on 18 August 1716. The application was favourably received by the Tsar and forwarded to the Eastern Patriarchs. Two years passed before a synodal reply, dated 12 April 1718, was ready. The reply was drafted chiefly by Chrysanthos Notaras, the Patriarch of Jerusalem, but signed by other hierarchs as well. It proved to be wholly discouraging. It was plainly stated that «our Oriental Faith is the only true Faith.» The attempt of «the Luthero-Calvinists» to misrepresent it by publication of an heretical Confession, under the name of the learned Loukaris the Patriarch, was strongly disavowed. Then followed a detailed analysis of the proposal itself. There is no room for adjustment or dispensation in matters of doctrine – complete agreement with the Orthodox faith is absolutely indispensable. Besides this, the Canons of the seven Ecumenical Councils ought to be accepted even «as the Holy Scriptures» are accepted.
On all points raised by the Non-jurors, explanation was offered. A clear distinction was made between latreia, doulia, and hyperdoulia127 in order to make plain the doctrinal implications of the invocation of saints. Icons are a silent history, while Scripture is a speaking picture. The Eucharistic doctrine, professed by the Non-jurors, was sharply rejected as «blasphemy»; it is not enough to believe that «some grace» is united with the Sacrament – otherwise there would be a communion in grace and not in the Body of Christ – the elements are truly transformed, converted, and transubstantiated, or «changed» to become one with Christ’s Body in heaven. Dispensations are available «in all temporary decrees,» but only after exact scrutiny and by a synodal authority. Instead of permitting liturgical innovations, the writers look forward to the day when the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom will be sung in St. Paul’s Cathedral. All practical problems can be settled later; unity in faith must be the beginning of everything. Again no mention is made of the problem of Orders.
It is difficult to say to what extent the Eastern hierarchs understood the real position of their British correspondents, of the «pious remnant of the primitive faith» in Britain. No word was said of the Established Church, and no explanation of the historical situation was given. It is hard to imagine that the Eastern hierarchs did not ask themselves who those people in Britain might be. In any case, they were under deep suspicion; «for being born and educated in the principles of the Luthero-Calvinists and possess’d with their prejudices, they tenaciously adhere to them like ivy to a tree.»
Two further documents were appended to the Eastern reply: (1) a synodal answer (especially on sacraments), «sent to the lovers of the Greek Church in Britain» in 1672, and (2) another synodal statement on the Holy Eucharist, dated 1691. It was obvious that the two partners in the conversation spoke different idioms. Nevertheless, the conversation was not yet terminated. In 1723 the Non-jurors sent to the East their second memorandum. They had not lost hope, probably because of «the generous encouragement» given by Peter the Great. In fact, the Russian Synod, established in 1721, was prepared to discuss the proposal, without committing itself in advance to any statement, and suggested that for this purpose two British delegates might be sent to Russia, for «a friendly conference in the name and spirit of Christ» with two delegates of the Russian Church. The delegates were designated, but their departure was delayed. The negotiations with the Russian Church were terminated by the death of Peter the Great in 1725.
In the meantime the Greeks sent in reply to the Non-jurors’ rejoinder a copy of the decrees of the Jerusalem Council of 1672. The different attitude of the Greek and Russian Churches to the Non-jurors’ proposal can easily be explained, if we remember that at that time Theophanes Prokopovich was dominant in the newly formed Russian Synod, whereas the Greeks held strictly to the rigid line taken at Jerusalem under the guidance of Dositheos. It may be added that Peter the Great, for political reasons, was inclined to sympathy with the Jacobite cause. The whole enterprise was terminated by the intervention of Archbishop Wake, who wrote in September 1725 to the Patriarch Chrysanthos of Jerusalem to make clear the schismatic character of the alleged «Catholick remnant in Britain,» probably in reply to the inquiries made by the Orthodox through the Anglican chaplain in Constantinople.
On the whole, the comment made by William Palmer on the negotiations is valid: «Both the Russian Synod and the British bishops seemed to treat of a peace to be made by way of mutual concession without clearly laying down first the unity and continuity of the true Faith in the true Church.» He adds that the Greeks were free from this charge, since they spoke openly of «conversion.» In other words, the whole ecumenical endeavour was vitiated by a lack of clear understanding about the doctrine of the Church. This was not an accidental omission. We meet with the same omission time and again, from Jeremiah’s correspondence with the Lutherans up to the middle of the 19th century, when for the first time the doctrine of the Church was brought to the fore in all ecumenical negotiations. It is remarkable that in the time of the Non-jurors the question of Anglican Orders was not raised by the Orthodox correspondents.
IV. The Early 19th Century
The early decades of the 19th century were marked by unusual spiritual unrest in Europe. In the turbulent atmosphere of those stormy years many were led to the conviction that the whole political and social life of the nations needed to be radically rebuilt on a strictly Christian foundation. Many Utopian plans were formed, of which the most conspicuous was the famous Holy Alliance (1815).
Contracted by three monarchs, of whom one was Roman Catholic (Austria), another Lutheran (Prussia), and the third Eastern Orthodox (Russia), this was an act of Utopian ecumenism, in which political scheming and apocalyptic dreams were ominously mingled. It was an attempt to recreate the unity of Christendom. There is but one Christian Nation, of which the nations are the branches, and the true Sovereign of all Christian people is Jesus Christ himself, «no other than he to whom belongeth might.» As a political venture, the Holy Alliance was a complete failure, a dreamy fiction, or even a fraud. Yet it was a symptomatic venture. It was a scheme of Christian unity. But it was to be a «unity without union,» not a reunion of Churches so much as a federation of all Christians into one «holy nation,» across the denominational boundaries, regardless of all confessional allegiances.
The initiative in the Holy Alliance was taken by the Russian Emperor, Alexander I, who was Orthodox but lived under the inspiration of German pietistic and mystical circles (Jung-Stilling, Baader, Madame de Krudener). A special Ministry was created in 1817, the Ministry of Spiritual Affairs and National Instruction, and, under the leadership of Prince Alexander N. Galitzin, became at once the central office of the Utopian propaganda.
Another centre of this Utopian ecumenism was the Russian Bible Society, inaugurated by an imperial rescript in December 1812, and finally reorganized on a national scale in 1814. The Russian Society was in regular co-operation with the British and Foreign Bible Society, and some representatives of the British Society were always on the Russian committee. The immediate objective of the Society was to publish and to distribute Bible translations in all languages spoken in the Russian Empire, including modern Russian. In the first ten years over 700,000 copies were distributed in forty-three languages or dialects. Along with the distribution of the Scriptures a mystical ideology was also propagated, an ecumenism of the heart. Positive results of this endeavour should not be overlooked; specially important was the translation of the Bible in modern Russian, undertaken by the Society with the formal consent of the Holy Synod. Unfortunately the new ideology was often enforced on the faithful by administrative pressure, and no criticism of the doctrines of the «Inner Christianity» was permitted. This policy could not fail to provoke vigorous resistance. Many felt that the Bible Society was propagating a new faith, and tending to become a «new Church,» above and across the lines of the existing Churches. Ultimately, the Russian Society was disbanded by order of the Government in 1826 and its activities were brought to an end. The Russian translation of the Bible was completed only fifty years later, and this time by the authority of the Church itself.
The whole episode was an important essay in ecumenism. Unfortunately, the problem was badly presented. Instead of facing existing differences and discussing controversial points, people were invited to disregard them altogether and to seek communion directly in mystical exercises. There was an obvious «awakening of the heart» at that time, but no «awakening of the mind.»
In the Conversation of a seeker and a believer concerning the truth of the Eastern Greco-Russian Church (1832), by Philaret, Metropolitan of Moscow, we find the considered opinion on the basic ecumenical question of one who had been through the experiences of the age of revival, and yet was deeply rooted in the Catholic tradition. The immediate purpose of this dialogue was to give guidance to those Russians who were at that time troubled by Roman Catholic propaganda. But Philaret sets forth the problem of Church unity in all its width. He begins with the definition of the Church as the Body of Christ. The full measure and inner composition of the Body is known to Christ alone, who is its Head. The visible Church, the Church in history, is but an external manifestation of the glorious Church invisible, which cannot be «seen» distinctly, but only discerned and apprehended by faith. The visible Church includes weak members also. The main criterion here is that of Christological belief: «Mark you, I do not presume to call false any Church which believes that Jesus is Christ. The Christian Church can only be either purely true, confessing the true and saving divine teaching without the false admixtures and pernicious opinions of men, or not purely true, mixing with the true and saving teaching of faith in Christ the false and pernicious opinions of men.» Christendom is visibly divided. Authority in the Church belongs to the common consent of the Church Universal, based on the Word of God. Ultimately separated from the Church are only those who do not confess that Jesus is Son of God, God Incarnate, and Redeemer. The Eastern Church has ever been faithful to the original deposit of faith, it has kept the pure doctrine. In this sense it is the only true Church. But Philaret would not «judge» or condemn the other Christian bodies. Even the «impure» Churches somehow belong to the mystery of Christian unity. The ultimate judgement belongs to the Head of the Church. The destiny of Christendom is one, and in the history of schisms and divisions one may recognize a secret action of the divine Providence, which heals the wounds and chastises the deviations, that ultimately it may bring the glorious Body of Christ to unity and perfection.
Philaret was much ahead of his time, not only in the East, though to some extent his ideas served as the basis for the return to Orthodoxy of the Uniates in western Russia (1839). Yet his outline of the problem was clearly incomplete. He spoke of one aspect of unity only, namely unity in doctrine. He did not say much about Church order. Probably Vladimir Soloviev was right in his critical remarks: «The breadth and conciliatory nature of this view cannot conceal its essential defects. The principle of unity and universality in the Church only extends, it would seem, to the common ground of Christian faith, namely the dogma of the Incarnation… The Universal Church is reduced to a logical concept. Its parts are real, but the whole is nothing but a subjective abstraction.» This is an exaggeration. The Church Universal was for Philaret not a logical concept, but a mystery, the Body of Christ in its historical manifestation. It is true, however, that the sacramental aspect of the Church was not sufficiently emphasized, and for that reason the relation between the invisible unity of the Church and its historical state at present, «the Church in its divided and fragmentary condition,» was not clearly explained.
Philaret was probably the greatest theologian of the Russian Church in modern times. He was a living link between several generations: born in 1782, he became Metropolitan of Moscow in 1821, and died in 1867, vigorous and active till the day of his death. He was widely read in the mystical literature of all ages and of all confessions, and he was always impressed by «warm piety» wherever he might find it. Philaret had been a student at a time when Russian theological schools were dominated by Protestant text-books, and the influence of Protestant theology can easily be recognized in his writings. All these influences enlarged his theological vision. He was aware of the existing unity of Christendom and of its destiny. Yet at the same time he was deeply rooted in the great traditions of the Orthodox Churches, and the true masters of his thought were the Fathers of the Church.128
The second quarter of the 19th century was a time of theological revival in many countries. There was a rediscovery of the Church as an organic and concrete reality, with special stress on her historic continuity, perpetuity, and essential unity. The famous book of Johann Adam Moehler (1796 – 1838), Professor of Church History in the Catholic Faculty of Tübingen (and later at Munich), Unity in the Church, or the Principle of Catholicism (1825), must be mentioned in this connection. Moehler’s conception of Church unity meant a move from a static to a dynamic, or even prophetic, interpretation. The Church was shown to be not so much an institution as a living organism, and its institutional aspect was described as a spontaneous manifestation of its inner being. Tradition itself was interpreted as a factor of growth and life, and Moehler’s appeal to Christian antiquity was by no means just an archaeological concern. The past was still alive, as the vital power and spiritual leaven, as «the depth of the present.»129
In Russia, Alexis S. Khomiakov (1804 – 1860) was very close to Moehler in his doctrine of the Church, and probably was well acquainted with his writings, though he arrived at his conclusions by an independent study of the Fathers.130 In all these cases there was a renewed interest in Christian antiquity, regarded rather as a source of inspiration than as a ready pattern to which the Church must be conformed. Identity of Christian belief must be warranted by universal consent through the ages. But this was no longer considered simply as a formal identity of doctrine, taken as a set of propositions, but rather as a perpetually renewed experience of the living Church, which professes beliefs and teaches doctrines out of its unchangeable vision and experience. The Church itself now becomes the main subject of theological study.
V. Between the Churches
One of the most remarkable aspects of this general revival of interest in the Church was the Oxford Movement in England and in the Anglican Churches. The Church of England, it was and is maintained by Anglican authorities, is the Catholic Church in England. But if so, what is the relation of this Catholic body to other Catholic Churches elsewhere? The first answer was given in the «Branch» theory of the Church. As J. H. Newman succinctly expressed it: «We are the English Catholics; abroad are the Roman Catholics, some of whom are also among ourselves; elsewhere are the Greek Catholics.»131 But since the co-existence of more than one form of the Catholic Church in one place involves schism, «Catholics» when in England should be Anglican, when in Rome Roman, and when in Moscow Orthodox.132
This theory amounted to the contention that, strictly speaking, the Church was not divided at all, and that only visible communication or communion had been broken; the problem of reunion therefore consisted in the restoration of the suspended intercommunion, or in the mutual recognition of the separated branches of the Catholic Church. This view was pressed strongly and persistently by William Palmer, of Worcester College, Oxford,133 in the book which can be regarded as the first systematic presentation of the Tractarian doctrine of the Church: A Treatise on the Church of Christ: designed chiefly for the use of students of Theology (1838). In the author’s opinion, external communion did not belong to the essence of the Church, and consequently the Church was still one, although the visible unity of the body had been lost. It should be noted again, that, according to this theory or interpretation, a very wide variety of doctrinal views and practices was compatible with essential unity. Or, in other words, the main emphasis was on the reality of the Church, and not so much on doctrine as such.
It was precisely at this point that a major misunderstanding between the Anglican and Orthodox Churches was bound to arise. Even though the Orthodox did not on all occasions openly and formally question the initial assumption of the Anglicans, it was inevitable that they should always insist on identity in doctrine, and make the reality of the Church itself dependent upon the purity and completeness of the Faith. The basic obstacle to rapprochement between Anglicans and the Churches of the East lay precisely here. Eastern theologians were bound to insist that the Orthodox Church is the only true Church, and all other Christian bodies are but schisms, i.e. that the essential unity of Christendom has been broken. This claim could be variously phrased and qualified, but, in one form or another, it would unfailingly be made.
The early Tractarians were not deeply interested in the Eastern Churches or in the possibility of contact with them. A world of ignorance, prejudices, and misunderstanding still existed between the Churches. But gradually a change took place. As early as 1841, we find Ε. Β. Pusey writing: «Why should we… direct our eyes to the Western Church alone, which, even if united in itself would yet remain sadly maimed, and sadly short of the Oneness she had in her best days, if she continued severed from the Eastern?»134 There can be little doubt that Pusey had been stirred and interested by the new contacts which had begun to take effect shortly before he wrote these words.
In 1839 the Rev. George Tomlinson, at that time Secretary of the S.P.C.K., and later first Bishop of Gibraltar (1842), was sent to the East, primarily in order to ascertain the needs of the Greek Church in the field of religious literature. He was given commendatory letters, written in classical Greek and addressed to «the Bishops of the Holy Eastern Church,» by the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Bishop of London. He called on the Patriarch of Constantinople and explained to him the character of the English Church, stressing its Catholic character and its friendly disposition «toward the Mother Church of the East.» He explained that the Church of England had no missionary objectives in the Levant, but was interested only in fraternal intercourse with the Eastern Church.135
The same attitude was also taken by the American Episcopal representative at Constantinople, the Rev. Horatio (later Bishop) Southgate, the acting head of the «mission» of the Protestant Episcopal Church to the East. He was following closely the official instruction given to him by the Presiding Bishop, Alexander V. Griswold: «Our great desire is to commence and to promote a friendly intercourse between the two branches of the One Catholic and Apostolic Church.» Bishop Griswold was himself a man of strong Evangelical convictions, but his directives were coloured by a characteristically Anglican conception of ecumenical relationships.136
Pusey seemed to be justified in his conclusions. «This reopened intercourse with the East,» he wrote to the Archbishop, «is a crisis in the history of our Church. It is a wave which may carry us onward, or, if we miss it, it may bruise us sorely and fall on us, instead of landing us on the shore. The union or disunion of the Church for centuries may depend on the wisdom with which this providential opening is employed.»137 In this perspective, «the Palmer episode» appears as much more than an eccentric personal venture, deeply as it was coloured by the individual character of the man and his private convictions and manners.
William Palmer (1811 – 1879) was described by one of his friends as an «ecclesiastical Don Quixote.» He was a man of unusual abilities: wide learning, powerful intellect, steadfastness of purpose, unbending sincerity; but rather inflexible and obstinate. His main weakness was «his inability to reconcile himself to the conditions of imperfect humanity and human institutions.» In 1840 Palmer decided to visit Russia. He went, fortified by a Latin letter from the President of Magdalen College, the venerable Dr. Routh. The letter stated that Palmer was going to Russia in order to study the doctrines and rites of the Church, and to learn Russian. Then followed an unexpected sentence: «Further, I ask, and even adjure in the name of Christ, all the most holy Archbishops and Bishops, and especially the Synod itself, that they will examine him as to the orthodoxy of his faith with a charitable mind, and, if they find in him all that is necessary to the integrity of the true and saving faith, then that they will also admit him to communion in the Sacraments.»
As was to be expected, Palmer’s hope was frustrated. His claim to be a member of the Catholic Church was met with astonishment. Was not the Church of England, after all, a Protestant body? In 1838 and 1839 Palmer had written in Latin an Introduction to the Thirty-nine Articles, which he endeavoured to interpret in a «Catholic» sense. This he now offered to the Russian authorities as a basis for doctrinal discussion. Not everything in Palmer’s explanations was satisfactory to the Russians. They insisted on complete conformity in all doctrines, and would not consent to confine agreement to those doctrines which had been formally stated in the period before the Separation of East and West. The main interlocutor of Palmer was the Archpriest Basil Koutnevich, who was a member of the Holy Synod. He was ready to admit that doctrinal differences between the Orthodox and Anglican Churches, if properly interpreted, were inconsiderable. Nevertheless, in his opinion, the Anglican Church was a separate communion. The Eastern Church was the only true and orthodox Church, and all other communions had deviated from the truth. Yet, since «Christ is the centre of all,» some Christian life was possible in the separated bodies also. Naturally the Russians were staggered, as Palmer himself stated, «at the idea of one visible Church being made up of three communions, differing in doctrine and rites, and two of them at least condemning and anathematizing the others.» In Palmer’s opinion, Russian theologians and prelates were not at all clear on the definition of the visible Catholic Church, «but were either vaguely liberal, or narrowly Greek.»
Palmer met many people with whom he could discuss problems as he could have done at home, at Oxford or elsewhere. Finally, he had an interview with the Metropolitan Philaret. The latter could not accept Palmer’s initial assumption that the unity of the Church could be preserved when there was no longer unity in doctrine. «The Church should be perfectly one in belief,» Philaret contended. The distinction between essential dogmas and secondary opinions seemed to him precarious and difficult to draw. «Your language,» Philaret told Palmer, «suits well enough for the 4th century, but is out of place in the present state of the world… now at any rate there is division.» And therefore it was impossible to act in an individual case before the question of relationship between the two Churches, the Anglican and Orthodox, had been settled in general terms. Moreover, it was by no means clear to what extent Palmer could be regarded as an authentic interpreter of the official teaching and standing of the Anglican Church.
In brief, the Russian authorities refused to regard Palmer’s membership in the Church of England as a sufficient reason for claiming communicant status in the Orthodox Church, and could not negotiate reunion with a private individual. Yet there was readiness from the Russian side to inaugurate some sort of negotiations. Palmer returned to Russia in 1842, with slightly strengthened credentials. The Russian Synod once more refused to negotiate on his terms, but welcomed his desire to enter into communion with the Orthodox Church. Identity of belief was stressed as an indispensable prerequisite of communion, and reference was made to the answer given by the Eastern Patriarchs to the Non-jurors in 1723. Palmer persisted and presented a new petition to the Synod, asking that a confessor should be appointed to examine his beliefs and to show his errors. Fr. Koutnevich was appointed and made it clear that, in his opinion, certain of the Thirty-nine Articles were obviously not in agreement with Orthodox doctrine. Palmer, in reply, offered his own conciliatory explanation of the Articles in question. But could he prove that his contentions would be endorsed by responsible authorities of the Church to which he belonged?
Palmer’s next task, therefore, was to defend his views as being not merely personal to himself, but a legitimate exposition of Anglican doctrine, and to secure some kind of official approbation. His method was to republish in English Philaret’s Longer Russian Catechism, together with a long Appendix, consisting mainly of excerpts from Anglican official documents and from the works of leading divines, aimed at demonstrating the existence within Anglicanism of a tradition of doctrine capable of being reconciled with the demands of the Orthodox. The whole was published anonymously at Aberdeen in 1846 under the title A Harmony of Anglican Doctrine with the Doctrine of the Catholic and Apostolic Church of the East.138 Palmer, who was by now somewhat doubtful as to how far the State-ridden Church of England was likely to be attracted to his ideas, turned to the Scottish Episcopal Church, in the hope that it might synodically assert such doctrine as he had commended to the Russians. Palmer’s book and his appeal did meet with some response among Scottish Episcopalians, but it was wholly unrealistic to suppose that Church would endanger its relations with the whole of the rest of the Anglican Communion by coming out boldly in favour of doctrines which the majority of its bishops and faithful members did not hold.139
The negative attitude of the Scottish bishops came as a great shock to Palmer; after a time of grave indecision, he decided to seek admission to the Orthodox Church. An unexpected difficulty confused his plans. The validity of his baptism was questioned by the Greeks, whereas in Russia it had been formally recognized. He could not reconcile himself with such a flagrant dissension within the same communion on a matter of primary importance. On the other hand, he could not continue outside what he had come to regard as the visible communion of the Catholic Church. Finally, he joined the Church of Rome.140 In his conversations with the Russian ecclesiastical authorities Palmer was concerned mainly with those particular points of doctrine on which disagreement was alleged to exist between the two Churches. The ultimate question, however, concerned the nature and character of the Anglican Communion itself. For Palmer it was a «branch» of the Church Catholic. For the Orthodox this claim was unacceptable for two reasons. First, Palmer could prove that some individuals in the Anglican Churches did hold Orthodox beliefs,» but not that this was the faith of the whole Communion. Secondly, the Orthodox were not themselves in agreement as to the status of non-Orthodox communions. Discussion centred on this very point in the correspondence of Palmer with Khomiakov in the years 1844 – 1854.
Khomiakov was a layman and had no official position in the Church. Yet his influence was to grow. His aim was to bring back Orthodox teaching to the standard of the Fathers and the experience of the living Church. The unity of the Church was the source of his theological vision. The Church is itself unity, «a unity of the grace of God, living in a multitude of rational creatures, submitting willingly to grace.» This is a mystery. But the mystery is fully embodied in the visible, i.e. historical, Church. Khomiakov’s conception was much more sacramental than mystical. The reality of the sacraments, in his conception, depended upon the purity of the Faith, and he hesitated therefore to admit the validity or reality of sacraments in those Christian bodies which were in schism or error. The «One Church» was for Khomiakov essentially identical with the Orthodox Church of the East. Just because the unity of the Church was created by the Spirit and not by organization, a schism, in Khomiakov’s opinion, would inevitably cut the separated off from the inner unity of the Church. The «Western communions,» in his view, were outside the Church. Some links obviously still did exist, but they were of such a character that no theological formulation was possible: «united to her by ties which God has not willed to reveal to her.» The Church on earth cannot pass an ultimate judgement on those who do not belong to its fold. It is impossible to state to what extent errors may deprive individuals of salvation.
The real question is, however, about the identity of the Church itself. What is essential here is, first of all, «a complete harmony, or a perfect unity of doctrine.» For Khomiakov, this was not merely an intellectual agreement, but rather an inner unanimity, a «common life» in Catholic truth. «Unions» are impossible in the Orthodox Church – there can be but «unity.» This «unity» has been actually broken: the West separated itself from the unity. Unity can be restored only by a return of those who went their own way, instead of abiding in unity. «The Church cannot be a harmony of discords; it cannot be a numerical sum of Orthodox, Latins, and Protestants. It is nothing if it is not perfect inward harmony of creed and outward harmony of expression.»
Khomiakov believed that «sacraments were performed only in the bosom of the true Church,» and could not be separated from that unity in faith and grace which was, on his interpretation, the very being of the Church. Variations in the manner in which the Orthodox Church received those who decided to join it made no real difference. The rites may vary, but in any case some «renovation» of the rites conferred outside the Orthodox Church «was virtually contained in the rite or fact of reconciliation.» This was written before Palmer had to face the fact of divergent practice in the matter of reconciliation in his own case. When this happened, Khomiakov expressed his disagreement with the Greek practice, but refused to attach great importance to the difference. In any case, there had to be some act of first incorporation into the Church. For Khomiakov the Church was real precisely as an actual communion in truth and in grace, both inseparably belonging together. Those who do not share in this communion are not in the Church. The reality of the Church is indivisible.
It was at this point that the first editor of Khomiakov’s letters to Palmer (in Russian), Fr. Alexander M. Ivantzov-Platonov, Professor of Church History at the University of Moscow, found it necessary to add a critical footnote. On the whole, he shared Khomiakov’s interpretation of the Church, but was not prepared to deny the presence of sacramental grace in the separated communions. Ivantzov had studied at the Moscow Academy, and was probably influenced by the ideas of Philaret. There was an obvious difference between the two interpretations: Philaret’s conception was wider and more comprehensive; Khomiakov was more cautious and reserved. Both interpretations still co-exist in the Orthodox Church, with resulting differences of approach to the main ecumenical problem.141
Palmer’s approach to the Russian Church was a private and personal move. Yet it did not fail to arouse interest in the Anglican Church among the Russians. At his first departure from Russia in 1842 he was told by the Chief Procurator of the Holy Synod, Count Pratassov, that a new chaplain was to be appointed to the Russian Church in London, who might be able to learn the language and study Anglican divinity. In 1843 the Rev. Eugene Popov, a graduate of the St. Petersburg Theological Academy, was transferred from Copenhagen to London, and continued to serve there until his death in 1875. Fr. Popov used to send periodical reports to the Holy Synod concerning ecclesiastical affairs in England, and established close links with some leading churchmen, including Pusey and Newman. Unfortunately, these reports were published only in part, many years after the author’s death, and only in Russian. Fr. Popov at first had hopes of union, but changed his attitude in later years.142 Certain links were established between Oxford and Moscow, and theological professors and students in Moscow used to collate Greek manuscripts of the Fathers for the Library of the Fathers. Nor were books on Anglicanism, brought by Palmer to Russia and presented by him to the Academy in St. Petersburg, left without use. One of the students was advised to write his thesis on Anglicanism compared with Orthodoxy, apparently on the basis of materials supplied by Palmer.143 In both countries there were groups earnestly interested in rapprochement between the respective Churches. John Mason Neale, by his historical studies and translations of Eastern liturgical texts, did more than anyone else to further this idea.
In 1851, when the repercussions of the famous Gorham case were at their height, an attempt was made to approach the Church of Russia in order to secure recognition of a group of Anglicans which was contemplating secession from the Established Church. Although this was not in any sense an ecumenical move, some points in the project were of interest. The proposed basis of reunion was to include recognition of the seven Ecumenical Councils, the Russian Catechism as an outline of doctrine, and repudiation of Lutheran or Calvinist leanings. Connection with the Russian Church was expected to be only temporary. Anglican rites and devotional forms were to be kept, and the English language to be used. The Synod was asked to investigate the problem of Anglican Orders, and, in the event of a favourable decision, which was expected, to confirm the clergy in their pastoral commission. The scheme led to nothing; but it affords some evidence of increasing concern in certain quarters for more intimate connection with the Orthodox East.144
The Association for the Promotion of the Unity of Christendom was founded in 1857, with the intention to unite «in a bond of intercessory prayer» Roman Catholics, Greeks, and Anglicans.145 The Eastern Church Association was created in 1863, on the initiative of John Mason Neale, and two Orthodox priests were on its standing committee from the beginning – Fr. Popov and the Greek Archimandrite, Constantine Stratoulias. The leading Anglican members were Neale, George Williams, and H. P. Liddon. Williams had spent several years in Jerusalem as chaplain to the Anglican bishop there. His well-known book on the Non-jurors in their relations with the East, in which all the relevant documents were published in English for the first time, was undoubtedly related to the new ecumenical endeavour. Neale never had an opportunity of visiting the Eastern countries. But Liddon went to Russia in 1867, had an interview with Philaret shortly before his death in the same year, and was deeply impressed by all he saw in Russia. «Sense of God’s presence – of the supernatural – seems to me to penetrate Russian life more completely than that of any of the Western nations.»146
The Primus of the Episcopal Church in Scotland, Robert Eden, Bishop of Moray, Ross, and Caithness, visited Russia in 1866, and also had a talk with the Metropolitan Philaret. His concern was solely with intercommunion, as distinguished from, or even opposed to, reunion. That intercommunion should be restored which existed «between members of independent Churches in the early days of Christianity.» Prejudices should be removed, and some mutual understanding between bishops of the different Churches established. Nothing else was envisaged.147
The purchase of Alaska and the Aleutian Islands from Russia in 1867 by the United States, and the transfer of the Russian Episcopal see from Sitka to San Francisco, brought the Episcopal Church in the United States into direct contact with the Church of Russia. It is curious to find that when, in the middle of the century, in connection with the gold rash in California, a considerable number of Anglicans established themselves there, the question could be raised whether they might not appeal to the Russian bishop on the spot, rather than to the remote Anglican bishops in the eastern states, for aid and authority, and call themselves the Church of California. At the General Convention of the Episcopal Church in 1862, one of the deputies, Dr. Thrall, raised this question. It was, he affirmed, desirable to nominate a special committee of inquiry and correspondence, which should present to the Orthodox authorities the claims of the Protestant Episcopal Church as a part of the Church Catholic, and as such qualified to assume care of Russians in the Pacific area. A commission, the «Russo-Greek Committee,» was appointed with limited authority, «to consider the expediency of communication with the Russo-Greek Church, to collect information on the subject,» and to report to the next General Convention.148
The American delegates stopped in England on their way to the East, and conferred with the British. Some consultations were held also with the Russian experts, Fr. Popov and Fr. Joseph Vassiliev, the Russian chaplain in Paris, who was invited specially for this purpose. The problem under discussion was intercommunion, i.e. mutual recognition of the Churches, including the recognition of Anglican Orders by the Orthodox. It was made clear that the Eastern Church would not enter into any formal communion with Anglican Churches, unless certain changes were made in Anglican formularies. The Church of England was hardly in a position to make any changes. It was hoped that the Americans, less tied by tradition and free from the State connection, would go ahead and create a precedent.
One of the American delegation, Dr. Young, visited Russia in 1864, and was received by the Metropolitans of St. Petersburg (Isidor) and Moscow. The Russian Synod was not prepared to take any formal steps, but recommended further study of a rather informal character. Philaret was favourably disposed, but anticipated misunderstandings among the laity; bishops and the learned would understand the problem, but, as Young recorded his words, «the difficulty will be with the people.» It was a pertinent remark; in Philaret’s opinion, obviously, reunion or rapprochement could not be brought simply by an act of the hierarchy, but presupposed some participation of the general body believers. He had some difficulties concerning the validity of Anglican Orders. Finally, he suggested five points for further study: (l) the Thirty-nine Articles and their doctrinal position; (2) the Filioque clause and its place in the Creed; (3) Apostolic Succession; (4) Holy Tradition; (5) the doctrine of Sacraments, especially Eucharistic doctrine. It was decided that an interchange of theological memoranda should be arranged for between the Russian and Anglican commissions.
At the same time, the common interests of Russia and America in the Pacific area were stressed, including the missionary endeavour of both nations. The American delegates favoured the plan of establishing a Russian bishopric at San Francisco, and also of a Russian parish in New York.149
A long report on these negotiations was presented by the Russo-Greek Committee to the General Convention in 1865. It was decided to extend its commission, and to empower it to correspond with the authorities of all the Eastern Churches and to secure further information. It was made clear, however, that the Church was not prepared for any other type of negotiations.150
During the next three years, various questions, especially that of the Filioque clause in the Nicene Creed, were widely discussed. A comprehensive report on the negotiations was presented to the General Convention of the Episcopal Church in 1868. The prospects seemed to be favourable, and no insuperable barriers had been discovered. The main problem was that of Orders. It was suggested that the Russian Synod might be willing to send delegates to investigate the problem. Intercommunion must be interpreted, as it had been stated by the theological commission of the Canterbury Convocation in 1867, as «mutual acknowledgement that all Churches which are one in the possession of a true episcopate, one in sacraments, and one in their creed, are, by this union in their common Lord, bound to receive one another to full communion in prayers and sacraments as members of the same household of Faith.»151 A year later the Archbishop of Canterbury (Tait) approached the Ecumenical Patriarch, requesting him, in compliance with the recommendation of the Committee on Intercommunion of the Canterbury Convocation, to allow Anglicans dying in the East to be buried in Orthodox cemeteries and to be given Christian burial by Orthodox clergy. A copy of the Book of Common Prayer in Greek was appended to the letter. The Archbishop’s request was granted by the Patriarch, Gregory VI, who at the same time raised certain difficulties about the Thirty-nine Articles.152
The most interesting episode in the negotiations at that time was the visit of the Archbishop of the Cyclades, Alexander Lykurgos, to England in 1869 and 1870. He came to England in order to consecrate the new Greek Church at Liverpool. George Williams acted as his guide and interpreter. Archbishop Lykurgos’ personal theological position was widely tolerant, his scholarly background being German, and in his early years as Professor at the University of Athens he had encountered some difficulties because of his broad opinions. During his stay in England a conference was organized at Ely, at which all points of agreement and disagreement between the two communions were systematically surveyed. The only point at which no reconciliation between the two positions could be reached was precisely the Filioque clause. The Archbishop insisted on its unconditional removal. Then followed some other controversial topics – the number and form of the sacraments, the doctrine of the Eucharist, the position of the priesthood and second marriages of bishops, the invocation of saints and prayers for the departed, the use of icons and the related question of the authority of the Seventh Ecumenical Council. A certain measure of understanding was reached, but the Archbishop staunchly defended the Orthodox point of view. He concluded, however, that in his opinion the Church of England was «a sound Catholic Church, very like our own,» and that «by friendly discussion, union between the two Churches may be brought about.» There was no discussion of the doctrine of the Church or Orders, and no attempt was made to define the prospective union or mutual recognition. The Archbishop reported favourably to the Synod of Greece on his visit and negotiations.153 The American General Convention in 1871 took cognizance of these new developments and decided to continue the activities of the Russo-Greek Committee.
The secession of a considerable Old Catholic group from Rome in protest against the decrees of the Vatican Council challenged the Orthodox Churches to form an opinion as to the nature and ecclesiastical status of the new body, and as to the attitude to be taken with regard to this non-conforming Catholic minority in the West.
In this connection the name of Franz Baader must be mentioned once more. His interest in the Eastern Church dated from earlier times. In the 1830’s he had to consider the whole problem afresh, in the context of a growing resistance to the Ultramontane trend of thought and practice. «Catholicism» has been disrupted since the split between the East and the West, and it is in the East that the true Catholic position has been kept and continued. The Eastern Church has therefore much to contribute to the prospective reintegration of the life of the Church. Baader summarized his ideas in the book Eastern and Western Catholicism, published in 1841.154 This book has been recently described (by Dr. Ernst Benz) as «the greatest ecumenical writing of the 19th century.» It would be difficult, however, to find out to what extent it exercised direct influence on wider circles.
In the years immediately preceding the Vatican Council there had been increasing unrest among the Roman Catholic clergy, especially in France. In 1861 a learned French priest, the Abbé Guettée, whose History of the Church in France had been put on the Index, joined the Orthodox Church in Paris and was attached to the Russian Embassy chapel. In co-operation with the Russian chaplain, Fr. Joseph Vassiliev, Guettée founded a magazine dedicated to the cause of reform and reunion, L’Union Chrétienne, which had for many years a wide circulation in the West. At first Guettée was interested in co-operation with Anglicans, but later became bitterly hostile to them. He regarded a return to the faith and practice of the early Church and reunion with the East as the only way out of the Roman impasse. In a sense, this view was an anticipation of the later Old Catholic movement.
Another name to be mentioned in this connection is that of Joseph J. Overbeck, who published in the 1860’s a number of booklets and pamphlets, in German, Latin, and English, advocating not only a return to Orthodoxy, but also a re- establishment of the Orthodox Church in the West. Overbeck (1821 – 1905) was originally a Roman Catholic priest and for a time on the Theological Faculty at Bonn. He left the Roman Catholic Church and migrated to England, where he remained till the end of his days. In 1865 he joined the Russian community in London as a layman. But he had a larger plan in his mind. He expected to see the secession of a considerable group of priests and laymen from the Roman obedience in the near future, and was eagerly concerned with the problem of restoring an Orthodox Catholicism in the West. Reunion with the East he regarded as the only practical solution, but he desired to preserve the Western rite and all those Western habits and traditions which might be compatible with the faith and canons of the Orthodox East. He had in fact formed an ambitious project for an Orthodoxy of the Western rite, somehow parallel to the Catholicism (Uniate) of the Eastern rite.
A formal appeal was presented to the Russian Synod (and probably to the Ecumenical Patriarchate) in 1869, and in 1870 and 1871 Overbeck visited Russia. A provisional draft of the proposed rite was prepared by Overbeck, based mainly on the Roman Missal, with certain insertions from the Mozarabic rite. In principle, the Holy Synod was prepared to approve the scheme, but the final decision was postponed in connection with the further development of the Old Catholic movement. The Synod was anxious to ascertain whether there was a sufficient number of people in the West prepared to join the project in question. The scheme was forwarded to the Ecumenical Patriarch in the same year (or in 1872), but it was only in 1881 (and after Overbeck’s personal visit to the Phanar) that action was taken. A committee was appointed to examine the project. It reported favourably in 1882, and the Patriarch gave his provisional approval, provided that the other Churches concurred. It seems that a protest was made by the Synod of the Church of Greece. The whole scheme came to nothing and was formally abandoned in 1884 by the Russian Synod, on the advice of the new Russian chaplain in London, Fr. Eugene Smirnov.
There was an obviously Utopian element in the scheme, and it failed to rally any considerable number of adherents. And yet it was not just a fantastic dream. The question raised by Overbeck was pertinent, even if his own answer to it was confused. His vision was of an original primitive Catholicism, restored in the West with the help of and in communion with the Orthodox Churches of the East, which had never been involved in the variations of the West. Overbeck’s project was strongly resented by Anglican partisans of intercommunion with the East. It was denounced as «a schismatic proceeding, and a mere copying of the uncatholic and uncanonical aggressions of the Church of Rome.» It was described as an attempt to set up «a new Church,» with the express object of proselytizing, «within the jurisdiction of the Anglican Episcopate.»
On the other hand, Overbeck was suspected by those who could not imagine Catholic Orthodoxy in company with a Western rite. This was the attitude of a small group of English Orthodox, led by Fr. Timothy Hatherly. This man had been received into the Orthodox Church in London in 1856 by «rebaptism» and ordained to the Orthodox priesthood at Constantinople in 1871. He had a small community at Wolverhampton. His missionary zeal was denounced to the Patriarch of Constantinople, and he was formally forbidden by the Patriarchate «to proselytize a single member of the Anglican Church,» as such action would undermine a wider scheme of ecclesiastical reunion. It seems that this disavowal of Hatherly’s intentions was the cause of his joining the Russian Church. He had no sympathy for Overbeck’s plan. He wanted simply Eastern Orthodoxy, probably with the use of English as the liturgical language.
In Russia Overbeck’s project was heartily supported by the Chief Procurator of the Holy Synod, Count Dmitry A. Tolstoy, a staunch opponent of all Roman claims and the author of a book on Romanism in Russia.155 Tolstoy’s interest and sympathy were probably determined by non-theological considerations. The whole scheme can be fully understood only in the context of the intricate historical situation in Europe in the years preceding and following the Vatican Council. Ecclesiastical questions could not be separated from political, and the Vatican dogma itself had obvious «political» implications.156
The hope of reunion was clearly expressed in the Munich Manifesto of the German Old Catholic group in June 1871, and reunion with the Greek-Oriental and Russian Church was mentioned in the Programme of the first Old Catholic Congress, held at Munich in September of the same year. The purpose and the guiding principle of the new movement was to reform the Church in the spirit of the early Church. An Orthodox visitor was present at the Congress, Professor J. Ossinin of the Theological Academy at St. Petersburg, who was to play a prominent rôle in the later negotiations between Orthodox and Old Catholics. Orthodox visitors also attended later Congresses, among them Fr. John Janyshev, at that time Rector of the Theological Academy at St. Petersburg, Colonel (later General) Alexander Kireev, and from Greece Professor Zikos Rhossis of Athens, as a semi-official representative of the Holy Synod of the Greek Church.
In Russia the cause of the Old Catholics was sponsored and promoted by a group of clergy and intellectuals, united in the Society of the Friends of Religious Instruction. Russian visitors to Old Catholic conferences were members and delegates of this Society, and not official representatives of the Church. A special Commission to carry on negotiations with the Orthodox was appointed at the Old Catholic Congress at Constance, under the chairmanship of Professor J. Langen. This Commission at once established very close contact with the Russian group. The main problem under discussion was that of doctrinal agreement. An «Exposition of the principal differences in dogmas and liturgy which distinguish the Western Church from the Eastern Orthodox» was prepared by the Russian Society and submitted to the Old Catholic Commission early in 1874. It was actively discussed by correspondence.
Finally, a Reunion Conference was convened at Bonn in September 1874. This was an informal conference of theologians, not a formal meeting of official delegates. Its historical significance was that for the first time theologians of the two traditions met for frank and impartial conference on the basic tenets of the Catholic faith. The first point of divergence was the Filioque clause. After a long debate it was agreed that the clause had been inserted irregularly, and that it was highly desirable to find a way by which the original form of the Creed could be restored, without compromising the essential truth expressed in the article.
The second Conference met, again at Bonn, in 1875. Membership was larger. The Orthodox group also was much larger and more representative, including delegates officially appointed by the Ecumenical Patriarch, the Church of Rumania, the Church of Greece, the Metropolitan of Belgrade, and others. The main problem was that of reconciliation between the Western and the Eastern doctrines of the Holy Spirit. After a protracted and rather strained debate, the Conference finally agreed on a common statement, based on the teaching of St. John of Damascus, which could be regarded as a fair summary of the doctrine held in common by the East and the West in the age of the Ecumenical Councils. Orthodox delegates hesitated to commit themselves to any statement on the validity of Anglican Orders. On the other hand, they could not agree that invocation of the saints should be regarded as an optional practice and left to the private discretion of individual believers or communities. The general feeling was that the Conference had succeeded in providing a basis for agreement on the doctrine of the Holy Ghost, a feeling which unfortunately proved to be based on unwarranted optimism.157
Some Orthodox were prepared to favour immediate recognition of, and intercommunion with, the Old Catholics, as constituting, as it were, a faithful Orthodox remnant in the West, even though it had been temporarily involved in the Roman schism. All that was needed was that the existing unity should be acknowledged and attested without any special act of union. This point of view was represented, among the Russians, by A. A. Kireev, Fr. Janyshev, and Professor Ossinin. On the other side, it could be argued that, even after their secession from the Vatican, the Old Catholics were still in schism, since Rome had been in schism for centuries, and separation from Rome in the 19th century did not necessarily mean a true return to the undivided Church of the early centuries. Unfortunately, the doctrine of the Church was never discussed at this period of the negotiations, and the meaning of reunion was not adequately defined.158
Contacts between the Orthodox and Old Catholics ceased for a period, and were renewed only after the formation of the Old Catholic Union (1889) and the second International Old Catholic Congress at Lucerne (1892). In 1892 the Russian Synod appointed a special Committee under the chairmanship of Anthony (Vadkovsky), at that time Archbishop of Finland (later Metropolitan of St. Petersburg and Presiding Member of the Synod). By the end of the year this Committee was ready with its report, which was approved by the Synod and communicated to the Eastern Patriarchs. Conclusions were generally in favour of recognition. This was also the tenor of the book Old Catholicism, published in 1894 by V. Kerensky, later Professor at the Theological Academy of Kazan. In Greece there was a sharp division of opinion; Archbishop Nicephoros Kalogeras of Patras and Professor Diomedes Kyriakos of the University of Athens defended the Old Catholic cause, whereas two other Professors, Zikos Rhossis and Mesoloras, opposed it violently. The Patriarch Anthimos of Constantinople, replying to the Reunion Encyclical of Leo XIII, Praeclarae gratulationis, in 1895, cited the Old Catholics as defenders of the true Faith in the West.
In the meantime, the third International Congress of Old Catholics at Rotterdam in 1894 appointed its own Commission to examine the Russian report. Three points were singled out for further study: the Filioque clause; the doctrine of Transubstantiation; and the validity of the Dutch Orders. This time there was division among the Russian theologians: two Kazan Professors, Gusev and Kerensky, found the Old Catholic interpretation of the points under discussion evasive and discordant with the Orthodox position; Janyshev and Kireev, on the contrary, were perfectly satisfied with them. A vigorous controversy ensued. The most important contribution to the discussions was an essay by Professor V. V. Bolotov, of the Academy of St. Petersburg, Thesen über das «Filioque.»159 Bolotov suggested a strict distinction between (1) dogmas, (2) theologoumena, and (3) theological opinions. He defined a theologoumenon as a theological opinion held by those ancient teachers who had recognized authority in the undivided Church and are regarded as Doctors of the Church. All theologoumena should be regarded as permissible, so long as no binding dogmatic authority is claimed for them. Consequently, the Filioque, for which the authority of St. Augustine can be quoted, is a permissible theological opinion, provided it is not regarded as expressing a doctrine which must be believed as a necessary article of the Faith. On the other hand, Bolotov contended that the Filioque was not the main reason for the split between the East and the West. He concluded that the Filioque, as a private theological opinion, should not be regarded as an impendimentum dirimens to the restoration of intercommunion between the Orthodox and Old Catholic Churches. It should be added that the clause was omitted by the Old Catholics in Holland and Switzerland, and put in parentheses in the liturgical books in Germany and Austria, to be ultimately omitted also. That is to say that it was excluded from the formal profession of the Faith.
At this point in the negotiations the doctrine of the Church was mentioned for the first time, to the effect that the Old Catholic movement should be regarded as a schism, and could be received into communion with the Orthodox Church only on the basis of a formal acceptance of the full theological system of the contemporary Church. This thesis was first maintained by Fr. Alexis Maltzev, the Russian chaplain at Berlin and a distinguished liturgiologist, in 1898, and then developed by Bishop Sergius (Stragorodsky), at that time Rector of the Theological Academy of St. Petersburg (later the second Patriarch of Moscow after the Revolution). This contention was strongly opposed by another Russian theologian, Fr. Paul Svetlov, Professor of Religion in the University of Kiev. In Svetlov’s opinion, the Church was «an invisible or spiritual unity of the believers, scattered in all Christian Churches,» ultimately embracing all who could describe themselves as Christians. The Orthodox Church is no more than a part of the Church Universal, of which the Old Catholic Church in its own right is another part. This radicalism could not commend itself to the ecclesiastical authorities. Nevertheless, theological conversation was continued till the outbreak of the first world war, and Orthodox visitors and observers attended all Old Catholic Congresses. But no official action has yet been taken.160
VI. Towards the Twentieth Century
Friendly contacts between Anglican and Eastern Orthodox hierarchs and individuals, especially in the East, were numerous in the 1870’s and 1880’s but usually they were acts of ecclesiastical courtesy, and did not perceptibly promote the cause of reunion or rapprochement.
In 1888 the third Lambeth Conference adopted an important resolution: «This Conference, rejoicing in the friendly communications which have passed between the Archbishop of Canterbury and other Anglican Bishops, and the Patriarchs of Constantinople and other Eastern Patriarchs and Bishops, desires to express its hope that the barriers to fuller communion may be, in course of time, removed by further intercourse and extended enlightenment.» It seems, however, that the «barriers» were felt to be formidable, if not insuperable. «It would be difficult for us to enter into more intimate relations with that Church so long as it retains the use of icons, the invocation of the Saints, and the cultus of the Blessed Virgin,» even if the Greeks disclaim the sin of idolatry.
In the same year, in connection with the celebration of the 900th anniversary of the Conversion of Russia, the Archbishop of Canterbury (Benson) decided to send an official letter of congratulations and good wishes to the Metropolitan of Kiev. In the letter he referred to common foes of the Russian and Anglican Churches, meaning obviously Rome, and to their unity in the faith of the Gospel as expounded by the Ecumenical Councils of the undivided Church. In his reply, the Metropolitan Platon unexpectedly raised the question of formal reunion. «If you also, as appears from your letter, desire that we may be one with you in the bonds of the Gospel, I beg you to communicate to me distinctly and definitely upon what conditions you consider the union of your and our Churches would be possible.» Archbishop Benson replied in the name of the bishops of England and made two points: «First and above all, the drawing together of the hearts of the individuals composing the two Churches which would fain ‘be at one together.’ Secondly, a more or less formal acceptance of each other’s position with toleration for any points of difference: non-interference with each other upon any such points.» The first point amounted to the authorization of intercommunion, which Benson regarded as a preliminary to reunion rather than as its goal; and in the second the recognition of Anglican Orders was implied. No action was taken by the Russian Church on this proposal.161
Nevertheless, in the next decade official contacts between the Church of England and the Church of Russia were strengthened and multiplied. Bishop Creighton of Peterborough (later of London) attended the Coronation of the Emperor Nicholas II in 1896, as an official envoy of the Church of England, and Archbishop Maclagan of York visited Russia in the following year. In 1897 Archbishop Anthony (Vadkovsky) of Finland went to England to represent the Russian Church at the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria. These visits belong rather to the history of attempts to promote friendship between nations through Churches than to the history of Christian reunion.162
There was, however, one feature in the general situation which could not fail to draw the Church of England and The Orthodox Churches together. Discussion of Anglican Orders in Rome in the middle 1890’s and the final repudiation of their validity by the Pope in 1896 were followed in Russia with a keen interest, and the Responsio of the English Archbishops was accepted with satisfaction. Copies of this document were officially communicated to all Russian bishops, and probably to all Orthodox bishops in various countries of the East. It is interesting to observe that the reply of the Roman Catholic bishops in England to the epistle of the Anglican Archbishops was also forwarded officially to all Orthodox bishops by Cardinal Vaughan, with a covering letter, in which the Cardinal expressed his awareness that the Orthodox were as solicitous in guarding the true doctrine of priesthood and sacraments as the Church of Rome.
It was natural that at this moment an inquiry into the validity of Anglican Orders should be initiated in Russia, albeit in an unofficial way. An Enquiry into the Hierarchy of the Anglican Episcopal Church was published in Russian by Professor V. A. Sokolov of Moscow Theological Academy. It included a critical analysis of the papal Bull, and the author concluded with the suggestion that Anglican Orders could be recognized by the Orthodox. To the same conclusion came another Russian scholar, Professor Athanasius Bulgakov of Kiev Theological Academy. Both tracts were translated into English and published by the Church Historical Society.163
In 1898 Bishop John Wordsworth of Salisbury paid a visit to the East and visited the Ecumenical Patriarch (Constantine V). A «friendly relationship» between the two Communions was initiated, and direct correspondence between the Phanar and Lambeth Palace established. A special Commission was created at Constantinople in order to survey the doctrinal position of the Anglican Church, and an Anglican representative, Archdeacon Dowling, was invited to participate. An explanatory pamphlet was published in 1900 by Bishop Wordsworth, with the approval of the Archbishop of Canterbury, and immediately translated into Russian and Greek: Some points in the Teaching of the Church of England, set forth for the information of Orthodox Christians of the East in the form of an answer to questions.164 This was a semi-official statement.
In 1902 the new Ecumenical Patriarch, Joachim III, formally invited all autocephalous Orthodox Churches to express their opinion on relations with other Christian bodies. The Russian Synod replied by an elaborate epistle. The Synod was inclined to consider baptism conferred outside the Orthodox Church as valid, respecting the sincerity of belief in the Holy Trinity; and apostolic succession in the Latin Church as regularly preserved. With regard to the Anglican Churches, the Synod felt that, first of all, «it was indispensable that the desire for union with the Eastern Orthodox Church should become the sincere desire not only of a certain section of Anglicanism, but of the whole Anglican community, that the other… Calvinistic current… should be absorbed in the above-mentioned pure current, and should lose its perceptible, if we may not say exclusive, influence… upon the whole Church life of this Confession which, in the main, is exempt from enmity towards us.» All charity should be extended to the Anglicans, «but at the same time a firm profession of the truth of our Ecumenical Church as the one guardian of the inheritance of Christ and the one saving ark of divine grace» must be maintained.
In the same year Chrestos Androutsos, Professor of Dogmatics in the University of Athens, published his great essay on The Validity of English Ordinations, from an Orthodox-Catholic point of view. He made two preliminary points. First, intercommunion cannot be separated from dogmatic union. Secondly, it was impossible to discuss the validity of the Orders of any body separated from the true Church, and no statement can be made on them. Consequently the only question that could profitably be discussed by Orthodox theologians was a practical one – what attitude should the Orthodox Church adopt in the case of reception of individual Anglican clerics into the Church? The external, i.e. ritual, aspect of Anglican ordinations could be regarded as adequate. There was, however, some uncertainty as to the purpose of these rites, as the Anglican doctrine of the ministry seemed to be ambiguous if judged by Orthodox standards. Yet, provided that this ambiguity had been removed by a formal declaration of the Church, it would be possible to accept as valid the Orders of those Anglican priests who desired to join the Orthodox Church. This was a document of momentous importance. It became at once, and still is, the basis of the ecumenical policy of the Greek Church.165
The problem was shifted from the realm of theology to that of canon law or pastoral discretion. For the first time the concept of «Economy» was applied to ecumenical relations. This concept has never been clearly defined or elaborated. Its meaning was nevertheless intelligible: for a solution based on theological principles some occasional practical arrangements were substituted. It was assumed that the Orthodox Church could not say anything at all about the ecclesiastical status of the separated bodies, as they had none. At this point there was an obvious difference between the Greek approach and that of the Russian Church. Russian theologians would not dispense with the theological, i.e. ecclesiological, problem as such, difficult and, in the last resort, «antinomical» as it might be. The problem of unity was for them essentially a theological, and not primarily a canonical, problem.
In 1904 Archbishop Tikhon of North America, later the first Patriarch of Moscow after the restoration in 1917, formally requested the Holy Synod to make an official statement on the procedure to be used in the case of reception of Anglican clerics into the Orthodox Church. In particular, he wished to know whether it was permissible to allow them to continue the use of the Book of Common Prayer for services. A special Commission was appointed by the Holy Synod and presented a detailed report, analyzing the offices of the Prayer Book. The conclusion was that the offices were rather «colourless and indefinite» with regard to their doctrinal content, and therefore, if they were to be used «in Orthodox parishes, composed of former Anglicans,» certain corrections and additions must be made in the text, in order to bring it into agreement with Orthodox doctrine. Concerning the reception of Anglican clergy, the Commission recommended, «pending a final judgement» of the Church, «a new conditional ordination.»166
The fifth Lambeth Conference (1908) requested the Archbishop of Canterbury to appoint a permanent Committee to deal with the relations of the Anglican Communion with the Orthodox East, and suggested that certain forms of intercommunion could be brought into effect at once (i.g. in cases of emergency). In 1912 a Russian Society of the Friends of the Anglican Church was inaugurated in St. Petersburg. The first President was Eulogius, at that time Archbishop of Volhynia and Member of the Governmental Duma, later Metropolitan of the Russian Church in Western Europe and Exarch of the Ecumenical Patriarch. He was succeeded by Sergius, Archbishop of Finland, later Patriarch of Moscow. The Statutes of the Society were approved by the Holy Synod. A branch of the Society was organized in the United States. On the invitation of this Society a group of Anglican bishops and clergy joined the parliamentary delegation of Great Britain to Russia in 1912. Series of lectures were organized at St. Petersburg and Moscow, delivered by Dr. Walter H. Frere, C.R., on the Life of the Anglican Church, and by Fr. F. W. Puller, S.S.J.E. Fr. Puller’s lectures were published (in English and in Russian) as The Continuity of the Church of England.167 They formed an impressive vindication of the Catholic claims of the Anglican Communion. During his visit, Fr. Puller had several theological conversations with the Orthodox, of which he speaks in the Preface to his book. The question of the Filioque was surveyed once more, to the effect that on this point there was in principle no disagreement between the two Churches. Puller attributed this «change of attitude» on the Russian side «to the influence of the great Russian theologian, Bolotov.» The world war interrupted the work of the Society.
It must be added that the great All-Russian Church Council of 1917 – 1918, at its very last meeting (on 20 September 1918), passed the following resolution, upon the proposal of the Section on the Union of the Christian Churches: «The Sacred Council of the Orthodox Russian Church, gladly seeing the sincere efforts of the Old Catholics and Anglicans towards union with the Orthodox Church on the foundation of the doctrine and tradition of the ancient Catholic Church, bestows its benediction on the labours and efforts of those who are seeking the way towards union with the above-named friendly Churches. The Council authorizes the Sacred Synod to organize a Permanent Commission with departments in Russia and abroad for the further study of Old Catholic and Anglican difficulties in the way of union, and for the furtherance as much as possible of the speedy attainment of the final aim.» No commission could be organized in Russia at that time, but the work of Russian theologians in western Europe in the ecumenical field was in line with the desire and commendation of the Council.168
Negotiations with the Old Catholics and Anglicans revealed a serious divergence of opinions among the Orthodox theologians themselves, and these internal polemics were sometimes very heated. Christian unity implies two things: unity in faith or doctrine, and unity in the life of the Church, i.e. in sacraments and worship. In the first period of the ecumenical conversation between the East and the West the main attention was given to the first aspect. The first discovery was disappointing: there was a difference indeed, and a difference of such character as to make agreement hardly possible. The Filioque, the doctrine of the Eucharist, the invocation of saints, Mariology, prayers for the departed – on all these points no concession could be made by the Orthodox, though a clear distinction could be made between a binding doctrine and theological interpretation.
In the later period of discussion, the whole problem of the doctrine of the Church was brought to the fore. The main issue was: what is the Church Universal? and in what sense do schismatic bodies still belong to the Church? Some Orthodox theologians held that the separated bodies did not belong to the Church at all, and therefore were not only historically but also spiritually outside it; others that they were still, in a certain sense and under special conditions, related to the Church existentially. On the latter view, the sacraments of the non-Orthodox were not necessarily repeated on their becoming Orthodox, it being understood that they had some real charismatic significance even outside the strict canonical boundaries of the Church. This has determined the common practice of the Russian Church in the 19th and 20th centuries.
On the other hand, this practice could be interpreted in the light of the theory of Economy, which is characteristic of modern Greek theology; in this case, the fact of non-repetition of sacraments would not imply any recognition of these non-Orthodox ministrations, and should be interpreted simply as a pastoral dispensation. This point of view was represented in Russia by Khomiakov, and in recent times was elaborated with daring radicalism by the late Metropolitan Anthony (Khrapovitski).
Anthony, at that time Archbishop of Kharkov and a permanent Member of the Holy Synod, replied to an invitation to participate in the Conference on Faith and Order by a long letter, in which he frankly stated his point of view. There was no spiritual reality, «no grace,» outside the Orthodox Church. All talk about «validity» is just «talmudic sophistries.» What is outside the Orthodox Church is just «this world, foreign to Christ’s redemption and possessed by the devil.» It makes no difference, Anthony argued, whether the non-Orthodox have or have not «right beliefs.» Purity of doctrine would not incorporate them in the Church. What is of importance is actual membership in the Orthodox Church, which is not compromised by doctrinal ignorance or moral frailty. But, in spite of this categorical exclusion of all non-Orthodox from Christendom, Anthony was wholeheartedly in favour of Orthodox participation in the proposed Conference on Faith and Order. «Indeed, we are not going to concelebrate there, but shall have to search together for a true teaching on the controversial points of faith.»169
This survey would be incomplete if we omitted the name of Vladimir Soloviev (1853 – 1900). Soloviev was never interested in the ecumenical problem, in so far as it concerned the search for unity between the Orthodox and the world of the Reformation. His attitude towards the Reformation and Protestantism always tended to be negative, though in his later years he did speak occasionally of a «super-confessional» Christianity, and even of a «religion of the Holy Spirit.» Nevertheless, his contribution to the discussion on Christian unity was momentous. «The broken unity» of Christendom, «the Great Controversy,» i.e. the «Separation of the Churches,» were in his opinion the main fact and the main tragedy of the Christian world. The reunion of Christendom was for him, therefore, not merely one special and particular problem of theology and of Christian action, but the central problem of Christian life and history. Soloviev was mainly concerned with the question of reconciliation between the East and Rome, and in a sense he was pleading for a very particular kind of Unia. In fact, he simply did not believe that Churches were separated. There was an historical estrangement, an external break, but, in an ultimate sense, there was still one (mystically) undivided Catholic Church.
He was right in his basic vision: the Church is essentially one, and therefore cannot be divided. Either Rome is no Church at all, or Rome and the East are somehow but one Church, and Separation exists only on the historical surface. This thesis can be interpreted in a limited sense, i.e. as including only Rome and Eastern Orthodoxy. But it could be reinterpreted in a wider sense, and in that case an important and truly ecumenical plea would be presented. The merit of Soloviev was that he tried to clarify the presuppositions that underlie the Catholic doctrine of the Church. His ultimate ecumenical vision, so vividly presented in his Story of the Antichrist, included the whole of Christendom and the fullness of Christian tradition – the spiritual insight of the Orthodox East, the authority of Rome, and the intellectual honesty of Protestantism. But this unity transcends history.170
The true legacy of Soloviev is neither his «Romanism» nor his Utopian theocratic dream, but his acute sense of Christian unity, of the common history and destiny of Christendom, his firm conviction that Christianity is the Church.
This was his challenge. An earnest attempt at an inclusive Catholic reintegration would be the answer. It would take us beyond all schemes of agreement. The issues, discussed time and again in the abortive ecumenical negotiations in previous centuries, are still burning. It is necessary to realize the nature and the scope of those questions which the Orthodox were bound to ask, and will ask again and again, in order to understand and interpret the meaning of the ecumenical encounter between the Orthodox East and the West at large.
Bibliography. Chapter VII
Acta et Scripta Theologorum Wirtembergensium etc., 1584, is very rare now; I was fortunate in finding a copy in the library of Union Theological Seminary, New York City.
Censura of Socolovius is available in the same library, in the Paris edition of 1584.
The same documents are available in some later editions: Acta Orientalis Ecclesiae contra Lutheri haeresim, ed. E. Scheltrate, Romae 1739; Liber qui vocatur Iudex Veritalis, ed. Gedeon Cypris, 2 vols., Lipsiae 1758; letters of Jeremiah are reprinted (in Greek only) in J. E. Mesoloras, Symbolik, t. I, Athens 1883 (in Greek); there was a Russian translation of the correspondence, Moscow 1866 (the only translation in a modern language).
Letters of Jeremiah to the Pope in Hofmann, S.J., Griechische Patriarchen und Roemische Päpste, Orientalia Christiana, XXV. 2, Roma 1932.
Other sources of importance: Turcograecia, by Martin Crusius, Basileae 1584 (contains his correspondence with the Greeks; Melanchthon’s letter to the Patriarch, p. 204); Diarium of Crusius, – published only partially, Diarium 1596 – 1597 and 1598 – 1599, by W. Goz and E. Conrad, Tübingen 1927 a. 1931; cf. Tübingen und Konstantinopel, Martin Crusius und seine Verhandlungen mit der Griechisch-Orthodoxen Kirche, by G. E. Zachariadis, Gottingen 1941 (cf. the list of letters exchanged between Crusius and his Greek correspondents, 1573 – 1581); Tagebuch der an die ottomanisches Pforte zu Constantinopel vollbrachten Gesandtschaft, by S. Gerlach, Frankfurt a/M. 1674; Reisebechreibung aus Deutschland nach Konstantinopel und Jerusalem, by S. Schweigger, Nürnberg 1608; Oratio de statu Ecclesiarum hoc tempore etc., by D. Chytraeus, Frankfurt 1580; cf. Die Wiederentdeckung und erste Beschreibung der östlich-orthodoxen Kirche in Deutschland durch David Chytraeus, by W. Engels, Kyrios, IV, 1939/1940; Deliciae Eruditorum etc., by Joh. Lamius, t. IX, Florence 1740; Eigentliche und Wahrhaftige Abbildung der alten und neuen Griechischen Kirche etc., by Jo. M. Heineccius, 3 vols., Leipzig 1711 (based to a great extent on the unpublished writings of Gerlach). –
The most important literature: Orthodoxy and Protestantism, t. I, by J. N. Karmiris, Athens 1937 (in Greek; good bibliography); Wittenberg und Byzanz, by Ernst Benz, Marburg 1949 (see especially on Greek version of Augustana; good bibliography); Das erste Gespräch zwischen Protestantismus und Orthodoxie, by Curt. R. A. Georgi, Eine Heilige Kirche, XXI, 1939; Tübingen und Byzanz, Die erste offizielle Auseinandersetzung zwischen Protestantismus und Ostkirche im 16. Jahrhundert, by W. Engels, Kyrios, V, 1940/1941; cf. also Die theologische Litteratur der griechischen Kirche im 16. Jahrhundert, by Ph. Meyer, Leipzig 1899 (Bonwetsch-Seeberg Studien III, 6); Theologia Dogmatica Orthodoxa etc., t. I, Prolegomena, by Aurelius Palmieri, O.S.A., Florentiae 1911, p. 453 – 463; Symbolik der Griechischen Kirche, by W. Gass, Berlin 1872, s. 41 – 50; Lehrbuch der vergleichenden Konfessionskunde, Bd. I, by F. Kattenbusch, Freiburg i/Br. 1892, s. 141 ff; Luther als Kirchenhistoriker, by E. Schäfer, Gütersloh 1897.
* * *
Transference of the seat of empire.
See Introduction, pp. 18 f in A History of the Ecumenical Movement (London: SPCK, 1954).
Mansi, Concilia, XXVII, pp. 857f.
E.g, P. Stransky, in his Respublica Bohemiae, Lugd. Batav., 1634.
Sub utraque, hence the title Utraquists by which some of the Hussites were known.
Ed. of 1648, Chap. xviii, p. 60.
They were published by the Patriarch Dositheos, in his Tomos Agapes, Jassy, 1698. A copy of this work was sent in 1725 by the Patriarch Chrysanthos of Jerusalem to Archbishop Wake, who deposited it in the Bodleian Library at Oxford.
In Freger, Rerum bohemicarum Scriptores, Hanoviae, 1602.
Latin trans., by Blancardus, Leipzig and Frankfort, 1687. It must be said that the statements of Philip Curius give a far weaker impression of reliability than the Czech sources.
Regenvolcius, Systema Historico-chronologicum Ecclesiarum Slavonicarum, Trajecti ad Rhenum, 1652, p. 495.
A very picturesque description of the meeting is given in the old biography of Olaus and Laurentius Petri: Johan Göstuf Hallman, The Twenne Bröder och neriksboer, som then Evangeliska Läran Införde uti Nordlander, then Aldre Mest. Olaff Petri Phase, Första Evangeliska Kyrrioherde Öswer Stockholms Stad, then Yngre Mest. Lars Petri hin Garnie, Första Evangeliska Erkiebishop uti Uppsala, Til Lefwerne och Wandel, Stockholm, 1726, pp. 118 – 121.
On earlier ecumenical activities in Poland, see Chap. i, pp. 60 ff. in A History of the Ecumenical Movement (London: SPCK, 1954).
See Chap. xv, pp. 678 ff in A History of the Ecumenical Movement (London: SPCK, 1954).
It seems that this very copy is now in private hands in the United States – a photostat copy is available in the New York Public Library.
The judgement is that of the late Archbishop Germanos of Thyateira, Kyrillos Loukaris, p. 31.
Thomas Smith, in his Narratio.
See pp. 189, 195 in A History of the Ecumenical Movement (London: SPCK, 1954).
The Roman Catholic documents and treatises related to this controversy were collected in the great book: Perpetuité de la foi de l’Église catholique sur l’Eucharistie (new edition by Migne, in four volumes, Paris, 1841).
Unpublished letter to Dr. Fall, Precentor of York Cathedral, in Bodleian Library, MS. Add. D.23.
See p. 186 in A History of the Ecumenical Movement (London: SPCK, 1954).
See Bibliography (Kohlius).
See Chap. ii, pp. 100 f in A History of the Ecumenical Movement (London: SPCK, 1954).
John Michael Heineccius (1674 – 1722), Eigentliche und wahrhafftige Abbildung der alten und neuen Griechischen Kirche, Leipzig, 1711.
Unigenitus condemned 101 propositions alleged to have been found in the writings of the Jansenists. The Bull was not officially received until 1720, owing to the strength of the opposition it aroused in the French Church.
Ecclesia Romana cum Rulhentca irreconciliabilis, Jena, 1719.
See also Chap. iii, pp. 147 f in A History of the Ecumenical Movement (London: SPCK, 1954).
Three different degrees of worship or veneration.
On Philaret, see Bibliography (Stourdza and esp. Florovsky, The Ways, etc., pp.166 – 184), Also A. P. Stanley, Lectures on the History of the Eastern Church (Everyman ed.), p. 377; and for a personal impression Memoirs of Stephen Grellet, I, pp. 395 f., 414, 421.
On Moehler, see further Bibliography in A History of the Ecumenical Movement (London: SPCK, 1954).
For recent studies in the thought of Khomiakov, see Bibliography in A History of the Ecumenical Movement (London: SPCK, 1954).
Sermon on “Submission to Church Authority,” 29 November 1829, in Parochial and Plain Sermons, III, ed. of 1885, pp. 191f. Where and when the “Branch” theory was first worked out is uncertain, but something very like it is already found in the prayer of Bishop Lancelot Andrewes for “the Catholic Church – Eastern, Western British.”
See J. H. Newman, “Prefatory Notice” to W. Palmer, Notes on a Visit to the Russian Church, pp. v – vii.
W. Palmer of Worcester College is to be clearly distinguished from “Deacon” W. Palmer of Magdalen College, whose visits to Russia will be described later in this chapter.
A Letter to the Rev. R. M. Jelf, D.D., Oxford, 1841, pp. 184 f.
George Tomlinson, Report of a Journey to the Levant.
See P. E. Shaw, American Contacts, pp. 35 ff.; and for the earlier American “mission” of Dr. Hill, see S. D. Denison, A History of the Foreign Missionary Work of the Protestant Episcopal Church, I, New York, 1871, pp. 142 ff.
Е. B. Pusey, A Letter to His Grace the Archbishop of Canterbury, on some Circumstances connected with the Present Crisis in the English Church, Oxford, 1842, p. 118.
A Greek translation of this book was published at Athens in 1851.
Bishop Torry of St. Andrews, Dunkeld, and Dunblane did consent to write an “advertisement” to Palmer’s appeal. J. M. Neale, regretting that more attention was not paid to Palmer’s book, expressed the judgement that “it will probably stand, in the further history of our Churches, as the most remarkable event that had occurred since the disruption of the Non-jurors,” Life and Times of Patrick Torry, D.D., 1856, p. 224.
On the Palmer episode see Bibliography, especially under Palmer, Shaw in A History of the Ecumenical Movement (London: SPCK, 1954).
Khomiakov’s letters to Palmer were first published in Russian, in Pravoslavnoe Obozrenie (“The Orthodox Review,”) 1869, with notes by Fr. A. M. Ivantiov-Platonov. The full text in English appears in Birkbeck, Russia and the English Church.
Letters of the Very Rev. E. J. Popov on Religious Movements in England were published by L. Brodsky in Khristianskoe Chtenie (“Christian Reading,”) April, May, June 1904, and June, July, September 1905 (they cover the period from 1842 to 1862); cf. also “Materials concerning the question of the Anglican Church,” consisting of notes and letters of Fr. Popov and Fr. Joseph Vassiliev (Russian chaplain in Paris), in 1863 –1865, in the same magazine, July and August 1897.
This student was later Russian chaplain in Stuttgart, Fr. J. J. Bazarov.
Fr. Eugene Popov to the Chief Procurator, Count Pratassov, Khristianskoe Chtenie, May and June 1904.
See further Chap. vi, pp. 278 f in A History of the Ecumenical Movement (London: SPCK, 1954).
John Octavius Johnson, Life and Letters of Henry Parry Liddon, London, 1904, pp. 100 f. To W. Bright he wrote about the services: “there was an aroma of the fourth century about the whole.”
See Bishop Eden’s preface to the English translation of D. A. Tolstoy, Romanism in Russia: an Historical Study, London, 1874, I, pp. viii f., and R. Eden, Impressions of a recent Visit to Russia. A Letter… on Intercommunion with the Eastern Orthodox Church, London, 1867.
On similar and in part parallel action in England, see Chap. vi, pp. 280 f. in A History of the Ecumenical Movement (London: SPCK, 1954).
The latter was established in 1870, but closed down in 1883.
Russian material on this episode: letters of various persons to Philaret, in Letters of clerical and lay persons to the Metropolitan Philaret of Moscow 1812 – 1867, ed. A N. Lvov, St. Petersburg, 1908, pp. 192 f., 342 f., 349 f., 623 f; Philaret’s Memorandum in the Collection of Comments and Replies, V, pp. 537 ff.; his statement on Anglican Orders in Pravoslavnoe Obozrenie, 1866.
Journal of the Proceedings in 1868, pp. 148, 169, 256, 258 f., 276, 421 f., 484 f.
Journal, etc., 1871, Report of the Joint Committee, pp. 564 ff. Cf.Karmiris, Orthodoxy, etc., pp. 332 f. The late Archbishop Germanos regarded this action as “the first step towards the rapprochement of the Churches in a purely ecclesiastical matter.” See The Christian East, Vol. X, No. 1, 1929, p. 23.
G.Williams, A Collection of Documents relating chiefly to the Visit of Alexander, Archbishop of Syros and Tenos, to England in 1870, London, 1876; D. Balanos, “Archbishop A. Lykourgos,” in Theologia, Vol. I, 1923, pp. 180 – 194 (in Greek); cf. Karmiris, op. cit., pp. 337 f. There seems, however, to have been a darker side to the visit of Alexander. He was closely in touch with the group of Timothy Hatherly (see p. 206), for whom he carried out ordinations; and there is reason to believe that he went so far as to “reordain” one who was already an Anglican priest.
For the full German title of this book, and for other material on Baader, see Bibliography in A History of the Ecumenical Movement (London: SPCK, 1954).
English edition, with preface by the Bishop of Moray, etc., 2 vols,, London, 1874.
For literature on Overbeck, see Bibliography in A History of the Ecumenical Movement (London: SPCK, 1954).
Professor Langen summarized the whole discussion in his book Die Trinitatische Lehrdifferenz zwischen der abendländischen und der morgenländischen Kirche, Bonn, 1876. On the Russian side, similar statements were made by S. Kokhomsky, The Teaching of the Early Church on the Procession of the Holy Ghost, St. Petersburg, 1875, and N. M. Bogorodsky, The Teaching of St. John of Damascus on the Procession of the Holy Ghost, St. Petersburg, 1879.
Brief survey and analysis: Dr. Otto Steinwachs, “Die Unionsbestrebungen im Altkatholizismus,” in the Internationale Kirchliche Zeitschrift, 1911, pp. 169 – 186, 471 – 499. For the early period of the movement consult the minutes of the Congresses, and Bericht über die Unions-Konferenzen, ed. Dr. H. Reusch, Bonn, 1874, 1875; English translation – Reunion Conference at Bonn, 1874, London, 1874; Report of the Union Conferences… , New York, 1876.
Published in German translation by Kireev, without the name of the author, in the Revue Internationale, 1898, pp. 681 – 712.
Brief survey in the articles of Steinwachs (see previous note). The course of negotiations and discussions can be followed in the articles and chronicle of the Revue Internationale (1893 – 1910) and Internationale Kirchliche Zeitschrift (since 1911). Summary of Kerensky by Kireev, III, 1895, 2. Bishop Sergius, “Qu’est-ce qui nous sépare des anciens-catholiques,” ibid., XII, I, 1904, pp. 159 – 190. Extracts from the articles by Svetlov: “Zur Frage der Wiedervereinigung der Kirchen und zur Lehre von det Kirche,” ibid., XIII, 2, 3, 1905; cf. his Russian book, Christian Doctrine, I, Kiev, 1910, pp. 208 ff. On Kireev, Olga Novikoff, Le Général Alexandre Kiréeff et l’ancien-catholicisme, Berne, 1911.
The whole story is told by W. J. Birkbeck, Birkbeck and the Russian Church, London and New York, 1917, pp. 1 – 16. See also The Life of Edward White Benson, sometime Archbishop of Canterbury, by his son, A. C. Benson, II, London, 1899, pp. 155 ff.
See Birkbeck and the Russian Church, and Life and Letters of Mandell Creighton, by his wife, 2 vols., London, 1905.
English titles: One Chapter from an Enquiry into the Hierarchy of the Anglican Episcopal Church, by Sokolov; The Question of Anglican Orders, in respect of the “Vindication” of the Papal Decision, by A. Bulgakoff, London, 1899.
London, 1900; 2nd edition, in Greek and English, 1901; and see also D.W. Watson, Life of Bishop John Wordsworth, London, 1915, pp. 217 ff., 339 ff., and W. С. Ernhardt, Historical Contacts of the Eastern-Orthodox and the Anglican Church, New York, 1920.
J. A. Douglas, The Relations of the Anglican Churches with the Eastern Orthodox, especially in regard to Anglican Orders, London, 1921, p. 17
The “Report” was published in the Alcuin Club Tracts, by W. J. Barnes and W. H. Frere, with valuable notes by the latter, London, 1917, and again in The Orthodox Catholic Review, Vol. I, No. 6, June 1927.
The Anglican and Eastern Churches. A Historical Record, 1914 – 1921, London, 1921, especially pp. 27 ff.
Correspondence of Archbishop Anthony with the representatives of the Episcopal Church in America, in Vera i Razoum (“Faith and Reason”), 1915 and 1916, in Russian translation from the French.
Soloviev, La Russie et l’Église universelle, Paris, 1889; English translation, Russia and the Universal Church, London, 1948. For other works by and on Soloviev, see Bibliography in A History of the Ecumenical Movement (London: SPCK, 1954).