privilege of investigating and of answering pressing ecclesiastical questions arising in the churches throughout the oikoumene'.3
Historical developments were to give this title added prominence, especially those which involved ever greater separation from Rome. Even when Constantinople ceased to be the centre of a Christian empire (1453), its self-esteem and aspirations were not abandoned. The patriarchate's subject status in the Ottoman dispensation required some adaptation of the terms employed. Nevertheless, the Muslim rulers of the former empire authorised the patriarch of Constantinople to take precedence in church affairs throughout their lands, even though this might involve other ancient patriarchates. Earlier in 1370 the Byzantine patriarch Philotheos had felt able to speak of himself as 'the leader of all Christians found anywhere in the inhabited earth'. In his words, 'all of them depend on me'.4 These were concepts which retained some moral force in centuries to come.
However, even in the Christian east, Constantinople needed to accommodate a variety of other centres of importance, often outside the boundaries of the Byzantine or Ottoman empires. Many resulted from a missionary outreach of the Byzantine patriarchate, to which they were subject for a time. But some were to mature into separate jurisdictions, each with individual myths ofindependence. So, the establishment ofa patriarchal church in the Bulgarian capital of T'rnovo enhanced its imperial claims, so much so that it was called a third Rome.5 The image of a third Rome was to pass into Russian thought after the fall of Constantinople. It was at first related to the city of Novgorod,6 but Moscow was soon to claim full possession of the myth.7 This may have helped to justify its claims to found a separate patriarchate, one for which the patriarch of Constantinople was required in 1589 to give his blessing. In due course Moscow was to become one of several jurisdictions with distinct
3 Neilos, patriarch of Constantinople (1380-88), quoted in Maximos ofSardes, The oecumenical patriarchate in the Orthodox Church, trans. Gamon McLellan (Thessalonike: Patriarchal Institute for Patristic Studies, 1976), 276.
4 F. Miklosich andJ. Muller, Acta et diplomatagraeca mediiaevi sacra etprofana (Vienna, 1860), i, 521.
5 D. Obolensky, The Byzantine Commonwealth: eastern Europe, 500-1453 (London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1971), 246-7.
6 'Povest' o Novgorodskom belom klobuke', in Pamiatniki Literatury Drevnei Rusi, ed. L. Dmitrievand D. S. Likhachev (Moscow: Khudozhestvennaia literatura, 1988-94), vii, 228.
7 V Malinin, Starets Eleazarova monastyria Filofei i ego poslaniia: istoriko-literaturnoe izsle-dovanie (Kiev: Tipografiiia Kievo-Pecherskoi Lavry 1901), prilozheniia vii.45.
Was this article helpful?