the revolution in the areas that came under the control of revolutionary forces. Some of them rose to prominence among the civilian leadership of the revolution and played important roles in the national assemblies that were convened at Epidauros in 1822, at Astros in 1823 and at Troezen in 1827. Caught up in the crucible of revolution, individual members of the higher and lower clergy of the Orthodox Church, in their differing ways, made common cause with the emergent national community. Although the clergy were thus crossing the Rubicon of nationalism, leaving behind the ecumenical teaching of Orthodox Christianity, they could salve their consciences by remembering that liberty and free will were also among the values taught in the Gospels: 'know the truth and it will set you free'.

Despite these seminal changes, at no stage did the hierarchy in revolutionary Greece question their canonical dependence on the ecumenical patriarchate. Throughout the period of the revolutionary struggle in Greece, the prelates and other members of the clergy who played an active role in revolutionary politics followed a consistent line of respect for the faith, upholding Orthodox canonicity and preserving the Christian morals of the people. Three of the bishops, Joseph of Androusa, Neophytos of Talantion and Theodoretos of Vresthena, played particularly active roles in the politics of the revolutionary assemblies: Joseph in particular, as minister of religion between 1822 and 1825. The assemblies paid special attention to questions of religious and ecclesiastical order. The constitutional charters voted by each ofthese assemblies recognised by their very first article Orthodox Christianity as the 'dominant religion' (IrnKpaTOUCTa Op^CTKsia) in the new free Greek state, but adding in the same article that the state tolerated the existence and free practice of all other religions and forms of worship. It is interesting to note that the first article of the 'Political Constitution of Greece' - drawn up at Troezen in 1827 - reversed the order and announced first the principle of freedom of religion and worship, adding to this that the religion of the 'Eastern Orthodox Church of Christ is the religion of the state'.

Beyond these provisos, however, the constitutional order of revolutionary Greece did not go. The specific ecclesiastical status of the Orthodox Church in the liberated territories was neither raised nor discussed in revolutionary Greece and although administrative communication with the patriarchate of Constantinople was interrupted, the spiritual authority of the patriarch was not questioned. The hierarchy in Greece continued the canonical commemoration of the patriarch's name in religious services, and as a sign of respect of the patriarch's canonical rights no ordinations of either bishops or even lower

Was this article helpful?

0 0

Post a comment