conquered at the end of the seventeenth century by the Venetians from the Ottomans.
The eighteenth century dawned in the Greek East with Orthodoxy estranged from both branches of western Christianity. While it remained impervious to any spiritual dialogue with western Christianity until the nineteenth century, it nevertheless grappled with new intellectual challenges emanating from the west in the form of secular learning. These presented the Orthodox world both with opportunities and with dangers. The conventional view assumes that the Orthodox Church was ab initio and exprincipio inimical to the varieties of secular learning originating in the West and devoted itself exclusively to the tradition of sacred letters transmitted in the culture ofthe Greek East. This is an overstatement, which is in need of considerable modification and refinement, if we are to provide an accurate description of the attitudes and practices which emerge from the historical record. Let us take, for example, the evidence supplied by the history of the patriarchal academy. It boasted scholars, such as Korydalleus, who was an exponent par excellence of western secular learning. If he owed his appointment to the patriarch Cyril Loukaris and did not long survive his patron's downfall, the Orthodox Church continued to look to western-trained scholars. In 1665, for instance, Alexander Mavrokordatos was appointed head of the patriarchal academy. He it was who introduced the first elements of modern scientific teaching into its curriculum.29
In the course of the eighteenth century the church showed a noteworthy openness to western learning by enlisting the services of western-trained scholars, representatives of a variety of shades of Enlightenment culture, whenever it planned the reform and upgrading of major institutions of ecclesiastical education. The most remarkable such occasion presented itself in 1753 when the patriarch Cyril V and the synod issued an edict placing under the aegis of the patriarchate of Constantinople an institute of higher education founded in 1748 on Mount Athos by Abbot Meletios ofVatopedi monastery. The purpose ofthe action was to create a college to train clergymen and scholars for the needs of the church. This project was entrusted to the foremost exponent of Enlightenment culture in the Greek world at the time, Eugenios Voulgaris (1716-1806). The story of the Athonite Academy under Voulgaris in the 1750s was the classic
29 A. Maurocordato, Pneumaticum instrumentum circulandi sanguinis sive de motu et usu pul-monum, ed. by Lorenzo Guerrieri (Florence: L. S. Olschki, 1965), 7-21.
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