clergy were carried out until ecclesiastical affairs were regularised/ Throughout the revolutionary period (i82i-27) and the subsequent short period of the government of Ioannis Kapodistrias two overall trends could be discerned in ecclesiastical affairs. One trend reflected the attitude of the Orthodox episcopate, which had remained active in Greece in this period: they consistently and invariably insisted that the regulation of ecclesiastical affairs should be transacted exclusively on the basis of the canons of the church. In a remarkable document drafted in March i827, in response to an invitation by the chairman of the Third National Assembly, a committee of five bishops put forward twenty-four proposals for the restoration of ecclesiastical order in Greece. Two of these, the first and the last, stand out. They started by suggesting that the National Assembly set up a synod of prelates, charged with the task of the governance of the church in Greece until the overall political situation was normalised. This, the five bishops insisted, was just a temporary and interim measure. They ended by making their long-term view of ecclesiastical order crystal clear: under no circumstances could the church and clergy of Greece contemplate any form of separation from the one and only canonical authority they knew and recognised: the Great Church of Christ in Constantinople.2
If such was the prevailing attitude of the ecclesiastical body, the other general trend of the period consisted in a continuous stream of decisions, measures and expressions of concern for the orderly regulation of ecclesiastical affairs emanating from the National Assemblies and the civil authorities instituted by them. All this represented a radical change in the position of the church, which found itself an object of respect, interest and affection on the part of the civil authority for the first time in many centuries. The many measures and regulations intended to help the church fulfil its proper mission in society, including measures of financial assistance and support, were gradually, imperceptibly but irreversibly bringing the church under the aegis of civil authority and turning it into an instrument of the state. All this was entirely well intentioned and was carried out in a genuine belief that these measures would create the preconditions for the blossoming of the Christian spirit and Christian values in a regenerated Greece. In fact, this process led to the transformation of the Orthodox Church from an agent of canonical conscience so clearly expressed by its episcopacy in the i82os into a nationalist institution, which would eventually substitute for its inherited faith in Christ the new
1 E.I. Konstantinides, H sv 'EAAaSi £KKAr/aia Kara Ti)v snavaaraaiv KaiT-v isxpi T-; afi^sw; ToO'Odwvo; iSTaf)aTiKi)v svoxi)v (1821-1833) (Athens: [s.n.], i97o), i6-4i.
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