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its transcendental values, because only thus, Saguna believed, could a national church fulfil its mission effectively.29

Orthodoxy and Arab nationalism

A much more painful drama reflecting the consequences of nationalism in the Orthodox Church was acted out on the eastern frontier of Orthodoxy in Syria over the control of the ancient patriarchate of Antioch. In this case, the external manifestation of the conflict took the form of a confrontation over the language of church and hierarchy. In the Arab world the winds of nationalism were first felt in the middle decades of the nineteenth century among Christian Arabs who had been exposed to western education, primarily in schools set up by missionaries or in Greek schools operating under the aegis of Orthodox ecclesiastical authorities. It was in these circles that claims were first voiced on behalf of Arabic in the church and in support of native Arabic-speaking candidates for episcopal and patriarchal thrones. In this, Orthodox Arab nationalists, like the Bulgarians before them, were strongly encouraged by Russian diplomacy, whose imperial designs onthe Balkans and the Near East counted on the use of the Orthodox Church as a most effective weapon. When in 1891 a Greek was once again elected to the patriarchal throne of Antioch, Arab resentment reached boiling point. With Russian encouragement and aided by protracted ecclesiastical crises in Constantinople and Jerusalem and by the Greek defeat in the 1897 war with Turkey, Arab nationalists finally managed to force the resignation of their Cypriot-born patriarch Spyridon in January 1898.30 A native Arab Orthodox, Meletios of Lattakia (Laodikeia), was elected patriarch of Antioch in 1899. This was described as 'the first victory of Arab nationalism'.31

Similar attempts by Arab Orthodox to gain control of the patriarchate of Jerusalem were thwarted on a number of occasions in the twentieth century. These incidents demonstrate the extent to which nationalism has become a major motive in the life of the Orthodox Church as a consequence of broader changes initiated in the nineteenth century. The deeper significance of the transition from Orthodoxy to nationalism as a worldview and as an attitude to life is brought out - perhaps better than anywhere else in the Orthodox

29 K. Hitchins, The identity of Romania (Bucharest: The Encyclopedic Publishing House, 2003), 87-100.

30 B. Englezakis, Studies on the history of the Church of Cyprus 4th-20th centuries (Aldershot: Variorum, 1995), 323-420.

31 D. Hopwood, The Russian presence in Syriaand Palestine 1843-1914: church andpolitics in the Near East (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1969), 159-79.

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