was sent to Michael Kantakouzenos, a wealthy lay patron of the church. It was obvious that the Tubingen professors were canvassing Orthodox public opinion for their views. The Tubingen professors and the patriarch corresponded in Greek and the surviving letters supply an excellent record of the level of theological thinking at which the doctrinal exchanges between them went on. In outlining the principles of Protestant doctrine the professors stressed the points of agreement between the two churches, their shared belief in one saviour, Jesus Christ, and the acceptance of the holy scriptures as the basis of their faith. They added that the points of disagreement between the Orthodox and the Reformed churches were of secondary significance, while in his response the patriarch stressed the points of disagreement between Orthodoxy and Protestantism and accused the Protestants of introducing novelties. He stressed that the Orthodox faith was founded not only on the holy scriptures, but also on the ecumenical councils and the Fathers of the Church; he warned that faith based on the scriptures alone could lead to errors. In 1575 the patriarch sent to the Protestant theologians a refutation of the Augsburg Confession composed by himself with the help of Ioannes Zygomalas and other Orthodox theologians. The correspondence continued in Jeremias's second patriarchate (1580-84), but by 1581 the patriarch asked the Tubingen professors to cease annoying him with doctrinal issues since they did not show any willingness to conform to the true teachings ofthe church, especially in regard to the Fathers for whom they expressed their respect in words but not in deeds. The patriarch concluded the correspondence by suggesting to the Protestant professors that they write to him out of friendship if they so desired, but not to bother him with doctrine.5

These early attempts at reconnaissance and mutual discovery between Orthodoxy and Protestantism did not leave any serious mark on the Orthodox Church. The greatest product of the exchange between the two churches at this early stage in the Reformation's history was Martin Crusius's monumental work Turcograecia, published in Basel in 1584. This is the most important source on the condition of the Orthodox Church and of Greek culture and language produced in the sixteenth century and remains an inexhaustible mine of information on these subjects to the present day. The early contacts under Patriarch Jeremias II suggest suspicion towards the Protestants, rather than

5 See Turcograeciae libri octo aMartino Crusio (Basel: Leonardus Ostensius, 1584; reprinted Modena: Memor, 1972), 410-83. For an English translation see G. Mastrantonis, Augsburg and Constantinople: the correspondence between the Tubingen theologians and PatriarchJeremiah II of Constantinople on the Augsburg Confession (Brookline, MA: Holy Cross Orthodox Press, 1982). See also I. N. Karmiris, 'OpdoSo^ia Kai npoTSaTaVTiaiós (Athens, 1937), I, 31-7, 79-135.

Was this article helpful?

0 0

Post a comment