a distinctive mark of the statecraft connected with the establishment of the new state, was a unilateral declaration of the autocephaly of the Orthodox Church in Greece. That action was part of a political programme aimed at affirming the national independence and sovereignty of the new kingdom. Sovereignty was connected with absolutism on the legitimist model of Restoration Europe. This in turn entailed a policy of administrative centralisation, which not only involved breaking the power of local oligarchies and sectional interests and imposing military discipline on the chieftains of revolutionary armies, but also required bringing the church under control. In an act of 4 August i833 the regency imposed an ecclesiastical settlement that declared the Orthodox Church in Greece independent of the mother-church in Constantinople. The head of the new autocephalous church was to be the Roman Catholic sovereign of the new kingdom, and its governance was delivered to clerical officials appointed by the crown. This was extreme caesaropapism, which was quite foreign to the traditions of the Orthodox Church and to the holy canons.6 The regime thus imposed on the church in Greece was dictated by considerations of a political nature, which aimed to strengthen both national independence and royal absolutism. But these aims were promoted by subjecting the church to an Erastian settlement of Protestant inspiration, which meant transferring to Greece the model of church-state relations prevailing in German Protestant states and in the Scandinavian kingdoms.
There was widespread resistance to the ecclesiastical settlement, which was later completed by decrees abolishing most monasteries and practically all nunneries in Greece. It was only under considerable pressure that Orthodox bishops resident in the kingdom, numbering some fifty-two prelates, gave their assent to the proposed settlement, on 27 July i833, insisting only that respect for the holy canons should be explicitly added to all relevant decrees. Resistance to the settlement, nevertheless, came from the monks and from a wide cross-section of society, especially in the countryside, where there was a real fear that the faith might be adulterated. On the level of theological argument Constan-tine Oikonomos led the resistance to unilateral autocephaly. This towering intellectual leader was deeply devoted to the canonical order represented by the patriarchate of Constantinople.7 The most distinguished theological proponent of autocephaly was Theokletos Pharmakidis, a theologian trained in
6 J. A. Petropulos, Politics and statecraft in the kingdom of Greece 1833-1843 (Princeton: Princeton University Press, i968), i8o-92.
7 On Oikonomos's contribution see G. D. Metallinos, 'EAAaSiKou aUToKSpaAou nap-aAsinop.sva(Athens: Domos, i989), i23-58.
Was this article helpful?
Finally, The Ultimate Guide To Changing Your Life Forever. Get Your Hands On The Ultimate Guide For Live Improvement Through Affirmations For Success And Let It's Magic Change Your Life Forever. Discover How OrdinaryPeople Can Live Extraordinary Lives Through The Power Of Affirmations.