life, while the exarch of the church of Constantinople, Nikephoros, lost his. In 1601, following Meletios Pigas's death, Cyril Loukaris, barely thirty years of age, was elected patriarch of Alexandria. In this capacity, occupying the second senior throne in the Orthodox Church, he continued his battle against Latin propaganda in Orthodox lands. In 1612 he left on another trip to south-western Russia. On the way he stopped in Istanbul, where following the expulsion of Patriarch Neophytos II the synod of the ecumenical patriarchate asked Cyril to serve as 'caretaker' of the throne of Constantinople. Cyril agreed and served for a month, but he found the financial obligations contingent upon his eventual election to the ecumenical throne so onerous that he resigned and continued on his trip to Russia.
After his return to Alexandria in 1614 Loukaris remained obsessed with the relentless proselytising activities ofthe Catholics in the east. He devised a grand strategy for the defence of Orthodoxy by courting the Protestant powers of Europe in order to develop a common front against Rome. At this early stage he turned to England. He was in correspondence with two successive archbishops of Canterbury, George Abbot and William Laud. The major result of these contacts was the offer by the Anglicans of a scholarship to a clergyman of the Alexandrine Church for theological training in Oxford. In 1617 this initiative brought Metrophanes Kritopoulos to England for five years, with the secret agenda of working for a possible union between Orthodox and Anglicans. Kri-topoulos's subsequent peregrinations elsewhere in Protestant Europe seem to have been dictated by this motive.11 While Kritopoulos was travelling in Europe, his patriarch back in Alexandria was busy corresponding with prominent Protestant scholars and prelates, including the Dutch theologian and statesman David de Wilhelm and the archbishop of Spalato Marcantonio de Dominis, who had converted to Protestantism while residing in London. This correspondence is important because it shows Loukaris deeply troubled by the practices of his church, which he perceived as obsolete and superstitious and far removed from authentic Christian faith. He expressed a yearning for a return to 'evangelical simplicity', based on the authority of the scriptures and the Holy Spirit. He was critical of the behaviour of the Orthodox faithful, which he witnessed during a visit to Jerusalem. In his opinion it bordered on idolatry. He also expressed misgivings about the excessive authority ascribed to the Fathers in the Greek and Latin churches and confessed that he found
11 C. Davey, Pioneer for unity: Metrophanes Kritopoulos (1589-1639) and relations between the Orthodox, Roman Catholic andreformedchurches (London: The British Council of Churches, 1987).
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