if abortive, initiative. In the next quarter of a century the patriarchal press proved an effective instrument of Gregory V's attack on Enlightenment ideas. In August or September 1797, that is very shortly after the French occupation, Gregory addressed a pastoral encyclical to the Orthodox islanders of the Ionian islands warning them of the machinations of the 'primeval snake' against the true faith, machinations disguised as promises of liberty and equality. In 1798 the patriarch and the synod condemned the revolutionary pamphlet issued by Rhigas Velestinlis in Vienna 'because it is full of rottenness' and instructed the hierarchy to be vigilant and to collect all copies that might appear in their dioceses and forward them to Istanbul to be burnt. Encyclicals warning against the 'recently emergent disease' of French revolutionary ideas were sent to the hierarchy, clergy and laity of dioceses in Epiros, Crete and the Aegean islands, as well as to Smyrna.38
The most significant expression of Orthodox reaction to the Enlightenment and to French revolutionary ideas appeared in 1798 in the form of two pamphlets issued by the patriarchal press. One entitled Paternal Instruction was attributed to the patriarch of Jerusalem Anthimos. The text voiced a strong exhortation against the newly appearing 'systems of liberty', which represented the latest contrivances of the devil designed to lead the pious astray. Against the godless talk of liberty the author counselled submission to the powerful monarchy of the Ottomans, which had been raised by God above all other monarchies in the world in order to serve as a bridle on Latin heresy and as an agent for the salvation of the Orthodox. These arguments provoked strong reactions in liberal circles. In response the foremost Enlightenment thinker Adamantios Korais immediately published an anonymous tract entitled Fraternal Instruction. In it he questioned the attribution of Paternal Instruction to the pious patriarch ofJerusalem and answered point by point the servile arguments of the 'Byzantine dogmatist of 1798'.39
The other counter-revolutionary pamphlet issued by the patriarchal press was entitled Christian Apology, which was the work of Athanasios Parios. In it he warned the faithful against the illusory claims of liberty and equality as a sure recipe for atheism and damnation. It seems that the authorities of the patriarchal press had tampered with Parios's text, damping down his arguments. He accordingly proceeded with two fuller editions of his pamphlet,
38 N. Zakharopoulos, ipryopios V Zafqs SKfpaais Tfs £KK/\ro~iao~TiKfs voAiTiKfs svi ToupKOKpaTias (Thessalonike: [privately printed], 1974).
39 D. Thereianos, ASajaVTiosKopafs(Trieste: Austrohungarian Lloyd, 1889), 1,312. Cf. R. Clogg, 'The Dhidhaskalia Patriki (1798): an Orthodox Reaction to French Revolutionary Propaganda', Middle Eastern Studies 5 (1969), 87-115.
Was this article helpful?