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the insecurity or even hostility which often characterised Orthodox dealings with the Catholics. Attitudes towards Protestantism were to change later on, after the highly dramatic experiences of the Orthodox Church under Patriarch Cyril I Loukaris in the early seventeenth century. Before turning to that controversial and ultimately tragic story, however, it would be useful to situate the relations of the Orthodox Church with the west within the evolving history of its experience of Ottoman rule in the century and a half after the fall of Constantinople.

The Orthodox Church after 1453

The conquest of 1453 destroyed the Orthodox Church as an institution of the Christian empire inaugurated by Constantine. The church no longer conferred legitimacy through anointing and coronation upon the wielder of the temporal sword; it no longer sanctified through its spiritual guidance the earthly order of things. It now attempted to adapt to an Islamic order by accepting the sovereignty of the House of Osman and by loyally submitting to the prevailing non-Christian powers. In return, the leaders of the church, patriarchs and prelates alike, were recognised by the Islamic state; not, however, as an institution of the subjected Christian population but in their personal capacity, as administrative agents of the Ottoman state charged with the task of supervising the 'erroneous religious customs of the infidels'.6 It was in this capacity that the Orthodox religious leadership had to carry out its tasks, which as far as the state was concerned included ensuring the loyal submission of the Christian subjects of the sultan and the regular collection and delivery of their taxes. Within this overall set-up of political submission and ambiguous institutional status the ecclesiastical hierarchy with the ecumenical patriarch at its head strove to preserve within the Christian community the organisation, religious practices and spiritual traditions of the church. To keep the community of the faithful together and to survive amid the vicissitudes of centuries-long non-Christian rule - until finally recognised by the Ottoman reforms of the mid-nineteenth century as a collective institution representing Orthodox society - were no small accomplishments. They reflected not only the strength of collective memory and the effectiveness of socialising mechanisms within the church, but also the enduring power of the symbolic legacies of the

6 P. Konortas, 'Odwp.aviKS<; dswpr¡asi<; yiá to Oíkoviísviko ûaTpiapxsïo (Athens: Alexan-dreia Publishing House, 1998), 315. On the status of the Orthodox Church under Ottoman rule see E. A. Zachariadou, AéKa ToupKiKasyypafa yiá tt) MsyáAr 'EKKAr¡aía(i483-1567) (Athens: Institute for Byzantine Research, 1996).

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