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The Reciprocal Relation between Doctrinal and Historical factors in the Separation of the Oriental Churches from the ancient Catholic Church

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The First Icons of Christ and the Virgin

Church, Schools and Science during the Turkish occupation

The Hesychasm in the Occident during the 14th Century

"Unity", "Division", "Reunion" in the light of Orthodox Ecclesiology

Nationalism in the Orthodox Church


Nationalism in the Orthodox Church

Ioannes N. Karmiris , The Greek Orthodox Theological Review,
vol. XXVI, n. 3, Fall 1981, Brookline,
ed. Holy Cross Orthodox Press, p. 171- 182


The subject of this study, 'Nationalism in the Orthodox Church' (1), has its beginning in the apostolic period, where the first weak manifestations of nationalism can be discerned. These first manifestations of nationalism found their way into Christianity principally through Jewish Christians, as well as through Gentile Christians representing a wide variety of peoples and nations. National concerns emerged in the Church of Christ as the result and expression of national spirit, character, and temperament and sometimes as the political expression of Christian peoples - determined in every place by the ethinic, linguistic, political, sociological, and specific peculiarities of the respective peoples. During the ancient period we witness eruptions of ecclesiastical nationalism among the Christian Greeks, Latins, Arabs, and others; subsequently among the Russians (2), the Bulgarians (3), the Romanians (4), and then more recently to a greater degree by the Greek, Arab, and other Orthodox peoples (5). Nationalism, or phyletism, however, was manifested more intensely and for a greater period of time among those who detached themselves from the ancient Church, especially the Armenians, Coptics, Jacobites, and several other monophysite and dyophysite peoples. During the modern period, certain local churches were characterized as 'national', first in the West, and then afterwards in the East. Also, it was during this period that these churches were given the designation 'autocephalous'. In the West, a number of churches which temporarily assumed a certain Gallicized or Febronian form were characterized as 'national,' as were various subsequent Protestant churches and confessions? So, too, in the East a number of Orthodox Churches were in a similarly transient fashion influenced by a type of 'ethnoracism' which, "because of racial traditions and linguistic peculiarities, resulted in the rupture and dismemberment of the one, catholic Church of Christ into recognizable pieces and sections," as the Ecumenical Patriarch Ioakeim III wrote in a letter to the Orthodox Churches in 1904 (6). In addition, it is known that the nationalistic sentiments of the Greeks and the Latins played a significant role in the eruption and completion of the great ecclesiastical schism between Old and New Rome during the tenth and eleventh centuries. This tendency unfortunately continued afterwards, especially during the times of the Crusades, with the Latin states in the East, the papal Uniates, etc.

But here we will limit ourselves only to the Orthodox Church of the East, into which was introduced the "spirit of nationalism, both strange and foreign to the Church" during its earliest years, according to this same Patriarch, Ioakeim III (7). Consequently, the Church was compelled synodically to condemn this "strange and foreign spirit," capable of having a catastrophic effect on the unity and catholicity of the Orthodox Church, and on her indispensable and inseparable attributes, expressed most perfectly in the Holy Eucharist. In fact, certain local Orthodox Churches have unfortunately at times been induced into unadulterated nationalism and racism, having temporarily been attached beyond all necessity to their own nations and states. At times they have become involuntary instruments of the chauvinistic pursuits of their respective nations, that is, "the servants of worldly goals and political programs" (8), -in violation of the fundamental, theoretical, and canonical principles of Orthodoxy, which reject racial and ethnic discrimination (9). Later on, this matter occupied the Orthodox Church much more intensely, particularly as a result of the excessive nationalism exhibited by the Bulgarian Church, as expressed during the past century. Because of this reason, a local synod was held in Constantinople in 1872, which "censured and condemned phyletism (i.e., excessive nationalism and national disputes, dissensions, and pursuits) in the Church of Christ as being opposed to the teaching of the Gospel and to the holy canons". More specifically, this local synod judged the Bulgarian nationalistic claims to be directly opposed to canons 8 and 15 of the First Ecumenical Synod, 2 of the Second Ecumenical Synod, 5 of the Fourth, 14 and 15 of the Synod of the Holy Apostles, as well as others (10), and in general opposed to Orthodox ecclesiology. For, according to ecclesiology, each bishop is the head of each local church. He together with his flock, which is gathered around him, comprises the fullness of the body of Christ which becomes more evident in the celebration of the mystery of the Holy Eucharist. With this presupposition in mind, the synod characterized "phyletism as foreign and hostile vis-a-vis both the evangelical teaching and the eternal providence of the Church of God " (11). "Therefore, there can be no doubt that the characterization of a specific local Orthodox Church as 'national,' on the basis of this type of nationalism and racism, is especially opposed to the meaning of the unity and catholicity of the Church, as well as to her other theoretical and canonical principles. Consequently, nationalism and racism have rightly been characterized as heretical, and therefore to be absolutely rejected (12). For it is not permitted for the one, catholic, universal, and eternal Church to be equated with small, local, 'national' churches - geographically limited and excessively influenced by the culture, language, native prejudice, and customs of the various peoples and races of the earth, serving at times small and temporary political and civil interests which are dictated by the nationalism and chauvinism of their own respective peoples and states.

Thus, the Orthodox Church, accepting the catholicity and essential unity of the Church-the body of Christ according to internal fabric, construction, identity, and continuity with the primitive Apostolic Church-rejects both excessive nationalism and racial distinction within the local churches of the various nations. Insofar as Christianity is both an ecumenical and universal religion, likewise the Christian Church is 'catholic,' that is, at the same time ecumenical and universal, its mission applying to all people. The God-man, the leader of Christianity and founder of the Church, commanded His disciples and apostles to "go therefore and make disciples of all nations" (Mt 28.19), and to "go into all the world and preach the gospel to the whole creation" (Mk 16.15). In this manner was proclaimed "this gospel of the kingdom which will be preached throughout the whole world, as a testimony to all nations" (Mt 24.14) and "in the whole world" (Mt 26.13 and Mk 13.11, 14.9), so that "the word of truth may be preached to all nations," and "that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be preached in his name to all nations" (Lk 24.47) to the end, so that "the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus" (Eph 3.6).

It can be seen from these scriptural passages that the Church of Christ addresses and offers salvation to all nations without national, racial, or any other distinction, considering all as equal, and all human beings as creatures and children of God, "who desires all men to be saved" (1 Tim 2.4): all men, all peoples, races tongues, and nations without discrimination, whom "God first visited, to take out of them a people for his name" (Acts 15.14). Because of this fact, without any racial or national distinction, there were formed under the apostles the first established churches, composed of both Jews and Gentiles, in cities such as Jerusalem, Antioch, Alexandria, Ephesos, Rome, Corinth, etc., from which were formed the subsequent Orthodox patriarchates and autocephalous churches. These churches are usually named after the chief city or the country of their region, and not after the national origin of the faithful who belong to them. The latter, bound together, are subject to the canonical bishops of their respective geographically determined districts, independent of their national origin, race, or language. Ancient ecclesiastical practice and history teach this, witnessing to the establishment not of national, but of local, or provincial churches, within fixed, determined historical or political geographic boundaries, since "the ecclesiastical usually conform to the civil boundaries" (13). For this reason, at the local Orthodox Synod of Constantinople held in 1872, it was stressed that the "Church of Greece, of Russia, of Serbia, of Wallachia and Moldavia, which are improperly named Greek, Russian, Serbian, etc., are autocephalous or semi-independent churches; in their domain they are autonomous or semi-independent, having certain, fixed limits, those of the civil state...constituted not by reason of nationality, but rather by political situation or condition...." (14). Generally speaking, there are no elected or chosen nations and peoples distinct from the others who appear to be of lesser significance. The incidental national differences which exist between nations, which are due not to organic but rather external and historical factors, have only a relative significance for universal, Christian brotherhood, and do not establish an absolute criterion of the racial differences of men and peoples.

Therefore, so-called nationalism, or phyletism, must be judged to be condemned as the expression of the nationalistic spirit and character, and of the chauvinistic pursuits of the different peoples. Also, according to the aforesaid local synod, phyletism is "the formation in a specific area of particular, racial churches, all accepting their own kind, and all rejecting those not belonging to their nation, governable only by shepherds of their own race" (15). Thus phyletism is unknown to and irreconcilable with the teaching, tradition, and canonical order of the Orthodox Church. As a result, the excessive nationalism of the local churches -that is, those churches wrongly characterized as 'national'- is forbidden. Their excessive attachment to the 'chariot' of their respective nations and states, and their chauvinistic compliance with the political pursuits of their respective nations and states are entirely irreconcilable with the spirit of the Gospel, given that the Church is 'one' and 'catholic,' and at the same time universal and eternal, not limited by the boundaries of time and space. Consequently, nationalism is antithetical to the Orthodox dogmatic teaching concerning the unity of the Church in her internal fabric, construction, and identity. Nationalism severs this unity and leads to schism, about which Saint Chrysostom wrote, "neither blood nor martyrdom is capable of washing away the sin," because "nothing irritates God more than for the Church to be divided" (16). And finally, phyletism is opposed to the catholicity, ecumenicity, and universality of the Church of Christ, which extends throughout all the world and all time, and whose character and ecumenical mission is super-national and supertemporal.

For these reasons the Orthodox Church condemns excessive nationalism, racism, and racial distinction in general, since the Church of Christ "is not of this world" (Jn 18.36), but rather is of divine origin, nature, and mission. As a result, the Church is neither defined nor essentially influenced by the various nations, peoples, and races of the earth- although wrongly identified with certain of these-but rather is catholic and universal, with a supernational character, ecumenical, belonging to all mankind, in whom "there is neither Jew nor Greek," barbarian nor Scythian," but rather "all are one in Christ Jesus (Gal 3.28; Col 3.11; Eph 2.14; and Rom 11.12). The Church is the single, unique, catholic body of Christ, which is "not divided," a spiritual body, whole, indivisible, eternal, governed by Christ himself. The Holy Scriptures teach the unity of mankind. Christ, who "is all, and in all" (Col 3.11), abolished national discrimination between peoples.

The local Orthodox Churches must not forget that "no one can serve two masters" (Mt 6.24), and that "we must obey God rather than men" (Acts 5.29). Consequently, it is not possible to serve God and the temporal ruler, but only and exclusively God. Of course it is to the benefit of the churches to "render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's," but before and beyond all it is to their greatest benefit to "render to God the things that are God's" (Mt 22.21), faithfully serving the redemptive will and work of God. Thus, on the one hand they must teach the faithful to "be subject to the governing authorities" (Rom 13.1), and to make "supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings...for kings and all who are in high position" (1 Tim 2.1-2). On the other hand, however, they must not become "the servants of men" (1 Cor 3.23) and of the anti-evangelical and unlawful designs of the rulers of the different nations, especially since "the world passes away, and the lust of it" (1 Jn 2.17), whereas the Church remains throughout eternity, working for the salvation of mankind and the dissemination of the kingdom of God on earth, whose beginning and presence is comprised of by the Church herself. The now extant kingdom of God comprises the eschatological dimension of the Church, that which refers to her essence. Thus, without doubt the provincial and nationalistic spirit and the racial discrimination of certain churches wrongly and unacceptably characterized as 'national' is incompatible with the catholicity and unity of the Church. Instead, it is necessary for these churches to live by the power of the Holy Spirit in the absolute unity and catholicity of the one, catholic Church, the body of Christ, and in the mystical communion of the fullness of the life in God, taking into account that the Church is chiefly life in Christ and a community of both love and unity in freedom, whose members are obliged to live in unity, catholicity, and brotherly love as members of the one body of Christ. As it has already been said, the Orthodox Church always condemned excessive nationalism, as it also disapproved of secularism and, in general, every clearly secular and political mixing and tendency toward "worldly affairs" (17) that is, toward "the kingdoms of the world and the glory of them" (Mt 4.8), not succumbing to the Lord's third temptation as did the church of Rome.

From the above it can be gathered that nationalism, and indeed super-nationalism, are in general irreconcilable with the essence of the Church, and with her spiritual and theanthropic character. More especially nationalism is irreconcilable with the Church's catholicity, ontological unity, and lasting communion between the various local Orthodox Churches, which are obligated to express their catholicity within the unity and equality of faith, worship, governing organization, and canonical order based on the holy canons, and the apostolic succession of bishops, and in the conceptual framework of the Orthodox synodical system, "eager to maintain the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace, one body and one Spirit" (Eph 4.3).

In saying these things we must in no way underrate the great significance and mission of the nation and the state, toward whom the Church must have a relationship akin to that of the soul toward the body. The Church recognizes this. It maintains a positive stance and relationship with the state, and pursues as its policy one that guides all people, nations, and states toward God, and unites, transfigures, and transforms them all into one "people of God," since all have similarly been called by God to salvation, and all are "one in Christ Jesus." The Church seeks to accomplish this while rejecting the nationalistic exclusiveness of any so-called superior people. Consequently, the relationship between the Church on the one hand, and the national states on the other, must be analogous to this process, clearly a process of coexistence, exchange, harmonious collaboration, reciprocal aid, interaction, and mutual influence. This relationship was determined long ago on the basis of the overall teaching of the New Testament in general, and more specifically on the basis of four of its classical texts, which possess the eternal authority and regulative worth and power of the relationship between Church and state. These are: the memorable commandment of the divine founder of the Church, "render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's" (Mt 22.21). Similar are the words of the Apostle Peter, "We must obey God rather than men" (Acts 5.29); of Paul , "Let every person be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God" (Rom 13.1); and the thirteenth chapter of the Apocalypse of the Evangelist John.

The reciprocal relationship between the Church and the state was defined on the basis of the New Testament teaching stated above, according to which both are considered to be self-sufficient and independent principles apart from all others, and as a result must neither be amalgamated nor equated; nor should they be completely separated, mutually subjugated, or mutually oppressed through the disharmonious interference of one into the interna corporis of the other. On the contrary, while maintaining their independence and autonomy, it is necessary for them to pursue agreement in all things, to work together harmoniously, and to help promote each other in mutual respect. Each has need of the assistance and reinforcement of the other. The state is in need of the spiritual power and aid of the Church, and the Church is in need of the material power and aid of the state. The sphere of activity of both are not completely separated from each other; indeed, they oftentimes coincide. The members of each are the same individuals who make up both of these two distinct institutions. Belonging to both, as Christians they heed the command of the Lord to render "to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's" (Mt 22.21). The issue is concerned, therefore, with two different and independent organizations. The one is theanthropic and autonomous, based upon divine, unchangeable, and eternal law. The other is purely human, based upon empirical, temporal, and transient law. Indeed, just as the state is autonomous and independent, governed by its own constitution, so, too, the Church is autonomous and independent, governed by her own constitution comprised of the holy canons. Thus both walk together as two integral principles and authorities, freely self-regulated according to the internal life and unique constitutional basis of each, and not allowing either excessive union, or enslavement of any local church to the state.

In order to understand this better, it is also necessary to take into account that these two independent and complete institutions are different according to the nature, mission, and methodology by which they attain their respective goals. Thus, the Church on the one hand is a metaphysical institution, whose foundation and mission were determined once and forever by her divine founder, eternally without change, and unto the salvation of mankind; the state on the other hand is a natural, man-made institution, subject to changes according to the free volition of those who comprise it, and in pursuit of the internal and external peace, and material well-being of its members. Therefore, the goal and mission of the Church lies in the area of the metaphysical life of man, while that of the state and the race in the area of man's physical life. Both employ means toward attainment of their respective goals which can be either similar or different from each other. In this way the circle of activity and competence of each is different, and consequently, it is possible to avoid every confusion, mutual interference, and enslavement between the two, since the Church is confined solely to the ecclesiastical, and the state solely to the political, both confined 'within home boundaries.' This state of affairs must always be enforced in conjunction with the teaching of the holy Fathers who accept the idea that "just as political well-being is synonymous with the good conduct of political leaders, so too is the ecclesiastical situation synonymous with the good conduct of the Church's shepherds and teachers" (18).

It is to be noted that the perception of the above system of relations between Church and state, developed in the Byzantine Empire which accepted the Christian eschatological perspective of the kingdom of God, is considered by many Orthodox to be the best suited for themselves, especially because of historical and contemporary exigencies. Yet, while with certain peoples the separation of Church and state prevails, as is the case with those states which are characterized as either secular, or multi-religious, or communist, there nevertheless continues a strong alternative stance in which Orthodoxy is recognized as a predominant, or official religion. This is true of certain Orthodox peoples, like the Greeks and others. The former group, however, who insist on separation of Church and state, can maintain this relationship on the basis of relative neutrality, more or less, of the religious convictions of their citizens, and at the same time by guaranteeing freedom of religious consciousness and freedom of worship. Unfortunately, these guarantees do not exist in the Communist states whose governments officially profess atheism and are generally antagonistic toward religion. In these cases, the Orthodox Churches each and every time must regulate their relations analogous with the kingdoms of this world, in which they find themselves politically separated, and yet working independently and freely apart from them for the prevalence of the kingdom of God in the world. In regard to the last few systems mentioned, it would be better for us to limit ourselves to nations of the free world, those, of course, in which Orthodoxy is the faith of the majority of the population, and in which the government is favorably disposed toward the Orthodox faith, as for example is the case in Greece. In Greece, by virtue of the new Constitution of 1975, the Orthodox Church is recognized as the predominant or official religion, and as a result has been granted the freedom of self-government, based upon the holy, apostolic and synodal canons, and holy traditions, as well as upon the traditional system of reciprocity. This recognition is nevertheless combined with a tendency toward the system of separation of Church and state. This separation, however, is not judged to be beneficial by either, taking into account, of course, the close historical and spiritual ties which exist between the two, and which are deeply rooted in the soul of the Orthodox Greek people (19).

In the instance, therefore, of the application of this latter, or similar such system, it is evident that the local Orthodox Churches existing in the various Orthodox nations and states have a mission to care for the religious needs of the faithful, to serve their Orthodox peoples, to walk together with them, and in general to practice every possible virtue in order to influence them toward righteousness. The churches must do this, however, without becoming completely identified or amalgamated with the people. They must not become servants, or exploited instruments used for the political pursuits of the nations, which oftentimes are opposed to the law of the evangelical ethic. They must not become attached to the chariot of the nations, nor be ruled over by excessive nationalism, to the point where the one, indivisible, catholic Church is confused and identified with colonies and countries of the nations. The holy work of the churches is thus harmed, and the catholic consciousness of the Church weakened. Neither is it allowed, as was said previously, to speak about a 'national' Orthodox church, as for example of Greece, or of Russia, or of Romania, but rather it is proper to speak only of the one, united, and indivisible Orthodox Church in Greece, or in Russia, or in Romania, far removed from every nationalistic and disruptive tendency.

The Orthodox Church, however, does not reject well-intended, healthy national sentiments, which exist and operate within the framework of the unity and catholicity of the Church, and which are defined and limited by it. Neither does the Church overlook the value of civilization, which the various nations and peoples provide, and within which the Church carries out her holy apostleship in accordance with the will and command of her divine founder and leader (Mt 28.19-20), following the example of the apostles, and especially that of the great Apostle to the Gentiles. Hence the Church always takes into account the political peculiarities and other ethnic differences of the various peoples, and proclaims to each in his own language the mystery of salvation. Thus, it is possible for every people to freely worship God in their own language, and to recognize the special role which each local church can play in the universal mission of Orthodoxy. Orthodoxy, however, must remain entirely free and independent of the forms, priorities, and spiritual traditions of the various peoples and states, gradually realizing the kingdom of God on earth, until the fullness of time, and the kingdom's total eschatological realization. Similarly, the Orthodox Church recognizes, as aforesaid, all nations as equivalent and equal in honour, and all peoples as equal in brotherly affiliation, considering none as higher or as chosen or as an elect people of God.

It is also known that Orthodoxy is readily adapted to the self-recommendation, the way of thinking, and the customs of various peoples, if these do not oppose her dogmatic and ethical teaching. The Church always cares for and promotes the virtue of a state's political makeup, and at the same time is obliged to maintain whole the unity of faith and spirit in Orthodoxy, and to remain unaltered everywhere and in every time. Indeed, the adaptive power and capability of Orthodoxy is great with respect to the coexistence, sanctification, and uplifting of the national life-style peculiar to Orthodox peoples in particular, and with respect to her redemptive influence on the faithful in general. The faithful are surrounded with love to the point where they consider the Orthodox Church both their mother and their own personal Church. They find in her bosom true motherly love and protection, which in fact she has always shown toward them, especially during the well-known, critical, historical periods of national danger and trial. During these times, the Orthodox Church has assumed leadership roles, and has energetically participated in the national struggle for the defence, salvation, and liberation of her peoples, thus contributing effectively to the restoration of the nation (20). Similarly, in time of peace, the Church has offered great services and inestimable counsel to the evolution and development of civilization. She has concerned herself with the general progress and prosperity of her Orthodox peoples, always walking together with them and confronting their problems as problems of her own. Thus, penetrating deeply into their national life, the Church cultivates and sanctifies the faithful, always positively, or rather maternally disposed toward Orthodox nations and peoples, over whom she has shown herself to be a loving guardian (21), and a force both unifying and creative. This force cultivates the self-awareness of the faithful, and it develops their talents, capabilities, and cultural level. In this way, Orthodoxy has become a great regenerative power, religious, and ethical of the Orthodox peoples and nations. It exercises a profound influence upon them, and in addition, it acts as a great cohesive bond among them, thereby creating common aspirations, sentiments, and customs which provide unity and harmony for the Orthodox nations, which the tower of Babel separated (22). Generally speaking, the history of the local Orthodox Churches bears witness to the fact that because they have been so closely intertwined with the birth, life, and the tradition of Orthodox states and peoples, and because they have been so closely bound to their national existence, they at times have been abusively characterized by some as 'nationalistic churches' (23). However, they are not so in the unacceptably chauvinistic sense which has already been revealed and censured above. Their existence in some places became tolerable because of the need to confront local ecclesiastical problems and needs, and also for the development of special talents in certain specific areas of the Church. This was permissible only insofar as the intent was not to deviate or fall away from the straight path of the catholicity, living tradition, and unity of the Orthodox Church, above and beyond national boundaries, ideological oppositions, and racial, linguistic, and cultural distinctions.

In summary, we repeat that the local autocephalous Orthodox Churches in no way are permitted, under the influence of nationalistic spirit, to sever and divide the single, unique body of Christ, which of course can never be 'divided'. Nor can His Church, as His body, be divided, but instead always remains undivided and indivisible, as it was during the Apostolic period, when the local churches, or 'colonies,' were Jerusalem, Antioch, Phillippi, Corinth, Rome, and others, who were all characterized as, and indeed were, 'catholic' churches, united around the common table of the Holy Eucharist, and expressing their faith "in one, catholic Church". We must keep in mind that the essence, catholicity, and unity of the Church is realized in liturgical time and space, and that it is also in this sphere that the reality of the mystical body of Christ is expressed. This applies of course to the contemporary autocephalous Orthodox churches, (especially on the basis of canon 34 of the Apostolic Canons, 17 of the Fourth Ecumenical Synod, and 38 of the Penthekte Synod) (24), which, in spite of their own administrative independence -which is nonetheless subject to the Pan-Orthodox Synod-possess dogmatic, liturgical, and canonical unity. They live in unbroken unity, communion, and love through their common Orthodox faith, worship, and episcopal-synodal self-government, and tradition entirely in the mystical unity of the one, Orthodox, Catholic Church, and through her in the fullness of the grace and life of God, which she received through Christ in the Holy Spirit. Consequently, canonical 'autocephalous status' does not remove or upset the unity of Orthodoxy, or of the local churches that comprise Orthodoxy, under the direction of the Holy Spirit, since this unity is not excessively influenced by nationalism (25).

In conclusion, it is necessary to add that the nationalistic and inappropriate autocephalous spirit must not be permitted to be fostered in the so-called 'Orthodox diaspora' living in certain non-Orthodox countries in Europe and America, i.e., the system which has appeared for over the last fifty years which allows for the coexistence of a plurality of Orthodox bishops of different nationalities (Greek, Albanian, Syrian, Serbian, Russian, etc.), whose jurisdictions parallel each other over the same areas. This situation was tolerable only in the beginning for a limited, transitional period, but unfortunately has been preserved until today. With the disappearance now of the majority of those who insist upon this anti-canonical system-a scandal indeed -there is presently an imperative need for the Pan-Orthodox Synod now in preparation, to proceed to reorganize the 'Orthodox diaspora', thereby restoring the unity of episcopal jurisdiction according to the holy canons, and at the same time preserving the multiplicity of nationalities. Indeed, in 1976, both the 'Second Congress of Orthodox Theological Scholars' and the 'First Pre-Synodal Pan-Orthodox Conference' occupied themselves with these topics -nationalism, autocephaly, Orthodox diaspora-which were designated as topics for the upcoming Pan-Orthodox Synod which will concern itself with the 'Orthodox diaspora' and the "contribution of the local Orthodox churches toward the removal of racial discrimination" (26).

The final conclusion of all that has been discussed is that the narrow bond between the local churches and the various nations can in no way be permitted to exist at the expense of the metaphysical unity and catholicity of the Church, which is directed to all peoples, independent of race and nationality, and to all persons of the same Heavenly Father, who "desires all men to be saved" (1 Tim 2.4), for whom the Savior "is the expiation for our sins...of the whole world" (1 Jn 2.2), who commanded the Apostles to "go into all the world and preach the gospel to the whole creation" (Mk 16.15), "to gather into one the children of God who are scattered abroad" (Jn 11.52), and "to unite all things in him" (Eph 1.10), because God "made from one bloodline every nation of men to live on all the face of the earth...that they should seek God, in the hope that they might feel after him and find him," as Paul the Apostle taught on the Areos pagos (Acts 17.26-27).

Translated from the Greek by Steven P. Zorzos


(1) Related to the topic of nationalism are articles written forty years ago by three professors of the Theological School of the University of Athens: Bratsiotes, " Κράτος, Έθνος και Εκκλησία ", articles in the periodicals Ανάπλασις 49 (1936) 53ff; and Εκκλησία 14 (1936) 71ff, 97ff, 125ff; Balanos, in Εκκλησία 14 (1936) 73ff, 91ff, 114ff, as in his study Πολιτε ία και Εκκλησία (Athens, 1920), and a similar study in the Academy of Athens in Πρακτικά 13 (1938) 208ff; Alivizatos, in E κκλησία 14 (1936) 11 1 ff, and 15 (1937) 83ff, 98ff, as well as in Proc è s verbaux du Premier Congrès de Théologie Orthodoxe à Athènes (1936) (Athens, 1939), pp. 284ff, in Επιστημονική Επετηρίδι της Θεολογικής Σχολής Αθηνών 1936-1937, pp. 68ff, as well as his study Εκκλησία και Πολιτεία εξ επόψεως ορθοδόξου (Athens, 1936). For further articles see: Iezekiel Velanidiotes, Εκκλησία και Πολιτεία (Athens, 1906); K. Dyovouniotos, Σχέσεις Εκκλησίας και Πολιτείας (Athens, 1936); C. Androutsos, Εκκλησία και Πολιτεία εξ επόψεως ορθοδόξου (Athens, 1920); A. Alivizatos - S. Zankow, "Kirche und Staat," in Proc è s verbaux, pp. 370-99; S. Zankow, "Nation, Staat, Welt und Kirche," in Orthodoxen Osten als theologisches Problem (Sofia, 1937); by the same author, "Kirche und Nation im Orthodoxen Osten," in Die Kirche und das Staatsprobtem in der Gegenwart (Genf, 1935), pp. 207-13, published by Συμβουλίου Πρακτικού Χριστιανισμού, by whom was published Kirche, Staat und Mensch, Russisch - Orthodoxen Studien (1937), J. Oldham (ed.); the report of the conference at Oxford, July 1937, on "Church, Community, and State" (London, 1937); N. Milasch, To εκκλησιαστικό δίκαιον της Ορθοδόξου Ανατολικής Εκκλησίας (Athens, 1906); P. Panayiotakos, Εκκλησία και Πολιτεία ανά τους αιώνας (Athens, 1939); P. Poulitsa, Σχέσις Εκκλησίας και Πολιτείας, ιδία επί εκλογής επισκόπου (Athens, 1946); E. Peterson, "Das Problem des Nationalisms im alten Christentum," in Theol. Zeitschrift 7 (1951) 81-91; F. Heiler, "Katholizität und Nationalit ä t," in Hochkirche 14 (1932) 177ff; A. Demf, Volk und Völder im Gottesreich (Augsburg, 1932); E. Shilito, Nationalism, Man's Other Religion (London, 1932); W. Kiinneth and H. Schreiner, (Hrsg.) Die Nation vor Gott (Berlin, 1934); W.A. Visser t' Hooft, The Ecumenical Movement and the Racial Problem (Paris, 1954); K. Bouratidos, Σχέσεις Εκκλησίας και Πολιτείας εν Ελλάδι , vol. 1 (Athens, 1965); C. Yiannaras, '"H απόφασις de oecumenismo και ο εθνικισμός της Ορθοδοξίας, Σύνορον 38 (1966) 105ff; Ioannes Karmiris, Συμβολή εις το πρόβλημα της σχέσεως Εκκλησίας και Πολιτείας εξ επόψεως ορθοδόξου (Athens, 1972).

(2) G. Papamichael, Η ανθελληνική μονορθοδοξία των Ρώσων του ιε΄ αιώνος και Μάξιμος ο Γραικός ( Athens, 1950), pp. 286ff; N. Moschopoulos, «Πανσλαβισμός», M εγάλη Ελληνική Εγκυκλοπαίδεια , vol. 19, p. 548; G. Konidares, H άρση του βουλγαρικού σχίσματος ( Athens, 1971), pp. 40ff.

(3) Archbishop of Athens Chrysanthos, "To Bo υλγαρικόν σχίσμα " (reprinted from Πολιτική Επιθεώρησις 12 (1945)); G. Konidares, ibid.; F. Vafeides, E κκλησιαστική Ιστορία ( Alexandria, 1928), vol. 3, part 2, pp. 154ff; V.K. Stephanides, E κκλησιαστική Ιστορία ( Athens, 1948), pp. 663ff.

(4) Vafeides, p. 194.

(5) "There is an analogy between the Arab question of the other Orthodox patriarchates and the Bulgarian question of the Patriarchate of Constantinople. There appeared in the Patriarchate of Antioch from the middle of the nineteenth century an awakening of the Arabic speaking Orthodox natives of Syria.... In the Patriarchate of Jerusalem, the question of the Arabic speaking peoples was precipitated after the Bulgarian schism.... The question of the Arabic speaking Orthodox was not absent in the Patriarchate of Alexandria, but it did not cause great unrest." See Stephanides, pp. 683-84.

(6) See Ioannes Karmiris, T α Δογματικά και Συμβολικά μνημεία της Ορθοδόξου Καθολικής Εκκλησίας (Graz, 1968), 2, p. 1040.

(7) Ibid.

(8) Ibid.

(9) See also P. Bratsiotes' articles in A νάπλασις 49 (1936), 53, 57; and E κκλησία 14 (1936), 82-83.

(10) G. Ralles and M. Potles, Σύνταγμα των θείων και ιερών κανόνων, ( Athens, 1852), 2, pp. 133, 145, 169, 229.

(11) D. Kalliphronos, E κκλησιαστική Επιθεώρησις , περίοδος B' ( Constantinople, 1873), 4, pp. 97-172. Ioannes Karmiris, 2, pp. 1014-15.

(12) See also Vladimir Lossky, K ατ' εικόνα και καθ' ομοίωση Θεού , trans. M. Μ ichaelides (Thessalonike, 1974), pp. 175-6.

(13) See canons 17 of the Fourth Ecumenical Synod, 38 of the Penthekte, in G. Ralles and M. Potles, 2, pp. 258, 392.

(14) M. Gedeon, Έγγραφα πατριαρχικά και συνοδικά περί του βουλγαρικού ζητήματος (1852-1873) ( Constantinople, 1908), p. 407.

(15) Ibid. p. 405. Today the term racism is usually employed with a political connotation, as was defined by the fourth general meeting of the World Council of Churches (Upsala, 1968): "By racism we mean ethnocentric pride in one's own racial group and preference for the distinctive characteristics of that group; belief that these characteristics are fundamentally biological in nature and are thus transmitted to succeeding generations; strong negative feelings towards other groups who do not share these characteristics, coupled with the thrust to discriminate against and exclude the out-group from full participation in the life of the community." Ecumenical Review 26 (1974) 672.

(16) Προς Εφεσίους , Homily 11.4, PG 62:85

(17) Apostolic canons 81 and 83, 3 of the Fourth Synod, and others, in G. Ralles and M. Potles, 2, pp. 104, 105, 220.

(18) John of Damascus, Προς τους διαβάλοντας τας αγίας εικόνας, 3.12, PC 94:1296-97.

(19) See also the specific decisions concerning the relations between Church and state, as they are developed out of the spirit and letter of the 3rd article of the new constitution, in E κκλησία 52 (1975), 300-18; A. Basdekis, "Between Partnership and Separation: Relations between Church and State in Greece under the Constitution of 9 June 1975", in Ecumenical Review 29 (1977) 52-61.

(20) See also K.A. Tsatsos (President of Greece, Academician), Ομιλίες 1975-1976 ( Athens, 1977), p. 56: "The nation and Orthodox Church together have marched as strong, sisterly powers. Heroically they have fought together, and in mutual solidarity and interdependence, they have been victorious. Many decades of travelling together have endorsed this sure fact".

(21) See also A. Alivizatos, in E κκλησία 15 (1937) 100, and Procès verbaux du Premier Congrès de Théologie Orthodoxe à Athènes, pp. 47-48.

(22) Πεντηκοστάριον (Athens: Αποστολική Διακονία, 1959), pp. 202 ff; Dt 32.8.

(23) See, for example, D. Balanos, "Εκκλησία και Έθνος" in Πρακτικά της Ακαδημίας Αθηνών 13 (1938) 212 ff.

(24) G. Ralles and M. Potles, 2, pp. 45, 258, 392.

(25) This applies more or less today to the autocephalous Orthodox Churches. But it is necessary to say that their autocephaly, from the beginning of their schism, presented in practice strong disadvantages, of which the primary one was that of nationalism. These gradually subsided, and some of them have either completely disappeared or have a tendency to disappear. Also, relative to this, see A. Alivizatos, in Procès verbaux du Premier Congrès de Théologie Orthodoxe à Athènes, pp. 42-43.

(26) Επίσκεψις 7 , No. 158 (1976) 3.



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