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Russia and the Making of Modern Greek Identity, 1821–1844$
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Lucien J. Frary

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780198733775

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198733775.001.0001

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Autocephaly and Facets of Orthodoxy

Autocephaly and Facets of Orthodoxy

(p.93) Chapter 3 Autocephaly and Facets of Orthodoxy
Russia and the Making of Modern Greek Identity, 1821–1844

Lucien J. Frary

Oxford University Press

Russian responses to the question of Greek Church independence demonstrate the centrality of religion to the foreign policy of St Petersburg during the reign of Nicholas I. Considering the relations between the two states as a whole, St Petersburg devoted more energy and resources to the church question than any other single issue. A direct challenge to Russia’s underpinning principles occurred in 1833, when a small group of Greek clerics unilaterally declared the Greek Church autocephalous from the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, closed down the majority of monasteries, and announced the restructuring of the church administration. The Russian Foreign Ministry viewed these actions as grave errors that opened dangerous avenues for an influx of non-canonical practices and the unholy influences of non-Orthodox proselytizers. The issue was urgent, for it challenged the traditions of Eastern Orthodoxy and engaged Russia’s professed exclusive protectorate of the Orthodox world.

Keywords:   Eastern Orthodoxy, Church of Greece, Russian foreign policy, Ecumenical Patriarchate, Orthodoxy monasticism, Russian–Greek relations, national identity, Eastern Question

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