Turkish Oppression Continues

Turkey has determined that the Ecumenical Patriarch can no longer be called “ecumenical patriarch.” Read it all here. Consider writing your legal representatives.

 Some other links of interest are here and here.

35 Responses to Turkish Oppression Continues

  1. Death Bredon says:

    Gina,

    Mea Cupla.

    Sophocles,

    Love your blog!

  2. Sophocles says:

    Death Bredon,

    Just in case you wish to pursue this conversation at another location:

    http://molonlabe70.blogspot.com/2007/08/reply-to-death-bredon_07.html

  3. Sophocles says:

    Perry,

    If I can be a pain. I re-posted this comment the way I think it comes across better, without all the italics. If you would not erasing the above comment I would appreciate it. Thank you in advance.

    Death Bredon,

    I have some thoughts along the lines of the things you mention but as yet I have not written them out to develop them.

    From the ground you comment on, I am in agreement with you. I also am in sympathy with your statement that ascetiscm IMPOSED as NORMATIVE for all can be inherently superstitious and idolotrous.

    There is a certain reality which we cannot escape from, regarding these matters which are purely sociological and have “nothing”(it is impossible for anything to have nothing to do with anything else in the ultimate sense, as Christ has entered the creation uniting all things with Himself. For the sake of this argument I use the word “nothing” here in this sense to create a category to observe this statement in, realizing, of course that any category “falls” into Reality as one strand among countless others to “make up” the Reality you and I experience. So I use “nothing”only to separate out whether any given praxis is “Christian” or not.

    In other words, I want to do what I think I need to do do be more Orthodox and not only that, to make you(impersonal pronoun) believe that I’m really Orthodox. This, I would say, to a certain extent,though not fully, stems from our fallen condition, the “herd” mentality if you will. Not fully, however, because the human animal is a social animal as created by our God: “It is not good for the man to be alone.”

    I believe, however, that there is a ground from which this matter can be approached in which Orthodoxy is the Great Preserver, preserving that which has been baptized and divinized. And having undergone theosis, it has now become united to Christ and cannot now pass away.

    In studying a bit in how Alaska was missionized, I was struck by how the Native population took to the Faith(and here I also sense a parting of the ways between us as I believe “Orthodox” History to be synonymous with “Christian” History where in your mind they are two separate things). Apart from the Natives taking to the Faith, however, it is interesting to note that had it not been for the acceptance of the True Faith, their languages, customs, cultures, would have been lost forever. In other words, the entire culture(people, places, things, concepts,loves, nuances, etc. ad infinitum) was baptized into the Orthodox-re: The True Faith.

    Another interesting to note is that when we observe “Native” (3rd World peoples) ,keeping their culture and identity, we tend to like this, even wishing we too could be more simple, “connected with the Earth and its cycles and all). On the other hand, when a European type of people is involved(Greek, Russian,Serbian,etc.), peoples which I guess we consider more or less our peers, keep their customs, it seems to tend to inspire comments of “racism” or other such politically correct observations. Is it not possible to consider that the customs we sometimes view with annoyance are things that have become “baptized”, sealing the culture with these praxis?

    Taken in the light of an American, let’s say, attempting to be Orthodox by being “ultra Russian” or what not in order to be more fully Orthodox, is more in line with your disdain of “uberOrthodoxy” and creates the scenarios which are cause for ridicule. The praxis themselves are not at fault, here, but rather their use and the motivation of the one using them. (You know, examples such as “A car can be driven to take me to grandma’s house’ vs. ‘A car can be driven to mow down innocent people”. I would dare say that neither one of us would find fault with the car being driven but would rather find fault with the one driving.)

    And on this topic, motivations are tricky. Who I am right now(and now, now…and now, now…) is a snapshot in time/space. I am not in static existence but am always becoming.

    So even with one using “silly” methods such as prayer ropes, the Philokalia,etc., to more fully become “more” Orthodox, I believe over time that such a one, if he should really begin to purify his nous, really begin to experince God in him and himself in God, mending the mind to heart, such a one should be glad for these methods which men far holier than himself have testified as to their efficacy to bring about ends which “deliver the goods.”

    There is still much more I would like to develop along this vein, but time at present constrains me to attend to other matters. Again, forgive my foolish comments as I have not developed this line of thought at all except within myself, but I do, nonethelss thank you for listening

  4. Gina says:

    DB: For heavens’ sake, this is what you call a real solution? Sort of like the real solution the Turks imposed on Cyprus. Forced “evacuations”- this has been done in recent Greek and Turkish history before. Forcing people from their homes against their will is no solution at all and is as naively idealistic as you seem to view their continuing to live in them.

    And, Turk Jerks? What happened to loving your enemies?

    A better solution is to avoid demonizing the Turks and instead to recognize that they have aspirations to be a democratic nation, and the more that is encouraged, the better for the Orthodox whose (as I repeat) homes happen to be in the way of the process. The Turks will have to deal honestly with their own history if they are ever to do so, and while this is not the case today, there are Turkish voices urging it and it may happen tomorrow. Meantime, the Orthodox do not need political hegemony in order to be salt and light.

  5. Sophocles says:

    Sorry. I missed closing out the italics somewhere.

  6. Sophocles says:

    Death Bredon,

    I have some thoughts along the lines of the things you mention but as yet I have not written them out to develop them.

    From the ground you comment on, I am in agreement with you. I also am in sympathy with your statement that ascetiscm IMPOSED as NORMATIVE for all can be inherently superstitious and idolotrous.

    There is a certain reality which we cannot escape from, regarding these matters which are purely sociological and have “nothing”(it is impossible for anything to have nothing to do with anything else in the ultimate sense, as Christ has entered the creation uniting all things with Himself. For the sake of this argument I use the word “nothing” here in this sense to create a category to observe this statement in, realizing, of course that any category “falls” into Reality as one strand among countless others to “make up” the Reality you and I experience. So I use ” nothing”
    only to separate out whether any given praxis is “Christian” or not.

    In other words, I want to do what I think I need to do do be more Orthodox and not only that, to make you believe that I’m really Orthodox. This, I would say, to a certain extent,though not fully, stems from our fallen condition, the “herd” mentality if you will. Not fully, however, because the human animal is a social animal as created by our God: “It is not good for the man to be alone.”

    I believe, however, that there is a ground from which this matter can be approached in which Orthodoxy is the Great Preserver.

    In studying a bit in how Alaska was missionized, I was struck by how the Native population took to the Faith(and here I also sense a parting of the ways between us as I believe “Orthodox” History to be synonymous with “Christian” History where in your mind they are two separate things). Apart from the Natives taking to the Faith, however, it is interesting to note that had it not been for the acceptance of the True Faith, their languages, customs, cultures, would have been lost forever. In other words, the entire culture(people, places, things, concepts,loves, nuances, etc. ad infinitum) was baptized into the Orthodox-re: The True Faith.

    Another interesting to note is that when we observe “Native” (3rd World peoples) ,keeping their culture and identity, we tend to like this, even wishing we too could be more simple, “connected with the Earth and its cycles and all). On the other hand, when a European type of people is involved(Greek, Russian,Serbian,etc.), peoples which I guess we consider more or less our peers, keep their customs, it seems to tend to inspire comments of “racism” or other such politically correct observations.

    There is still much more I would like to develop along this vein, but time at present
    constrains me to attend to other matters. Again, forgive my foolish comments as I have not developed this line of thought at all except within myself, but I do, nonethelss thank you for listening.

  7. Death Bredon says:

    Oops — I accidentally used my “Chess Moniker.”

    DB

  8. Sophocles,

    Let me clarify — for truly called monastics, monastic spirituality is of course crucial. Even then, my experience with indicates an astonishing credulity for rank superstition and anachronism. I mean, flying the Byzantine Flag like the Emporer is due for a visit! And, like Fr. Schmemman, I have yet to find a remotely gifted monastic staretz/gerontos (though I am sure some are around), but have seen the gift well developed among a several parochial clergy.

    Indeed, a certain asceticism can be perfectly legitimate when voluntary (monasticism), yet become inherently superstitious and idolatrous when IMPOSED as NORMATIVE for all. It confuses the Tradition (Christianity) with human traditions (Orthodox history). Our faith is in Christ (and the parousia), not in Orthodox history or a fixed golden-age of 19th Century Russia or Paleologian East Rome or Antiquity.

    Still, given the times, I do understand and sympathize with those who CONFUSE being reactionary with being holy. Opposition to modernity may be necessary (but may not require being an external reactionary — that is an anachronist — at all. Gasp!). But, being even being an inward, spiritual reactionary is not sufficient, nor our end. And when we de facto make it our end, then our religion is simply historical idolatry — a Society of Clever, Cool, and Creative Anachronisms. At that point, Orthodoxy could just as well dump all it books for Tolkien, everyone could dress following illustrations from his books, and we could learn “Church Elvish.”

    Xp

    P.S. I am “fasting” from blogging for awhile.

  9. Sophocles says:

    Death Bredon,

    Thank you for your response. Theres a lot more I almost felt compelled to write in response to the things you mentioned: prayer ropes, the Philokalia and such being obstructions to our Lord, but I’ve been too busy (finally) posting on my own site.

    On a different note, the link to your site hasn’t worked for quite some time. How do I get to your site?

    With warm regards to you,

  10. Apostolos says:

    Sophocles said:
    “I cannot recall the Patriarch’s name, but in the 19th century the Turks hung him outside the safe Phanar”
    Our father among the Saints, Gregory V, the new Hieromartyr, archbishop of Constantinople and Ecumenical Patriarch, who was martyred by hanging in 1821. He was hanged by the mob in front of the EP’s central gate. Since 1821, that gate has remained sealed. No-one enters or exits through that door. He is commemorated on April 10. His relics are enshrined in the Athens cathedral

  11. Death Bredon says:

    Sophocles,

    I agree totally about the historical Turkish slaughter of Greeks and Armenian Christians has gone largely unrecognized and unavenged or redressed in any way. And that piles outrage upon outrage. I just can’t see how the anachronistic obstinacy of the present 1000 Greek Orthodox down by the Phanar, and their self-imposed “martyrdom” compares.

    Don’t get me wrong. I am not a softy on this issue. The real answer is not to write your Senator or to sleep on the White House lawn (it ain’t never changed a thing). But rather , the real solution is to (at least) take back the European portion of modern day Turkey and divide the Great City into Western Constantinople and Eastern Istanbul. But of course, this would mean the dissolution of the EP, as Constantinople would fall under the real-world Greek Orthodox Patriarchate, not one of the “Dungeons & Dragons” fantasy patriarchate of the long moribund Pentarchy.

    But as no “real solution” to past grievances is gonna happen in the real-world politics of today. The best realistic course is to hold Turkey accountable for the genocides (at a minimum, no EU money for the Turk Jerks) and evacuate the remnant Greeks from Istanbul. If the remnant are obstinate sentimentalist, don’t expect me to shed a tear. Christianity is a historically revealed faith, but it calls for productive action in the present, not nostalgic self-pity. It ain’t a religion of whiners.

  12. Gina says:

    DB: The EP should not have to leave his historic see, particularly not when he lives in a country which claims to be democratic, pluralistic, and enlightened- which prides itself on that, in fact. This place is their home! It is easy enough for any of us to say “move to Greece.”

    Pray for Turkey. The nationalists are asserting themselves because of the Islamists’ political success, and Christians (of all kinds- recall the horrific torture/murder of three Protestants recently) are just convenient targets. They exploit the popular paranoia that other countries want to take back their republic and turn it into a New Byzantium, a scenario posed in a wildly popular novel and film this past year.

  13. Death,

    Since I already indicated that the person of Bart was irrelevant I can’t see how your dismissive statements touch my comments about the institution of the patriarchate. Even if he is playing the martyr, he doesn’t have to play very hard. The Turkish gov’t often looks a blind eye toward murders of Christians in Turkey not to mention out and out oppression.

    I am all for highlighting the oppression of the Assyrians and others. I am all for showing people that Islam is a religion of force and submission so I am not holding water just for Bart. And as for the Copts, when we talk, we bear each others burdens in terms of persecutions. They don’t seem as dismissive as you seem to be. In any case, the persecution of 1000 or 100 or 10 Christians by Muslims is wrong whatever the personal failings of those Christians may be. Whatever you did to the least of these…

  14. Sophocles says:

    Death Bredon,

    Are you not aware of the slaughter that took place in Turkey in just the 20th century against the native,re:people who have roots stretching back centuries, even before Ottoman occupationGreek population(not to mention the other people’s destroyed, including the Armenians mentioned by Neochalcedonian)?
    Please do an online search just on Smyrna in the early 20th Century. If one has any warmth in their heart, these accounts may very well chill them.
    I cannot recall the Patriarch’s name, but in the 19th century the Turks hung him outside the safe Phanar.
    I would say that this issue, as all others, are not so easily dismissed in one casual stroke, but much more lies below the surface that we at a precursury glance are unable to rightly judge.
    In my opinion, Death Bredon, I believe your judgement in this matter to be a little too hasty.

  15. Death Bredon says:

    Perry,

    Agreed in broad principle.

    But, Bart and his 1000-man flock can get out anytime he/they want. He isn’t truly oppressed. Rather, he is grand standing and “playing the marytr” out of an attachment to a hollow shell of an institution. And, I suspect it is motivated by racial pride and the need for publicity and contributions to stay relevant and solvent. The Turks want in the EU and the government is never going to allow anyone to actually kill a Greek Orthodox or Bart. I wouldn’t be too concerned.

    No, it’s the indigenous Old Syrian Orthodox and Assyrian Christians who have no money, no place to flee to, no sympathizers in the West, and who have been turly and harshly persecuted by the Turk for CENTURIES that concern me much, much more. Or try the Copts, who really do live in fear of their lives every day. But, nobody over here cares very much about them. Buddy, I’d trade the Phanar for the safety of our long-suffering, truly oppressed Oriental bretheren in a New York minute.

  16. Perry,

    Why is the genocide of Armenian Christians completely ignored in history textbooks?

  17. Death,

    Bart or not, the fact that Turkey is persecuting Christians should be a concern. I am not concerned about Bart per se, not at least anymore than anyone else, but I am concerned about the bishoprick and certainly Benedict 16 seems to as well, at least if actions indicate anything of substance. Contrivance or not, the institution is still venerable. And I am not clear on why one would think that such institutons though post apostolic (like the canon of Scripture) are merely human inventions, especially since such things were acts of the Church entire in council guided by the Holy Spirit. If it “seemed good to the Spirit and to us” to do so, what position could we be in legitimately think of it as a contrivance of human agency. And like all instruments, they can be an aid or a hinderance. It depends on the person. The same can be true for the Book of Common Prayer, roodscreens and C.S. Lewis.

    And looking over the pond, aren’t you in Anglican land? People in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.

  18. Death Bredon says:

    David,

    Moving Bart to Athens would achieve nothing, as he has no flock there. New Jersey would be a better fit.

    Monk Patrick,

    Black Bart, who has never been under the Red Yoke, voluntarily decorated and lauded Fidel Castro. He also decorated pro-death Sentaor Sabarnes as an “Archon” (another but of his dungeons-and-dragon, creative anachronism). Great Orthodox leadership.

    But apart from the particluars, my broader point is that transforming a human tradition such as the Pentarchy, which was brought about for the most pragmatic of reasons, into to some sort of mystical, sacred “Tradition” is, IMHO, simply the sort of superstitious idolatry that, rightly, makes uberOrthodoxy the butt of so many jokes today.

    Blessed is the man who is (1) baptized, regularly attends the (2) Eucharist, actually gets to hear the (3) pure Gospel in Anaphora of St. Basil vocalized on occasion(!), prays the (4) dominical prayer regularly and takes it to heart by (5) loving God unreservedly and (6) his neighbor as himself and (7) enjoys and rejoices in God’s creation in moderation. But, cursed is the man afflicted with the Typicon, the Rudder, the Philokalia, the Pentarchy, Prayer Ropes, etc. Indeed, if he be saved in spite of these hurdles, which are all human contrivances, then God is truly merciful and great!

  19. Actually, the Republic of Turkey is probably acting mostly based upon political reasons, especially with the recent triumph in the polls of the conservative Islamically-oriented party. Although secularism is mandated by the Turkish Constitution, the president currently has a clear mandate and scapegoating the Greek ethnic minority in the Republic is as Turkish as Sulieman the Magnificant.

    At the risk of sounding somewhat alarmist, a Turkish academic friend of mine told me recently of professors leaving the country in droves due to fears of an Islamic Revolution on the scale of Tehran ’79.

  20. David_Bryan says:

    “The Pentarchy has been dead for 500 years, and its about time, even for Orthodox, to realize it and deal with it.”

    Yessir. Move HH Bartholomew to Athens like HB Ignatius moved from his historical place. Moving the man to a more advantageous position can do naught else but help the situation; the shepherd will be closer to his flock.

  21. Death Bredon,

    I must take an exception to your opinion regarding the Ecumenical Patriarch. While the See of New Rome was raised to equality with that of Old Rome as the primary See of the Church on the grounds that Constantinople became the second capital of the Empire, once this occurred then it was cemented into the Tradition of the Church. New Rome will remain as the first See of the Church (since the fall of Old Rome), as long as she remains Orthodox and there is a Church, even of two, abiding there. Should this not be the case the order of Churches should be followed and the Petrine Sees of Alexandria and Antioch would take over in respective order, although only the See of Rome (Old and/or New) has ecumenical/universal status, the others are limited to regions. The Patriarch of Moscow will only remain as the Patriarch of Russia and the North. The See of Moscow may, though, have much influence due to her size but she cannot replace the Ecumenical Patriarchate as the first See of the Church “presiding in love”.

    Regarding leadership roles, even with all its problems the Ecumenical Patriarchate, I believe, is still providing a better leadership in its maintenance of Holy Tradition than is Moscow, which is still recovering from communist state influence and the import of western innovations in art, music and theological ways of thinking from Peter the Great onwards.

    Having said this, I am troubled by the recent Patriarch’s “Sister Church” type relations with Rome, which I believe is heading to a betrayal of Orthodoxy and the present Patriarch’s “green message”, which seems to be reducing the Patriarch to another worldly voice with concerns on worldly matters rather than transcending these things in a steadfast proclamation of Christ, the Tradition of the Church and reminding us of our consent need for repentance and carrying our crosses. Those who love Christ first also love His creation and care for it not as an end in itself because it will pass away, but from a love for Christ.

    Anyway, these are my lowly opinions.

  22. Sophocles says:

    Perry,

    No, I didn’t e-mail you. Hope you are doing well.

  23. Perry Robinson says:

    Sophocles,

    Yes I am here, I am just busy. I will be responding and posting this next week probably. Did you send me an email and did it bounce back? If so what addy did you use?

  24. Sophocles says:

    uh, yeah…um, anyone home? uh, your mailbox seems to be overflowing, umm…

  25. Charlie Brown says:

    Perry,
    Would you please e-mail me.

  26. Andrew says:

    Just thought you guys might be interested in this:

    [audio src="http://audio.ancientfaithradio.com/illuminedheart/IH23-DBradshawEssEn_072207.mp3" /]

    David Bradshaw is interviewed on Ancient Faith Radio.

  27. In sum, the Patriarch of Moscow “presides in love” over the Orthodox world, and would be de facto the first chair at any Great Council even if the EP were formally given it for pure sentimental reasons.

    Yup.

  28. Death Bredon says:

    AO,

    Historically speaking, the E.P. once held the first place of honor in Orthodoxy out of the principle of accommodation — Constantinople was the leading city in the Orthodox world and its See steeped in history, witness, and spiritual and material generosity.

    But Today, Black Bart is a bad joke, Istanbul has almost no Christian community left, and the E.P. is reduced to the role of beggar, both materially and spiritually. It simply has no leadership role to play except among Society-of-Creative-Anachronism type Orthodox.

    In sum, the Patriarch of Moscow “presides in love” over the Orthodox world, and would be de facto the first chair at any Great Council even if the EP were formally given it for pure sentimental reasons. The Pentarchy has been dead for 500 years, and its about time, even for Orthodox, to realize it and deal with it.

  29. Jason Loh says:

    What has whether is he a pope or not to do with Turkish oppression??

  30. Ad Orientem says:

    TYF,
    I don’t think any well informed Orthodox would argue that he is the Orthodox Pope. But he holds the first place of honor within the Church as long as Rome remains in schism. There actually are canonical powers (not many but a few) that come with the primacy of the See of St. Andrew. And in any event it is not Turkey’s place to dictate the Orthodox Church’s ecclesiology.

    ICXC
    John

  31. What Turkey is doing is awful of course but the Patriarch of Constantinople is not the Orthodox Pope.

  32. Jack says:

    Perry,

    I don’t have your email address any longer, but I noticed that Eric Perl is releasing a book on St. Dionysius and Neoplatonism (“Theophany”) and would love to hear your review if and when you get the opportunity.

  33. Jason Loh says:

    At the end of the day, ‘secular’ Turkey is a Moslem country. Reacting against the Ottoman Empire is not exactly the same as secularism in the Western sense. Until today, Mohamedan Turkey hasn’t own up to its guilt in the genocide of 2 million Armenians.

  34. Visibilium says:

    Are the Greeks now supporting Turkey’s entry into the EU? I know that they’ve flip-flopped on this issue.

%d bloggers like this: