Monday, March 1, 2010

Can it be? A Calvinist Patriarch of Constantinople?

Interesting thing I stumbled on  (side note - yes, I'm a little bit of a freak in how I'll find an interesting thing on a blog and google it and then end up with 20 new tabs of articles to read about this new thing).

There's apparently a rather heated debate about Patriarch Cyril of Constantinople. He was a Greek Orthodox theologian born in 1572, traveled Europe and studied in Venice and Geneva and Padua. He was sent to what was then Poland and what is now Lithuania to be a professor in an Orthodox school and help combat the growing efforts by Jesuits in the area. He eventually became the Patriarch of Alexandria and then the Patriarch of Constantinople. Several sources I read said that he was the first great name in Eastern Orthodoxy after the fall of the Constantinople.

He is also reputedly a Calvinist.

That, of course, doesn't sit well with the Orthodox Church, which firmly denounces some of Calvinist doctrine.

It's said that in his education and time in Geneva and other areas of Western Europe, Cyril came across Calvinist teachings, which of course were at this time unaddressed by his own Orthodox church. He incorporated this doctrine into his faith and eagerly sent his students while he was in Lithuania and Poland to Western schools for them to be taught as he had. In 1672 he wrote his own Confessio, which articulated his own beliefs, and shocked the Orthodox world. It caused a backlash and eventually the firm rejection of Calvinism by the Orthodox Church. Today, some contest that the Confessio wasn't written by him after all.

I find it fascinating.

These are some of the pages I read on this info:


Veiga said...

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s-p said...
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s-p said...

It's a good thing the Orthodox don't believe their clergy (or Bishops) are infallible. In fact all (or at least most) of the heresies that have assaulted "orthodoxy" have arisen from clerics, of which Patriarchs are one. In "Orthodox time" the Lucaris debacle was only a blip on the screen, other issues in Church history lasted way longer.

Kurt Willems said...

Wow... it is fascinating how one single doctrine can lead to so much controversy and division... no matter the time or the tradition. I am not sympathetic to Calvinism myself, but I think it is great that an old time Orthodox leader was willing to be influenced by protestants (especially during the time of the reformation!). Thanks for sharing this tid bit of history with me!