Andrei Şaguna and “The Organic Statute” – V.4 The Orthodox ecclesiology reflected in Andrei Şaguna’s canonistical works and ecclesiastical organization


V.4 The Orthodox ecclesiology reflected in Andrei Şaguna’s canonistical works and ecclesiastical organization 

Unlike the Orthodox ecclesiology of the Slavic catechisms of his time[1], rather pneumatological than christological and focusing especially on the hierocratic aspect of the Church, Andrei Şaguna laid emphasis on the christocentrical dimension of the Church, as mystical body whose head is Jesus Christ Himself.[2]

The systematization of the Orthodox ecclesiology appears the most comprehensively presented in “Compendium”. At the beginning of the first part of the “Compendium” –  the internal canon law – Andrei Şaguna defines the Church as such: “ The Church, from the viewpoint of the canon law is the sum of those individuals who have accepted our Lord Jesus Christ, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of us all (Ephesians 4.4-6)[3], so that by confessing and fulfilling the teachings and the new edifice of Christ’s law (Hebrew 7.23-24)[4] they could be redeemed from the old law and receive the inheritance as sons. (Galatians 4.4-5)[5]  […] That Christ is the Head of the Church and the Church is Christ’s Body we are assured of this by the Holy Bible.[6] Therefore, the Church is the mystical body whose head is Jesus Christ Himself. The argument for the definition given above to the Church is the Paulin doctrine, extensively quoted in “Compendium” (Ephesians 1.22-23, Colossians 1.24, Colossians 1.18, Ephesians 4. 15, Colossians 2.9-10).[7] Then this first part of the book includes explanations about the dogmatic, symbolic, axiomatic, liturgical and ritual teachings, and in the third chapter about “the organism and constitution of the Church”[8]. After clarifying briefly the canonical aspects of the two fundaments of the Church in the Orthodox comprehension – the apostolic faith and the Holy Sacraments – Andrei Şaguna went on to describe the social, external organization of the Church because: “As one cannot deny the existence of the Church and its Head, one cannot either doubt about or neglect the existence of the Church’s organism, without severely affecting the body of the Church itself …[9]

Concerning this second aspect of organism[10] or social institution, the Church has a strictly human, visible configuration, namely: personal elements and social elements.

“The personal elements of the Church organism refer to all the members of the Church body irrespective of the nationality or position which they occupy in the Church …[11] Therefore, all the faithful irrespective of nationality or social position are, in Andrei Şaguna’s understanding, elements of the social organism of the Church.

“The social elements of the Church organism are: the parishes, the monasteries, the protopopiates, the eparchies, the metropolitanates and the patriarchates, into which the universal Church is dismembered; still, because these parts are connected to one another, there is a most natural harmony between them.”[12]

Corresponding to the definition of the Church – on the one hand as a mystical body, articulated on the faith and Holy Sacraments and which preserve the same value and are unchanged; on the other hand as a social, visible, and in some degree changing body – the functions of the individual members (“the personal elements”) of the Church are divided by Andrei Şaguna into: abstract ones – for the enlightenment and absolution of one’s own soul and the souls of those everyone is responsible for; and concrete ones – economic, administrative, or of a different nature responsibilities within the ecclesial body, specific to each category. Although not all “the personal elements” have the same position and role within the Church, no member of the Church is absolved from responsibilities, both abstract and concrete.[13] Confronted himself with “the multitude of things that come upon me and the scarcity of people to help me”[14], Andrei Şaguna understood very well, since the beginning of his activity in Transylvania, the necessity and role of the involvement of the laymen, of all the faithful in the affairs of the Church: “All shall be done, but in time and with help from the community; and, in order to achieve the goal, we have to be apostles of the animation of a sense of community into the Christians, for to use them in times of need.”[15] Because God’s gifts for winning the Heavenly Kingdom are meant for all the members of the Church, “who only in this way will be attracted to the Christian religion, if they have the chance to participate in the Church affairs after the practice Christ established and the Apostles continued …[16]

Two verbal constructions are to be noticed when it comes to defining the personal and social elements: “all the members of the Church body irrespective of the nationality or position which they occupy in the Church” and “the universal Church”.

These undoubtedly prove that Andrei Şaguna’s thinking was not marked in any way by the doctrine of exacerbated nationalism, which was so characteristic to the nineteenth century, especially in the Central Europe and Balkans. The Phyletism[17], the error of tailoring the ecclesiastical institution to the tight measurements of one nation, was unfamiliar to him. Ever since 1849, when he initiated the first steps with a view to revive the Transylvanian Orthodox Romanian Metropolitanate, the bishop had declared himself against the Serbian ethnophyletism, similar to the Greek one: “God’s Church being one and belonging to both Romanians and Serbians, it should be a mother who, irrespective of nationality, should embrace her children and be common, one, holy, universal and apostolic Church, without privileges for the Serbian nation; for, if the Serbian nation wants that, it will be against the Church’s canons and will fall into that very sin for which it wanted to do away with the Greek hierarchy appointing only Greeks as priests, bishops, metropolitans and archbishops.[18] Then, among his demands concerning the Orthodox Church in the Austrian Empire, presented to the Viennese Ministry of the Interior on  November 16, 1850, during the conference of the Orthodox bishops of the monarchy in 1850-1851, there was also the normalization of the connections of the Orthodox Church in the Austrian Empire with the Patriarchate of Constantinople, as the supreme instance to which this Church canonically belonged: “In Erwägung dessen, daß nach den kanonischen Satzungen der orientalischen Kirche, die morgenländische Kirche aus Österreich zu dem Patriarchate in Konstantinopel gehört, mithin ist der Stuhl dieses Patriarchates die oberste Instanz in den Kirchenangelegenheiten für die heilige Kirche und ihre Christen; – möge es unserer Hierarchie in Österreich gestattet sein, in von der Kirche vorgeschriebenen Fällen sich an den genannten Patriarchalstuhl zu Konstantinopel im Wege des k. k. Ministeriums des Äußern zu wenden.[19]

The Orthodox theory of pentarchy[20] is very clearly expressed in “Anthorismos”. For Andrei Şaguna, the superior canonical authority of the Orthodox Church in the Austrian Empire was and had to remain the Patriarchate of Constantinople. When the clergy of Bukovina brought the argument that a patriarch of all the Orthodox people in the Austrian Empire could become despotic and hard to control, that is why a stately authority meant to censor him was necessary[21], the bishop replied acidly: “Frivol und ganz überflüßig finde ich auch jene Worte unserer Brüder aus der Bukovina, wo sie sagen: daß der Patriarch Österreichs ein Mensch sei, der fehlen kann, und wer soll ihn dann richten? Denn es ist nicht kanonisch, einen Patriarchen vor eine Sinode zu stellen, wo nicht seines Gleichen wenigstens den Vorsitz führen!’Gehet Brüder, ihr konntet aus der Stellung unserer Kirche in Österreich erkennen, daß wir hier keinen Patriarchen haben können, warum habt ihr euch also in Negationen eingelassen![22] The Serbian patriarch of Karlowitz (named in this way after the 1848 revolution, by the Court, out of political interests[23]) was not and could not be, canonically speaking, the representative of the Patriarchate of Constantinople: “Wir halten es nicht dafür [daß der serbische Patriarch der Stellvertreter des konstantinopolitanischen Patriarches wäre], denn wir kennen weder die Art und Weise, noch die Zeit, wann dieses geschehen wäre; auch von einer Verhandlung in dieser Beziehung wissen wir Nichts. Ueber das steht fest, daß Se. Majestät auf die Bitte der serbischen Nation die Erneuerung des Titels eines serbischen Patriarchen gestattet haben und daß dieser sich jetzt ‘Patriarch aller Serben, Bulgaren und ganz Illyriens’ schreibt, aus welchem Titel man ersieht, daß der serbische Patriarch sich selbst nicht den Stellvertreter des constantinopolitanischen Patriarchen nennt.[24] Moreover, he insisted on reminding the same people of Bukovina, “worried” by the possibility of a despotic patriarch and consequently, anxious to involve the state as a “guardian”, that in the Orthodox Church – a Church par excellence synodal – nobody, be it a patriarch, could be above the canons: “Wir können uns nicht genug wundern über diese Behauptung unserer Brüder aus der Bukovina. […] so sind wir doch gezwungen die Argumente unserer Brüder zu mißbilligen, weil sie als Theologen und Kanonisten aus der Theorie und Praxis unserer Kirche wissen müssen, daß bei uns ein Patriarch nicht über den Kanones steht, und daß alle jene Patriarchen ihres Amtes entsetzt worden sind, welche sich über die Kanones erhoben und ihren Beruf mit Leidenschaft und mit Verletzung der Kanones zu erfüllen suchten. Daher muß uns dieser auf den Institutionen unserer Kirche gegründete Umstand nur ermuntern zu verlangen, daß die Freiheit der Kirche und die Verbindung unserer Metropoliten in Österreich mit dem Patriarchen aus Constantinopel wiederhergestellt werde, denn so lange sie kanonisch und legal bleibt, bringt sie der Kirche und dem Staate Vortheile; wie aber diese Verbindung von der einen oder andern Seite her ausarten würde, so verliert der schuldige Theil seine Würde, denn bei uns wird keinem Hierarchen der Charakter der Infallibilität zugesprochen. In unserer Orthodoxie vindicirt man nur der ökumenischen Sinode den Charakter der Infallibilität und keinem andern.[25]

Ten years before publishing the “Compendium”, Andrei Şaguna wrote to a Romanian Orthodox bishop across the Carpathians, Calinic of Râmnic: “for Christianity is the great Body of Christ, Who is its Head, and the bishoprics have been created just to organize well and lead this great spiritual body, and they are connected together by one and the same faith, one and the same baptism and by receiving through Eucharist the same body and blood of our Saviour.[26]

According to here mentioned Orthodox ecclesiology, Bishop Andrei Şaguna considered himself responsible for his eparchy, but also equally for the entire Orthodox Church.[27] When he received the circular letter from the first Greek Catholic Metropolitan of Blaj Alexandru Sterca Şuluţiu, the Orthodox bishop sent a protest to the government, feeling himself “obliged to protest solemnly, both on the part of my eparchy, […] and of the Eastern Ecumenical Church.”[28] The same double responsibility as a bishop is proven by the interest and involvement in the Church-related problems of the Romanians across the Carpathians[29], as well as the interest manifested in the situation of other local Churches. In 1870, around Christmas, he was interested in the issue of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church and the position of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, which he firmly condemned: “I remember reading in German newspapers that the patriarch of Constantinople intends to summon an ecumenical synod to settle the dispute between the Patriarchate and the Bulgarian faithful on the appointment of the hierarchs. I can see no blessed or canonical cause in this ambition of the Patriarchate, because there are regulating canons about that, which the patriarch does not respect and the Bulgarian people are dissatisfied with this abuse of the Patriarchate; the situation is very easy to work out if the Patriarchate respects and observes the canons and their interpretations from ‘Pedalion’, otherwise this shall be a source of shame for the Patriarchate in front of the Orthodox Church.[30] In a letter to Metropolitan Nifon of Wallachia, Bishop Andrei Şaguna expressed his concern about the centrifugal and non-unitary tendencies of the Orthodox episcopate: “The more the highest leader of our Church  [the ecumenical patriarch] is unable to devote his power to his highest mission […] the bigger would be the duty of all the leaders of this Church to understand each other and work in harmony to strengthen the spirit that strengthens the Christianity and to protect it from all the threatening dangers.”[31]

As the editors of the first volume which collects a part of Andrei Şaguna’s correspondence state: “The letter exchanges of the bishop of Sibiu with the hierarchy from the Principalities and then from Romania reveal a vast vision on the Eastern Orthodoxy in general and the national Churches that belonged to it, which was based on canons and the institutions of the Holy Fathers. […] He defended the canonicity and ecclesiology of the Orthodox Church whenever it was necessary; he promoted coordination between the Churches of the same faith.”[32]

It is also very important to underline the fact that Andrei Şaguna understood and organized the social body of the Church in a tight connection with its mystical, sacramental substratum. The Holy Sacraments, especially the Eucharist give cohesion and life to the social body of the Church; without them, this social body loses its quality, it does not belong to the Church, but to society like any other social or political structure. The Eucharist, the communion with Christ – the Head of the Church – and the get-together within Eucharistic Christ are the things which define and outline the social body of the Church: “Therefore, my beloved ones! This synod will be held at our bishopric, in Sibiu. A holy and great thing is going to happen, and, in order to begin and end this holy and great thing successfully, before the opening of the assembly we should not fail to kneel for mercy in front of God Almighty, so that He would enlighten our mind and spirit and give us a pure heart and brotherly love in our sessions, which is to send us His Holy Spirit, because this synod shall gather in His name and to the glory of His name; likewise we should thank God at the end of the synod, because he entrusted us to accomplish such a holy and great thing for the well-being of our Church and people. For this, all our clergy shall pray for eight days and call the Holy Spirit, according to the liturgical rule written here […]. On the opening day of the synod the Holy Liturgy will be celebrate at our bishopric by several priests and deacons together with me, and all the members of the church [assembly] will receive the Eucharist, for the communion of their faith and the share of the Holy Spirit and for the dwelling of our God, Jesus Christ, in the hearts of the members of that synod.”[33] In the provisions of both the “Project of Regulation” and “The Organic Statute” the mixed church assemblies were preceded by the participation of all the members in the Holy Liturgy[34], the source of the good decisions in the Church being the communion within the Eucharistic Christ, not the simple democratic meeting of the representatives of the clergy and laymen. Moreover, in some cases, especially when a new bishop or metropolitan was elected, the assemblies had to be preceded, apart from the Holy Liturgy in the morning of the election, by the vigil of the Pentecost.[35] Although, by comparison, in the “Project of Regulation” the mystical presence of the Holy Trinity in the acts of decision of the mixed synods is more relevant, Andrei Şaguna’s mystical spirit could not be effaced from “The Organic Statute” either.

These were the coordinates of the Orthodox ecclesiology on which the thought and actions of the bishop of the poorest eparchy in the Austrian Empire were structured. The key of his exceptional achievements was the responsibility shared by all the faithful, their personal and collective co-ordination through organizational mechanisms meant to work impeccably. In the clericalism context of the Church of the time, Andrei Şaguna insisted on creating the chance for all members of the Church to actively participate in its life, in order to advance it throughout the history as a divine-human vigorous, credible institution: “There is no doubt that the external vitality of the Church is conditioned by the smooth working of all the personal and social elements of the Church organism, for the body whose vital parts are neglected and uncultivated or sentenced to passivity, and for that reason they are hindered in their functions, that body’s life is numb and morbid and prone to sickness; that is why it is necessary that the organic elements of the Church should not only be undisturbed by all sides, but they all should be free to work and co-operate in harmony for their own mutual support, advancement and prosperity. The vitality of the Church from the side of its Head is immortal and guaranteed for eternity […]; but that the external vitality of the Church can be easily damaged from one reason or another, we can make sure all the more looking at the external icon of the Church, which today presents it to us like a neglected vineyard and a stuck fountain which does not bear too much fruit compared with the richness of the vineyard, nor does it give enough water compared to its rich spring. The source of this evil is the absolutism transplanted from the civil territory to the ecclesiastical one, which hinders, with a petrified heart, the vitality of the elements of the Church organism and strips them of any activity.[36]

As a German Protestant theologian recently wrote: “Im ‘Organischen Statut’ realisierte Şaguna im gesamteuropäischen Kontext schon 1868 eine biblisch und kanonisch verantwortete Kirchenverfassung, durch die die Mitwirkung der Laien an der Leitung und Verwaltung der Kirche geregelt wurde, während dieser Prozeß in Rußland erst 1918 auf dem Landeskonzil in Moskau zum vorläufigen Abschluß kam.“[37]

It is useless to mention that the same process was even more delayed in the Roman Church, and it took place about hundred years after Andrei Şaguna.

[1] After the fall of Constantinople (1453) Russia – and thereby the Slavic Orthodoxy – took the role of gravity factor in the Orthodox world, implicitly in the area of theological sciences. The Russian Orthodox Church took a special role and influenced a lot beginning with the seventeenth century the life of the Slavic Orthodox Churches of the Balkan Peninsula. Cf. A. HUDAL, Die serbisch-orthodoxe Nationalkirche, 15-16, 43; George A. MALONEY, A History of the Orthodox Theology since 1453, Massachusetts 1976, 11-87; T. WARE, The Orthodox Church, 13.

[2] Cf. J. SCHNEIDER, Der Hermannstädter Metropolit,  220-221.

[3] Ephesians 4.4-6: “There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of us all, who is above all and through all and in all.”

[4] Hebrew 7.23-24: “The former priests were many in number, because they were prevented by death from continuing in office; but he [Jesus Christ] holds his priesthood permanently, because he continues for ever.”

[5] Galatians 4.4-5: “But when the time had fully come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.”

[6] A. Baronu de SIAGUN`A, Compendiu, 19-21.

[7] Cf. Ephesians 1.22-23: “and he has put all things under his feet and has made him the head over all things for the church, which is his body, the fulness of him who fills all in all”; Colossians 1.24: “Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I complete what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church…”; Colossians 1.18: “He is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning, the first-born from the dead, that in everything he might be pre-eminent”; Ephesians 4. 15: “Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ…”; Colossians 2.9-10: “For in him the whole fulness of deity dwells bodily, and you have come to fulness of life in him, who is the head of all rule and authority.”

[8] A. Baronu de SIAGUN`A, Compendiu, 88.

[9] Ibid., 88.

[10] About “organism” in the philosophical-political discourse of the nineteenth century see J. SCHNEIDER, Der Hermannstädter Metropolit, 176-181.

[11] A. Baronu de SIAGUN`A, Compendiu, 90.

[12] Ibid., 90.

[13] Ibid., 93-94.

[14] Andrei Şaguna’s letter to Protopope Meletie Drăghici from Timişoara, dated Sibiu, January 9, 1858, in: T. BODOGAE, Dintr-o corespondenţă timişoreană, 34-35 here 34; Cf. also A. ŞAGUNA, Corespondenţa I/1, 200-201.

[15] Andrei Şaguna’s letter to Protopope Meletie Drăghici from Timişoara, dated Sibiu, February 26, 1858, in: T. BODOGAE, Dintr-o corespondenţă  timişoreană, 35-36 here 36; Cf. also A. ŞAGUNA, Corespondenţa I/1, 201-202.

[16] A. Baronu de SIAGUN`A, Compendiu, 5.

[17]The term phyletism (from Greek noun φυλή = race, tribe) describes a phenomenon which deepened in the nineteenth century, especially in the Patriarchate of Constantinople’s area, meaning the organisation of the Church along ethnic (racial) lines. The Holy and Great pan-Orthodox Synod which met in Istanbul (formerly Constantinople) in 1872 condemned phyletism – the national or ethnic principle in church organization. Phyletism, however, should not be confused with patriotism (which was known at that time as φιλοπατρία) as the latter simply means devotion and loyalty to one’s nation and/or culture.

Cf. Nikolaus THON, Neuzeitliche Kirchengeschichte, 3. Ostkirchen, in: EKL, Bd. 3, 729 et seqq. here 730; T. WARE, The Orthodox Church, 98.

[18] “Andrei Şaguna către Eugen Hacman” (“Andrei Şaguna to Eugen Hacman”), dated Olmütz, April 18, 1849, in: A. ŞAGUNA, Corespondenţa I/1, 292-294 here 293-294.

[19] “Propunerile episcopului Şaguna presentate ministrului pentru conferinţele episcopesci dela Viena” (“Bishop Şaguna’s suggestions presented to the minister for the bishops’ conferences of Vienna”), November 16, 1850, in: Il. PUŞCARIU, Metropolia, colecţia de acte, 73-87 here 76.

[20] “Das Konzil von Chalkedon von 8.10.451 war die Geburtsstunde der klassischen Pentarchie, welche bald der juristischen Fixierung bedurfte, die sie durch die Novellen des Kaisers Justinian (527-565) tatsächlich erhalten hatte. In diesen Gesetzestexten kam die Pentarchieidee – noch nicht die Pentarchietheorie – zum Ausdruck, welche bereits mit der Entstehung der Pentarchie einhergegangen war und bei den Kirchenhistorikern Sokrates und Sozomenos ihren ersten literarischen Niederschlag gefunden hatte. Seit 380 konnten wir daher eine unklassische seit 451 dagegen die klassiche Pentarchietheorie feststellen. […] Die Pentarchieidee beinhaltet gegen Ende des 7. Jahrhunderts das Bekenntnis, dass die Kirchenleitung in den Händen der fünf Patriarchate liegt. […] Gerade im späten 11. und 12. Jh. stand die Pentarchie bei den Byzantinern in hohem Ansehen. […] Mit der Erhebung Moskaus zum Patriarchat im Jahre 1593 entstand eine neue Variante der Pentarchietheorie. […] Die Pentarchietheorie verlor seit dem 17. Jh. immer mehr auf Bedeutung. […]  Durch die Entstehung der Patriachate auf dem Balkan und die Gründung der autokephalen Kirche Griechenlands war die Pentarchietheorie bedeutungslos geworden. […] Nicht nur der Osten, auch der Westen hatte im Laufe der Geschichte eine eigene Auffassung  über die Pentarchie entwickelt. Ihre Ausformung hängt von der Einstellung zum päpstlichen Primat ab.” F. R. GAHBAUER, Die Pentarchietheorie, 417-424.

See also J. BINNS, An Introduction to the Christian Orthodox Churches, 10 et seqq.

[21] “[…] so wäre es doch nicht gut einen einzigen Patriarchen ohne seines Gleichen im Staate zu haben, denn sonst artet er aus, und wird zu einem absoluten Kirchenfürsten, wo dann die Kirchenverfassung bloß ein todter Buchstabe bleibt und auch der Staat einem so mächtigen Kirchenfürsten gegenüber seine Verlegenheit hat.” A. Baron de SCHAGUNA, Anthorismos oder berichtigende Erörterung, 60-61.

[22] A. Baron de SCHAGUNA, Anthorismos oder berichtigende Erörterung, 67.

[23] Cf. Il. PUŞCARIU, Metropolia, 40, 54.

[24] A. Baron de SCHAGUNA, Anthorismos oder berichtigende Erörterung, 100.

[25] Ibid., 66-67.

[26] “Andrei Şaguna către Calinic de Râmnic” (“Andrei Şaguna to Calinic of Râmnic”), dated Sibiu, March 13, 1858, in: A. ŞAGUNA, Corespondenţa I/1, 271-272 here 271.

[27] The Catholicism defines the ecclesiality of a bishop and his community through the communion with the first bishop – that of Rome. Cf. Lumen Gentium 22, 23; Thomas STUBENRAUCH, Der Papst als Primus inter pares und höchste Autorität in der katholischen Kirche, in: S. DEMEL, L. MÜLLER (Hrsg.), Krönung oder Entwertung des Konzils?, 74-103 here 76 et seqq.

The Orthodoxy subordinates the first bishop’s ecclesiality, even in his leading position, to his communion with all of the bishops, in the unity of God’s people, the only sign of the presence of the infallible Truth. By sharing the eucharistical community, which takes place during every liturgical assembly, every local Church is in mutual communion with the other Churches and they all form together the One, Universal Church. Every bishop, in communion with the others, is responsible for the entire Christ’s Church. Cf. N. V. DURĂ, Intercomuniune sau comuniune sacramentală?, 23; T. WARE, The Orthodox Church, 21-22; J. ZIZIOULAS, Being as Communion, 247 et seqq.

[28] Andrei Şaguna’s protest against Alexandru Sterca Şuluţiu’s circular letter of April 9/21, 1855, dated May 24, 1855, in: N. POPEA, Archiepiscopul şi Metropolitul, 110-111.

[29] See the chapter III.2.8 herein.

[30] “Andrei Şaguna către Calinic Mitropolitul Moldovei şi Sucevei” (“Andrei Şaguna to Metropolitan Calinic of Moldavia and Suceava”), dated Sibiu, December 27, 1870, in: A. ŞAGUNA, Corespondenţa I/1, 253-254 here 254.

The millet system applied after 1453 to all Christians within the Ottoman Empire, according to which the patriarch of Constantinople was not only the spiritual head of the Greek Orthodox Church, but the civil head of the Greek nation – the ethnarch (ετνάρχης) or millet-bashi – made possible the survival of the Greek nation as a distinctive unit through four centuries of alien rule. But it led to a sad confusion between Orthodoxy and nationalism. With their civil and political life organized completely around the Church, it became all but impossible for the Greeks to distinguish between Church and nation; to the Greeks of the Turkish Empire “Hellenism” and Orthodoxy became inextricably intertwined, far more so than they had ever been in the Byzantine Empire. The Greek nationalism or pan-Hellenism used Orthodoxy to serve its aspirations, especially beginning with the sixteenth century, after the patriarch of Constantinople took on the position and rights of an etnarch (national leader) over all Eastern Christian peoples. Especially in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, the non-Greeks Orthodox Christians of Balkan Peninsula (Bulgarians, Serbs, Romanians) were governed by Greek bishops and were often prevented from worshipping in Slavonic, respectively in Romanian. This enforced policy of Hellenization was rejected in the nineteenth century by Bulgarians, who began to claim not only a native clergy but also equal representation on the higher echelons of the Christian millet – i.e., the offices of the patriarchate. These claims were met with firm resistance by the Greeks. The alternative was a national Bulgarian Church, which was created by a sultan’s firman (decree) in 1870. The new Church was to be governed by its own Bulgarian exarch, who resided in Constantinople and governed all the Bulgarians who recognized him. The new situation was un-canonical, because it sanctioned the existence of two separate ecclesiastical structures on the same territory. In the Holy and Great pan-Orthodox Synod convened in 1872 by Ecumenical Patriarch Anthimus VI in Constantinople, which included the Greek patriarchs of Alexandria and Jerusalem, too, was condemned “phyletism”- the national or ethnic principle in church organization – and the Bulgarians were excommunicated. This schism lasted until 1945, when reconciliation took place with full recognition of Bulgarian autocephaly within the limits of the Bulgarian state. Cf. T. WARE, The Orthodox Church, 98; J. BINNS, An Introduction to the Christian Orthodox Churches, 12-13.

[31] “Andrei Şaguna către Mitropolitul Nifon din Ţara Românească” (“Andrei Şaguna to Metropolitan Nifon of Wallachia”), dated Sibiu, February 23, 1856, in: A. ŞAGUNA, Corespondenţa I/1, 284-286 here 284-285.

[32] Introductory study at A. ŞAGUNA, Corespondenţa I/1, 50.

[33] Andrei Şaguna’s circular letter No. 110/1850, in: Gh. TULBURE, Mitropolitul Şaguna, 402-404 here 403-404.

[34] See A. Baronu de SIAGUNA, Proiectu de unu Regulamentu: §27, §76, §103, §131, §139;  Statutul organic: §8, §52, §93, §100, §157.

[35] See A. Baronu de SIAGUNA, Proiectu de unu Regulamentu: §103, §131, §139;  Statutul organic: §100, §157.

    Vespers continuing with the following day’s matins is called vigil and is a religious service of special mystical intensity which is officiated at night or in the evening, on the eve of a holy day in the Orthodox Church.

[36] A. Baronu de SIAGUN`A, Compendiu, 91.

[37] J. SCHNEIDER, Der Hermannstädter Metropolit, 199.


mihaela.stan January 16, 2017 Drept si Religie