Fr. George Dragas|
The Manner of Reception of Roman Catholic Converts into the Orthodox Church
with Special Reference to the Decisions of the Synods of 1484 (Constantinople),1755 (Constantinople) and 1667 (Moscow) *
3. The Decision of the Synod of Constantinople in 1755(26)
Patriarch Cyril V who ascended the throne of Constantinople for the first time in 1748 having formerly being Metropolitan of Nikomedia summoned this Synod.(27) The circumstances, which dictated it, were most probably the attempts of the Latins to convert the Orthodox in the Middle East and elsewhere by declaring that there were no substantial differences between Greeks and Latins. This situation of devious proselytism, especially in the Middle East, is clearly set out by the historians Makraios and Hypsilantes.(28) The occasion arose in 1750 when Cyril received a number of Latins by re-baptizing them. The Western politicians resident in Constantinople were deeply displeased and plotted against Cyril achieving eventually his removal from the throne of Constantinople (1751). Paisios ΙΙ, his successor, who was returned to the Ecumenical Throne for the fourth time, did not re-baptize the Latins, but this brought about his downfall, because the people opposed him as Latin-minded.(29) This came about through a certain monk Auxentios(30) who claimed to have re-ceived a heavenly vision confirming his views οn the re-baptism of the Latins and supporting Cyril V. Cyril V returned to his throne fifteen months after Paisios ΙΙ's downfall, in 1752, by popular acclaim. The conflict that ensued between him and the Latins who lived in the City and some of the 'Latin-minded' Hierarchs who were aligned with them led him to summon a Synod in 1775 which decided οn re-baptizing Latins converts who wished to join the Orthodox Church. This Synod issued an Horos (Statenιent) which reveals the perspective of Patriarch Cyril and his followers; that is, a perspective which had already been expressed in a book by Christophoros Aitolos, a contemporary supporter of Cyril, entitled A denunciation of Sprinkling. The text of the Horos is as follows:(31)
* This paper was prepared for and read at the Orthodox/Roman Catholic Dialogue (USA) in 1998.
26. For the Minutes of this Synod see, Johannes Dominicus, "Synodi Constantinopolitanae de iterando baptismo a Latinis collato 1755 a mense ianuario ad iulium," in his Sacroruιn Conciliorum Νονα et Amplissima Collectio, tom. xxxviii (1908) cls. 575-585.
27. See Gedeon Πατριαρχικοί Πίνακες... 1888, and 2nd edition, bibliography above (1996). Cf. also the essays in the bibliography above of Savrames (1933) and Gritsopoulos (1959).
28. See Bibliography above: Paranikas (1875), Sathas (1885), Hypsilantes (1872), Georgiades (1882) and Alexandros Lavriotes (1900).
29. See the account of the historian Makraios in Sathas, bibliography (1885).
30. On the monk Auxentios see especially Dapontes, bibliography for (1766), Georgiades (1882) and Germanos Ainou (1952); also the historians Makraios and Hypsilantes cited above. See also D.Μ.Paschali, "Auxentios the ascetic from the island of Andros..." Theologia ΙΙ (1933) 302-318. [in Greek]
31. For the original text, see Eustratios Argenti, Ραντισμού Στηλίτευσις, 1756. Also Gedeon's, Kavovικαί Διατάξεις, οp. cit. tom. i (1888) pp. 252-255. The translation provided here is based οn Fr. Metallinos' book I Confess One Baptism... bibliography above (1984) with a few changes.