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The Orthodox Church in the Early Modern Middle East: Relations between the Ottoman Central Administration and the Patriarchates of Antioch, Jerusalem and Alexandria

This book bij Hasan Çolak is based on rigorous research on unpublished and unexplored Ottoman correspondence between the Ottoman central administration and the Eastern Patriarchates, published Greek patriarchal documents, and French missionary and diplomatic sources.

Hasan Çolak
01 June 2015
Ankara: Turkish Historical Society, 2015

The study of the history of the Greek Orthodox Church in the Ottoman Empire has long been shaped by the model suggested by the proponents of millet system. In this model, the role attributed to the Eastern Patriarchates (Antioch, Jerusalem, and Alexandria) is one of submission to the demands of the Patriarchate of Constantinople and the Greek Orthodox lay elites called Phanariots.

Hasan Çolak challenges this view by shifting his focus from the Patriarchate of Constantinople to the very relations between the Ottoman central administration and the Eastern Patriarchates. Introducing the concept of "patriarchal elites" which was formed in parallel to the Phanariot "lay elites" against the infiltration of Catholicism, the author explains the centralisation of the Eastern Patriarchates at a time often referred to as an age of political decentralisation. Beginning to establish closer ties with the Ottoman central administration and the Greek Orthodox of Istanbul in the 18th century, the Eastern Patriarchs began to cooperate more with the Ottoman central administration than their partners during the initial periods of the Ottoman rule in the Middle East, namely foreign courts and semi-autonomous provincial rulers.

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