Project Canterbury

Historical Contact of the Eastern Orthodox and Anglican Churches.

A review of the relations between the Orthodox Church of the East and the Anglican Church since the time of Theodore of Tarsus

By William Chauncey Emhardt

New York: Department of Missions and Church Extension of the Episcopal Church, 1920.


THE creation of a department for Church Work among Foreign-born Americans and their Children under the Presiding Bishop and Council, calls for a careful consideration of the Orthodox Church. It seems most desirable first of all to review briefly the historical contact which has existed between the Church of England and the Orthodox Eastern Church from almost the very beginning. There are, of course, many traditions, unsupported however by historical documents, which indicate that the English Church was of Grecian origin, and that contact between Greece and the British Isles prior to the time of Saint Augustine (A. D. 597) was continuous. The attendance of bishops of the British Church at the Council of Nicea (A.D. 325), the first historical reference to' the Church in England, proves that there was some contact.

In 680 A.D., a Greek, Theodore of Tarsus, was consecrated Archbishop of Canterbury, thus bringing the Greek Church to the Metropolitan See itself. Theodore left deep imprint upon both the civil and the ecclesiastical life of England, unifying the several kingdoms and organizing into a compact body the disjointed churches of the land. To him, more [1/2] than to any other source, we should trace the spirit of national unity and independence in national and religious ambitions that has since characterized the English nation. It is worthy of note that under Theodore the famous Council of Hatfield was held, at which the doctrine of the double procession of the Holy Ghost was accepted by the English Church, long before this doctrine was officially recognized in either Spain or Rome. It seems strange that theologians, of either side of the controversy which has grown around this doctrine, have never turned to Theodore as the justifier of the doctrine and as an historical evidence that the British Church, by its acceptance, never intended to depart from the teachings of the East.


Many centuries must be passed over before we again find Grecian contact in English ecclesiastical life. In 1617, Metrophanes Critopoulos of Veria was sent by the martyr-patriarch Cyril Lucar to continue his studies at Oxford. Three years later Nicodemus Metaxas of Cephalonia established the first Greek printing press in England. This he later took to Constantinople, where it was immediately destroyed by the Turks.

In the year 1653 we find Isaac Basire, a religious exile, trying to establish good feeling among the Greeks toward the suffering Church of England, delighting in spreading among the Greeks at Zante information concerning the Catholic doctrine of our Church. In the same year we find him writing: "At Jerusalem I received much honor, both from the Greeks and Latins. The Greek Patriarch (the better to express his desire of communion with our old Church of England by mee declared unto him) gave mee his bull or patriarchal seal in a blanke (which is their way of credence) besides many [2/3] other respects. As for the Latins they received mee most courteously into their own convent, though I did openly profess myself a priest of the Church of England. After some velitations about the validity of our ordination, they procured mee entrance into the Temple of the Sepulchre, at the rate of a priest, that is, that is half in half less than the lay-men's rate; and at my departure from Jerusalem the pope's own vicar (called Commissarius Apostolicus Generalis) gave me his diploma in parchment under his own hand and publick seal, in it stiling mee Sacerdotum Ecclasiae Anglicanae and S.S. Theologiae Doctorem; at which title many marvelled, especilly the Freench Ambassador here (Pera). . . Meanwhile, as I have not been unmindful of our Church, with the true patriarch here, whose usurper noe for a while doth interpose, so will I not be wanting to to embrace all opportunities of propagating the doctrine and repute thereof, stylo veteri; Especilly if I should about it receive commands or instructions from the King (Charles II) (whom God save) only in ordine as Ecclesiastica do I speak this; as for instance, proposall of communion with the Greek Church (salva conscientia et honore) a church very considerable in all those parts. And to such a communion, together with a convenient reformation of some grosser errours, it hath been my constant design to dispose and incline them."

In 1670, the chaplain of the English Embassy at Constantinople at the request of Drs. Pearson, Sancroft and Gunning, made special inquiry concerning the alleged teaching of the doctrine of transubstantiation by the Greeks and recorded his impressions in a publication called Some Account of the Present Greek Churches, published in 1722. His successor, Edward Browne, made a number of official reports concerning the affairs of the Greek Church. In 1669 occurred the noted semi-official visit of Papas Jeremias Germanus to Oxford. A more important visit was undertaken [3/4] by Joseph Georgirenes, Metropolitan of Samos, who solicited funds for the building of a Greek church, which was erected in the Soho quarter of London in 1677. Over the door there was an inscription recording its setting up in the reign of King Charles the Second, while Dr. Henry Compton was Bishop of London. The cost was borne by the king, the Duke of York, the Bishop of London, and other bishops and nobles. The Greeks do not seem to have kept it long; and after some changes of ownership it was consecrated for Anglican worship in the middle of the nineteenth century under the title and in honor of Saint Mary the Virgin. It was taken down as unsafe at the end of that century and a new building was set up on the site. The Bishop of London, who seemed to be a special patron of the Greeks at this time, undertook the establishment of a Greek College for Greek students, who probably came from Smyrna. An unsigned letter to Archbishop Sancroft seems to indicate that in 1680 twelve Greek students were sent to Oxford. In addition to the Bishop of London, the chief promoter of this movement was Dr. Woodroof, Canon of Christ Church, who succeeded in getting Gloucester Hall, now Worcester College, assigned to the Greeks. There exists in the Archbishop's library at Lambeth a printed paper describing the "Model of a College to be settled in the university for the education of some youths of the Greek Church." These twelve students seemed to have been but temporary residents, however, because no official account is given of the permanent residence of Greek students until the year 1698.

It is significant to find that in the year 1698, in the copy of the Alterations in the Book of Common Prayer, prepared by the World Commissioners for the revision of the liturgy, who were by no means sympathetic with the Greeks, an expression of desire that some explanation of the addition of [4/5] the Filioque, a clause in the Creed, should be given, with the view to "maintaining Catholic Communion" as suggested by Dr: Henry Compton.


About 1700, Archbishop Philippopolis was granted honorary degrees in both Oxford and Cambridge and was accorded general courtesies. These free relationships had an abrupt termination when, in a letter dated March 2, 1705, the registrar of the Church of Constantinople wrote as follows to Mr. Stephens: "The irregular life of certain priests and laymen of the Eastern Church, living in London, is a matter of great concern to the Church. Wherefore the Church forbids any to go and study at Oxford be they ever so willing."

In 1706, we find the Archbishop of Gotchan in Armenia, receiving liberal contributions from Queen Anne and the Archbishops of Canterbury and York toward the establishment of a printing press for his people. Soon afterward considerable correspondence was established between the dissenting Nonjurors and the Patriarchs of the East. The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Wake wrote to the Patriarch of Jerusalem explaining that the Nonjurors were separatists from the Church of England. The Archbiship significantly ends his letter: "ita ut in orationibus atque sacrificiis tuis ad sacra Dei altaria mei reminiscaris impensissime rogo."

In 1735, we find the Society for the Promoting of Christian Knowledge recording a gift of books as a present to the Patriarch Alexander of Constantinople. In 1772, the Reverend Dr. King, chaplain to the British Factory at St. Petersburg, after explaining the necessity of the elaborate worship of the Greek Church, in a report, dedicated by permission to King George III says: "The Greek Church as it is at present established in Russia, may be considered in respect of [5/6] its service as a model of the highest antiquity now extant." About the same time we find the Latitudinarian Bishop of Llandaff, Dr. Watson, advising a young woman that she should have no scruples in marrying a Russian, "on the subject of religion." We find early in the nineteenth century, Dr. Waddingham, afterward Dean of Durham, publishing a sympathetic account of The Present Condition and Prospects of the Greek Oriental Church.


Intimate relations were again resumed at the time of the Greek insurrection in 1821, when many Greeks fled to England to escape the vengeance of the Turks. The flourishing churches in London, Lancaster and Liverpool date from this period.

The actual resumption of intercourse between the two Churches dates from 1829 when the American Church was first brought into contact with the Church in the East through the mission of Drs. Robertson and Hill. This was purely an expression of a disinterested desire on the part of the American Church to assist the people of Greece in their effort to recover the educational advantages which had been suppressed by the Turk. The educational work of Dr. Hill at Athens became famous throughout the East. Dr. Hill continued as the head of the school for over fifty years. The next approach by the American Church was made by the Reverend Horatio Southgate, who was sent from this country to investigate the missionary opportunities in Turkey and Persia. In order to avoid any suspicions concerning the motive of the American Church, he again returned in 1840 to assure their ecclesiastical authorities that "the American bishops wished most scrupulously to avoid all effusive intrusion within the jurisdiction of their Episcopal brethren their great desire being to commend and promote a friendly intercourse between the two branches of the Catholic and Apostolic Church in the [6/7] hope of mutual advantage." He returned again in 1844 and although he met with considerable success in his efforts to establish a work for the Church he found that the Church at home was not prepared for such an undertaking and after a few years returned to America.

"In the General Convention of 1862, a joint committee was appointed to consider the expediency of opening communication with the Russo-Greek Church, and to collect authentic information bearing upon the subject. And, in July, 1863, a corresponding committee was appointed in the lower house of the Convocation of Canterbury. Between 1862 and 1867, a number of important pamphlets were issued by the Russo-Greek committee, under the able editorship of the Reverend Dr. Young, its secretary. After Dr. Young was made Bishop of Florida, the Reverend Charles R. Hale, afterwards Bishop of Cairo, was appointed to succeed him as secretary of the Russo-Greek committee, and wrote the reports presented to the General Convention of 1871 and 1874. When the Joint Commission on Ecclesiastical Relations replaced with larger powers the Russo-Greek Committee, he was in 1877 made secretary of the commissions, and wrote the reports up to the year 1895." The reports of this committee and the pamphlets issued between the years 1862 and 1867 are extremely valuable, showing the care exercised by the Church in those days, in trying to meet a problem that was just beginning to present itself.

While negotiations of the American Committee were in process in 1867 an interesting interview was held by Archbishop Alexander Lycurgus of Cyclades, and a number of bishops and clergy of the Church of England. The Archbishop went to England in order to dedicate the orthodox church at Liverpool and called forth new manifestations on the part of those desiring union, among whom was the great English statesman, Gladstone. His Grace was vice-president of the Holy [7/8] Synod of Greece and one of their most learned theologians. After thorough discussion of the points of difference between the Anglican and Eastern Church, the Archbishop remarked: "When I return to Greece I shall say that the Church of England is not like other Protestant bodies, it is. a sound Catholic Church, very like our own, and I trust by friendly discussion, union between the two Churches may be brought about."

Simultaneously with this the Archbishop of Canterbury had written to the Patriarch of Constantinople, and at the same time sent him a copy of the Book of Common Prayer translated into Greek. The Patriarch gratefully received the gift, but expressed some confusion over certain statements which appeared to him to "savor of novelty." He closed his letter however, with the significant prayer: "We will therefore pray with all our souls to the author and creator of our salvation to lighten the understanding of all with the light of His knowledge."

In 1869, the Patriarch of Constantinople, Gregory VI, while strongly combatting the propaganda of Protestant missionaries in Syria and the Near East, recognized the different attitude of the Anglican Church, by granting permission for the burial of their dead by the Orthodox priests.

It seems necessary at this point, to make one reference to the regrettable undertaking known as the "Jerusalem Episcopate" and the turmoil which followed the Turkish rule in the Near East. In the early part of the nineteenth century we find Egypt alone enjoying a kind of half-independence. She was naturally proud in the remembrance that she had made an effort to conquer Syria and Palestine, and had ceased only at the pressure of European powers. At this time England proposed to the other powers the purchase of Jerusalem from the Turks and making it international. But as this proposal was not accepted, the King of Prussia, William IV, proposed that a common Episcopate of English and Prussians be established [8/9] in order to unite the Christians in Europe with each other as well as with the Christians of the East and thus offer a foil against the papacy. The proposal of the King of Prussia, warmly supported by Ambassador Bunsen, whose wife was English, was accepted in spite of the protests of conscientious Englishmen. It was decided that the future Bishop of Jerusalem should be under the Archbishop of Canterbury, while he was to be elected alternately by the English and the Germans. Later he was to become independent with the title of Ecumenical Protestant Pope and under him would come all the Archbishops and Bishops, including even Canterbury. Thus Jerusalem would become a centre of the union of all the churches. As they intended to convert the Jews to Christianity, they elected as first Bishop of Jerusalem, Alexander of the Jews, who was consecrated by the Archbishop of Canterbury. This event was considered so great that the King of Prussia appointed the day of the departure of Bishop Alexander from Berlin as a special church festival "in memory of the Peace of Jerusalem." He was sent with special instructions from the Archbishop of Canterbury "not to intermeddle in any way with the jurisdiction of the ecclesiastical dignitaries of the East, but to show them due reverence, and to be ready on all occasions and by all the means in his power to promote a mutual interchange of respect, courtesy and kindness." The Archbishop expressed also the "hearty desire to renew that amicable intercourse with the ancient Churches of the East which has been suspended for ages, and which if restored may have the effect, with the blessing of God, of putting an end to divisions which have brought the most grievous calamities on the Church of Christ."

Alexander came to the East accompanied by clergymen, all Jewish converts, and brought to the Greek Patriarchs and to the Holy Synod of the Church of Greece letters of recommendation from the Archbishop of Canterbury. The [9/10] Patriarchs and the Holy Synod gave no answer because of their suspicions concerning the activity of the incoming bishop. It is true that Alexander avoided proselytizing among the Orthodox, limiting his efforts to the conversion of the Jews. These efforts were unsuccessful. Alexander's successor, Samuel (1848-1879), applied himself to an effort to proselytize the Orthodox, not by teaching and persuasion, but with money and other illicit means. At the same time he worked for the German interests, for even at that early date, Germany had in mind the assimilation of Turkey. This led to friction between the English and the Germans in Palestine.

Strong protests were made against this league of the Episcopalians and the Lutherans and especially against the proselytizing of the Orthodox, not only by the Patriarchs of the East, but also by the English themselves. After the death of Bishop Samuel, the "Ecumenical. Throne of Jerusalem" was administered by the English Bishop, Joseph Barclay. Under him the English-Prussian agreement regarding the Episcopate of Jerusalem was terminated and the Episcopate became purely Anglican. Bishop Barclay was succeeded by the English Bishop Blyth of blessed memory (died October 23, 1915), who retained his office for twenty-seven years. He was an apostolic man, and conscientiously avoided even the appearance of proselytism. He even made efforts to strengthen the Orthodox Church, not only in Palestine, Syria and Cyprus, which were under his jurisdiction, but also wherever there was need. To his efforts is due the foundation of' Orthodox Churches in Melbourne and Sydney, Australia. The consecration in 1898 of the Anglican Church of Saint George the Martyr at Jerusalem, by the Bishop of Salisbury, in the presence of two archbishops, acting as delegates from the Patriarch, seemed to betoken the removal of the last vestige of suspicion.

[11] A conference was held at Bonn in 1874, under the presidency of Dr. Von Döllinger, to discuss reunion between the Anglican, Oriental and Old Catholic Churches. The Anglican Church set forth, through representative men, her growing sympathy with the Orthodox Churches. The century-old misunderstanding and controversies were considered and an agreement reached which showed that there were no unsurmountable barrier preventing reunion between the Anglicans and the East. At the conference held in the following year the addition to the Creed known as the "Filioque Clause" was discussed and it was agreed that, as far as the men present were fitted to represent their respective Communions, there was no difference in doctrine regarding the procession of the Holy Ghost between the Anglican, Orthodox or Old Catholic Churches.


Constructive efforts were begun in England in 1874, inspired by the first Bonn Conference, through the formation of the Eastern Church Association, which for many years issued a series of publications concerning the Eastern Church. In 1906, the Anglican and Eastern Association was established in England under the presidency of the Bishop of London and the Archbishop of Yaroslav and Rostove in Russia. The purpose of this organization was to promote in every possible way friendly intercourse between the two branches of the Church. In 1908, an American Branch was organized, under the presidency of the Bishop of New Hampshire and is doing increasingly useful work. During the past year it has held interesting conferences with the Metropolitan of Athens and the Metropolitan of Kherson and Odessa. It had also undertaken to arrange, in behalf of the Serbian Government, [11/12] for English chaplains in the Serbian army to assist in restoring the morale. Through a branch known as the Serbian Relief Committee, it has extended substantial help to the Serbian Church. Through its constant intercourse with the authorities of the branches of the Orthodox Church in America, it has been able to maintain friendly interest in acts of courtesy and the hope of reunion.

The membership of the Association includes a large number of the clergy of the Orthodox Church and many bishops, clergy and laity, both male and female, of the Episcopal Church.


In the year 1897, at the time of the Missionary Council at Chicago, the first prelate of the Greek Church visited the United States. The Bishop of Zante was sent to that conference and carried back to the Greek Church its fraternal greeting.

The coronation of Nicholas II of Russia, was made the occasion for more intimate relations between the English and the Russian Churches. Bishop Creighton, of Peterborough, was sent by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Edward Benson, with the approval of Queen Victoria, to represent the Church of England at the coronation ceremony. Bishop Creighton carried with him a letter of greeting to Palladin, the most Reverend Metropolitan of St. Petersburg and Ladoga, and President of the Most Holy Governing' Synod of Russia. The religious significance of this step by the Archbishop of Canterbury was not lost upon the Russian people, who received the Bishop with every honor and made it the occasion of expressing the goodwill of the Russian Church towards the Anglican Church.

Again in 1897, the year following the coronation, the Archbishop of York, Dr. Maclagan, determined to visit Russia. [12/13] Owing to the difference in the calendar between the East and the West, his visit came during the time of the Orthodox Holy Week and Easter. He was received by the highest ecclesiastics of the Russian Church with significant honor, and was given place of honor at the important services of that season. He was welcomed by both laity and clergy with many acts expressive of goodwill. His visit made a profound impression upon the Russian Church.

The Russian Church in 1897, at the time of the celebration of the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria, sent Antonius, Archbishop of Finland, to assist at the celebration, and to bear a greeting to the Church of England. He was welcomed by the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Queen; an honorary degree was conferred upon him at Oxford, and he was shown the famous churches of England. Upon his departure he was presented by the Archbishop and other clergy with a complete set of Eucharistic vessels as used in the Orthodox Church.

These four visits increased the growing appreciation, both in the popular mind and on the part of the Church authorities, of the cordial relations which exist between the Eastern Orthodox and the Anglican Churches.


Beginning with the year 1888 a special committee has regularly reported to the Lambeth Conference on the question of reunion with the Eastern Church. These reports while always expressing great interest and hopefulness in reunion become more and more hopeful at each Conference. The General Convention of the Episcopal Church receives regularly encouraging reports from the Committee of the House of Bishops to Confer with the Authorities of the Eastern Orthodox Church, and from the Committee of the two houses to Confer with Officials of the Eastern Orthodox Churches and Old Catholics. The question of reunion has always [13/14] received considerable attention from the Commission on a World Conference on Faith and Order.

A special committee of the Commission visited the representatives of the various Orthodox Churches in the spring of 1919. They were enthusiastically received and returned with a high appreciation of the zeal with which the heads of the Eastern Church considered the proposition of reunion.


In the spring of 1916, a series of five conferences was held with the Russian Orthodox Church under His Grace, the Most Reverend Archbishop Evdokim, Archbishop of America. While these conferences were under the auspices of the Christian Unity Foundation, almost all, if not all, of the members also belonged to the Anglican and Eastern Association. The Russian Church was represented in these conferences by the Most Reverend Archbishop Evdokim, Reverend Peter Kohanick, the Very Reverend Dean Turkovich, and the Very Reverend Archimandrite Philip. Representatives of the Episcopal Church were the Right Reverend Edward M. Parker, D.D., the Right Reverend James H. Darlington, D.D., the Right Reverend Paul Matthews, D.D., the Reverend Canon Robert E. Jones, the Reverend George William Douglas, D.D., the Reverend Arthur Lowndes, D.D., the Reverend W. C. Emhardt, the Reverend R. T. Homans, the Reverend T. J. Lacey, Mr. John H. Cole, Mr: Charles K. Farrington, Mr. Charles G. Saunders, Mr. Meredith Langstaff, the Honorable Lawson Purdy, Mr. Samuel F. Houston and Miss Isabel Hapgood.

At the first conference the question of Anglican Orders was frankly discussed and it was decided that the historical validity of the Anglican Orders should be taken for granted. This followed the conclusion of Professor Sokoloff, that even if Anglicans should hold radical ideas concerning the Sacraments, this would not be sufficient to prevent free operation of the Holy Ghost. However, further recognition of inter-communion could be made only by the Ecumenical Synod. At the second conference the Apostolical Canons [14/15] were considered one by one with explanations on both sides. The two Churches were found to be in substantial agreement.

At the third conference the remaining canons were considered and no insurmountable difficulties found. In connection with canon forty-six, the Archbishop stated that the Russian Church would accept any Anglican Baptism or any other Catholic Baptism. Difficulties concerning the frequent so-called "periods of fasting" were removed by rendering the word "fasting" as "abstinence." Both Russians and Anglicans agreed that only two fast days were enjoined upon their members--Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.

At the fourth and fifth conferences the question of the Seventh Ecumenical Council has discussed. Satisfactory explanations were given by both sides but no final decision was reached. Before the conference could be reconvened the Archbishop was summoned to a General Convention of the Orthodox Church at Moscow.

Another conference was held in New York on October 26, 1918, under the joint auspices of the Anglican and Eastern Association and the Christian Unity Foundation, with the Most Reverend Meletios, Metropolitan of Greece. This conference took place in the General Theological Seminary under the chairmanship of the late Bishop Courtney. His Eminence, the Metropolitan, was accompanied by the leading theologians of the Greek Church. The Episcopal Church was represented by a number of bishops and clergy.

At this conference the historic fact of the authenticity of Anglican Orders was accepted although the Greeks asked for a clearer definition of the relation of ordination to our sacramental sys tem. The troublesome question of the so-called "Filioque Clause" in the creed, that is, the addition of the words, "and the Son" to the original form of the Nicene Creed, was discussed. The explanation of the Anglican position was generally accepted, and the conference closed with a suggestion that we endeavor to arrange for some explanatory phrase which would overcome the difficulties of both sides. [Information concerning this important conference, as well as the conference with Archbishop Evdokim, may be had through the Reverend W. C. Emhardt, Secretary of the Anglican and Eastern Association and the Christian Unity Foundation. See Anglican Programme for Reunion, Church Missions House, New York, 1920.]

The departure of the Metropolitan for England prevented the consideration of the rest of the programme arranged for this conference. Copies of the same were forwarded to London and the discussion was continued by a committee of twenty-one theologians under the chairmanship of Dr. Headlam, Regius Professor of Theology at Oxford.

[16] At the first conference the American position was reviewed and it was mutually agreed that the present aim of such conference was not to negotiate union in the sense of "corporate solidarity" based on the restoration of intercommunion, but to gain a clear understanding of each other's position. The general understanding was that there is no real bar to communion between the two Churches and it is desirable that it should be permitted; but that such permission could only be given through the action of a General Council.

The second of these series of conferences was held at Oxford. About forty representatives of the Anglican Church attended. The questions of Baptism and Confirmation were considered. It was shown that until the eighteenth century re-baptism of non-Orthodox was never practised. It was then introduced as a protest against the custom in the Latin Churches of baptizing not only the living Orthodox, but in many cases the dead. Under orders of the Patriarch Joachim III, it has become the Greek custom not to re-baptize Anglicans who have been baptized by English priests. In the matter of Confirmation it was shown that in the case of the Orthodox the custom of anointing with oil, called Holy Chrism, differs to some extent from our Confirmation. It is regarded as a seal of orthodoxy and should not be viewed as repetition of Confirmation. Even in the Orthodox Church lapsed communicants must receive Chrism again before restoration.

The third conference was held in the Jerusalem Chapel of Westminster Abbey, under the presidency of the Bishop of Winchester. This discussion was confined to the consideration of the Seventh Ecumenical Council. It is not felt by the Greeks that the number of differences on this point touch doctrinal or even disciplinary principals. The Metropolitan stated that there was no difficulty on the subject. From what he had seen of Anglican Churches, he was assured as to our practice. He further stated that he was strongly opposed to the practice of ascribing certain virtues and power to particular icons, and that he himself had written strongly against this practice, and that the Holy Synod of Greece had issued directions against it.

As a result of these several conferences, the Metropolitan was so impressed that he established a professorship of Anglican Theology in the University of Athens and suggested that similar professorships be established in Oxford and America.

Another conference was held with representatives of Roumanian and Serbian Churches, in Paris, in October. The Roumanian Church was represented by the Reverend F. Cicerone Jordachesco. The published report is as follows:

[17] "The matters taken up were those postponed in America. The Easterns pointed out that Baptism by effusion was the usual practice in Serbia, and that there would be no difficulty in recognizing Anglican Baptism. The next question pointed out was whether the Easterns would recognize similarly our Confirmation, and it was agreed, after full discussion, that this question should be submitted to the authorities of the respective Churches as of immediate importance. Regarding Holy Orders, Father Jordachesco urged that the chief question was whether Ordination was recognized by Anglicans as a sacrament; if so, all follows, and urged that our authorities should put forward a statement on the doctrine of Holy Orders.

"With regard to mutual administration of Holy Communion, it was pointed out that in Serbia already English Sisters (i.e. Red Cross and other workers) and soldiers had been given Holy Communion when dying. A discussion followed upon Holy Matrimony, in which the Easterns held that doctrinally re-marriage after divorce was allowable. In Roumania the Church admitted divorce for only one cause, but did not refuse re-marriage of both parties. in cases where there was civil divorce and approbation. By Serbian and Russian Canon Law very many more causes were allowed for divorce. In these two countries also they thought that the Church would be quite ready to give Holy Communion to the dying. There was an official order in Serbia that burial should be given with full rites to Anglicans; and in Roumania a priest was obliged to give such burial to any who had expressed a desire for it. The general result of this conference was that there seemed to be every hope that an agreement might soon be reached with regard to the mutual administration of the sacraments."


There have been several practical movements which have shown the growing sense of nearness of the two Churches. In October, 1915, there was established a Serbian Relief Committee of the Anglican and Eastern Association, which in addition to matters of relief, has in other practical ways assisted the Serbian Church. The Reverend Sebastian Dabovitch, Archimandrite of the Serbian Church in America, was recently sent by the Committee to Belgrade. A Serbian priest was given additional instruction at the Philadelphia Divinity School and Summer School of Theology at Middletown, Connecticut. Prior to the close of the war, arrangements were about to be accomplished whereby the American chaplains would have been accepted by the Serbian Army. At the request of the Metropolitan of Serbia, [17/18] arrangements have been made for a number of theological students from Serbia to enter our seminaries this year.

The Acting Prelate of the Armenian Apostolic Church of America, the Reverend Dr. Kasparian, an official representative of the Catholicos, studied at the Episcopal Theological School in Cambridge. There have been a number of Nestorian students who have attended our theological seminaries. Some of them are now priests of our Church. One Nestorian priest is attending Berkeley Divinity school. One young man is at Alexandria Seminary. Mr. Paul Shimmon graduated from Columbia University and the General Seminary and went back to work in the East as a layman. He is now in this country representing the Nestorian Patriarch in relief matters. The Present Patriarch of the Nestorian Church, Mar Shimum, was trained under the Archbishop of Canterbury's Mission in Turkey. His sister Lady Surma has been sent as representative of the Assyrian peoples to the Court of St. James, London.

The House of Bishops in Detroit, 1919, sent a cable to the Archbishop of Canterbury asking for the rehabilitation of the Assyrian Christians of Persia who seem to be in danger of annihilation. The Archbishop promptly replied and gave assurance that everything would be done by the British Government to assist the work, and invoked the co-operation of America. (See The Living Church of November 1, 1919, p.15.)

Arrangements have recently been made whereby the delegation of the Holy Synod of Greece in America have accepted Saint Stephen's College as a place to give academic training for candidates for the ministry. The sum of five thousand dollars per annum has already been subscribed for that purpose. As these notes go to press, arrangements are being made whereby opportunities for additional education of ten priests and deacons of the Greek Church are being made. These students are graduates of Greek universities and theological schools, and are sent to America by the Holy Synod of Athens, in order that they may be in contact with [18/19] American democracy. Some will remain in this country; others will return to Greece. The Metropolitan is also sending five students to the University of Oxford, England.

Soon after the establishment of the American Serbian Relief Committee, a practical work was undertaken in England whereby, with the approval of the Archbishop of Belgrade and the Archbishop of Canterbury, many Serbian candidates for the ministry were received at the University of Oxford and Cuddesdon Theological School under the joint direction of the Anglican and Serbian priests, and given their training for the priesthood.


In America there have been many acts of courtesy between the Orthodox and Episcopal Church as shown when His Grace, Bishop Alexander, Acting Archbishop in America of the Greek Orthodox Church, attended the meeting of the Synod of the Province of Washington, and again in June assisted in the ordination services at Saint John's Church, Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Many meetings in behalf of the Greek and Russian Churches have been held in the cities of America, in which Russian, Greek and Episcopal bishops and clergy have taken part. A most noteworthy conference was recently held in the Church Missions House, New York, attended by His Eminence, Metropolitan Platon of Kherson and Odessa, the Acting Archbishop Alexander of the Greek Church in America, and the head of the Roumanian Church. At this meeting the immediate need of the Russian Church was considered, and encouraging prospects of reunion manifest. Reports of most of these recent meetings may be found in the reports of the Anglican and Eastern Association. These may be procured from the secretary of the Association, and through the secretary for Church Work among Foreign-born Americans of the Department of Missions of the Episcopal Church, 281 Fourth Avenue, New York.


By a review of these facts it must be evident that the two Churches are continually drawing closer together, and the day is quickly dawning when Christians of the East and West can pray together in unity. Conditions seem most favorable for the consummation of the hope which has been back of all these mutual approaches of the two Churches. The most powerful of the Metropolitans of both the Greek and the Russian branches of the Orthodox Church strongly sympathize with the cause of reunion. The Metropolitan of Athens has brought to the Grecian Church an awakened spirit which is rapidly reorganizing the whole of the Church and adjusting the vision of the Holy Governing Synod to the real opportunity of the Church of the twentieth century. Already he has advanced to a wonderful degree the intellectual standards of his race. He has exalted the ideal of the priesthood, emphasized the social mission of the Church, and placed continually before his people the positive duty of the Church in the matter of reunion with the Anglican Church. Under his guidance the Church of Greece has not only experienced an awakening, but with one bound, has taken the position of leadership, not only in the Orthodox Church, but in the whole Christian world.

The Metropolitan Platon of Kherson and Odessa brings to America the pleasing information that everywhere throughout Russia, especially in his own jurisdiction which includes the fifty million Orthodox recently released from Bolshevist rule, the churches have received instructions that they are to be placed at the disposal of the priests of the Church of England and the Episcopal Church in America for their free use, and that Orthodox clergy are to accept with equal freedom any courtesies offered by the Episcopal Church. In conversation with the writer, as this goes to press, the Metropolitan has stated that he has been negotiating with the [20/21] Metropolitan of Athens and others for a general council of the Orthodox Church to consider especially reunion with the Anglican Church. They propose to hold this conference at Odessa as soon as the conditions in Russia make travel possible.

We cannot better present the hoped-for reunion than by quoting from the letter addressed to the writer, under date of August 26, 1919, from Metropolitan Platon:

W. C. Emhardt,
Secretary, Anglican and Eastern Association,
Newtown, Bucks Co., Pa.

Reverend Sir:

In these disconsolate, burdensome and gloomy days for every Russian Orthodox believer, filled with fear and desperation; in these days when it seems that my native land is perishing I find one bright ray expressed in that thought that at the present time in the face of present conditions and circumstances of life, Christians of various creeds stand closer together than ever heretofore in the solution of the question of Union of Churches. From all churches our Orthodox and your Episcopalian Churches have already closely approached each other in the solution of the aged problem. Standing upon the grounds of the Nicean Creed, these only sisters, united in the pure and sincere love of each other, can now say to each other: "Christ is among us," and the other may answer: "He is and shall be." We shall not now raise the question whom of us believes better in Christ. Together we are now prepared to vitally discuss only this, as to whom of us is better in Christian life from the active side of it, in its essence, and not in form, be it essential.

Be yourselves and we ourselves, but we shall live in the faith of Christ in such manner that we may glorify God with one mouth and one heart to Whom is due all glory and honor unto ages of ages, Amen.



At the General Convention in Detroit, October, 1919, the heads of all the Orthodox Churches in America were invited to join in the opening services. All were duly represented excepting the Greek Church, the Acting Archbishop of the latter being in California and unable to attend. At the opening session of the House of Bishops, Metropolitan Platon of Kherson and Odessa, representing the Russian Church, Archbishop Germanos of the Syrian-Antiochan [21/22] Church, and Bishop Hodur of the Polish Old Catholic Church were presented to the Presiding and other Bishops and they delivered brief addresses.

Upon each Sunday of the Convention visits were made by the Bishops of the Episcopal Church to the Orthodox Churches, where they were received with enthusiasm. On the first Sunday the Bishop of Harrisburg visited the Syrian-Antiochan Church and the Bishop of New Hampshire one of the Russian Churches. On the following Sunday the Bishop of Erie and the Bishop of New Jersey visited the two Russian Churches. On the afternoon of the same day a notable service was held in the Russian Church at which addresses were made by Bishop Parker of New Hampshire, Bishop Rowe of Alaska and Bishop McKim of Tokio. At all of these services the visiting Bishops and their attending clergy took part in the services, especially in the consecration of the Holy Eucharist. The effect of these visits has been very far reaching and has done much to win radicals, who were attacking the Orthodox Church, to loyalty and usefulness.

It is believed that frequent repetition of such acts of fellowship and brotherhood will prove most helpful in winning large bodies of discontented to faithful support of the Church and Nation.

Copies of this leaflet may be obtained from the Secretary for Foreign-born Americans, Church Missions House, 281 Fourth Avenue, New York, N. Y., by asking for No. 1511. Price, ten cents.

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