Correspondence of the Non-Jurors and the Russians
THE interest awakened on the subject of intercommunion with the Orthodox Eastern Church by the recent action of the Convocation of Canterbury touching this matter, has led to inquiries respecting the precise nature and extent of a previous movement in this direction on the part of certain English Bishops, and the spirit in which it was met, especially by the authorities of the Russian Church and Empire.
It has been suggested that, as many who are interested in this movement are not within reach of the sources of information, the publication of that part of the correspondence which was had with the Church of Russia might serve a useful purpose.
The circumstances under which this arose were as follows: In the year 1712, Arsenius, Archbishop of Thebais, was sent by Samuel, Patriarch of Alexandria, from Grand Cairo, in Egypt, "to represent to Protestant Princes and States in Europe, the truly deplorable circumstances of the Greek Church under the severe tyranny and oppression of the Turks, and to solicit a sum of money, particularly for the Patriarchal See of Alexandria," etc. While the Archbishop was in London, on this errand, in 1716, "the Bishops called Non-Jurors (to quote the language of Bishop Brett, one of their number), "meeting about some affairs relating to their little church, Mr. Campbell took occasion to speak of the Archbishop of Thebais, then in London, and proposed that we should endeavor a union with the Greek Church, and drew up some propositions thereto, addressed to the Archbishop, with whom, he intimated, he had already had some discourse on that subject." Collier, Mr. Campbell and Mr. Spinckes joined in it, and drew up proposals, which Mr. Spinckes (as Mr. Campbell informed me) put into Greek, and they went together and delivered them to the Archbishop of Thebais, who carried them to Muscovy, and engaged the Czar in the affair, and they were encouraged to write to his Majesty on that occasion, who heartily espoused the matter, and sent the proposals by James, Proto Syncellus, to the Patriarch of Alexandria, to be communicated to the four Eastern Patriarchs. Before the return of the Patriarchs' answer to the proposals, a breach of communion happened among the Non-Jurors here, Mr. Hawes, Mr. Spinckes, and Mr. Gandy on the one side, and Mr. Collier, Mr. Campbell, Mr. Gadderer, and myself on the other. So that when the Patriarchs' answer came to London, in 1722, Mr. Spinckes refused to be any further concerned in the affair, and Mr. Gadderer and I joined in it. After Mr. Gadderer went to Scotland, Mr. Griffin, being consulted, joined with us. The rest of the story relating to this matter may be gathered from the letters and the subscriptions to them. Mr. Collier subscribes Jeremias; Mr. Campbell, Archibaldus; Mr. Gadderer, Jacobus; and I, Thomas."
Sic Sub. THOMAS BRETT.