|Doctrines|| ||On all major issues the
Patriarchate of Constantinople is in agreement with other Eastern Orthodox
churches. (See Eastern Orthodoxy.)|
|History|| ||In 330 Emperor Constantine
established his new capital, Constantinople, on the site of the Greek city
of Byzantium. The Council of Constantinople (381) assigned to
Constantinople second place of honour after Rome, making it the leading
centre of Greek Christianity. Next to the imperial palace, Constantine
built the Church of the Holy Wisdom, which was rebuilt and enlarged in the
sixth century by Emperor Justinian.|
Growing tensions between eastern and western Christendom led to outright schism in 1054. In 1204 the Crusaders captured Constantinople and plundered it of its wealth and treasures. This left Constantinople militarily weakened, making the city vulnerable to the Ottoman Turks, who captured it in 1453. The Ottomans placed the Patriarch of Constantinople at the head of all the Orthodox Christians in the areas controlled by them. This considerably enhanced the political power of the Patriarchate, but produced much corruption and intrigue as the church became an instrument for secular administration.
The collapse of the Ottoman empire after the first world war, and the defeat of Greece in the Greco-Turkish war of 1922, left the Constantinople church greatly weakened. Almost all of the Greek population of Turkey was transferred to Greece, leaving only a small population in Istanbul and its surrounding districts. The Patriarch of Constantinople remains pre-eminent among Patriarchs of the Eastern Orthodox Church, and has the sole right to call a pan-Orthodox synod. However, he does not have the right to interfere in the internal affairs of other churches.
|Symbols|| ||Festal icons, the Virgin
Mary as Theotokos, Christ as Pantocrator. (See Eastern Orthodoxy.)|
|Adherents|| ||The church has an
estimated 5,000,000 adherents world-wide (Harris and others 1994, 177).
The church has 700,000 members in the archdiocese of Australia, 2,500,000
members in the archdiocese of North and South America, and 45,000 members
in Turkey (Europa Publications Limited 1995, 1:422, 2:3289, 2:3507).|
Ortodoks Patrikhanesi, 34220 Fener Halig, Istanbul; tel. (212) 5319670.|