10 August 2020

The Fate of Hagia Sophia and Anglican Catholic Ecumenism

Before his death on December 4 1959, Father Henry Joy Fynes-Clinton, Rector of S Magnus the Martyr by London Bridge (FC in what follows), had for many years been a ... or the ... leading light in the Papalist Movement within the Church of England. Many people at that time, and since then, have found it hard to understand the model of Ecumenism which was the policy of FC and his associates.

It consisted of two stages, each ... in my unhumble view ... admirable!

Firstly: it consisted of acting as if the Tudor Schism had never happened, and the Provinces of Canterbury and York (many papalists declined to use the syncope 'Church of England') were but two provinces of the Western, Latin, Church, irregularly severed from the other provinces by the Tudor Tyranny. So they regarded the Rite of S Pius V as their proper and lawful liturgy and all the culture of Western Catholicism as their legitimate playground. If you enjoy doing so, you can call them mad, but it is not fair to call them unprincipled.

Secondly, they acted as if the schism between East and West had never happened. Hence, those dear old photographs of FC leading a Dalmatian archbishop into the Holy House at Walsingham, or deaconing the Metropolitan of Cyprus at the 1920 Anglo-Catholic Congress. Hence, all the Orders, Dignities and Decorations FC hoovered up in Orthodox Eastern Europe! Neither the probability that some of these Orthodox clerics were violently anti-papal, nor the fact that Rome regarded them as schismatics, caused him any anxiety, despite his ultra-papalist ecclesiology. Since his days, increasing doubts have indeed arisen about whether the break between East and West was ever formal ... doubts which I share. Perhaps FC was prophetic!

As all well-informed people will be aware, today is the CENTENARY of the Treaty of Sevres. In the chaos surrounding Turkey's defeat in the First World War, the victorious powers divided up the old Ottoman Empire, and in anticipation of this, from November 13 1918 (until October 4 1923), Constantinople had been occupied by French and British troops ... I think, by Italians as well.

This caused high and optimistic hopes among British Byzantinophiles, who, of course, included FC. He had chosen Our Lady of Victory (or 'victories') as Patron of his 'Catholic League' because her commemoration (October 7; Lepanto) was not only redolent of Baroque Catholicism but also "marked the turning of the tide of the aggession of the Moslem power, when a defeat would probably have meant the subjugation of most of Europe to the arch-enemy of the Faith." He looked forward to "the final ejection from the great capital city of Eastern Christendom of the anti-Christian and bloodstained power that has too long ground under foot the 'cattle' (as our co-religionists are called). ... May the coming Easter see the Risen Body of Christ adored on the altar of St Sophia!"

But a disagreement arose. An English RC representative, having pointed out that, on the eve of the Fall of Constantinople in 1453, the Great Church had been in communion with the See of Rome, argued that it ought to be restored to ... the Uniates!! FC blew his top and furiously replied: "Separated bodies would regard the handing over of the Church to Rome or to the Uniate Patriarch ... as an intolerable outrage to the age-long sentiment and dream. Nothing could more hopelessly retard the hoped-for reunion of East and West ... On the other hand, nothing could, I believe, lead the Greeks and all Orthodox to modify their unhappy suspicion and antagonism to Rome, and prepare the way for reunion, more than to understand that the Roman Church not only favoured but actively assisted in handing over of the Church to their Patriarch."

Of course, none of this came to anything. There were suspicions that the Vatican's Ostpolitik (not to mention French foreign policy) was rootedly opposed to any extension of Hellenic influence in the Middle East as being likely to create a dangerous Byzantium redivivum. Such a sophisticated Diplomatic Service they have in the Vatican: what a shame it so often gets things wrong!!

May S Chrysostom of Smyrna, Great Martyr, pray for us all!

I did once suggest a 'Hunwicke Solution': that Hagia Sophia be returned to the Orthodox and, in compensation, 'Westminster Cathedral' ... already equipped with a superb minaret ... should be handed over to Islam. The sound wafting over Buck House of the muezzin calling the Faithful to prayer would add quite a lot to the atmosphere of Palace Garden Parties. But nobody ever takes any notice of anything I say.

Essential reading: The Anglican Papalist: a Personal Portrait of Henry Joy Fynes-Clinton, by Fr A T John Salter. ISBN 978-0-9560565-2-8


Amont said...

Dear Father,

My great fear is that the influx of Moslem worshippers into the UK,WILL exactly result in the use of the Mother Church of the Diocese of Westminister, exactly as you propose!

Paul-A. Hardy said...

Thank you for this posting. But I fear that what has happened in Turkey is the fault of the Ňícumenical Patriarch Barhtolomew's political strategy. Anxious to ensure a base in the world community at large he has undermine Orthodox unity in order to further Ukraine's joining or at the very least becoming an ally of NATO. This in an effort to show himself and the Greek commercial immigration in the US a friend of America.
Of course, the Patriarch's moves were carefully watched by the Turkish President Erdogan a former imam,determined to stress Turkish sovereignty over any fPatriarchal shenanigans, decided to give in,— not surprisingly—to extremist demands that Hagia Sophia be turned into a mosque.
Erdogan, as everyone knows, is a follower of a new religious sect. He is in fact the voice of an "Islamicized sæcularism." That voice is heard and obeyed everywhere in Turkey, the Middle East, India, Indonesia, Malaysia and Africa. Erdogan, e.g., supported the new religionist Mursi President of Egypt. New Islam can be seen as the voice of historic Islam today just as Bergoglio's Vatican II'ism can be seen as the voice of historic Roman Catholicism. The US president Obama seems to have been a crypto-member of this sect, having grown up in Indonesia. Obama, recall, conducted a proxy war against the ancient Orthodox See of Antioch and the Melkites in Syria. His policy continues in the proxy war between Egypt and Libya starting right now. So-called Catholic Biden is an instrument of this anti-Russian, anti-Xtian policy.
Now Russia's President Putin has given Turkey warning as we saw in Erdogan's last visit to Moscow, when the Turkish delegation was photographed standing beneath the statue of Catherine the Great. I.e., What happened to the old Crimean Khanate under Ottoman rule, can happen today in Turkey.
Let us not forget that Russia has saved for the time being, at least, the ancient See of Antioch and Melkite Catholics in Syria. It may happen that it will do the same for the rump Greek and Armenian Xtian community in Turkey. If that happens, Bartholomew will undoubted be deposed like his infamous predecessor Meletius IV.
Of course, if Russia does annex Turkey it will be the start of Armageddon. The US, no friend of either traditional Catholic or Orthodox Xtianity would never sit idly by. The European heirs of !789 in their economic community would rise up as well, not to mention Britain and the Vatican.
The Vatican under Bergoglio has carefully aligned itself with old and recent US policy.The US has traditionally been ant-Catholic. After all, Catholic Spain possessed the greater part of the North American continent. Spain was a natural enemy. US policy policy, belonging to its bi-partisan dictatorship, destroyed Catholic Europe centred in Habsburg Vienna under Wilson It also bombed Nagasaki the seat of Catholic missionary activity in Japan under Truman. That is its record in the 20th century. The 21st century so far has seen no change.

Victor said...

Mr Hardy seems to have deeper insight than most other people into the minds of various leaders, political as well as ecclesiastical. However, might it not be that the decision to recognize the Ukrainian Orthodox Church was made not for political reasons but simply because it was The Right Thing To Do?
I am not commenting the ridiculous accusation against Obama being a secret Muslim - but as far as I know, the war in Syria has the Christians involved only as one of many victim groups. Thank you anyway, Mr Hardy, for a good laugh in so serious times!

Paul-A. Hardy said...

Mr. Victor: My thanks goes out to you for giving me a good laugh as well. We are mutually indebted on that score.
As for whether the Patriarch made his decision for political reasons or not, it is true I do not know the state of his mind. But his mental state is unimportant because his decisions are only justifiable on grounds of canon law. A large part of the Orthodox Church question the canonicity of his decision and have broken communion with him. If the decision is not canonical, then how could it be the right thing to do? You can find his arguments and the counter-arguments of other Orthodox patriarchs and bishops on the internet, rather tedious reading I'll admit.
As for Obama being a crypto-Muslim, the evidence from Indonesia is that he was registered as Muslim in school. Indonesia has a Christian population, so if Christianity meant anything to his mother or to him, why was he not registered as Christian? Both his given names are Muslim. If he was baptized in any recognized church, why doesn't he have a Xtian name. I would wager that Obama is likely to be as good a Muslim as many of us are Catholic.Joe Biden and Nancy Pelosi are Catholic after all. Why would Obama not be be as good a Muslim as they are Catholic.His policy in Syria and Libya has suggested as much. He consistently sides with Muslim sectarians, who dominate in most every mosque in the world just as vatican Council II dominates in almost every Catholic Church and Zionism in almost every synagogue. Obama armed a proxy army to fight against the Syrian government supported by both Xtians and non-sectatian Muslims. These are the same sectarians who raised their black flag in Hagia Sophia. The fact that Erdogan supports this kind of thing cannot be doubted, since he controls even the sermons preached in every mosque in Turkey.
Now it was in fact the Ukrainian government that was the main player in the question of granting autocephaly to a Ukrainian church. This government as we know from recent events revealed in the attempted coup in the US had huge input from the faction who tried to gain power by overthrowing the 2016 US election.
Further, the Ukrainian government's roots are in the old Soviet Union. Why did no one raise the question of autocephaly in those years, since 1929? Why only after the annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation did the question of autocephaly gain momentum?
I keep abreast of the events in this region, since from all evidences on which I can lay my hands, not excluding that provided by Father Robert Hugh Benson's admittedly fictional but nonetheless inspired Lord of the World, the Second Coming will take place where our Lord preached, taught, died and rose again from the dead.
You perhaps think that the Parousia is a laughing matter. But he who laughs last, laughs best. Let us see!