A Reassessment of the Eastern Patriarchates in the Ottoman Empire, lecture by Dr Hasan Çolak (Leiden University), Netherlands Institute at Athens, October 29, 2015, 7:00pm
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 speaker 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.