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Creeds of Christendom, with a History and Critical notes. Volume I. The History of Creeds.
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§ 13. The Answers of Patriarch Jeremiah to the Lutherans, A.D. 1576.

Acta et Scripta theolog. Würtemberg. et Patriarchæ Constant. Hieremiæ, quoted p. 43.

Martin Crusius: Turco-Græcia, Basil. 1584.

Mouravieff: History of the Church of Russia, translated by Blackmore, pp. 289–324.

Hefele (now Bishop of Rottenburg): Ueber die alten und neuen Versuche, den Orient zu protestantisiren, in the Tübinger Theol. Quartalschrift, 1843, p. 544.

Art. Jeremias II., in Herzog's Encyklop. 2d ed. Vol. VI. pp. 530–532. Gass: Symbolik d. gr. K. pp. 41 sqq.

Melanchthon, who had the reunion of Christendom much at heart, especially in the later part of his life, first opened a Protestant correspondence with the Eastern Church by sending, through the hands of a Greek deacon, a Greek translation (made by Paul Dolscius) of the Augsburg Confession to Patriarch Joasaph II. of Constantinople, but apparently without effect.

Several years afterwards, from 1573–75, two distinguished professors of theology at Tübingen, Jacob Andreæ, one of the authors of the Lutheran 'Form of Concord' (d. 1590), and Martin Crusius, a rare Greek scholar (d. 1607),104104   He was able to take Andreæ's sermons down in Greek as they were delivered in German. on occasion of the ordination of Stephen Gerlach for the Lutheran chaplaincy of the German legation at the Sublime Porte, forwarded to the Patriarch of Constantinople commendatory letters, and soon afterwards several copies of the Augsburg Confession in Greek (printed at Basle, 1559), together with a translation of some sermons of Andreæ, and solicited an official expression of views on the Lutheran doctrines, which they thought were in harmony with those of the Eastern Church.

At that time Jeremiah II. was Patriarch of Constantinople (from 1572–94), a prelate distinguished neither for talent or learning, but for piety and misfortune, and for his connection with the Russian Church at an important epoch of its history. He was twice arbitrarily deposed, saw the old patriarchal church turned into a mosque, and made a collecting tour through Russia, where he was received with great honor, and induced to confer upon the Metropolitan of Moscow the patriarchal dignity over Russia (1589), and thus to lay the foundation of the independence of the Russian Church.105105   Mouravieff gives an interesting account of this visit of Jeremiah, who styled himself 'by the grace of God, Archbishop of Constantinople, which is new Rome, and Patriarch of the whole universe.' He made his solemn entry into the Kremlin seated on an ass, and presented to the Czar several rich relics, among which are mentioned 'a gold Panagia [picture of the Virgin Mary], with morsels of the life-giving Cross, of the Robe of the Lord, and of that of the Mother of God, incased within it, as well as portions of the instruments of our Lord's Passion, the Spear, the Reed, the Sponge, and the Crown of Thorns.'

After considerable delay, Jeremiah replied to the Lutheran divines at length, in 1576, and subjected the Augsburg Confession to an unfavorable criticism, rejecting nearly all its distinctive doctrines, and commending only its indorsement of the early œcumenical Synods and its view on the marriage of priests.106106   This third letter of Jeremiah is called Censura Orientalis Ecclesiæ, and covers nearly ninety pages folio. His first two letters are brief, and do not enter into doctrinal discussions. The Tübingen professors sent him an elaborate defense (1577), with other documents, but Jeremiah, two years afterwards, only reaffirmed his former position, and when the Lutherans troubled him with new letters, apologetic and polemic, he declined all further correspondence, and ceased to answer.107107    Vitus Myller, in his funeral discourse on Crusius, complains of the Greeks as being prouder and more superstitious than the Papists (pontificiis longe magis superstitiosi). Crusius edited also a Greek translation of four volumes of Lutheran sermons (Corona anni, στέφανος τοῦ ἐνιαυτοῦ, Wittemb. 1603) for the benefit of the Greek people, but with no better success.

The documents of both parties were published at Wittenberg, 1584.

The Answers of Jeremiah received the approval of the Synod of Jerusalem in 1672,108108   In Kimmel's Monumenta, Vol. I. p. 378. and may be regarded, therefore, as truly expressing the spirit of the Eastern Communion towards Protestantism. It is evident from the transactions of the Synod of Jerusalem that the Greek Church rejects Lutheranism and Calvinism alike as dangerous heresies.

The Anglican Church has since made several attempts to bring about an intercommunion with the orthodox East, especially with the Russo-Greek Church, during the reign of Peter the Great, and again in our own days, but so far without practical effect beyond the exchange of mutual courtesies and the expression of a desire for the reunion of orthodox Christendom.109109   See beyond, § 20.

 


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