Reference : The Effect of the Young Turks Revolution on Religious Power Politics: The Case of the...
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The Effect of the Young Turks Revolution on Religious Power Politics: The Case of the Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem (1908-1910)
Papastathis, Konstantinos mailto [University of Luxembourg > Faculty of Language and Literature, Humanities, Arts and Education (FLSHASE) > Identités, Politiques, Sociétés, Espaces (IPSE) >]
Kark, Ruth mailto [Hebrew University of Jerusalem]
Jerusalem Quarterly
The Institute for Palestine Studies
[en] Palestine ; Ottoman Empire ; Politics and Religion ; Orthodox Church
[en] The aim of the paper is twofold: a) to critically assess the socio-political crisis within the Orthodox Church of Jerusalem that arose between the Greek hierarchy and the Arab laity concerning the implementation of a new regulatory framework of patriarchal operation, according to the Young Turks Constitution; and b) to examine the subsequent internal conflict within the ecclesiastical bureaucracy and its ideological and political connotations.
The first question has deep historical roots. From the nineteenth century onwards the Arab lay community demanded emancipation from Greek religious (and economic) control that was perceived as cultural imperialism. Their claim was rejected by the hierarchical apparatus in the name of the identity between ‘Hellenism’ and ‘Orthodoxy’ which was an expression of a ‘hegemonic’ strategy to maintain its institutional dominance.
The restoration of the Constitution (1908), following the Young Turk's Revolution, afforded the opportunity for a more liberal modification of the religious administration with the participation of the laity in the decision-making process. The refusal of the hierarchy, however, which perceived any change as a threat to its absolute power and national composition, led to the Arab orthodox uprising. The effort of patriarch Damianos to proceed to negotiations was repudiated by the hierarchy and led to his dethronement by the Synod. Damianos, however, with the support of the Arab laity and its Russian protector managed to re-establish his authority, assenting to the adoption of the so-called Turkish Order (1910) that stipulated the establishment of a Mixed Council for the management of patriarchal affairs.
We provide a contextual historical account of the associated events, sketching out the social considerations, the cultural stakes and the political goals of the key-players involved in these interconnected crises. This conflict was strongly influenced by the issue of administration/ownership of vast patriarchal land and properties, and by the broader process of nation building and secularization within the orthodox commonwealth in the late Ottoman period.

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