I began my dissertation by asserting that the internet and modernity brought neither unity nor secularism, and I concluded by pointing to the Greek Revolution which resulted in the creation of a Greek nation-state and independent church. In between stood the Patriarch of Jerusalem, Dositheos, who produced a Confession of Faith in 1672 meant to identify, unify, and shield the Orthodox East from the Christian West. Dositheos identified the Orthodox East by blaming the Roman Catholic Church for breaking the first Ecumenical or Universal Creed from the fourth century, and thereby, forming a distinctively western, national church. Dositheos sought to unify the different orthodox communities within the Orthodox Commonwealth by means of educational reforms based on the Greek language and Greek printing press. As an apologist, he shielded the Orthodox East from western modernity by defending the sufficiency of hesychasm. As a confessor, Dositheos sought an Orthodox universalism based on a paradox—that is, namely, unity through division. In the early modern period, influenced by the impact of the print revolution on public media, the confessor’s strategy was laid bare. The frequent reproduction and dissemination of confessions of faith unfolded before the public, its readers, and translators a common pattern or habit of speech that accompanied the call for unity—the schema. As a spokesperson or public representative of orthodoxy, the confessor’s schema was a call to orthodox unity, and in the confessor’s tale that call ended formal debate. For the audience the confessor’s schema was meant to be heard as a shema—a creed to be believed and obeyed. This theatrical or conciliar platform for shaping public opinion or ortho-doxa (correct opinion) not only staged the positions and determined the roles of the speaker and audience, but also framed the articulation of that intercourse between speech and silence as orthodoxy and heterodoxy, as unity and division. This dissertation does not delve into particular denominational theologies; rather, it proceeds through a diachronic analysis of confessionalism, it demarcates the confessor’s rhetoric, collective identity, and the schematic act of believing that symbol of unity—the creed of one people.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. September 2020. Major: History. Advisor: Theofanis Stavrou. 1 computer file (PDF); vii, 318 pages.
In Search of A Confessional Identity: Dositheos Notaras, The Patriarch Of Jerusalem (1669-1707), Confronts The Challenges of Modernity.
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