TBR’s Senior Researcher, Matthew Raphael Johnson, has released his first podcast-lecture since 2012. From 2009 to 2012, Dr. Johnson created The Orthodox Nationalist, a series of lectures on all facets of Russian Orthodox history and philosophy as well as European nationalism more generally. He was soon shocked to learn that it was the most accessed show on the old Voice of Reason Network and became very influential in Russian nationalist and Orthodox circles. Beginning in March of 2016, TON was reborn under the sponsorship of the Traditionalist Youth Network and The Barnes Review.
This show deals with the “heresy” known as “Phyletism.” This is taken to mean “nationalism” today. It was directed at the Bulgarian Orthodox Church’s demand that slavic areas been overseen by Slavic bishops. The Patriarch of Constantinople was a highly compromised institution under the Tourkokratia, or the rule of the Turkish empire over southern Europe. Greek elites and moneylenders were the real forces behind this “synod” and created the district of Istanbul known even today as the Phanar. The Phanar took shape in Constantinople at the end of 16th century. A money economy began to emerge among the Greeks at this time, creating an oligarchy based around usury. Calling themselves the “archons of the Greek people,” they built their homes in this location, adjacent to the buildings of the Patriarchate. They were almost one and the same institution for a time.
The Greek bishops under the Ecumenical Patriarchate bought their offices. The normal price for the Patriarchate was 15000 ducats while a regular yearly sum was required to keep their see. The result was that the Turks removed most Patriarchs, then collecting fees for the new occupants, leading to ecclesiastical chaos and the total illegitimacy of the Phanar church. To collect the money to pay his creditors, the Patriarch would then sell his signature for lower appointments. He would agree to the appointment of whoever paid him the most. Sees were seen as investments rather than religious offices. Some “bishops” were not religious at all and not even priests. Monastic offices were also bought and sold, with the peasants and townsmen forced though taxation to pay it back with interest. In some cases, some bishops, when they became desperate for cash. excommunicated a village for no reason. Then, excommunication rendered all civil rights forfeit. It permitted them to take all movable property and sell it to pay his debts. The system was tyrannical and without a shred of legitimacy.
Bulgarians and Serbs were taxed beyond their ability to pay When the Bulgarians had enough and when Russia had damaged the Ottoman State such that the Slavs could be free again, the Church of these lands threw out the Greek financiers and replaced them with actual Orthodox bishops. In a panic, the financiers of the Ottoman State called a “council” in 1872 to condemn this on the grounds of “phyletism” that is, that ethno-nationalism was forbidden as a foundation for the church. That the Orthodox church is organized according to ethnic membership apparently did not occur to them.