Page images

general when the war in 1812 broke out. As a Russian diplomatist in Germany, he was perhaps still more in his place. From his residence at Frankfort, he watched over several of the emperor's plenipotentiaries of the second order, as well as over all the Russians of any consequence who resided during a shorter or a longer time in southern and western Germany. For this especial purpose the councillor of state, Bestieff, had been attached to him, who, without any official character, shewed himself sometimes at Frankfort, sometimes elsewhere. As to the personal qualities of M. d'Anstett, we can only add to those which we have already noticed, the semi-diplomatic, and by no means unimportant qualification of being an accomplished gourmet, and that his table was, in every respect, preferred even to that of Count Münch.



[ocr errors]


SINCE the breaking out of the struggle for Grecian independence, the Greek Church had fallen into disorder and confusion; many bishoprics were entirely vacant, others only occupied by vicars; others again, contrary to the original institution, had been united with other bishoprics. The greatest ignorance prevailed amongst the clergy. Scarcely ten amongst a thousand priests could write their names, and those who were able to do so were and are considered learned men; and, as a sign of their learning, carried at their side a small inkstand. Indeed, during the first months of our arrival, several priests were ordained by the bishops for money; in general, they were married peasants.

This was the state in which King Otho and the Regency found the Greek Church. Reform

was urgently requisite, and demanded from every side.

The Regency, therefore, in the first months of its administration, appointed a commission, for the most part consisting of the clergy, to verify the real state of the Greek Church; to propose means for improving its condition, especially that of the higher and inferior clergy, as well as for the formation of a permanent synod for ecclesiastical affairs, and to draw up a report on the result of their deliberations. They were but little inclined to the half measures which Capodistrias had preferred, and least of all in this the most important affair of the Greek people.

The report of the commission gave a most wretched picture of the melancholy state of the Greek Church and of its clergy. It was the universal opinion that the only road to improvement was by the entire emancipation of the Church from its Turkish dependence under the Patriarch of Constantinople.

It is true that the liberty of the Greek Church is in reality due to the efforts of the struggle for freedom. In the same manner as the Greeks

strove in a political sense to be free from Ottoman subjection, they also struggled for religious freedom, that is to say, for freedom from a patriarch under the Sultan. This freedom had, in fact, subsisted a long time. Still we did not desire to adopt so important a measure,-perhaps the most important of all measures, as regards the future welfare of Greece, without the most mature deliberation of the advantages and disadvantages that might result,-without having previously consulted the high dignitaries of the Church.

I therefore gave orders to Mr. Tricoupi, at that time Minister for Religious affairs, and to the Ministerial Councillor, M. Constantine Schinas, to write privately to all the bishops, archbishops, and metropolitans exercising their functions in Greece, in order to ascertain their opinions. In their written answers they expressed themselves unanimously in favour of the independence and institution of a Holy Synod, to be nominated by the king.

Nevertheless, this important measure would not have been so quickly adopted, nor so speedily executed, had not secret overtures given rise to

it, and thereby rendered impossible the former conduct of the Patriarch, favourably disposed as he then was to Greece.*

Scarcely had the rumour gone abroad that the Greek government was occupied with the Greek Church, when intriguers of every description, with whom unfortunately Greece richly abounds, put themselves in motion to throw

* The Regency have repeatedly been reproached with omitting to negotiate, as before, with the Patriarch. According to theory, this reproach is just. But, theoretically speaking, the conduct of Peter the Great, with regard to the Russian Greek Church, is not to be justified! Quite as little can the revolt of the Greek people against the Ottoman yoke be justified!! Was it necessary, therefore, that it should not have taken place? But the Greek Church suffered under a similar oppression with the Greek people. The struggle for freedom, therefore, did not aim at political freedom alone, but at religious independence. It was, in reality, a religious war! But, with political freedom, religious freedom was also factitiously, at least, acquired. The one could not permanently subsist without the other, and therefore was of no value. The independence of the Greek Church had therefore become indispensable for the existence of the monarchy! Now, if the Greek State and the Greek Church were really to be free, it was impossible to act otherwise than we did, without again putting every thing on a questionable footing. If, however, according to strict theory, that which has been effected with so much labour is to be esteemed as unjust, let the Greek Church return again to Abraham's bosom, under the knout! and let the negotiations be then recommenced according to strictly scholastic forms! I may then, at least, live to witness, not indeed the emancipation of the Greek Church, but perhaps something very different! !



« PreviousContinue »