תמונות בעמוד

ed in this controversy, on account of the opposition so pub. licly made to one of its members, and consequently used their utmost endeavours to have the Spanish doctor acquitted of the charge of Pelagianism, and declared free from any errors of moment. In this they acted according to the true monastic spirit, which leads each order to resent the affronts that are offered to any of its members, as if they had been cast upon the whole community, and to maintain, at all adventures, the cause of every individual monk, as if the interests of the society were involved in it.

XLII. Notwitstanding the zealous attempts that were made, by several persons of eminent piety, to re- Riles and cestore the institutions of public worship to their remontes. primitive simplicity, the multitude of vain and useless ce- . remonies still remained in the church; nor did the pontiff's judge it proper to diminish that pomp and show, that gave the ministers of religion a great, though ill-acquired, influence on the minds of the people. Beside these ceremonies, many popular customs and inventions, which were multiplied by the clergy, and were either entirely absurd or grossly superstitious, called loudly for redress; and indeed the council of Trent seemed disposed to correct these abuses, and prevent their farther growth. But this good design was never carried into execution; it was abandoned, either through the corrupt prudence of the pope and clergy, who looked upon every check given to superstition as an attempt to diminish their authority, or through their criminal negligence about every thing that tended to promote the true interests of religion. Hence it happens, that in those countries where there are few protestants, and consequently where the church of Rome is in no danger of losing its credit and influence from the proximity and attempts of these pretended heretics, superstition reigns with unlimited extravagance and absurdity. Such is the case in Italy, Spain, and Portugal, where the feeble glimmerings of Christianity that yet remain are overwhelmed and obscured by an enormous multitude of ridiculous ceremonies, and absurd, fantastic, and unaccountable rites; so that a person who arrives in any of these countries, after having passed through other nations even of the Romish communion, is immediately struck with the change, and thinks himself transported into the thickest darkness, into

the most gloomy retreats of superstition." Nor indeed are even those countries, whom the neighbourhood of the protestants, and a more free and liberal turn of mind have rendered somewhat less absurd, entirely exempt from the dominion of superstition, and the solemn fooleries that always attend it; for the religion of Rome, in its best form, and in those places where its external worship is the least shocking, is certainly loaded with rites and observances that are highly offensive to sound reason. If, from this general view of things, we descend to a more circumstantial consideration of the innumerable abuses that are established in the discipline of that church; if we attend to the pious, or rather impious frauds which are imposed, with impunity, upon the deluded multitude in many places; if we pass in review the corruption of the clergy, the ignorance of the people, the devout farces that are acted in the ceremonies of public worship, and the insipid jargon and trifling rhetoric that prevail in the discourses of the Roman catholic preachers; if we weigh all these things maturely, we shall find that they have little regard to impartiality and truth, who pretend, that since the council of Trent, the religion and worship of the Roman church have been every where corrected and amended,



be divided into three branches.

1. The society of Christians that goes under the general The eastern denomination of the eastern church, is dispersed Bleurs bij way throughout Europe, Asia, and Africa, and may be branchese divided into three distinct communities. The first

is, that of the Greek Christians, who agree, in all points of doctrine and worship, with the patriarch residing at Constantinople, and reject the pretended supremacy of

n It is well known that the French, who travel into Italy, employ the whole force of their wit and raillery in rendering ridiculous the monstrous superstition of the Italians. The Italians, in their turn, look upon the French that visit their country as totally destitute of all principles of religion. This is evidently the case, as we learn from the testimony of many writers, and particularly from that of father Labat, in his Voyages en Italie et en Espagne. This agreeable Dominican lets no opportunity escape of censuring and exposing the superstition of the Spaniards and Italians ; nor does he pretend to deny that his countrymen, and even he himself, passed for impious libertines in the opinion of these bigots.

The Greek church, proper

is for the most part subject to the patriarch of

the Roman pontiff. The second comprehends those Christians, who differ equally from the Roman pontiff and the Grecian patriarch in their religious opinions and institutions, and who live under the government of their own bishops and rulers. The third is composed of those who are subject to the see of Rome.

II. That society of Christians that lives in religious com-. munion with the patriarch of Constantinople, is, properly speaking, the Greek, though it assumes , likewise the title of the eastern church. This ly speaking, society is subdivided into two branches, of which the one acknowledges the supreme authority and jurisdiction of the bishop of Constantinople; while the other, though joined in communion of doctrine and worship with that prelate, yet obstinately refuses to receive his legates, or to obey his edicts, and is governed by its own laws and institutions, under the jurisdiction of spiritual rulers, who are independent on all foreign authority. .

III. That part of the Greek church which acknowledges the jurisdiction of the bishop of Constantinople, ir is divided, as in the early ages of Christianity, into four large districts or provinces, Constantino. Constantinople, ple, Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem, over every one of which a bishop presides with the title of patriarch, whom the inferior bishops and monastic orders unanimously respect as their common father. But the supreme chief of all these patriarchs, bishops, and abbots, and generally speaking of the whole church, is the patriarch of Constantinople. This prelate has the privilege of nominating the other patriarchs, though that dignity still continues elective, and of approving the election that is made ; nor is there any thing of moment undertaken or transacted in the church without his express permission, or his especial order. It is true indeed, that, in the present decayed state of the Greek churches, whose revenues are so small, and whose former opulence is reduced almost to nothing, their spiritual rulers enjoy little more than the splendid title of patriarchs, without being in a condition to extend their fame, or promote their cause, by any undertaking of signal importance.

iv. The spiritual jurisdiction and dominion of the patriarch of Constantinople are very extensive, com- and is divided prehending a considerable part of Greece, the

into four provinces or diye


tricts here. Grecian Isles, Wallachia, Moldavia, and several of

the European and Asiatic provinces that are subject to the Turk. The patriarch of Alexandria resides generally at Cairo, and exercises his spiritual authority in Egypt, Nubia, Lybia, and part of Arabia." Damascus is the principal residence of the patriarch of Antioch, whose jurisdiction extends to Mesopotamia, Syria, Cilicia, and other provinces, while the patriarch of Jerusalem comprehends, within the bounds of his pontificate, Palestine, Syria,9 Arabia, the country beyond Jordan, Cana in Galilee, and mount Sion. The episcopal dominions of these three patriarchs are indeed extremely poor and inconsiderable; for the monophysites have long since assumed the patriarchal seats of Alexandria and Antioch, and have deprived the Greek churches of the greatest part of their members in all those places where they gained an ascendant. And as Jerusalem is the resort of Christians of every sect, who have their respective bishops and rulers, the jurisdiction of the Grecian patriarch is consequently confined there within narrow limits.

o For an account of the patriarchate of Alexandria, and the various prelates who bare filled that see, it will be proper to consult Sollerii Commentar. de Patriarchis Aler. andrinis, which is prefixed to the fifth volume of the Acta Sanctorum Mersis Junii; as also the Oriens. Christianus of Le Quien, tom. ii. p. 329. The nature of their office, the extent of their authority, and the manner of their creation, are accurately described by Eus. Renaudot, in bis Dissertatio de Patriarcha Alexandrino, which is published in the first volume of his Liturgia Orientales, p. 365. The Grecian patriarch has, at this day, no bishops under his jurisdiction ; the chorepiscopi or rural bishops alone are subject to his authority. All the bishops acknowledge as their chief the patriarch of the Monophysiles, who is, in effect, the patriarch of Alexandria.

p The Jesuits have prefixed a particular and learned account of the patriarchs of 'Antioch to the fifth volume of the Acta SS. Mensis Julii, in which however there are some omissions and defects. Add to this the account that is given of the district or diocess of the patriarch of Antioch by Mich. Le Quien, in his Oriens Christianus, tom. ii. p. 670, and by Blasius Tertius, in his Siria Sacra o Descrittione Historico Geographica delle due Chiese Patriarchali. Antiocha, et Gierusalemme, published in folio at Rome, in the vear 1695. There are three bishops in Syria which claim the title and dignity of patriarch of Antioch. The first is the bishop of the Melchites, a name given to the Christians in Syria, who follows the doctrine, institutions, and worship of the Greek church; the second is the spiritual guide of the Syrian Monoplysites; and the third is the chief of the Maronites, who hold communion with the church of Rome. This last bishop pretends to be the true and lawsul patriarch of Antioch, and is acknowledged as such, or at least receives this denomination from the Roman pontiff. And yet it is certain, that the pope creates at Rome, a patriarch of Antioch of his own choice. So that the See of Antioch has, at this day, four patriarchs, one from the Greeks, two from the Sy. rians, and one created at Rome, who is patriarch in partibus, i. e. titular patriarch, according to the signification of that usual phrase.

F q Syria is here erroneously placed in the patriarchate of Jerusalem, as it eridently belongs to that of Antioch, in which also Dr. Mosheim places it in the preceding sentence.

r Blas. Tertii Siria Sacra, lib. ii. p. 165. D. Papebrochii Comment. de Patriarch. Hierosolym. tom. iij. Actor. Sanct. Mens. Maii. Le Quien, Oriens. Christ. tom. iii. p,

of Constantinople.

v. The right of electing the patriarch of Constantinople is at this day vested in the twelve bishops who The patria reside nearest that famous capital; but the right of . confirming this election, and of enabling the new chosen patriarch to exercise his spiritual functions, belongs only to the Turkish emperor. This institution, however, if it is not entirely overturned, is nevertheless, on many occasions, prostituted in a shameful manner by the corruption and avarice of the reigning ministers. Thus it happens, that many bishops, inflamed with the ambitious lust of power and pre-eminence, purchase by money what they cannot obtain by merit; and seeing themselves excluded from the patriarchal dignity by the suffrages of their brethren, find an open and ready way to it by the mercenary services of men in power. Nay, what is yet more deplorable has frequently happened; even that prelates, who have been chosen in the lawful way to this eminent office, have been deposed, in order to make way for others, whose only pretensions were ambition and bribery. And indeed, generally speaking, he is looked upon by the Turkish vizirs as the most qualified for the office of patriarch, who surpasses his competitors in the number and value of the presents he employs on that occasion. It is true, some accounts worthy of credit represent the present state of the Greek church as advantageously changed in this respect ; and it is reported, that as the Turkish manners have gradually assumed a milder and more humane cast, the patriarchs live under their dominion with more security and repose than they did some ages ago.

The power of the patriarch among a people dispirited by oppression, and sunk, through their extreme ignorance, into the greatest superstition, must undoubtedly be very considerable and extensive; and such indeed it is. Its extent however is not entirely owing to the causes now mentioned, but to others that give no small weight and lustre to the patriarchal dignity. For this prelate does not only call councils by his own authority, in order to decide, by their assistance, the controversies that arise, and to make use of their prudent advice and wise deliberations in directing the affairs of the church; his preroga

s Le Quien, ibid. tom. i. p. 145. der Turckey, p. 54.

Elsner, Beschreibung der Griechischen Christen in

« הקודםהמשך »