Many Muslim and Turkish concerns about Orthodoxy unfounded

In my observation, some of the problems created for the Chalcedonian (“Greek”) Orthodox Church in and around Istanbul, Turkey, by government and Muslim civilians there, are based on their misunderstandings of Orthodoxy. I’ve already mentioned one instance of this: the “ecumenicity of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople” as commonly (mis)understood by Turks as well as some Orthodox (see last three paragraphs here).

Another apparently surrounded the Pope of Rome’s visit there around St. Andrew’s Day last year (at the link, search for text “pope benedict” to find the following relevant text about one-third of the way down [an article I have not otherwise read, and therefore cannot vouch for, neither its content nor its tone: it came up during a Google News search for something else!]):

Raymond Ibrahim, a research librarian at the US Library of Congress, warns in the Los Angeles Times against giving in to Muslim supremacists:

“In the days before Pope Benedict XVI’s visit to the Hagia Sophia complex in Istanbul, Muslims and Turks expressed fear, apprehension and rage. ‘The risk,’ according to Turkey’s independent newspaper Vatan, ‘is that Benedict will send Turkey’s Muslims and much of the Islamic world into paroxysms of fury if there is any perception that the pope is trying to re-appropriate a Christian center that fell to Muslims’”….

The Turks didn’t have to worry. The Pope behaved in perfect dhimmi fashion during his visit to the formerly Greek, Christian territory now known as Turkey.

Of course, if said Turks and Muslims were taking Rome’s claims to universal jurisdiction seriously, their concerns could be understood. But if they better understood Orthodoxy, its current lack of communion with Rome, and its constant denial of Roman universal jurisdiction even when they were in communion, they might not have been so concerned. *I* thought Muslims in that part of the world distinguished rather clearly between Orthodox as Rum/Roum (“Romans” in Turkish and as transliterated from Arabic, respectively), and Latins as Franj (“Franks,” I believe). I wonder if some Turks, in their Westernization, as well as their anti-Hellenism, ironically take the Western point-of-view too seriously?

I’m not playing the dhimmi here. I simply prefer that people be mad at us for the right reasons – such as the Divinity of Christ, His Mother as Theotokos, or that some Orthodox consider Islam a heretical offshoot of Orthodoxy(!) – and not from misunderstanding… just like I prefer that we critique heterodox Christians for true and real things about them, not legends or misperceptions or exaggerations. One looks silly, and so does their attack, if they attack someone for something that isn’t really true. (WE look silly when we complain to Latins about sprinkling, something most of them know nothing about, it’s so rare and ‘technical.’) We do each other a favor if we help each other focus our ‘concerns’ and clear out the rubbish, the non-concerns.


  1. Rachi

    Hi Leo 🙂
    I’ve been reading you blog for a few weeks now, am yet to get through all of it, but reading in bits 🙂
    so thought I would say hi and thanks for good posts. hope you don’t mind I have linked you on my list of blogs I read

    God Bless

  2. me

    Christ is Risen! Welcome aboard, Rachel! 🙂

    Yeah, I can be verbose! I also have Depression, so hang in there!

    Speaking of Goths – sort of – check out briefs on this page about some ancient Goth Orthodox martyrs, and a whole article – sympathetic and profound and self-critical – about Orthodoxy and today’s Goth phenomenon starts on page 4 of this PDF (scroll down when you get there). Apparently they still have the incorrupt hand of the biggest Goth saint-martyr, Nicetas (Niketas, Nikita), in a Serbian monastery.

    Give my regards to ‘Straya!

    Leo Peter

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