Why were there no mass conversions to Protestantism in the Eastern Orthodox lands?

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
22,286
SoCal
As a result of the Protestant Reformation in the 16th century, various parts of Europe that have previously been Catholic subsequently became Protestant:





However, if you'll notice, the Protestant Reformation never actually affected the Eastern Orthodox parts of Europe; rather, it only affected the Catholic parts of Europe. Why exactly were the Eastern Orthodox parts of Europe unaffected by the Protestant Reformation? I mean, Yes, the Reformation began in response to displeasure with the Catholic Church--such as with the sale of indulgences. However, was there no such mass dissatisfaction with the Eastern Orthodox Church?

Also, even centuries after the Reformation, sizable numbers of Sub-Saharan Africans converted to Protestantism--as did some East Asians (in the 19th century and beyond) and possibly some Native Americans in North America as well. However, for some reason, there was never any mass conversions from Eastern Orthodoxy to Protestantism. Why exactly was this the case?

Did Protestant missionaries ever actually attempt to proselytize in the Eastern Orthodox lands? Or did they never actually bother doing this--and if so, why?

Any thoughts on all of this?
 

AlpinLuke

Forum Staff
Oct 2011
27,222
Italy, Lago Maggiore
Curious question ...

The Reform was a Catholic phenomenon, the Orthodox Church simply had only remotely involved. The great schism between Catholic and Orthodox Christianity happened centuries before of the Reform and so the Eastern Church remained in its own world. Not to add that Luther was Catholic, technically ...
 
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Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
22,286
SoCal
Curious question ...
Um ... thanks?

The Reform was a Catholic phenomenon, the Orthodox Church simply had only remotely involved. The great schism between Catholic and Orthodox Christianity happened centuries before of the Reform and so the Eastern Church remained in its own world. Not to add that Luther was Catholic, technically ...
Yes, but why didn't Protestants subsequently attempt to spread their faith to the Eastern Orthodox lands like they did in regards to Sub-Saharan Africa, the Americas, and East Asia?
 

betgo

Ad Honorem
Jul 2011
6,439
Protestant countries conquered areas on other continents and spread Protestantism there. However, they were generally not as strong about it as Catholic colonial powers like Spain. For example, the British did not make much effort to convert India. They also sent missionaries to convert non Christians. Since Protestant countries did not conquer much Orthodox territory, and Orthodox Christians were already Christian, there was not much effort to convert them.
 
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Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
22,286
SoCal
Protestant countries conquered areas on other continents and spread Protestantism there. However, they were generally not as strong about it as Catholic colonial powers like Spain. For example, the British did not make much effort to convert India. They also sent missionaries to convert non Christians. Since Protestant countries did not conquer much Orthodox territory, and Orthodox Christians were already Christian, there was not much effort to convert them.
Makes sense. That said, though, what made Sub-Saharan Africans so receptive to Protestantism?
 

betgo

Ad Honorem
Jul 2011
6,439
Makes sense. That said, though, what made Sub-Saharan Africans so receptive to Protestantism?
There are now huge numbers of Pentacostals in Africa and Latin America. It appeals to tribal people. Catholicism is also big in Africa, partly due to colonial powers. It also has appeal with its pagan elements and emphasis on show. There aren't many African Calvinists other than white South Africans.
 
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Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
22,286
SoCal
There are now huge numbers of Pentacostals in Africa and Latin America. It appeals to tribal people. Catholicism is also big in Africa, partly due to colonial powers. It also has appeal with its pagan elements and emphasis on show. There aren't many African Calvinists other than white South Africans.
Interesting. I know that Anglicanism is pretty popular in Africa, no?

Also, why has Christianity--including Protestantism--become relatively popular among East Asians over the past two centuries?
 

AlpinLuke

Forum Staff
Oct 2011
27,222
Italy, Lago Maggiore
Um ... thanks?



Yes, but why didn't Protestants subsequently attempt to spread their faith to the Eastern Orthodox lands like they did in regards to Sub-Saharan Africa, the Americas, and East Asia?
I guess because of two big problems: Ottoman Empire and a great Orthodox sense of identity and membership. They developed even a different alphabet.

Orthodoxies were still embedded in an imperial system, while Western Christianity knew troubles with the emperors .... the context was well different.
 
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Larrey

Ad Honorem
Sep 2011
5,825
I agree it's a curious question. Because there was first no Reformation, then no Counter-reformation, within Christian Orthodoxy. Consequently the Wars of Religion were a phenomenon to western but not eastern Christianity.

Besides Protestantism wasn't really spread by conquest, even if it might get adopted from both above and below.

Given those features, closest what-if for a Protestan spread into Orthodoxy I can figure is if hypothetically Peter I in his drive to reform Russia would have adopted Protestantism in some form, and tried to pull Russia into it as well.

But that would almost certainly have triggered a Russian War of Religion of its own. Which otoh would have put it on a tangent closer to western Europe's – win, lose or draw.

Otoh the PLC did also have internal questions about religion that might make for a different development, with P and L mostly Catholic, while the eastern parts over in the Ukraine were Orthodox, while a considerable number of prominent Magnates were themselves Protestants. So hypothetically if the PLC goes on from strength to strength, defeats Moscow, maintain and makes more claim on Orthodox lands and people, and the Protestants somehow manage to take over – then that could become a mechanism for what the OP asks about. But is requires a whole chain of counterfactual things to happen. Including the PLC effectively going Protestant, so on balance even if all the rest of the hypothetical comes about, except, Protestantism, it should be instead be Catholicism that would promote.

Up to 1648 the Protestant nations of Europe were in defensive mode at least as long as it was making gains anyway.
 
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At Each Kilometer

Ad Honorem
Sep 2012
4,010
Bulgaria
Bogomils appeared in Bulgaria a century before the Great Schism. Christianity had been official religion of this state for about a hundred years or so, but the church had become corrupt so some communities had lost faith and turned to other manifestations of religious devotion. Bogomils first appeared in the area around Philipopolis (Plovdiv) and had been influenced by Paulicians, which were forcibly settled there from Asia Minor by the Eastern Romans / from these ancient 'heretics' Bogomils borrowed the idea that the Devil is the creator of the visible world.

The official church and the authorities /Bulgarian and Eastern Roman/ tried to root out this heresy and these persecutions made some of the Bogomils head west to northern Italy and southern France, where they became known as Cathars, Patarenes and Albigensians and where they were persecuted even more severely, Simon de Monfort, Caedite eos. Novit enim Dominus qui sunt eius etc.

The others were converted along with Paulicians to Orthodoxy or later after the Ottoman Conquest to Islam. The great number of them converted to Catholicism in XVIth century and majority of their descendants live today in city of Rakovski near Plovdiv. Protestantism was introduced in Bulgaria in mid XIX century and kinda flourished after the collapse of the eastern block, but this event is post 1990 so i am not allowed to write about it.

EDIT: The Pechenegs on the first map moved in this area of the continent around IX century from central Asia. Most of them were probably Tengrists, the Blue Sky worshipers, the native religion of Turkic ppl and Mongols, some were Christians, there were even Manicheans and few followers of Judaism /Khazar khaganate/, so perhaps the blue and gray colours are correct in mid XIth century.

Something i noticed. The Emirate of Sicily was pretty much alive in 1054 / until the late XIIth century Muslims were a majority of the island's population, except in the northeast region which remained Christian /Orthodox christian after 1054, so the blue colour of the island is partially correct, but the red should be replaced with gray.
 
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