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

Willempie

Ad Honorem
Jul 2015
5,498
Netherlands
Protestant movement outcome was the rebellion against Catholic Church's dominance in Western Europe, its quite clear it would be indifferent to Orthodoxy of Eastern Europe.
True, but that doesn't explain why it didn't spread after they were established religions.
 

AlpinLuke

Forum Staff
Oct 2011
27,222
Italy, Lago Maggiore
Let's pay attention to the Church of England: Anglicans were just recreating the connection Church-Empire in the British Isles. Where there is a Christian Empire, it's obvious that its Church tends to think to be "universal" ... it's an imperial Church ...

It wasn't different about Orthodoxes, they simply substituted Byzantium with Kiev and Moscow, but their need for an imperial connection remained. So there was no possibility to have a typical Protestant national Church in the East.
 
Mar 2013
1,039
Breakdancing on the Moon.
It's also big in Sub-Saharan Africa and East Asia nowadays, no? Also, in Latvia and Estonia.
I had no idea re: Africa! But why is it growing in Latvia, for example? It's not very PC but the genesis of urbanisation in the Baltics came from Germanic settlers (well, invaders) first as knights and then as merchants. Most of the protestant churches I have seen in Latvia seem to grow out from this. I'm not sure where it is vs Catholicism, Atheism or the Orthodox the Russians brought along with all that rape, pillaging, and genocide.

I tell you a "secret": Anglicans are Catholics who have substituted the Pope with the Crown ... I don't consider them exactly Protestant. But it's just a mere personal opinion.
Is it that surprising an opinion though? I've seen some high Anglicanism that seems suspiciously Catholic to me. IIRC Henry VIII was generally not well disposed towards Protestants before breaking off his own church.
 

Tulun

Ad Honorem
Nov 2010
3,880
Western Eurasia
A small number of Romanians converted to Calvinism in Transylvania, but overall it was not too successfull, despite that German and Hungarian protestants tried to push that in the 16-17th century, including by translating church books to Romanian (in a time when the orthodox church itself prefered to use Church Slavonic), using some material incentives and appointing Calvinist superintendents above the Romanian orthodox church etc... I don't really know what was the main reason for the failure of it, probably some social factors and the continuing relations between the Romanian clerics in Transylvania and those of the Romanian principalities.

Other interesting cases were in the orthodox Principality of Moldavia, here initially in the 16th century protestantism spread into the towns among the catholic German and Hungarian burghers, and some of the early 16th century orthodox Moldavian princes were also tolerant of it. Up to the point that Moldavia also had a short reigning prince, Despot Voda/Jacob Heraclid (Iacob Heraclid - Wikipedia ) who was apparently also a sort of crypto-protestant himself, open to radical reformation (interestingly his contemporary, the Hungarian John Sigismund John Sigismund Zápolya - Wikipedia was another supporter of more radical reformation, himself ending up as an anti-trinitarian Unitarian, but somehow the 2 neighboring princes didn't get along due to international politics). But after Despot Voda's rule orthodox "reaction" became stronger, and protestants (and sometimes catholics too) became the subjects of persecution.

Another Moldavia related thing was an unrealistic plan by a French ambassador in Constantinaple/Istanbul who fantasized about to settle Hugenottes to Moldavia and sizing the Moldavian throne for himself. It recieved no backing, but would be an interesting development if it materialized and next to Transylvania there would be another Calvinist "power" there in the neighborhood.
 
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Jan 2014
1,112
Rus
Let's pay attention to the Church of England: Anglicans were just recreating the connection Church-Empire in the British Isles. Where there is a Christian Empire, it's obvious that its Church tends to think to be "universal" ... it's an imperial Church ...

It wasn't different about Orthodoxes, they simply substituted Byzantium with Kiev and Moscow, but their need for an imperial connection remained. So there was no possibility to have a typical Protestant national Church in the East.

In 1721-1918 Russian Church was State's official institution. This is was very similar to British system.

I think that state's and religion's history are always connected. Because religion is ideology. And that one who control ideology is appearing authority.
 

AlpinLuke

Forum Staff
Oct 2011
27,222
Italy, Lago Maggiore
I had no idea re: Africa! But why is it growing in Latvia, for example? It's not very PC but the genesis of urbanisation in the Baltics came from Germanic settlers (well, invaders) first as knights and then as merchants. Most of the protestant churches I have seen in Latvia seem to grow out from this. I'm not sure where it is vs Catholicism, Atheism or the Orthodox the Russians brought along with all that rape, pillaging, and genocide.



Is it that surprising an opinion though? I've seen some high Anglicanism that seems suspiciously Catholic to me. IIRC Henry VIII was generally not well disposed towards Protestants before breaking off his own church.
You're right, that's why I've put that secret between inverted commas ... The so called "Anglican Schism" was overall a political matter, not a genuine religious movement aiming to separate the English Christians from the Catholic Church on theological bases. And this is why still today the Anglican Catholics are a visible and important component of the Church of England.
 
Jan 2014
1,112
Rus
A small number of Romanians converted to Calvinism in Transylvania, but overall it was not too successfull, despite that German and Hungarian protestants tried to push that in the 16-17th century, including by translating church books to Romanian (in a time when the orthodox church itself prefered to use Church Slavonic), using some material incentives and appointing Calvinist superintendents above the Romanian orthodox church etc... I don't really know what was the main reason for the failure of it, probably some social factors and the continuing relations between the Romanian clerics in Transylvania and those of the Romanian principalities.

Other interesting cases were in the orthodox Principality of Moldavia, here initially in the 16th century protestantism spread into the towns among the catholic German and Hungarian burghers, and some of the early 16th century orthodox Moldavian princes were also tolerant of it. Up to the point that Moldavia also had a short reigning prince, Despot Voda/Jacob Heraclid (Iacob Heraclid - Wikipedia ) who was apparently also a sort of crypto-protestant himself, open to radical reformation (interestingly his contemporary, the Hungarian John Sigismund John Sigismund Zápolya - Wikipedia was another supporter of more radical reformation, himself ending up as an anti-trinitarian Unitarian, but somehow the 2 neighboring princes didn't get along due to international politics). But after Despot Voda's rule orthodox "reaction" became stronger, and protestants (and sometimes catholics too) became the subjects of persecution.

Another Moldavia related thing was an unrealistic plan by a French ambassador in Constantinaple/Istanbul who fantasized about to settle Hugenottes to Moldavia and sizing the Moldavian throne for himself. It recieved no backing, but would be an interesting development if it materialized and next to Transylvania there would be another Calvinist "power" there in the neighborhood.
Did Ottomans backed Orthodoxy in Principalities?
 

Tulun

Ad Honorem
Nov 2010
3,880
Western Eurasia
Did Ottomans backed Orthodoxy in Principalities?
I'm not aware of it but I'm not familiar with the church histories of Moldavia and Wallachia, I hope @Ficino or somebody else could shed more light to it. IMO for the Ottomans themselves it would be politically indifferent whether they are protestants or orthodox (catholicism might be a diff. issue, it could have negative international political implications). For the Patriarch of Constantinople, an Ottoman subject and the orthodox church itself it would be a different matter, because for example the orthodox rulers also gave financial support for him and orthodox institutions within the OE (like Mount Athos?), so losing them would hurt him, but I don't know how much power could the patriarch project to Moldavia and Wallachia (or to influence the Ottoman court's politics in this matter).

Transylvania was also an Ottoman vassal but it was ruled by Protestant princes (mostly), and when Prince Gábor Bethlen asked for the assent of the Patriarch of Constantinople for converting the Romanians in Transylvania from Orthodoxy to Calvinism, this was what the patriarch Kyrill Lukaris answered to it in 1629:

If that pitiable nation, deprived of all education, were to convert to Your
Highness’s faith, out of ignorance or under duress, we, at any rate—from
so far away and with our limited means—cannot prevent it.
[. . .] But if we
were to support, either openly or secretly, this deviation from the faith,
it would be a sin not to be washed clean by all earthly suffering. [. . .] In
order to accomplish this properly and peacefully, all bonds of affection
and blood that tie the Romanians of Transylvania to the populations of
Wallachia and Moldavia would first have to be severed. Without doubt, the
neighboring rulers of said countries will not allow this and will certainly
try to prevent it, if not by arms then by covert exhortations.


From: Ethnic diversity, denominational plurality, and corporative politics in the principality of Transylvania (1526–1691) by István Keul p. 170.

But I haven't heard about the muslim Ottoman Porte itself caring or intervening about this matter at all.
 
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At Each Kilometer

Ad Honorem
Sep 2012
4,010
Bulgaria
Transilvania was the home of the Teutonic Order for a while, before their expulsion to Polish dukedom. During their stay there crusaders settled pretty good amount of Germanic settlers in Siebenburgen known as Saxons, in reality they were mostly from Rhineland. I mean this land was never a true orthodox, always catholic after Martin Luther partly protestant. South of the principalities Ottoman authorities gave rights to breakaway from Rum and Ermeni millet communities in the end of XIXth century after near a century of extensive work of initially British/English and later American missionaries in the area started after Napoleonic wars to be exact.
 

At Each Kilometer

Ad Honorem
Sep 2012
4,010
Bulgaria
@Slavon I have a story to tell about these razkolniki. More than 300 years ago, ousted by Patriarch Nikon's religious reforms and later by restrictions of religious freedoms in what was then Russia under Peter the Great, many Old Believers left the confines of ancient Russia. They settled all around the world in Alaska, in Asia Minor etc seeking salvation for their faith / the ancestors of ppl from Kazashko a village about 5 km from my town Varna settled initially near Danube river in the Principalities, then still vassals of the Ottomans. Changes also occurred in what was then Romania, their new home, where these Old Believers lived for some time unconcerned with anyone /civil registers began to be drawn up, soldiers were vaccinated and other things they considered unacceptable for their faith. So some of them moved south and settled in what is today Kazashko / Cossack village, recognized by a decree of tzar Ferdinand.
 
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