Friday, January 25, 2008

Wall Street Reviews Patriarch's Book

This, from the Wall Street Journal: Patriarch Bartholomeos of Constantinople has written a book. The book may be interesting; the review is very interesting. A couple of excerpts follow:

Nowhere does the plight of Christians look so pitiful as in Turkey, nominally secular but 99% Muslim. At the turn of the 20th century, some 500,000 Orthodox Christians, mostly ethnic Greeks, lived in Constantinople, where they constituted half the city's residents, and millions more resided elsewhere in what is now Turkey. Today, Bartholomew has only about 4,000 mostly elderly fellow believers (2,000 in Istanbul) left in Turkey's 71 million-plus population. The quasi-militaristic regime of Kemal Ataturk that supplanted the Ottoman Empire during the 1920s forcibly Westernized the country's institutions but also made Islam an essential component of the Turkish national identity that it relentlessly promoted.
...
On first reading, this exercise in fiddling while the new Rome burns seems pathetic, presenting a picture of a church leader so intimidated by his country's Islamic majority that he cannot speak up for his dwindling flock even as its members are murdered at his doorstep. Bartholomew's book presents an eerie mirror image of the concerns of aging, culturally exhausted, post-Christian Western Europe, happy to blather on at conferences about carbon emissions and diversity but unwilling to confront its own demographic crisis in the face of youthful, rapidly growing and culturally antagonistic Muslim populations. The suicide of the West meets the homicide of the East.
Read the whole review here.

1 comment:

A Simple Sinner said...

Mention should be made of what is not much talked about - that by Turkish law, the PoC has to be an Turkish-born Turkish citizen (perhaps also of proven Greek ancestory, I am not sure)...

The implications of this, as it stands right now, is that the pool of candidates who meet this criteria are exceedingly small. It is imaginable that the day may come when there are NO candidates who meet this criteria.

This doesn't even take into consideration the fact that the majority of bishops who are answerable to the Patriarch are overseas and, as it stands now, have no possible potential of ascending to the patriarchal throne.

 
.......