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Greek Church is that of the state. Even in his present condition of degradation, the Patriarch of Constantinople holds his pre-eminence over every other prelate of the Greek Church. Mr. Dallaway observes, that, “ since the close of the sixteenth century, the Russian Church has claimed a jurisdiction independent of the See of Constantinople; nevertheless, appeals have been made to this See, in cases of extraordinary importance.”
This is confirmed by Mr. King, in his “ Rites and Ceremonies of the Greek Church of Russia.” Thus, ever since the separation of the Churches, each of the two prelates, the bishop of Rome and the Patriarch of Constantinople, has been the centre of different systems. · The Greek church has many important documents of her faith, subsequent to her separation from the Church of Rome : two of them are entitled to particular mention. The first, is the Confession of her true and sincere Faith, which, on the taking of Constantinople by Mahomet the second, in 1453, Gennadius, its patriarch, presented to the conqueror. It was favourably received, and Mahomet delivered into the hand of Gennadius, the crozier or pastoral staff, as an emblem of his investiture of the patriarchal see, and authorised him to assure the Greeks in his name, of their lives, their liberties, and the free exercise of their religion. An account of the interview is given in the Historia Patriarcharum qui sederunt in hac magnâ catholicâque ecclesiâ Constantinopolitanensi postquam cepit eam Sultanus Mechemeta : written in modern Greek, by Emmanuel Malaxus, a Peloponnesian, translated into Latin by Crusius, Professor at Tubingen, and published by him, in his Turco-Græciæ, Libri octo. A copy of this curious work, containing also the Germano-Græcia of the same author, is in the University library, Cambridge.
The second, and by far the most authentic document, which we possess of the creed of the Greek church is, The Orthodox Confession of the Catholic and Apostolic Greek Church. It was published in 1642, by Mogila, the Metropolitan of Kiow: It is written in the form of a Catechism, and has the approbation of three Russian bishops, his suffragans. It was afterwards approved, with great solemnity, by the patriarchs of Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem ; by the bishops of Ancyra, Larissa, Chalcedon, Adrianople, Beræa, Rhodes, Methymna, Lacedemon and Chio; and by several of the chief officers of the Greek church of Constantinople. An edition of it in the Greek, Latin and German languages was published at Wratislaw, in octavo, in 1751. An ordinance of Peter the Great, of the Patriarchs of Moscovy and the perpetual Synod, declared it to express the religious credence of the Russian church; and that the doctrine of it should be universally followed and taught. An Abridgment of the most interesting articles in this Catechism, is inserted in the Appendix to this work, Note I.
It was the wish of the writer of these pages, to insert in them an historical account of the Confession of Faith of Cyrihus Lucaris, the Patriarch of Constantinople, subscribed by him in 1621, and of the Counter-Confession of the Council of Jerusalem, held in that city in 1672, and presided by Doritheus, its Patriarch; but after much research, the materials for it have. not fallen within his reach.
The Symbolic Books of the Lutheran Churches.
The Council of Trent was attended with this incalculable good, that in a series of short canons, it propounded all the Articles of Catholic Faith, in explicit terms; and thus, by a reference to them, both the members of the Roman Catholic church, and the members of the churches separated from her, might readily perceive the points, in which the churches agreed; the points, in which they disagreed; and the nature and extent of the disagreement. A similar exposition of their faith had been previously given by the Lutherans in the Confession presented by them at the Diet of Augsburgh. It was originally called the Confession of Augsburgh. 1. That Confession, II. The Defence of it by Melancthou, III. The Articles of Smalcald, IV. The Great and Little Catechism of Luther, V. And the Form of Concord, which we shall afterwards notice, compose the Symbolic Books of the Lutheran church. We shall give an account of them in this chapter : VI. Then, notice the Saxonic and Wirtemburgh Confessions, VII. Then, offer some general observations on the Constitution and Liturgy of the Lutheran Church, VIII. And on the difference between the Roman Catholic and Lutheran Churches on the Doctrine of Justification. IX. We shall conclude the chapter by an account of some communications between the Divines of Wirtemburgh and the Patriarch of Constantinople, on the Confession of Augsburgh.
In 1530, a Diet of the German princes was convened by the Emperor Charles the Fifth, to meet in that city, for the express purpose of pacifying the religious troubles, by which most parts of Germany were then distracted. “In his journey towards Augsburgh," says Dr. Robertson,“ the Emperor had many opportunities of observing the dispositions of the Germans, in regard to the points in controversy, and found their minds every where so much irritated and inflamed, that nothing tending to severīty or rigour ought to be attempted, till the other methods proved ineffectual. His presence seems to have communicated to all parties an universal spirit of moderation and desire of peace. With such sentiments, the Protestant Princes employed Melancthon, the man of the greatest learning, as well as the most pacific and gentlest spirit among the reformers, to draw up a Confession of Faith, expressed in terms, as little offensive to the Roman Catholics, as a regard to truth would admit. Melancthon, who seldom suffered the rancour of controversy to invenom his style, even in writings purely polemical, executed a task, so agreeable to his natural disposition, with moderation and success."
The best account of this important document, which has come to the knowledge of the writer of these pages, is the history given of it, and of the transactions with which it is connected, by M. Beausobre, in the eighth book of his History of the Reformation. He speaks, in terms of great praise, of the spirit of conciliation, with which the Emperor entered on the business, and which distinguished every part of the conduct of Melancthon. An extract from a letter, written by that eminent reformer, to Cardinal Campegio, the Pope's Legate, is transcribed by Beausobre, and shews how nearly, at one time, matters were considered to be brought to an accommodation. By this letter, Melancthon informs the legate, “ that he and all his party were ready to receive peace on any terms ; that they had no dogma,
which differed from the Church of Rome ; and that, if they disputed with her, it was only on some articles, which might more properly be referred to the schools : that the reformers had repressed those, who sought to spread pernicious doctrines; that they were ready to obey the church of Rome, on condition, that she would treat them with that clemency, which she uniformly shewed to all, and counive or relax in some parts of little importance, which it was no longer in the power of the Protestants to alter ; that they honored, with profound respect, the authority of the Roman pontiff, and all the ecclesiastical hierarchy; that all the favour asked by them, was, that the Pope would have the goodness not to reject them : that nothing had made them so odious in Germany, as the constancy with which they defended some of the doctrines of the church of Rome; and finally, that, with the grace of God, they would remain faithful to the last breath, to Jesus Christ and to the church of Rome.”
This remarkable letter was accompanied by a Memoire, in which it was proposed, “ 1st, that the pope would have the goodness to concede to the Protestants, communion under both kinds, particularly, as the Protestants did not blame those, who communicated in one kind only, and confessed, that the body of Jesus Christ, entire, together with his blood, was received under the sole species of bread. 2dly. That his holiness would allow the marriage of priests. 3dly. That he would allow, or at least tolerate, the marriages already contracted by priests, or other religious persons, and dispense with their vows. As to the mass,” say the writers of the Memoire, “ we retain its principal ceremonies.” The distinction of meats and other observances, Melancthon treats as secondary points, to be easily settled.
Beausobre considers the authenticity of the letter and memoire to be unquestionable. “Nor are we,” says Beausobre, “ to hold Melancthon alone responsible for this relaxation; as it appears, that the Protestant Princes declared to the mediators, that, if they would permit communion under both kinds, the marriage of priests, and the celebration of the mass, according to their reformation of it, and this only till