"Let books be your dining table, / And you shall be full of delights. / Let them be your
And you shall sleep restful nights" (St. Ephraim the Syrian).

Friday, October 23, 2015

The Crimean War and Orthodox Churches

As I've noted on here many times before, military history has long fascinated me, including the oft-overlooked but deeply significant Crimean War. Orlando Figes book on that war was noted here. I have picked it up again several times over the last few years, and always find it a fascinating read. He does not ignore the role of the Orthodox Church, especially in Russia, which is refreshing to see even if it does not occupy central place in his narrative.

A new book will, however, look squarely at the role of the Orthodox Church in that 19th-century conflict: Jack Fairey, The Great Powers and Orthodox Christendom: The Crisis Over the Eastern Church in the Era of the Crimean War (Palgrave Macmillan, 2015), 304pp.

About this book the publisher tells us:
During the mid-19th century, the Orthodox Christians of the Middle East found themselves at the centre of a bitter struggle for control between five empires – Russia, Britain, France, Austria, and the Ottoman government itself. This book traces the history of the international crisis over Orthodox Christendom from its origins in the 1820s-1830s to its partial resolution in the 1860s. It explains how and why the temporal powers exercised by the Orthodox Church led to an escalating series of diplomatic confrontations that reached their acme in the 1850s with the outbreak of the Crimean War and a concerted campaign by the Great Powers to secularize and laicize the non-Muslim communities of the Ottoman Empire.

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