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Document Details :
Title: Baba Eftim et l'Église orthodoxe turque
Subtitle: De l'usage politique d'une institution religieuse
Author(s): LUFFIN, Xavier
Journal: Journal of Eastern Christian Studies
Volume: 52 Issue: 1-2 Date: 2000
In the light of the very nationalistic atmosphere which has always surrounded the relations between Ankara and Athens, the creation of a Turkish Orthodox Patriarchate in 1922 sounds like a mere political artifact. In the beginning, however, it seems to have been the real desire of part of the Orthodox Christians living in Anatolia, as is shown by the list of supporters of this project when it was first introduced to the authorities in 1921. This reaction was certainly due to the disappointment of some Christian Anatolians who had to face the consequences of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate’s political involvement in the war between Greece and Turkey.
But this Turkish Patriarchate, led by an obscure Anatolian priest called Baba Eftim, soon lost its support among the Orthodox population, since it appeared to be a mere tool in the hands of the Turkish authorities. Actually, Baba Eftim was asked by the Turkish government at every political crisis with Greece – the nomination of a new patriarch at the Fener, the question of Cyprus, etc. – and forgotten or even put aside during the periods of reconciliation between the two states.
Besides its political commitment, a Church is supposed to work in the field of liturgy, religious thought, spiritual life, etc. But it seems that Baba Eftim has only made political declarations in the Turkish press. But anyway, the Turkish Patriarchate remains being an interesting example of the use of history and religion in politics.