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Reason in Exile: The War for Orthodox Christendom

  • Jack Fairey
Chapter
Part of the Histories of the Sacred and the Secular 1700–2000 book series

Abstract

In the spring of 1854, a wave of martial religiosity such as Europeans had not seen since the great wars of religion of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries swept over the continent from Britain to Russia and the Ottoman Empire. ‘It seemed’, recalled one French observer, ‘as though all the religious fervour left in the world had become concentrated on the Eastern Question’.3 The crisis at the centre of this religious ferment began a year earlier. At the beginning of 1853, Tsar Nicholas I had astonished the world by making an abrupt demand that the Ottoman sultan provide him with binding guarantees that the ancient rights and privileges of the Orthodox Church in the Ottoman Empire would remain unchanged, without exceptions and in perpetuity. This unexpected intrusion into Ottoman religions affairs had taken Sultan Abdülmecid aback, but he reassured ‘his brother’, the tsar, that there were no plans to abrogate any of the privileges of the Orthodox Church. He conspicuously refused to sign any formal engagement to this effect, however. A written guarantee, he objected, would turn concessions that the Ottoman dynasty had made of its own free will into capitulations imposed by a foreign power. The Russian government rejected this answer and had retaliated by withdrawing its entire embassy from Istanbul.

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Notes

  1. 1.
    George Fowler, A History of the War (London: Sampson Low, Son, & Co., 1855), pp. 1– 2. Original emphasis.Google Scholar
  2. 3.
    Charles Mismer, Soirées de Constantinople ( Paris: Librairie Internationale, 1870 ), p. 61.Google Scholar
  3. 22.
    George Dodd, Pictorial History of the Russian War, 1854–1856 (Edinburgh: W. & R. Chambers, 1856), p. 25. For an eyewitness description, see Adolphus Slade, Turkey and the Crimean War (London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1867), pp. 185– 6.Google Scholar
  4. 29.
    Ann Potinger Saab, The Origins of the Crimean Alliance (Charlottesville, VA: University Press of Virginia, 1977), pp. 102– 3.Google Scholar
  5. 45.
    Charles Brame, Hurrah! Chant européen de départ pour la Russie ( Tours: J. Bouserez, 1854 ).Google Scholar
  6. 53.
    George Croly, England, Turkey, and Russia (London: Seeleys, 1854), pp. 13– 14.Google Scholar
  7. 54.
    John Aiton, The Drying up of the Euphrates ( London: Arthur Hall, Virtue and Co., 1853 ), p. 68.Google Scholar
  8. 55.
    Edmund Hepple, Satan, Balaam, and Nicholas ( Newcastle upon Tyne: M. and M.W. Lambert, 1854 ), p. 12.Google Scholar
  9. 61.
    Nassau William Senior, Conversations with M. Thiers, M. Guizot and other distinguished persons, during the Second Empire (London: Hurst and Blackett, 1878), vol. 1, p. 212.Google Scholar
  10. 64.
    David Goldfrank, The Origins of the Crimean War ( London: Longman, 1994 ), p. 77.Google Scholar
  11. 70.
    Walter Richmond, The Northwest Caucasus ( Abingdon & New York: Routledge, 2008 ), p. 61.Google Scholar
  12. 71.
    Franz Mehring, Karl Marx, trans. Edward Fitzgerald (Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press, 1962 ), p. 243.Google Scholar
  13. 90.
    See Ussama Makdisi, The Culture of Sectarianism (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2000), p. 2 (also pp. 6 and 10).Google Scholar
  14. 92.
    Roderic Hollett Davison, Reform in the Ottoman Empire, 1856– 1876 (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1963), pp. 53– 4.Google Scholar
  15. 94.
    Kemal Karpat, ‘Ottoman Views and Policies towards the Orthodox Christian Church’, Greek Orthodox Theological Review 31, No. 1– 2 (1986), p. 150.Google Scholar

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© Jack Fairey 2015

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  • Jack Fairey

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