Volume III - Church History

Seventeenth Century

The Greek Church under the Turks

In the seventeenth century, the Greek Church continued to suffer oppression and stultification under the heavy hand of Turkish rule. The Bulgarian Church had lost her patriarch and her independence with the Turkish conquest, and Greek influence—most of it unwelcome—increased over the Bulgarian and other Balkan churches. Due to infighting among various groups vying for power within the Christian milet, the interference of Roman Catholic and Protestant diplomats, and the willingness of the Turks to accept, and then expect, bribe money for the acquisition of various church offices, there was much corruption, instability, and strife within the Church administration. For example, between the years 1596 and 1696, there were 61 times when there was a turnover in the office of the Patriarch—with 31 different men involved.