Turkish Orthodox Patriarchate

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    Turkish Orthodox Patriarchate

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    The Turkish Orthodox Patriarchate, also referend as the Karamanli or Turkish Orthodox Church, is a nationalist denomination, whose doctrine and liturgy is drawn from the Eastern Orthodox Christianity.

    In 1924 Papa Eftim started to conduct the liturgy in Turkish, and quickly won support in the new Turkish Republic formed after the fall of the Ottoman Empire. They claimed that the Ecumenical Patriarcate of Constantinople was ethnically-centered and favored the Greek population. Being excomunicated, Eftim called a Turkish ecclesial congress that elected him Patriarch in 1924. However most of the ethnic Turkish Orthodox in Turkey and Greece remained affiliated with the Greek (Ecumenical) Patriarchate of Constantinople.

    Currently there are three churches in Istanbul, one of whom (Aya Yani) is leased to the Assyrian Church of the East. According to most observers, there are no members outside the Erenerol family and about 500 sympathizers in Turkey, most of them Gagauz Turks. The Gagauz Turks like most Turkish Orthodox in Turkey still remain affiliated with the Greek (Ecumenical) Patriarchate of Constantinople.

    Some 20 churches organised the Turkish Orthodox Church in America in 1966, under the Archbishop Civet Kristof, an African- American physician originally named Christopher M. Cragg. In 1969 the church reported 14 churches and 6 mission parishes. The Turkish Orthodox Church continued to exist throughout the 1970s but during the early 1980s, Archbishop Cragg moved to Chicago and opened a health clinic. His stationary carried the title, American Orthodox Church, Diocese of Chicago and North America (source: Melton, J. Gordon (ed.). The Encyclopedia of American Religions: Vol. 1. Tarrytown, NY: Triumph Books (1991); pg. 135).


    Papa Eftim I – (Gr.Pavlos Karahisarithis; Turk.Zeki Erenerol) – (1923-1962)
    Papa Eftim II – (Socrates Emis Erenerol) – (1968-1991)
    Papa Eftim III -(Selcuk Erenerol) – (1991-2002) – renouced in protest over pressure of the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, and some months later passed away.
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