Παρασκευή, 10 Αυγούστου 2018

A TREASURE REVEALED AT THE PATRIARCHAL LIBRARY IN ALEXANDRIA



Patriarchate of Alexandria & all Africa

On 7th August 2018, His Beatitude Theodoros II, Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria and All Africa, welcomed to the Board Room of the patriarchal Mansion in Alexandria, the representatives of the Department of Preservation and Restoration of Manuscripts of the Bibliotheca Alexandrina, in order for them to return the 10th batch eight restored manuscripts of the Patriarchal Library, which were preserved and digitalized by kind sponsorship of the A.G. LEVENTI Foundation in Cyprus.

These are books dating back to the 15th century, among them the handwritten and signed "Dogmatiki", the work of st Meletius Pegas (1468 ["N": ?]) and the rare Evangelistarion in the Arabic language (1473), from the Mameluk era. 




During the handover, His Beatitude the Patriarch was astonished when the specialists announced that within the binding of the manuscript, a built-in Pastoral Circular signed by the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople Jeremiah II, called Tranos, was revealed.

His Beatitude praised the preservation, restoration and digitalization efforts of these manuscripts of the Patriarchal Library which is part of the Library of Alexandria, thanked the A.G. Leventi Foundation for its contribution, noting that the collaboration between the Patriarchal Library of Alexandria and the Library of Alexandria brings productive results that play a decisive role in preserving our cultural heritage.



Meletius I Pegas of Alexandria (from Wikipedia)
 
Meletius I Pegas (Greek: Μελέτιος Πηγάς; 1549 – 12 September 1601) served as Greek Patriarch of Alexandria between 1590 and 1601. Simultaneously from 1597 to 1598 he served also as locum tenens of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople. He is honoured as a saint in the Eastern Orthodox Church,[1] with his feast day held on September 13.[2][3]
Icon from here
Meletius was born in Candia (Heraklion) in the island of Crete, at the time capital of the Venetian Kingdom of Candia in 1549,[4] and he studied classical philology, philosophy and medicine in Padua. He became protosyncellus of the Patriarch of Alexandria Silvester, at whose death he succeeded on 5 August 1590.[5]

Even if he supported the doctrine of transubstantiation, he was a fierce opponent of the Catholic Church, and worked for the reunion of the Greek Church with the Coptic Church. In 1593 he participated in a synod in Constantinople which confirmed the establishment of the Patriarchate of Moscow.[1]
Without resigning as Patriarch of Alexandria, he served as locum tenens of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople between December 1596 and February 1597, and from end March 1597 to March or April 1598, when he resigned to go on dealing only with his Egyptian see.[4]
He died in Alexandria on 12 September 1601.[4]
  
MELETIOS PIGAS (1590-1601)
From the site of the Patriarchate of Alexandria
 
He was the Chancellor of the Patriarchate of Alexandria during the Patriarchal tenure of Sylvester, his predecessor, whom he succeeded to the Patriarchal Throne. He faced overwhelming financial debts of the Church to the Sultan. He also stood against the activities of proselytism by the Jesuit monks against the Orthodox Christians of Egypt.
He participated in the work of the Local Synod in 1593 in Constantinople , on the ratification of the establishment of a Russian Patriarchate. He tried to bring about the unity of the Copts of Egypt and Ethiopia (Abyssinia) with the Orthodox, but also saw to more general pastoral, inter-Christian and inter-Church issues. He was also the “Supervisor” of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. He died aged 52 and is honoured as a Saint of the Church.

Ecumenican Patriarch Jeremias II Tranos (from Orthodoxwiki)
 
Jeremias II Tranos was the Patriarch of Constantinople during the last quarter of the sixteenth century. He served as patriarch for three separate periods: from 1572 to 1579, from 1580 to 1584, and from 1587 to 1595. During his first term as patriarch, Jeremias engaged in correspondence with Lutheran theologians of the University of Tubingen concerning inclinations of the Patriarchate toward a union of the Orthodox and Lutheran Churches. He was a sound theologian, an ardent reformer, and a fierce enemy to simony (simony is the act of selling church offices and roles. It is named after Simon Magus, who is described in the Acts of the Apostles 8:9–24 as having offered two disciples of Jesus, Peter and John, payment in exchange for their empowering him to impart the power of the Holy Spirit to anyone on whom he would place his hands. The term extends to other forms of trafficking for money in "spiritual things.", from here).

In the year 1536 Jeremias was born into the influential Greek Tranos family in the town of Anchialos, Pontus, today known as Pomorie, on the southern Bulgarian Black Sea Coast. He was the pupil of three scholars of the day: Hierotheos of Monemvasia, Arsenios of Tirnovo and Damaskinos the Stoudite, who themselves had been students of Theophanes Eleavoulkos. He was also for a while the student of the scholar Matthew the Cretan.
At the time he was first elected to the Patriarchal throne on May 5, 1572, at the age 36, Jeremias had been Metropolitan of Larisa. When he was installed to that see of Larisa is unknown. After becoming patriarch, Jeremias set upon reorganizing the Church of Constantinople and embarked on a policy of reemphasizing the canons and existing ecclesiastical laws. He also strove to improve the financial situation of the Patriarchate. 
Jeremias maintained contacts with the noted Orthodox personalities of his day. He also was successful in obtaining certain privileges from the Sultan for the Greek minorities within the Ottoman Empire, particularly in establishment of schools. Through his influence seven schools were opened during the sixteenth century. In the following centuries another 40 schools were opened across Greece and Asia Minor.
During his first term as patriarch, Jeremias received a number of letters from the Lutheran theologians of the University of Tubingen that proposed union between the Orthodox Church and the Lutheran Church. This represented the first significant theological exchanges between the Orthodox and Protestants. The correspondence was initiated by a letter, delivered by Stephen Gerlach, the chaplain at the German Embassy to the Sublime Porte (Sultan’s seat of government), on October 15, 1573. This event began an exchange of theological positions over the next several years. 

The letters in reply were written for Patr. Jeremias by his notary, Theodosios Zygomalas. At first, Jeremias’ replies were compilations of the Church Fathers and more recent writers. A second letter of September 15, 1574, followed by a third dated March 20, 1575 from Tubingen included a Greek translation of the “Augsburg Confession” and Greek translations of sermons by Jakob Andre, the chancellor of the University of Tubingen that defined the Lutheran creed. Jeremias’ reply of May 15, 1576 summarized those points upon which there was agreement between the Orthodox and Lutheran doctrines and those on which there was no agreement, with explanations on the Orthodox views on each question. In the correspondence during the following years until 1581 it became clear that the theological differences were not reconcilable and the correspondence came to an end. 

Patr. Jeremias, as other patriarchs of the Ottoman era, was caught in the intrigues and politics that surrounded the Patriarchal office under the Ottomans. He came to the office after his predecessor, Metrophanes III, was removed from office, allegedly for pro-Roman tendencies and the desire of the Sultan to limit the duration of a patriarch’s time in office. Jeremias was replaced for a short period again by Metrophanes III before he was re-elected a second time. Jeremias was then deposed a second time from office in 1584 through the intrigues of Pachomius, who succeeded him, before returning as patriarch in 1586 after the deposition of Theoleptus II who had succeeded Pachomius.
With the issuance of a new civil calendar by a papal decree on February 24, 1582 by Pope Gregory XIII, bearing his name, its consideration and rejection was the subject of three councils in Constantinople convened by Patr. Jeremias. The councils and principal members were:
The 1583 Council of Constantinople held on November 20, 1583 with Patriarchs Jeremias II (Tranos) of Constantinople, Sylvester of Alexandria, Sophronius IV of Jerusalem, with other hierarchs. Issued Sigillion of 1583
The 1587 Council of Constantinople with Patriarchs Jeremias II of Constantinople and Sophronius IV of Jerusalem and Meletius Pegas, representing the Church of Alexandria.
The 1593 Council of Constantinople held in February 1593 in the Church of the Mother of God of Consolation, with Patriarchs Jeremias II of Constantinople, Joachim of Antioch, and Meletius I Pegas of Alexandria, and Sophronius IV of Jerusalem.
In 1589, Jeremias, acting on a request of Boris Godunov during reign of the Tsar Theodore (Feodor I) of Moscow, and with the concurrence of the Patriarchs of Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem, formalized the autocephaly of the Church of Russia as a new patriarchate by installing Metropolitan Job of Moscow as the first Patriarch of Moscow during a visit to Moscow in January, 1589, thus recognizing the independence of Russian Church that it had declared since 1448.
In 1595, Jeremias II reposed in Constantinople while still patriarch.

Legacy

Jeremias II is thought to be probably the ablest patriarch to have sat on the Patriarchal throne in Constantinople during the Ottoman period. He had surrounded himself with able and learned men who were knowledgeable in Greek and Latin thought during times of intrigue and Ottoman subjection. Recognizing the importance of the newly invented printing press, he founded the first publishing house in Constantinople. [1]

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