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§ 14. The Confession of Metrophanes Critopulus, A.D. 1625.

Kimmel, Vol. II. pp. 1–213.

Dietelmaier: De Metrophane Critopulo, etc., Altdorf, 1769.

Fabricius: Biblioth. Græca, ed. Harless, Vol. XI. pp. 597–599.

Gass: Art. M. K. in Herzog's Encylop. Vol. 2d ed. Vol. IX pp. 726–729.

 

Next in chronological order comes the Confession of Metrophanes Critopulus, once Patriarch of Alexandria, which was written in 1625, though not published till 1661.

Metrophanes Critopulus was a native of Berœa, in Macedonia, and educated at Mount Athos. Cyril Lucar, then Patriarch of Alexandria, sent him to England, Germany, and Switzerland (1616), with a recommendation to the Archbishop of Canterbury (George Abbot), that he might be thoroughly educated to counteract, in behalf of the Greek Church, the intrigues of the Jesuits.110110   See the letter in Kimmel, Preface to Vol. II. p. vii., and in Colomesii, Opera, quoted there. On Cyril Lucar, see the next section. The Archbishop kindly received him, and, with the consent of King James I., secured him a place in one of the colleges of Oxford. In 1620 Metrophanes visited the Universities of Wittenberg, Tübingen, Altdorf, Strasburg, and Helmstädt. He acquired good testimonials for his learning and character. He entered into close relations with Calixtus and a few like-minded Lutheran divines, who dissented from the exclusive confessionalism and scholastic dogmatism of the seventeenth century, and labored for Catholic union on the basis of the primitive creeds. At their request Metrophanes prepared a work on the faith and worship of the orthodox Greek Church. He also wrote a number of philological essays. After spending 53some time in Venice as teacher of the Greek language, he returned to the East, and became successor of Cyril Lucar in Alexandria. But he disappointed the hopes of his patron, and, as a member of the Synod of Constantinople, 1638, he even took part in his condemnation. The year of his death is unknown.

The Confession of Metrophanes111111    Ὁμολογία τῆς ἀνατολικῆς ἐκκλησίας τῆς καθολικῆς καὶ ἀποστολικῆς, συγγραφεῖσα ἐν ἐπιτομῇ διὰ Μητροφάνους Ἱερομονάχου Πατριαρχικοῦ τε Πρωτοσυγγέλλου τοῦ Κριτοπούλου. Confessio catholicæ et apostolicæ in Orienti ecclesiæ, conscripta compendiose per Metrophanem Critopulum, Hieromonachum et Patriarchalem Protosyngellum. It was first published in Greek, with a Latin translation, by J. Hornejus, at Helmstädt. 1661. Kimmel compared with this ed. the MS. which is preserved in the library at Wolfenbüttel, but he died before his edition appeared, with a preface of Weissenborn (1850). discusses, in twenty-three chapters, all the leading doctrines and usages of the Eastern Church. It is a lengthy theological treatise rather than a Confession of faith. It has never received ecclesiastical sanction, and is ignored by the Synod of Jerusalem; hence it ought not to be quoted as an authority, as is done by Winer and other writers on Symbolics. Nevertheless, as a private exposition of the Greek faith, it is of considerable interest.

Although orthodox in the main, it yet presents the more liberal and progressive aspect of Eastern theology. It was intended to give a truthful account of the Greek faith, but betrays the influence of the Protestant atmosphere in which it was composed. It is strongly opposed to Romanism, but abstains from all direct opposition to Protestantism, and is even respectfully dedicated to the Lutheran theological faculty of Helmstädt, where it was written.112112   Nicolaus Comnenus called Metrophanes a Græco-Lutheranus, but without good reason. In this respect it is the counterpart or complement of the Confession of Dositheus, which, in its zeal against Protestantism, almost ignores the difference from Romanism.113113    See below, § 17. Thus Metrophanes excludes the Apocrypha from the canon, denies in name (though maintaining in substance) the doctrine of purgatory, and makes a distinction between sacraments proper, viz., baptism, eucharist, and penance, and a secondary category of sacramental or mystical rites, viz., confirmation (or chrisma), ordination, marriage, and unction.


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