Identity disputes and politics at the end of the 17th century : the Archbishop Meletios Typaldos and his conflicting relations with the Greek Confraternity of Venice
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This thesis takes as a focal point an important Archbishop of the Greek community in Venice, Meletios Typaldos, who lived in the turbulent era of the late seventeenthearly eighteenth century (1651-1713). An enquiry into the course of his life was deemed worthy of scholarly research: first, because he had not been till now adequately investigated; second, because he is a multi-faceted personage who is highly representative of the ambiguities of that historical period but also clearly and sophisticatedly involved in them. In addition, a study of his life and work reveals a great deal about the religious and cultural beliefs and bias of the flourishing Greek Diaspora of Venice during this historical period. The dissertation investigates initially the political background within which Venice played a crucial role. Moreover, it brings to the fore the religious conflicts of the era as well as the renewal of the theological and philosophical ideas related to scholastic Aristotelism, derived from the teachings at Padua University which spread to the territory of the city-state of Venice. The emphasis in the dissertation is to focus on the impact that these ideas had on the beliefs and views of Typaldos. Principally, the thesis disambiguates the initiatives of Meletios Typaldos who, as head of the Orthodox Church in Venice, planned to convert the Orthodox Greeks to Catholicism without taking into consideration the church body, i.e., the Greek Orthodox clergy and congregation. In contrast to the prevailing view that his ambition to become a cardinal drove him to the acceptance of the Catholic doctrine, this dissertation argues that Typaldos’ activities were inspired by his desire to play a crucial role in a Uniate Church under the Pope’s auspices, with the ultimate ambition to convert all Greeks to it. Finally, specific attention has been given to the resistance of the Greeks of Venice to Typaldos’ plans. After examining the evidence, the thesis concludes that the will of the Greek Confraternity to maintain its social independence -that was guaranteed by the Venetian state - and its passionate desire to maintain unchanged the Confraternity’s Greek ethnic and religious identity are the main causes that determined its reactions against Typaldos. The conflict between the Archbishop and leadership of the Greek community ended in Typaldos’ excommunication by the Patriarchate of Constantinople and, with the loss of his leadership, the decline of the Greek Community of Venice.