XVIII, 2022, 1

Metropolitan Anthony of Putna’s Flight to Russia and His Subsequent Defrocking (1739): A Historical and Canonical Reevaluation | p. 7–26

1739, 18th century, defrocking, Metropolitan Anthony, Moldavia, Russian-Turkish War


The present research investigates Metropolitan Anthony of Moldavia’s (1730–1739) leaving the hierarchical throne and fleeing to Russia in the context of the Russian-Turkish War of 1739. It also analyzes the canonical basis for his defrocking by the Patriarch of Constantinople at the request of Prince Gregory II Ghica (1726–1733, 1735–1739, 1739–1741), a punishment ignored by the Russian Church, which enthroned him as Metropolitan of Chernigov (1740–1742) and Belgorod (1742–1748).
This study shows the persistence of the pro-Russian attitude among the metropolitans of Moldavia in the 18th century: Gedeon (1708–1722), Gabriel Callimachi (1760–1786), Leon Gheucă (1786–1788). This attitude needs to be understood, sine ira et studio, as a search for a way to liberate Moldavia from Ottoman domination and as an attempt to put Moldavia under a different canonical subordination than under the Patriarchate of Constantinople, which had become a pawn of the Ottoman agenda. For these reasons, the defrocking, in 1739–1740, of Metropolitan Anthony should be rather viewed as a political punishment than as a permanent church punishment tarnishing the memory of the hierarch.