February 24, 2022


Historian and Archon Dr. Tom Papademetriou (Archon Didaskalos tou Genous) presented two successful in-person lectures on “The History of the Ecumenical Patriarchate Under Ottoman Rule” on February 11 and 18, 2022. Dr. Papademetriou was a guest lecturer in the seminar on the Ecumenical Patriarchate taught by Rev. Dr. George Parsenios, Dean of Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology. 

In his lectures, Dr. Papademetriou explored two main questions: How did the Ecumenical Patriarchate survive during the era of the Tourkokratia (Turkish rule)? And how did the Ecumenical Patriarchate function as a kivotos (ark) to preserve the Christian faith and protect Christians in a dominant Muslim society?

Dr. Papademetriou discussed his original research on the state of the Church before and after the fall of Constantinople in 1453 and outlined the process by which the Ecumenical Patriarchate rebuilt and consolidated authority over the Greek Orthodox Church and community in the subsequent Ottoman centuries. Despite descriptions of grim events, the Great Church of Christ persisted and continued its dedicated ministry to Orthodox Christians.  

“I was delighted to present this history to the seminarians,” he said. “By presenting original research on the history of the Patriarchate under Ottoman rule, we are helping seminarians become better informed about our beloved Ecumenical Patriarchate and helping them understand the many challenges it faces in the contemporary world. We also open new opportunities for the seminarians to appreciate the more recent past, especially in preparation for their visit to the Phanar.” The seminar on the Ecumenical Patriarchate is directed to senior seminarians who will participate in the St. Helen’s Pilgrimage this summer and travel to the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople in Istanbul.

Dr. Papademetriou is the Constantine and Georgeian Georgiou Endowed Professor of Greek History and Director of the Dean C. and Zoë S. Pappas Interdisciplinary Center for Hellenic Studies of Stockton University. He is a graduate of both Hellenic College (BA 1988) and Holy Cross (MDiv 1992). He received his PhD from Princeton University’s Department of Near Eastern Studies in Ottoman History in 2001. Conducting research in the Ottoman Archives, the Archives of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, and at the Centre for Asia Minor Studies in Athens, he focuses on the history of non-Muslims under Ottoman rule, especially the relations of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and Ottoman state in the early Ottoman centuries, the subject of his book, Render Unto the Sultan (Oxford University Press, 2015).   

Dr. Papademetriou has been awarded several research fellowships including from the Dumbarton Oaks Byzantine Research Center-Harvard University. He was Edwin C. and Elizabeth A. Whitehead Member of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey. Dr. Papademetriou serves as President of the Modern Greek Studies Association and was invested as Archon Didaskalos tou Genous of the Order of Saint Andrew the Apostle by His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew in 2021.