The decline of the Christian church in Turkey in the 15th and 20th century : a church–historical study
This thesis explores the reasons that contributed to the decline of the Christian population during the Byzantine and the Ottoman Empires. Furthermore, the study compares the differences and similarities in the causes of the decline of Christianity in the land of Turkey during the Medieval and modem eras. In the Byzantine Empire, especially during the late periods of the 11 th -15th centuries, the Eastern Church was not independent. Most of the time, the Church subordinated herself to the state. This subordination led to compromise with the political power and spiritual deterioration. The clergymen, for instance, lived a loose lifestyle and neglected their responsibilities. Moreover, the Church's original eschatological expectation and apocalyptic ideas dissipated. The teaching of the Scripture was ignored. The Church in the Ottoman Empire existed under the Muslim authority. Christians became second-rate citizens, and lived in restricted situations under the Islamic law for about four hundred years. Many Christians became Muslims because of various advantageous options that were given by the Muslim rulers during the 15th - 17th centuries. Like the Byzantine Church, the Church in the Ottoman Empire was also corrupted by the financial greed of the bishops who had political ambitions. With the coming of missionaries in the nineteenth century, the Christian minority lived energetic lives for a century. However, when nationalism arose among the minorities, the Church got deeply involved in politics and suffered with their parishioners. As a result, numerous Greeks, and over one million Armenians paid their lives for their earthly freedom from the Ottoman Empire during the 19th and 20th centuries. The Christian population shrank. Sadly, only a handful of Christians have remained. The study concludes that although various reasons contributed to the decline of Christianity and Christian population, the main reason was the Church herself.
- Theology