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African slavery


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#1 Algernon

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Posted 28 September 2014 - 10:09 AM

Someone recently told me that there is no evidence that Orthodox Christians were involved in the slave trade in Africa. Can someone confirm this? How about slavery elsewhere? Is there a history of Orthodox involvement?

 

Thanks.

A



#2 Michał

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Posted 28 September 2014 - 02:50 PM

From what I've heard Romanian Church was involved in Gypsy trading.



#3 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 28 September 2014 - 02:59 PM

It rather depends on which period of history is meant. Whilst parts of Africa were under Roman and then Byzantine rule, slavery was usual. Elsewhere, slavery was usual in the Byzantine Empire's European and Asian possessions. If serfdom counts as slavery, then it existed, of course, in Russia until 1861.



#4 Rdr Daniel (R.)

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Posted 28 September 2014 - 04:00 PM

Someone recently told me that there is no evidence that Orthodox Christians were involved in the slave trade in Africa. Can someone confirm this? How about slavery elsewhere? Is there a history of Orthodox involvement?

 

Thanks.

A

As far as I know that is correct, the transatlantic African salve trade of the was largely the enslaving of people by other Africans and by the Arabs, (later by the Europeans) to the major European Empires (e.g. Spain, England/Britain, France) there were no Orthodox Empires at this point in history other than Russia (from the 18th century) which did not have colonies in America, thus it is pretty safe to say no.

 

As for slavery elsewhere, one has to rememberer this was a normal part of life for the vast majority of history, although there were some calls by the Church to end slavery (I believe one of the Cappadocian Fathers was one of the first people we know of in history to call for the end of slavery)  in general the Church tried to ensure her members treated slaves properly (see St Paul's epistles) rather than try to abolish it all together. In the ancient world slaves were in a large part captives from wars, in many parts of the world this was understandable due to the way wars were fought, when captives were taken in battle they where faced with three choices I. hand them back/ransom them - which meant the enemy gaining an advantage, II. Execute them, III. Enslave them. Of course this did not make it right, nor am I trying to defend the practice, but we do have to understand that slavery was so in entrenched almost every culture most people did not even question it.  

 

One further point is that salary and serfdom of the ancient and medieval world was not normally akin to the mass horrors of the transatlantic salve trade which saw horrific treatment of the slaves, abominable transportation to the New World, and a complete disregard for the African salves which were held as akin to inferior sub-humans. 

 

In Christ.

Rdr Daniel,



#5 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 28 September 2014 - 06:23 PM

I concur in what Rdr Daniel says. It is, perhaps, noteworthy (though not concerning Orthodoxy) that it was pressure from Anglicans - most famously, as we know, William Wilberforce - which ended slavery in the British Empire.



#6 Algernon

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Posted 28 September 2014 - 10:11 PM

Thanks, all!



#7 Kosta

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Posted 29 September 2014 - 02:10 AM

Algernon,

I'm not sure what your asking. Do you mean whether there was some sort of organized slave trade involving an Orthodox political class?

If so, No. Orthodox christian lands were under the Ottomon yoke, themselves subjugated by the new ruling class. In the new world mass migration by Orthodox Christians did not occur until the 1890's when Ellis Island opened. Before then the russians simply had a trade route on tne West coast. In New Orleans the first Greek Orthodox parish opened in which those first parishioners did organize to fight against the northerners. Don't know whether the athenian ambassador? who was in charge of all this owned slaves.

The type of slaves owned during the roman Empire are described in Justinians codex.

Edited by Kosta, 29 September 2014 - 02:12 AM.





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