Chesterton and the Orthodox Churches


Does G.K. Chesterton anywhere write about Eastern Orthodoxy?

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I know for a fact he wrote about “Orthodoxy” :smiley: but Im not sure if he ever wrote about the Eastern Orthodox.


His book Orthodoxy refers to small o orthodoxy, not Easter Orthodoxy. It was written as a companion to his book Heretics.


It was written in response to a comment made by one of the subjects of HERETICS, who said that he would be concerned about his philosophy when Mr. Chesterton has revealed his own.

Chesterton replied with ORTHODOXY, which he referred to as a sort of slovenly autobiography. At the time he wrote it, he was still formally an Anglo-Catholic.

I don’t recall off-hand anything he wrote specifically about Eastern Orthodoxy, but given the amount of his output, it would be an incautious person who would state categorically that he didn’t do so.

I’m away from my Chesterton material, but I’ll look, when I get a chance.



Wasn’t “Orthodoxy” banned from the Russian Empire ? That’s the story I heard - the title was taken to be derogatory, or so the story goes.


That sounds vaguely familar, though whether as a fact or a factoid, I can’t say.

I’m in the processs (a slow process) of moving, and all the Chesterton material is at the other house. I’ll see if a quick skimming reveals anything, as the opportunity presents itself, but my time is limited (see “slow process”, above).



Ok. Here’s what I found, in a quick run-through. I checked Sprug’s topical index to Chesterton’s writing, which isn’t perfect, but as good as it gets, under Orthodox, Greek and schism, plus a few other key words. The most extensive treatment of Eastern Prthodoxy is found in THE RESURRECTION OF ROME, where he compOres Orthodoxy and the Roman Church on several points, to the disadvantage of the former. There is also a single mention in THE NEW JERUSALEM.

I looked in the collected ILLUSTRATED LONDON NEWS collections, but the index there is for persons only. And I glanced over about a dozen books on Chesterton, bio, etc, to see if the index in any mentioned Eastern Orthodox. Didn’t see any.

So, as I said, one would be very brave to take a stand that Chesterton never wrote on a given subject. I may even have something else on Eastern Orthodoxy in the collection, which is pretty complete. But I don’t have time to find it, if so.




In similar fashion, I trolled the Chesterton material for a mention of ORTHODOXY being bannedi n Russia. Found nothing. Did find mention of MAN WHO WAS THURSDAY and CLUB OF QUEER TRADES having been translated into Russian after 1919, and subsequently being banned by the Soviets.

So, though the idea does sound familiar, I can’t back it up. Yet.



Just a quick question, are you the same GKC as at Steve Ray’s place?


Hi, CD.

Do I look different over here?

GKC, the same, accept no substitutes, none genuine without the label.

"I tell you naught for your comfort,

Yea, naught for your desire,

Save that the sky grows darker yet

And the sea rises higher."


How could I accept a substitute. There is no hiding this truth. :smiley:



Ogier the Dane is one of the best antagonists in anything–try to make a more villainous philosophy, that nonetheless has some dignity. Can’t be done. Every third anime villain practically quotes him verbatim. Mostly 'cause Japan actually had that kind of guy, in their warring states era.

Incidentally there’s actually a bit of discussion of Orthodox priests in New Jerusalem–I remember something about the way they wear their hair, and something about them being to Rome much as Protestants think Rome is to them–and mention is made of them in an essay about Royal Weddings (the British princess married I think the prince of Greece).

GKC himself mentioned the Czar’s censors burning it, somewhere; it’s probably something Maurice Baring (friend of his, always traveling in Russia) told him about.

There’s also some mention of the Orthodox Church in the various things he wrote during the War, since Russia was their ally.


As I said, Sprug lists NEW JERUSALEM, but the page reference is way off of my copy, and I no longer have the time for a page to page search. I did find a few mentions of Orthodoxy in the chapter “The Groups of the City”, but I suspect what the OP was looking for is not a casual reference but something systematic. And RESURRECTION OF ROME is the best I could find.

I’ll certainly agree that there are other references in Chesteron, but I don’t have time to search. Which is disappointing to me; I have a rep to uphold.

I got a pile of Baring, too. Likewise Belloc, and etc.

And I like Guthrum. I’m older.

Glad to meet another fan.


“The hour shall come, after his youth…”


Ok, I couldn’t stand it. The bit about Greek priests and their hairstyles is in the chapter “The Streets of the City”, and so is the reference to Rome/Protestantism. Pages 83-84, in the small octavo Thomas Nelson edition.

There. I feel better.



Am I the only one that’s annoyed how hard-to-find they are?

Glad to meet another fan.

Likewise I’m sure.


I was very fortunate to latch on to a marvelous bookdealer, back around 40+ years ago, who specialized in pre-VatII, and a few other, writers. Through him, I collected, for about 22 years, a book a month of Chesterton and Belloc (mainly) as likewise Baring, Lunn, Dawson, Knox, and a few singletons. The Lewis, Sayers, Williams and Tolkiens I found on my own, and I supplemented the others, over the years. But the main task was easy.



Thank you very much! :thumbsup:

The Battle of the White Horse is a favourite of mine as well.

  • CB


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