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Orthodoxy and nationalism in the Greek case

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The superiority and precedence of religion as a primordial line of national demarcation deserves a far more central place in theories of nationalism. This is demonstrated by the Greek case, which also illustrates the evolution of the Eastern Orthodox Church over the centuries, from ecumenism to nationalism. Both as a state church and as a national church, the Orthodox Church of Greece has a lot in common with Protestant state churches, and even with Catholicism in some countries. Like Ireland or Israel, however, the Greek case indicates that, as long as a particular religion continues to be identified with an 'endangered' nation, change in the direction of pluralism is even less probable than separation between church and state. Among Christian denominations, what may indeed be specific to Orthodoxy is a traumatic and defensive historical consciousness reaching into a far more distant past, but also fuelled by current insecurity.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2003

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