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In: Politics, Society and Culture in Orthodox Theology in a Global Age

In our rapidly changing post-Hellenistic and post-Christian world, in which the mediating role of ontology has become far from self-evident, the question of which discipline can assume the role of mediation between theology and secular thought has become crucial. The present paper, taking as its point of departure the work of the Romanian writer and monk Nicolae Steinhardt (1912-1989), suggests that modern literature is well equipped to play this role. Advocating a non-theological understanding of universality, literature is likely to provide theology with contextual schemes that might help the latter communicate its message in a postmodern world and thereby cease to address current issues by using an outdated and self-referential language.

In: Journal of Eastern Christian Studies
Did Orthodoxy come to a halt before modernity? Does Orthodox Christian theology function only in traditional contexts borrowing schemes and forms of rural society, to which the liturgical and theological symbolisms, the rhetoric models of preaching, the structures of church administration and its views on the relation between religion, politics, and secular society are closely linked?
Has Orthodoxy accepted the consequences of modernity or the Orthodox still feel a nostalgia for pre-modern forms of organization and structures of a glorified past, following in this way fundamentalism? Did even the movement called Return to the Fathers, as it was understood, and in spite of its initially renewal character, functioned unwittingly as a barrier, against modernity and its challenges?
Modernity and post-modernity constitute, however, the broader historical, social and cultural context within which the Church is called to accomplish its mission and to ceaselessly incarnate the Christian truth.
The articles in the book show that today’s Orthodox theology is constructively relating to modernity in politics, society and culture.
In 20 articles very prominent Orthodox theologians and experts on Orthodox theology and Orthodox Christianity from academic fields like sociology of religion or political studies are discussing, in what sense politics, society and culture are considered in Orthodox Theology in a global horizon. Contributors are Alfons Brüning, Ina Merdjanova, Nathaniel Wood, Cyril Hovorun, Dimitrios Moschos, Lucien Turcescu, K. M. George (Kondortha), Pantelis Kalaitzidis, Branko Sekulić, Georgios Vlantis, Nikolaos Asproulis, Atanas Slavov, Sveto Riboloff, Haralambos Ventis, Ioannis Kaminis, Irena Pavlović, Athanasios N. Papathanasiou, Chris Durante, Kateřina Kočandrle Bauer, Vasilios N. Makrides.

Abstract

On March 13, 2022 (Sunday of Orthodoxy), Orthodox theologians and scholars from around the world issued an unprecedented theological declaration that draws on both the Barmen Declaration (1934) and the Synodikon of Orthodoxy, and is directed against the ethnophyletist and nationalist “Russian world” ideology that serves as the religious underpinning for Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. This ideology, fundamentalist in character, was developed by Patriarch Kirill (Gundiaev) of Moscow and both Putin and Patriarch Kirill repeatedly reference it in their active support of the Russian invasion. Having briefly outlined the Russian world ideology, the Declaration identifies the ideology’s main propositions, which are declared “heretical” from an Orthodox theological perspective. By contrast, the Orthodox scholars systematically outline affirmations drawn from Scripture and the Holy Tradition of Orthodox Christianity. Finally, the declaration calls all to be mindful of the theological principles outlined in their decisions in church politics.

Open Access
In: Mission Studies