John Anderson
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The Orthodox hesitation: Church, State and nation
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This chapter discusses the engagement of the Orthodox tradition with democratic ideas, specifically assessing the issues relating to the relationship of the Orthodox Church to the State and to the nation. Orthodox churches have been able to live with a variety of political regimes. The traditionally dominant Orthodox churches tend to look to the past, focusing at the institutional level on developing close ties with the State and arguing that this was perfectly legitimate in countries where the majority of the population identified, however loosely, with the Orthodox tradition. The chapter also shows that Orthodox churches have to some degree sought special rights in terms of access to education, some degree of state funding and provision of religious support in prisons, hospitals and army units. The Orthodox churches have been hampered by the more limited range of theological and intellectual resources dealing with socio-political issues.

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Christianity and democratisation

From pious subjects to critical participants


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