Toward a Multicultural Symphonia: Orthodox Solidarity in an Age of Diversity

by Chris Durante

With all of the controversies concerning non-attendance at the Holy and Great Council of the Orthodox Church that took place in Crete this past June, I would like to propose that a re-conceptualization of the Byzantine religio-political ideal of symphonia might be able to speak to the issue of the Orthodox world’s internal cultural diversity and the tensions that arise amongst its autocephalous ecclesial communities. As an ethical ideal grounded in the pursuit of social harmony and concordance amongst distinct voices, symphonia can be re-conceptualized as implying a more robust and polyphonic understanding of its purview, whereby symphonia may serve as the foundation of an Orthodox Christian multiculturalism. Continue Reading…

Anarchism and Orthodoxy

by Davor Džalto

How can one be a Christian, meaning a citizen of the Kingdom of God, and, at the same time, a loyal citizen of “earthly kingdoms” (states)? Would this not be a divided loyalty, a submission to two incompatible logics of life, since “no one can serve two masters.” (Mt 6:24)

These questions, and the general problem of how to articulate the relationship between Christianity and the socio-political sphere, go back to the earliest periods of Christianity, and continue to be relevant today.

Historically, there were various attempts to articulate an approach that would bridge the apparent gap between the Christian proclamation of the Kingdom of God and the political reality of “this world.” Bridging this gap meant, more often than not, giving the political sphere a religious meaning, and thereby providing a religious justification for the exercise of state power. Continue Reading…

Putin’s Unorthodox Orthodoxy

by Aristotle Papanikolaou and George Demacopoulos

Yesterday, the New York Times published an essay exposing and critiquing the ways that Vladimir Putin is exploiting Orthodox Christianity in order to project international significance.  In the summer of 2014, we raised these issues in an op-ed piece we wrote for a blog hosted by the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese and examined why both Orthodox and Western audiences readily consume a flawed understanding of Orthodox teaching. We have reposted our original piece below.

Pundits from both America and Europe have recently ascribed religious motivations to the actions of Vladimir Putin. Is Orthodox Christianity to blame for his militant incursions, reactionary policies, or anti-Western rhetoric?

Absolutely not.

The notion that the Ukrainian crisis has religious causes is both factually wrong and religiously offensive. What’s worse, it is politically foolish, playing directly into Putin’s preferred narrative of a culture war. Continue Reading…