Global Orthodoxy

The European Union, Russia, Religion, and Fear

by Kristina Stoeckl

On 23 November 2016, the European Union Parliament passed a resolution entitled EU strategic communication to counteract anti-EU propaganda by third parties. In one part of this resolution, the signatories deplore that

the Russian Government is employing a wide range of tools and instruments, such as think tanks and special foundations (e.g. Russkiy Mir), special authorities (Rossotrudnichestvo), multilingual TV stations (e.g. RT), pseudo news agencies and multimedia services (e.g. Sputnik), cross-border social and religious groups, as the regime wants to present itself as the only defender of traditional Christian values, social media and internet trolls to challenge democratic values, divide Europe, gather domestic support and create the perception of failed states in the EU’s eastern neighbourhood.

The resolution was approved by 304 votes to 179, with 208 abstentions.

Religion comes up in two places in this resolution. Continue Reading…

A Growing Rift Between Egypt’s Christians and Their Leaders Spells Trouble

by Sarah E. Yerkes

Sunday marks the fifth anniversary of the October 9, 2011 Maspero massacre in which Egyptian army forces killed two dozen Egyptians, mostly Coptic Christians, and injured hundreds more who were engaged in a sit-in in front of the Egyptian Radio and Television Union (Maspero) building. The protests against the destruction of a church, and the subsequent violent response, represent one of the lowest points in Christian-Muslim relations in modern Egyptian history.  Five years later, despite attempts by both the current Egyptian government of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and the leadership of the Coptic church to improve sectarian issues, the relationship between Muslims and Christians in Egypt remains volatile. While President Sisi and Coptic Pope Tawadros II have developed a strong, symbiotic relationship, there are growing fissures between the Coptic leadership and the Coptic community both in Egypt and abroad. Continue Reading…

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…