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L’indépendance de l’Eglise de Grèce

Georg Ludwig von Maurer, the Regent of the newly founded Greek Kingdom, with the co-operation of Theoclitos Pharmakides, an intellectual and leading figure of the Church, declared the independence of the Church of Greece from the Patriarchate of Constantinople (1833), contrary to the Orthodox canonical tradition. The background for the creation of the Greek Church was the modernist ideology of nationalism : the idea that each nation-state should have its own national Church, out of the administrative control of any other institution that might be influenced by a foreign power. From a realist political perspective, this decision was considered unavoidable in order to prevent the perceived ottoman ‘enemy’ from interfering in the domestic affairs of the country through the Ecumenical Patriarchate. Taking into account the strong symbolic capital of religion in the collective conscience as well as its special role in the political operation, the government could not take the risk of not fully controlling the ecclesiastical affairs of the state. The newly formed ecclesiastical institution was considered schismatic, because it had been created without the necessary canonical approval of the legitimate ecclesiastical authority, the Ecumenical Patriarch, under whose jurisdiction it had always functioned ; thus, communion between them was terminated. The relations between the two institutions were restored in 1850.

November 2013

D 18 septembre 2013    AKonstantinos Papastathis

CNRS Unistra Dres Gsrl

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