"Let books be your dining table, / And you shall be full of delights. / Let them be your
And you shall sleep restful nights" (St. Ephraim the Syrian).

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Orthodox Revolutions and Lesser Transitions

I am not by nature the sort of person who easily or regularly finds himself attending political rallies, marches, and protests. But I have not forgotten standing in the freezing ice storm in December 2004 on Parliament Hill in Ottawa as the Orange Revolution was unfolding in Ukraine, where I had taught English just three years before that. A goodly number of Ukrainian-Canadians turned out for that rally to show support to those fighting for a new government in Ukraine. 

That was one of several "colour" revolutions in the former Soviet Union. What role did the Orthodox and Catholic churches play in them? In the case of Ukraine, the answer has to be: a very considerable one. But in other countries? That is the question asked and answered in forthcoming book set for release at year's end: Orthodox Christianity and the Politics of Transition: Ukraine, Serbia, and Georgia. by Tornike Metreveli (Routledge, Dec. 2020), 200pp. 

About this book the publisher tells us this:

This book discusses in detail how Orthodox Christianity was involved in and influenced political transition in Ukraine, Serbia and Georgia after the collapse of communism. Based on original research, including extensive interviews with clergy and parishioners as well as historical, legal and policy analysis, the book argues that the nature of the involvement of churches in post-communist politics depended on whether the interests of the church (for example, in education, the legal system or economic activity) were accommodated or threatened: if accommodated, churches confined themselves to the sacred domain; if threatened they engaged in daily politics. If churches competed with each other for organizational interests, they evoked the support of nationalism while remaining within the religious domain.

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