"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).

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Orthodoxy in Greece in Our Time

I have a friend about to move to Athens for work, and the news out of Greece these days gives me frequent pause over what he will be facing there with the financial problems and consequent social turmoil embroiling the country currently. Greece, of course, is the only Orthodox country in the European Union, and Orthodox monks, according to this fascinating article, have played a not insignificant role in the fiscal crisis.

Now a new book, briefly mentioned before, comes along to look at the wider picture of Greek Orthodoxy:

Victor Roudometov and Vasilios N. Makrides, eds., Orthodox Christianity in 21st Century Greece (Ashgate, 2010), 268pp.

About this book, the publisher tells us:
One of the predominantly Orthodox countries that has never experienced communism is Greece, a country uniquely situated to offer insights about contemporary trends and developments in Orthodox Christianity. This volume offers a comprehensive treatment of the role Orthodox Christianity plays at the dawn of the twenty-first century Greece from social scientific and cultural-historical perspectives. This book breaks new ground by examining in depth the multifaceted changes that took place in the relationship between Orthodox Christianity and politics, ethnicity, gender, and popular culture. Its intention is two-fold: on the one hand, it aims at revisiting some earlier stereotypes, widespread both in academic and others circles, about the Greek Orthodox Church, its cultural specificity and its social presence, such as its alleged intrinsic non-pluralistic attitude toward non-Orthodox Others. On the other hand, it attempts to show how this fairly traditional religious system underwent significant changes in recent years affecting its public role and image, particularly as it became more and more exposed to the challenges of globalization and multiculturalism.
I asked Dr. Nicolas Prevelakis, who lectures on social studies at Harvard, to review the book for Logos: A Journal of Eastern Christian Studies. His long and considered review will be published in our fall issue. Prevelakis calls this ''a very impressive, extremely interesting and much needed book. It is of great value to scholars of contemporary Greece and at the same time very accessible to a wider audience.''

1 comment:

  1. The book sounds like it would be a great read! My apologies for quibbling over details, but Bulgaria, Cyprus, and Romania also hold full EU membership, though both Bulgaria and Romania had Communist regimes imposed on them by the Soviets after World War II.


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