Greek Orthodoxy, Territoriality, and Globality: Religious Responses and Institutional Disputes

This article offers an interpretation of Greek-Orthodox responses to globality. During globalization’s modern period, relativization and de-territorialization led to a modern synthesis between Orthodoxy and nationality. During globalization’s contemporary period, the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople has adopted a relatively open perspective toward globalization, which offers an opportunity to empower the Patriarchate’s status as a supra-territorial institution. In contrast, many national churches-like the Orthodox Church of Greece-cling to a defense of the modern synthesis and view contemporary globalization as a threat to their vision of re-territorialized religiosity. These institutional perspectives are closely aligned to theological responses to contemporary globality, which are also polarized between Orthodox globalists and defenders of the modern synthesis. The 2003-04 dispute between the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Church of Greece over the issue of ecclesiastical governance exemplifies these contrasting perspectives. The dispute was fueled in large part by the endorsement of opposite religious responses toward globality by the two institutions.

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