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Orthodox Christianity and Human Rights in Europe

A Dialogue Between Theological Paradigms and Socio-Legal Pragmatics



This collective book aims at examining in what terms, and to what extent, the "reception" of the Human Rights doctrine takes place in Eastern Orthodox countries, as well as in the Orthodox diaspora. A series of questions are raised regarding the resources and theological structures that are mobilized in the overall Human Rights’ debate and controversy, the theological "interpretation" of Human Rights within the Eastern Orthodox spiritual tradition, and the similarities and/or divergences of this "interpretation", compared to the other Christian confessions. Special attention is given to the various Orthodox actors on the international arena, aside the national Orthodox churches, which participate in the Ecumenical dialogue, as well as the dialogue with the European and international institutions.

Religious freedom, as a fundamental Human right, guaranteed by the European Convention of Human Rights (ECHR), constitutes a key-issue that contributes to broadening the reflections on the overall Human Rights-related problematic between East and West, by shading light on the more complex issue pertaining to the conceptualization and implementation of Human Rights in countries belonging to the Eastern Orthodox tradition.

The present volume studies the diversity that characterizes the Orthodox theological traditions and interpretations regarding Human Rights, not only in terms of an "external", or a "strategical" approach of socio-political and ecclesial nature, but also through a reflexive analysis of theological discourses.

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Diversity of Greek Orthodox Discourses on Human Rights (Theodoros Koutroubas)


← 188 | 189 →

Diversity of Greek Orthodox Discourses on Human Rights


1.  The organization of the Greek-speaking component of the Orthodox Church

The very nature of the organization of the Greek-speaking component of the Orthodox Church1, both within the borders of the Hellenic Republic and with regard to the Greek diaspora around the world – the Greeks living outside these borders long before the establishment of the Hellenic State, makes it impossible to speak of “a” Greek-Orthodox Discourse on Human Rights. ← 189 | 190 →

Within the borders of the Hellenic Republic there are in fact five ecclesiastical jurisdictions2:

a) The Autocephalous Church of Greece, which includes all the Metropolises up to the river Pineios, those of the Peloponnese, the Ionian islands and the islands of the Aegean sea that were included in the first borders of the Hellenic State of 1832;

b) The Semi-autonomous Church of Crete, depending from the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople;

c) The five Metropolises of the Dodecanese and the Patriarchal Exarchy of Patmos, belonging directly to the jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople;

d) the thirty-six Metropolises of the so called “New Lands”, i.e. the lands that were added to the Hellenic State after the Balkan Wars, whose bishops are, since 1928, “temporarily” elected by and actively participating in the Holy Synod of the Autocephalous Church of Greece but continue to belong in the jurisdiction of the Ecumenical...

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