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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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Ecclesiology and Human Rights (Grigorios D. Papathomas)


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Ecclesiology and Human Rights


1)  Introduction: Ecclesiology and Human Rights brought to dialogue

When two poles, two magnitudes, are brought to a dialectical comparison and relationship, two consecutive actions need to take place before addressing the broader scope of the dialogue. The first action relates to highlighting distinctions between their otherness (alterity), in order to illustrate their ontic limits and substantial features, and to make known to the interlocutors (discoursers) in the dialogue and the participants therein the requirements of the two poles (a priori) and, through the latter, their points of resemblance and contact, of their convergence and divergence. The second action relates to the identity of these two magnitudes, to their ontic content, to the completeness of their knowledge, as well as to the methodology that they employ. Therefore, when these two actions are fulfilled, it becomes easier for these two magnitudes to be brought into dialogue and for us to proceed to objective assessments. Both these magnitudes are already described in the title: Ecclesiology and Human Rights.

Human Rights are well known and have even been adequately studied since the period of their historical birth and existence and over the last two centuries. Their study and implementation culminated in the 20th century, and has been characterized by the congruency of benevolent views in their acceptance. However, the same does not apply on Ecclesiology of the second Millennium, as it appears multifaceted and...

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