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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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Note on Contributors


Alfons Brüning studied Slavic Philology, East European and European History at the University of Münster and the University of Freiburg, Germany (1988-1995). He conducted his PhD studies at the Osteuropa Institut – Freie Universität Berlin (1996-2005) and he was also part-time Assistant at the Publishing house Herder (Freiburg), involved in a book project on the History of Christianity. In 2005, he received his PhD from the Freie Universität Berlin with a thesis on Unio non est unitas – Polen-Litauens Weg im konfessionellen Zeitalter (1569-1648). He was Assistant Professor at the Ecumenical Institute of the University of Münster (2005-2007). Since March 2007, he is Assistant Professor and staff member of the Institute of Eastern Christian Studies, Radboud University (Netherlands). His has a particular research interest in the history of Church and culture of the European Christian East since the Early Modern period, particularly Russia, and the borderland region between Eastern and Western Christianity, the territory of present Lithuania, Belarussia, and especially Ukraine. His research fields include: Confessionalization and the European East, Social discipline in Russian Orthodoxy between 1650 and 1790, Orthodoxy and national consciousness in 19th century Ukraine, Russian Orthodoxy in the Communist and post-Communist era, continuity and change, Orthodoxy and the Human Rights discourse.

Louis-Léon Christians PhD, doctor in Civil Law (Paris XI), doctor in Canon Law (Institut Catholique de Paris), is Professor and head of a Chair for Law and Religion at the Université Catholique de Louvain (UCL), where he is...

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