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The Orthodox Church in Eastern Europe in the Twentieth Century

Edited By Christine Chaillot

It is common knowledge that the majority of the population of Eastern Europe belong to the Christian Orthodox tradition. But how many people have an adequate knowledge of the past or even of the present of these Orthodox churches? This book aims to present an introduction to this history written for a general audience, both Christian and non-Christian.
After the 1917 revolution in Russia, communism spread to most of the countries of Eastern Europe. By 1953, at the time of Stalin’s death, the division between Eastern and Western Europe seemed absolute. However, the advent of perestroika at the end of the 1980s brought about political changes that have enabled the Orthodox Church to develop once again in Eastern Europe.
The foundation of the European Union in 1993 has had a broader significance for Orthodox communities, who can now participate in the future development of Europe. Some Orthodox Churches already have their representatives at the European Union in Brussels. These include the patriarchates of Constantinople, Russia and Romania, along with the Church of Greece and the Church of Cyprus.
Today, Europe is becoming increasingly religiously diverse, even within Christianity itself. A growing number of Orthodox Christians have come to work and settle in Western Europe. An understanding of the history of the Orthodox communities in Eastern Europe in the twentieth century will contribute, in a spirit of informed dialogue, to the shaping of a new united Europe that is still in the process of expansion.
This book is translated from the French version (published 2009).


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Antoni Mironowicz - 11 The Orthodox Church in Poland in the Twentieth Century 247


Antoni Mironowicz 11 The Orthodox Church in Poland in the Twentieth Century Some historical references relating to the Orthodox Church in Poland The Orthodox Church has hundreds of years of history in the Polish Commonwealth. Its beginnings date back to the period of the formation of the Polish state in the ninth century. The subjection of the territories of the Vislanes tribe to Great Moravia resulted in the Christianization of Lesser Poland as early as the end of the ninth century. The Methodian rite (using the Slavonic language in the liturgy and other ceremonies) was therefore widespread in Polish territories long before the adoption of Christianity by Duke Mieshko I in 966. It is assumed that as early as the tenth century, bishoprics of this rite were founded in Cracow and Vislica. The Orthodox Church became a continuation of the Methodian tradition in Poland. It took over the liturgy in Church Slavonic (a language comprehensible at that time), as well as the rites and values of Eastern Christianity, spread among the Slavs by St Cyril and St Methodius. In the next centuries the Orthodox believers subject to the jurisdiction of Constantinople made up a large part of the inhabitants of the Polish Commonwealth, forming the majority of the population in its eastern region. During the reign of Mieshko I, the fortified towns of Chervinskie constituted part of his state. The incorporation of the fortified towns of Chervinskie by Boleslav the Brave in 1018 initiated the permanent presence of the Orthodox...

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