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The Orthodox Church in Eastern Europe in the Twentieth Century

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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The Authors 457

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The Authors (in alphabetical order of countries) Albania Archbishop Anastasios (Yanoulatos) studied theology in Athens. In 1959 he founded a quarterly bilingual (Greek and English) magazine Go Ye (Porefthendes), devoted to the history, theology, methods and spirit of Orthodox mission. In 1961 he became director of a centre with the same name in Athens. In 1963 he became a member of the WCC’s Working Committee on Mission Studies. In 1964 he was ordained a priest and went to Uganda for missionary work. In 1972 he began teaching the history of religions at the University of Athens, and became general director of Apostolic Services [Apostoliki Diakonia] of the Church of Greece. In 1981 he became the acting archbishop for the diocese of East Africa (Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania). In January 1991 the ecumenical patriarch of Constantinople Dimitrios and the holy synod selected Archbishop Anastasios to act as patriarchal exarch in Albania. In 1992, His All Holiness Bartholomew and the holy synod unanimously elected Archbishop Anastasios as archbishop of Tirana, Durres and all Albania, who was then enthroned in the cathe- dral in Tirana. In 2006 he was elected one of the seven co-presidents of the World Council of Churches. Baltic States Professor Alexander Gavrilin lives in Riga, Latvia. He holds a doctorate in history and is an associate professor at the University of Latvia (Faculty of History and Philosophy) and an expert in the Orthodox Church. He 458 The Authors has written two scholarly monographs (1999, 2004) and numerous articles and...

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