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New trends in Greek Orthodox theology: challenges in the movement towards a genuine renewal and Christian unity1

  • Pantelis Kalaitzidis (a1)


Theology in Greece today is the outcome of a long and complex historical process in which many different, and even contradictory, trends and theological proclivities have converged and continue to converge, thereby defining its shape and agenda. The present article tries to provide, in four sections, both a descriptive and critical account of this complex and fascinating history.

Among these trends, a decisive role is attributed in the first section of the paper to the so-called ‘generation of the 1960s’ (including among others pre-eminent Greek theologians such as Metropolitan of Pergamon John D. Zizioulas, Christos Yannaras, Nikos Nissiotis, Fr John Romanides, Panagiotis Nellas), a Greek theological movement for renewal inspired mainly by the theology of the Russian diaspora and the call to ‘return to the Fathers’, which was instrumental in shaping contemporary Orthodox theology both in Greece and outside the Greek-speaking world.

In the second section are given the reactions to and criticism of the ‘theology of 1960s’. There were strong disputes and rejection on the one hand by conservative Greek academic and ecclesiastical circles, and on the other hand from the opposite progressive side (mainly the professors of the Theology School of Thessaloniki University during the 1990s), which accused this theological movement of conservatism and anti-Westernism.

The emergence of the agenda initiated by the new theological generation (of 2000) is discussed in the main and longer (third) section. This new theological agenda and its principal characteristics come from points of disagreement with the theologians of the generation of the 1960s, and from a renewed and more inclusive understanding of Orthodox theology which goes beyond the problématique, the language and the agenda of the 1960s. Among the topics raised and discussed by the new trends of Greek theology are: the rediscovery of eschatology and its dynamic interpretation, ecclesiological issues, such as the centrality of the episcopal office, and the critique of the dominant place of monasticism in the life of the church, the movement of liturgical renewal, the revalorisation of mission, the rediscovery of ethics and the dilemma of ethics versus ontology, the renewed interest in political theology, the overcoming of anti-Westernism and of the West–East divide as a central interpretative key, a more constructive relationship between Orthodoxy and modernity, the critical approach of the ‘return to the Fathers’ movement, the reconsideration of the devaluation of biblical studies, the emergence of an Orthodox feminist theology and the debate on women's ordination, the radical critique of religious nationalism, and the devolution into Byzantinism and ecclesiastical culturalism.

In the fourth section the article names the settings and institutions that are hosting the new theological trends in Greek Orthodoxy, mainly mentioning the leading Greek Orthodox theological quarterly Synaxi, the official scholarly journal of the Church of Greece, Theologia, the Biblical Foundation of Artos Zoes and its Bulletin of Biblical Studies and, finally, the Volos Academy for Theological Studies. An overall group vision and esprit de corps which could integrate the individual efforts and provide an identity, clearly missing from the above-mentioned picture, are demanded from the two theological schools of Athens and Thessaloniki.

The article concludes by briefly reviewing the conservative and fundamentalist reactions towards this new theological agenda, and by highlighting the urgent need for contemporary Greek theology to face the new, dynamic and particularly challenging global context, and to continue to reflect and to act towards Christian unity, as well as move to reconciliation between Christian East and West, Eastern and Western Europe.



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The present article was initially presented as a lecture at Vienna University, on 15 May 2012, at the invitation of the Pro Oriente Foundation and the Faculty of Theology of Vienna University. I would like warmly to thank my colleague the Revd Dr Gregory Edwards for his gracious help in editing the English text of this article.



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2 Yannaras, Christos, Orthodoxy and the West: Hellenic Self-Identity in the Modern Age, trans. Chamberas, Peter and Russell, Norman (Brookline, MA: Holy Cross Orthodox Press, 2006), pp. 197–8.

3 See Kalaitzidis, Pantelis, ‘From the “Return to the Fathers” to the Need for a Modern Orthodox Theology’, St Vladimir's Theological Quarterly 54 (2010), pp. 536, especially pp. 19–23.

4 Cf. Kalaitzidis, Pantelis, ‘The Image of the West in Contemporary Greek Theology’, in Demacopoulos, George and Papanikolaou, Aristotle (eds), Orthodox Constructions of the West (New York: Fordham University Press, 2013), pp. 142–60.

5 Cf. his book The Future of the Past: Critical Introduction to the Theology of Orthodoxy (Athens: Armos Publications, 1993) [in Greek].

6 The papers of the symposium were published in the journal Kath’ Odon 4 (Jan.–April 1993), in Greek, while a French-language report appeared in Service Orthodoxe de Presse 173 (Dec. 1992), p. 7.

7 It is noteworthy that a significant exception to this general rule was the patristic series Epi tas Pigas (On the Sources), edited by the lay theologian Panayiotis Nellas, founder of the journal Synaxi, and published by Apostoliki Diakonia, the official publishing house of the Church of Greece. From 1973–82, there were 5 vols in this series with texts by Maximus the Confessor, Nicholas Cabasilas, John of Damascus and Cyril of Jerusalem, with introductions, translations, and comments by Fr Dimitru Staniloae, Fr Athanasius Yevtic (now former Bishop of Zahumlje and Herzegovina), Georgios Patronos, Panayiotis Nellas, Ignatios Sakalis, Eleftherios Mainas, N. D. Triantafyllopoulos, Kaiti Chiotelli, and Dimitris Stathopoulos.

8 As is well known, this last point is developed especially in the theology of Metropolitan John D. Zizioulas of Pergamon.

9 There are many articles, and even some books, representing this theological trend in Greece today, but the work which recapitulates and crystallises the rediscovery of eschatology seems to be the collective volume, Kalaitzidis, Pantelis (ed.), The Church and Eschatology, Volos Academy's 2000–1 winter programme (Athens: Kastaniotis, 2003) [in Greek; English trans. forthcoming by WCC Publications], with papers by Metropolitan John Zizioulas of Pergamon, Petros Vassiliadis, Nikos Matsoukas, Stavros Yangazoglou, Athanassios N. Papathanassiou, Dimitris Moschos and others.

10 See e.g. Loudovikos, Nikolaos, ‘Eikon and Mimesis: Eucharistic Ecclesiology and the Ecclesial Ontology of Dialogical Reciprocity’, International Journal for the Study of the Christian Church 11 (2011), pp. 123–36; cf. idem, An Apophatic Ecclesiology of Consubstantiality: The Primitive Church in Today's World (Athens: Armos Publications, 2002) [in Greek; English trans. forthcoming by St Vladimir's Seminary Press]; idem, ‘Christian Life and Institutional Church’, in Knight, Douglas (ed.), The Theology of John Zizioulas. Personhood and the Church (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2007), pp. 125–32; Bathrellos, Demetrios, ‘Church, Eucharist, Bishop: The Early Church in the Ecclesiology of John Zizioulas’, in Knight, Douglas (ed.), The Theology of John Zizioulas. Personhood and the Church, pp. 133–45; idem, ‘Conciliarity in the Framework of the Diocese’, Theologia 80/2 (2009), pp. 173–200 [in Greek]; idem, ‘The Pontifical Divine Liturgy and the Demand of Synodality’, Synaxi 127 (2014), pp. 8–28 [in Greek]. Unfortunately Georges Skaltsas has not yet published his paper on ‘Theological Disputes Concerning the Episcopal Ministry in the Early Centuries: Conflicting Ecclesiological Viewpoints of the “Theology of the 60s”’, presented at the Volos 2005 conference on Turmoil in Post-War Theology: The ‘Theology of the 60s’, organised by the Volos Academy for Theological Studies and the journal Synaxi.

11 See e.g. Yangazoglou, Stavros, ‘Eucharistic Ecclesiology and Monastic Spirituality: The Issue of Gerontism’, in Kalaitzidis, Pantelis, Papathansiou, Athanasios N. and Abatzidis, Theophilos (eds), Turmoil in Post-War Theology: The ‘Theology of the 60s’ (Athens: Indiktos, 2009), pp. 547631 [in Greek]. Cf. Kamperidis, Fr Lambros, ‘Esoterism of Mystical Life and Spirituality’, in Synaxis Efcharistias: Festschrift Volume for Elder Aimilianos of Simonopetra (Athens: Indiktos Publications, 2003), pp. 529–53 [in Greek].

12 Despite his conservative, and even pro-nationalistic and anti-modern agenda, the late Archbishop Christodoulos was open to, and even progressive on, a series of issues such as liturgical renewal, ecumenical dialogue, the role of women and the social modernisation of the church.

13 The material and the papers from this workshop (which focused on the eschatological understanding of liturgy, the issue of liturgical translations, the proposal for a new wedding service and the return to the non-monastic, asmatic typikon), as well as the discussions which followed, were published in issues 71 to 74 of Synaxi [in Greek].

14 Some of the issues raised and discussed during these conferences were: the holy baptism, the sacrament of the divine eucharist, the demand for liturgical renewal in the Orthodox Church, the sacrament of marriage in the Orthodox Church, celebrating the gospel: the holy scripture in Orthodox worship, the sacrament of ordination, liturgical arts, etc. The Synodal Commission on Liturgical Renewal has already organised fourteen similar conferences, and has published 11 vols of conference proceedings [in Greek].

15 See particularly, among the many bibliographical references on the issues raised above, Vassiliadis, Petros, Lex Orandi: Liturgical Theology and Liturgical Renewal (Athens: Indiktos Publications, 2005) [in Greek]; idem, ‘La Rinascita Liturgica e la Chiesa Greca’, in Cremachi, Sabino Chialà e Lisa (eds), Nicola Cabasilas e la Divina Liturgia: Atti del XIV Convegno Ecumenico Internazionale di Spiritualità Ortodossa, Sessione Bizantina, Bose 14–16 Settembre 2006 (Comunità di Bose, Magnano: Ed. Qiqajon, 2007), pp. 253–82; Alexopoulos, Stephanos, ‘Did the Work of Fr. Alexander Schmemann Influence Modern Greek Theological Thought? A Preliminary Assessment’, St. Vladimir's Theological Quarterly, 53 (2009), pp. 273–99; Tzerpos, Dimitrios, ‘Towards a Renewal of our Ecclesial Worship’, in Ecclesia, 76: 12 (1999), pp. 270 ff. [in Greek]; idem, Liturgical Renewal: Essays of Liturgical Education of Clergy and Laity (Athens: ed. Tenos, 2001), pp. 11–29 [in Greek].

16 See Anastasios, Archbishop(Yannoulatos) of Albania, Mission in Christ's Way (Brookline, MA, and Geneva: Holy Cross Orthodox Press and WCC Publications, 2010).

17 See Voulgarakis, Elias, Mission: Paths and Structures (Athens: Armos, 1989) [in Greek]; idem, Christianity and the World: In Search of a Contemporary Christian Discourse (Athens: Armos, 1993) [in Greek]; idem, ‘Orthodox Mission’, in Müller, Karl, Sundermeier, Theo, Bevans, Stephen B. and Bliese, Richard H. (eds), Dictionary of Mission: Theology, History, Perspectives (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 1997), pp. 334–8.

18 See Vassiliadis, Petros, Eucharist and Witness: Orthodox Perspectives on Unity and Mission of the Church (Geneva and Boston, MA: WCC and Holy Cross Press, 1998); idem, ‘Eschatology and the Mission of the Church: An Homage to Dumitru Staniloae’, in Coman, Constantin (ed.), Anuarul Facultății de Teologie ‘Patriarhul Justinian’, Lucrările Congresului ‘Dumitru Stăniloae’ (Bucharest: Editura Universității București, IV, 2004), pp. 123–35; idem, ‘Reconciliation as a Pneumatological Mission Paradigm: Some Preliminary Reflections by an Orthodox’, International Review of Mission 94 (2005), pp. 30–42; idem, ‘The Missionary Implications of St. Paul's Eucharistic Inclusiveness’, in Moşoiu, Nicolae (ed.), The Relevance of Reverend Professor Ion Bria's Work for Contemporary Society and for the Life of the Church. New Directions in the Research of Church Doctrine, Mission, and Unity, (Sibiu: Editura Universităţii Lucian Blaga, 2010), pp. 123–34.

19 Haralambos Ventis, ‘Faltering Steps and Hopeful Perspectives in the Trajectory of Contemporary Greek Theology after the 60s’, unpublished paper (courtesy of the author) presented at the Paris 2010 international conference, The Renewal of Contemporary Greek Theology: From the Generation of the 60s to the Challenges of Today, organised by the Volos Academy for Theological Studies, in cooperation with the Ecumenical Centre Istina, the Institute of Orthodox Theology St Sergius (Paris), and the French journal for Orthodoxy, Contacts. On the revalorisation of mission, and on mission as a co-constitutive element of the making of the church, see also Papathanasiou, Athanasios N., ‘The Church as Μission. Fr. Alexander Schmemann's Liturgical Theology Revisited’, Proche-Orient Chrétien 60 (2010), pp. 641; idem, ‘Journey to the Centre of Gravity: Christian Mission One Century After Edinburgh 1910’, in Johnson, Todd M., Petersen, Rodney L., Bellofato, Gina A. and Myers, Travis L. (eds), 2010 Boston: The Changing Contours of World Mission and Christianity (Eugene, OR: Pickwick Publications, 2012), pp. 6783.

20 ‘The Orthodox Churches and the Geographical Redistribution of Christianity’, in Kalaitzidis, Pantelis, FitzGerald, Thomas, Hovorun, Cyril, Pekridou, Aikaterini, Asproulis, Nikolaos, Werner, Dietrich, Liagre, Guy (eds), Orthodox Handbook on Ecumenism: Resources for Theological Education – ‘That they all may be one' (John 17:21), Regnum Studies in Global Christianity (Volos/Geneva/Oxford: Volos Academy Publications/WWC Publications/Regnum Books International, 2014), pp. 829–30.

21 See Yannaras, Christos, The Freedom of Morality, trans. Elisabeth Briere (Crestwood, NY: St Vladimir's Seminary Press, 1984).

22 See Zizioulas, John D., ‘Ontology and Ethics’, Frear, 3 (2013), pp. 275–86 [in Greek]. Cf. idem, Communion and Otherness: Further Studies in Personhood and the Church (London and New York: T&T Clark, 2006), pp. 55–62. Cf. also, Sigov, Konstantin, ‘Das Problem des Bruchs zwischen Ontologie und Ethik in den Werken des Metropoliten Johannes Zizioulas und Emmanuel Lévinas’, Freiburger Zeitschrift für Philosophie und Theologie, 52 (2005), pp. 550–67.

23 The centrepiece in this debate has been Stavros Zoumboulakis’ paper, ‘The “Frontier” (Synoro) and Christos Yannaras: The Theological Argument for the Removal of Morality from Christianity’, in Kalaitzidis et al., Turmoil in Postwar Theology, pp. 315–26 [in Greek].

24 Yannaras, Freedom of Morality, pp. 199–200. Cf. idem, ‘A Note on Political Theology’, St Vladimir's Theological Quarterly 27 (1983), pp. 53–4.

25 Regarding political theology in the contemporary Greek Orthodox scene, see Moschos, Dimitrios, ‘Orthodox Christianity as an Aspect of Modern Greek Political Culture: Critical Remarks’, Greek Review of Political Science (Hellenike Epitheoresi Politikes Episimis) 4 (1994), pp. 129–38; idem, ‘Theology and Politics: The Lost Opportunity of the Generation of the Greek Theologians of the 60s’, in Kalaitzidis et al., Turmoil in Postwar Theology, pp. 683–94; Papathanasiou, Athanasios N., ‘A Politicized Ecclesiastical Space’, in the collection of his articles: Itinerancy and Referentiality: Critical Approaches to Theological Events (Athens: Armos Publications, 1998), pp. 121–38 [in Greek]; idem, Social Justice and Orthodox Theology (Athens: Akritas Publications, 2001) [in Greek]; idem, ‘Liberation Perspectives in Patristic Thought. An Orthodox Approach’, in Academic Yearbook of the Graduated Program ‘Studies in Orthodox Theology’ (Patras: Faculty of Human Sciences, Hellenic Open University, 2011), vol. 2, pp. 419–38; Arkadas, Dimitris, ‘Power and the Church: Political Aspects of Eschatological Ecclesiology’, Synaxi 79 (2001), pp. 8997 [in Greek]; Vassilis Adrachtas, ‘The Political Dimension of Eschatology’, in Kalaitzidis (ed.), The Church and Eschatology, pp. 251–62 [in Greek; English trans. forthcoming]; Vassiliadis, Petros, ‘Orthodox Christianity [and Politics]’, in Neusner, Jacob (ed.), God's Rule: The Politics of World Religion (Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press, 2003), pp. 185205; Ventis, Haralambos, ‘Political Constructivism and Ontology: John Rawls’ Freestanding Political Conception versus Liberal and Religious Comprehensive Doctrines’, The Reductive Veil: Post-Kantian Non-Representationalism versus Apophatic Realism (Katerini: Epektasis Publications, 2005), pp. 119187; Kalaitzidis, Pantelis, Orthodoxy and Political Theology, in the Doxa and Praxis: Exploring Orthodox Theology Series (Geneva: WCC Publications, 2012); Kalaitzidis, Pantelis (ed.), Biblical Liberation Theology, Patristic Theology, and the Ambivalences of Modernity in Orthodox and Ecumenical Perspective (Athens: Indiktos Publications, 2012) [in Greek].

26 Zoumboulakis, Stavros, Christians in the Public Sphere: Christian Faith or Cultural Identity? (Athens: Hestia, 2010), pp. 96–7 [in Greek]. See also my article, ‘The Image of the West’, pp. 142–60.

27 See e.g. Yannaras’ work, The Inhuman Character of Human Rights (Athens: Domos Publications, 1998) [in Greek]; idem, ‘Human Rights and the Orthodox Church’, in Clapsis, Emmanuel (ed.), The Orthodox Churches in a Pluralistic World: An Ecumenical Conversation (Geneva and Brookline, MA: WCC Publications and Holy Cross Orthodox Press, 2004), pp. 83–9.

28 Cf. for the above issues Kalaitzidis, Pantelis, Orthodoxy and Modernity: An Introduction (Athens: Indiktos Publications, 2007) [in Greek; English trans. Elizabeth Theokritoff, in the Twenty-First-Century Greek Theologians series (Crestwood, NY: St Vladimir's Seminary Press, awaiting publication]; idem, ‘Ist das orthodoxe Christentum in der Vormoderne stehengeblieben? Das Bedürfnis nach einer neuen Inkarnation des Wortes und das eschatologische Verständnis der Tradition und des Verhältnisses zwischen Kirche und Welt’, in Uhl, F., Melchardt, S., and Boelderl, A. R. (eds), Die Tradition einer Zukunft: Perspektiven der Religionsphilosophie (Berlin: Parerga V., 2011), pp. 141–76. Cf. Kalaitzidis, Pantelis and Ntontos, Nikos (eds), Orthodox Christianity and Modernity, Volos Academy's winter programme 2001–2 (Athens: Indiktos Publications, 2007) [in Greek]; Kattan, Assaad Elias and Georgi, Fadi (eds), Thinking Modernity: Towards a Reconfiguration of the Relationship between Orthodox Theology and Modern Culture (Tripoli, Lebanon, and Münster: St John of Damascus Institute of Theology, University of Balamand-Centre for Religious Studies, University of Münster, 2010).

29 For this section of the present text see also my ‘From the “Return to the Fathers” to the Need for a Modern Orthodox Theology’, St Vladimir's Theological Quarterly 54 (2010), pp. 5–36.

30 The paper was originally presented in German at this conference: cf. Florovsky, Georges, ‘Westliche Einflüse in der russischen Theologie’, in Alivisatos, Hamilcar S. (ed.), Procès-Verbaux du Premier Congrès de Théologie Orthodoxe à Athènes, 29 novembre-6 décembre 1936 (Athens: Pyrsos, 1939), pp. 212–31. The same text is also published in Kyrios 2/1 (Berlin, 1937).

31 Ventis, ‘Faltering Steps’.

32 For bibliographical documentation for this section, cf. Kalaitzidis, ‘From the “Return to the Fathers”’, p. 16, n. 20. See also Christos Karakolis, ‘Patristic Tradition, Orthodox Theology and the Significance of the Bible within the Orthodox Church in Greece’, paper presented at the international conference, The Present and Future of Biblical Studies in the Orthodox and Roman Catholic Churches, organised by the Faculty of Catholic Theology of Central Italy, and the Volos Academy for Theological Studies, Florence, 6–7 June 2013 (under publication, courtesy of the author).

33 See e.g. the collective volume from the Volos Academy's 2002–3 series of public lectures, Kalaitzidis, Pantelis and Ntontos, Nikos (eds), Gender and Religion: The Role of Women in the Church (Athens: Indiktos Publications, 2004) [in Greek].

34 See Evanthia Ch. Adamtziloglou, Woman in the Epistles of St Paul: Hermeneutical Analysis of I Cor. 11:2–16 (Doctoral Dissertation), Academic Yearbook of the School of Theology, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, annex 62 of vol. 29, 1989 [in Greek, with German summary]; eadem, ‘Is Feminist Theology Possible in the Greek Orthodox Tradition?’, Yearbook of the European Society of Women in Theological Research (ESWTR), 4 (1996); Koukoura, Dimitra, ‘Women in Jesus's Earthly Life’, in FitzGerald, Kyriaki Karidoyannes (ed.), Orthodox Women Speak: Discerning the ‘Signs of the Times’ (Geneva and Brookline, MA: WCC Publications and Holy Cross Orthodox Press, 1999), pp. 6974; Kasselouri-Hatzivassiliadi, Eleni, ‘Women and Orthodox Spirituality’, in Esser, Annete, Overzee, Anne Hunt and Roll, Susan (eds), Re-visioning our Sources (Kampen: Pharos, 1997), pp. 7685; eadem, ‘Authority in Tradition: Reflections on Tradition and the Role of Women in the Orthodox Church’, Yearbook of the ESWTR (2000), pp. 101–10; eadem, Feminist Hermeneutics: The ‘Gender Factor’ in Modern Biblical Hermeneutics (Thessaloniki: Pournaras, 2003) [in Greek, with English summary]; eadem, ‘Women and the Proclamation of the Gospel in the NT’, in Alexeev, Anatoly, Karakolis, Christos and Luz, Urlich (eds), Einheit der Kirche im Neuen Testament (Tubingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2008), pp. 103–20; eadem, ‘Women in Orthodox Theological Education’, in Werner, Dietrich, Esterline, David, Kang, Namsoon and Raja, Joshua (eds), The Handbook of Theological Education in World Christianity (Oxford: Regnum Books International, 2010), pp. 610–14; Breaban, Christine, Deischa, Sophie and Kasselouri-Hatzivassiliadi, Eleni (eds), Women's Voices and Visions for the Church: Reflections from Orthodox Women (Geneva: WCC Publications, 2006); Kasselouri-Hatzivassiliadi, Eleni, Moyo, Fulata Mbano, Pekridou, Aikaterini (eds), Many Women were also There . . . The Participation of Orthodox Women in the Ecumenical Movement: Past, Present, Future (Geneva and Volos: WCC and Volos Academy Publications, 2011); Athanasopoulou-Kypriou, Spyridoula and Kasselouri-Hatzivassiliadi, Eleni, There I Become. . . Gendered Theological Essays (Athens: Armos Publications, 2012) [in Greek]; Athanasopoulou-Kypriou, Spyridoula, ‘The Reaction of the Greek Orthodox Theology to the Challenges of Feminist Theologies’, in Papageorgiou, Yota (ed.), Gendering Transformations (Rethymno: University of Crete, 2007), pp. 10–18; eadem, ‘The Problem of Inclusive Religious Language as a Condition of Women's Becoming Divine: A Critical Approach’, Studies in Religion – Sacred/Profane 6/7 (Sept. 2005), pp. 137–47; Karkala-Zorba, Katerina, ‘Women and the Church: A Greek-Orthodox Perspective’, Concilium 42/3 (2006), pp. 3645.

35 Limouris, Gennadios (ed.), The Place of the Woman in the Orthodox Church and the Question of the Ordination of Women: Inter-Orthodox Symposium, Rhodos, Greece 30 October–7 November 1988 (Katerini: Tertios Publications, 1992).

36 See as examples the following publications: Behr-Sigel, Elisabeth, ‘L’ordination des femmes: un problème œcuménique. Développements récents dans la sphère de l’Eglise orthodoxe’, Contacts 150 (1990), pp. 101–27; Behr-Sigel, Elisabeth and Ware, Kallistos, The Ordination of Women in the Orthodox Church (Geneva: WCC Publications, 2000); Bloom, Anthony, ‘Preface to the French Edition’, in Behr-Sigel, Elisabeth, The Ministry of Women in the Church, trans. Bigham, Steven (Crestwood, NY: St Vladimir's Seminary Press, 1999), p. xiv; Yokarinis, Κonstantinos, The Priesthood of Women in the Framework of the Ecumenical Movement (Katerini: Epektasis Publications, 1995) [in Greek]; idem, The Genderedness or the Genderlessness of the Incarnated Christ (Athens: Armos Publications, 2011) [in Greek]; Matsoukas, Nikos, ‘Women's Priesthood as a Theological and Ecumenical Problem’, in Grdzelidze, Tamara (ed.), One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic: Ecumenical Reflections on the Church (Geneva: WCC Publications, 2005), pp. 218–23. See also Zizioulas, John, ‘Comments on the Study Paper of the Faith and Order Commission on “The Meaning of Ordination”’, Study Encounter 4 (1968), p. 193.

37 The community of Roman Orthodox faithful which draws its origin from the Christian Roman Empire of the East (Byzantium).

38 Cf. my critique of the Hellenocentric, and even nationalistic degeneration of Yannaras, Romanides, and Gondikakis, in Kalaitzidis, Pantelis, ‘Orthodoxy and Hellenism in Contemporary Greece’, St Vladimir's Theological Quarterly 54 (2010), especially pp. 393412.

39 See the issue on ‘Church and Nation: Ties and Shackles’, Synaxi 79 (2001). Cf. Kalaitzidis, Pantelis and Asproulis, Nikos, ‘Greek Religious Nationalism Facing the Challenges of Evangelization, Forgiveness, and Reconciliation’, in Asfaw, Semegnish, Chehadeh, Alexios, and Simion, Marian Gh. (eds), Just Peace: Orthodox Perspectives (Geneva: WCC Publications, 2012), pp. 6889. For an overall assessment of the critics of the ‘Helleno-Orthodox’ vision addressed by the new theological generation in Greece, see Willert, Trine Stauning, ‘A New Role for Religion in Greece? Theologians Challenging the Ethno-Religious Understanding of Orthodoxy and Greekness’, in Willert, Trine Stauning and Liederman, Lina Molokotos (eds), Innovation in the Orthodox Christian Tradition? The Question of Change in Greek Orthodox Thought and Practice (Farnham: Ashgate, 2012), pp. 183205.

40 On this section of the present article, see Kalaitzidis, Pantelis, ‘La relation de l’Eglise à la culture et la dialectique de l’eschatologie et de l’histoire’, Istina 55 (2010), pp. 725. Cf. Willert, Trine Stauning, ‘Cultural Religion or Religious Purism: Discourses on Orthodoxy, Authenticity and National Identity in Greece’, in Randvere, Catharina, Stala, Krzystof, and Willert, Trine Stauning (eds), Rethinking the Space for Religion: New Actors in Central and Southeast Europe on Religion, Authenticity and Belonging (Lund: Nordic Academic Press, 2012), pp. 7094.

41 Zoumboulakis, Christians in the Public Sphere, p. 97.

42 An English-language selection of some of the best articles which have appeared in Synaxi was made available by Alexander Press. See Synaxi: An Anthology of the Most Significant Orthodox Theology in Greece Appearing in the Journal Σύναξη from 1982 to 2002 (Montreal: Alexander Press, 2006), vols 1–3.

43 On this issue, one can consult the well-documented article by Papathanasiou, Athanasios N., ‘Some Key Themes and Figures in Greek Theological Thought’, in Cunningham, Mary B. and Theokritoff, Elizabeth (eds), The Cambridge Companion to Orthodox Christian Theology (Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 2008), pp. 218–31, especially pp. 220–8. Cf. Christos Yannaras, Orthodoxy and the West, especially pp. 193–308; Vassiliadis, Petros, ‘Greek Theology in the Making: Trends and Facts in the 80′s – Vision for the 90′s’, St Vladimir's Theological Quarterly 35 (1991), pp. 3352.

44 Cf. Kalaitzidis, ‘Orthodoxy and Hellenism’, pp. 412–14.

45 For an initial assessment of the ‘Neo-Orthodox Movement’ in Greece in the 1980s see Clément, Olivier, ‘Orthodox Reflections on “Liberation Theology”’, St Vladimir's Theological Quarterly 29 (1985), pp. 6372, especially pp. 69–71, and ‘Le mouvement “Néo-orthodoxe” en Grèce’, Special issue of the French Orthodox Journal Contacts 128 (1984), pp. 331–58.

46 Kalaitzidis, ‘Orthodoxy and Hellenism’, pp. 414–16.

47 For a critical assessement of this trend, cf. Kalaitzidis, Pantelis, ‘L’Orthodoxie grecque face aux défis de la crise économique, de la pauvreté et de la mondialisation: du conservatisme politico-social à la nouvelle version du discours “révolutionnaire” et anti-impérialiste’, in Mengès-Le Pape, Christine (ed.), ‘Face à une économie sans foi ni loi’: les religions et le droit (Toulouse: Presses de l’Université Toulouse 1 Capitole, 2012), pp. 625–40; idem, ‘Populistische Diskurse in der Orthodoxen Kirche von Griecheland’, Religion and Gesellschaft in Ost und West 6 (2013), pp. 14–18. See also Makris, Gerasimos and Bekridakis, Dimitris, ‘The Greek Orthodox Church and the Economic Crisis since 2009’, International Journal for the Study of the Christian Church 13 (2013), pp. 111–32. For a comprehensive approach to the problem of the economic crisis from a Greek Orthodox perspective, see the special issues ‘A Theological Take on the Economic Crisis’, of the scholarly journal of the Church of Greece, Theologia, 83/2 (April–June 2012), and 83/4 (Oct.–Dec. 2012) [in Greek].

48 Zizioulas, John D., ‘The European Spirit and Greek Orthodoxy’, Eythyni 163 (1985), pp. 332–3 [in Greek].

1 The present article was initially presented as a lecture at Vienna University, on 15 May 2012, at the invitation of the Pro Oriente Foundation and the Faculty of Theology of Vienna University. I would like warmly to thank my colleague the Revd Dr Gregory Edwards for his gracious help in editing the English text of this article.



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