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Kirche und kulturelle Tradition in Osteuropa

Günther Stökl
Kirchliche Zeitgeschichte
Vol. 6, No. 1, Die Rolle der Kirchen im gesellschaftlichen und politischen Umbruch in Mittel- und Osteuropa (1993), pp. 16-28
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/43099835
Page Count: 13
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Kirche und kulturelle Tradition in Osteuropa
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Abstract

In the heated discussions over whether Russia belongs in Europe or not, the denominational rivalries of the churches in east and west have played an important role. Historically, the life of the Russian Orthodox Church has been strongly influenced by the Greek legacy, whose influence can be seen politically in the Church-State relationship, and culturally in the church's spiritual life. The alleged synthesis of secular and spiritual power meant, however, in historical reality; the dominance of the State, which tolerated no dissent from the church but allowed it to develop its spiritual life whenever this served its national interest, or promised to provide moral support in critical situations. The church was the only link which united Christians during the mediaeval periods of anarchy, and thus became a symbol of national unity, which it still latently is. Because of its capacity to resist all alien influences and to overcome, even forcibly, all internal divisions, the Church has remained, despite its contradictions, a source of hope. The facade of ecumenical friendship should not however obscure the fact that there are still deeply entrenched notions of hostility to foreign influence, or that a politically-compromised hierarchy now confronts almost unfulfillable tasks throughout an enormous country. There are only a few faint signs of pressures for reform from below.

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