Orthodox Europe?


From the Christian Science Monitor comes this interesting opinion piece:

A short quote:

Western suspicion of Eastern Orthodoxy can be traced back to before the Great Schism that divided the Christian Church in 1054. One hundred and fifty years later, it fueled the Crusaders’ zeal for the sacking of Constantinople. In the 18th century, it became a main theme of Edward Gibbon‘s influential interpretation of the Roman Empire, which was later echoed in the writings of Oswald Spengler and Arnold Toynbee. And in modern times, Samuel Huntington, among others, has warned direly of the potential for clashes between “Slavic-Orthodox” civilization and the Catholic-Protestant West.

With the exception of Greece, this sad legacy has made Western Europeans notoriously slow to accept countries with large Orthodox populations into pan-European institutions. In the current expansion eastward, however, it is inevitable that the values and mores of European institutions and alliances will be shaped more and more by the traditionalist views of Orthodox Christian believers and less and less by the modern, secularized Protestant assumptions of Western European democracies. Orthodox believers already far outnumber Protestants across Europe, and by some estimates they may eventually even surpass Roman Catholics. If 21st-century Europe ever develops a religious complexion, it will be predominantly Eastern Orthodox.

The entire article is worth a read.

About Fr. Stephen Freeman

Fr. Stephen is a priest of the Orthodox Church in America, Pastor Emeritus of St. Anne Orthodox Church in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. He is also author of Everywhere Present and the Glory to God podcast series.





9 responses to “Orthodox Europe?”

  1. StSusannatheMartyr Avatar

    This quote from St. Sava of Serbia seems as applicable today as ever:

    At first we were confused. The East thought that we were West, while the West considered us to be East. Some of us misunderstood our place in the clash of currents, so they cried that we belong to neither side, and others that we belong exclusively to one side or the other. But I tell you, Ireneus, we are doomed by fate to be the East in the West and the West in the East, to acknowledge only heavenly Jerusalem beyond us, and here on earth–no one.

    St. Sava to Ireneus, 13th century

  2. David Avatar

    I suppose it’s hypocritical for me to pray for an Orthodox Europe and not have an Orthodox home myself. But I’ll chance it.

  3. MuleChewingBriars Avatar

    Better an Orthodox Europe than the one we have now. I do the same thing, praying for the success of Reformed missionaries in Turkey (Islam seems to prefer a Reformed version of Christianity). Better a Reformed Turkey tha n an Islamicist one, or worse, the return of the Caliphate.

  4. Michael Bauman Avatar
    Michael Bauman

    How about praying for the Holy Spirit to convert the hearts and minds of all of us so that we may know The Truth, and be set free. That is not a prayer that will allow or encourage us to go for the least common denominator, but to go beyond our meager concepts to know Jesus Christ, and Him crucified. We avoid all taint of hypocrisy because such a prayer is founded on the knowledge that I am greatest of sinners.

  5. Ad Orientem Avatar

    I think this is one of the more interesting articles I have read in a while. (I actually posted it on A/O under a nearly identical title.) The approach to the place of Orthodoxy in modern Europe is a novel one. As Eastern Europe and traditionally Orthodox countries become more integrated into the economic and political fabric of what is now the European Union the place of The Church and the faithful will necessarily impact the sociological landscape of Europe as a whole. I find it odd that this is the first time anyone seems to have taken note of this impending development.


  6. Gina Avatar

    Excellent. Now, here’s hoping secularist Western Europe will acknowledge the elephant in the room- not only Orthodoxy, but orthodox Catholicism in Poland.

  7. Andreas Avatar

    I don’t think expanding the definition of what is “Western” is an option. The peoples of Western Europe for centuries tried to marginalize the (Western) Church, so that she doesn’t influence their daily lives. It’s unlikely that they are going to undo what they achieved after centuries of hard efforts. I’d also like to add that thoughts about Orthodoxy influencing Europe have been heard before, especially as Greece was entering the EU and after communism collapsed in Eastern Europe. History shows things didn’t go that way though.

  8. fatherstephen Avatar

    Perhaps what is of interest is that Orthodox Countries are tending to grant the Church greater recognition and role within the constitution, not having been 200 or more years under the notions of secularism and see the Church as an antidote to the communist regimes they have just abandoned. This article poses some of the first positive possibilities of the Eastern Church impacting the rest of us. True or not (time will tell) it’s an interesting thesis.

  9. […] Originally by fatherstephen from Glory to God for All Things on October 12, 2007, 7:54am […]

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