Monasteries, Politics, and Social Memory

Chris Hann and Hermann Goltz

in Eastern Christians in Anthropological Perspective

Published by University of California Press

Published in print May 2010 | ISBN: 9780520260559
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520945920 | DOI:
Monasteries, Politics, and Social Memory

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This chapter analyzes the present political position of the Greek Orthodox Church in the Syrian sociopolitical context, with particular attention to the monastic revival of the last thirty years, during which the Syrian government has encouraged the Greek Orthodox Church to acquire and develop new lands. The Greek Orthodox Church is clearly subordinate to the power of Damascus. How has its patriarch succeeded in reconciling this profane subordination with a mission of monastic revival? The chapter focuses firstly on the historical commitments of the church to pan-Arabism and shows why it was not able to be more politically engaged in the past. Secondly, it outlines the reconstruction of the church during the twentieth century and shows how monasticism, which represents a kind of authentic tradition, has been constitutive for the entire community. Finally, it inquires into the further implications of this religious phenomenon for relationships between the Greek Orthodox community and the Syrian state.

Keywords: Orthodox Church of Antioch; Christians; Syria; pan-Arabism; monastic revival

Chapter.  6964 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Anthropology of Religion

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