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Article

Self-Ruled and Self-Consecrated Ecclesiastic Schism as a Nation-Building Instrument in the Orthodox Countries of South Eastern Europe

Faculty of Philosophy, Department of Religious Studies, University of Erfurt, 99089 Erfurt, Germany
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Genealogy 2020, 4(2), 52; https://doi.org/10.3390/genealogy4020052
Received: 18 November 2019 / Revised: 14 April 2020 / Accepted: 17 April 2020 / Published: 22 April 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue For God and Country: Essays on Religion and Nationalism)
The Orthodox concept of autocephaly, a formerly organizational and administrative measure, has been a powerful nation-building tool since the 19th century. While autocephaly could be granted—from the perspective of the Orthodox canon law—in an orderly fashion, it was often the case that a unilateral, non-canonical way towards autocephaly was sought. This usually took place when the state actors, often non-Orthodox, intervened during the nation-building process. We investigated the effects of unilateral declarations of autocephaly (through a schism) by comparing Bulgarian, Northern Macedonian, and Montenegrin examples. We contend that the best success chances are to be expected by the ecclesiastic body that is less willing to make major transgressions of the canon law, than to radicalize the situation after the initial move. This is mostly because autocephaly’s recognition requires a global acceptance within the circle of the already autocephalous churches. We also suggest that the strong political backing of the autocephaly movement can paradoxically have a negative impact on its ultimate success, as it can prolong the initial separation phase of the schism and prevent or postpone the healing phase, and with it, the fully fledged autocephaly. View Full-Text
Keywords: Orthodox Christianity; autocephaly; religious nationalism; schism; canon law; church–state conflicts Orthodox Christianity; autocephaly; religious nationalism; schism; canon law; church–state conflicts
MDPI and ACS Style

Šljivić, D.; Živković, N. Self-Ruled and Self-Consecrated Ecclesiastic Schism as a Nation-Building Instrument in the Orthodox Countries of South Eastern Europe. Genealogy 2020, 4, 52. https://doi.org/10.3390/genealogy4020052

AMA Style

Šljivić D, Živković N. Self-Ruled and Self-Consecrated Ecclesiastic Schism as a Nation-Building Instrument in the Orthodox Countries of South Eastern Europe. Genealogy. 2020; 4(2):52. https://doi.org/10.3390/genealogy4020052

Chicago/Turabian Style

Šljivić, Dragan, and Nenad Živković. 2020. "Self-Ruled and Self-Consecrated Ecclesiastic Schism as a Nation-Building Instrument in the Orthodox Countries of South Eastern Europe" Genealogy 4, no. 2: 52. https://doi.org/10.3390/genealogy4020052

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