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New book on Orthodox political theology

17 July 2012

I’ve just received an announcement, by e-mail, about a new book on Orthodox political theology, which looks interesting.

Unfortunately the essential bibliographical information seems to be missing — no ISBN, no web links, so sorry I can’t refer anyone to it.

But here is what I received:

Panel Explores the Political Stance of Orthodox Christianity
To mark the launch of the series  Doxa & Praxis: Exploring Orthodox Theology”
On Wednesday, July 4, 2012, Dr Pantelis Kalaitzidis, Director of the Volos Academy for Theological Studies, participated in a panel discussion which considered, among other things, the question: Why has Eastern Orthodoxy not developed a full-throated political theology? Dr Kalaitzidis cited a host of historical reasons for what he argues is the muted voice of Orthodox Christianity in the political sphere, including its subsumption to a variety of autocratic regimes, from the Ottoman Empire to the Soviet Union, and its caution about Western modernism. Better known for its robust ecclesiology and rich doctrinal and liturgical identity, Orthodox Christianity now faces the need for a theological framework to address tumultuous social and political change.
Dr Kalaitzidis offered his spirited critique of Orthodox Christians’ approaches to political life and political theology at a book launch at the World Council of Churches (WCC) offices in Geneva, where a joint publishing series called “Doxa & Praxis: Exploring Orthodox Theology” was announced. The publishing agreement is between WCC Publications and the Volos Academy for Theological Studies.
Dr Kalaitzidis, editor of the series, introduced its first two publications, Orthodox Theology in the Twenty-First Century, by Metropolitan Kallistos Ware, and Kalaitzidis’s own Orthodoxy and Political Theology. Responding to his book were Dr Tamara Grdzelidze of the Faith & Order Commission, and Dr Odair Pedroso Mateus, of the Ecumenical Institute at Bossey and the Faith & Order Commission. Both are WCC staff members.
While Dr Grdzelidze largely concurred with Kalaitzidis’s analysis and theological perspective, particularly its eschatological orientation, she also drew attention, for her part, to the massive suffering of ordinary Christians under various regimes and the need to respect their limited options for public witness. Dr Mateus highlighted the theological tensions raised by contextual and political theology by recalling competing presentations by Eastern Orthodox theologian John Meyendorff and liberation theologian José Míguez Bonino in a 1971 Faith & Order meeting in Louvain. At the end of the discussion that followed these presentations, Mr. George Lemopoulos, Deputy General Secretary of the World Council of Churches, conveyed a message from the WCC General Secretary, the Rev. Olav Fykse Tveit, in which he expressed his appreciation for the fruitful and constructive cooperation between the WCC and the Volos Academy and the fruits of this collaboration, which includes, among other things, the publishing series just presented.
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