Author Topic: The importance of the local culture in Orthodox countries  (Read 928 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline benjohn146

  • Elder
  • *****
  • Posts: 476
    • Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church, Belleville, Ontario, Canada
  • Faith: Orthodox Christian
  • Jurisdiction: Greek Metropolis of Toronto
The importance of the local culture in Orthodox countries
« on: December 02, 2016, 02:35:03 PM »
I found an interesting quote:

Quote
In his sermons Ilia II (Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia) has condemned homosexuality, abortion, and demanded television be censored to remove sexual content, has denounced school textbooks for "insufficient patriotism", lectured against what he calls "extreme liberalism" and warned against "pseudo-culture" from abroad. He has opposed attempts to give other confessions equal status under Georgian law and has condemned international educational exchanges and working abroad as "unpatriotic".

Stephen Jones, Georgia: A Political History Since Independence, 2015. - p.229-230.


I do see the same kind of mind frame in the biography of Fr Seraphim Rose where most of the Russian clergy wants to "bring Holy Russia in America" instead of Orthodoxy.

I can understand that immigrant that are living in the diaspora wants to re-create a "part of homeland" in their new country through the parrish community, exactly like the Greek parrish that I am part of and I think that it is awesome. But why do some of the leading figures of the Orthodox Church in what are deemed "Orthodox countries" are so patriotic centered in their discourses? I know that there is a lot of threat in those countries coming from the progression of Islam and the western world and I do get that too, but why aren't they safekeeping their "Way of Life" ;) and their identity by focusing more on the Orthodox lifestyle than on the culture?

Disclaimer: I don't have anything against these cultures, on the contrary I am welcoming them and embracing them. I just don't get why patriotism is so much present.

Thank you all!
St Makarios, pray for us.

Offline Iconodule

  • Hoplitarches
  • *************
  • Posts: 16,423
  • Faith: Orthodox Christian
  • Jurisdiction: Patriarchate of Johnstown
Re: The importance of the local culture in Orthodox countries
« Reply #1 on: December 02, 2016, 03:02:31 PM »
The identification of Christianity with a political body goes back at least to Constantine. In Byzantium and Tsarist Russia, this relationship assumed an imperial (one might say "globalist") stance, a single universal polity and faith embracing and integrating multiple cultures. The disintegration of these empires and, in many places, their occupation by hostile authorities, to some degree necessitated a more insular stance which often gets distorted into crude nationalism interested primarily in preserving a local culture.

I would say some of the "Holy Russia" stuff hearkens back more to the imperial tradition than to the more modern nationalist one. In this context trying to import "Holy Russia" into America sometimes expresses a longing for a powerful Christian state ruling over a vast multi-ethnic empire. We have lost the empires but have retained the universalizing impulse, and retreating to imperial fantasies is one way to cope with this uncomfortable situation.

Another way- the attitude Patriarch Ilia II represents- is a retreat into ethno-nationalism, hoping to maintain this little Christian family and keeping the world at bay.

Both attitudes have a chaunivistic bent but not necessarily going in the same direction.
“Steel isn't strong, boy, flesh is stronger! That is strength, boy! That is power! What is steel compared to the hand that wields it?  Contemplate this on the tree of woe.” - Elder Thulsa Doom of the Mountain of Power

Mencius said, “Instruction makes use of many techniques. When I do not deign to instruct someone, that too is a form of instruction.”

Come look at my lame blog

Offline Alxandra

  • OC.net guru
  • *******
  • Posts: 1,078
  • Faith: Orthodox
Re: The importance of the local culture in Orthodox countries
« Reply #2 on: December 02, 2016, 03:32:04 PM »
It is good and healthy for people to have a love and respect for their heritage and culture :) In this way we honour our ancestors wisdom and take care of our countries and communities. Unfortunately you can see now in the world some countries that have abandoned their respect for their heritage and ancestors, that it has had negative effects in the country and people. A sense of community and shared values is a lovely blessing from God. Forgive me if I'm wrong, but I think this is why our church embraces culture, as long as it doesn't take more place in our hearts than God.
"And if the man is the head of the family then the woman is the heart, and this heart is made by God that He may find rest in it”
+Elder Arsenie Papacioc

Blog http://the-woman-is-the-heart.tumblr.com/

Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/thewomanistheheart/

Offline Svartzorn

  • High Elder
  • ******
  • Posts: 761
  • Faith: Orthodox Christian
  • Jurisdiction: ?
Re: The importance of the local culture in Orthodox countries
« Reply #3 on: December 02, 2016, 03:56:12 PM »
Orthodoxy and christianity have survived under patriotism and nationalism - I'm even using these terms inappropriately because they don't necessarily represent a tendency in past societies - since they're rather recent. So what I'm meaning here is this feeling of preservation and connection to one's homeland.
They have survived under cultures that were clearly hostile to them, as it happens with the West now.
But I'm guessing social conservatism and nationalism/patriotism become tendencies because the new ideological patterns being pushed are now breaking new limits. So people adopt these ideas, lest they'll lose ground.
On the other hand, since the Church has accomodated to these previous frames, I'm also guessing those stances become focuses of resistance against new evils. You adopt the ideology as a form of fighting against the greater new evil.
But I agree it gets out of hand sometimes and a proper balance must be found.

Online Asteriktos

  • Hypatos
  • *****************
  • Posts: 38,618
Re: The importance of the local culture in Orthodox countries
« Reply #4 on: December 02, 2016, 03:57:40 PM »
I do see the same kind of mind frame in the biography of Fr Seraphim Rose where most of the Russian clergy wants to "bring Holy Russia in America" instead of Orthodoxy.

For some these are the same thing, not because Orthodoxy is limited to the Russian people/state, but because they think Russia is destined to save the world. Dostoevsky for example said that: "the Russian idea, perhaps, will be the synthesis of all those ideas which Europe had developed, with such persistence and courage, in each of its nationalities; that perhaps everything antagonistic in these ideas will find reconciliation and further development in Russian nationality." (Dostoevsky: A Writer in His Time, p. 285); and another: "And we at that time were putting together a great nation, had stopped Asia forever, endured endless suffering, were able to endure it all, did not lose the Russian idea, which will renew the world... Our people are infinitely higher, more noble, more honest, more naive, more capable, and full of a different, very lofty Christian idea, which Europe, with her sickly Catholicism and stupidly contradictory Lutheranism, does not even understand." (pp. 559-560); and: "Russian thought is preparing a grandiose renovation for the entire world (you are right, it is closely linked with Russian Orthodoxy), and this will occur in about a century, that's my passionate belief." (p. 560)

This kind of nationalism is, I think, one of the most dangerous kinds.
« Last Edit: December 02, 2016, 03:58:41 PM by Asteriktos »
Alexa, what religion should I be a part of?

Offline benjohn146

  • Elder
  • *****
  • Posts: 476
    • Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church, Belleville, Ontario, Canada
  • Faith: Orthodox Christian
  • Jurisdiction: Greek Metropolis of Toronto
Re: The importance of the local culture in Orthodox countries
« Reply #5 on: December 02, 2016, 05:42:48 PM »

Another way- the attitude Patriarch Ilia II represents- is a retreat into ethno-nationalism, hoping to maintain this little Christian family and keeping the world at bay.

I do see the same kind of mind frame in the biography of Fr Seraphim Rose where most of the Russian clergy wants to "bring Holy Russia in America" instead of Orthodoxy.

For some these are the same thing, not because Orthodoxy is limited to the Russian people/state, but because they think Russia is destined to save the world. Dostoevsky for example said that: "the Russian idea, perhaps, will be the synthesis of all those ideas which Europe had developed, with such persistence and courage, in each of its nationalities; that perhaps everything antagonistic in these ideas will find reconciliation and further development in Russian nationality." (Dostoevsky: A Writer in His Time, p. 285); and another: "And we at that time were putting together a great nation, had stopped Asia forever, endured endless suffering, were able to endure it all, did not lose the Russian idea, which will renew the world... Our people are infinitely higher, more noble, more honest, more naive, more capable, and full of a different, very lofty Christian idea, which Europe, with her sickly Catholicism and stupidly contradictory Lutheranism, does not even understand." (pp. 559-560); and: "Russian thought is preparing a grandiose renovation for the entire world (you are right, it is closely linked with Russian Orthodoxy), and this will occur in about a century, that's my passionate belief." (p. 560)

This kind of nationalism is, I think, one of the most dangerous kinds.


Are these attitudes would qualify for phyletism?
St Makarios, pray for us.

Offline WPM

  • Citizenii Populii
  • Taxiarches
  • **********
  • Posts: 7,063
  • I am the Root of Existence
  • Faith: Universal Catholic
  • Jurisdiction: 50-State Republic
Re: The importance of the local culture in Orthodox countries
« Reply #6 on: December 02, 2016, 05:45:48 PM »
I don't know really know yet about Russia and US relations but there could be an Eastern Icon in the White House.

Offline Iconodule

  • Hoplitarches
  • *************
  • Posts: 16,423
  • Faith: Orthodox Christian
  • Jurisdiction: Patriarchate of Johnstown
Re: The importance of the local culture in Orthodox countries
« Reply #7 on: December 02, 2016, 05:51:36 PM »
The first one, definitely (not that the condemnation of phyletism carries much weight). The second one might not qualify, because it has that imperial, universalizing impulse I mentioned, that animated the Byzantines before. Yes, it does privilege one particular culture over others, but in a way that wants to enfold everyone else into that culture, just like Greco-Roman culture was promoted as the vanguard of civilization, sometimes erasing other cultures and other times incorporating them.
“Steel isn't strong, boy, flesh is stronger! That is strength, boy! That is power! What is steel compared to the hand that wields it?  Contemplate this on the tree of woe.” - Elder Thulsa Doom of the Mountain of Power

Mencius said, “Instruction makes use of many techniques. When I do not deign to instruct someone, that too is a form of instruction.”

Come look at my lame blog