Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Christodoulos (1998–2008) sought to co-shape the European Union. Seeing the EU both as a project and as a cultural-civilizational family of common integral, constituent elements of identity, he wished to affect the process of Europeanisation by enhancing the influence of its Eastern Orthodox flank. The emergent pattern of his aspiration resembled that of a unitary Eastern Orthodox bloc within the EU, functioning in concert so that to be able to exert influence and co-determine the direction of the Europeanisation process along the lines of its own values. That culminated in the archbishop’s exclamation that Russia should eventually join the EU: thus, a rhetorical reminiscent of the ‘Byzantine Commonwealth’ would counterbalance the Westernist overarching model, to no avail though; after all, all Orthodox Churches pursue their own individual/national agendas at a European level. However, creed is a central element of identity perception and even though the Orthodox Church of Greece has significantly readjusted its policies, the deep-rooted religiocultural element of identity, evidently, was expected to have a sway during Christodoulos’ era, and that the Greek-Orthodox collective imaginary would conflate a sense of kinship to Orthodox Russia, with a vague, romanticized geocultural strategic agenda.
Bibliographical noteThis is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis Group in Politics, Religion & Ideology on 26 Feb 2020, available online at: http://www.tandfonline.com/10.1080/21567689.2020.1732936
- Greek Orthodoxy
- cultural diplomacy
- ‘Byzantine Commonwealth’