Christany cheat sheet.docx - What were the means by which...

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What were the means by which the Christian movement defined orthodox belief and established ecclesiastical authority in late antiquity? Greece was under a military dictatorship from 1967 to 1974, and during those years the government took an active part in the affairs of the Greek Orthodox Church to consolidate its own power. In its endeavor to take complete control, the military junta dissolved the highest executive body of the Greek Orthodox Church and appointed its own synod "according to merit," as they called it. When democracy was restored in 1974, the governing body of the Church was re-elected according to the canonical statutes. So the bishops who had been part of the synod appointed by the board were deposed and replaced by others. However, a law passed by the government in 1990 granted destitute bishops the right to claim their office by appealing to the civil courts and finally to the highest administrative court: the Council of State. Three of those ecclesiastics did it and, over time, won the case. As a result, there are currently three Orthodox archdioceses in Greece with two bishops each: one officially recognized by the Greek Orthodox Church and the other officially accepted by the Council of State. The bishops who had been deposed have claimed their office and they flatly refuse to recognize the bishops appointed by the Church. Since the beginning of the Greek state, the Greek Orthodox Church has occupied the privileged position of being the dominant religion. This means that the Greek Orthodox Church is present in all sectors of public life: the administration, the judicial system, the police, education and practically all other aspects of society. This omnipresence of the Church has meant oppression and indescribable difficulties for the religious minorities of Greece. Although the Constitution guarantees freedom of worship, almost always when a religious minority tries to claim its rights, it is trapped in an impenetrable network of bias, prejudice and opposition, woven by the Church-State relationship.

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