Church, state, and political culture in Greece since 1974 : secularisation, democratisation, westernisation
This thesis explores the relationship between religion and politics in contemporary (post-1974) Greece, and the implications of this relationship for the secularisation, democratisation, and westernisation of Greek society. In Part One, the thesis uses an institutional and historical analysis of Church-State relations to explain how tensions and contradictions rooted in earlier historical experiences have paved the way for relations between Church, State, and political culture since 1974. Part Two presents three case studies of contemporary Church- related movements that have affected both relations between Church and State and today's Greek political culture generally. Overall, the thesis will explore the major connections between the Greek-Orthodox Church and the political establishment, and determine to what degree they are affecting the process of modernisation. The main problems highlighted are: (a) the secularisation of Greek society and politics, and the ability of the Greek-Orthodox Church to resist or influence this process, especially within the context of the secularising policies of the government, Church-State separation, the contemporary resurgence of religion in public life; (b) the implications of Church-State separation for the democratisation process in Greece. The role of Orthodoxy in Greek politics is explored with the focus on foreign affairs, especially concerning the so-called "national issues" within the context of the modern Greek cultural and religious identity; c) the attitude of the Greek-Orthodox Church and its off-shoot movements towards westernisation, EU integration, and the increasing globalisation of the contemporary world. The main conclusions of the thesis concern the ability of the Greek- Orthodox Church to influence government attempts at secularisation, as well as those Eurocentric modernisation efforts that conflict with the deep nationalistic undercurrents of Greek society. In addition, future research areas of investigation in Greek political culture will be identified, mainly in the direction of a more systematic study of what seems to constitute the essence of Greek political culture, as well as of a more thorough analysis of the role of religion within that culture.