European Religious Freedoms Norms as a Challenge to Orthodox Churches

Effie Fokas

eds. Kristina Stoeckl, Ingeborg Gabriel and Aristotle Papanikolaou, Political Theologies in Orthodox Christianity: Common Challenges – Divergent Positions, (2017) New York: Bloomsbury, 75-96

The emerging European institutional framework for religious freedom forms an important aspect of the political and societal context in which Orthodox Churches must function – regardless of the extent to which the latter are aware of this or accepting of this fact. Though this institutional framework engages states directly and less so churches, because of the close links between the two in majority Orthodox countries, the potential impact for churches is extensive. This contribution explores the European institutional framework for religious freedom, based on particular articles of the European Convention on Human Rights as well as on specific cases in the religious freedom jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights and examines the extent to which both the latter impact upon Orthodox churches in any distinct sense.

Available here: http://www.bloomsbury.com/us/political-theologies-in-orthodox-christianity-9780567674128/

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Religion and national identity on trial: the impact of the ECtHR on religious freedom at the grassroots level

9-10 June, 2017

Lichtenberg-Kolleg, Göttingen

Effie Fokas, Grassrootsmobilise Principal Investigator, was recently invited to the Lichtenberg-Kolleg, Institute of Advanced Study at Göttingen University, to participate in the workshop ‘Religious freedom and the varieties of religious establishment – National identities, public morals and cultural values’, held on the 9th and 10th of June.

The workshop was organized by the research group ‘Human Rights, Constitutional Politics and Religious Diversity’ at the Lichtenberg-Kolleg, and brought together scholars from various disciplines with distinctive regional expertise in order to jointly examine questions of religious freedom and its relationship with claims about issues of national identity, public morals or shared cultural values.

The workshop focused, in particular, on three inter-related questions:

  1. a) What is the role of religion in constituting national identity, public morals or cultural values across diverse polities?
  2. b) How do references to national identity or cultural-moral traditions constrain religious freedom and other fundamental rights?
  3. c) How do references to national identity or cultural-moral traditions affect aspirations of minority religious groups for accommodation and public recognition?

Effie Fokas’ presentation ‘Religion and national identity on trial: the impact of the ECtHR on religious freedom at the grassroots level’ was based on recent research from the Grassrootsmobilise project.

The programme is available here.

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