Fortress Press

Political Orthodoxies: The Unorthodoxies of the Church Coerced

Political Orthodoxies

The Unorthodoxies of the Church Coerced

Cyril Hovorun (Author)


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Dispatches on nationalism and religion

As an insider to church politics and a scholar of contemporary Orthodoxy, Cyril Hovorun outlines forms of political orthodoxy in Orthodox churches, past and present.

Hovorun draws a big picture of religion being politicized and even weaponized. While Political Orthodoxies assesses phenomena such as nationalism and anti-Semitism, both widely associated with Eastern Christianity, Hovorun focuses on the theological underpinnings of the culture wars waged in eastern and southern Europe. The issues in these wars include monarchy and democracy, Orientalism and Occidentalism, canonical territory, and autocephaly. Wrought with peril, Orthodox culture wars have proven to turn toward bloody conflict, such as in Georgia in 2008 and Ukraine in 2014.

Accordingly, this book explains the aggressive behavior of Russia toward its neighbors and the West from a religious standpoint. The spiritual revival of Orthodoxy after the collapse of Communism made the Orthodox church in Russia, among other things, an influential political protagonist, which in some cases goes ahead of the Kremlin. Following his identification and analysis, Hovorun suggests ways to bring political Orthodoxy back to the apostolic and patristic track.

  • Publisher Fortress Press
  • Format Paperback
  • ISBN 9781506431604
  • eBook ISBN 9781506453118
  • Dimensions 5 x 7
  • Pages 224
  • Publication Date October 1, 2018


Precisely argued, brilliant work

"In this precisely argued, brilliant work, Cyril Hovorun gives us a discerning look at how the church, state, society and culture entwine and interact. He peels back many political versions of the church, revealing how they serve Caesar better than the Lord and the Gospel. Especially today, when such action continues, we need to hear his powerful exposé."

Michael Plekon, Emeritus | The City University of New York

An important study that should make a significant contribution

"Whether Orthodoxy develops a Gospel-centered social ethics and Church-state theory for the third millennium is a question on which much Christian, and world, history will turn. Hovorun's important study should make a significant contribution to that development. Even more importantly, it should help liberate Eastern Christianity from the evangelically-deadening embrace of state power."

George Weigel | Ethics and Public Policy Center

A must read both inside the church and far beyond its walls

"I am tempted to imagine that if Eusebius of Caesarea (260/265 – 339/340) had the benefit of the thesis explored and brilliantly argued in Political Orthodoxies the history of the church would have taken a healthier trajectory. For all of us who care about and have observed the resurgence of the Orthodox faith and church following the end of the Soviet period and the cunning realignment of political agendas leading politicians to fain faithfulness and hierarchs to cloud–at best–the Gospel with the ideologies of nationalism, anti-Semitism, and fundamentalism this book provides the most astute diagnosis of the diseases infecting Orthodox churches in Russia, Romania and Greece. It both exposes 'political idolatry' (Philip Gorski), calls us to discern wolves dressed as shepherds, and invites a recalibration of the church to the Incarnation that is itself the antidote to political theologies. It is a must read both inside the church and far beyond its walls." 

David J. Goa | University of Alberta, Canada