This collection brings together fifteen studies on the survival and adaptation of the Orthodox religious and cultural tradition in the societies of Southeastern Europe after the fall of Constantinople, a world so often misunderstood and misinterpreted. This problem of cultural history is examined in a diversity of contexts and on multiple levels of analysis in order to elucidate issues of broader concern to social theory such as the fluidity and dynamic character of identity, the intricate encounter of religion and politics and the challenge of secular world views such as the Enlightenment and nationalism to traditional religious outlooks. The author argues consistently against all forms of reductionism, converses at length with the sources in order to pose questions to conventional views and invites the historical imagination to recover and understand a world submerged by the nationalist interpretation of the past. This task involves the recovery of the geographical pluralism that made Orthodox culture a truly transnational phenomenon. The collection accordingly brings into focus both the epicentres of Orthodox culture and symbolism such as Mt Athos and Constantinople, but also its hinterlands in Asia Minor and the Balkans.
Paschalis M. Kitromilides is Professor of Political Science at the University of Athens, and Director of the Institute for Neohellenic Research, National Hellenic Research Foundation, Greece.
Contents: Introduction; Part 1 Identities: 'Balkan mentality': history, legend, imagination; Orthodox culture and collective identity in the Ottoman Balkans during the 18th century; Orthodox identities in a world of Ottoman power; In the pre-modern Balkans...: loyalties, identities, anachronisms. Part 2 Religion and Politics: Initiatives of the Great Church in the mid-18th century: hypotheses on the factors of Orthodox ecclesiastical strategy; From Orthodox commonwealth to national communities. Greek-Russian intellectual and ecclesiastical ties in the Ottoman era. Part 3 Focus and Hinterland: Athos and the enlightenment; Philokalia's first journey?; Byzantine twilight or belated enlightenment in Asia Minor. Part 4 Challenges: On the intellectual content of Greek nationalism. Paparrigopoulos, Byzantium and the Great Idea; Europe and the dilemmas of Greek conscience; The Greek cultural presence in the Balkans; The ecumenical Patriarchate and the 'national centre'. Part 5 Research Perspectives: Athos and its image in the early 20th century. The Visitor Book of Dionysiou monastery, 1908-1935; The intellectual foundations of Asia Minor studies: the R.M. Dawkins-Melpo Merlier correspondence. Index.