Symphonia in the Secular or How to Be Orthodox When You Lose Your Empire

Dunn, David James

Vigen Guroian has observed that “diasporic” Orthodoxy struggles to know how to be church in a modern, secular, and democratic context. Thus, he calls for developing the richness of our past political philosophy into a modern social ethic, one that resists the dual temptations of accommodationism and sectarianism. This essay partly responds to that call by developing symphonia into an ecclesial ethic of provisional accommodationism and situational sectarianism. Under symphonia, the church related to the empire by sometimes supporting and sometimes opposing it. My thesis is that in a secular situation, symphonia must go from being a defunct political ideal to an ecclesiology of conditional engagement, not simply with the state, but, with secular society itself, on the basis of its proleptic realization of the kingdom of God.



Also Published In

Power and Authority in the Eastern Christian Experience: Papers of the Sophia Institute Academic Conference, New York, December 2010
Theotokos Press

More About This Work

Academic Units
Sophia Institute
Sophia Institute Studies in Orthodox Theology, 3
Published Here
February 7, 2013