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    STUDIA THEOLOGIA ORTHODOXA - Issue no. 2 / 2009  

Authors:  RADU PREDA.
  Abstract:  The Social Orthodox Theology. Prolegomena to an Orthodox Vision about Today’s World. The present paper tries to offer some arguments in favour of articulating an Orthodox social theology suitable for the challenges of the present world. The analysis starts from the actual moment characterized, on the one side, by the consequences of the communism’ fall, especially in Europe, but also by the intensification, at a global level, of the debate regarding the so-called post-secular relationship between religion and the public area, on the other side. Within this context, the local Orthodox Churches from East-Europe are called to make use of their regained freedom and to take part to the society project of the countries where they preach the Gospel of our Saviour Jesus Christ. In order to do this, the Orthodox theology must rediscover the foundations of its proper public involvement and reexamine the eventual inhibitions, cautions or prejudices concerning its spiritual and, at the same time, historical mission. A commonplace of the Western analysis about Orthodoxy, turned into a reproach, is the one concerning the supposed indifference of it towards the social crises and towards society in general, a fact explicable if we have in mind the close relationship between the Eastern Church and the political authority of any kind. This is why the Orthodox Church must have a systematic opinion on these aspects, too, in its desire to have a normative message within the present society. In fact, it is an inevitable step on the way of retrieving the prophetic conscience, a conscience almost totally insensitive during the decades of communist dominion. Based on the critical genuine conscience of the Church, the Orthodox social theology must help in the first place the ecclesial body to understand better the data of modernity and the profound effects of it, both at a personal and at a collective level. Following the patristic pattern of the dialogue between the data of faith and those of the world, the Orthodox social theology is called, through the actual reading of Tradition, to offer to the philanthropic practice of the Church a visionary frame, to establish a more visible relationship between ortho-doxy and ortho-praxy.

Keywords: Orthodox social theology, communism, symphony, caesaropapism, modernity.
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