Brexit and the Holy and Great Synod of the Orthodox Church: The Return of Nationalism

Things do not look very rosy in Eastern Europe, after Brexit and the Synod, believes Lucian Leustean: ‘ Both churches and states will become more involved in the return of nationalism as a subterfuge to European integration and liberal values. The impact of the Brexit vote and the holding of the Synod may not immediately reverberate across Western Europe, but more in the East, where the interplay between Eastern Orthodoxy, geopolitics and nationalism provides the source for transnational alliances based on interests, security and political power.’

Public Orthodoxy

by Lucian N. Leustean

During the last weeks of June 2016, two major international events took place, namely the ‘Holy and Great Synod of the Orthodox Church’, on the island of Crete (June 16-27), and the British referendum that narrowly voted to leave the European Union (June 23). At first sight, the two events are unrelated. One is the product of extensive inter-Orthodox dialogue that began in 1923, nearly a century ago. The other is the expression of the democratic political vote that took place in Britain, on Europe’s western periphery. Although neither event referred to the other, both are representative of tectonic shifts in the international liberal order of the post-Cold War era.

What do they have in common?

First, the holding of the Orthodox Synod was agreed on at the time of Russia’s takeover of Crimea in March 2014. For the last two years since its announcement, regular…

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