The present paper comments upon certain (mis)understandings concerning science and religion in Greece’s public discourse during 2020 and 2021. The first half consists of a theoret- ical commentary on what transpired in Greece, focusing on ‘science’ and ‘religion’ morphing into one another in the public square apropos the pandemic—with religion presenting itself as science, science presenting itself as religion, and an unwelcome ‘Reformation’ in science emerging out of dissent. The second half of the paper provides a report on Greece’s public square during the pandemic, on the basis of which the theoretical part was formed.
During the twentieth century, the relationship between theology and science had been debated in the Serbian public within three conceptual frameworks: (1) the founding of the University of Belgrade, (2) Serbian post-Second World War theological apologetics, and (3) Neo-patristic theology. The twenty-first century, especially in the last couple of years, saw three different instances in which scientific issues were a matter of theological debates that gained the attention of the wider public. These debates were on (1) the theory of evolution and creationism, (2) the means of distributing Holy Communion in the time of the COVID-19 pandemic, and (3) vaccines against the Coronavirus. This paper presents an overview of the three instances of theology and science debates in the Serbian Orthodox Church in the twenty-first century, as well as some key factors whose interplay shaped these debates to a great extent.
This paper discusses the religious dimension of the public debate concerning the public health measures adopted by the Romanian authorities during the pandemic and focuses on the role played by the Romanian Orthodox Church within this context. It delineates the different camps that were formed within the Church in this regard and traces their evolution throughout the pandemic. It contextualizes the position of the Church in order to better un- derstand it, placing it within the broader context of the Romanian society during the pandemic and integrating it within the longer history of post-communist relations between the Romanian Orthodox Church, the Romanian state and the Romanian civil society. It analyses the political impact of the public health measures and the role of the Church in shaping this impact. Finally, starting from the Romanian experience of the pandemic and from the ideological, theological and political disputes that it has generated within the Romanian public sphere, it develops some general conclusions regarding the relation between faith, science and politics whose relevance, if proven valid, surpasses the Romanian context and thus contributes to a more ecumenical discussion regarding the theological, pastoral and political lessons that can be learned from an otherwise tragic experience.
COVID-19 was a great challenge for Orthodox Christians worldwide. As all natural disasters in modernity, the pandemic was explained and combatted on the basis of science. There could be no doubt that death, pain, suffering, despair, imprisonment (the quarantine can indeed be experienced as an imprisonment) are opportunities for the Church to bear witness to Christ. To be ashamed of one’s vulnerability and to neglect the communal aspect of suffering means to render oneself less capable of bearing witness. Hence, it is important to find the conceptual ground for calibrating the truthful reaction to the pandemic in terms of the Christian ethos. To achieve this, we need the proper interpretative lens through which to examine the disaster of the pandemic.
This paper reflects on the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on religious life in Bulgaria, especially in the Orthodox Church, and on the sphere of academic teaching. The picture that emerges against the background of the moderate COVID-19 measures and the non-clo- sure of churches is rather disturbing, given the aggressive attacks by non-believers against ecclesial practice. It testifies to widespread superstition and deep theological ignorance even among those who designate themselves as ‘Orthodox Christians’. The compromise of uni- versity education during the COVID-19 panic and the radical changes to the social way of thinking go—as a basis of the perplexity of the social mind—hand in hand with the destruction of the democratic world order by Russia’s war against Ukraine.
The experience of this ongoing pandemic has not been a common and terrifying danger only. It has also been a sign of unity of our scattered post-secular humanity, as the question of our forgotten common nature seems to come to the fore again.