George Contogeorgis

Religion and politics in the nation-state and the European Union

The gradual development of the European Union into a political system appears to reposition the issue of the relationship between religion and politics, and, at the same time, to raise new questions concerning the structure of the religious and the political function pertaining to the place of the Church in the system of society and of the state. In the context of this inquiry, the immediate question is focused on the increasingly important role that religion is playing in the formation of collective identities, just when a multi-doctrine and, furthermore, a multi-religious reality is being established within the Union. At the same time, the process of political reunification of Europe is creating for the Churches a new political domain of ‘encounter’ and action which could, in the medium term, bring the idea of a reunification of the Churches back to the fore in terms of synergies and, from another point of view, of a nominal coexistence with regard to the other religions which already lodge in the European construction or with which they run parallel in the world.

  1. Religion as a major question of society

Religion can be regarded as a major matter in any society, insofar as it constitutes one of the most important and lasting hallmarks of individual and collective identity, as well as a metaphysical system which dictates to a great extent the way of living and especially the moral behavior of people. As such, religion, as any major question which registers in the collective conscience, has a political dimension of the first order: it mobilizes the interest of society, dictates its behavior, weighs on its views as far as common matters are concerned, and finally influences the regulatory framework and the corpus of freedoms of the individual in his personal and collective life.

The assertion that religion, as a major matter for society, is a political fact, starts from the point of accepting that the political phenomenon is defined according to its own nature, namely through the prism of the interest that it summons up in society or of the consequences which it has on it. From this point of view, religion is closely connected to the structure of politics at a particular phase of human societies, e.g., the modern period.

As we have seen, modernity perceives politics, without differentiation, as the tautology of the power embodied in the state1. Even if one admits that forces of the civil society demand some participation in the political dynamic2, the political process is not conceivable beyond the state.

This approach to the political phenomenon is definitely a dead end, especially as it does not even take into consideration the morphology of the political paradigm which historical experience offers. Even if one accepts the modern definition of politics – of politics as the power of the state which embodies the political system – the latter presents differentiations which are dependent upon the type of society (despotic or anthropocentric) as well as on the evolutionary stage that these societies are going through. At the same time, this approach seems not to take into consideration that the meeting of politics with freedom – the vision of politics through the prism of social autonomy – presupposes the identification of politics with the social body. Just as in the early anthropocentric period (e.g., our period) the political process is defined as the tautological equivalent of the power (of the state), in the integrated anthropocentric phase, in democracy, politics is defined as the tautology of society or, in other words, as the opposite of power.3

The above explanations as to the structure of the political phenomenon are of constitutional importance in the approach to religion, as much an individual as a collective fact. Because, having pointed out that the religious phenomenon is a major matter for society and as such is deeply political, we ultimately decide on the agent of religious authority. By this we mean that the political nature of a social fact is not determined according to whether the responsibility for the social fact is possessed by the political authority (e.g., the state), as modern political science supports, but by its collective reference or its collective character and, in any case, by its relevance to the political system. It is also noted that a social fact of great importance can be politically inactive without this inactivity removing its political character or preventing it from reappearing on the political stage.4 The economic process, for example, is a major political phenomenon of which the structure and the regulatory framework of operation are decided by the agent of political authority. As long as, in the context of this arrangement, the economic process evolves smoothly, politics remains discreetly at a distance. However, if a problem emerges in the chain of production, including consumption, the political agent will come to seek a solution and to regulate the social consequences.

Religion as a major social matter is not by definition politically active. It depends on the type of religion and on the anthropocentric stage to which it reflects the overall social and political system. The ancient Greek religion, for example, was steeped in a system of rules, without being governed by a dogmatic component or even a sacerdotal body, namely a system which would oversee the human conscience and behavior. The gods in the ancient Greek religion were perceived as having had a part in the creation of the world, but not as its creators. Despite this, the engagement of the divine and, in the early age, of religion as a component of social life, was perceived by the human mind through the prism of authority. To this latter case belong the Christian God, the Muslim God, and of course, their source, the Jewish God.

This difference is crucial insofar as the creative God reserves for itself the unique truth and, beyond, the absolute power over the whole world, including human societies. This system would not have particular significance if its application were limited to the “society of heaven.” However, the ‘servants’ of God on earth often resorted to its ‘argument’ in order to justify their claim, or at least the realities of an ‘absolute power.’ The meaning of ‘absolute truth’ involves, in this case, a corresponding authentic and doctrinal construction of the regulatory framework of the heteronomic relationship between the human being and God and, truly, the determination of the guardians of this truth, which in this case are its clergy. That explains why the priests in the Hellenic religion remain in the temple, serve the sanctuary, where the individual or the public seek them out, while the clergy of the creator God often seeks to assume roles in the social and political life of the people5.

However, this general point has only partial value. To the extent to which we have accepted that the secular place and function of religion is consistent with the character of the cosmosystem, we can conclude from the start that, when the factual conditions demanded it, it assumed corresponding secular roles. In other words, the constitution of the clergy as a sacerdotal body and, as such, as a system of power over the secular society does not ultimately depend on the type of religion and the will of the clergy, but on the despotic and anthropocentric constitution and the corresponding phase that society itself is going through. It depends more particularly on the antagonistic energy that the secular power or society is ready to oppose, or, in another context, on the anthropocentric development of the cosmosystem.

In the first case, we point out the Egyptian example, from which we consider that the Hellenic world drew the substance of its religion, but not its logic. In the Egyptian example, the divine, without having to evoke an absolute truth, established a sacerdotal body, whereas in the Hellenic example it did not. Nevertheless, the political uses of religion were not unknown to the Hellenic world, nor did they ignore them. Kritias was clear on this point, when he said that “the fear of the gods” 6 and the feeling that “with his mind (god) hears whatever the mortals say and sees whatever they do”7, create an image of omnipotence, which the possessors of power over the mortals on earth invoke.

However, even if society is anthropocentric, the relationship between politics and religion is converted into a relationship between the state and the power of the clergy, as long as society is experiencing, in this case, its early cosmosystemic phase. It is precisely the case of modern society, whose foundations, representations and values, and along with them, the institutional status of religion, correspond to the post-feudal or proto-anthropocentric period of the cosmosystem8.

Thus, so long as society is evolving in anthropocentric terms, it regains religious responsibility as far as individual and collective life is concerned. In the first period, the question is focused on how the power will be distributed between the system/clergy and the state/system. In the second period, the recovery of religious responsibility by the social body is part of a broader political project which corresponds to an advanced phase of anthropocentric integration, based on which the body of citizens, constituted politically as a demos, absorbs the essence of political function. From the autonomy of political power one reaches the political autonomy of society.

This general point explains precisely the previous point that the uses of religion for secular ends is not particular to the monotheistic religions and thus to Christianity. Already during the early period of the city-state, the king simultaneously possessed supreme religious and political responsibility, having reduced the clergy to a servant of the sanctuary and its power.

Something similar was considered in more modern times, when the agent of state despotism, the absolute monarch, was invested at the same time with the supreme religious responsibility. This usurpation of the leadership of the ecclesiastical hierarchy proved necessary to the extent that the monarch was faced with the already constructed system of ‘private despotism’ and the related clergy, which took the form of state despotism. From another point of view, this choice demonstrates the degree to which religion is subjected, in the final analysis, to the living cosmosystemic reality. Because, this time, even though Europe, in its anthropocentric conversion, essentially encountered the system of the Byzantine cosmopolis, which saw the Church through the prism of an ecumenical anthropocentrism, it came to adapt to the conditions of the transitional state despotism.

Conversely, this latter system of Byzantium is the alternative paradigm based on which every religion – even if the core of logic is despotic – should not be inevitably transformed into a sacerdotal system on earth. The secular state retains, in this case, the universal political authority, which is also extended to the religious domain and, furthermore, also covers its institutional agent, in the case of Christianity, the Church. The principle of ‘distinction of roles’ suggests precisely the restrictive delimitation of the Church’s domain within the temple and the administration of the sanctuary, under the high aegis of the secular state, which functions as guardian of the common interest.9

This system, which was elevated by the Hellenic city of the democratic period, was linked constantly with the diffusion of universal political authority in the social body (the demos). The identification of the assembly (ecclesia) of the citizens with the assembly (ecclesia) of Christian faithful involved the direct administration of ‘church’ matters by the common people and even in the subordination of the clergy itself to its authority (with regard to its moral behavior, its election, etc.).

b. The modern political project and ecclesiastical systems within the Union

This general theoretical scheme, which derives from a pragmatological study of history, suggests that the world today is unaware of the second alternative component, according to which the social body maintains the universal authority not only of its individual life but also of its collective life and, subsequently, the authority to regulate the major issues which concern it, including religion. The project of modernity is focused exclusively on religious individuality, but not on the political dimensions of religion.10 The citizen, in this context, has the right to be religious or not, to grade the extent of his faith. He does not, however, possess the authority, not even the elementary right, to intervene in the formation of the regulatory framework much less religious doctrine in his interpretation, to judge its applications and, even less, in the administration of the system of the Church. The above functions, the political dimension of religion, belong to the agents of the Church, the clergy, which additionally has theocratic legitimacy. In this sense the power of the sacerdotal body differs from the pure political or secular power which, at the phase which the world is passing through today, is at least, more or less, legitimized by the social body.

Ιn this context, the developments of the European societies and particularly the result of the recent enlargement of the political Europe to include the countries of central and eastern Europe, brings the said societies up against new phenomena related to the systems which regulate the relationship of the Church and the state as well as the question of the religious individuality of its members.

The ecclesiastical system within the European Union appears in four different versions: (a) the separation of Church and state; (b) the embodiment of political and ecclesiastical power by the agent of the supreme political hierarchy of the state; (c) the approach of the Church as part of the public domain, that is, as an institution of public law, which is under the political authority of the state, in terms of supervision and not administration. In this case, the agent of political power does not possess ecclesiastical power, which entirely maintains its internal autonomy. The Church, for its part, is bound to move within the context of the regulative environment of the state and with its restricting authority being the function of the sanctuary. It is not, therefore, entitled to engage in secular activities in the sense that it is an institution of the so-called “civil society.” This is because, among other things, it represents, in the final analysis, a universal system of viewing the world, an alternative to the secular state, not its component outcome, such as, for example, the economic sub-system; (d) Finally, we distinguish the particular characteristics of the religious minorities, such as the Islamic, the Jewish, etc.

The first case is represented by the Catholic Church, which, because of its rigid despotic legacy, managed to maintain its unity, to resist the dynamic of political sovereignty of the state and to avert its nationalization. The non-nationalization of the Church suggests that it preserves a primary supra-official political reference, which translates into a kind of ‘state within a state’: it maintains the quasi-complete autonomy within its system and a broad network of secular activities beyond its immediate religious authority, inherited from the earlier despotic past of its societies. It is not by chance that, even in countries like France, which declare the ‘lay’ construction of the state, the private education system – this largely forms the individual in terms of freedom and citizenship – belongs to the church, whereas the policies of the church are decided by the Vatican state, which naturally appoints the national ecclesiastic hierarchy.

Thus, the reduction of the institutional presence of the Church in the state, which was achieved with the separation, was offset significantly, on the one hand by the creation of the parties, trade unions, and so on with a religious reference, and on the other hand, by the search for an immediate influence on the political behavior of the individual, which involves the co functioning, if not the confusion of the quality of the citizen with the quality of the believer. At the same time, the position of the Church in society will remain intact.

The second case pertains to the Protestant countries, which also maintain close institutional connections with their own despotic past and particularly with the phase of transition from despotism to the anthropocentric cosmosystem. It is the case of Great Britain, the Scandinavian countries, etc, where the monarch is at the same time head of the Church. Even where the political system is republican – for example, in the United States, the “fundamentalist” logic of Protestantism remains strong among the ecclesiastical institutions, which also explains their active presence in the social activities, as expressed in the ‘spirit of Protestantism’ in economic and social life11.

The third case emanates from the Orthodox countries, which present significant differences among them. The Orthodox Church, in its Hellenic version, which was forged in the context of the city, did not lose its historical traits except for during the 19th and 20th century, with its passage to the state-nation. It is precisely under this system that Christianity was conceived as the Church (ecclesia), by translating the assembly (the ecclesia) demos of the faithful and thus the retention of the universal authority of the social body for the religion. Moreover, Hellenic Christianity, subject to the fundamental principle of anthropocentric integration, which recognizes the right to autonomy in each individual or group, was not formed in a solid hierarchical system, with the result being that, in the context of the state-nation, the religious cultural experience continues to contribute widely to the formation of the national identity, to be ‘nationalized’ and to be confirmed as an institution of the public space. Finally, having adopted the principle of ‘belonging’ of religion in a universal political authority, Hellenic Christianity will be subjected this time to the state, which will embody the political system.

This ‘nationalization’ of the Church, in combination with the fact that in the Hellenic world ‘Orthodoxy’ is conceived rather as a cultural component, according to the precedent of the Hellenic religion, encouraged the Church to demonstrate a certain sensitivity in issues inherent in the overall society12. Thus, the Orthodox Church was connected with its interest in national affairs, namely, in the community of the believers, rather than in a function that would refer to the formation of the religious conscience of the individual or in actions consistent with the meaning of the so-called ‘society of citizens.’ This logic is an extension of the integrated anthropocentric hypothesis that religion constitutes a fundamental parameter of the individual and the collective conscience of society.

3. Cultural return of religion or retreat of the Churches?

We retain, however, that nowadays we observe crucial changes in the issue of religion and, furthermore, of the Church, which at first sight seem contradictory: although we observe a significant return of religion, at the same time, and as a matter of fact in Europe13, we see the authority of the Church decreasing. This means that the return is taking place at a time when the individual is being emancipated from the anthropocentric point of view, so that even if it does not assume the authority of collective life and, beyond, the management of its own affairs, nevertheless it moves further and further away from the dependences of power.

Religion, in this new environment, functions more as an element of cultural differentiation or support for the social insecurities and the metaphysical needs of the individual, rather than as a vehicle of subordination to the authority of the clergy. It happens then, just as in the relationship between society and politics, the political development (or politicization) and the political participation of the individual count, not as a statistical fact (which demonstrates the degree of attachment to the forces of mediation) but in terms of the actual time which it devotes to politics.

In this new environment, religion frequently emerges as a key factor in the formation of the collective identity and, indeed, as the cultural bond which holds society to the political power. The first of these functions of religion is already obvious in the stage of the formation of the national conscience of the Hellenic world (Herodotus). It is essentially about the cultural ‘consciousness’ of religion, which does not include its institutional factors.

Religion, as grantor of cultural identity, therefore constitutes a typical political phenomenon which is called upon to contribute to the formation of the individual’s consciousness of society. It does not testify in itself to a political responsibility of the religious agent, namely the clergy. In modern terms, that means that the contribution of religion to the formation of the national identity does not legitimize the authority of the Church for the nation and, furthermore, for the so-called national affairs. The latter and, of course, the nation are secular matters which elude the function of the sanctuary and, as such, belong to the agent of the universal political authority. Going a bit further, one could claim that this development, in an anthropocentric environment, makes a case for the transfer of the responsibility for religious matters to the political power and, in the long term, to society. In no case, however, does it legitimize the Church to broaden its power or to have a say and, indeed, responsibility for the “national interest.” The nation, as mentioned, is primarily a political concept, which in the present anthropocentric stage, belongs to the authority of the state/system. It is precisely this which legitimizes the state to subordinate society as well as the institutions of the country (and in this case, the Church) under its authority.14

This remark, seen in the climate of the developments of our time, combines with two major changes: one, the multi-cultural evolution of national societies of the anthropocentric vanguard, which is caused as much by pre-existing ethnic and other groups subjected to the ‘sovereign nation’ as by the imported ‘labor/merchandise,’ that is, the economic immigrants. The latter, in fact, more than the domestic ethnic groups, are also different at the religious level. That means that, under present conditions, from which the strategy of integration into society and consensus with the state emerges, this policy cannot pass through the classical way, i.e., by means of their assimilation to the dominant version of the nation.

Religion, as an element of identity, proves in this context to be nonfunctional for the integration of the different ‘other.’ Consequently, it is necessary to rearrange the elements that make up the concept of collective identity, with the processing of a body of new symbolic or substantive assumptions which would mobile all the members of society. This rearrangement, as we have seen before, will unavoidably pass through the ‘politeian’ experience.

The ‘politeian’ identity, in its integrated version, defines a society which enjoys freedom in all dimensions, i.e., the individual, social and political domains. This idea, even in its early version, requires the nation-state to consider freedom as a fundamental trait at two supplementary levels, beyond the collective: in the relationship between society and the state, and in the recognition of the multicultural formation of the nation.

An additional point concerns the nature of religion – we assume, every religion – as un-national15. Although it was an element of usurpation by the cultural groups in order, as we have seen, to form their particular identity, religion never ceased to traverse through the ethnic and, more widely, the cultural collectivities. In particular, Christianity saw, and in one sense sees, the nation and the state as ills of the social person which disorient him from the transcendent of the ‘end.’

The remarks above demonstrate that the place of religion in the human identity system depends on its function as a cultural experience and not as a religious system. By religion we mean the content of life and not a metaphysical pursuit. This differentiation is also linked to the essence of Christianity, which, having elaborated a global system for life and the human being, which projects the ‘society of heaven’ as a model and as an ‘end’, goes against the idea of a truly anthropocentric concept of society on earth16. Hence, although its founder, Jesus Christ, teaches the dual nature of man, as member of the ‘society of the state’ and of the ‘society of God,’ his agents on Earth find it difficult to reconcile themselves with the anthropocentric destination of the state.

These points lead to the conclusion that the contribution of religion to the formation of human identity is basically connected with its significance in cultural life, which in turn depends on the cosmosystemic environment which every period or society traverses. On the contrary, religion as a secular system, particularly as a metaphysical reference, undermines not only the nation but also the anthropocentric state.

It is precisely here that the question of European identity acquires a special importance. Indeed, the national project acts as a deterrent to the construction of an autonomous European collectivity, owing to the fact that its components and its political background are not sufficient to support such a step, while at the same time the meaning of the nation has become identified with the fundamental state. Necessarily, therefore, European identity must draw its content from its historical sources (Hellenic anthropocentrism), from its everyday life, and the sociopolitical dimension of the anthropocentric superiority (freedom, rights, prosperity, etc.) which Europe represents.

Thus, the European ‘politeian’ identity, which draws on the cultural background and the socioeconomic and political life of Europe, includes the components of religion and, indeed, the nation. However, it does not lodge in either religion or the nation. In addition, religion as well as the nation has a tendency to diverge and not converge in relation to the public or common European space. They are partial collective identities that are registered in the multi-cultural constitution of the Union, and, from another point of view, are constituent elements of European civilization. As such, they come together on the pivot of the European idea and, furthermore, on the project of a collectivity based on freedom.

It would not, however, be inopportune to suppose that religion could, under certain circumstances, disturb the European political project, on more than one level: firstly, because it represents, as we have seen, a supra-national and, certainly, supra-state identity, whose ‘end’ is very different; secondly, because it is burdened with mentalities and institutional or cultural remnants of its feudal/despotic past. The threat for Europe will not come, obviously, from a new ‘feudalization’ of its societies, which would be managed by the Church or by the rise of a ‘Christian fundamentalism.’ It conceals, however, the risk of a possible resurgence of the religious identity to the detriment of elements of the identity that result from the anthropocentric background of its societies. This threat does not announce, despite all the evidence, the return of the Church to politics or the widening of its power network in society. It subscribes to a framework of the citizen-believer relationship, which, although it does not on its own lead to political fundamentalism, finds itself at the base of an approach of politics through the prism of religion.

It is in this confusion that the argument of the so-called ‘clash of civilizations’ is founded, that is, the definition of civilization in religious terms and, consequently, the political projection of religion, which nevertheless conceals the intention of a new strategic demarcation of the world. The relative loosening of the doctrine which consolidates the political sovereignty of the state, in exchange for the possibility of the ‘different’ being institutionalized itself, could be connected in time and space to the fears fed by the dynamic of anthropocentric ‘homogenization’ of the whole cosmosystem. This development directly threatens the feudalistic or proto-anthropocentric roots of societies with collapse. In this case, religion could constitute the main distinguishing factor of the national identity.

In societies in anthropocentric transition, religion, particularly the revealing religion, is likely to give rise to fundamentalism. In societies, however, which have a solid anthropocentric background, religion functions simply as provider of the content of political rivalry. As such, the assertion that European identity could not be built with the materials of the nation or of religion, leads us to the conclusion that, to the degree to which it will develop, it will keep an increasingly small secular role in the Churches.

Indeed, we find the equivalent of this European identity in the Hellenic cosmosystemic identity17. The constitution of the Hellenic societies in terms of cosmosystem functioned as a vehicle for the lodging of the ‘different’ (ethnic, etc.). The foundation of this cosmosystemic perception of national identity was global freedom, which had as its natural space the city-state and, as vehicle, the quality of citizenship.

4. The prospect of the relationship of religion and politics in the European Union

The question of the relationship between religion and politics at the level of the European Union remains endosystemic and even apologetic about the system. The project of separation of Church and state was praised as exhaustively democratic. Hence, it returns to the fore as the ideal solution to the problem. However, this solution may be compared, in terms of progress, only with the preceding system, not with the democratic principle. This is because it allows the Church to escape political authority, to maintain its despotic structure intact and its secular power in society without restrictions.

On the other hand, the subordination of the Church to the state recognizes the responsibility of politics in a major social issue, such as religion, and, furthermore, its institutional agent, the clergy. However, it suffers from the ‘primariness’ of the modern political system and, more concretely, from the fact that it is based on the axiom of exclusion of society from it.

This means that the approach of modernity to religion is inseparable from the central question which concerns the concept of the political phenomenon: how to establish a relationship between the private society and the (ecclesiastic and political) authority, capable of preventing the likely impairment of individual freedom. The question of ecclesiastical power and, consequently, of the agent which creates the regulatory framework of religion and controls the conscience and the correctness of individual behavior does not enter this inquiry. It is regarded as self-evident that religious authority belongs to the power/system of the Church/clergy, just as politics/system remain in the state.

It is precisely here that the problem resides. The way in which one considers the relationship between Church and state or Church and society is directly linked to the general philosophy which governs the formation of the relationship between society and politics and, essentially, the development of freedom. The dilemma, in this context, is not to choose between the private and the public Church, but between a Church which is limited to the space of its ‘end’, the management of the clergy, and a Church secular system or, put differently, between the Church of the demos of believers and the despotic Church.

The prospect for an anthropocentric transition of modern societies promises a new relationship between the social and the political, which in time could institutionally integrate the social body into the political process, transformed into a demos. Then, obviously, the Church will also be called upon to draw legitimacy from society, at least with regard to the power of its agents, while at the same time, the demos, the politically constructed society, will seek analogous responsibility in matters of faith.

This change in the relationship between the social and the political falls under the process of a passage from the modern pre-representative to the representative system.18 This transition will undoubtedly revive the ‘democratic’ principle of the political system and, furthermore, restore the clergy in the sanctuary. This is because, in the final analysis, the progressive emancipation of society is not focused unidimensionally on the area of secular life, but on all the dimensions of social and political space, concerning its autonomy.

Consequently, going beyond the Church/system does not contradict the religiousness of the human being. Quite to the contrary, it allows him to feel, at the same time, faithful and emancipated with respect to the religious power, just as the ‘fading’ of the state/system does not abolish the political, but restores it to its natural beneficiary, society. In other words, the prospect of this development concerns democracy, while in another sense, will facilitate circumvention of a major divisive threat for Europe and the construction of its ‘politieian’ identity.

Put another way, just as the ecclesiastical division of Europe was the result of its cosmosystemic diversification – a consequence of the feudalization of its western half – and beyond that, of politics, so in the same way the meeting in anthropocentric terms of the European world, and indeed, its political reunification, may involve the Churches in some form of unity. The question is obviously not focused on doctrinal or institutional reunification, but on the acceptance of a minimally cultural pluralism concerning the applications of religious life and in the processing of a minimum of synergies in the context of their own responsibility.

Insofar as the religions are approached in light of the political authority of the social body, or of their immediate representatives, their agents (the Churches, etc.) will be removed from their logic of the ‘system,’ which founds religious power, and furthermore, from the fundamental principle which more or less invests in the division rather than in the unity of the Churches.

1The references to the relevant bibliography are superfluous, since modern political science without exception approaches the political phenomenon not in terms of its nature, but in the way in which it is structured in its period: as power, and indeed, as the state which embodies the political system. For more, in our work, “Politics as phenomenon” in St. Alexandropoulos (Dir.), The Future of Social Sciences in Greece, Rethymnon, 1999, pp. 175-227.

2The political conceptualization of the so-called “civil society” does not refute the fact that the political system remains closely attached to the principle of the dichotomy between society and politics. The forces that emanate from the civil society intercede in the political system from without because they do not constitute part of it. The political system is integrally embodied in the state.

3This approach to the political phenomenon is based on the realities of the city-state, from which one discovers the panorama of its global typology. See our work, The Hellenic Cosmosystem, Vol. 1, Athens, 2006.

4The social question is connected as to its political character by the gravity of its significance. On the contrary, the phenomena which depend on the nature and the function of the political system (e.g., the election of the political personnel) are, by definition, political.

5See Andre Grjebin, Un monde sans dieux. Plaidoyer pour une société ouverte, Paris, 1998, p. 133 etc.

6 «θεών δέος…»

7 «…ος παν μεν το λεχθέν εν βροτοίς ακούσεται, το δρώμενον δε παν ιδείν δυνήσεται…»

8More in our work, The Hellenic Cosmosystem, Vol. 1, pg. 21 etc.

9 Indeed, in the Byzantine system, the king had the Church under his authority in his qualiity of holder of the governmental authority. The same system was applied in the context of the Byzantine cities, which had the exclusive authority over the clergy. However, head of the Church was the Ecumenical Council. On the other hand, the absolute monarch in the modern transition had been invested with the status of head of the Church. See the related work, Marcel Gauchet, La religion dans la démocratie, Paris, 1998. Dominique Le Tourneau, L’Eglise et l’Etat en France, Paris, 2000.

10 From which we often see a profound social conservatism together with a conception of the economy that diverts them from their social function.

11For a more detailed approach to this question, see our work, “Religion et politique dans le monde hellène. Le paradigme grec et les église ‘occidentales’ et `slaves’” Pôle Sud, 17/2002, pp 81-97.

12Particularly when the holder of political authority is directly the society which is constituted as a demos, as in representative and, indeed, in democratic systems.

13See, among others, Rene Rémond, Religion et société en Europe. Essai sur la sécularisation des sociétés européennes aux XIXe et XXe siècles (1789-1998), Paris, 1998. By the same author, Le christianisme en accusation, Paris, 2000. However, even in the Arab world, the uses of politics and, furthermore, the reinforcement of the power role of the agents of religion, goes through the political, by means of its national function and its representations in the lower social layers.

14 We point out that, on the contrary, in democratic and in one sense in representative systems, the social aim of politics delegitimizes the State and places in its stead the social body as holder of the universal political authority. For more, see our works, “Politics as phenomenon”, op. cit.; Citizen and city. Concept and typology of Citizenship, Athens, 2003.

15And more generally, all the revelatory or monotheistic religions, particularly Judaism and Islam, See, among others, A. Grjebine, op. cit., pg. 154 etc.

16 Op. cit.

17 G. Contogeorgis, The Hellenic Cosmosystem, op. cit.; by the same author, “Samuel Huntington et le choc des civilisations. “Civilisation religieuse” ou cosmosystème?”, in Pôle Sud, revue de science politique, 14/2001, pp.107-127 and a more developed version, in Revista de Historia das Ideias, 24/2003.

18On the non-representative character of the modern political system and more generally on the typology of the political system in pre-representative, representative democratic systems, see G. Contogeorgis, Democracy as Freedom. Democracy and Representation, Athens, 2007.

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