Christianity, Democracy, and the Shadow of Constantine

About the book:

The collapse of communism in eastern Europe has forced traditionally Eastern Orthodox countries to consider the relationship between Christianity and liberal democracy. Contributors examine the influence of Constantinianism in both the post-communist Orthodox world and in Western political theology. Constructive theological essays feature Catholic and Protestant theologians reflecting on the relationship between Christianity and democracy, as well as Orthodox theologians reflecting on their tradition’s relationship to liberal democracy. The essays explore prospects of a distinctively Christian politics in a post-communist, post-Constantinian age.

About the editors:

George E. Demacopoulos is Fr. John Meyendorff & Patterson Family Chair in Orthodox Christian Studies at Fordham University. His most recent books are Gregory the Great, The Invention of Peter, and Five Models of Spiritual Direction in the Church.

Aristotle Papanikolaou is Archbishop Demetrios Chair in Orthodox Theology and Culture at Fordham University. His most recent books are The Mystical as Political: Democracy and Non-Radical Orthodoxy and Being with God: Trinity, Apophaticism and Divine-Human Communion.


Judge quote:

The sheer originality of this project – filling a much-needed void in the West’s conversation about the encounter between the theological and the political – introduces Eastern Orthodox perspectives into the conversation.  Expanding the conversation beyond the Protestant-Catholic dichotomy dominating the discipline of political theology, the collection of essays focuses the discussion on the church-state relationship in the post-Constantinian church with a twist – by looking at this relationship in light of Orthodox Christianity’s unique Constantinian relationship to the state during the era of Soviet Communism and its transformation after the collapse of Communism.  This book deserves a wide audience and will hopefully transform the discipline by challenging the dominant narrative of Western liberal democracies that religion in the public discourse must maintain an illusion of neutrality by articulating a confessional public theology that nonetheless values and respects pluralism and fosters cooperation with the religious or ideological other for the sake of the common good.