Volume 32, 2015
Making and Un-Making Modern Japan
Civil Religion in Greece
A Study in the Theory of Multiple Modernities
The article examines the moral sources and the cultural codifications of civil religion in Greece as this has been shaped by a series of historical contingencies and social forces. It identifies a certain developmental process from a “sponsored” by state and church civil religion (1830–1974) to an autonomous civil religion (1974–today). This development was not the result of an automatic process of social differentiation, but a cultural mutation caused by historical contingencies and the presence of charismatic social elites that instigated the change. Following the premises of the theory of multiple modernities, the analysis identifies foundational cultural patterns on which both sponsored and autonomous civil religions are based upon, patterns that can be traced back to Orthodox religious ontological and cosmological principles as well as visions of the moral self. These premises became the modality of a modern and secular, yet, schismogenetic civil religion that functions simultaneously as a force of social cohesion and of social rupture.