Volume 38, 2021

Thirty Years of ProtoSociology

Manussos Marangudakis, Theodoros Chadjipadelis
Pages 244-269

The Transcendental and the Immanent as Liturgical Experience – the Greek Orthodox Case

The essay is a quantitative analysis of a questionnaire distributed to a sample of 775 worshipers immediately after the Sunday Liturgy in a random number of churches in Athens, Thessaloniki and Mytilini. The questions addressed to them try to grasp feelings and thoughts felt during liturgical experience and effervescence as such, as well as reflections concerning the religious and the political self. The findings suggest that the liturgy has profound effects on those who attend service often, but it is not irrelevant even to those who attend service less often. Those who attend service often and feel strongly the liturgical rite tend to identify religion, both doctrinal and vernacular (the ‘little traditions’), with politics, consider themselves to be rightist and hold political beliefs revolving around antinomian egotism and authoritative paternalism. Those who attend service rarely and do not experience any effervescence, as the mirror-image of the former, tend to identify themselves as leftist and hold political beliefs revolving around revolution, defiance and the like, and reject democratic institutions. The study underlines the very close connection of church attendance to ‘magical’ aspects of the Orthodox religion, as well as the very strong presence of icons in the life of the believers irrespective of their frequency of liturgical attendance.