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Symphonia : Politics harmoniously conjoined with Religion ?

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PostPosted: Sat May 23, 2015 9:15 pm    Post subject: Symphonia : Politics harmoniously conjoined with Religion ? Reply with quote

I have been racking my brains for a rhyme for ' Snowdonia ' and ' Estonia ' because I ... er ... I sort of hurt the Estonian Ambassador's feelings yesterday and I want to apologise ... I thought that one of my proemsical pieces might help ... well, at least my searching for a rhyme has turned up " Symphonia " - incidently, this piece of writing has otherwise nothing to do with either Estonians or Ambassadors ... or any of those orchestras named " Symphonia " ...


Post Script ... I am so relieved to have been ineffectual and therefore purposefully ignored ... Embarassed


"Discussing his visit to Wales, and Cardiff University, the Ambassador said: "I am truly delighted to pay my first official visit to Wales accompanied by colleagues from the Embassy at the time of the Vale Glamorgan Music Festival. Especially while the festival is dedicated to the 80th anniversary of the world-famous Estonian composer Arvo Pärt. It is a great pleasure to bring to the Welsh people the Estonian music performed by the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir and Tallinn Chamber Orchestra. ... I had concise meetings in
an open atmosphere with distinguished representatives of Cardiff and Wales as well as mutually enlightening discussions at the School of Welsh. I am sincerely thankful for the warm hospitality of Welsh people and hope to have a chance to visit Wales again soon."

( And not only do I hope that the Estonians come back but also that they teach our politicians how to do the job correctly i.e. with an independent court and a proper written constitution.)

( I sent the Estonian Ambassador a book as a sort of apology and assurance of peace between our two nations - " Buildings and Places in Welsh History " - )



... " συμφωνία " as an idea was as well meaning as I usually am ... but really it belongs to Czarist Russia ... as did the country which was once called Livonia ...

I do not think that I am going to try to do other than cull some information about Symphonia tonight ... but my own preoccupation is with the way in which in The United Kingdom the public debate about morality has been evaded by demoting the value of religion and consigning it to a supposedly private matter when by definition this equates the elaboration of individualised spiritualities with the collective public practice of comparing them which I deem to be religion. What The People in The United Kingdom lack The People in The Republic of Ireland have just demonstrated yesterday : they have just been going through months of vigorous public religious debate over the matter of same sex i.e. homosexual marriage and in a national referendum have granted it by collective mandate - and note that this was The People of Ireland who were deciding to reject the long established teachings of The Catholic Church in Ireland, demonstrating to the rest of us how Republicanism is not just a political but also religious in character. In contrast, Democrats deny that their political parties are ' religious ' and so they behave like Mormons - excepting that they never visit us at home nor treat us with any courtesy or respect : you blindly assert your egotistic willful unexamined ideologies and are not only mutually uninterested in other points of view but hysterically denounce those of us critical of your own. You Democrats in Wales are particularly tiresome ... so let me do some religion here and offer you a word of advice : your denunciations of Republicans in Wales would be a lot more convincing if in your advocacy of your " Demockery " you demonstrated any knowledge of what the definition of Democracy is. ... You would not dare use such hate speech of Republicans in Wales if we were homosexuals with votes - or paedophiles with peerages ...

Huge Republic of Ireland vote for gay marriage - http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-32858501

For those who do not understand that Republicanism encompasses so much more than politics, think of the difference between religion and politics as being that between morality and ethics : if a decision has no economic consequences or if it involves negligable expenditure by The State then the policy being enforced by law is essentially religious. If The State however is being used to prescribe or proscribe certain moralities and the politicians are not admitting to this being religious and are refusing any public moral debate, then look to who has obtained control over The State - it will be a Hierarchy. The suppression of publicly conducted debate about morality is not ' The Separation of Church and State ' which is envisaged by Republicanism : religion as the publicly conducted debate about morality is the necessary check and counterbalance to politics as the publicly conducted debate about ethics, and these two should never be absolutely estranged nor absolutely antagonists but forever in an open and publicly conducted dialogue. In my own model - " The Book " is surely immanent now, any decade or so soon - there ought to be at least six such public conversations being conducted by those of us in " The Open Conspiracy " - we need debates about our Spiritualities, Religions, Politics, Economics, Sciences and The Arts ... In Ancient Byzantium, where they tried to put the idea of " συμφωνία " into practice, something like " The Open Conspiracy " governed an empire.


The field of political ethics examines three specific areas: 1.) Church-state relations, 2.) responsibilities of the state towards its people, and 3.) the responsibility of the people towards their state. Focusing on the political history of the Orthodox Church and taking an Orthodox Christian perspective, this article will primarily turn to Stanley S. Harakas for ethical commentary.

Harakas argues for four possible categories of Church-state relations :
Separation of church and state. In this case, the state can be neutral, friendly, or antagonistic to the church.

Papocaesarism (theocracy). The church, or religious authority, is the government.

Caesaropapism. The church is governed by the state.

Symphonia theory. The church and state are complementary and exhibit mutual respect.

" ... Politics and governance as social institutions are viewed by Orthodox Christianity as part of the divine plan for humanity. In light of this, the primary goal of the Orthodox Church is to seek a cooperative position with the state. Emperor Justinian I expressed this position when he said, "A distinction is drawn between the imperial authority and the priesthood, the former being concerned with human affairs and the latter with things divine; the two are regarded as closely interdependent, but, at least in theory, neither is subordinated to the other." This statement embodies the "Harmony," "Concord" or Symphonia Theory, which has been generally characteristic of Orthodox thinking about the state and was historically set in place in the Christianized Roman Empire from 321-1453 A.D. and described by scholars as the Byzantine Empire. ... The Symphonia Theory upholds the ideal principles to which the Church and state should strive for. ... Within the vision of the Symphonia Theory, the Church encourages her members to take on political involvement in a healthy manner. She calls for her members to be good citizens, to be aware of the issue at hand, to make oneself informed, and to speak up on issues when the necessity arises. This way the voice of the Church is heard by the government and society. With Orthodox Christians involved in the political system, the Church has the capability of affecting the social conscience. Without effective Orthodox Christian thinkers and activists in the political structure, the Church is reduced to a mere spectator, forcing her to become disconnected with the world in which she resides. ... "

" ... According to Orthodox Tradition, human behavior grows out of one’s relationship with God. A human being acts on his or her personal experience, faith, knowledge, and every other aspect of the person. The human person also has a complete responsibility for his or her actions and will be held accountable. ... So what does an Orthodox Christian do in a political position? The Orthodox Christian faces the same ethical challenges as every other political actor. The challenge of lust is the greatest challenge anyone will face--lust for power, money, even sex. They are all the hottest scandals that hit the front page of the news paper. The question for the Orthodox Christian is not an ethical one, but a question of the very person that he or she claims to be. When asked in an interview, “How will you conduct yourself now that you will be working in the office of this prominent politician?” an Orthodox Christian correctly responded, “Sir, it is not this office which defines who I am, but my faith and duty as an Orthodox Christian which represents my character.” ... "


After the USSR fell apart the new regime which took control of Russia turned to the Orthodox Church as a force for stability in a fragmenting society, which sounds like a good idea until you realise that the Orthodox Church was dependent upon the backing of the 19c Russian Empire and they mutually shored each other up with the defence of Orthodox Christianity becoming an argument for the extension of the rule of the Czars ( and thus also a reason for the USSR to set out to undermine if not outrightly destroy Orthodox Christianity because of its supportive relationship with the Czardom.) It appears to be dependent upon the new regime and the pattern is repeating itself with non-Orthodox religious groups being oppressed and sometimes violently attacked in countries which are using Christian Orthodox churches as their means to create and enforce a national identity ... and homosexuals are notably vulnerable -


" ... The Constitution of Georgia recognizes the special role of the Georgian Orthodox Church in the country's history, but also stipulates the independence of the church from the state. The relations between them are regulated by the Constitutional Agreement of 2002. It is the only religious institution to have received official recognition in Georgia. ... Many churches and monasteries have been rebuilt or renovated since independence, often with help from the state or wealthy individuals. The Church has enjoyed good relations with all three Presidents of Georgia since independence was restored. However, tensions subsist within the Church itself regarding its participation in the ecumenical movement, which Patriarch Ilia II had endorsed (he served as head of the World Council of Churches between 1977 and 1983). Opposition to ecumenism was fueled by fears of massive proselytizing by Protestant denominations in Georgia. In 1997, faced with open dissension from leading monks, Ilia II rescinded Church participation in international ecumenical organizations, though he stopped short of denouncing ecumenism as "heresy". Opposition against Protestant missionary activity has remained strong in contemporary Georgia, and even led to episodes of violence. ... "


" ... According to the New York Times, "In many of the former republics of the Soviet Union, including Russia, the birth of freedom has brought with it religious tensions, particularly between the predominant Orthodox churches and newly emergent religions and sects. But Georgia is unique in the intensity of the violence toward religious minorities, and in the evidence of official complicity in the attacks." ... According to a 2001-AUG report Human Rights Watch: "Non-Orthodox Christian worshippers throughout Georgia have been the targets of at least eighty violent attacks by civilian groups in the past two years. The government has made no serious efforts to criminally investigate-let alone prosecute-the perpetrators, and in some cases, police themselves violently broke up prayer gatherings. Attacks have grown more frequent with the ensuing atmosphere of impunity. Assailants stalk worshippers on their way to or from prayer meetings, or break up prayer meetings in private homes. They beat congregants, at times inflicting serious injuries, ransack private homes, destroy property, and burn religious literature. The assailants target the victims because of their faith and seek to intimidate congregants into abandoning their religious practices." ... "

http://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/what-was-behind-georgias-anti-gay-rally - MAY 23, 2013 - BY NATALIA ANTELAVA

What Was Behind Georgia’s Anti-Gay Rally?

It was a gathering of clergymen worthy of a religious festival: a line of dozens of bearded priests in black robes, with heavy silver crosses hanging on their chests. And yet, you couldn’t imagine a less holy march. The clergymen led a huge mob along the main street of Tbilisi, the capital of the Republic of Georgia, through a police cordon, and toward a small group of visibly nervous young men and women who had set out to mark the International Day Against Homophobia. ... “Fuck your mothers,” a priest shouted. ... Another priest came armed with a stool. Their followers carried rocks, sticks, and crucifixes. “Kill them! Don’t let them leave alive,” they screamed. ... They smashed heads, windows of shops, and a minibus in which activists tried to escape. Twelve people, including three policemen, were seriously injured. ... "

HAVE A LOOK AT HOW THE BBC DESCRIBED THE GEORGIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH - http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-23103853

Religion and Violence: An Encyclopedia of Faith and Conflict from Antiquity ... By Jeffrey Ian Ross, Senior Research Associate Center for Communitarian Policy Studies ... P259 - I have not the time to copy out stuff that I can not cut and paste - see :

Orthodoxy and Symphonia

Orthodoxy and Symbolic Violence

Orthodoxy and Nation Building in South Eastern Europe and Russia

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PostPosted: Sun Jun 07, 2015 9:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

When I wrote this rather ropey piece on " Symphonia " I thought that it was obscure even for me - but without mentioning the word this issue was discussed on BBC Radio 4 's " Sunday " - to begin with they discuss the present ' no its not a war ' in Ukraine and then at around 10.30 into this they discuss Pussy Riot being arrested in the cathedral in 2012 [ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pussy_Riot - The women said that their protest was directed at the Orthodox Church leader's support for Putin during his election campaign.] ... about 19.30 what used to be a really bad anti-semiticism is discussed .. 23.30 the Muslims ... 28.00 the Catholics' role in dismantling the USSR and then parting ways with the Orthodox ... 31.30 the relationship between the Orthodox Church and The Russian State ... 35.30 the Orthodox Church advising Putin about his positioning re the Catholics ... and how both the Catholics and the Orthodox are meddling in geo-politics - that both are going well beyond their credible remit - and they mention " The Byzantine Marriage " between the church and state i.e. Symphonia.


Religion in Russia Special

This week's edition of Sunday comes from Moscow as Caroline Wyatt explores some of the stories and issues that affect faith groups in Russia.

As President Putin announces he will meet Pope Francis, Kevin Bocquet reports on the complex historical relationship between the Vatican, the Russian State and the Orthodox Church.

This is Putin's first visit to the Vatican since the crisis in Ukraine. Anna Nemtsova, Moscow correspondent for Newsweek, assesses the significance of the meeting.

It's said that the history of the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour reflects the story of Russia. Caroline takes a tour and discovers its extraordinary story.

Pinchas Goldschmidt is the Chief Rabbi of Moscow and President of the Conference of European Rabbis. He talks to Caroline about the place of the Jewish community in Russia today.

In the Orthodox church, prayers are still sung in the same language used when Christianity arrived in Russia hundreds of years ago. Oleg Boldyrev hears some of the choirs keeping their religious heritage alive.

There are over a million Muslims in Moscow but only four Mosques. Almaz Shakirov, from the Muftis Council of Russia, explains how this situation has come about and why it is so difficult for new mosques to be built.

What is the relationship between the Russian Orthodox Church and the State and how has it changed? Journalist Konstantin von Eggert and Vakhtang Kipshidze from the Russian Orthodox Church debate.

Contributors :

Chief Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt
Almaz Shakirov
Anna Nemtsova
Professor Zorbov
Father Makariy
Konstantin von Eggert
Vakhtang Kipshidze
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 11, 2016 9:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote



From: David B Lawrence
Sent: 11 November 2016 21:44
Subject: ( There is no need to reply - ) - " Symphonia " - and thanks for " The Trump Card " broadcast !

Dear Roger Scruton,

I was excessively pleased this evening by what you said on this BBC Radio 4 " Point of View " programme this evening.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b081tkmc = Roger Scruton - " The Trump Card " - BBC Radio 4's " Point of View "

Have you considered the possibility that what underlies the three ( or more ) Russian regimes of the past century or more is


My long term project is to construct a Meta-Ideology ( " The Ideo-Rational Analysis " ) and what is of interest to me are the transitions from religious to philosophical ideologies c1650 and then from philosophical to " scientifical " ideologies c1850.

There is no need to reply - unless you want to - unless you want to suggest a line of inquiry for this approach / attitude - it is essentially socio-psychological : that eight dispositions will persist in shifting proportions but clothed in different ideas.


David B. Lawrence,


Let me listen to that again ...


BBC Radio 4 - A Point of View - The Trump Card - Roger Scruton

Roger Scruton assesses some of the reasons behind Donald Trump's victory. ... And he asks why many who intended to vote for Donald Trump would not have confessed to their intention. ... "They wanted change," writes Scruton. "A change in the whole agenda of government".
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