Cleverer than we thought: the change in discourse of the Georgian Orthodox Church

Metreveli, Tornike (2016). Cleverer than we thought: the change in discourse of the Georgian Orthodox Church (Submitted). Nations and nationalism Blackwell

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This paper will focus on three episodes of contemporary church-state relations in Georgia, in particular, the conflicting interaction between law and religion in the public space. The first episode will be an open confrontation between the church and the state over the law on Registration of Religious Minority organizations (2011) which allowed the religious minorities to freely register; second: the Law on Self-governance (2013) which Georgian Orthodox Church considered “a threat to territorial integrity of Georgia”; and lastly: the Law on Anti-discrimination (2014) which was deemed “legitimization of Sodomic sin”. By reflecting on the three examples where for the first time after the collapse of Soviet Union, the Georgian state openly confronted the church and made a decision notwithstanding its position, I will attempt to argue that the role of the Orthodox Church in influencing the law making process is in gradual decline. However, on the other hand, by presenting the results of an ethnographic study conducted in 23 eparchies and perishes in 7 regions of Georgia in 2014, I will also show that church has adapted to its declining role over policy making, and to regain its political influence it gradually started to employ a civic rather than ethno nationalist discourse on matters of religious freedom while engaging with government. The paper will suggest that both unilateral decision-making of the state and civic shift in the discourse of the church constitute an important change in understanding church-state dynamics in the post-communist Orthodox Christianity dominated society.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


03 Faculty of Business, Economics and Social Sciences > Social Sciences > Institute of Sociology

UniBE Contributor:

Metreveli, Tornike


200 Religion > 240 Christian practice & observance
200 Religion > 280 Christian denominations
300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology








Tornike Metreveli

Date Deposited:

27 Apr 2015 11:04

Last Modified:

18 Mar 2016 11:30


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