Conference - June 22-23, 2018

Homeland-Diaspora Relations in Flux

Greece and Greeks abroad at times of Crisis

St Antony's College, University of Oxford.

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Presenting paper

The Ecumenical Patriarchate as a Diaspora Actor: Between the End of the Cold War and the Greek Economic Crisis

Having safeguarded its position in Istanbul, despite the sharp demographic decline of the Istanbul Greek community, the Ecumenical Patriarchate has emerged a crucial actor of the Greek diaspora. The end of the Cold War and globalization have provided important opportunities and posed significant challenges. The resurgence of the Moscow Patriarchate in Orthodox ecclesiastical affairs, Greece’s diplomatic ambitions in the late 1990s and early 2000s and the Western need to develop bridges of tolerance and mutual understanding with the Islamic world has framed the role of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and affected its policy towards the Greek diaspora. Working sometimes together and sometimes independently from Greek authorities, the Patriarchate has been able to operate as a focal point of diaspora activities particularly in North America. Addressing a growing audience of non-ethnic Greek Orthodox congregations coincided with the efforts to maintain a cultural bond with the second and third generation of diaspora Greeks. On the other hand, the Greek economic crisis has crucially affected aspects of the Patriarchate’s engagement with the Greek diaspora. This article aims to explore the role of the Ecumenical Patriarchate as a key actor of the Greek diaspora. It also aims to reflect upon the ways that the recent economic crisis has influenced the role of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and its relations with the new Greek diaspora that has emerged as a result of the economic crisis in Greece. This study will apply ethnographic content analysis methods to continuity and change in its function as a focal point of Greek diasporic activities. Research material will include primary and secondary sources in English, Greek and Turkish.

Author bio

Dr. Ioannis N. Grigoriadis is Associate Professor and Jean Monnet Chair of European Studies at the Department of Political Science and Public Administration, Bilkent University. In the academic year 2016-2017, he was a IPC-Stiftung Mercator Senior Research Fellow at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik-SWP) in Berlin and a Stanley J. Seeger Research Fellow at Princeton University. He has published the following books in English: Democratic Transition and the Rise of Populist Majoritarianism: Constitutional Reform in Greece and Turkey (London & New York: Palgrave Springer, 2017), Instilling Religion in Greek and Turkish Nationalism: A “Sacred Synthesis”, (London & New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012), Trials of Europeanization: Turkish Political Culture and the European Union, (London & New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009). His research interests include late Ottoman and republican Turkish politics and history with a focus on nationalism and democratization.
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