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Religions in contemporary Europe in the context of globalization

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Chapter Summary

The religious landscape of Europe is central to discussions about the place of religion in contemporary world society. This chapter begins by considering certain historical developments that lend the Western Europe of today several unique characteristics, vis-à-vis other parts of the world. Ecumenism seeks to overcome barriers between Christians and between Christians and non-Christians worldwide. Ecumenical initiatives have proliferated in recent decades. In Orthodox-dominated Eastern and especially South Eastern Europe, globalization has elicited different responses than in Western Europe, an understandable result given the different course that the two regions have followed especially since the High Middle Ages. Orthodox Christianity has its own particular historical orientation to the global, dating back to the Roman Empire and the Byzantine period. The chapter argues that what has been happening in Europe in the context of globalization is the uneasy, yet gradual overcoming of Christian Eurocentrism.

Keywords: Byzantine period; Christian Eurocentrism; contemporary Europe; globalization; historical developments; religious belief; Roman Empire



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