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9 “Social Theology” and Social Work in the Romanian Orthodox Church: A Paradoxical Development?

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Chapter Summary

This chapter looks at the evolution of the social work and philanthropic network of the Romanian Orthodox Church (RoOC), helping to shed light on some apparently contrasting views of Orthodox engagement in modern society. It discusses several documents, including the Law no. 489/2006 on religious freedom and general status of denominations, the 2008 Statutes of the RoOC, and various documents related to the Church's status as a "social services provider". The task of developing a Romanian Orthodox social thought or "social theology" is largely delegated to theologians, save on the key topic of human rights, where Patriarch Daniel Ciobotea appears to be interested in taking the lead. This paradoxical evolution of social work and social thought of the Orthodox Church on separate tracks may be due, in part, to the partly decentralized construction and incremental institutionalization of the RoOC's social role.

Keywords: paradoxical evolution; Patriarch Daniel Ciobotea; philanthropic network; religious freedom; Romanian Orthodox Church (RoOC); social services provider; social theology; social work



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