Eastern Orthodoxy, geopolitics and the 2016 'Holy and Great Synod of the Orthodox Church'

Lucian N. Leustean*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In March 2014, at the time of Russia’s takeover of Crimea, the heads of 14 Orthodox churches convened under the leadership of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, the Istanbul-based primus inter pares in Eastern Orthodoxy, and announced that a ‘Holy and Great Synod of the Orthodox Church’ would be held in 2016. The Synod, which took place in June 2016 in Crete, was a unique ecclesiastical gathering, bringing together competing geopolitical visions of religion, state and power. This article examines the political mobilisation of Orthodox churches by contextualising the holding of the Synod in relation to Russia’s advancement of spiritual security after the end of the Cold War. It provides a textual analysis of Synodical documents and highlights the patterns of religious and political structures in the contemporary Eastern Orthodox world.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)201-216
Issue number1
Early online date28 Jul 2017
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2018

Bibliographical note

This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Geopolitics on 28/7/17, available online: http://www.tandfonline.com/10.1080/14650045.2017.1350843


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