Ideological traditionalism and organisational innovation in Greek Orthodox ecclesiastical governance

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Studies of church governance approach religious change either as 'soft' transformation (ideological and discursive adjustments implemented by clerical elites) or as 'hard' restructuring (shifts in decision-making processes and administrative forms). This article illustrates that the joint, rather than separate, consideration of the two types of change provides a more nuanced description of the internal dynamics of religious organisations. Employing a framework with comparative applicability, which breaks with standard theoretical approaches, the empirical application examines a case in which the two types of change coincided: the Orthodox Church of Greece in the late twentieth century, where a radically conservative ideological transformation accompanied a particular instance of bureaucratic modernisation (lay involvement in high-level ecclesiastical governance).
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Contemporary Religion
Issue number3
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 16 Nov 2018


  • religious change
  • organisational reform
  • church politics
  • lay involvement
  • Greek Orthodoxy


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