the earlier history of the church as an organising structure in the life of local communities provided the most effective supports to the nationalist projects of modern states, once the churches were enlisted among their administrative instruments: paradoxically by means of autocephaly, which emancipated national churches from Constantinople only to deliver them up to the control of secular states.
Secular control had two obvious consequences for both local and regional churches: there was, in the first place, the inevitable sacrifice of some of their Christian values and, in the second, entanglement in nationalist hatreds and passions. The real meaning of subjection to the state transpired once the states became communist and atheist, in Russia after i9i7, in the Balkans and eastern Europe from i945 to i99o. This sometimes meant martyrdom, which eventually worked to the advantage of both the faith and the moral stature of the Orthodox Church; it also meant the subversion of Christian values through the infiltration of the hierarchy by state agents. This was a destructive process, which was covered up by an escalation ofnationalist zeal and by the reduction through blackmail of churches and patriarchates into pawns used for unholy purposes: propaganda, suppression, war, as the tragedies in the Balkans in the i99os bear witness. The exploitation of the national Orthodox churches by the state was also exported to the wide-ranging Orthodox diaspora, which instead of becoming a field of inter-Orthodox encounter and solidarity, very often became an arena of nationalist confrontations in western Europe, North America and Oceania.
Most ofthese phenomena were connected with the higher reaches of church politics. At the grass roots another Orthodoxy survived, focused on parish worship and the observance of the lifecycle of the Christian tradition and on monasticism and its spiritual witness. This fragmented story has not been systematically written and some of its component parts are better known than others: for example, the Philokalic revival in Russia centred on the Optina monastery, and its impact on other Orthodox churches of eastern Europe is well known and is connected with the efflorescence of theological thought in the Orthodox diaspora. A less well known chapter of the story of the survival of Orthodox ethos and tradition in the age of the nationalisation of local churches is provided by the case of the greatest Greek prose writer in the second half of the nineteenth century, Alexandros Papadiamantis (i85i-i9ii). Although the Orthodox inspiration of the work of the great nineteenth-century Russian novelists Gogol, Dostoevsky and Tolstoy is well known in the cultural history of Europe, outside Greece Papadiamantis's achievement is much less familiar and much less appreciated. Papadiamantis did not write epic novels
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