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Fundamentalism or TraditionChristianity after Secularism$
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Aristotle Papanikolaou and George E. Demacopoulos

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780823285792

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823285792.001.0001

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The Secular Pilgrimage of Orthodoxy in America

The Secular Pilgrimage of Orthodoxy in America

Chapter:
(p.80) The Secular Pilgrimage of Orthodoxy in America
Source:
Fundamentalism or Tradition
Author(s):

Vigen Guroian

Publisher:
Fordham University Press
DOI:10.5422/fordham/9780823285792.003.0005

With the notable exception of the Russian mission in Alaska, for the most part the Orthodox Church did not come to America as mission but followed its people’s departure from the homeland, often under extremities of war, social upheaval, or natural disaster. There was no preparation for coming here. They left behind historical Orthodox cultures and were immersed immediately into a society that the Orthodox faith had no role in shaping, a secular society that bafflingly was also religious, though not in any familiar way. Through conversation with theologians and public intellectuals like Schmemann, Parsons, Herberg, Berger, and Berry, this essay first traces the lineage of secularism back to Christianity. The unmooring of virtue from the transcendent, more specifically from the salvific sacrifice of Christ, has yielded secularism as a “step-child” of Christianity. In response, many Orthodox Americans turn to ethnic identity as a means of imbuing daily life with the faith. This, however, is more a sign of a dying church than a means of sustaining its life. The challenge is to renew a sense of the sacred, a liturgical worldview, within the pluralism of American society.

Keywords:   American way of life, Peter Berger, Wendell Berry, denominationalism, Will Herberg, Talcott Parsons, Fr. Alexander Schmemann, secularization/ secularity/ secularism, theosis

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