Monday, August 18, 2008

Social Messages from the Altar

It is customary, at some point during Sunday Mass and the assorted anniversary masses in churches, which are an inextricable part of Greek Orthodox culture, for the priest to make the sermon. The sermon was created at an age where the priest was in essence the leader (at least morally and spiritually and almost always politically as well) of the social group in his church’s jurisdiction and many times he also was the only source of direction and information for the era’s current events. Today the priest is not considered the leader of the social and political life but he continues delivering sermons.

With the propaganda of the mass media and pop culture the church, the priest and anything that is touched or overlapping with them is considered totalitarian, backward, and outside of ‘in’ modern society. Whether this is true and to what level and in what aspect is something we will analyze in the areas to be informed of regarding the Church (coming soon). That which we are noting today is the undermining of the interests and awareness of the Greek Citizens through the combination and association of specific ideas and facts with the idea of backward menticide characterizing the church in the awareness of people since the fall of the Junta. Despite this, there is still status which is triggered only in specific occasions in the conscience of the Citizen, and not in all of them.

Within the sermons, priests lately have been including admonitions and urgings for key political and National matters like the issue of Skopje, the issue of financial policy, social police, welfare, etc. The unfortunate thing is that many times, especially in National issues, the opinions and admonitions in the sermons are correct.

That is unfortunate because anything the priest says in the sermon is received exactly like that: a ‘sermon’, i.e. something unjustifiably extreme, conservative, obscurest, and consequently to be rejected by default without due thought. Therefore, action very important and crucial but which would demand a little further mobilization, are rejected as extremist and old fashioned whereas other admonitions that are according to the status quo, even if they are considered extremist and old fashioned are adhered to with any tendency to object to them completely stifled.

That is, through the above process, anything that is included in a sermon and goes against the already existing situation/ ideology is rejected whereas anything that is included in a sermon and is congruent to the existing situation is doubly affirmed. The most worrying thing is that in both cases, both reactions take place without thought or judgment but ‘swallowed whole’ as we say.

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