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Article

Church-State Symphonia: its Historical Development and its Application by the Russian Orthodox Church

The Journal of Law and Religion. 2020. Vol. 35. No. 3. P. 474-493.

This article analyzes the origins of the concept of symphonia, its historical development, and its utilization by the Russian Orthodox Church as a normative ideal for church-state relations. In various historical contexts, this concept has referred to different normative requirements; it relied on different paradigms in Byzantium and in medieval Russia and it acquired new meanings in Imperial Russia. The reinterpretations of this concept by the Russian Orthodox Church in order to legitimize its position in the political life of contemporary Russia take this concept far from its original meaning. Using methods from the history of concepts of, among others, Reinhart Koselleck and Quentin Skinner, the author considers how the semantic transformations of symphonia in modern contexts by the Russian Orthodox Church lead to a hollowing of this concept. This conception is hardly reconcilable with the normative logic of the actual Russian political and legal systems.