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Orthodox Christians, incl Greeks, want a strong Russia to counter the West

Orthodox Christians in Central and Eastern Europe but also in Greece express pro-Russia views and many would like to see Russia playing a stronger role in the area in order to balance the influence of the West.

According to a survey conducted by PEW Research Center majorities in Orthodox countries look to Russia to counter the West.

Today, many Orthodox Christians – and not only Russian Orthodox Christians – express pro-Russia views. Most see Russia as an important buffer against the influence of the West, and many say Russia has a special obligation to protect not only ethnic Russians, but also Orthodox Christians in other countries. In Catholic-majority and religiously mixed countries across the region, there is much less public support for a strong Russia as a counterweight to the West and a protector of either ethnic Russians or Orthodox Christians outside Russia’s borders.

In many ways, then, the return of religion since the fall of the Berlin Wall and the breakup of the Soviet Union has played out differently in the predominantly Orthodox countries of Eastern Europe than it has among the heavily Catholic or mixed-religious populations further to the West.

In the Orthodox countries, there has been an upsurge of religious identity, but levels of religious practice are comparatively low. And Orthodox identity is tightly bound up with national identity, feelings of pride and cultural superiority, support for linkages between national churches and governments, and views of Russia as a bulwark against the West.

What is also interesting in the research is Orthodox Christians more likely to view the patriarch of Moscow than patriarch of Constantinople as highest authority.


The Eastern Orthodox Church, also known as the Orthodox Church is the second largest Christian church. During the first eight centuries of Christian history, most major intellectual, cultural, and social developments in the Christian Church took place within the Empire or in the sphere of its influence, where the Greek language was widely spoken and used for most theological writings. As a result, the term “Greek Orthodox” has used to describe all of Eastern Orthodoxy in general, with the word “Greek” referring to the heritage of the Byzantine Empire. However, the appellation “Greek” was gradually abandoned by the non-Greek-speaking Eastern Orthodox churches, from as early as the 10th century A.D

The Eastern Orthodox Church views all bishops as sacramentally equal, and in principle holding equal authority, each over his own see. The Eastern Orthodox oppose the idea of papal supremacy or any similar supremacy by any one bishop.

The Russian Patriarchate has often challenged the leading role of the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, who is based in Istanbul, turkey.

The PEW survey was conducted June 2015 to July 2016 through face-to-face interviews in 17 languages with more than 25,000 adults ages 18 and older in 18 countries.

While there is no consensus over the exact boundaries of Central and Eastern Europe, the new survey spans a vast area running eastward from the Czech Republic and Poland to Russia, Georgia and Armenia, and southward from the Baltic States to the Balkans and Greece.

In Orthodox-majorities countries, a 55% say that their Culture is superior.

“Our people are not perfect but our culture is superior”

Greece leads with 89%

PEW Survey Religious Belief and National Belonging in Central and Eastern Europe.

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