Toward the Healing of Memories and Changing of Perceptions: Churches in Serbia and Germany in Dialogue
|Swidler, Leonard J.
|Ilic, Angela Valeria
|This dissertation examines a series of interchurch consultations that took place between 1999 and 2009 with the participation of the Evangelical Church in Germany, the Roman Catholic German Bishops' Conference and the Serbian Orthodox Church. The Protestant-Catholic-Orthodox ecumenical encounters began in the immediate aftermath of the Kosovo crisis, and aimed to support Serbia's democratization and European integration. At a total of nine meetings, delegates from the participating churches, together with politicians, representatives of non-governmental organizations, and scholars from various fields, discussed the role of churches and religion in the two countries. The meetings provided a forum for exchanging knowledge and addressing the challenges confronting the churches and their social organizations. Through lectures, discussions, and meetings in working groups, the consultations focused on theological, legal, political, and social topics, such as church and state relations in Serbia, the role of churches in secularized society, Serbia's relationship to the rest of Europe, reconciliation, and the healing of memories. Focusing on the content and the outcomes of the consultations, the author places them into the broader ecumenical, social and political context in which they took place. All available texts from the consultations are studied through the lens of critical discourse analysis. In addition, in-depth qualitative interviews are conducted with key initiators, organizers and participants of the consultations from the three primary participating churches. The dissertation also interacts with the existing theoretical framework for ecumenical and interreligious dialogue, theories of secularization and the sociology of religion in Europe, as well as nationalism and memory studies. The Serbian-German consultations represent a unique, hybrid form of interchurch contact. The author argues that existing theories of ecumenical and interreligious dialogue should be reconsidered to include such meetings, which represent a broadened understanding of dialogue focused on both theoretical and practical aspects of life. Furthermore, the consultations may serve as a potential blueprint for similar future encounters in post-conflict societies and in countries undergoing political transition.
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|Toward the Healing of Memories and Changing of Perceptions: Churches in Serbia and Germany in Dialogue
|Raines, John C.
|Kontopoulos, Kyriakos M.
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