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The Church of Greece Under Axis Occupation (World War II: The Global, Human, and Ethical Dimension)


The Church of Greece Under Axis Occupation (World War II: The Global, Human, and Ethical Dimension) Cover


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Publisher Comments:

Axis forces (Germany, Italy, and Bulgaria) occupied Greece from 1941 to 1944. The unimaginable hardships caused by foreign occupation were compounded by the flight of the government days before enemy forces reached Athens. This national crisis forced the Church of Greece, an institution accustomed to playing a central political and social role during times of crisis, to fill the political vacuum. Led by Archbishop Damaskinos of Athens, the clergy sought to maintain the cultural, spiritual, and territorial integrity of the nation during this harrowing period. Circumstances forced the clergy to create a working relationship with the major political actors, including the Axis authorities, their Greek allies, and the growing armed resistance movements, especially the communist-led National Liberation Front. In so doing the church straddled a fine line between collaboration and resistance individual clerics, for instance, negotiated with Axis authorities to gain small concessions, while simultaneously resisting policies deemed detrimental to the nation.

Drawing on official archives of the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the British Foreign Office, the U.S. State Department, and the Greek Holy Synod alongside an impressive breadth of published literature, this book provides a refreshingly nuanced account of the Greek clergy's complex response to the Axis occupation of Greece during World War II. The author's comprehensive portrait of the reaction of Damaskinos and his colleagues, including tensions and divisions within the clergy, provides a uniquely balanced exploration of the critical role they played during the occupation. It helps readers understand how and why traditional institutions such as the Church played a central social and political role in moments of social upheaval and distress. Indeed, as this book convincingly shows, the Church was the only institution capable of holding Greek society together during World War II.

While The Church of Greece under Axis Occupation elucidates the significant differences between the Greek case and those of other territories in Axis-occupied Europe, it also offers fresh insight into the similarities. Greek clerics dealt with many of the same challenges clerics faced in other parts of Hitler's empire, including exceptionally brutal reprisal policies, deprivation and hunger, and the complete collapse of the social and political order caused by years of enemy occupation. By examining these challenges, this illuminating new book is an important contribution not only to Greek historiography but also to the broader literatures on the Holocaust, collaboration and resistance during World War II, and church state relations during times of crisis.

About the Author

Panteleymon Anastasakis is an independent scholar. He specializes on twentieth century Balkan history, World War II, collaboration and resistance in times of war, and church-state relations.

Table of Contents


List of Foreign Terms


Chapter I: Historical Background: Church-State Relations from the Ottoman Period to the Eve of World War II (1453-1939)

Chapter II: The Making of an Ethnarch: A Biographical Sketch of Archbishop Damaskinos (1891-1941)

Chapter III: A Prelude of Events to Come: The Expansion of the Role of the Hierarchy in the Final Days of Freedom (April-May 1941)

Chapter IV: Unattainably High: Expectations of the Church of Greece during the Axis Occupation

Chapter V: The Fruits of Their Labor: Shielding the Population from Axis Excesses

Chapter VI: Combating Famine and Destitution (1941-1944)

Chapter VII: The Path of Passive Resistance and Protest: The Response of the Church of Greece to Bulgarian Occupation Policies and the Holocaust

Chapter VIII: In the Spirit of Papaflessas: The Relationship between EAM and the Clergy during the Axis Occupation



Product Details

Anastasakis, Panteleymon
Fordham University Press
Orthodox Churches
Religion & Theology | History of Christianity
Christianity-Eastern Orthodoxy
Publication Date:
6.4 x 9.1 x 1.4 in

Related Subjects

History and Social Science » World History » Greece
Religion » Christianity » Eastern Orthodoxy

The Church of Greece Under Axis Occupation (World War II: The Global, Human, and Ethical Dimension) New Hardcover
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Product details 320 pages Fordham University Press - English 9780823261994 Reviews:
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