Modern Greek Ethno-Religious Nationalism
An Ideological and Spatio-Temporal Relocation of Selfhood
Keywords:Nationalism, Modernity, Sacralization, Greece, Orthodoxy, Helleno-Christianism, Fourth Crusade
AbstractSince Greece’s independence in 1829, modern Greek identity has been perceived in both scholarly and popular accounts as the ideological interrelationship of Hellenic nationhood and Greek Orthodoxy. Through state-funded representations, this interrelationship has produced the ethno- religious identity of “Helleno-Christianism” shaping conceptions of the “Self” and the “Other” in terms of emic claims to a “lived” historical memory of topographical boundaries, cultural uniqueness, and national heritage. Rather than speak of Greek nationhood as an “imagined community” of the modernist constructions of the nation-state, in this study I argue that Greek nationhood is the product of a pre-modern process of geographical and ideological relocation of ethno-religious self-perception in response to the Sack of Constantinople by the Latin Crusaders in 1204, which reduced the Byzantine Empire to its “Hellenic” geographical space making it a Greek state of ethnic, cultural, and linguistic homogeneity. The theoretical contribution of this study is to examine how the nationalistic enterprise of modern Greek ethno-religious identity formation constitutes synchronic relations and diachronic extensions that involve the strategic sacralization of geographic space as a pragmatic expression of pre-modern nationalistic discourse promoting a notion of the “Self” as a resistance to the “Other.”
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