Russian Orthodox Symphonia in the Time of Coronavirus

Mikhail Antonov is a Professor of Law associated with the Law Faculty at the National Research University “Higher School of Economics” (Saint Petersburg)

 

In “The Basis of the Social Concept of the Russian Orthodox Church,” adopted at the Sacred Bishops’ Council of the Russian Orthodox Church (the ROC) on August 14, 2000, the Church referenced the medieval conception of Symphonia to describe the church’s ideal relationship with the Russian state in terms of  “body” (state) and “soul” (church): “it is in their linkage and harmony that the well-being of a state lies.”  According to the Social Concept, the ROC affirms the general principle of separation of church and state, which is that they shall be distinguished by their competences or spheres of authority, and that cooperation must be based on “mutual support and mutual responsibility without one side intruding into the exclusive domain of the other” (section III.4).

Continue reading “Russian Orthodox Symphonia in the Time of Coronavirus”

Freedom of Religion or Belief—Creating the Constitutional Space for Fundamental Freedoms: A New Book on Religious Freedom and its Protection from the Perspective of Several Jurisdictions

Neville Rochow QC is an Austrialian Barrister,  Associate Professor (Adjunct) at the University of Adelaide Law School, and a Senior Fellow at the International Center for Law and Religion Studies.

It is a genuine pleasure to accept the invitation to contribute this introductory essay to the blog series on the constitutional space for freedom of religion. “Constitutional Space for Freedom of Religion” has been a project that culminated in the book of essays which Paul Babie, Brett Scharffs, and I edited: Freedom of Religion or Belief—Creating the Constitutional Space for Fundamental Freedoms (Edward Elgar 2020).  Continue readingFreedom of Religion or Belief—Creating the Constitutional Space for Fundamental Freedoms: A New Book on Religious Freedom and its Protection from the Perspective of Several Jurisdictions”

Towards a Constitutional Definition of Religion: Challenges and Prospects

Dr. Alex Deagon is a Senior Lecturer and Faculty of Law at the Queensland University of Technology.

 


Definitions of “religion” are of central importance to creating the constitutional space for freedom of religion, for it is “religion” which receives protections in constitutional law and international law, and the definition of “religion” in “freedom of religion” will determine the scope of that freedom. However, attempts to define religion have proved to be controversial and contested.  There are many competing definitions by scholars and judges but no consensus has emerged. Some courts even refuse to define religion (see, for example, the
2013 Overview of the European Court of Human Rights’ Case-law of Freedom of Religion, para 11).

There are at least four challenges to defining religion.  Continue reading “Towards a Constitutional Definition of Religion: Challenges and Prospects”