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).

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Religious Liberty and the Corona Crisis before the German Constitutional Court

Justin Collings 
is Francis R. Kirkham Professor of Law at Brigham Young University J. Reuben Clark Law School and author of 
Democracy’s Guardians: A History of the German Federal Constitutional Court, 1951-2001(Oxford University Press, 2015)

Global lockdowns intended to slow the spread of COVID-19 have raised wrenching questions about religious liberty. Although many faith communities have voluntarily shuttered to combat the plague, many religious people have chafed at regulations that require religious sanctuaries to close while permitting liquor stores to offer their “essential services.” Why, the faithful wonder, is booze more essential than the Sacred Host? Why should rum trump Ramadan? Some believers have expressed their anguish in constitutional challenges. In a pair of noteworthy decisions, the German Federal Constitutional Court has grappled with the tension between public health and religious exercise. In both cases, the Court has charted a pragmatic course through the crisis. Continue reading “Religious Liberty and the Corona Crisis before the German Constitutional Court”

Protecting Religious Freedom from Fear: Italian Lessons on Islam, the Public Sphere, and the Limits of Judicial Review




Post by Andrea Pin, Associate Professor of Comparative Public Law, University of Padua, and Luca Pietro Vanoni, Associate Professor of Comparative Public Law,  University of Milan

The Italian constitutional framework might be of interest for those who reflect on the avenues of religious and social integration in the early 21st century. Though the 1948 Constitution has secured ample religious freedom guarantees for citizens and noncitizens alike, recent years have put increasing pressure on Italian legal infrastructure.

Church and State in Italy: Friends or Foes?

Despite unification succeeded against the will of the Pope in the nineteenth century under the Kingdom of Piedmont, Italy has always been quintessentially Catholic. Even Mussolini boosted his regime by blending Fascism, Italian nationalism, and the national Catholic identity. Italian politics between the 1940s and the 1990s was largely controlled by the Christian Democratic Party. Romans and even off-the-city Italians alike still gather each Sunday to attend the Pope’s address at the twelve o’clock Angelus in Vatican’s St. Peter’s square. Continue reading “Protecting Religious Freedom from Fear: Italian Lessons on Islam, the Public Sphere, and the Limits of Judicial Review”