chapter  2
16 Pages

The Origins and Consolidation of ‘Cultural Defence’ in Greece and the Republic of Ireland

This chapter provides an analysis of the origins and consolidation of the cultural defence pattern by examining the formation of Greek and Irish national identities during the period of imperial rule and their consolidation during the post-independence nation-building process. Its aim is twofold: to identify the relevant historical similarities between the two cases with regards to the church–state–nation nexus and illustrate their comparability; and to point to key differences which have led to the emergence of different patterns of secularization. A large part of the history of the Catholic Church in Ireland is characterized by persecution and opposition to the empire. Official Church policy opposed claims for Greek national self-determination as the Church was largely supportive of the empire and its elites' status within it. The chapter has established that the social and political salience of the Irish Catholic and Greek Orthodox churches can be explained by their historical role as carriers and defenders of national identity.