Between ‘Clerical Fascism’ and Political Orthodoxy: Orthodox Christianity and Nationalism in Interwar Serbia Maria Falina
In recent years, religion(s), religious identity, church institutions, clergy, and so on, have been heavily emphasised in many discussions on nationalism and political ideology. Within these debates central, eastern and south-eastern Europe have gradually become new foci of attention and scholarly interest. This paper aims to integrate specific issues in south-east European history into wider methodological and theoretical debates, and thus addresses both of the above-mentioned research areas. Through enquiring into the relationship – and indeed, some of the existing connections – between Eastern Orthodoxy and Serbian nationalism in the interwar period, I will discuss the adaptability and fruitfulness of the analytical concept ‘clerical fascism’. To commence with an argumentative point, I propose that the analytical tools of fascism studies as such, in some cases, do not help and may even impede the understanding of certain key phenomena and processes. Another general issue also worth considering in respect to this Serbian case-study is the widely acknowledged, yet arguable, dichotomy between East and West; between eastern and western Christianity.