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Excommunication has always been a strong suit in the Church’s hand in order to keep the flock in line. While churches worldwide are reluctant to use it nowadays, it used to be more prevalent in medieval times and were used in variety of situations; preemptively to guarantee support, punitively to control unwanted behaviour and, of course, as an act of post mortem revenge (collectively recognized as the most contemptible). The Orthodox Church’s excommunications were not nearly as devastating as in the West, but it still carried a stigma for the sufferer and while the Church was always quick to condemn, it often forgot to forgive (bureaucracy can do that, I suppose). Here’s an nice example that recently surfaced.

It appears that in the 1530s, the Ecumenical Patriarch excommunicated fishermen that were encroaching upon the eel fishing grounds of a monastery in the Amvrakikos Gulf in Western Greece, near the city of Vonitsa. The monks of the monastery of the Virgin Mary of Koronisi were furious by the fishermen who were making their eel fishing more difficult and petitioned the Patriarch for help. The result was the following excommunication:

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The following article (entitled “The “Holy Light” of Jerusalem debunked'”) was originally written in Greek by Kostas and posted on his What is truth? (Τι εστίν αλήθεια;) blog. I translated the article in English with Kostas helping me with the adaptation and proof-reading. As was the case with the previous article, this article as well was prepared for the English version of the “Atheia” Collective Blog and Kostas was supposed to host the comments, but since he’s currently taking a break from blogging, I’ll be accomodating him by hosting the article for him. Feel free to leave your comments here.

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The following article (entitled “Paul’s ‘Unknown God'”) was originally written in Greek by Kostas and posted on his What is truth? (Τι εστίν αλήθεια;) blog. I translated the article in English with Kostas helping me with the adaptation and proof-reading. This article was prepared for the English version of the “Atheia” Collective Blog and Kostas was supposed to host the comments, but since he’s currently taking a break from blogging, I’ll be accomodating him by hosting the article for him. Feel free to leave your comments here.

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