Comparing religious messages in the media and in the congregation : a Greek Orthodox case study

Patrikios, Stratos (2013) Comparing religious messages in the media and in the congregation : a Greek Orthodox case study. Journal of Media and Religion, 12 (1). pp. 25-37. ISSN 1534-8423

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Abstract

Religious messages may be delivered to two kinds of audiences: the local congregation and, through the mass media, the general public. Do religious actors issue the same cues to both audiences? Existing research suggests that speakers change their message depending on the audience, especially if that audience is reached through the media. This calls for the direct comparison of religious communication in the local congregation and in the mass media. The study investigates the phenomenon by focusing on the political content of religious messages. Using information from Greek news coverage of religious discourse, and from the direct observation of sermons in selected Greek Orthodox congregations, the results highlight the importance of the mass media in communicating the political concerns of religious actors. These concerns remain silenced in the local congregation. The conclusion discusses implications regarding the communication mechanisms that underlie the politicization of religion in the overlooked Orthodox context.