In Theocracy, a form of government, the institutions and people that govern the state are very close to the leaders of the main religion or are religious leaders themselves. If the religious leaders do not directly run some bodies of the state, they influence them very much. The word theocracy comes from two Greek words literally meaning God-government, and meaning the government is run by "The Church".
Modern-day states that are theocracies[change | change source]
Andorra[change | change source]
The Roman Catholic Bishop of Urgell as the Co-Prince, is one of the two heads of states of Andorra (the other Co-Prince as head of state is the President of France). His role is mostly ceremonial, and while Roman Catholicism is the official religion of the country, it is not a theocracy.
Iran[change | change source]
Iran is a theocratic Islamic republic. In Iran, two bodies, the Supreme Leader and Guardian Council consist of members who are not elected by the people. These two bodies are staffed by Shia clerics. The highest elected official is the President of Iran.
Vatican City[change | change source]
The Vatican City is a true theocracy, with no separation of church and state. The head of the Catholic Church is the leader of the country. The pope is elected by the Papal Conclave.  Most popes have stayed for the rest of their lives, but some have resigned. One who resigned was Pope Benedict XVI.
State religion[change | change source]
Many states have a state religion (also called official religion). Israel, for example mixes some aspects of Halakha and civil law, even though Judaism is not a state or official religion of the country. Also, the state hires rabbis. In some such states, religious leaders also have civil duties, not only religious ones.
Some historic theocratic states[change | change source]
Some (now extinguished) states throughout history had characteristics of a Theocracy, as for example:
- In Ancient Egypt the Pharaoh was a god.
- In the Empire of Japan (1868 - 1947), Shinto, the indigenous religion of Japan, was the official state religion (State Shinto), besides, the Emperor of Japan was worshipped, and viewed as, a living deity.
- Bhutan was formerly governed as a Buddhist theocracy.
- Though the Byzantine Empire was not de facto a theocracy, it was caesaropapist, and the Greek Orthodox Church and in matters where the Church had a considerable interest, its concerns would have been taken into account and influenced the ruler's decision.
References[change | change source]
- Benedict XV. "1917 Code of Canon Law". CIC 1917. Retrieved 30 Dec 2016.