Politics and Religion in Central and Eastern Europe: Traditions and Transitions

By William H. Swatos Jr | Go to book overview

3

Religion in Postcommunist Countries: A Comparative Study of Religiousness in Byelorussia, Ukraine, Lithuania, Russia, and Poland

Irena Borowik

Movies about the impressive celebration of the millennial anniversary of the Christianizing of Russia have circulated all over the world, and the presence of patriarch Aleksiey at the side of Russian President Yeltsin during key historical moments seems to have become a rule. Huge crowds took part in these celebrations, as the East enthusiastically celebrated the comeback of religion. The collapse of communist ideology was obviously a factor that greatly influenced changes in the position of religious institutions of all countries that were once satellites of the Soviet Union.

Has religion really come back? Is it present in the world view of citizens of Byelorussia, Lithuania, Russia, and Ukraine? Is it present in public life? Or is it only its new ornament? Have the religious beliefs of societies that were considered almost completely laicized changed? What position does the church as an institution hold among social beliefs? What are the most important changes in Poland? Can one expect that in the religious field the eastern neighbors of Poland will follow the same course as in the economic field? Which option seems to be the most likely in the future -- a denominational state or a secular state independent from the church hierarchy? Will these societies

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