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Religion and State Transformation in Eastern Europe

Session Chair: Sebastian Rimestad | Tuesday, August 25, 9-11 a.m. | Venue

Alla Kyrydon

Church in the Revolution of Dignity

The struggle citizens of Ukraine for their rights, known as the Revolution of dignity, was the largest event in the modern history of Ukraine testified also new shifts in the collective mentality of society. Fundamental changes in attitudes towards religion and the Church, and in terms of interdenominational and church-state relations in the development of Ukrainian society there have been within a few months. The rise of a new phenomenon – the Civil Church of Ukraine is observed during the events of the autumn of 2013-2014. Events at Maidan witnessed the transition from superficial religiosity to a deeper rooting of spiritual and moral norms.

Katarina Novikova

Religion and the contemporary Ukrainian national idea

We try to analyze notions of the nationalism, national identity and people, role and functions of religion in formation of the Ukrainian nation, which became independent in 1991. Ukraine is the post-atheistic state, a former republic of the USSR, which has its own old and rich Christian tradition. One can notice the development of original nationalism as attempt of people to create national myths. The typical Ukrainian feature is the pluralism of cultural and religious paradigms, therefore also the pluralism of national idea. We analyze this topic through the comparison of confessions: Roman-Catholic, Greek-Catholic, Orthodox Church and Neo-pagans. Events of the Ukrainian public protest – Maidan, during the autumn and the winter 2013-2014 - are considered as the rise of the national idea. It was not only a turning point in the history of the Ukrainian state, but and also for the religion.

Indrek Pekko

Religious adaptation – how can churches handle it? The Estonian Case

A rapid social, political and economic change and development in the last 25 years has turned Estonia to an extremely secularized country, characterized by the diminishing institutionalization of religion (the two biggest confessions are the Lutheran and Orthodox) and the decline of the Christian practices and beliefs. It means also, that churches as „ keepers of tradition“ have not managed to adapt to this changing environment as they have hoped to. Instead of this decline of membership, financial problems, different opinions of values and moral, along with emergence of other contemporary religious trends like new spirituality, individualization of religion etc. are the common results to these developments and nowadays situation. This presentation tries to give an overview of the Estonian religious landscape and it asks if there are possibilities for churches to find more effective ways to invent and re-invent their religious traditions, so they could adapt better to these constant changes?

Georgeta Nazarska

Young Women's Christian Association in Bulgaria: Survival in Times of Change

This paper examines through historical analysis and social network analysis history, structure and functioning of the Young Women's Christian Association in Bulgaria, a branch of the YWCA, in the periods of 1925-1944 and after 1991. Association’s place is analyzed in the context of religious, social and charitable activities, and the feminist movement up to the WW2. Some qualitative methods to explore the YWCA’s branch history after the political changes in the 1990s are used. The main accent is put on the preservation and adaptation of religious tradition in three different historical periods. Paper tries to compare its activity with those of other European YWCA branches.


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