The Corner

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Religion in Russia -- More Skepticism


From a person who really should know, though he asks that his name and clerical status not be posted:

“Mr Derbyshire—A basic phenomenon when dealing with Russians is that being Russian equates to being Orthodox in the Russian mind. ‘Sectarians’ (i.e., Protestants) are widely reviled, and Uniates (Roman Catholics using the Orthodox liturgical forms) are mostly confined to Ukraine and its environs.  When did you last hear of a group of Muslim Russian citizens refer to themselves as Russians?

“The upshot? It’s like Italians and Roman Catholicism.  The Italians all claim it, even if the piety and practice aren’t there.”

[Derb]  This issue of religious identification from cultural motives (as opposed to actual piety)  seems to need factoring into any discussion of how religious a population is.  It used to be the case that 99 percent of non-RC English people, faced with a box on a form labeled “Religion” would write in “C. of E.,” even in they hadn’t been inside a church for years.  I feel pretty sure that my father–a militant atheist, but 100 percent Grade-A English–did this.