Belarusian Believers – What Are They Like?

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Collective Prayer of Evangelical-Christians, Čyžouka Arena, Minsk 2015. Source: Krynica.info

According to the recent study on religiosity in Central-Eastern Europe by Pew Research Centre, the vast majority of Belarusians (84%) declare they believe in God. Surprisingly, despite decades of state-enforced secularisation, Belarusian society is fertile ground for religious activities and organisations.

Also, the overwhelming majority of people affiliate themselves with specific religious organisations. However, the number of practising believers who regularly engage in religious activities is far smaller. Unexpectedly, Belarusian Protestants, not covered in the study, might be the de facto leaders on the ground.

A more practical look at religiosity can better explain the dynamics of religion on the ground. In Belarus, it appears that a typical believer rarely attends service: 12% of respondents said they do so once a week. This is twice more than in Russia (6%).

In contrast to Orthodox believers, 25% of Belarusian Catholics attend service weekly, as do 43% of Ukrainian Catholics.

In fact, according to the Pew study, Belarusian Catholics tend to engage more often in religious activities, such as daily prayer and reading scriptures, at least monthly outside the church.

The Pew report presents Belarus as following larger trends in religious dynamics throughout the region as well as in Western Europe. People claim to have an interest in religious matters, but tend not to regularly practise their faith. With regard to Belarus, this is largely explainable by its post-Soviet legacy.

Read more on Belarus Digest.

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