Journal article

Orthodox Churches During the Pandemic in Ukraine and Georgia: Narratives and New Practices



Published in:

Problems of Post-Communism
orthodox church

While some religious institutions postponed their religious services during the pandemic, Orthodox Christian churches insisted on keeping their doors open. Why did churches challenge social distancing policies, and how did they succeed in defying state authority at any cost? We address this puzzle drawing on an analysis of official statements, media, in-depth interviews, and surveys in Georgia and Ukraine conducted in 2020 and 2021. Our data suggest that the churches’ historical role as the pillar of the nation provided the necessary motivation and leverage against the government; their success, however, varied with respect to the level of church fragmentation.