Friday, 31 March 2023 to Sunday, 2 April 2023

Religion on the Margins: Roma People’s Religious Practice during the Communist Rule in Romania

Fri31  Mar01:15pm(15 mins)
James Watt South Stephenson Room


Manuela Marin1
1 Lucian Blaga University, Romania


The paper analyzes the role of religion in supporting Roma people's demands for civic emancipation during the 1970s and 1980s and strengthening their ethnic and cultural identity. Based on documents created by the former secret police, the Securitate, the paper contains two main parts. The first part is a general overview of the situation of the Roma people in communist Romania and the main initiatives for their civic emancipation. Next, the paper approaches from the perspective of “lived religion” three elements that informed the religious life of Roma during the 1970s and 1980s. These are the persistence of religious beliefs, the creation of Gypsy Neo-Protestant churches, and religious pilgrimage. Moreover, as the paper will show, religious practice strengthened ethnic identity, favoured individual agency, and raised questions about equality in rights and observance of religious freedom.