Friday, 31 March 2023 to Sunday, 2 April 2023

Identity and Policy Issues in the Context of the Internal Discussions in the Belarusian Orthodox Church

Fri31  Mar01:10pm(20 mins)
James Watt South Room 361


Sergei Mudrov1
1 Institute of Slavic Studies of the Polish Academy of Sciences, Poland


Based on extensive fieldwork across Belarus, this paper analyzes an ongoing discussion within the Belarusian Orthodox Church (BOC) regarding various issues that are key in assessing the country's identity politics and politico-ideological developments. Since the independence of Belarus in 1991, the Church has been continuously playing an important public and societal function. A special agreement, signed between the Church and Belarusian Government in 2003, has fostered Church cooperation with various governmental institutions, including educational establishments. Discussing the contribution of the BOC to the construction of a distinct Belarusian national identity, I’ll address the following issues: national language, relationships with the state, foreign policy orientation and the Church’s autocephaly. The empirical part of this study is based on 20 in-depth interviews with clergymen and laypeople from the Belarusian Orthodox Church. This study shows that Church representatives have not hesitated to develop their profound perspectives on the important issues of identity politics and the relationships of the BOC and state, and these perspectives were often reflective of wider debates, going in the Belarusian intellectual circles.