The Parish Community of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad in the Process of Adaptation and Integration of Its Parishioners.

Saturday, 21 July 2018: 12:45
Oral Presentation
Maria PODLESNAYA, St. Tikhon’s Orthodox University, Federal Center of Theoretical and Applied Sociology of the Russian Academy of Sciences., Russian Federation
The empirical findings of our extensive international research “The Parish of the Russian Orthodox Church in Russia and abroad: social structure and non-liturgical practices”, which we have been carrying out since 2010, show that orthodox parish communities abroad are not only the centers of the Russian world, due to which one could immerse into the habitual atmosphere of the Russian language and culture, but also that social structures, which take on the role of social adaptation and integration of migrants and their descendants. We observed it almost in all countries, where our research took place in different years – Germany (2010–2014), USA (2014), Switzerland (2014), Greece, Cyprus (2015).

We also found out in our research that a parish is a multiple-aged formation, which includes migrants of different generations; older generations, therefore, are related to socialization in the USSR and Russia, younger generations of parishioners – to the country of their current residence. Due to this, there’s an interesting effect: younger generations of parishioners who do not know the Russian language well, but fluently speak the language of the country they were born and grew up, become a peculiar kind of “outsiders” for older senior generations of parishioners, and the parish has generally to make efforts to bridge the emerging gap. These efforts are also due to the fact that the older generations of parishioners by means of their children try to build themselves in the environment they are living in. Religious socialization also plays an important role in this process. Religious socialization is different in different generations since older age groups of parishioners born in atheistic USSR and post-atheistic Russia have to go through it for the first time or anew; younger generations do it overcoming the impact of confessional background diversity.