Decades After Fall of Atheistic Communism, Christianity Is Flourishing All Over Eastern Europe

Believers attend a service at a Roman Catholic church on the eve of Easter Sunday in Krasnoyarsk, Siberia, Russia, March 26, 2016. Picture taken March 26, 2016.

Christianity across Central and Eastern Europe continues grow and flourish a quarter of a century after the fall of the Soviet Union and atheistic Communist regimes, a Pew Research Center survey has said.

The major survey, released on Wednesday, found that despite deliberate suppression of religious worship and the promotion of atheism by Communist regimes, today, solid majorities across much of the region say they believe in God, and identify with a Christian tradition, be it Orthodox or with the Roman Catholic Church.

“In many Central and Eastern European countries, religion and national identity are closely entwined. This is true in former Communist states, such as the Russian Federation and Poland, where majorities say that being Orthodox or Catholic is important to being ‘truly Russian’ or ‘truly Polish,'” Pew said.

It added that despite the high percentage of people identifying with Christianity across the region, not many are highly observant, however, with a median of only 10 percent of Orthodox Christians attending church on a weekly basis.

“Nonetheless, the comeback of religion in a region once dominated by atheist regimes is striking — particularly in some historically Orthodox countries, where levels of religious affiliation have risen substantially in recent decades,” the survey noted.

As an example, the study showed that in 1991, only 37 percent of Russian, 39 percent of Ukrainian and 59 percent of Bulgarian people identified as Orthodox, respectively. In 2015, that percentage had risen to 71 percent of Russians, 78 percent of Ukrainians, and 75 percent of Bulgarians.

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SOURCE: The Christian Post
Stoyan Zaimov