Public Religion, Ambient Faith in Ukraine

What does religion look like, once it has undergone a process of secularisation but refuses to become invisible, private or something neutral? In other words what happens when religion returns to the public arena? Well, it becomes “public religion”. This return is not uncomplicated, because religion has “to negotiate” its presence in the public realm – something which at one given time in the past was entirely unnecessary. Church back then was expected to be present and in a straightforward way; no discussions needed.On 30 September and 1 October 2016, Frans Hoppenbrouwers of Communicantes attended the conference “Public Religion, Ambient Faith. Religious Institutions and Socio-Political Change in the Black Sea Region” in Kiev. This four day conference dealt with the above mentioned questions.
Professor Vyacheslav Karpov and Parliamentarian Victor Yelenskyy for example discussed the very interesting concept of “desecularisation”, which has been applied more than once to the religious renaissance in Ukrainian. Karpov and Yelenskyy compared Russia with Ukraine – church politically and religiously speaking often dissimilar countries. One of the attendees questioned the mere existence of the phenomenon of desecularisation, pointing out that it is unthinkable that in Russia the Russian Orthodox Church would be something different than an instrument of state policy and would e.g. admonish President Vladimir Putin for his failings.
Organisers of the conference were Professor Catherine Wanner (PennState) and the National Pedagogical Dragomanov University in Kiev. Thank you Tetiana Kalenychenko for inviting me – and thank you Denis Brilyov for your hospitality.