Domestic religion in Soviet and Post-Soviet Moldova

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Kapalό, James A.
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The term domestication has been used by a number of scholars of religion in Eastern Europe to describe the relocation of aspects of public worship and community religion to the domestic sphere during communism (Dragadze 1993; Kononenko 2006; Rogers 2008, 2009). As such it has been deployed as a socio-spatial category to encapsulate “the idea of shifting the arena from public to private, from outside the home to its interior” as well as to signify “the harnessing and taming of that which had seemed outside the control of ordinary people”, having been previously restricted to religious specialists (Dragadze 1993: 150). There has, however, been little critical engagement with the term and what it might usefully be employed to signify. In this chapter, following a brief description of traditional religious practices associated with the home, like for example the veneration of icons, and the main aspects of domestic religious practice in Eastern Orthodoxy, I introduce some of the ways that Soviet policy generated a re-distribution of religious materials and agencies in the Soviet Union. Ethnographic studies that engage with the problem of domestic religion have focused on Georgia and Azerbaijan (Dragadze 1993), Ukraine (Kononenko 2006) and Russia (Rogers 2008, 2009) amongst others. During the communist period, religious practices and materials such as sacred objects, books and even furniture shifted location, with the home taking on greater significance and meaning extending earlier domestic forms of religious practice like icon veneration and healing practices. In many cases, this process enhanced the religious role of women in the religious sphere. As such, scholarship on domestic religion informs our understanding of everyday family life and the position of women in Soviet and post-Soviet societies.
Moldova , Soviet Union , Domestic religion , Public/private
Kapalo, J. A. (2018) 'Domestic Religion in Soviet and Post-Soviet Moldova', in Schnabel, A., Reddig, M. and Winkel, H. (eds). Religion im Kontext/Religion in Context: Handbuch für Wissenschaft und Studium, Baden-Baden: Nomos, pp. 305-321. isbn: 978-3-8487-3324-8
© Nomos Verlagsgesellschaft, Baden-Baden 2018