Realities of an Ortodox Parish – Sociological Essay

Realities of an Ortodox Parish – Sociological Essay

Pronina T.S.

Dr. Sci. (Philos.), Researcher, Сenter for Religious and Ethnopolitical Studies, Pushkin Leningrad State University, St. Petersburg, Russia

Aleynikov V.A.

master student, Tambov State University, Tambov, Russia

ID of the Article: 8070

This research was supported by the RFBR, project No. 16-03-00387

For citation:

Pronina T.S., Aleynikov V.A. Realities of an Ortodox Parish – Sociological Essay. Sotsiologicheskie issledovaniya [Sociological Studies]. 2020. No 3. P. 143-147


Revival of Orthodox parishes is a relevant problem for the post-Soviet Russia. The article examines the parish of Demyan Bedny village of Tambov region, which illustrates evolution of an Orthodox parish in the 20th century. In addition to its own unique peculiarity, this parish has a number of typical features for the modern Orthodox parishes. The author analyzes the set of functions performed by the parish, types of services, general characteristics of various categories of parishioners, the nature of intra-community relations, etc. The history of the parish is connected with the social transformations experienced by Russia: it originated at the beginning of the 20th century and then was closed after the revolution; only in the 1990s it has revived. Main subject of the study is the development of the parish in the post-Soviet period. The paper discusses the factors that allowed to revive the parish life, the parish membership and dynamics of parishioners’ number, the reasons for their visit to this parish and the role of the personal factor in the existence of the parish. Based on this research, the authors conclude that for the contemporary Russian Orthodox Church the parish remains primarily a church institution, but not community of believers. Thus, the modern Russian Orthodox Church has the task of forming a parish as a multifunctional organism of parishioners and clergy and an effective participant in social processes. The authors underline types of parishioners’ religious identity and describe their principal features, based on the research using original theoretical model.

Orthodox parish; community of believers; revival; the post-Soviet period
Content No 3, 2020