Mediated Orthodoxy: Mission in China

Mediated Orthodoxy:
Mission in China

Оstrovskaya Е.А.

Dr. Sci. (Sociol.), Prof., Faculty of Sociology, Saint Petersburg State University, St. Petersburg, Russia

Badmatsyrenov T.B.

Dr. Sci. (Sociol.), Assoc. Prof., Head of Department of Politology and Sociology, Dorzhi Banzarov Buryat State University, Ulan-Ude, Russia

Vasilieva S.V.

Dr. Sci. (Hist.), Department of Religious Studies and Theology, Dorzhi Banzarov Buryat State University, Ulan-Ude, Russia.

ID of the Article:

The study was funded by RFBR, project No. 21-011-44156.

For citation:

Оstrovskaya Е.А., Badmatsyrenov T.B., Vasilieva S.V. Mediated Orthodoxy: Mission in China. Sotsiologicheskie issledovaniya [Sociological Studies]. 2023. No 3. P. 66-79


The rapidly unfolding processes of digitalization and mediatization are radically changing contours of social reality and semantic content of routine communication practices. Unprecedented arrangements of individuals, communications and media give rise to new meanings in translocal digital spaces of dialogue about different thematic sectors of reality. Religious websites, mobile applications, online lectures, sermons and divine services open up access to information and practices outside the boundaries of sacred territories and prescriptions expanding public discourse about religions, making available meanings previously hidden from external “non-church” or “uninitiated” search. In this article, we propose an examination of the current communicative practices of the Russian Orthodox Church mission in China. A respective sociological study may shed light on the interpretation of the mission by practicing priests serving in a foreign cultural environment, where Orthodoxy is a tiny island of sacredness for Russians as a “small nation” in several autonomous regions of the PRC and for those who came to it through individual spiritual search. This case makes it possible to get directly in touch with possible answers to questions about the very possibility of an Orthodox mission in societies of religious pluralism, at the same time deeply secularized, commercialized and individualized. Secondly, for many decades the Orthodox mission in China has been a subject of research by orientalist and historians. Paradoxically, a detailed study of the past of the Orthodox mission in China does not enable scholars to elucidate its present, especially specifics of the connections between the structures of the Russian Orthodox Church, various actors and communicative media practices of Orthodox missionary work.

Orthodoxy; China; Missionary Activity; Digital Religion


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Content No 3, 2023