Monday, January 7, 2013

Window on Eurasia: Most Russians Can’t Say Why They Attend Church Even on Christmas, Survey Finds

Paul Goble

            Staunton, January 7 – More than two-thirds of Russians who do attend church services could not provide an answer sociologists who wanted to know why they did so, but those who did identify a cause pointed to the influence of family members and of a religious upbringing in their own pasts.

            In today’s “Rossiiskaya gazeta,” Elena Novoselova reports that sociologists from the Sreda Research Service found that about 12 percent of Russians pointed to early childhood experiences, seven percent to illnesses among close relatives of friends, and six percent to a believing grandmother or believers among friends (

            Those who could not identify a reason were found most often in the Far East (86 percent) and the Urals (84 percent), among men (78 percent), in rural areas (74 percent), and among those with lower incomes (77 percent), limited education (74 percent), and younger than 24 years of age (73 percent).

             Among the other findings, Novoselova reports, are that women are more likely than men to attend church because of the illness of friends or relatives, older people are more concerned about illnesses and death, those with higher education  attend because of a spiritual search, and those in and near Moscow are more likely to cite the influence of friends.

                But despite these findings and others that show the percentage of Russians who attend church regularly is very low and despite the proposal by Archpriest Kurayev to shift Russian Christmas to January 1, Sreda reports that this year as every year for the past decade, two thirds of Russians plan to mark Christmas today.

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