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In addition, Catholics in Central and Eastern Europe are much more likely than Orthodox Christians to say they engage in religious practices such as taking communion and fasting during Lent.Catholics also are somewhat more likely than Orthodox Christians to say they frequently share their views on God with others, and to say they read or listen to scripture outside of religious services.But, in some cases, even members of religious minority groups take this position.For example, about a quarter of both Muslims and religiously unaffiliated people in Russia say it is important to be Russian Orthodox in order to be “truly Russian.” In addition, people living in predominantly Orthodox countries are more inclined than others in the region to say their culture “is superior to others” and to describe themselves as “very proud” of their national identity.

Across the countries where Orthodox Christians make up a majority, a median of 70% say it is important to be Orthodox to truly share the national identity of their country (e.g., that one must be Russian Orthodox to be “truly Russian,” or Greek Orthodox to be “truly Greek”).

Whether the return to religion in Orthodox-majority countries began before the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 remains an open question.

Reliable, verifiable data about religious beliefs and practices in the region’s then-communist regimes is difficult, if not impossible, to find.

This political divide is seen in responses to two separate survey questions: How religious do you think your country was in the 1970s and 1980s (when all but Greece among the surveyed countries were ruled by communist regimes), and how religious is it today?

With few exceptions, in former Soviet republics the more common view is that those countries are more religious now than a few decades ago.

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