Pagan Communities in the Time of Pandemic

Stanislav Panin holds a  PhD in Philosophy from Moscow State University and is a Doctoral Student of the Department of Religion at Rice University


The coronavirus pandemic has changed lives worldwide and influenced all religious communities, both large and small, but those who had important festivals during the spring were especially affected by state-regulated lockdowns. Among them were Pagan groups that celebrate a festival  on May 1 often referred to as Beltane.

What is Paganism?

Scholars and believers alike do not have a universally accepted definition of Paganism. The Pagan Federation International, an ecumenical Pagan organization, defines Paganism inclusively as “a polytheistic or pantheistic nature-worshipping religion.” The worship of nature and “this-worldly spirituality” prevail in scholarly definitions of Paganism as well. Other possible characteristics include magical practices and belief in intimate connection and interdependency between divine beings and humankind.[1]


Continue Reading Pagan Communities in the Time of Pandemic

Global Church and Home Church in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Jennifer C. Lane
is Dean of Religious Education at Brigham Young University

As a faithful member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I had attended three-hour Sunday Church meetings for most of my life (a year ago these became two-hour meetings). As an adult, I had worshiped in and officiated in nearby temples almost weekly. Then the prophet asked me to stop.

In March 2020 around the world, our centralized Church, headquartered in Salt Lake City sent out the word that no one was to attend Sunday meetings, temple service, or any in-person Church activities. And we all stopped. Many are commenting on the degree of centralization that characterizes our faith. We meet together in geographically organized “wards” and those who have attended our Sunday meetings in different countries are struck by the shared structure and curriculum of the meetings.


Continue Reading Global Church and Home Church in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Russian Orthodox Symphonia in the Time of Coronavirus

Mikhail Antonov is a Professor of Law associated with the Law Faculty at the National Research University “Higher School of Economics” (Saint Petersburg)


In “The Basis of the Social Concept of the Russian Orthodox Church,” adopted at the Sacred Bishops’ Council of the Russian Orthodox Church (the ROC) on August 14, 2000, the Church referenced the medieval conception of Symphonia to describe the church’s ideal relationship with the Russian state in terms of “body” (state) and “soul” (church): “it is in their linkage and harmony that the well-being of a state lies.” According to the Social Concept, the ROC affirms the general principle of separation of church and state, which is that they shall be distinguished by their competences or spheres of authority, and that cooperation must be based on “mutual support and mutual responsibility without one side intruding into the exclusive domain of the other” (section III.4).


Continue Reading Russian Orthodox Symphonia in the Time of Coronavirus