Digitalizing the Church? Different Contexts, Similar Theological Challenges in the Catholic and Orthodox Churches

© Annette Riedle

 

Regina Elsner is a Researcher at the Centre for East European and International Studies ZOiS

Digitalization of the Christian faith triggered by restrictions stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic—despite all insights into its necessity—is theologically controversial. Indeed, most Christian churches stand on two pillars: the community and the Eucharist. Both lose substance in the process of going virtual—is it then still possible to speak of the Church? What remains of the Christian faith when these two pillars shake?

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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]

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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
Hawaii.

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.

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