Georgians have developed a taste for fast food during the fasting period of Lent. The trend has highlighted a cultural paradox in this South Caucasus state, where Orthodox Christianity forms perhaps the main pillar of national identity.
Patriarch Filaret heads the Kyiv Patriarchate, the branch of Ukrainian Orthodoxy that is loyal to President Petro Poroshenko’s administration. He recently sat down with EurasiaNet.org to discuss religious affairs in Ukraine and how the ongoing conflict between Kyiv and Moscow is extending into the spiritual sphere.
Russian President Vladimir Putin is trying to use religion to advance an expansionist agenda. But an increasing number of believers in Ukraine appear to be rejecting the notion that Putin and the Russian Orthodox Church are the defenders of the true faith.
Earlier in October, Azerbaijani news media reported the death of a professional Azerbaijani wrestler, Rashad Bakhshaliyev, who was killed in Syria while fighting for the Islamic State. The news, which came as a surprise to many in Azerbaijan, underscores an emerging security threat for Azerbaijan.
Arslanbek Maliyev grew disillusioned with Islam when he realized foreign missionaries who came to Kyrgyzstan following the collapse of the Soviet Union were more concerned with building mosques than they were with education.
Perceptions of corruption penetrate just about every aspect of life in Kyrgyzstan, including the spiritual side. For years, the Hajj – the pilgrimage to Mecca required of every able Muslim – has been beset by allegations of graft involving those responsible for distributing the limited number of places.
A growing number of Georgians are turning to yoga to shake off the stress of daily life. But their quest for inner calm and smaller waists is generating hostility from the powerful Georgian Orthodox Church.