Conference Contribution Details
Mandatory Fields
James A. Kapalo
Agents or Objects? Rethinking some chapters of the History of the Black Sea Region
Agency and Liminality: Popular Religious Movements in 21st Century Moldova
New Europe College, Bucharest
Invited Oral Presentation
Optional Fields

Since the early 1990s the public discourse on religion in the Republic of Moldova has been dominated by the dispute over canonical jurisdiction between the Moscow Patriarchate and the Romanian Patriarchate and its geo-political implications and more recently on the role of Orthodoxy in areas of public life such as education. In this paper, I  take an alternative view of the religious landscape in post-Soviet Moldova instead exploring religion from the perspective of the ‘margins’ of mainstream society. I shall focus on two instances of grassroots agency in the 20th century that have had an enduring impact on the religious landscape in Moldova. I argue that both the ethno-religious revitalization amongst the Gagauz spearheaded by Archpriest Mihail Çakir and the popular religious revival amongst Moldovans inspired by the monk Innochentie represent important examples of transformations in local identities, moral communities and subjective worldviews that have effected lasting changes on the ground in contemporary Moldova. These two cases offer us an important window on the creativity and agency resulting from Moldova’s geographical, ethnic and political ‘liminality’.

New Europe College