What is the religious field like in a country where religion was banned for half of the 20th century? And how do you set up a Religious Studies department there? Under Communism, religion was suppressed in the formerly Catholic Eastern European country of Lithuania until the 1990s.

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Under Communism, religion was suppressed in the formerly Catholic Eastern European country of Lithuania until the 1990s. Milda Ališauskienė tells David Robertson about the religious field like in a country where religion was banned for half of the 20th century. Do we see a simple resurgence of Catholicism, or something more complex? What about New Religious Movements – are there new forms of vernacular Lithuanian religious expression? How does immigration affect this field?

indexThe second half of the interview discusses the practicalities of how you go about setting up and running a Religious Studies department in a post-Soviet country such as Lithuania. While there was no academic study of religion during the Soviet era, this has also affected the public perception of the need for such a study. This interview presents a fascinating inside look at the study of religion between two hegemonies – Communism and Catholicism.

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The Catholic Underground: Lithuanian Catholicism Under the Soviet Union

Instead of expressing a need for pluralism and to be recognized for the differences that their religion brings to the country, religious minorities push for the security of agreeing with the majority.Professor of Sociology at Vytautas Magnus University, in Lithuania has changed during the counter-reformation, the First Republic after WWI, the Soviet Union, and finally after the Second Independence. According to Dr. Alisauskiene, the Roman Catholic Church heavily dominated pre-Soviet Union Lithuania.

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