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27-31 August 2019
Poznań, Poland
Europe/Warsaw timezone
programme last update: 23 August 2019
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Contribution Paper

Poznań, Poland - Morasko Kampus, room: 2.100

Equality and originality: how to choose a religion in Eastern Africa


  • Dr. Andrey TUTORSKIY

Primary authors


Based on the data of the field research in summer 2018 I will showcase how rural dwellers in Western Uganda choose their religious affiliation. I was working in a small orthodox community near Fort-Portal and have possibility to compare results with the data acquired in Uganda Old-believers communities (Russian Old-believers orthodox church) near Kampala. First it should be noted that all the denominations that are present in contemporary Uganda are ranked by the people according to their special traits. The people talk about “how rich” is this or that church, “how numerous” are the believers in this or that parish. It means they have different scales to rank the denominations and to compare them. Second the most important aspect of this comparison is the “originality” of the denomination or the degree to which it is not touched or distorted by contemporary influences. The search of the “most original church” directs the transition from one denomination to another. It is important to stress that traditional local beliefs are not conceived as “most original”. Instead the inner content of “orthodox religious life” differs very much from Greek or Russian orthodoxy. Thus I think the process of choosing the religion is a fuse of modern western practices and traditional ones. The idea to find the most pure religion came from protestant denomination but it fused with the seek of “basic”, “original” and “ancient” belief.

Research supported by grant of RFFR No17-01-00148""Orthodox Christians and Old Believers in Uganda: Socio-cultural Processes in African Christian Communities".