COVID-19 Pandemic and Religion


Spirits Offering Protection: The Cult of General Đoàn Thượng in Vietnam in the Context of the COVID-19 Pandemic

The article discusses the changes that have occurred in the ceremonies of the spirits cult in village communities of Vietnam during the COVID‑19 pandemic and offers a case study of General Đoàn Thượng’s (1181–1228) cult. I compare two ceremonies: commemoration of the General’s spirit in the temple in his native village in Hải Dương province on May 1, 2018 (my own fieldwork) and a closed ceremony in the same temple which were broadcasted on the Internet on April 8, 2020.

Torah against the Virus, Rabbis against the Government: Ultra-Orthodoxy Facing the Pandemic

The paper discusses a number of the most remarkable responses to the COVID‑19 pandemic and to the social isolation measures coming from several, mostly ultra‑Orthodox, Jewish communities in Israel, the United States, and Russia.

Piety, Authority and “Popular Ijtihad” in the Online Space of Russian Muslims during the Pandemic

This article examines the first reactions of the Russian Muslim com‑ munity in the social networks to the spread of the coronavirus (mostly February‑May 2020). We turn to the concepts of authority and legitimacy; the ideas of Brian Turner on the performative role of in‑ formation technology for the institution of religious authority; Gary Bunt’s discussion of the democratization of Islamic knowledge in the online environment; Olivier Roy’s concept of individualization of Islam; and Peter Mandaville’s idea of decentralization of power in the Islamic tradition.

“COVID Theology”, or the “Significant Storm” of the Coronavirus Pandemic

The article examines various theological aspects of the perception of the coronavirus pandemic in the global Orthodoxy in general and the Russian Orthodox Church in particular. Among other aspects, it touches upon issues pertinent to the practices of celebration and distribution of the Eucharist under the conditions of hygienic restrictions. It also explores Christological arguments in support of each practice. The article proposes some particular interpretations of both phenomenology and etiology of the so‑called Covid dissidence.

The Digitalization of Worship Practices during the Coronavirus Pandemic in the Context of the Mediatization of Orthodoxy

The article describes how the closure of churches during the Easter period due to the COVID‑19 pandemic and the quarantine measures led to the shift of everyday liturgical and communication practices to online forms. The experience of distance church life” in April‑June 2020 has shown that both the mediatization of Orthodoxy and the development of Orthodox segment of the internet reached a fundamentally new stage.

Resistance and Submission. Pandemic, Late Modern Epistemes, and Russian Orthodox Ethos

The article discusses the reactions within the Russian Orthodox Church to the Coronavirus pandemic in 2020. Based on materials from the press, religious and secular Internet‑resources and online forums, the article systematizes the variety of responses of Orthodox priests, laity and church leaders to the unprecedented interruption of liturgical cycle and church sociality in the period of sanitary restrictions.

Pandemic and Religion: Interpretations and Practices. Introduction

No. 1 (39) 2021