Christianity boom seen in Eastern Europe decades after fall of atheistic regimes –Pew survey

Christianity has been growing in Central and Eastern Europe decades after the fall of the Soviet Union and after atheistic Communist regimes have come to an end, according to a Pew Research Center major survey.

Members of the Orthodox clergy walk in procession after a call to prayer in support of the Orthodox Church at the Christ the Saviour Cathedral in Moscow April 22, 2012. | REUTERS / Denis Sinyakov

In the Pew survey released on May 10, Pew found that Christianity has flourished in Central and Eastern Europe despite religious suppression by Communist regimes in the past. The study shows that the majority of religions including the Orthodox and Roman Catholic Church profess belief in God and the Christian faith, The Christian Post details.

"In many Central and Eastern European countries, religion and national identity are closely entwined. This is true in former Communist states, such as the Russian Federation and Poland, where majorities say that being Orthodox or Catholic is important to being 'truly Russian' or 'truly Polish,'" said Pew.

However, Pew found that not many of those who identify to be Christian are highly observant of the faith. Only around 10 percent of Orthodox Christians attend church service every week, but Pew still maintains that the rise of the Christian faith is "striking," considering that the region was once dominated by atheist rulers.

The number of people in Russia, Ukraine, and Bulgaria who identify as Orthodox has seen significant rise in the last decades. In 1991, only 37 percent of Russians said they were Orthodox, and 39 percent of Ukrainians and 59 percent of Bulgarians said the same. However, the figures have jumped up to 71 percent, 78 percent, and 75 percent respectively in 2015.

The Czech Republic, however, does not follow the same trend, as only 21 percent of its population is Catholic. The non-religious make up 72 percent of the population.

Meanwhile, Christianity is also growing in other parts of Europe with the help of Muslims who are embracing the faith, according to Islamic experts and other faith leaders. Refugees from Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan who are settling in Europe are resuscitating the dying Christian churches in the region, Fox News reports.

Fuller Theological Seminary professor told Fox that European churches have been having a hard time evangelizing to modern secular Europeans. However, Muslim refugees and immigrants are much more receptive to the Gospel.

Because of the sheer number of immigrants who want to convert to Christianity, churches in Germany have decided to hold baptisms in municipal swimming pools. The Guardian also reported that almost three-quarters of the 300 applications for adult baptism in 2016's first quarter were from former Muslims.

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