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From Once-Dominant Minority to Historical Christian Outpost on the Southern Caspian: Azerbaijan’s Orthodox Christians

In: Central Asian Affairs
Authors:
Bruno De Cordier Department of Conflict and Development Studies under the Faculty of Political and Social Sciences of Ghent University, Campus Aula-Oude School, bruno.decordier@ugent.be

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Cristina Boboc Department of Conflict and Development Studies under the Faculty of Political and Social Sciences, Ghent University, Campus Aula-Oude School, cristina.boboc@ugent.be

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Based on field observations and an empirical survey on religion and identity that was conducted among the Slavic Orthodox population in the wider Baku area and in Ganja, this article examines the identity and social position of this community, now the country’s main Christian population group. While earlier research on the nominally Christian Slavic groups in the Caspian–Central Asian space tended to concentrate on ethnolinguistic and political issues, this research focuses on religious identification, religious practice, and the status of the Orthodox Church. Numbering just 1.5 percent of the population, the Orthodox Christian community in Azerbaijan is nearing extinction due to its aging membership. Nonetheless, Orthodox Christianity will keep a presence in the country and its society, although it could attract a more heterogeneous following.

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