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A View from the Pew: Lay Orthodox Christian Perspectives on American Religious Diversity*

In: Russian History
Author: Amy A. Slagle1
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This study offers an analysis of how Orthodox Christians in America today grapple on a daily basis with the pluralism of the American religious landscape. Based on interviews conducted with converts and “cradle Orthodox” in the Greek, Ukrainian, Carpatho-Russian, and American (Orthodox Church in America) Churches, Slagle constructs an image of the imagined and actual worldviews of Orthodox practitioners in Southwest Pennsylvania and Northern Ohio—a region of the US with dense and well-establish Orthodox communities. Slagle finds a range of exclusivist and inclusivist attitudes among the Orthodox she interviewed—some practitioners seeing in Orthodoxy the lone true faith, while others situating the church in a larger, pluralistic environment. This study offers a close-up view of how Orthodox Americans view themselves and their larger religious contexts, and how the Church’s teachings, culture, liturgical life, and history inform and shape these widely varying views.

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