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Religion Of Children From Interfaith Marriages In The Kresy areas of Poland

Lwow Eagle 4 | 51
31 Jan 2016 #1
The Kresy was a place of great linguistic, ethnic, and religious diversity. Contrary to communist era historiography, people didn't fit into the neat categories like the commies wanted. (See Kate Brown's acclaimed work,A Biography Of No Place: From Ethnic Borderland to Soviet Heartland.) I have often heard mention of a tradition in the Kresy that, in cases of parents of different religions, the boys would take the religion of the father, and the girls would take the religion of the mother. Is anyone aware of this tradition having been documented academically or otherwise?

Bieganski 17 | 890
31 Jan 2016 #2
I came across this published 2014 thesis titled "Religion, Space and Movement on the Polish Belarusian Frontier" which seems relevant to the information you are seeking:


From what I read it is only the clergy who are really concerned with conversions particularly the Orthodox Church due to their significantly declining numbers.

Also, several years ago Polish director Andrzej Fidyk did a film titled "BiaƂoruski walc" ("Belarusian Waltz"). I can't find a full version of it online to link here but I distinctly recall a scene when the central (and eccentric) character Alexander Pushkin (a dissident artist with Belarusian nationalist sentiment) was discussing his forthcoming second marriage and he told the Orthodox priest that although they would have the wedding in an Orthodox church he did not want his wife to convert from her Catholic faith because it was part of her heritage. The film itself was about other matters but it was an interesting if only brief insight regarding ongoing attitudes towards religion in Kresy.
OP Lwow Eagle 4 | 51
1 Feb 2016 #3
Thank you for this. Joyce focuses mostly on Roman Catholic and Orthodox relations. She does note that the faith of the children is a consideration in these interfaith marriages. However, she claims that Roman Catholics and Orthodox can't intermarry without one converting to the other's faith. The Catholic priest she interviews contradicted her on this point. I think that she confused the requirements for having the marriage ceremony in the church building (where the non-Catholic must promise to raise the children Catholic) with the church recognizing a marriage to someone from another faith. If a Catholic married someone in a ceremony in another church, that person cannot remarry without an annulment. So, the Catholic church clearly does recognize these marriages as valid. Unfortunately she doesn't delve into the interrelationships with the Eastern Rite Catholics. There is no need for anyone to convert in a marriage between people practicing different rites of Catholicism. The tradition I mentioned certainly had no impediments in that case.

It is an interesting read. She is an anthropologist and has a different methodology from the commie social scientists and geographers whom she noted usually conflated religion and ethnicity. These clowns never supported their "expert" opinions which assigned ethnicity to groups of people based solely on their academic titles, and such opinions were declared facts which coincidentally justified involuntary border shifts and ethnic cleansing. She notes that one of her Orthodox sources objects to constantly being categorized as a Russian or Belarussian. She cites another academic who noted that there were still people in the region who avoided claiming an ethnicity and called themselves "local". The Kresy always was unique and defied easy categorization.

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