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Conversations with God

Multilingualism among the Catholics in Belarus in the Late Twentieth and Early Twenty-First Centuries. Sociolinguistic study


Ewa Golachowska

The book discusses the sociolinguistic status and prestige of the Polish language and the changes in the national identity of Catholics in Belarus due to the switch from Polish to Belarusian in the Catholic Church. The research shows that the national identification of Catholics in Belarus is changing. The oldest generations most often self-identify as Polish. For those from the middle and youngest generations, the link between nationality and their religion is not obvious as being a Catholic does not exclude a Belarusian self-identity. Belonging to the Catholic Church results from being baptized in the Catholic rite, while national identity can be defined in many ways and re-defined by various life experiences. Catholicism has proven to be a less debated and more durable category than nationality.

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Photo 1: Catechism written in Cyrillic with the Polish texts of prayers, early 1990s (photo by E. Golachowska)

Photo 2: Belarusian text of Holy Mass. On the following page, Latin and Cyrillic transcriptions, published 1995 in Minsk in the Church of Holy Simeon and Helena (photo by E. Golachowska)

Photo 3: New church under the denomination of the Holy Mary Mother of the Church, Chavusy, Minsk-Mohilev Diocese, Mshchislav Deanery (photo by M. Ostrówka)

Photo 4: Built-up façade and main entrance to the Church of the Immaculate Conception of the Holiest Virgin Mary in Bobruisk (photo by M. Ostrówka)

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