Russian Orthodox Church Social Work: evaluation of quantitative characteristics




RESEARCH TEAM: Batanova Polina, Valeriya Elagina


This research continues a long-term project “Social Work of Russian Orthodox Church in XXI Century”.

The main objective of the study is that to statistically evaluate quantitative indicators of church social work at various levels (especially – parishes including monasteries and diocesan) across the country, but taking into account regional specifics. The premise of the project is the resolution of the Bishops Council of 2011 titled “On the principles of organization of social work in the Russian Orthodox Church”, according to which social work should be carried out on each of church levels (parish, deanery, diocesan). Since the adoption of this document a sociological view of Church social work began to develop, but the statistical estimate of coverage, distribution and dynamics of its indicators is still missing. Without a whole vision it is impossible to make any predictions for the future. In addition, for several years of development, a lot of issues concerning church social work has risen and require statistically valid answers. What are the trends in the development of social projects at the level of parishes, deaneries and dioceses? What number of volunteers is involved in various directions of social activity in the dioceses? What categories of needy are getting primarily assistance? What are the differences between the social work of parishes in rural areas, small towns and cities? By answering these questions, we will take in account social and economic context. Within the research project, therefore, a number of tasks like: information’ gathering, key indicators identification, development of categories and classifications for systematization of data, quantitative analysis, and, finally, visualization of the results will be solved. It is supposed to work both with secondary data sources (government statistics), and the empirical data from previous research. The result of the project will be a database that reflects the reality of social work done by Russian Orthodox Church at the moment. Database is meant to be updated by additional and fresh data, thus staying relevant. Statistics on Church social work will not only be helpful for the responsible for its’ conducting, but also will allow obtaining a detailed understanding of these activities to everyone concerned. This project is unique for the field of religious social work studies based on Russian material; it is going to become a consistent step in the development of this field of studies, as well as in the studies of non-profit organizations, civic engagement and social capital.

The results of the project will be presented in the form of the articles for sociological journals. Also, infographics with the main data will be published on the “Sociology of Religion” web-site.

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