“Comunione e Liberazione” Movement in Ukraine as Cultural and Inter-Denominational Crossroad

By: Nataliya Bezborodova  

Comunione e Liberazione (hereafter - CL) is an Italian-rooted Roman Catholic-based religious movement that has disseminated globally to 76 countries. In the 1950s-60s, CL developed as an active anti-communist group, inspired by one of the prophesies by the Lady of Fatima regarding the consecration of Russia, and expended their activities to the former Soviet Union. Together with The Russia Cristiana foundation established in Seriate, Italy, in 1957, Italian CL members supported Christians and dissident movement in the former Soviet Union creating a mission in Siberia, which later relocated to the European part of Russia having formed a center in Moscow. CL today produced a new phenomenon within the movement, a “flying community” that embraced members of neighbor countries: Ukraine, Russia and Belarus of different ages and ethnic origins, and Italian long-or-short-term visitors. Its members have different denominational affiliation as Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Christians. The mission in Ukraine has been established through CL activities in Russia, and have a strong presence of Italian-born members. Since 2013, the group members regularly organize events in the different places where they live, mostly in Kyiv, Kharkiv, and Minsk; also Lviv, Odessa, Kherson, Gomel and Moscow are for occasional events. I look at CL festivals as translocal places for cultural overlapping (Low and Lawrence-Zún͂iga 2003), and exhibits as spatial tactics and heterotopia as a strategy and/or technique of power and social control with different functions for insiders and outsiders (Foucault 1986, Yeager 1996) where festive are mediators for social change (Picard 2016).

Community Identity Migrations
Religious Commonalities and Differences
Paper Presentation in a Themed Session

Nataliya Bezborodova

PhD Student, Anthropology, University of Alberta, Canada
Alberta, Canada

Nataliya Bezborodova is a PhD student at the University of Alberta, Department of Anthropology. She is interested in interdisciplinary approaches including anthropology, ethnography, cultural and religious studies. Her doctoral project focuses on the meaning of space and place in migrations and contemporary international religious movements on the example of Comunione e Liberazione. She also works at the Kule Folklore Center and Bohsan Medwidsky Ukrainian Folklore Archives at the University of Alberta. She has taken part in various research and artwork projects. In 2016, Nataliya got her MA degree at the Department of Modern Languages and Cultural Studies, at the University of Alberta. Her MA thesis explores the Internet textual representations of the Maidan protests in Ukraine. She traced the role of the protest lore assisting to formulate new narratives, articulate attitudes, build relationships, and create a sense of community for protestors, which had its impact on institutional changes of commemorative practices. Her recent publications are: "Hedgehog in the Fog" as a Maidan Hero, an article in Folklorica: Journal of Slavic and East European Folklore Studies Association (2016); Nebesna Sotnia: Formation of a New Narrative from Protest Lore to Institutionalized Commemorative Practice, accepted for publication by Ethnologies (2018); Creating a Sense of Community through Digital Storytelling: the Case of the Maidan, accepted for publication as a book chapter in Heritage in Motion, Laurier Turgeon, Ed., Laval University Press (2018).