Document:Terran Orthodoxy

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Document:Terran Orthodoxy  
The Resurgence of Orthodoxy in the Post-Commonwealth Terran Colonies
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Examination of religion in the Terran Colonial Confederation
Author(s) Valentina Kharitonova
Subject An analysis on the unusual resurgence of the Orthodox faith within Confederate territories, and the factors leading to such.

During the century following the disbanding of the Terran Commonwealth, academics have noted a peculiar trend within the society of the Terran Colonial Confederation. Since shortly before their secession, and during the following century, the number of Terrans who self-identify as religious has been on a steady upward trend; this trend is especially visible in the Terran Orthodox church. Against the influence of a larger galactic trend towards secularization, religious belief has only continued to rise in the Colonial Confederation.

Understanding secularism

Numerous theories have arisen to explain what statistics imply to be a religious resurgence. However, few understand the significance of the trend currently unfolding in the Colonial Confederation. To understand this trend, a cursory understanding of the opposing trend is necessary. The trend of secularization first began in the early 17th century, following industrialization, urbanization, and rationalization, as well as advances in science which were considered significant at the time. These factors, in turn, led to a slow trend towards secularism which continues into the modern day, despite stagnation during the past four centuries. However, the process of secularization does not imply that all, or even the majority of interest in religion has ceased. The trend is defined merely as the decrease in the bearing of religious institutions on the operation of a society. This fine distinction holds significant relevance in the interpretation of the Colonial Confederation's religious resurgence.

The birth of Terran Orthodoxy

The Colonial Confederation's resurgence seems to have begun in earnest during and after the founding of the Confederation. However, the influence of Orthodoxy has been significant since the original colonization of the Gilgamesh system. A significant number of the colonists who had arrived on Terra were of Slavic origin, were considered deeply religious, and had elected to take the voyage in order to escape the increasing secularization of the Commonwealth. These factors led to the founding of the first churches on Terra, which practiced the Orthodox faith. During the organization of what historians call proto-Terran Orthodoxy, the reforms of Patriarch Nikon were discarded by many churches in favor of pre-Nikonian teachings. By the time the Commonwealth had contacted the Terran colonies for the first time, proto-Terran Orthodoxy had become deeply rooted in the social structure of the colonies.

The subsequent boom in population among the colonies only served to further spread this religion. It was during this time that we began to see the first signs of true Terran Orthodoxy. By this point, the churches had become more organized and had maintained many pre-Nikonian teachings, further solidifying the presence of these teachings, and of early Terran Orthodoxy. It was also during this time that the Gilgamesh Orthodox Church officially split from Traditional Orthodoxy, putting their own Ecumenical Patriarchy into place.

After the first contact with the Skrell by the Commonwealth, the colonies saw further separation from Sol as the Commonwealth focused its efforts and resources on diplomacy with the Skrell. During this time, the consensus among the colonies was that the Skrell were unwelcome visitors, and with the Gilgamesh Orthodox Church preaching Humanity as God's chosen, and the Skrell as a danger to Humanity, the resurgence of Orthodoxy began in earnest, fuelled by a disdain for the Commonwealth and the Skrell. During the official split from the Commonwealth, the Gilgamesh Orthodox Church was rebranded as the Terran Orthodox Church and adopted old calendarist traditions in order to further distance itself from Traditional Orthodoxy.

The continued religious resurgence

Along with the emergence of Terran Orthodoxy, other religions began to see a resurgence in popularity as well; the newly-formed Confederation supporting fundamentalist ideals and distancing themselves from the Sol Central Government. Over the past century, this has translated into faith becoming deeply rooted in the social structures and culture of the Confederation. However, in recent years, this resurgence has begun to slow, and some church officials have even proposed a re-integration into Traditional Orthodoxy; although these proposals have been met with fierce resistance. While the Confederation's religious resurgence may be in its final days, it's doubtful that the schism between the Terran Orthodox Church and the Traditional Orthodox Churches will ever be repaired.