Lecture Series: Klaus Buchenau - Ex occidente lux(us): US Religious Influences in Eastern Europe
Large-scale emigration from Eastern Europe to the US took place in the nineteenth century, a process that had far-reaching and often unforeseeable consequences. The impact of migration on religion is explored here to show that westward migration actually led, in a rather complex way, to the "easternization" of the religious sphere in the Northern Carpathian region. People who in the Habsburg Empire had been separated from the Orthodox Church and via the Union of Rome had been brought closer to Western Christendom used US-American religious freedoms to rediscover their Orthodox roots. Ultimately, they invested their financial and cultural capital in order to initiate an exceptionally successful missionary movement in their former homelands. This resulted in hundreds of thousands of people in Eastern Slovakia and Carpatho-Ukraine turning to Orthodoxy. Such entanglements are again important today, as evident in the case of the impact of "Made in the USA" Ortohdoxy theology in today's Ukraine.
Klaus Buchenau has been professor of Southeast and European history at UR since 2013. His research interests include exploring the history of Serbia and Croatia comparatively in the context of religion, culture, and informality and corruption. He is currently working on a history of the noble Thurn and Taxis Family in former Yugoslavia.