Professor Michael Strmiska, PhD, of Orange County Community College in New York State, will give a PowerPoint lecture on the history of religion in Eastern Europe from ancient times to the present. He will explain the religious diversity that has existed alongside religious intolerance, embracing Pagan traditions, Judaism, Islam, alternate forms of Christianity, and more recently, Eastern religions. He will examine factors which fostered tolerance and respect for religious diversity in Eastern Europe, at certain moments, or gave rise to fanatical intolerance and persecution, at other times, from Catholic dogmatism to ethnic nationalism to anti-Semitism and pogroms to Nazism and the Shoah. He will end with reflections on current trends in Eastern Europe in which a repressive Christian ethnic nationalism seems to again be on the rise in opposition to the European Union principles of religious tolerance and respect for diversity.
Dinner will be provided.