Sanctification of Religious Elements in the Process of Identity Convergence (Regional Analysis according to Adjarian Example)

Ineza Zoidze


Historically, religion was a determinant of ethnicity. Consequently, religion played an important role in shaping the identity. At the modern stage, the clear strengthening of secularization contributed to freedom of religion. However, following the historical processes religious things in social life have contributed to the elements of sanctification, which has established exceptional approaches in social culture, consciousness and identity processes.    

Taking into consideration these tendencies, Adjarian region is characterized by special significance based on historical processes and modern trends. Due to the historical past, Adjara is distinguished with religious diversity that has influenced the population’s traditional culture, as well as the consciousness and identity formation. Cultural and social grounds for establishment of Christian religion in Adjara were prepared by pagan religion, the elements of which in modern stage are well maintained in the population and culture. This was due to the spread of Islam as pagan culture was more acceptable than Christian elements. Consequently, the conservation of pagan elements in the society occurred. The spread of Muslim religion was used as a factor of ethno-cultural de-integration. More importantly, that historically religion was the main criterion of ethnicity. In the modern stage, secularization processes have replaced existing approaches and generally religion is no longer a factor of ethnic identity. However, we can say that we have received syncretism of three religions (paganism, Islam, Christianity), which has had a significant impact on the development of cultural identity.     

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