Mikalaj Antropaū, Alena Bohanieva, Tacciana Valodzina. Ethno-confessional stereotypes of the contemporary rural Belarusians

The article considers some aspects of communication between representatives of different Christian confessions in Belarus: Orthodox people, Catholics, Old Believers, Protestants (Baptists and the Stundists). The research attempts to represent not only an external scientific view but also shows ethno-confessional situation from the point of view of the representatives and experts of the tradition. An image of a «stranger» in the traditional consciousness had a folklore-mythological interpretation and gained, at first sight, contradictory and incompatible characteristics. In respect of representatives of other neighboring confessions one can observe strategies of alienation (every representative of another confession or ethnicity is viewed as something dangerous and belonging almost to another world) and tolerance («strangers» are included into the sphere of traditional magic and religious rites). In Belarus features of «strangeness» in ethno-confessional stereotypes are typical mainly for relations between Christians and non-Christians, Orthodox people/Catholics and Baptists. Relations between Orthodox people and Catholics represent a picture of an «included neighborhood». But, in any case, one can say of a watchful attitude towards the neighbors belonging to other confessions and also of concentration of a mythological view in their stereotypes, which tends to be thicker in the case when confessional groups live distantly. The close neighborhood demonstrates if not comprehension and acceptance of various manifestations of another confession then, at least, desire for it.