The pinnacle of the Christian year and the telos of Christ’s earthly ministry, Easter Sunday is the celebration of Christ’s “trampling down death by death” as an Orthodox hymn poetically proclaims. For liturgically grounded churches like the Eastern Orthodox or the Armenian Apostolic, one of the ancient Christian churches that are together known as the Oriental Orthodox Churches, that heightened theological experience can only be secured through liturgical participation: keeping the Holy Thursday vigil, processing with the tomb on Good Friday, and finally, receiving Holy Communion on Easter Sunday. What then, in the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic forcing people to remain at home, could the experience of Easter and all of Holy Week preceding it have been for such liturgically dependent Christian denominations? What can liturgy and its quintessential activity of Holy Communion look like under quarantine?
This article examines the recent ‘schism’ in Eastern Orthodoxy to show how religion and politics are strongly intertwined in disputes over territory and sovereignty. It argues that two logics are at play in this conflict: one grounded in the theological‐political concept of ‘canonical territory’, the other in the notion of ‘communion’ at the basis of the Christian fellowship. The first is deployed in claims for national sovereignty as well as imperial domination, while the latter can make or break communities of faith. Drawing a parallel between the post‐socialist revival of religion in Ukraine and the current mobilization on the ground, it shows how these contradictory logics shape the fate of people, churches and states.