Trends in online religious processes during the COVID-19 pandemic in Hungary
The COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, the related closures, and the introduction of social distancing, have both in Hungary and globally transformed people’s everyday lives: work, education, shopping, entertainment, as well as keeping in touch with family and friends. This study shows how Hungarian churches reacted in the spring of 2020 to physical closure and moved to online space. In the churches, two-way work began with special intensity, to organise the online appearance on the one hand, and to work out theological reflections on the possibilities provided by digital technology on the other. This study investigates the questions of what platforms the churches used and what messages they conveyed to their believers and followers during eventand community-based church and religious presence. Patterns of involvement are reviewed in online religious ceremonies from the believers’ viewpoint. In this regard, online data collection was conducted on how believers perceived the experience of social presence, screen-based interactivity and navigation, and the degree of autonomy and personality during digital rites. What did the presence of the camera mean in the process of meaning making, particularly the visual elements and procedures that differed from the visual perception of real presence? Overall, the believers had to deal with a new visual experience, an optical representation of reality, which allowed them to engage in a new type of interactivity and participation.
Médiakutató Autumn-Winter 2021 pp. 15-23