COVID-19 and social distancing implications for religious activities and travel: The case of the Serbian Orthodox Church

Pavlović D.
Document Type
Source Title
International Journal of Religious Tourism and Pilgrimage
Dublin Institute of Technology


The COVID-19 pandemic affects people’s everyday way of life. International tourism is one of the most affected activities today, since one of the key measures in the strategy of keeping control over the new pandemic is preventing closer human contact. This includes restricting and discouraging the movement of people towards tourism destinations. These measures have caused major problems for the tourism industry and no form of tourism has been spared. The COVID-19 outbreak, as a real threat to public life and health, has established a new measure as a mandatory condition in everyday life globally - called social distancing. This measure has various impacts on religious communities and a strong influence on how and under which circumstances religious travel and pilgrimages can take place - it means not only physical distancing but also excluding individuals or groups from participating in one another’s lives. This paper focuses on social distancing from a religious perspective and its implications for religious activities and travel. Further, the paper points to the role of religious communities in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, considering both criticism and its role in saving lives. This paper examines social distancing measures’ impact on everyday religious activities from the Church point of view. Taking the example of the Serbian Orthodox Church’s standpoint and official announcements, the paper considers the important role and contribution of its religious community - several key elements have been singled out. Furthermore, this paper points out factors of the pandemic which affect the faithful and the Church - official decisions / announcements of the Serbian Orthodox Church as well as the influence of the anti-pandemic measures on religious activities and travel. The example also shows the ‘strong point’ of religion (religious community influence and strong mindset) which can be accepted or misunderstood as ‘resistance’ to the anti-pandemic measures. © International Journal of Religious Tourism and Pilgrimage

Migration angle
Region/Country (by coverage)