This issue inaugurates the second volume of Occasional Papers on Religion in Eastern Europe (OPREE). OPREE arose out of the acute need for reliable interpretation of current religious developments in Eastern Europe. In aim and format it is an unassuming publication. It was mandated by Christians Associated for Relationships with Eastern Europe (C.A.R.E.E.) as a vehicle for the diffusion of information, analysis, and evaluation aimed at promotion of understanding of the Eastern European religious situation among the leadership of the churches in the U.S.A. and Canada. After the appearance of the first issue, it became evident that such information is also sought in academic circles, as was evident from the responses of scholars and later by the number of library subscriptions. While the task of informing the majority of libraries and institutions about the existence of OPREE is yet to be done, it is clear that OPREE can be of service to many who need the kind of material which we are able to provide. Therefore, we shall endeavor to make all back issues available to those who order them.
So far, the response of the scholarly community in terms of writing OPREE articles has been nothing short of astonishing. Readers should realize, however, that it is impossible to provide systematic coverage of all countries and all churches in Eastern Europe, although it is our aim not to leave any out. Often it is very hard to find people able or willing to write about certain countries or churches, while it is easier to provide quite a few articles on other countries (e.g., on East Germany and Hungary, mostly written by Protestants). It is the editor's intention to provide as wide a coverage as possible and--while such coverage may not be evident immediately--in due time such variety will manifest itself on the pages of OPREE. Suggestions with regard to potential authors and ways of reporting are always welcome. From time to time, we may be able to present--in addition to writings of Western observers-- both personal and "official" essays by Eastern Europeans. It is hoped that these will all shed light on a topic which is both important and difficult.
Churches and Religious Groups in the GDR: Overview in Figures