Orthodox Russia

Belief and Practice Under the Tsars

Edited by Valerie A. Kivelson, Robert H. Greene

Paperback - £28.95

Publication date:

15 June 2003

Length of book:

304 pages


Penn State University Press

ISBN-13: 9780271023502

Orthodox Christianity came to Russia from Byzantium in 988, and in the ensuing centuries it has become such a fixture of the Russian cultural landscape that any discussion of Russian character or history inevitably must take its influence into account. Orthodox Russia is a timely volume that brings together some of the best contemporary scholarship on Russian Orthodox beliefs and practices covering a broad historical period—from the Muscovite era through the immediate aftermath of the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917. Studies of Russian Orthodoxy have typically focused on doctrinal controversies or institutional developments.

Orthodox Russia concentrates on lived religious experience—how Orthodoxy touched the lives of a wide variety of subjects of the Russian state, from clerics awaiting the Apocalypse in the fifteenth century and nuns adapting to the attacks on organized religion under the Soviets to unlettered military servitors at the court of Ivan the Terrible and workers, peasants, and soldiers in the last years of the imperial regime. Melding traditionally distinct approaches, the volume allows us to see Orthodoxy not as a static set of rigidly applied rules and dictates but as a lived, adaptive, and flexible system.

Orthodox Russia offers a much-needed, up-to-date general survey of the subject, one made possible by the opening of archives in Russia after 1991.

Contributors include Laura Engelstein, Michael S. Flier, Daniel H. Kaiser, Nadieszda Kizenko, Eve Levin, Gary Marker, Daniel Rowland, Vera Shevzov, Thomas N. Tentler, Isolde Thyrêt, William G. Wagner, and Paul W. Werth.

Orthodox Russia resituates the study of Russian Orthodox culture within the history of lived experience—something that scholars would not have attempted a generation ago. With essays by some of the finest historians working on Russian Orthodox culture, the book demonstrates how the field has become an ever more integral part of wider cultural studies.”

—Stephen K. Batalden, Arizona State University