Orthodox Christianity in Imperial Russia: A Source Book on Lived Religion

Orthodox Christianity in Imperial Russia: A Source Book on Lived Religion

Orthodox Christianity in Imperial Russia: A Source Book on Lived Religion

Orthodox Christianity in Imperial Russia: A Source Book on Lived Religion

Synopsis

From sermons and clerical reports to personal stories of faith, this book of translated primary documents reveals the lived experience of Orthodox Christianity in 19th- and early 20th-century Russia. These documents allow us to hear the voices of educated and uneducated writers, of clergy and laity, nobles and merchants, workers and peasants, men and women, Russians and Ukrainians. Orthodoxy emerges here as a multidimensional and dynamic faith. Beyond enhancing our understanding of Orthodox Christianity as practiced in Imperial Russia, this thoughtfully edited volume offers broad insights into the relationship between religious narrative and social experience and reveals religion's central place in the formation of world views and narrative traditions.

Excerpt

Stories lie at the heart of every faith, of every faith community, and of every individual’s religious identity. Each religious tradition shares a central story that explains, orders, and thereby gives meaning to, the universe. a set of narratives of the collective experience of that story becomes the basis for religious communities, whether denominational, national, or local. and individuals develop their religious identities as they use these public stories to make sense of their own autobiographies.

This collection invites readers to explore how nineteenth- and early twentieth-century-Russians lived out Eastern Orthodoxy – a major Christian tradition that is relatively little known in Western scholarship and culture. Through both public narratives such as sermons, lives of saints, hymns, and clerical reports, and personal stories of faith told in diaries, memoirs, miracle tales, and confessions, the documents offered here provide new insights into the lived religious and social experience of imperial Russia.

Everyday life in imperial Russia comes alive in these texts. They are religious narratives but in most cases they also document social and political and cultural history, affording a new window into a dynamic society undergoing an accelerating and wrenching modernization. in the century before the revolution of 1917, the imperial Russian government grappled with the challenges presented by the economic, social, and political modernization of its European competitors. Despite continual – and frequently secret – efforts at reform, the two brothers who ruled Russia in the first half of the nineteenth century, Alexander I

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