Academic journal article Theological Studies

Cross and Kremlin: A Brief History of the Orthodox Church in Russia

Academic journal article Theological Studies

Cross and Kremlin: A Brief History of the Orthodox Church in Russia

Article excerpt

Cross and Kremlin: A Brief History of the Orthodox Church in Russia. By Thomas Bremer. Translated from German by Eric Grits. Grand Rapids, Ml: Eerdmans, 2013. Pp. xii + 178. $26.

This translation of the 2007 German original offers a concise and approachable summary of the history, theology, and practice of Orthodox Christianity in Russia over the past millennium. Bremer emphasizes the intersection of church and state and pays particular attention to the ways both took their present form in response to a series of engagements with the "West." These emphases are nicely situated within a broader discussion of the Orthodox intellectual tradition in the post-Byzantine world. One of the great contributions of the book is the way B. positions present-day challenges and debates within the long history of Russian Christianity. He notes, appropriately, the extent to which certain partisans within the Orthodox community hopelessly seek to return to the "way things were" prior to the Bolsheviks or even prior to the dismantling of the church's institutional authority at the time of Peter the "Great." B. also introduces readers to the ways Orthodox Christianity has become an intrinsic characteristic of Russian national identity, particularly as a signifier of difference vis-a-vis the West (both the Christian and secular West). …

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