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A fascinating, vivid, and on-the-ground account of Russian Orthodoxy's resurgence A bold experiment is taking place in Russia. After a century of being scarred by militant, atheistic communism, the Orthodox Church has become Russia's largest and most significant nongovernmental organization. As it has returned to life, it has pursued a vision of reclaiming Holy Rus': that historical yet mythical homeland of the eastern Slavic peoples; a foretaste of the perfect justice, peace, harmony, and beauty for which religious believers long; and the glimpse of heaven on earth that persuaded Prince Vladimir to accept Orthodox baptism in Crimea in A.D. 988. Through groundbreaking initiatives in religious education, social ministry, historical commemoration, and parish life, the Orthodox Church is seeking to shape a new, post-communist national identity for Russia. In this eye-opening and evocative book, John Burgess examines Russian Orthodoxy's resurgence from a grassroots level, providing Western readers with an enlightening, inside look at the new Russia.
This book explores the history and evolution of Inochentism, a controversial new religious movement that emerged in the Russian and Romanian borderlands of what is now Moldova and Ukraine in the context of the Russian revolutionary period. It centres around the charismatic preaching of Inochentie, a monk of the Orthodox Church, who inspired an apocalyptic movement that was soon labelled heretical by the Orthodox Church and persecuted as socially and politically subversive by Soviet and Romanian state authorities. Inochentism and Orthodox Christianity charts the emergence and development of Inochentism through the twentieth century based on hagiographies, oral testimonies, press reports, state legislation and a wealth of previously unstudied police and secret police archival material. Focusing on the role that religious persecution and social marginalization played in the transformation of this understudied and much vilified group, the author explores a series of counter-narratives that challenge the mainstream historiography of the movement and highlight the significance of the concept of `liminality' in relation to the study of new religious movements and Orthodoxy. This book constitutes a systematic historical study of an Eastern European `home-grown' religious movement taking a `grass-roots' approach to the problem of minority religious identities in twentieth century Eastern Europe. Consequently, it will be of great interest to scholars of new religions movements, religious history and Russian and Eastern European studies.
The Byzantine Empire - the Christianized Roman Empire - very soon defined itself in terms of correct theological belief, 'orthodoxy'. The terms of this belief were hammered out, for the most part, by bishops, but doctrinal decisions were made in councils called by the Emperors, many of whom involved themselves directly in the definition of 'orthodoxy'. Iconoclasm was an example of such imperial involvement, as was the final overthrow of iconoclasm. That controversy ensured that questions of Christian art were also seen by Byzantines as implicated in the question of orthodoxy. The papers gathered in this volume derive from those presented at the 36th Spring Symposium of Byzantine Studies, Durham, March 2002. They discuss how orthodoxy was defined, and the different interests that it represented; how orthodoxy was expressed in art and the music of the liturgy; and how orthodoxy helped shape the Byzantine Empire's sense of its own identity, an identity defined against the 'other' - Jews, heretics and, especially from the turn of the first millennium, the Latin West. These considerations raise wider questions about the way in which societies and groups use world-views and issues of belief to express and articulate identity. At a time when, with the enlargement of the European Union, questions of identity within Europe are once again becoming pressing, there is much in these essays of topical relevance.
Living Icons presents an intimate portrait of holiness as exemplified in the lives and thoughts of ten people of faith in the Eastern Orthodox Church. In this inspiring volume, Michael P. Plekon introduces readers to a diverse and unusual group of men and women who strove to put the Gospel of Christ into action in their lives. The ""living icons"" Plekon describes were, among other things, priests, theologians, writers, and caregivers to the homeless and poor. One was an artist who became the greatest icon painter in this century; another was assassinated for his teachings in post-Soviet Russia. These remarkable people of faith lived through times of great suffering: forced emigration, the Great Depression, World War II, and the Cold War. Many of them were criticized, if not condemned, by ecclesiastical opponents and authorities. yet each demonstrate a unique pattern for holiness, illustrating that the path to sainthood is open to all. With the fall of state socialism, Eastern Orthodox churches and monasteries are being reopened and receiving renewed interest from believers and nonbelievers alike. Plekon calls to our attention people like Saint Seraphim of Sarov (1759-1832), a monk, mystic, counselor, healer, and visionary; Father Alexander Man (1935-1990), a Russian whose writings after Glasnost ultimately led to his tragic assassination; Mother Maria Skobtsova (1891-1945), a painter, poet, and political activist who was killed in a concentration camp for hiding her Jewish neighbors; and Father Lev Gillet (1893-1980), one of the twentieth century's greatest spiritual teachers. Living Icons, which includes a foreword by Lawrence S. Cunningham, brings to life the beautiful, and often unfamiliar, spirituality of the Eastern Orthodox Church through some of its most remarkable members. It shows with simplicity and clarity that Christ and the Gospel are often manifested in extraordinary ways in the lives of ordinary people.
Andrei Bloom (1914-2003) better known as Anthony Bloom, or Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh, led an extraordinary life. He was an individual who sought to be in touch with his God yet in solidarity with and responsibility for a tragically disconnected society; a man of God who "knew the world". From the difficulties of Russian emigre life that conditioned him as "a monk without a monastery", through the trials and suffering of war and revolution, to his calling as Priest and Bishop of the Russian Orthodox Church in Great Britain, he moved between many changing landscapes, striving always to take his bearings in prayer and contemplation. In spite of the collapse of their whole way of life, his parents brought him up to be a generous and courteous friend to those around him. As a surgeon and doctor in German-occupied France, he would provide treatment to those in need irrespective of ethnic or ideological affiliation. In his character, joy in the good and the beautiful was compounded with ardor and tragic depths. This biography explores how Metropolitan Anthony sought the mind of Christ to cultivate and control his own loving heart and occasionally harsh exigence. Avril Pyman draws on a mosaic of available evidence to offer deeper insight into the life and times of a remarkable spiritual teacher, charismatic speaker and priest whose cosmopolitan background, character and experience of science and medicine made a unique and significant contribution to Orthodox Christian thought and practice throughout the world.
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