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.
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