Red Priests: Renovationism, Russian Orthodoxy, and Revolution, 1905-1946

Red Priests: Renovationism, Russian Orthodoxy, and Revolution, 1905-1946

by Edward E. Roslof
     
 

"The 1917 revolutions that gave birth to Soviet Russia had a profound impact on Russian religious life. Social and political attitudes toward religion in general and toward the Russian Orthodox Church in particular remained in turmoil for nearly thirty years. During that time of religious uncertainty, a movement known as "renovationism" led by reformist Orthodox…  See more details below

Overview

"The 1917 revolutions that gave birth to Soviet Russia had a profound impact on Russian religious life. Social and political attitudes toward religion in general and toward the Russian Orthodox Church in particular remained in turmoil for nearly thirty years. During that time of religious uncertainty, a movement known as "renovationism" led by reformist Orthodox clergy, pejoratively labeled "red priests," tried to reconcile Christianity with the goals of the Bolshevik state. By embracing the radical socialism of Lenin and his party, red priests unwittingly proved that the great nineteenth-century Russian novelist Fedor Dostoevskii had been right. Nearly everyone - including most Orthodox believers and Bolshevik officials - feared clergymen who proclaimed themselves to be both Christians and socialists." This study, based on previously untapped archival sources, recounts the history of the red priests who, acting out of religious conviction in a hostile environment, strove to establish a church that stood for social justice and equality. Relating the history of renovationism to broader historical developments, Red Priests sheds valuable new light on the dynamics of society, politics, and religion in Russia between 1905 and 1946.

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Editorial Reviews

J. T. Flynn

"Roslof (United Theological Seminary, Ohio) has produced a wonderfully successful and clearly written study of the Russian Orthodox clergy, who attempted to reconcile Christianity with the goals of the Bolshevik state... by actively accommodating Orthodox religious beliefs and institutions to new Soviet realities. This renovationist church faced a hostile world, opposed by the hierarchy of the traditional Orthodox Church and trusted by neither Orthodox believers nor the Soviet state. The first chapter is an insightful reading of the best secondary literature on the Orthodox Church and the rise of renovationism, especially in the era of the 1905 revolution. The remaining six chapters are abreast of the secondary literature but rooted in fresh archival research that is really fruitful, making possible a new and convincing picture of the history and significance of renovationism. Roslof finds renovationists neither self-serving renegades nor naive stooges, but believers who acted out of religious conviction. Stalin's decision in 1943 to support the traditional, patriarchal church not only ended the renovationist alternative but made it very difficult for the church to reform, to define its place and role in a modern Soviet, and then post-Soviet, world. An important contribution to understanding modern Russia. Summing Up: Essential. Upper—division undergraduates and above." —J. T. Flynn, emeritus, College of the Holy Cross, 2003jun CHOICE.

From the Publisher

"Roslof (United Theological Seminary, Ohio) has produced a wonderfully successful and clearly written study of the Russian Orthodox clergy, who attempted to reconcile Christianity with the goals of the Bolshevik state... by actively accommodating Orthodox religious beliefs and institutions to new Soviet realities. This renovationist church faced a hostile world, opposed by the hierarchy of the traditional Orthodox Church and trusted by neither Orthodox believers nor the Soviet state. The first chapter is an insightful reading of the best secondary literature on the Orthodox Church and the rise of renovationism, especially in the era of the 1905 revolution. The remaining six chapters are abreast of the secondary literature but rooted in fresh archival research that is really fruitful, making possible a new and convincing picture of the history and significance of renovationism. Roslof finds renovationists neither self-serving renegades nor naive stooges, but believers who acted out of religious conviction. Stalin's decision in 1943 to support the traditional, patriarchal church not only ended the renovationist alternative but made it very difficult for the church to reform, to define its place and role in a modern Soviet, and then post-Soviet, world. An important contribution to understanding modern Russia. Summing Up: Essential. Upper—division undergraduates and above." —J. T. Flynn, emeritus, College of the Holy Cross, 2003jun CHOICE.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780253109460
Publisher:
Indiana University Press
Publication date:
10/24/2002
Series:
Indiana-Michigan Series in Russian and East European Studies
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
288
File size:
870 KB

Meet the Author

Edward E. Roslof is Dean of Masters’ Studies and Associate Professor of Church History at United Theological Seminary, Dayton, Ohio.

Indiana University Press

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