Russian Orthodoxy on the Eve of Revolutionby Vera Shevzov
Pub. Date: 12/04/2003
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
"Vera Shevzov has spent ten years researching Orthodoxy as it was lived in the years before the 1917 Revolution. In Russian Orthodoxy on the Eve of Revolution, she draws on a rich variety of previously untapped archival sources and published works unavailable in the West to reconstruct the religious world of laypeople." Shevzov traces the means by which men and women… See more details below
"Vera Shevzov has spent ten years researching Orthodoxy as it was lived in the years before the 1917 Revolution. In Russian Orthodoxy on the Eve of Revolution, she draws on a rich variety of previously untapped archival sources and published works unavailable in the West to reconstruct the religious world of laypeople." Shevzov traces the means by which men and women shaped their religious lives in an ecclesiastical system that was often dominated by bureaucrats and monastic bishops. She finds vivid displays of resistance to the official system and equally vivid affirmations of faith. Focusing on various "centers" of religious life - the church temple, chapels, feasts, icons, and the Virgin Mary - she traces the rituals, beliefs, and communal dynamics that lent these centers meaning. Shevzov also presents the conflicting voices of ecclesiastical officials. She questions the notion that the only challenge to Orthodoxy at the end of the ancien regime came from outsiders such as Marxist revolutionaries, atheistic intellectuals, and urban factory workers. Instead, she shows that a different but equally great challenge emerged within the faith community itself. Indeed, the late nineteenth and early twentieth century is revealed as one of the most dynamic periods in the history of Russian Orthodoxy, characterized by debates analogous to the Reformation or the era of Vatican II.
Table of Contents
|1||The People of God: Competing Images of Community and Laity||12|
|2||Temple Dialectics: Sacred Place and the Claim on Orthodox Identity||54|
|3||Chapels: Symbols of Ecclesial Antinomies||95|
|4||Feasts: The Setting of Sacred Time||131|
|5||Icons: Miracles, Memory and Sacred History||171|
|6||The Message of Mary||214|
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The Orthodox Church in pre-revolutionary Russia was a pervasive part of everyday life, yet we know comparatively little about it. This book (at long last) fills in a huge gap in the study of Russia. It spans the fields of ethnography, cultural studies, history, and religious studies, and will help readers understand not only the enormous vitality and variety of everyday Orthodoxy in the last decades of the tsarist empire, but also give insight into what an enormous change was worked when the Communist regime destroyed the Church, and what the revival of the Church today might mean for Russian society after decades of disrupted tradition. A highly recommended read. An essential addition to class syllabi too.