"Let books be your dining table, / And you shall be full of delights. / Let them be your
And you shall sleep restful nights" (St. Ephraim the Syrian).

Monday, October 30, 2017

Orthodox Renewal in Eastern and Southern Europe

It is of course a self-congratulatory staple of some Orthodox apologists that their tradition alone has not changed, while various Catholic and Protestant traditions have changed out of all recognition, becoming ever worse heretics in the process. Needless to say, this is a piece of myth-making that does not enjoy intimate congress with the historical evidence, some of which is newly recorded in a book released this month: Orthodox Christian Renewal Movements in Eastern Europe, eds. Aleksandra Djurić Milovanović and Radmila Radić (Palgrave Macmillan, 2017), 339pp.

About this book the publisher tells us:
This book explores the changes underwent by the Orthodox Churches of Eastern and Southeastern Europe as they came into contact with modernity. The movements of religious renewal among Orthodox believers appeared almost simultaneously in different areas of Eastern Europe at the end of the nineteenth and during the first decades of the twentieth century. This volume examines what could be defined as renewal movement in Eastern Orthodox traditions. Some case studies include the God Worshippers in Serbia, religious fraternities in Bulgaria, the Zoe movement in Greece, the evangelical movement among Romanian Orthodox believers known as Oastea Domnului (The Lord’s Army), the Doukhobors in Russia, and the Maliovantsy in Ukraine. This volume provides a new understanding of processes of change in the spiritual landscape of Orthodox Christianity and various influences such as other non-Orthodox traditions, charismatic leaders, new religious practices and rituals.
For those who wish to pursue the questions of how and where Orthodox traditions have changed in the past century, I would also direct you to the fascinating collection I reviewed elsewhere, which has recently been released in a more affordable paperback edition:  Innovation in the Orthodox Christian Tradition?: The Question of Change in Greek Orthodox Thought and Practice, eds. Trine Stauning Willert and Lina Molokotos-Liederman (Routledge, 2017), 298pp.

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