"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).

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Orthodox Revivalism in Russia

My students, being American, always comment on their puzzlement at Russians who identify as Orthodox but rarely if ever darken the door of a church, frequent the sacraments, or indeed have themselves or family members baptized at all. That phenomenon is front and centre in a book set for release this fall: Milena Benovska, Orthodox Revivalism in Russia: Driving Forces and Moral Quests (Routledge, October 2020), 240pp.

About this book the publisher tells us this:
Orthodoxy has achieved a large scale revival in Russia following the collapse of Communism. However, paradoxically, although there is a high level of identification with Orthodoxy, there is in fact a low level of church attendance. This book, based on in depth ethnographic fieldwork, explores the social background and moral attitudes of the "little flock" of believers who actively participate in religious life. It reveals that the complex moral beliefs of the faithful have a disproportionately high impact on Russian society overall; that among the faithful there is a strong emphasis on striving for personal perfection; but that also there are strong collective ideas concerning religious nationalism and the synergy between the secular and the religious.

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