"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, March 1, 2021

The Women of Soviet Catacombs

I almost avoided posting this notice of a forthcoming book for I am beyond tired of certain people traducing Soviet history in their transparently tendentious manner to scare us into thinking we shall soon see gulags erected in the United States any day now for these self-proclaimed Christians who adhere, with ostentatious sanctimony, to certain views on sex and gender which, they hope--not disguising their alarmingly overdeveloped sadomasochistic urges--will get them clapped in irons and subject to floggings and other tortures.

Nevertheless, we must not penalize the work of legitimate scholars narrating genuine history simply for fear of giving fodder to certain adolescent bloggers and their tiresome fetishes. Thus we can look forward, later this month, to the official release of Women of the Catacombs: Memoirs of the Underground Orthodox Church in Stalin's Russia, trans. Wallace L. Daniel  (Northern Illinois University Press, March 2021), 252pp.

About this book the publisher tells us this:

The memoirs presented in Women of the Catacombs offer a rare close-up account of the underground Orthodox community and its priests during some of the most difficult years in Russian history. The catacomb church in the Soviet Union came into existence in the 1920s and played a significant part in Russian national life for nearly fifty years. Adherents to the Orthodox faith often referred to the catacomb church as the "light shining in the dark." Women of the Catacombs provides a first-hand portrait of lived religion in its social, familial, and cultural setting during this tragic period.

Until now, scholars have had only brief, scattered fragments of information about Russia's illegal church organization that claimed to protect the purity of the Orthodox tradition. Vera Iakovlevna Vasilevskaia and Elena Semenovna Men, who joined the church as young women, offer evidence on how Russian Orthodoxy remained a viable, alternative presence in Soviet society, when all political, educational, and cultural institutions attempted to indoctrinate Soviet citizens with an atheistic perspective. Wallace L. Daniel's translation not only sheds light on Russia's religious and political history, but also shows how two educated women maintained their personal integrity in times when prevailing political and social headwinds moved in an opposite direction.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Anonymous comments are never approved. Use your real name and say something intelligent.

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...