"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, August 10, 2015

Post-Soviet Monasticism

The whole reason for starting this blog nearly five years ago now was to showcase the endless and diverse flood of (often affordable!) books on Eastern Christianity, a dramatic change in the last two decades. Prior to that, one often searched in vain for a solitary chapter in the odd book surveying Eastern Christian realities. Entire monographs devoted to Eastern Christians were rare, had small print runs, and cost a small fortune.

On that latter point, alas, we are not entirely far removed yet. Thus a forthcoming book next month, edited by Ines Angeli Murzaku (whom I interviewed here about another collection on monasticism) is published by a major publisher, but still at a formidable cost: I.A. Murzaku, ed., Monasticism in Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Republics (Routledge, 2015), 384pp.

About this book we are told:
This book looks at Eastern and Western monasticism’s continuous and intensive interactions with society in Eastern Europe, Russia and the Former Soviet Republics. It discusses the role monastic’s played in fostering national identities; and the potentiality of monasteries and religious orders to be vehicles of ecumenism and inter-religious dialogue within and beyond national boundaries. Using a country-specific analysis, the book highlights the monastic tradition and monastic establishments. It addresses gaps in the academic study of religion in Eastern European and Russian historiography, and looks at the role of monasticism as a cultural and national identity forming determinant in the region.

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