HIST 245 Lecture Notes - Lecture 16: Central Asia, Westron, Pan-Slavism
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Lecture 16: Russian Orthodoxy and Religious Minorities
I. Introduction: Russia, Secularization, Modernity
a. Religion has gone through complete change in terms of scholarly research. Used to be case that
study of religion in Imperial Russia wasn’t interesting, few people, and agreed waste of time for:
i. Explanation of what happened in 1917 dominated scholarship, revolutionaries, peasants,
urbanization, social conditions but didn’t look at religion, and if did, pursued by Western
theories of secularism (1970s and 1980s) – that religion was on the decline in Western
world. Scientific religion, industrialization, religion was becoming smaller part of history
and as nations became more developed and enlightened etc, religion would play a
decreased role in politics in society, culture and daily life.
1. Why in Russia: regime took forth in 1917 that was anti-religious and increase the
secularization of the history.
2. Marker of Russian backwardness, show how orthodoxy, traditional Judaism or
islam were holding people back on path to further westernization. How Russian
orthodoxy bolstered autocracy, superstition among peasantry, opposed
emancipation of women, anti-religious conflicts, etc, when it disappears as
dominate topic in 1917, story – no longer important to study something that is
ii. With collapse of communism and rise of religious fundamentalist, Russian and Western
scholarship startto change in 1990s and 2000s, start to talk about something strange,
return of religion. It was important to look at history of religion in different light – thesis
of secularization is no longer popular, most scholars no longer believe that as society
becomes more westernized it becomes less religious. Since late 1990s, Russian scholars
have begun to rethink question of religion in Russia, new light.
1. What has been challeneged – binary of religious vs. secular, religion vs. modern,
not to say that religion didn’t change in Russia, it did and did so as urbanization
and western reform increased the pase, but did so in ways that are hard to describe
as secularization. See how in 3 cases, way that people adapted, changed and
transformed religious beliefs to meet with modernity.
II. Orthodoxy and Modernity
A. Church, State, Society
a. Dominant religion.
b. Brief history: since 988, Russian orthodoxy was dominant religion and official religion,
independent Russian orthodox church was funded in 1589 with establishment of Moscow
patriarchiat, between 1589 and Peter’s reforms of 1721---.
c. Argue: church and state have always been in relationship, but with collab and tension. But
with Peters reforms of 1721, whole dynamic chances.
i. Peter abolishes the patriarchiat and establishes his Holy Synod, meant to replace
power, part of Peter’s rationalization drive, his idea to bring Russian into moderniy by
solidifying ties of church and state, and use institutions to control the state/loyalty of
people, use priests and teachings to solidify loyalty to regime.
1. Seen as blow to Chrcuh, become another Peter’s college – desgined to
centrally control believers, goal was to make Chruch haindmiaden of state,
another side though:
a. Chruch used connection between state and authority, holy synod, in
ways that allowed to to place Chruch institutions and believers under
greater central control. Although seen as blow to them, adapted to
situation to make sure that heresary would not be spread, right belief in
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country side, disobedient parishes – could use arm of state to ensure
they were crushed. State useful ally – (Theme)
i. State seen as political ally in combating various christen sects
in Russia that combated Orthodoxy teachings.
d. Old believer sect – Called such, because wanted to go to orthodoxy that predated the 17th
century, series of reforms instituted in 17th century, designed to make Russian Orthodox more
like the Greek ortohodox, but old believrs though better and clunged to old traditions.
i. Way that processions happened in Church, cross yourself, 3 or 2 fingers, were major
soruces of contention.
e. Molokans – milk drinkers – called that mostly by Orthodox because refused to fast from milk
during Great Fasts – nothing from a milk, Fast were not appropriate to Christin teachings and
i. Prior to Peter the Great, regulation was ahowk, contensious, limited by scattered
power of Chruch authority, church pre-peter didn’t have resources to hunt down
hereseys and sects.
1. 18th and 19th centurys, assited by new holy synod, church could become more
rational and homogenizing to groups like the Molokans. Church had unified
set of rules on questions like divorce, set of proper conical beliefs and spread
and reinforce these through abilities to education, catecizied and punish priest
who disobeyed using resoruces avalaible – police, etc.
2. Intial story of timeperiod is not how church and state have always been
intermingled, but modernity has allowec hruch to extend power over Russia,
Peter’s reforms did not weaken church as he intended but strengtheded it in
f. Under reign of Alexander II – turning point.
B. Modernity and Religious Revival
a. Alexander sought to reform church in ways herefored rest of Russian society, increasing
democratic/resporesentative principles in Cuhrch srcuture. 1864 – parish council, introducing
popular local control over Church affairs, in west (organize chartiable projects raise money
for local church schools, provide extra income to clergy, renovate church buldings, etc –
increasing power over local church) – just like zemstyof, parish council were a great idea vs.
practical, parish council did not always seize power. But did introduce idea of popular
religion, popular faith that was governed from bottom up versus top down.
b. Another was to increase separation from church and state – formla toleration of non-
rothoodxy religion and catecizsm sects (son followered this for) 1843 – increasingly has
rights to meet on own parishes. Same time – Tsars intervene haphazardly in church affairs –
state needed to be canonized and insist go canonize them.
c. In increasingly pluralist and modrn environment, orthodox church and adherence to faith did
not decline but changed, transformed and used modern technqiues and instituinos and way of
thinknigs to revitialize and shape religious belief and practices.
i. RTansformation of religion at end of 19th century.
d. Revolutionaries weren’t assessing in the ground, engaging with new popular religious
practices fidning and advocating against them, equal battle then people realized, went in
peasant populaitons, preached utopian secular vision of future Russia, and peasants come
back at them with religious world view. Interesting: same time revolutionary sentiment is
growing, religious revival is growing.
e. 1825: 420 monsatires, 1914- 1000 monastaries. Number of poepel who take pilgraimages to
monastareries double, if not quadruple over 19th century, phenomeonon – miracle working
icons. Towns and villages calimed they had one icon to cure disease and people would flock
to get there.
i. Now what interesstng about story (paradoxes) could not of happened without
modernity, without trains and increasing means of communication like newspaper,
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