ORTHODOX RUSSIA: BELIEF AND PRACTICE UNDER THE TSARS EDITED BY VALERIE A. KIVELSON AND ROBERT H. GREENE
Orthodox Christianity came to Russia from Byzantium in 988, and in the ensuing centuries it has become such a fixture of the Russian cultural landscape that any discussion of Russian character or history inevitably must take its influence into account. Orthodox Russia is a timely volume that brings together some of the best contemporary scholarship on Russian Orthodox beliefs and practices covering a broad historical period— from the Muscovite era through the immediate aftermath of the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917.
Studies of Russian Orthodoxy have typically focused on doctrinal controversies or institutional developments. Orthodox Russia concentrates on lived religious experience— how Orthodoxy touched the lives of a wide variety of subjects of the Russian state, from clerics awaiting the Apocalypse in the fifteenth century and nuns adapting to the attacks on organized religion under the Soviets to unlettered military servitors at the court of Ivan the Terrible and workers, peasants, and soldiers in the last years of the imperial regime. Melding traditionally distinct approaches, the volume allows us to see Orthodoxy not as a static set of rigidly applied rules and dictates but as a lived, adaptive, and flexible system. Orthodox Russia offers a much-needed, up-to-date general survey of the subject, one made possible by the opening of archives in Russia after 1991.