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14 September 2018

On the role of globalization and orthodoxy in Imperial Russia

Vestnik of Saint Petersburg University. History
On the role of globalization and orthodoxy in Imperial Russia

Historians of the Russian Orthodox Church have hitherto given scant attention to two primary dynamics in the religious history of Imperial Russia: globalization and transconfessionality. The former of course has been widely recognized and studied with respect to such spheres as politics and economics; that globalization led inexorably to an erosion of national boundaries, obviating the traditional nation-state paradigm in historical narratives and foregrounding the idea of “entangled histories”. But the same level of scholarship does not exist with respect to transconfessionality; i.e., the growing importance of confessional interaction, where a rising volume and velocity of “connectedness” led on occasion to polemics and competition, but also to mutual study and selective emulation. As in secular spheres such as economics and politics, it is impossible to limit analysis to a narrowly confessional, internal history of national churches. On the contrary, it is absolutely essential to consider the impact and dynamics of the transconfessional that accompanied globalization. This article examines the process of transconfessionality in Imperial Russia. It seeks to explain the role of transconfessionality in the development of the Russian Orthodox Church and its relationship to state and society. It gives particular attention to the impact of transconfessionality on Church institutions and their worldly role. The general thrust of the article is “conceptual-methodological”: it suggests how historians might reframe future research and illustrates the value of this approach by presenting specific case studies at the macro and micro levels. Those empirical examples draw on substantial archival material as well as the rich store of confessional publications and journals (both Russian and European) from the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries (Dindorf and Kasinec 1970; Davis 1989; Geffert 1996). Refs 91.

Source: Freeze G.L. (2017). Globalization and orthodoxy in imperial Russia. Vestnik of Saint Petersburg University. History, vol. 62, issue 1, pp. 4–17.

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