Orthodoxy has achieved a large scale revival in Russia following the collapse of Communism. However, paradoxically, although there is a high level of identification with Orthodoxy, there is in fact a low level of church attendance. This book, based on in depth ethnographic fieldwork, explores the social background and moral attitudes of the "little flock" of believers who actively participate in religious life. It reveals that the complex moral beliefs of the faithful have a disproportionately high impact on Russian society overall; that among the faithful there is a strong emphasis on striving for personal perfection; but that also there are strong collective ideas concerning religious nationalism and the synergy between the secular and the religious.
Table of Contents
Acknowledgements Introduction Chapter One: The Vicarious Religion: The Strength of the ‘Little Flock’ of Believers Chapter Two: Multiple Moralities and Religious Power Chapter Three: In Search of Salvation: Narratives of Conversion, ‘Moral Torment’ and Miracles Chapter Four: Politics of Memory and Religious Nationalism: Martyrs and Heroes Conclusions References Appendix Index
Milena Benovska is a Professor in the Department of Ethnology and Balkan Studies at the South-West University of Blagoevgrad, Bulgaria