The Catholic Church and Russia : Popes, Patriarchs, Tsars and Commissars book cover
1st Edition

The Catholic Church and Russia
Popes, Patriarchs, Tsars and Commissars

ISBN 9781032180168
Published September 30, 2021 by Routledge
272 Pages

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Book Description

This unique account of Russia's encounter with Catholicism from the medieval period to the present provides fascinating insights into Catholic-Russian relations. Dennis Dunn analyzes religious politics in the former USSR and in Russia, particularly in areas where relations between the state-backed Orthodox establishment and the Catholic Church have renewed debates about civil rights, religious freedom and Russian national identity under Vladimir Putin's regime. Discussing issues such as the role of Pope John Paul II in helping to bring down the Iron Curtain, Dunn argues provocatively that Catholic-Russian relations are a microcosm of Western-Russian relations and sheds new light on the historical strain between Russia and the West. Showing how Russia's adoption of a secular ideology - a vain attempt to surpass the West - alienated the Russian government not only from the Catholic Church but also from its own Orthodox foundation, this book discusses how Russia sealed its fate while precipitating the Cold War with the West. Students and general readers interested in Russian history, Western-Russian relations, Catholicism, and comparative religion more broadly, will find this an invaluable and accessible account of an important and understudied subject.

Table of Contents

Contents: Introduction; Russia's problem with Catholicism; Alexis to Alexander I; Nicholas I to 1917; Early Cold War: Bolshevik Revolution to World War II; World War II; The Cold War and Stalinism; The Cold War and Khrushchevism; Late Cold War: the failure of ideology; Russia since 1991: a new solution?; Conclusion: another solution; Bibliography; Index.

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Dennis J. Dunn is Professor of History and Director of International Studies at Texas State University, USA.


'This is the most important study ever written on Catholic-Russian relations. Dennis Dunn provides us with an extraordinarily detailed overview of one of the more complex relationships on the planet, namely the relationship between the Catholic Church and Russia. It is a road map to Russia's past and future and offers cogent insight into the problems of modernization that confront all societies. It also shows where the Church made mistakes and missed opportunities. It is an extremely valuable study.' John McCarthy, Bishop Emeritus of Austin, Texas. 'The Catholic Church in Russia is growing and this has led to increased tensions in Russia at this present time. Dennis Dunn's book places the situation in an historical context and gives his own ideas as to the way forward.' Keith Patrick, Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh, Scotland. 'Dennis Dunn has answered the longstanding need for a reliable history of the Catholic Church in Russia with a well-researched book in ten brief chapters packed with the essential facts...this is a ground-breaking study which will clearly be the standard reference work on this subject for some time to come.' The Tablet '...the most comprehensive work published to date on the history of Russia's relations with the Catholic Church into the 21st century...Recommended...' Choice '... an interesting, very informative and scholarly book - and does give unusual insights into Russian history and politics.' The East West Review '... a solid piece of research and writing that will become the standard account of the political history of Catholicism in Russia.' Church History