The Russian Orthodox Church - Before, During and After Communism

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The Russian Orthodox Church - Before, During and After Communism

<p>The Orthodox Church in Russia traces its origins to the decision of Prince Vladimir of Kiev to adopt the Eastern Orthodox faith as his new state religion in 988 AD. Over more than a thousand years

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The Orthodox Church in Russia traces its origins to the decision of Prince Vladimir of Kiev to adopt the Eastern Orthodox faith as his new state religion in 988 AD. Over more than a thousand years, the Russian Orthodox Church has helped to forge a distinctive Russian national identity, especially during persecution from external or internal enemies. In this course, we will learn how the Church has either endured or enjoyed its relationship with the state, under the various forms of government that have prevailed in Russia throughout its history, including the rule of princes, khans, emperors, communists and democrats.


SUGGESTED READING

  • Andrey Pertsev, President and Patriarch: What Putin Wants From the Orthodox Church, Carnegie Moscow Center (December 19, 2017). Available online at: https://carnegie.ru/commentary/75058


COURSE OUTLINE

  • An overview of the development of the Russian Orthodox Church from its founding in 988 AD up to the Russian Revolution, with a focus on the relationship between church and state.
  • A survey of church-state relations in the Soviet Union, examining the impact of state-based persecution on the leaders and laity of the church, the role of the gulags, and the phenomenon of the New Martyrs (those Christians killed for their faith under the Communist regime, and subsequently canonised after the fall of the Soviet Union.)
  • An examination of various aspects of the resurgence of the Russian Orthodox Church after 1991, including the church’s new status as the unofficial state religion, its role in the Russian education system, and its influence upon Russian social and foreign policy, etc.


PLANNED LEARNING OUTCOMES
By the end of this course, students should be able to:

  1. Understand the origins and early development of the Russian Orthodox Church.
  2. Comprehend the difficulties faced by Russian Christians during the communist period.
  3. Appreciate the new role of the Russian Orthodox Church in post-communist Russia.