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Russian Orthodoxy Resurgent: Faith and Power in the New Russia Hardcover – September 14, 2008

ISBN-13: 978-0691125732 ISBN-10: 0691125732 Edition: First Edition

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 344 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press; First Edition edition (September 14, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0691125732
  • ISBN-13: 978-0691125732
  • Product Dimensions: 1.1 x 6.3 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,277,542 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Savagely persecuted throughout the existence of the Soviet Union, the Russian Orthodox Church has experienced a remarkable revival in the past two decades. Led by its patriarch, Aleksy II, the renaissance has not been, however, as simple as picking up where 1917 left off; the historical Church was too intimately connected with czarist autocracy for that. Examining the restoration process, the Garrards touch on certain reconnections with the pre-revolutionary Church in consecrations conducted in the beautiful Orthodox liturgy of church buildings and monasteries returned to it by post-Communist Russian governments. But they also focus on Aleksy II’s agenda both to reroot Russian Orthodoxy to its claim as the true apostolic succession in Christendom (a challenge to Roman Catholicism’s rival claim) and to reidentify it with Russian nationalism. The former claim lies in New Testament texts the Garrards clearly explain, while their discussion of Aleksy II’s activities in the latter realm display the authors’ supple understanding of Russian patriotism and its religio-military heroes going back to Alexander Nevsky. An important work for students of contemporary Russia. --Gilbert Taylor

Review

"At the heart of the book is a masterful biography of Alexy himself. . . . An important and meticulously researched book."--Thomas de Waal, Times Literary Supplement

"[The Garrards] focus on Aleksy II's agenda both to reroot Russian Orthodoxy to its claim as the true apostolic succession in Christendom (a challenge to Roman Catholicism's rival claim) and to reidentify it with Russian nationalism. The former claim lies in New Testament texts the Garrards clearly explain, while their discussion of Aleksy II's activities in the latter realm display the authors' supple understanding of Russian patriotism and its religio-military heroes going back to Alexander Nevsky. An important work for students of contemporary Russia."--Gilbert Taylor, Booklist

"After the long dark eclipse of the Soviet period, the Russian Orthodox Church is again central to an understanding of contemporary Russia, and this book provides a fine starting point."--Robert Levgold, Foreign Affairs

"J. Garrard and C. Garrard provide an important portrait of the Russian Church and its role in the establishment of the 'new' Russia. . . . Based on an abundance of contemporary sources, the Garrards tell a fascinating story."--G.P. Cox, Choice

"The Garrards (he a lapsed Anglican, she a practising Lutheran) write evocatively about the history, in elegiac style about the beauty of the architecture, iconography and liturgy, and clear-headedly about nasty aspects such as the church's severe anti-Semitism."--Miriam Cosic, The Australian

"Even though the book's style appeals to a popular readership, scholars will want to study the Garrards' work. Their personal contacts with many Russians active in church life have awarded them priceless insights, within the reach of very few Westerners, and many of the important events they witnessed have not been well covered by news outlets."--John D. Basil, Church History

"This book combines empathy and detailed scholarship, shedding light on the intricacies of church-state relations in the new Russia."--Iannis Carras, opendemocracy.net

"[T]he book is a lively written impressionist report by engaged observers with an abundance of information."--Wil van den Bercken, Journal of Eastern Christian Studies

"[T]his is an engaging study of a fascinating subject that is essential to our understanding of the new Russia."--Ruth Coates, European Legacy

"The Garrards' monograph is an accessible survey of many aspects of Russian Orthodox history and culture and can serve as a valuable introduction to these topics."--Katja Richters, Journal of Contemporary History

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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Scott Kenworthy on August 18, 2010
Format: Hardcover
The subject of this book is certainly important, and there are sections where the authors handle very difficult issues with great sensitivity and insight (chapters 3, 4, and 7). But so much of the book is marred by gross errors about Orthodoxy in general and about Russian Orthodoxy in particular, and by dubious assertions and flawed arguments, that it is very difficult to recommend the book as a whole.

To point out some of the gross inaccuracies about Orthodoxy: One of the major problems is that the Garrards fail to distinguish between Eastern Orthodoxy in general and Russian Orthodoxy in particular. Thus they claim that "Russia is unlikely to become 'Western' because the original East-West divide is the one that split Christianity in 1054" (xiv). While there is an anti-westernism in Russia and in Russian Orthodoxy, this cannot be explained because of the schism between Eastern and Western Christianity in 1054 because other Orthodox nations (Greece, Bulgaria, and Romania) are happily part of the EU and "the West."

In general, their understanding of the schism between East and West is riddled with problems. In particular, the whole idea that the schism was over irreconcilable claims of apostolic succession stemming from Peter (according to Roman Catholics) versus Andrew for (Russian?) Orthodox, which forms the basis for the argument of chapter 5, is something I've never encountered in any Orthodox publication or scholarly historical work about the schism.

I will focus on one particular instance because it demonstrates the fallibility of their argumentation and distortion of texts they are using for evidence.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Bernardus Hoffschulte on October 23, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Even before the election of the Polish pope a keen student of Russian history could safely predict that the inevitable celebration of the millennium of Russian christianity would collide elegantly with seventy years of militantly atheistic and utterly destructive Bolshevism. The breathtaking events have now been described skillfully by John and Carol Garrard with a wealth of insider-information. Meandering through Russian history they show in detail how the old KGB-agent patriarch Aleksy II almost single-handedly organised the smooth transformation of the Soviet-Union into a newly orthodox Russia. He also managed to steer Russia away from its old anti-semitic instincts and from uncritical monarchists who would like to restore the Romanovs. The ROC has become a real moral force in the country, including in the army. No-one who wants to understand present-day Russia can afford to leave this fascinating book unread. I also strongly recommend it to policy-makers in Washington, Brussels, Rome and other Western capitals, where still has to be found a proper response to the amazing events of the last decade of last century. Tolle, lege.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Bruce P. Barten on February 19, 2014
Format: Hardcover
Government, religion, and the people combine in institutional thinking in the new official status of Russian Orthodoxy as the form of religion that unites God and God's own servants of the bigger picture in this book by John Garrard and Carol Garrard. The Salvation Army was picked on by Russian authorities as the kind of military idea they do not want religion to represent, but officials are touchy about how the KGB selected church officials during the Soviet era that began with Lenin taking valuables from churches to fund the Civil War in 1918-1921. Christians from the rest of the world who hope to have their own influence within Russia are being outlawed like a bunch of pirates. Higher swindle fanatics who have different aims than the unity of people, government, and religion, will not receive any official favors.

The end of Communism in August 1991 when a coup was opposed by Boris Yeltsin and high church officials did not end the irony of the KGB participation in events. Father Glib Yakunin, who had told the crowd supporting Yeltsin "God will help you and will help Russia" (p. 189) was defrocked and excommunicated by the ROC in November 1993 for unmasking three members of the Holy Synod as serving officers of the KGB, (p. 188).
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jacob on August 2, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Full Book Review of Russian Orthodoxy Resurgent

August 2, 2010 by tesla1389

Gerrard and Gerrard (hereafter GG) attempt to locate the place of the Russian Orthodox Church in modern Russia in contrast to the Soviet Union's officially atheistic policy. Such a question is of supreme importance. From an American standpoint, this issue needs to be faced, for the answers given to these questions will likely determine American foreign policy in the Slavic world.

Right-wing Cold Warriors see the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) as a vehicle of state propaganda and perhaps an impediment to the creation of a global market force led by Westerners (e.g., the philosophy of neo-conservatism). Left-wing Westerns are likely dismayed that the ROC took such a key role in downing state socialism in Russia. Also, they oppose the ROC's strict (sometimes violent) opposition to gay rights.

Both left- and right-wing forces in the West, then, are allied against Putin's Russia. This is evident in that all media outlets on both sides of the aisle (e.g., Fox and CNN) are anti-Russian (or anti-Putin, more specifically). At the end of the preface, GG makes a very startling (from an academic Western) and wise pronouncement: whatever Russia's future may be, it will not be Western and cannot ever be (xiv). This is probably the wisest and most intelligent remark made by an academician about Russia-it also cuts against the grain of both neo-conservatism and neo-liberalism).

GG gives a brief but very well-written account of the nature and history of the ROC. One is surprised at how accurate and almost sympathetic their reading of Orthodoxy is. The authors give considerable detail to the nature of Orthodox liturgy and more particularly, the place of "liturgical time.
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