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A Prodigal Saint: Father John of Kronstadt and the Russian People (Penn State Series in Lived Religious Experience) Paperback – May 23, 2000
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“A powerful and multidimensional portrait of the controversial Father John of Kronstadt, presented against the backdrop of Late Imperial religious life. Drawing on a rich source base, Kizenko offers an impartial and balanced interpretation of this pivotal figure. Reading this book is like stepping back into the world of a century ago, seeing the concerns, both material and spiritual, which occupied people’s lives.”
—Eve Levin, Ohio State University
“Kizenko manages to intertwine biography, socio-political analysis, theological discussion and Church history to produce a clear and captivating book on a subject that has suffered from a dearth of academic attention.”
—Argyrios K. Pisiotis, H-Russia
“This study is exemplary in its approach to the phenomenon of sanctity and, to my knowledge, the first one of such a scholarly caliber on Russian sanctity in particular. It is a ‘must read’ for anyone who would go beyond Dostoevsky’s novels for an understanding of Russian Orthodoxy.”
—Arkadi Choufrine, Koinonia: The Princeton Theological Seminary Graduate Forum
“This book is part of a growing literature on one of the most important but neglected aspects of Imperial Russia. It offers us an understanding of a complex and charismatic figure and the world in which he operated. It helps break down many of the simplistic assumptions about religion and it sets Russia in its European context. It is a very welcome addition to the literature.”
—Shane O’Rourke, Journal of Religious History
“In this beautifully written biography of Father John (Ioann Il’ich Sergiev) of Kronstadt (1829–1908), Nadieszda Kizenko presents a remarkably sensitive and balanced portrait of this central figure of the Orthodox Church in late imperial Russia. . . . Kizenko’s biography demonstrates the power and importance of Orthodoxy and Orthodox religiosity at the end of the empire. . . . [A Prodigal Saint] will be a valuable addition to the library of anyone interested in European Christianity.”
—Eugene Clay, Journal of Modern History
“In the end I learned a great deal from this work, which to my mind has gone a long way toward explaining the endurance and transformation of supernatural authority in fin-de-siecle Russia.”
—Gary Marker, Slavic and East European Journal
“Kizenko has given us a highly perceptive and eminently readable study of a man and a time that are easily misunderstood. . . . This is not a book for beginners; Kizenko presupposes some prior knowledge both of the Russian Church and Russian history. Her translations from the Russian are smooth and idiomatic, and considering the complexities of the subject, she is always clear. . . . Kizenko has set a standard that others in the field would do well to follow.”
—Peter Eaton, Anglican Theological Review
About the Author
Nadieszda Kizenko is Assistant Professor of History at the University of Albany. She has contributed articles to Russian Review, Pravoslavnaia Rus', PSALM Notes, Russkoe Vozrozhdenie, and Peace and Change.
Top Customer Reviews
I think this is an excellent read for Orthodox Christians and ALSO anyone interested in Russia during that time period.
It's a well-researched book. Kizenko employs primary sources such as Father John's diaries as well as popular press representations of him. She also uses the thousands of letters sent to him by people asking for his prayers. These are also good sources when trying to find how others perceived him. Many of these letters were from women and Kizenko makes a good argument about the importance of women in religion.
One interesting point that Kizenko makes is the conflict between a saint's or a priest's two bodies - body public and body private - and how Father John dealt with this conflict.
The only weak point of the book is Kizenko's attempt to condemn the Ioannites, a cultic sect of the Orthodox Church who believed that Father John was kind of a savior. Kizenko does not entirely succeed in arguing that the Ioannites were a blemish in Father John's reputation.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
... Great book especially because it is so balanced however even the authors discretion can't white wash J of K's dubious behavior. Read morePublished 5 days ago by Jansci
I am enjoying this biography (haven't quite finished it). It seems well-researched.Published 5 months ago by Born in the USA
I love this book. There are very few resoruces that enter the brain and mind of a saint esp. one as amazing as St John. Really good book.Published 10 months ago by Bishoy Sharobim
Very good book regarding a simply fascinating and deeply inspiring character. This book is about a saint but it is scholarly, not hagiographic. It presents St. Read morePublished 15 months ago by Ross S. Heckmann
Father John of Kronstadt was "controversial" only in the eyes of lay people. He was worse than that in the eyes of anti-Russian press of that time. Read morePublished on November 25, 2013 by Natalia Valenti