Russian Orthodoxy Resurgent

Russian Orthodoxy Resurgent: Faith and Power in the New Russia

John Garrard
Carol Garrard
Copyright Date: 2008
Pages: 348
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  • Book Info
    Russian Orthodoxy Resurgent
    Book Description:

    Russian Orthodoxy Resurgentis the first book to fully explore the expansive and ill-understood role that Russia's ancient Christian faith has played in the fall of Soviet Communism and in the rise of Russian nationalism today. John and Carol Garrard tell the story of how the Orthodox Church's moral weight helped defeat the 1991 coup against Gorbachev launched by Communist Party hardliners. The Soviet Union disintegrated, leaving Russians searching for a usable past. The Garrards reveal how Patriarch Aleksy II--a former KGB officer and the man behind the church's successful defeat of the coup--is reconstituting a new national idea in the church's own image.

    In the new Russia, the former KGB who run the country--Vladimir Putin among them--proclaim the cross, not the hammer and sickle. Meanwhile, a majority of Russians now embrace the Orthodox faith with unprecedented fervor. The Garrards trace how Aleksy orchestrated this transformation, positioning his church to inherit power once held by the Communist Party and to become the dominant ethos of the military and government. They show how the revived church under Aleksy prevented mass violence during the post-Soviet turmoil, and how Aleksy astutely linked the church with the army and melded Russian patriotism and faith.

    Russian Orthodoxy Resurgentargues that the West must come to grips with this complex and contradictory resurgence of the Orthodox faith, because it is the hidden force behind Russia's domestic and foreign policies today.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-2899-9
    Subjects: Religion, History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-vii)
  3. List of Illustrations
    (pp. viii-viii)
  4. Preface
    (pp. ix-xiv)
  5. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xv-xviii)
    Carol Garrard and John Garrard
  6. Note on Transliteration
    (pp. xix-xxii)
  7. PROLOGUE Sergiev Posad: Russian Orthodoxy Resurgent
    (pp. 1-13)

    ON AUGUST 19, 1987, Pimen, the patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, and Demetrios I, the ecumenical patriarch of Constantinople, jointly celebrated the Divine Liturgy for the Feast of the Transfiguration at the Cathedral of the Dormition in the Trinity–St. Sergius Monastery, which is located a few miles northeast of Moscow (see figure P.1). It was the first visit of a patriarch of Constantinople to Russia in almost four hundred years. In January 1589 Patriarch Jeremias II visited Moscow to elevate the status of the Moscow metropolitan to patriarch. No longer the daughter, the Church of Russia would be...

  8. ONE The End of the Atheist Empire
    (pp. 14-35)

    ON AUGUST 19, 1991, SOVIET KGB and party hard-liners returned from their dachas and summer vacations to Moscow, determined to suppress the democratic movement born when Boris Yeltsin had been elected president of the Russian Republic just two months earlier. He was the first popularly elected leader in the thousand-year history of the Russian people. Yeltsin threatened to exercise the Russian Republic’s legal right under the country’s constitution to withdraw from the multinational state. The Soviet system, always officially proclaimed a voluntary union, was in danger of being hoist by its own petard. The junta, led by Vladimir Kryuchkov, head...

  9. TWO A New Hope
    (pp. 36-69)

    ALEKSEY RIDIGER WAS AN unlikely candidate to help save democracy during those critical days in August 1991. He had been one of the KGB’s best and brightest operatives. That was why the KGB was so delighted at his election to the patriarchate on June 6–7, 1990, just over a year earlier. Few organizations can have been as disappointed by the performance of a former employee who had promised so much.

    Ridiger’s induction into the KGB at the age of twenty-nine marked a significant turning point in his life. He was born on February 23, 1929, and brought up in...

  10. THREE Rebuilding Holy Moscow
    (pp. 70-100)

    THE SOVIET UNION DID MORE than ignore the warning, “The fool hath said in his heart, ‘there is no God’” (Psalms 14:1). From the perspective of the Orthodox believer, it committed idolatry by substituting its symbols and ethos for those of the faith. Instead of “Christ is risen,” it proclaimed that “Lenin lives!” “Scientific atheism” was state ideology. Heaven was brought down to earth in the form of the “workers’ paradise.” Christianity’s First Parents gardened in the nude; the Bolshevik Adam and Eve “built Communism” wearing industrial overalls. An early cover of the magazineBezbozhnik(The Atheist) portrays a muscled "New...

  11. FOUR Accursed Questions: Who Is to Blame?
    (pp. 101-140)

    THE 1988 CELEBRATIONS of the Millennium of the Baptism of Rus permitted the church new and exhilarating privileges. But glasnost had other, less praiseworthy consequences. It opened the media to right-wing nationalist organizations known collectively as Pamyat (Memory). Each of the factions that emerged by 1990 shared one core belief: Jews were the source of Russia’s problems. Skinheads adorned with swastika armbands goose-stepped on the fringes of society in outright imitation of Hitler’s SS. But the most dangerous of the splinter groups, the National Orthodox Movement, was embedded within the Russian Orthodox Church itself and appropriated Orthodox symbols and traditions....

  12. FIVE Irreconcilable Differences: Orthodoxy and the West
    (pp. 141-180)

    THAT CATHOLICISM AND ORTHODOXY both claim to be the Church of the Apostolic Succession meant religious war, as “peaceful coexistence” was not part of medieval thinking. The Russians possess long memories; they have not forgotten that with the Mongols attacking them in their rear, Catholics simultaneously attacked them from Europe. From their perspective, the most dangerous adversary has always been the West— or, to put the conflict in the lexicon of faith, they fear the heretic more than the infidel. The Mongols would invade, plunder, rape, pillage, and murder. They did not proselytize. The “Latinizers,” the Orthodox way of referring...

  13. SIX The Babylonian Legacy: Exiles, Martyrs, and Collaborators
    (pp. 181-206)

    IN 2006 ALEKSY COULD LOOK BACK upon a series of major accomplishments since becoming patriarch of Moscow and All Russia. He had restored the Russian Orthodox Church within the new Russian Federation, defending it against Western evangelists and domestic anti-Semites. But other obstacles loomed both within and beyond the borders of the Russian Federation. Some of the schisms date back centuries, to the time of Ivan the Terrible, who bequeathed the enduring conflict over the Uniates. Some, however, were the burden of the Soviet past. The ROC suffered seventy years of death and destruction at the hands of its government....

  14. SEVEN A Faith-Based Army
    (pp. 207-241)

    THE TOPPLING OF DZERZHINSKY’S STATUE on August 21, 1991, presaged the crash of many thousands of bronze and granite Lenins across the Soviet Union. The party’s pantheon of heroes and catalog of villains went out with the garbage. Russians were left looking for a usable past, something immutably Russian that could forge a proud destiny for the future. No organization was in more need of support than the Russian military. Aleksy became metropolitan of Leningrad and Novgorod as the army was chased out of Afghanistan after losing at least 13,000 dead in a futile campaign. The formal dissolution of the...

  15. EPILOGUE Twenty Years After: From Party to Patriarch
    (pp. 242-254)

    THE USSR’S FATAL MISTAKE was to deny Russian patriotism and subsume it under the rubric of Soviet internationalism. The end result was that the once-despised and supine Russian Orthodox Church became the reliquary of pride in being Russian. Russians have always been ready to die for their country; they proved that again August 19–21, 1991. When the spell of Soviet hegemony broke that drizzling morning of August 21, the crowd did not hoist signs sayingSvoboda!(Freedom!) orDemokratiya!(Democracy!) The multitude who streamed to the Lubyanka to topple Dzerzhinsky’s statue did not replace it with a Statue of...

  16. Appendix A: Translated Documents
    (pp. 255-260)
  17. Appendix B: Authors’ Letter to the New York Times, May 27, 1990
    (pp. 261-262)
  18. Notes
    (pp. 263-308)
  19. Select Bibliography
    (pp. 309-314)
  20. Index
    (pp. 315-326)