Articles

What Kind of Religious Persons Were Invited to the USSR, and Who Was Allowed to Go Abroad (1943–1985)

This article explores the history of official “religious” travels to and from the USSR in the period of 1943 to 1985. The main sources are the documents of the Central Committee of the Communist Party. The study analyzes how the trips were prepared and realized, how and why people from various religious confessions were sent abroad and invited to the Soviet Union, and other related issues. The author distinguishes the following types of official missions: diplomatic, recreational, educational, religiousfunctional, and pilgrimage.

Two Ecumenisms: Conservative Christian Alliances as a New Form of Ecumenical Cooperation

An upsurge in Orthodox anti-ecumenical criticism in 2016 has raised the question of the current state of ecumenism. Examining this topic, the author describes a new form of ecumenical activity associated with the emergence of conservative Christian alliances in defense of traditional values. This “conservative ecumenism,” or “Ecumenism 2.0,” differs from the “classical ecumenism” that arose in the early twentieth century and that continues to be represented today by the World Council of Churches and other ecumenical institutions.

The Female Spiritual Elder and Death: Some Thoughts on Contemporary Lives of Russian Orthodox Saints

In contemporary Orthodox hagiography a special type of saint has emerged — blessed female spiritual elders (blazhennye startsy should not be in italics here). In some respects this form of sainthood is a successor to the traditional “fools for the sake of Christ.” Yet the staritsy have their distinctive features, chief among them the saint’s possession of an incurable disease such as blindness or motor function disorders. The meaning of these ailments can be interpreted as a sign of permanent liminality and the person’s divine election.

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