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The Making of Holy Russia
The Orthodox Church and Russian Nationalism before the Revolution

By John Strickland

The Making of Holy Russia
Paperback, 339 pages
Published: 1st September 2013
ISBN: 9780884653295
Status: Available
Format: 9in x 6in

Hardback, 339 pages
Published: 1st September 2013
ISBN: 9780884653462
Status: Available
Format: 9in x 6in

Electronic book text (EPUB), 339 pages
Published: 16th August 2013
ISBN: 9780884653479
Status: Available

Electronic book text (MobiPocket), 339 pages
Published: 16th August 2013
ISBN: 9780884653486
Status: Available

Category: History

BitLit LogoPurchase of this print edition entitles you to a steep discount on the digital version through our partner BitLit.

This book is a critical study of the interaction between Russian Church and society in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. At a time of rising nationalist movement throughout Europe, Orthodox patriots advocated for the place of the Church as a unifying force, central to the identity and purpose of the burgeoning, yet increasingly religiously diverse Russian Empire. Their views were articulated in a variety of ways. Bishops such as Metropolitan Antony Khrapovitsky—a founding hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church outside Russia—and other members of the clergy expressed their vision of Russia through official publications (including ecclesiastical journals), sermons, the organization of pilgrimages and the canonization of saints. On the other hand, religious intellectuals (such as the famous philosopher Vladimir Soloviev and the controversial former-Marxist Sergey Bulgakov) promoted what was often a variant vision of the nation through the publication of books and articles. Even the once persecuted Old Believers, emboldened by a religious toleration edict of 1905, sought to claim a role in national leadership. And many—in particularly famous painter Mikhail Vasnetsov—looked to art and architecture as a way of defining the religious ideals of modern Russia. 

Whilst other studies exist that draw attention to the voices in the Church typified as “liberal” in the years leading up to the Revolution, this work introduces the reader to a wide range of “conservative” opinion that equally strove for spiritual renewal and the spread of the Gospel. Ultimately neither the “conservative” voices presented here nor those of their better-known “liberal” protagonists were able to prevent the calamity that befell Russia with the Bolshevik revolution in 1917.

Grounded in original research conducted in the newly accessible libraries and archives of post-Soviet Russia, this study is intended to reveal the wider relevance of its topic to an ongoing discussion of the relationship between national or ethnic identities on the one hand and the self-understanding of Orthodox Christianity as a universal and transformative Faith on the other.

1 Russia’s Faithful Remnant
2 The Theology of Orthodox Patriotism
3 To the Lost Sheep of the House of Israel
4 The New Israel
5 The Crisis of Apostle-Like Statecraft
6 The Lure of Nationalism
7 The Lessons of Patriotic Religious Intellectuals
8 The Germogen Canonization Festival of 1913

It is frequently asserted that "to be Russian is to be Orthodox," thus tying national and religious identities. But the opposite equation--that to be Orthodox is to be Russian--has sometimes also been made. This view asserts that "Holy Russia" as a special chosen nation alone preserved Orthodoxy uncorrupted. John Strickland persuasively argues that this ideology was primarily a construct of influential churchmen in the early twentieth-century. They sought to tie inextricably national and religious identities so that modern concepts of nationalism did not displace religious identity as they had in Western Europe. As the identification of Orthodoxy and Russian nationalism is frequently believed (both by outsiders and insiders) to be a perpetual feature of Russian Orthodoxy, and is being asserted again today in Russia, this book is extremely timely and important for both those who wish to understand Russia historically and today.


Scott Kenworthy

Associate Professor 

Dept of Comparative Religion

Miami University, Oxford OH


Archpriest John Strickland was born and educated in California. After discovering a love of Russian history and culture as an undergraduate at California State University, Fullerton, he went on to do research in St. Petersburg for two years. He obtained his MA in modern European history from the State University of New York , Stony Brook, and was awarded a Ph.D in Russian and European history from the University of California at Davis in 2001. Currently, (2013) he is Associate Professor of History at Saint Katherine College in Encinitas, CA. and attached to the parish of Saint John of Damascus Church in Poway, CA. Fr. John served as the rector for several parishes in the Orthodox Church in America on the West Coast. He and his wife Yelena, with their five children, live in Southern California.

Publication Details:

Binding: , 339 pages
ISBN: 9780884653295
Format:  x

Binding: , 339 pages
ISBN: 9780884653462
Format:  x

Binding: , 339 pages
ISBN: 9780884653479

Binding: , 339 pages
ISBN: 9780884653486

BISAC Code:  HIS032000, REL045000, REL049000, REL108020
Imprint: The Printshop of St. Job of Pochaev

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