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The spiritual quest in Russia today and the selection of "history" : "Neo" old believers of the Catacomb Orthodox Church

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Other Title
  • 現代ロシアにおける宗教的求道と「歴史」の選択 : カタコンベ正教会のネオ旧教徒たち
  • ゲンダイ ロシア ニ オケル シュウキョウテキ キュウドウ ト レキシ ノ センタク カタコンベ セイキョウカイ ノ ネオ キュウキョウトタチ

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Abstract

This paper argues the unique role of the spiritual quest in Russia today based on the biographical account of a certain married couple and their place in historical perspective. Both husband and wife are Russian Orthodox Christians. For seventy years, Russia had been under the power of the Soviet Union, which advocated atheism. Today, however, being a Russian still has a strong tie with being an Orthodox Christian. Russian nationalism often appears in the form of Orthodox Church nationalism. Nonetheless, the Russian Orthodox Church is, as a matter of fact, not monolithic. Typically, churches are headed by the Patriarch in Moscow. However, in addition to these churches, some other types of churches appeared, including old believers' sects and Catacomb sects, due to their connection with historical circumstances. The couple in this case spent their childhood during the Soviet era, and led lives which had no particularly strong connections with faith. After reaching adulthood, however, they started their spiritual quest. Today, they are old believers, who, having come a long way in their journey of faith, belong to an Orthodox Church which calls itself "Catacomb." The interview with the couple made it clear that their encounter with the new sect has opened new dimensions of Russian history to them, allowing them the chance to select the right "history" according to their judgment. For this husband and wife, living with faith means leading their daily lives in accordance with their historical perspective, in other words, the "authentic history," which is deeply connected with the "authentic sacrament." Their spiritual quest has actually been their quest for "the authentic Russian history." Some studies on new religions based on cases in Japan today point out that their quest style is quite personal. By contrast, the style of spiritual quest notable in Russia today is characterized by a vision of national history and an inseparable ethnic group. At first, they create the big "history," that is to say, the history of the country or the ethnic group. Afterwards, they locate themselves in the flow, and then seek to "go back" to the right lifestyle as Russians.

Journal

  • Religion and Society

    Religion and Society 14 (0), 45-68, 2008

    The Japanese Association for the Study of Religion and Society

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