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Holy Rus': The Rebirth of Orthodoxy in the New Russia

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A fascinating, vivid, and on-the-ground account of Russian Orthodoxy’s resurgence A bold experiment is taking place in Russia. After a century of being scarred by militant, atheistic communism, the Orthodox Church has become Russia’s largest and most significant nongovernmental organization. As it has returned to life, it has pursued a vision of reclaiming Holy Rus’: that A fascinating, vivid, and on-the-ground account of Russian Orthodoxy’s resurgence A bold experiment is taking place in Russia. After a century of being scarred by militant, atheistic communism, the Orthodox Church has become Russia’s largest and most significant nongovernmental organization. As it has returned to life, it has pursued a vision of reclaiming Holy Rus’: that historical yet mythical homeland of the eastern Slavic peoples; a foretaste of the perfect justice, peace, harmony, and beauty for which religious believers long; and the glimpse of heaven on earth that persuaded Prince Vladimir to accept Orthodox baptism in Crimea in A.D. 988. Through groundbreaking initiatives in religious education, social ministry, historical commemoration, and parish life, the Orthodox Church is seeking to shape a new, post-communist national identity for Russia. In this eye-opening and evocative book, John Burgess examines Russian Orthodoxy’s resurgence from a grassroots level, providing Western readers with an enlightening, inside look at the new Russia.


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A fascinating, vivid, and on-the-ground account of Russian Orthodoxy’s resurgence A bold experiment is taking place in Russia. After a century of being scarred by militant, atheistic communism, the Orthodox Church has become Russia’s largest and most significant nongovernmental organization. As it has returned to life, it has pursued a vision of reclaiming Holy Rus’: that A fascinating, vivid, and on-the-ground account of Russian Orthodoxy’s resurgence A bold experiment is taking place in Russia. After a century of being scarred by militant, atheistic communism, the Orthodox Church has become Russia’s largest and most significant nongovernmental organization. As it has returned to life, it has pursued a vision of reclaiming Holy Rus’: that historical yet mythical homeland of the eastern Slavic peoples; a foretaste of the perfect justice, peace, harmony, and beauty for which religious believers long; and the glimpse of heaven on earth that persuaded Prince Vladimir to accept Orthodox baptism in Crimea in A.D. 988. Through groundbreaking initiatives in religious education, social ministry, historical commemoration, and parish life, the Orthodox Church is seeking to shape a new, post-communist national identity for Russia. In this eye-opening and evocative book, John Burgess examines Russian Orthodoxy’s resurgence from a grassroots level, providing Western readers with an enlightening, inside look at the new Russia.

45 review for Holy Rus': The Rebirth of Orthodoxy in the New Russia

  1. 4 out of 5

    Ana

    ‘Holy Rus’, that wondrous space in which people not only know something about the divine but also experience mysterious bonds of friendship that transcend time and space’-John P. Burgess. I became interested in this book since the title held a promise to a deeper understanding of Orthodox religion’s influence on modern Russia and on the Russian culture throughout history. This is a very difficult task to accomplish. What made the promise even more titillating was the fact that the author is a pro ‘Holy Rus’, that wondrous space in which people not only know something about the divine but also experience mysterious bonds of friendship that transcend time and space’-John P. Burgess. I became interested in this book since the title held a promise to a deeper understanding of Orthodox religion’s influence on modern Russia and on the Russian culture throughout history. This is a very difficult task to accomplish. What made the promise even more titillating was the fact that the author is a protestant theologian and therefore will be able to give an unbiased honest opinion on the subject. The book is divided into 7 chapters and I have loved some much more than others, short peppering of personal encounters was meant to make narration more accessible but I found them repetitive. In my opinion the author spent a lot of effort going through the same questions several times making an answer to them even more elusive. The book could benefit from losing about 50 pages to shorten its chapters. I will recommend this book to a general audience who would like to understand Orthodox Christianity more but this book is not a work of history and even though it is mentioned in the book this aspect could most definitely have been extended a bit at least to include the effect of slavery in the 17-18 century Russia on historical conditioning of Orthodox Church. I loved the academic writing of the first two chapters that show author's engagement with the subject. However, I gave this book 4/5 stars because despite a very honest account of Orthodox Christianity in Russia today, the book failed to clearly answer its main premise: what is a Holy Rus’. The answer is implied several times throughout the book but it feels that the author himself is not sure what his view of it is. More here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bsspP...

  2. 4 out of 5

    Diana

    Book received from Netgalley. A very enjoyable book about the resurgence of the Orthodox Church in Russia. It discusses how they separate Church and State. How the patriarchs are bringing more people back into the church since the fall of Communism. As well as how much impact the church has on the everyday lives of people. The book is both a history as well as a theology book. I thought the book was well written and I will likely pick up a copy for my own shelves for research purposes.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Mandy

    This thoughtful and insightful exploration of the remarkable resurgence of the Orthodox Church in Russia after the fall of Communism is well-researched and balanced in its approach. The author has visited Russia on many occasions and attempts to give an insider’s view, having talked to many officials of the Church as well as the faithful. He traces the often troubled history of the Church and examines how it withstood its suppression during Soviet times, and explores its current relationship wit This thoughtful and insightful exploration of the remarkable resurgence of the Orthodox Church in Russia after the fall of Communism is well-researched and balanced in its approach. The author has visited Russia on many occasions and attempts to give an insider’s view, having talked to many officials of the Church as well as the faithful. He traces the often troubled history of the Church and examines how it withstood its suppression during Soviet times, and explores its current relationship with Putin and his government. The Orthodox Church has always played a vital role in Russian society and its current revival is no surprise. This is definitely a book for anyone interested in Russia and its history and literature, because without understanding Orthodoxy and its place in Russian life, both now and in the past, it’s just not possible to understand Russia. The book is perhaps a little too long but overall makes for some interesting and thought-provoking reading.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Alenka of Bohemia

    An interesting look at the current Russian Orthodox life by a Protestant American. On one hand, his Protestantism gives him an unemotional and critical advantage. On the other hand, his Protestantism prevents him to actually experience the orthodox faith and therefore we cannot take his words as anything than that - his own opinion.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Gms001

    The author's liberal, protestant bias permeates this book, which would have been much better if written by an Orthodox Christian. He is sympathetic and interested, but ultimately, somewhat condescending. The author's liberal, protestant bias permeates this book, which would have been much better if written by an Orthodox Christian. He is sympathetic and interested, but ultimately, somewhat condescending.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Matt

    The Orthodox revival in Russia is one of the most important things happening in the world, so the author's comprehensive failure to step outside of his American Protestant worldview is terribly disappointing. The Orthodox revival in Russia is one of the most important things happening in the world, so the author's comprehensive failure to step outside of his American Protestant worldview is terribly disappointing.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Abraham

    I love this story. It held my attention from start to finish.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Matt

    A little dry in parts but interesting and thought-provoking, especially for an American Protestant not sure of the future of the relationship between his faith and his country.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Robert McCarthy

  10. 5 out of 5

    Nathan

  11. 5 out of 5

    Gabriella Hoffman

  12. 4 out of 5

    Greg

  13. 5 out of 5

    Jp

  14. 4 out of 5

    Wayland Coe

  15. 4 out of 5

    Leah

  16. 5 out of 5

    Cory Dupont

  17. 4 out of 5

    Charles

  18. 4 out of 5

    James

  19. 4 out of 5

    Luke Landtroop

  20. 5 out of 5

    Peter S

  21. 5 out of 5

    Nathan Lamb

  22. 5 out of 5

    Tim Renshaw

  23. 4 out of 5

    Joshua

  24. 4 out of 5

    Leslie

  25. 4 out of 5

    Liam Stein

  26. 4 out of 5

    Mark B. McFadden

  27. 4 out of 5

    Steve Walker

  28. 4 out of 5

    Lark of The Bookwyrm's Hoard

  29. 4 out of 5

    Yale University Press

  30. 5 out of 5

    Jesse Stricklan

  31. 4 out of 5

    Dеnnis

  32. 4 out of 5

    Aaron

  33. 4 out of 5

    Lynne Birimisa

  34. 4 out of 5

    Robin

  35. 4 out of 5

    Ali

  36. 4 out of 5

    Catherine

  37. 4 out of 5

    Chip

  38. 4 out of 5

    Igrowastreesgrow

  39. 5 out of 5

    Ilie

  40. 4 out of 5

    Dtrapara

  41. 4 out of 5

    Anthony

  42. 4 out of 5

    Crazyarms777

  43. 4 out of 5

    Samuel Pyle

  44. 5 out of 5

    Fr Jon

  45. 4 out of 5

    Karen Witzler

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