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Russian Orthodox Monasticism In The Soviet Union 1917-1939: A Glimpse into Eugenia Hugh Stewart’s Account

Jese Leos
·4.1k Followers· Follow
Published in Keeping The Faith: Russian Orthodox Monasticism In The Soviet Union 1917 1939 (Eugenia Hugh M Stewart 26 27)
4 min read
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During the tumultuous years of 1917-1939, the Soviet Union experienced significant transformations, not only politically and socially but also religiously. This period marked a challenging time for religious institutions, including Russian Orthodox monasticism.

In her book "Russian Orthodox Monasticism In The Soviet Union 1917-1939," Eugenia Hugh Stewart offers a unique and invaluable account of the struggles and resilience of Russian Orthodox monastic communities during this era. Through her meticulous research and personal encounters with surviving monks and nuns, Stewart provides a comprehensive analysis that sheds light on the often overlooked aspects of this period.

The Bolshevik Revolution and its Impact on Russian Orthodox Monasticism

The Bolshevik Revolution in 1917 brought about radical changes in the Soviet Union. The communist regime sought to suppress religious practices and establish a state-controlled society. Russian Orthodox monasticism, with its spiritual and independent nature, became a clear target for the authorities.

Keeping the Faith: Russian Orthodox Monasticism in the Soviet Union 1917 1939 (Eugenia Hugh M Stewart 26 27)
Keeping the Faith: Russian Orthodox Monasticism in the Soviet Union, 1917-1939 (Eugenia & Hugh M. Stewart '26 Series Book 27)
by Jennifer Jean Wynot(Kindle Edition)

5 out of 5

Language : English
File size : 2777 KB
Text-to-Speech : Enabled
Screen Reader : Supported
Word Wise : Enabled
Print length : 256 pages

Stewart's engaging narrative outlines the government's systematic persecution of monastic communities. Monasteries were closed, and their assets were confiscated. Monks and nuns faced harassment, imprisonment, and sometimes even execution. The Soviet Union aimed to eradicate the influence of religion, and Russian Orthodox monasticism was at the forefront of its suppression.

Resistance and Resilience

Despite the persecution, Russian Orthodox monks and nuns showed remarkable resilience. Stewart exposes their hidden stories of resistance, highlighting their refusal to abandon their faith and their persistence in preserving monastic traditions undercover.

While security forces hunted down and demolished monasteries, Steward unveils compelling tales of secret religious gatherings and underground monastic communities. She illuminates the ingenious ways in which monks and nuns adapted to survive, including disguises, hidden worship spaces, and covert religious practices.

The Role of Eugenia Hugh Stewart

Eugenia Hugh Stewart played a crucial role in capturing these untold stories of Russian Orthodox monasticism's struggle for survival. As a historian and a deeply spiritual individual, Stewart was not merely an observer but an active participant in understanding and preserving the monastic heritage.

Stewart's deep admiration and empathy for the plight of monks and nuns permeate her writings. She spent years conducting interviews and collecting firsthand accounts, ensuring that the voices of those who lived through these challenging times were not forgotten. Her efforts resulted in a vibrant documentation of a crucial chapter in Russian history.

Legacy and Lessons Learned

Through Stewart's work, readers gain a deep appreciation for the resilience and bravery displayed by Russian Orthodox monastic communities during the Soviet era. Their unwavering commitment to their faith, even in the face of immense adversity, serves as an inspiration for future generations.

Furthermore, Stewart's account allows for a richer understanding of the Soviet Union's complex history. It highlights the importance of religious freedom and the dangers posed by oppressive regimes that seek to control and silence faith-based communities.

"Russian Orthodox Monasticism In The Soviet Union 1917-1939" is an exceptional book that provides a vivid and enlightening look into a challenging period in Russian history. Eugenia Hugh Stewart's ability to bring forgotten stories to life, combined with her well-researched and engaging narrative, makes this book an invaluable resource for anyone interested in understanding the resilience of Russian Orthodox monasticism during the Soviet era.

The book serves as a reminder of the importance of religious freedom and the indomitable spirit of those who refuse to abandon their beliefs, even in the face of extreme adversity.

Keeping the Faith: Russian Orthodox Monasticism in the Soviet Union 1917 1939 (Eugenia Hugh M Stewart 26 27)
Keeping the Faith: Russian Orthodox Monasticism in the Soviet Union, 1917-1939 (Eugenia & Hugh M. Stewart '26 Series Book 27)
by Jennifer Jean Wynot(Kindle Edition)

5 out of 5

Language : English
File size : 2777 KB
Text-to-Speech : Enabled
Screen Reader : Supported
Word Wise : Enabled
Print length : 256 pages

In Keeping the Faith, Jennifer Jean Wynot presents a clear and concise history of the trials and evolution of Russian Orthodox monasteries and convents and the important roles they have played in Russian culture, in both in the spiritual and political realms, from the abortive reforms of 1905 to the Stalinist purges of the 1930s. She shows how, throughout the Soviet period, Orthodox monks and nuns continued to provide spiritual strength to the people, in spite of severe persecution, and despite the ambivalent relationship the Russian state has had to the Russian church since the reign of Ivan the Terrible.

Focusing her study on two provinces, Smolensk and Moscow, Wynot describes the Soviet oppression and the clandestine struggles of the monks and nuns to uphold the traditions of monasticism and Orthodoxy. Their success against heavy odds enabled them to provide a counterculture to the Soviet regime. Indeed, of all the pre-1917 institutions, the Orthodox Church proved the most resilient. Why and how it managed to persevere despite the enormous hostility against it is a topic that continues to fascinate both the general public and historians.

Based on previously unavailable Russian archival sources as well as written memoirs and interviews with surviving monks and nuns, Wynot analyzes the monasteries’ adaptation to the Bolshevik regime and she challenges standard Western assumptions that Communism effectively killed the Orthodox Church in Russia. She shows that in fact, the role of monks and nuns in Orthodox monasteries and convents is crucial, and they are largely responsible for the continuation of Orthodoxy in Russia following the Bolshevik revolution.

Keeping the Faith offers a wealth of new information and a new perspective that will be of interest not only to students of Russian history and communism, but also to scholars interested in church-state relations.

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