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Shaping Sacred Space in the Russian Empire and Beyond
“A significant study that enhances scholarly understanding of Russian Orthodox nationalism in the nineteenth century ... based on an ambitious set of sources, involving a large published record of primary documents, as well as local and central archives.”—Christine D. Worobec, author of Possessed: Women, Witches, and Demons in Imperial Russia
"This book will be of great interest to scholars interested in Russia as empire, in the development and dissemination of Russian Orthodox nationalism in the nineteenth century, and in the relationship between religion and empire in imperial Russia....I would also recommend it to visitors to Crimea who seek a deeper understanding of the peninsula and its history more generally." Heather J. Coleman, Journal of Ukrainian Studies
In 19th-century Russia, religious culture permeated politics at the highest levels, and Orthodox Christian groups—including refugees from the Russo-Ottoman wars as well as the church itself—influenced Russian domestic and foreign policy. Likewise, Russian policy with the Ottoman Empire inspired the creation of a holy place in ethnically and religiously diverse Crimea. Looking to the monastic state of Mount Athos in Greece, Orthodox Church authorities in the mid-1800s attempted to create a monastic community in Crimea, which they called “Russian Athos.”
The Crimean War catalyzed the Russian Christianization that had begun decades earlier and decimated Crimea’s Muslim population. Wartime propaganda portrayed Crimea as the cradle of Russian Christianity, and by the end of the war, the Black Sea Region acquired a Christian identity. The same interplay of religion, politics, and culture has found new ground in Crimea today as its sacred monuments and ruins lie vulnerable to abuse by nationalist groups sparring over the land.
(2009) 288 pp.
Mara Kozelsky is Assistant Professor in the Department of History at the University of South Alabama and contributing co-editor, with Philip L. Kohl and Nachman Ben-Yehuda, of Selective Remembrances: Archaeology in the Construction, Commemoration, and Consecration of National Pasts.
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