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Holy Fathers, Secular Sons
Clergy, Intelligentsia, and the Modern Self in Revolutionary Russia
2009 Wayne S. Vucinich Book Prize Winner
“This wide-ranging, original volume makes a major contribution to our understanding of the role that Russian Orthodoxy, through priests’ offspring, played in that country’s social and cultural history. It is a model of definitive, exhaustive archival research.”—Gregory L. Freeze, Brandeis University
“Remarkable. Highly recommended.” —Choice
"Well researched and vigorously argued. Offer[s] solid reasons to support revisionist arguments."—Times Literary Supplement
Holy Fathers, Secular Sons is the first study of the Orthodox clergy’s contribution to Russian society. Prior to the 1860s, clergymen’s sons were not allowed to leave the castelike clergy in large numbers. When permission was granted, they responded by entering free professions and political movements in droves. Challenging the standard view of educated pre-revolutionary Russians as largely westernized, secular, and patricidal, Laurie Manchester demonstrates that the clergymen’s sons did retain their fathers’ values. This was true even of the minority who became atheists. Drawing on the clergy’s commitment to moral activism, anti-aristocratism, and nationalism, clergymen’s sons believed they could, and should, save Russia. The consequence was a cultural revolution that helped pave the way for the 1917 revolutions.
(2008) 304 pp.
Laurie Manchester is Assistant Professor of History at Arizona State University.
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