Northern Illinois University Press

Saint Sergius of Radonezh, His Trinity Monastery, and the Formation of the Russian Identity

David B.  Miller

Early Slavic Studies Association Book Prize, Early Slavic Studies Association, 2012

First place winner of the Early Slavic Studies Association Book Prize

Presents the remarkable history of Russiaís most important monastery


St. Sergius of Radonezhís monastery had its beginnings in 1339 as a hermitís hut and little chapel near Moscow that was dedicated by its founder to the Trinity. This example spawned a movement of monastic foundations throughout Russia. Within three decades of his death in 1392, Sergius was recognized as a saint, and by 1450 many considered him the intercessor for the Russian land who freed its people from Mongol rule.

Over the next century and a half, thousands sought St. Sergiusís intercession with gifts to the monastery. Moscowís rulers made Sergius patron saint of their dynasty and of the Russian tsardom. By 1605, the Trinity-Sergius monastery was the biggest house in Russia. Using extensive archival materials, Miller traces the evolution of Trinityís relationship to Sergiusís venerators and of its traditions, governance, social composition, and the lifestyle of its members.

Miller presents Trinityís dramatic history from the 14th century to the beginning of the Time of Troubles. In lucid prose, Miller argues that St. Sergiusís cult and monastery became integrating forces on a national scale and vital elements in the forging of a Russian identity, economy, and cohesive society. The power of religion to shape national identity is a lively topic today, and Millerís study will interest both medievalists and modern historians, as well as readers of Orthodox Church history.

(2010) 374 pp., 12 illus.
ISBN 978-0-87580-432-3
cloth $45.00x

David B. Miller is Emeritus Professor of Russian History at Roosevelt University in Chicago.

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ISBN: 978-0-87580-432-3
cloth $45.00