The Gnostic Trope in Contemporary Media Culture

The article applies the Gnostic trope as the most suitable tool for analyzing religious components of contemporary mass culture. Christopher Partridge’s theory of occulture serves as a methodological framework. The Gnostic trope includes the following elements: the idea that our world is a prison created for the torment of man; that it is controlled by the evil Creator of this world — the demiurge; that some exceptional persons, the Gnostics, are able to unravel the deceptive nature of reality and offer gnosis — a kind of extra‑rational experience.

“Let Your Lamps Be Ready”: Individual Destiny and Collective Identity in Eschatological Perspective (the Case of the Moscow Spiritist Circle)

The aim of this study is to highlight the links between eschatological ideas and social/ethical beliefs of the Moscow spiritist circle who viewed their fellowship as a religious eschatological community. Eschatological doctrine of the group could be characterized both as “catastrophic” and “progressive” millennialism. Eschatological social project suggested the elimination of the border between the earthly and heavenly realms and a shift towards egalitarian social model through a total renewal of the present world.

Sectarian, Missionary, Philanthropist: A Microhistory of the Orenburg Sabbaterian Pyotr Maklakov

Drawing upon materials from the State Archive of the Orenburg Region, the article reconstructs the biography, religious views and practices of the peasant Pyotr Maklakov, who “dropped out of Orthodoxy into the Sabbaterian sect” and actively propagated “the Jewish faith” among the inhabitants of the Orenburg district in the late 19th — early 20th centuries.

The Early History of the Hristovschina: From an Ecstatic Movement to a Confessionalized Sect

This article considers the emergence of the sect of Khlysty. Sources that were not previously used in the study of this movement (investigative documents of Streltsy riots, the case of queen Evdokia, Major Glebov and others) allow a better reconstruction of the environment in which the shaping of the movement took place, its structure and early history.

Holy Selfie in Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy: A Comparative Analysis of a New Visual Canon

Analyzing the visual content from Instagram, the article address‑ es the phenomenon of “holy selfie” as a way of expressing religious identity used by Orthodox and Catholic adepts. Selfie as a technique of online self‑presentation allows believers to report about their connections to sacred places, persons, events and objects. Despite the dis‑ approval of Orthodox and Catholic priests, taking a selfie is a way to consolidate religious communities around offline religious experience.

History of Russian Orthodoxy in the Age of Revolutions and Modernization: Review of an International Conference in Smolensk

The conference “Russian Orthodoxy from modernity to the present day (late 19th — late 20th centuries): projections of the Great Russian revolution in history and historiography” was held on June 15–17, 2018 at Smolensk State University. The conference was attended by more than 30 scholars from various academic centers of Russia, Belarus, Latvia, Poland and the USA.

Śabarimala: Ayyappa’s Virginity, Gender Equality and Conflicts of Religious Rights in Today’s India

The article analyzes one of the most controversial clashes over religion in India, namely the conflict around the worship of god Ayyappa in the Śabarimala temple in Kerala. The practice of preventing fertile women from entering the temple has been established and entrenched here, fertility being formally defined as the age between ten and fifty.

The Interaction of Family and Religious Values in the World of “Supernatural”

The article considers the concept of “supernatural” in the cult television series of the same name, which is a representative example of modern mass culture. The authors consider its structural characteristics and analyze in detail the two closely related value-practical structures: the concept of the family and the relationship with the supernatural. They find in the series an archaic concept of the family as a blood brotherhood opposing the outside world.

Conflict of Immortalities: Biopolitics of Cerebral Subject and Religious Life in “Altered Carbon”

The article explores a possible conflict between practical and ethical implications of scientific and religious discourses about human nature proposed by the sci-fi series “Altered Carbon.” It discusses the clash between biopolitically implemented technology and the religious life. The scientific discourse is represented by the “ideology of the cerebral subject” (F. Vidal, F. Ortega), which establishes the connection between the brain and the self. A brief examination of examples of the embodiment of this ideology in science fiction and its general logic follows.

Black Mirror, Implicit Religion and the Sacralisation of Bingeing Science Fiction

This article analyses the way in which Black Mirror’s contemporary TV science fiction doesn’t just infuse science fiction (SF) with a narratively supernatural force, but implicitly reflects on religious matters and even acts as a version of “implicit religion”. The author argues that Black Mirror’s reception context, as a show that is frequently binged by fans, positions it in relation to experiences of the sacred within consumerist everyday life.