Main Theme

“Apostasy into a Schism” in the Kazan Diocese: Old Believers in the Parish Life of the Russian Village

In the era of Nicholas I, the policy for further unification of the religious life and stricter surveillance over parishioners led to a rise of investigative cases filed against schismatics. The article discusses how the clergy increased their efforts in revealing the facts of “apostasy” of Old Belief among the Orthodox. In the course of these activities, the Russian authorities discovered the imperfection of their own system of surveillance.

The Russian Judaizers and the Transylvanian Sabbatarians: An Attempt of Comparative Analysis

The paper provides the first attempt of a comparative study of the two forms of Judaizers phenomenon: the Russian Subbotnik movement and the Transylvanian Sabbatarianism. The study reveals a number of shared features in their origin, development, social makeup, religious ideas and practices as well as their relationships with the authorities. The genesis of the Transylvanian Szombatosok is directly correlated to the European Reformation, and Russian Judaizers are included in the context of the so called Protestantizing movement.

On Anna Stepanova, a Peasant from the Kostroma Uyezd, Revered as the Theotokos

This paper examines the eighteenth-century Kostroma Christ-believers’ community. It is based on the 1747 police investigation case against the merchant Ivan Krupennikov, held in the Fund of the Most Holy Synod at the Russian State Historical Archive. One of the important figures in the case was Anna Stepanova, a peasant from the Kostroma district, revered as the Theotokos. The paper introduces new archival materials and describes some religious practices of heterodox communities in eighteenth-century town of Kostroma.

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.

“Old Sects” in a New Light: How to Study Russian Religious Dissent, 1700–1900

The introductory paper to the thematic block deals with fundamental issues of present day historical, anthropological, and religious studies of the so called “old Russian sects” of the 18th and 19th centuries. Russian religious dissenters of this period could be hardly viewed as homogeneous or integrated religious culture both historically and socially. However, the study of these movements as well as their representation in various discursive and ideological contexts can tell us a lot about religion in Russia of the “Synodal period”.

Media Practices of Russian Speaking Orthodox Jews: Women’s Groups and Rabbis’ Blogs on Facebook and Instagram

The article focuses on the media practices of the Russian‑speaking Orthodox Jews seeking patterns of observance relevant to secular modernity. The author applied the conceptual framework of “communicative figurations” for describing the process of everyday Torah observances in post‑Soviet countries, Israel, the USA, and West‑ ern Europe. The empirical research of media repertoires revealed that the members in the post‑Soviet Orthodox communities use Facebook and Instagram platforms to maintain closed women groups and rabbis’ blogs focused on observance.

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.

Mediatization of Pastoral Care in the Russian Orthodox Church: Reasons Behind “Ask the Priest” Websites

Drawing upon a few “ask the priest” websites, this article studies the mediatization of pastoral care in the Russian Orthodox Church. The study is based upon the theory of mediatized worlds in the framework of social constructivism. Various forms of communication between the priest and the audience are analyzed, as well as the reasons why both sides choose the online communication.

How Religion Becomes Visible: Old Believers’ Communities in Social Media

The article discusses how Old Believers create the space of a new visibility of their religion in social media. The author analyzes online and offline practices as complementing each other, examining Facebook pages of those communities and settlements in which field anthropological studies were previously conducted (the North‑ Western Black Sea region).

Mediation of Religious Meaning and Emerging Religious Sensibilities

This text presents theoretical premises of how to study the reception of media content by the religious audience. The author looks first at how media and mass communication scholarship developed along with the emergence of the media sphere as a technological and social phenomenon. One of the results of these developments is that, with‑ in the multiplicity of sources available, specifically religious channels and services, and channels and services that can accommodate religious and spiritual interests and uses, are increasingly possible and available.