Journal Article

The Hidden Sphere of Religious Searches in the Soviet Union: Independent Religious Communities in Leningrad from the 1960s to the 1970s

Olga Tchepournaya

in Sociology of Religion

Published on behalf of Association for the Sociology of Religion

Volume 64, issue 3, pages 377-388
Published in print January 2003 | ISSN: 1069-4404
Published online January 2003 | e-ISSN: 1759-8818 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.2307/3712491
The Hidden Sphere of Religious Searches in the Soviet Union: Independent Religious Communities in Leningrad from the 1960s to the 1970s

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This study deals with the independent religious communities that began their activity with the liberal reforms and antireligious policy of Nikita Khrushchev. The paper confines itself to the near-Orthodox independent religious communities that existed in Leningrad from the 1960s to the 1970s. A specific characteristic of those communities was their closeness to various kinds of Russian nationalistic groups and to the dissent movement.

Through an analysis of interviews with former participants in the religious communities, autobiographical texts and various documents, an attempt is made to reconstruct the significance of individual religious searches by the young intellectuals of Leningrad who took part in the religious communities, and their values and ideology during the 1960s and '70s. Criticism and disillusionment with communism preceded conversion of these soviet intellectuals to Orthodoxy. The specific context of atheistic government resulted not only in a particular combination of the elements of restored religious tradition, but also in special techniques of validation of their religious faith.

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Subjects: Religion ; Sociology of Religion

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