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Orthodox Old Belief: Edinoverie as a Movement for Religious Rejuvenation in the Russian Church, 1905–1918

In: Russian History
Author: James White1
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This article will analyze edinoverie reform in the early twentieth century. Edinoverie was a uniate movement that joined former Old Believer schismatics to the Orthodox Church. Its unique position between the Church and the schism led to a feeling of insecurity and alienation from the ecclesiastical administration among the edinovertsy: in 1905, this culminated in an attempt to reform the bases of edinoverie. A party of edinovertsy led by Father Simeon Shleev proposed an alternative vision of Orthodoxy wherein edinoverie’s Old Believer legacy would be used to rejuvenate the Church and even Russia itself. However, like some of the other ecclesiastical reform movements with which Shleev’s party was connected, edinoverie reform failed to come to fruition because of the hostile atmosphere of Church politics between 1905 and 1918 and the long-standing problems within edinoverie itself.

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