Orthodox Paradoxes

Heterogeneities and Complexities in Contemporary Russian Orthodoxy


Editor: Katya Tolstaya
The contemporary Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) is in a paradoxical situation: On all levels of Church life, new practices and concepts are considered to belong to Orthodox tradition, yet at the same time Orthodoxy is regarded as the most “unchangeable” and normative of the Christian confessions. So what makes tradition? The nineteen contributions in this volume examine the ambiguities and complexities created by the dynamic between tradition and innovation within the ROC in relation to the fundamental tenets of Orthodoxy. By this focus, the volume offers new insights and highlights the question how to define (Orthodox) Tradition. It addresses “unorthodox” topics of Orthodox paradoxes.

Contributors include: Tatiana Artemyeva, Alexei Beglov, Wil van den Bercken, Per-Arne Bodin, Page Herrlinger, Nadieszda Kizenko, Anastasia Mitrofanova, Stella Rock, and Alexander Verkhovsky.
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EUR €147.00USD $195.00

Biographical Note

Dr Katya Tolstaya, PhD Kampen (8 December 2006, cum laude), assistant Professor of Dogmatics and Ecumenics at VU University, Director of INaSEC (Institute for the Academic Study of Eastern Christianity). Recent publications range from books on early dialectical theology to studies on contemporary Russian hagiography and Orthodox tradition.

Review Quotes

"The great variety of subjects illustrates that in several respects the challenges are numerous, as are the answers that official and semi-official representatives of ROC [Russion Orthodox Church], as well as some of its 'common' members are trying to formulate in response. A fine collection that offers a good insight in church life in Russia today."
- Joseph Verheyden, Journal of Eastern Christian Studies, Vol. 68, Issue 3-4 (2016)

"Mais c’est sans doute la dernière partie qui retiendra le plus l’attention des lecteurs d’Istina, puisqu’elle traite du dialogue oecuménique, à travers l’analyse de publications non officielles des années 1990, du dialogue de la ROC avec les Vieux catholiques et des rencontres avec des bouddhistes." in: ISTINA, Vol. LX (2015).

"Many important aspects of Russian Orthodoxy today are explored: theological debates, ecumenism and inter-faith dialogue, the role of the starets or elder, icon painting, the role of women, the controversy over translating sacred texts into Russian, eschatological sects, Church-State relations, the canonisation of twentieth-century martyrs, the significance of pilgrimage. Each essay is accompanied by an excellent bibliography." Xenia Dennen, in: Journal of Ecclesiastical History Vol. 66 (2015).


All those interested in the history of religion, the Russian Orthodox Church, post-communist society, as well as theologians, philosophers, anthropologists, and sociologists.