Books specifically on RUSSIAN Orthodoxy?

Particularly on Russian Orthodox spirituality and practices? Can anyone extend some titles in English? Thanks!

Well, the first thing that came to mind is “The Way of the Pilgrim” but the spirituality it expresses encompasses all of Orthodoxy, though it’s set in Russia.

I’m not sure what you’re asking for? Russian spirituality, iconography, chotki, prayers, panikhida, molieben, they’re all fairly universal to Orthodoxy. Zapivka is purely Russian as far as I know: giving blessed wine along with the blessed bread after Holy Communion…I think lestovka, which are a particular style of prayer rope, may be unique to Russian Orthodoxy.

I haven’t come across a book that specifically talks about one particular Church. Or are you speaking about history? Usually books about theology and spirituality wouldn’t be so specific about one Church since faith and practice is shared commonly despite some variation. And the economic sense also of an author trying to target all Orthodox Churches as an audience rather than a specific Church, he has to sell more books of course :wink:

Odd. Practically everything I read in my occaisional glances at Orthodoxy point to the Russian Orthodox Church as having a very unique culture and spirituality among Orthodox Patriarchates, as indicatedd by it’s use of Slavonic, it’s schism in Old Believers and however the mainline ROCOR and ROC are referenced, it’s itinerant mystics (such as pop up in The Way Of A Pilgrim), etcetera. Russian Orthodoxy has it’s own panoply of saints and heroes, has rather notably distanced itself at times from the ecumenical outreeaches of the Greek Orthodox Patriarch. Yet there are no books in English discussing this?

What do you mean? There are lots of them, though I can’t vouch for any of what you can see on that page.

Your link turns my cellular phone off–every time I click on it. I DID go to Amazon first, though: lots of information about “Greek Orthodoxy”, lots about “Orthodox Church”, lots of stuff about Russian politics, and even a couple books on Russian politics and the Russian Orthodox Church. If there are “lots” of books in English on specifically-Russian Orthodox spirituality, I congratulate you for knowing what to put into the Amazon search engine to locate them. And I thank you for taking the trouble on my behalf.

Russia follows Byzantine practice so it is very similar to the Greek. Russia itself has a different culture than the Greeks, but that sort of exists outside the Church (though certainly related).
I don’t know of any books off hand, but I’d suggest using search terms like “Russian Spirituality” and “Russian Monasticism”.

Another thing that has affected it was the control the Tsar once held over the Church hierarchy. I could find you a few good books on this subject (having done the research on that era myself), but I don’t have access to the bibliography I created today (I might tomorrow).

About the Old Believers, since they are not Orthodox (though some are very close) you’re probably not going to find any descriptions of their practices in books on the ROC itself. You’ll have to find a book that covers their schism and the reasons for it.

I don’t know if you’ll find any single book that talks about what you want, but I could be wrong.

Having never read aught of the Old Believers, not e’en so much as a Wikipedia article, I had the general notion they were something of a Russian Orthodox counterpart to the SSPX, or perhaps to some uber-traditionalist sedevacantist group. Your response leads me to wonder if they’re more like Lutheran or Anglican Protestants? I’ll Wiki 'em now and moderate my deep ignorance by a modicum. Anyhow, thanks for the search tips.

Culture, yes. Spirituality, I would say there are differences but overall the spirituality of the Orthodox are common. That is why most Orthodox writers won’t make a distinction between one Church or the other unless they are speaking precisely about a Church’s experience.

Not unique to ROC. Slavic Churches uses Slavonic including the Ukrainians.

There are various schisms in every Church for various reasons. Some of the schisms in the other Orthodox Churches involves bishops coming into commuion with Rome. So you don’t hear much about it today because they belong to the major communion of Christian Churches as opposed to someone like the Old Believers who are not in communion with anyone.

The Ukrainian Orthodox also have the same dilema with their Churches in North America under the omophor of the Ecumenical Patriarch instead of the UOC.

Russia grew as Constantinople shrunk. But a lot of this has to do with the takeover of Islamic leaders of the Greek lands and Russia being mostly free after the displacement of some of the people of Rus from Kyiv to Moscow.

There are Greek Old Calendarists as well (and I find the comparison to the SSPX to be pretty close, except we’re slightly more hardline with the OC’ist than y’all are with the SSPX). As Constantine said, many churches use Slavonic. My Serbian parish has a few lines in Slavonic every Sunday. Every church has their own list of saints and heroes, they just spill into one another a lot. Particularly here in America.

As to disagreeing with the Ecumenical Patriarch, a lot of people disagree with him. Heck there was a monastery on the Holy Mountain, under the EP’s jurisdiction, who refused to commemorate him for his ecumenical relationship with Rome. If i remember right the Serbian patriarch is a little wary of His All Holiness’s attitude as well. Nobody is required to agree with or submit to the Ecumenical Patriarch who isn’t under his authority.

The Old Believers themselves are very diverse. Ranging from those who believe the Nikonian Reforms ended Apostolic Succession, and therefore lack bishops and priests, have more in common with Protestants, and then there are those who do have bishops and priests but who believe the Nikonian Reforms were heresy. These are closer in concept to SSPX, though I think as others have said, the Greek Old Calendarists are a closer fit.

I am aware of one book that is specific to Russian Orthodoxy.


I is printed by Holy Trinity Monastery and gives a general overview nothing too specfic.

HTM is of the ROCOR and is old calendar and not exactly liberal even for Orthodox.

I think HTM has a web site but no ordering on line. You have to write a letter and wait a bit,

Mybe not Greek but on Orthodox time as they say.

In Soviet Russia, books read you.

The Third Rome: Holy Russia, Tsarism & Orthodoxy by Matthew Raphael Johnson.

It’s very pro-Russia, pro-Tsar and pro-Orthodoxy. Doesn’t hold back from criticising the RoC, which is why I didn’t read the entire book since I’m afraid my own faith and knowledge wasn’t enough to withstand it.

Mostly a history book, but it’s a very good book (from what I read).

Yeah, not to drop names, but a friend knows Fr. Raphael and had his e-mail. I already had contacted him and asked the same question. He gracefully responded with several links to Russian Orthodox publishing houses and religious organizations. Nice of him, considering he doesn’t know me from Adam. Must be weird being a modern author and no longer possessed of that distant mystique once conferred upon someone merely because they had achieved the holy grail of Being A Published Author.

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