Russia’s Social Gospel: The Orthodox Pastoral Movement in Famine, War, and Revolution

Research output: Book/ReportBook


The late Russian Empire experienced rapid economic change, social dislocation, and multiple humanitarian crises, enduring two wars, two famines, and three revolutions. A “pastoral activism” took hold as parish clergymen led and organized the response of Russia’s Orthodox Christians to these traumatic events. In Russia’s Social Gospel, Daniel Scarborough considers the roles played by pastors in the closing decades of the failing tsarist empire and the explosive 1917 revolutions.
This volume draws upon extensive archival research to examine the effects of the pastoral movement on Russian society and the Orthodox Church. Scarborough argues that the social work of parish clergymen shifted the focus of Orthodox practice in Russia toward cooperative social activism as a devotional activity. He furthers our understanding of Russian Orthodoxy by illuminating the difficult position of parish priests, who were charged with both spiritual and secular responsibilities but were supported by neither church nor state. His nuanced look at the pastorate shows how social and historical traumas shifted perceptions of what being religious meant, in turn affecting how the Orthodox Church organized itself, and contributed to Russia’s
Original languageEnglish
PublisherUniversity of Wisconsin Press
Number of pages320
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2022


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