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Fundamentalism or TraditionChristianity after Secularism$
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Aristotle Papanikolaou and George E. Demacopoulos

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780823285792

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823285792.001.0001

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Confession and the Sacrament of Penance after Communism

Confession and the Sacrament of Penance after Communism

(p.204) Confession and the Sacrament of Penance after Communism
Fundamentalism or Tradition

Nadieszda Kizenko

Fordham University Press

As regards the sacrament of penance in Russia there are both quasi-fundamentalist tendencies and those offering the potential to move away from fundamentalism. On the one hand, one sees strict literalism, an emphasis on purity, and the desire to return to a previous ideal from which advocates believe members have strayed (e.g., confession before communion, confession to a spiritual elder). On the other hand, it is important to note that the post-communist Russian attempts to return to or to revive authentic confession were mediated by the very context in which the “recovery” occurred. Russian “fundamentalism” as regards confession and communion was the reconfiguration of the original meaning of the Russian practice of confession. Additionally, diversity of opinion has not been altogether rejected, and other confessional practices, in particular written confession, signal that new forms altogether might arise. In short, although the Russian Orthodox Church after the fall of communism approached confession in a way that might seem to be fundamentalist, the presence of diverse opinions and practices suggests that the potential for moving away from fundamentalism is there as well.

Keywords:   church and state, penance / confession, Russian Orthodox Church, Soviet Union, Spiritual Elder (dukhovnik / starets), Tsarist Russia

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