"Religion in the New Russia" book

I just posted an Amazon review (they insisted) of Jim Forest’s 1980s book Religion in the New Russia, which I bought used there (CHEAP!) and read 4 years ago, so I thought I’d share it here too. It’s not just Russia but the whole USSR, and it’s not just Orthodoxy, but Orthodoxy figures prominently, not least because while researching this book in person in the Soviet Union, Jim – ex-Catholic, ex-Protestant, peace activist, “Catholic Worker” with Dorothy Day, author, founder of the Orthodox Peace Fellowship (whatever you make of the OPF) – embraced Orthodoxy… which he detailed more personally in Pilgrim to the Russian Church, also a great read. Many years, Jim and Nancy!

(Five stars out of five!)

Jim Forest has been Protestant, Catholic, worked with Dorothy Day at the Catholic Worker, was a Vietnam Era peace activist, an author, and then when he went to look into the state of all religions in the late 1980s in the Soviet Union (by then he was living in the Netherlands), he discovered Eastern Orthodox Christianity sounded like Truth to boot! Obviously some of this is dated today, although a valuable glimpse of an important turning-point for the 20th century… and for the life of a man who has gone on to become an influential writer and speaker on Orthodoxy as well, founder of the Orthodox Peace Fellowship (whatever you make of the OPF), consultant to Autocephalous Primates and Synods. If we’d read this a generation ago, we might not have been caught so surprised and flatfooted by Orthodoxy’s rebound in the former Communist bloc, become involved in so much ecclesiastical conflict, or spent so much money and energy trying to “evangelize” a land that was Christian ‘when our ancestors were still swinging from trees!’ (as the saying goes)

Be careful if you look into “religion in the new Russia”… or [the new] Ukraine, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, Romania, Serbia, Montenegro, the Republic of Macedonia, Bulgaria…. You [just] might get hooked!



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