The ideas of the Protestant Reformation, followed by the European Enlightenment, had a profound and long-lasting impact on Russia’s church and society in the long eighteenth century. Though the Orthodox Church was often assumed to have been hostile toward outside influence, A Spiritual Revolution argues that the institution in fact embraced many Western ideas, thereby undergoing what some observers called a religious revolution.
Embedded with lively portrayals of historical actors and vivid descriptions of political details, A Spiritual Revolution: The Impact of Reformation and Enlightenment in Orthodox Russia, 1700–1825 (University of Wisconsin Press, 2020) is the first large-scale effort to fully identify exactly how Western thought influenced the Russian Church. These new ideas played a foundational role in the emergence of the country as a modernizing empire and the rise of the Church hierarchy as a forward-looking agency of institutional and societal change. Ivanov addresses this important debate in the scholarship on European history, firmly placing Orthodoxy within the much wider European and global continuum of religious change.
Andrey Ivanov, Associate professor of History at University of Wisconsin-Plattsville
Erika Monahan is the author of The Merchants of Siberia: Trade in Early Modern Eurasia (Cornell, 2016).