Barbara J. Skinner F'11
ACLS Fellowship Program 2011
Indiana State University
Confessional Engineering, Parish Culture, and Orthodox Expansion in Russia’s Western Borderlands, 1796-1855
In the largest mass conversion in the history of the Russian Empire, 1.5 million Greek Catholic Belarusians and Ukrainians formally became Russian Orthodox in 1839. While existing studies generally accept the conversion at face value, this project poses new questions about the precise meaning of Orthodoxy under these conditions and about the actual impact of this mass confessional shift on the culture of Russia’s vast western provinces. Examining evidence of material parish culture, religious education, and the modes of resistance and conformity before and after the conversion, this project studies the participation of the Belarusians and Ukrainians themselves in shaping the religious landscape of the Russian Empire’s geopolitically crucial western region.