cover image of The Life and Thought of Filaret Drozdov, 1782–1867

The Life and Thought of Filaret Drozdov, 1782–1867

The Thorny Path to Sainthood

by Nicholas S. Racheotes


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The Life and Thought of Filaret Drozdov, 1782–1867: The Thorny Path to Sainthood is an intellectual biography of the foremost historical figure in the religious world of nineteenth-century Russia. The product of decades of archival research, most of which was in the Russian language, this is the first book-length study of St. Filaret in English. The volume is designed for specialists engaged in imperial Russian history, students in upper-level undergraduate or graduate courses, and for readers interested in Eastern Orthodox spirituality, and observers of the contemporary Russian scene who wish to understand traditional church/state relations. Deeply researched and including a formidable bibliographic component, the volume also serves as a reference guide to scholars desiring to study, at greater length, one of the many topics raised.
Racheotes argues that Filaret was far more than a neo-patristic theologian steeped in the tradition of the Eastern fathers. He was simultaneously a valued monarchal apologist and a guardian of the privileges of the Russian Orthodox Church to the point of subtly resisting the state. By means of translation, select passages from sermons, letters, and official reports are available in English for the first time. Often preaching before three reigning tsars, writing or editing such monumental documents as Alexander I's will and Alexander II's decree emancipating the Russian serfs, leading the drive for a Russian translation of the Bible, and preparing Orthodox catechisms are but a few examples of St. Filaret's historical importance. His centrality to policy formation with respect to the so called Old Believers, his incessant campaigns for clerical education reform, and for translation into Russian of the seminal works of Eastern theologians account for the enduring influence attributable to this Archbishop. Today, his pronouncements are enjoying a revival among a new generation of religious historians in Russia and are often adduced by a host of contemporaries arguing for Russian exceptionalism.

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Lexington Books
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Nicholas S. Racheotes (Author)

Nicholas S. Racheotes is emeritus professor of history at Framingham State University.

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The Life and Thought of Filaret Drozdov, 1782–1867
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