Orthodox Christianity, Modernity and Post-Soviet Development

March 12, 2014 - 17:30 - 19:00
Nador u. 9, Monument Building
Event type: 
Event audience: 
Open to the Public
Alex Agadjanian
Center for Religious Studies
CEU contact person: 
Esther Holbrook
+36 1 327-3000 ex 2170
Orthodox Christianity, Modernity and Post-Soviet Development

The Center for Religious Studies
and the
Department of History

cordially invite you to

a Public Lecture by

Alex Agadjanian
(Russian State University for the Humanities)


Orthodox Christianity, Modernity and Post-Soviet Development


Wednesday, March 12, 2014
5:30 PM
CEU, Nádor u. 9
Monument Building, Room 203

Reception to Follow


Abstract: Eastern Orthodox Christianity has been a “torn” tradition, powerfully affected by the (Muslim) East and the (Modernizing) West. Impulses of modernity have come from the West, and yet the West continued to be an evolving, ever-changing, and self-modernizing entity. The ‘western captivity’ (as famously formulated by George Florovsky) of the Orthodox Church came first in the form of Latin Christian religious influences. Then it took the form of a secularizing European social context and worldviews (famously described by Charles Taylor). Next, it took the form of a radical Marxist ideology and its consequent transformations – an extreme form of Western secularized settings. The end of communism led to a certain degree of desecularization; one that was necessarily limited however by the inescapable domination of the Western-style model of secular liberal modernity (in spite of the hard efforts to discover ‘multiple modernities’ – as famously proclaimed by Shmuel Eisenstadt). Western secular democracy (along with its secularized ‘religiosity’) is now seen as the main spiritual adversary of the conservative, culture-bound, and identity-sensitive Eastern Orthodox mainstreams. In addition to the internal variety of responses within each church, which should be kept in mind, the churches’ overall degree of adaptability depends on many external variables in the societal contexts as different as those of Russia, Greece, Georgia, or the Diaspora.

Alex Agadjanian was born in Moscow, graduated from Moscow State University, and received a doctoral degree in modern history from the Institute of Oriental Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow. He taught at Arizona State University’s Religious Studies Department until 2002 and has since been at the Center for the Study of Religion at Russian State University for Humanities, Moscow. His courses include: Religions in the Modern World, Religions of Asia (Buddhism), Religions in Soviet and post-Soviet Russia, and Religions in the Caucasus. His main area of interests and research is religious developments in post-Soviet Russia and Eurasia. Co-editor of the Russian language academic quarterly ‘State, Religion, and the Church in Russia and Worldwide.’ His major publications include ‘Turns of Faith, Search for Meaning: Orthodox Christianity and the Post-Soviet Experience’ (forthcoming in 2014); Religion, Nation and Democracy in the South Caucasus (forthcoming in 2014), “Parish and Community in Russian Orthodoxy” (2011, in Russian), and Eastern Orthodoxy in a Global Age (2005)