Faculty Publications

Title

Sacred spaces and imperial boundaries on Catherine II’s southern frontier

Document Type

Article

Keywords

Archbishop Nikiforos, Catherine II, edinoverie, Imperial Russia, Orthodoxy

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Canadian Slavonic Papers

Volume

62

Issue

3-4

First Page

296

Last Page

314

Abstract

In 1775, Catherine II established the diocese of Slaviansk and Kherson in those territories recently acquired from the Ottoman Empire as a result of the Russo-Turkish War. The Empress christened the new southern vistas, Novorossiia (New Russia), and immediately launched a project to transform the sparsely populated lands and integrate them into the Russian Empire. Catherine viewed religion in utilitarian terms and considered the Orthodox Church, in particular, as a very important “instrument” to realize her ambitions. As a reflection, perhaps, of her aspirations to increase the population of the southern borderlands through intentional colonization, she appointed, successively, the Greek prelates Voulgaris and Theotokis as bishops of the new diocese. The bishops, Theotokis in particular, endeavoured to realize Catherine’s self-evidently reasonable, yet abstract, goal of harmonizing a discordant periphery peopled with Orthodox Christians, Old Believers, Dukhobors, and a host of others of indeterminate identity, with an idealized Russian and Orthodox imperial centre. The reality of the frontier, however, compelled Theotokis to reach some concord with a universe of porous and fluid boundaries between faiths, ethnicities, and empires, the best example of which was his idea of accommodation with the Old Believers known as edinoverie.

Original Publication Date

1-1-2020

DOI of published version

10.1080/00085006.2020.1809335

Repository

UNI ScholarWorks, Rod Library, University of Northern Iowa

Language

en

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