ROBERT H GREENE
Title: BODIES LIKE BRIGHT STARS: SAINTS AND RELICS IN ORTHODOX RUSSIA
Book Condition: New
Publisher: Northern Illinois University Press October 2009
0875804098 / 9780875804095
Seller ID: 91200
Like every great story, this vivid account of nineteenth- and early twentieth-century Russia begins with a golden age, plunges into the depths of tragedy, and ends on the resilient notes of hope. Devotion to the saints permeated late imperial Russia, as thousands of Orthodox pilgrims annually venerated shrines and relics, published accounts of miracles and healings, and campaigned for the canonization of beloved local wonder-workers. Believers cultivated 'elaborate friendships' with holy men and women whose earthly remains afforded very practical aid in matters of illness, family, and everyday life. After the Revolution, the Bolsheviks chose relics as the prime target of their anti-religious campaign, confident that Orthodox 'superstition' would melt away once authorities exposed the dusty, moldering bones that lay hidden in tombs and reliquaries. Newspapers and films recorded these official exhumations in horrifying detail, as the remains of prominent saints were removed to 'demystifying' museum displays. Yet the campaign, in the end, was a resounding failure. For every believer who renounced relics and religion as a priestly fraud, hundreds of others staunchly resisted. They lit candles and prayed beside empty coffins, received miracles, and demanded the return of relics to their rightful homes. Greene's account-meticulously researched, even-handed, and brimming with the lived experience of the faithful-reveals the enduring roots that would preserve the Russian Orthodox spirit through the persecutions that lay ahead.