Women and Orthodox dissent: The case of the Archangelist underground movement in Soviet Moldavia

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Kapalό, James A.
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Fordham University Press
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This chapter addresses the transformation of the religious landscape in Soviet Moldavia from the perspective of gender dynamics. Based on the testimonies of a group of women from the Turkish-speaking Gagauz Orthodox Christian minority, I explore their responses to the Khrushchev-era anti-religious campaigns of the 1950s and 1960s which resulted in membership of an underground Orthodox dissent movement commonly referred to as Archangelism. The term domestication has been used by a number of scholars of religion to describe the relocation of religion to the domestic sphere during communism and the enhanced role played in ritual and practice by women during this period. In Moldova, however, an Orthodox religious underground with strong female figures had already emerged during the right-wing dictatorship that preceded Soviet rule. In this chapter, I suggest that our understanding of domestic religion during communism should be expanded to include an awareness of earlier forms of Orthodox dissent in which the domestic sphere had become an important characteristic of the religious field. In so doing, I highlight some of the diverse ways in which the agency of Orthodox women shaped the religious field in Moldova in the twentieth century.
This research is part of the project Creative Agency and Religious Minorities: Hidden Galleries in the Secret Police Archives in Central and Eastern Europe. The project has received funding from the European Research 2020 research and innovation programme No. 677355.
Archangelism , Russian , Orthodoxy , Moldova , Dissent , Inochentism , Romania
Kapalό, J. A. (2021) 'Women and Orthodox Dissent: The Case of the Archangelist Underground Movement in Soviet Moldavia', in Merdjanova, I. (ed.), Women and Religiosity in Orthodox Christianity, Fordham University Press. isbn: 9780823298617
© Fordham University Press 2021