Source: The Economist
February 1, 2018
The Economist: I'd like to start with the church’s role in a sense of national identity of Russians and how the church’s role in that national identity has changed since the end of communism.
I think if we look at the history of the Russian nation and of the Russian state it would be very difficult to overestimate the role the Orthodox church played in the fashioning of the Russian national identity. And if you look at the Russian culture, not speaking of the medieval culture with its churches and icons and church singing, even if we look at the Russian culture of the 19th century, it is still very Christian, not only by its roots but also by its self-understanding and self-identity. And you may look at two greatest writers of the 19th century: Dostoyevsky and Tolstoy. Both of them were believers. One of them had a problem with the church, let’s put it this way, but he believed in Christ. And Dostoyevsky was a very Christ-centric writer and his writings are full of Orthodox messages and even quotations from the church fathers.
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