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Spiritual Elders


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About the Author

Irina Paert has published extensively on the history of Old Believers and the Russian Orthodox Church. She is a researcher and a lecturer at Tallinn University in Estonia.


A well-researched, well-organized, well-written, and delightful-to-read book.

In all, Paert's well-written study not only fills a notable caesura in the existing scholarship but also provides a masterly historical account of an institution often understood only through the distorting lens of literary depiction. Conceptually rigorous and analytically acute, she has provided a must-read monograph for all students of Russian Orthodoxy and nineteenth-century European religion.
*European History Quarterly*

This monograph, well-written and impressively researched, provides a pioneering account of the elders—their origins, development in the nineteenth century, and role in the final decades of the old regime. It offers a fresh new perspective on Russian religious life and suggests a number of important findings.
*Gregory Freeze, Brandeis University*

Paert's book is certainly essential reading for anyone who wants to understand Orthodoxy, and even Christianity more broadly, in the modern world.
*The Journal of Ecclesiastical History*

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