The other day I was able to read the last part of a book in russian that shook the Russian society last year , not least it’s Orthodox circles – “Ispoved” (= Confession) by Maria Kikot. It hasn’t been heard of much in the West, as I see. Not in any western european language, anyway.
She writes about her experience of going to a Russian Orthodox Monastery today. It is like old times and modern times in collision. Old church-buildings and monasteries that sometimes fit well into the Russian landscape. Sometimes only walls left. Ruins after the Bolshevik ravages. At the same time, a lot of reconstruction work is taking place . And even experiments ..
The author apparently ended up among people who experimented in the field of religious life. They combined old Russian traditions, and modern Greek “Athos” – monks ascetic exercises, as well as something that reminded me of a modern therapeutic method I’ve heard of. People are using that method sometimes, when they want to rehabilitate drug addicts – a group of people sits and talks, and suddenly everyone turns against one individual among them, everybody shout, criticise and accuse him or her for an hour or more. A kind of “cleansing” experience ..
The Abbess in the monastery just south of Moscow used a similar method as a pure authoritative technique, and in a really terrible and elaborate manner. She chased the collective against the individual. The “sisters” broke one by one, becoming either docile and subservient for the rest of their lives, or kicking back and breaking up. Kikot couldn’t stand it anymore, but she did quit and wrote her “confession”.
It’s a bit of Russia today. Pretty orthodox. And a lot more.
I hope someone will translate this book to english.
An english-language blog that mentions (in passing) about the book – here