The Public Image of Eastern Orthodoxy
France and Russia, 1848–1870
- ISBN: 9781501749513
- Published By: Cornell University Press
- Published: June 2020
Focusing on the period between the revolutions of 1848-1849 and the First Vatican Council (1869-1870), The Public Image of Eastern Orthodoxy explores the circumstances under which westerners, concerned about the fate of the papacy, the Ottoman Empire, Poland, and Russian imperial power, began to conflate the Russian Orthodox Church with the state and to portray the Church as the political tool of despotic tsars.
As Heather L. Bailey demonstrates, in response to this reductionist view, Russian Orthodox publicists launched a public relations campaign in the West, especially in France, in the 1850s and 1860s. The linchpin of their campaign was the building of the impressive Saint Alexander Nevsky Church in Paris, consecrated in 1861. Bailey posits that, as the embodiment of the belief that Russia had a great historical purpose inextricably tied to Orthodoxy, the Paris church both reflected and contributed to the rise of religious nationalism in Russia that followed the Crimean War. At the same time, the confrontation with westerners' negative ideas about the Eastern Church fueled a reformist spirit in Russia while contributing to a better understanding of Eastern Orthodoxy in the West.