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Remembrance, Repentance and Restoration: an Orthodox Brotherhood’s Critical Memory of the Soviet Repressions

Student: Lewis clarkson Purcell

Supervisor: Jeanne Kormina

Faculty: School of Arts and Humanities

Educational Programme: Applied and Interdisciplinary History "Usable Pasts" (Master)

Final Grade: 10

Year of Graduation: 2020

My thesis examines the historical consciousness of a ROC (Russian Orthodox Church Moscow Patriarchate) organization and community – the St. Petersburg branch of the Transfiguration Brotherhood. I uncover both the historicist and nonhistoricist elements of their understanding of the past. Furthermore, I examine their historical memory narratives of the Soviet era. These narratives contend with dominant memory actors’ narratives. The Brotherhood sees them as impacting the present, too. In this way they are critical historical memory narratives. Finally, I examine the acting out of their critical memory and historical consciousness combined. I reveal this combination in analysis of how their seminal memory acting event – the annual (leave out national, it's redundant) "Prayer of Remembrance” – is also an attempt to draw a greater Russian public into this praxis. My thesis argues that the Brotherhood's memory acting (including its initiating of a social movement) can be seen as the result of the interplay between their historical consciousness, their critical historical memory narratives, and their understanding of their Orthodox Christian faith. In the course of this argument, I reveal how these factors mutually shape each other. This proves vital to truly understanding the Brotherhood as a memory actor.

Full text (added May 21, 2020)

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