Eugene Clay
Articles by Eugene Clay

The Rise and Fall of a Stalinist Russian Orthodox Monk

The rise and fall of the priest-monk Father Sergii (Nikolai Vasil’evich Romanov), who was sentenced in November 2021 to 42 months imprisonment for vigilantism and other crimes, illustrates Russia’s struggle to create a convincing national narrative that can bring together the imperial and Soviet pasts. For 15 years, as the spiritual confessor of the Sredneural’sk Convent of the Icon of Our Lady, Grower of Crops, Sergii fashioned a “usable past” for those Orthodox nationalists who wanted to celebrate the glories of both the imperial and the Stalinist periods. In his hardline sermons, disseminated via YouTube, Telegram, and VKontakte (the Russian equivalent of Facebook), Sergii reconciled the irreconcilable: Orthodoxy and Stalinism. 

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