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15 Paradoxes of Patriarchy: Orthodoxy and Gender in Post-Soviet Russia

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Chapter Summary

This chapter considers women as they negotiate their role and the Orthodox Church in post-Soviet Russia as it forms new (or revives old) notions about women's place in society. The very word patriarchy applies more literally in Russia than it does in other Christian religious confessions. The chapter captures the larger question of whether dress codes for Orthodox Christianity belong to the masses or to the "virtuosi", and also the extent to which standards of dress and appearance taken for granted in previous years are now open season. The interviews and articles of clerics like Archdeacon Andrei Kuraev and the current Patriarch Kirill attract perhaps the largest audience in Russian Orthodoxy. Women and priests intersect more intimately, and more often than ever, in confession, the sacrament that has historically bound them most closely together. Notions of gender are themselves becoming more complicated.

Keywords: Andrei Kuraev; gender; Orthodox Christianity; Patriarch Kirill; patriarchy; post-Soviet Russia; priests; Russian Orthodoxy



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