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“The Pathway into the Kingdom of Heaven”

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The Indigenization of Russian Orthodox Tradition in Alaska

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The Russian Orthodox mission to Alaska can be understood in terms of liberative mission. The article shows how the missionaries succeeded in allowing Christianity to become indigenized in native Alaskan cultures, rather than attempting to make the indigenous peoples Russian. It did this through an attention to the narratives, religious and otherwise, of the Alaskan peoples and by allowing these narratives to address and be addressed by the Christian narrative. Current anthropological research points to the depth of the roots of this indigenization, and how it helped in the identity formation of the native peoples especially after the sale of Alaska to the United States when their identity was under severe external threat. The Russian Orthodox mission to Alaska provides a good historical case study of how the gospel can be indigenized in a way that empowers people and suggests a tradition available to Orthodox churches today as they seek to become more mission-minded.

Affiliations: 1: Protestant Evangelical Faculty, Charles UniversityPragueCzech Republictimnoble@tiscali.cz

10.1163/15733831-12341378
/content/journals/10.1163/15733831-12341378
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1. Arzhanukhin Vladislav "“Greek Patristics in Russia of the 17th–18th Centuries.”" The Greek Orthodox Theological Review 1999 Vol 44 1–4 567 574
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/content/journals/10.1163/15733831-12341378
2015-04-10
2017-11-21

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