Conference Contribution Details
Mandatory Fields
James A Kapalo
Religion and Power Relations in Central and Eastern Europe, The International Study of Religion in Eastern and Central Europe Association (ISORECEA) Conference
Corrective Critique and Religious Power: The Inochentite Movement in Contemporary Moldova
Iasi, Romania
Oral Presentation
Optional Fields

In this paper I explore the theme of ‘corrective critiques’ of religious power. In the modern history of Christianity, marginalised and peripheral religious communities have played a key role in the critique of mainstream religious and political power. The Inochentite movement that emerged in the first decade of the twentieth century in Moldova presents such a case. The intensely apocalyptic and charismatic movement, which was inspired by the Moldovan Orthodox monk Ioan Levizor, was soon portrayed as both religiously heretical and politically subversive and as such was seen as a challenge to the authority of both the Russian Orthodox Church and the Tsarist regime. As a marginalised and persecuted minority during the Soviet era, the movement went underground and on a number of occasions was reported by the Soviet press to have been eliminated altogether. However, Inochentism has proved a tenacious presence on the religious landscape, gradually re-emerging into the public domain in the post-Soviet era.

Today, Inochentite groups operate on the margins of mainstream society. From this position, followers of Inochentie negotiate a position between engagement with and withdrawal from the official Church, critiquing both clerical power and the political and economic system. This paper is based on a series of interviews and meetings with contemporary followers of Inochentie and presents a picture of the political cosmology of the movement. I focus on discourses of power and resistance and the ‘corrective critique’ that Inochentite teachings and practices represent.