Conference Contribution Details
Mandatory Fields
James A. Kapalo
Looking Forward Through the Past - Conference of the Society for Romanian Studies
Incense and Alcohol: Inochentist Subterranean Communities in Interwar Romania
Oral Presentation
Optional Fields
From the 1920s onwards, news stories and features on Inochentism, a Romanian home-grown religious movement, appeared frequently in the press. These pieces were often sensationalist with shocking reports of underground orgies, dead bodies and the entrapment of innocent young virgins. The truth of these stories, however, was rarely, if ever, verifiable. Inochentism in Interwar Romania appeared both mysterious and dangerous, fascinating and repugnant. Considerable scholarly attention has been dedicated to the experience of neo-protestant groups during this period, who due to their pacifism and refusal to participate in political and public life and their international connections, were the target of state security agencies. Inochentism, on the other hand, which emerged from within the ethnic and religious majority Romanian Orthodox community, was the cause of “moral panic” and the inspiration for a “self- orientalising” fascination with the Bessarabian peasantry on the part of intellectuals. In this paper, I bring together popular media, literary and secret police accounts of the subterranean practices and life of Inochentists in interwar Romania in order to inform an understanding of the symbolism and power of the phenomena of the religious underground in twentieth century Eastern Europe.
ERC Project no. 677355