Conference Contribution Details
Mandatory Fields
James A. Kapalo
Borders and Boundaries: Religion on the Periphery
‘Liminal’ Orthodoxies on the Margins of Empire: Twentieth Century ‘home-grown’ religious movements in the Republic of Moldova
Oral Presentation
Optional Fields
This paper explores the ‘liminal’ character of Moldovan identities through the prism of Moldova’s ‘home-grown’ religious movements of the twentieth century. For several hundred years the historical Principality of Moldavia nestled precariously between empires and cultural spheres. Moldavia’s powerful neighbor Russia eventually partitioned the territory with today’s Romania, Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova each incorporating parts of historical Moldavia. In terms of the Republic of Moldova’s religious culture (the main focus of this paper), the Russian Orthodox Church, the Romanian Orthodox Church and the Soviet atheist state each pursued “civilizing” and “nationalizing” missions that attempted to transform Moldovans into loyal and trustworthy subjects and integrate them into new structures (Dumitru and Negura, 2014). These processes were resisted at a grass-roots level by charismatic leaders that ‘played’ with boundaries the hidden and the revealed, innovation and tradition, and human and divine, succeeding in transforming the subject positions of whole segments of Moldovan peasant society. The resulting forms of ‘liminal’ Orthodoxy that defy resolution and perpetually critique and transgress canonical norms from the margins of the Church have proved enduring and continue to subvert the discourses and narratives that seek to ‘harmonise’ identities and consolidate Nation, State and Church in the Republic of Moldova.
ERC project no. 677355