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Barbara J. Skinner
Indiana State University, Terre Haute (Terre Haute, IN 47809-0001)
Religious Conversion, Culture, and Identity in Russia’s Western Borderlands, 1800-1855

A book-length study on the consequences and impact of the forced mass conversions of Greek Catholics from Belarus and Ukraine to Russian Orthodoxy in 1839.

The year 1839 witnessed the largest mass conversion in the history of the Russian Empire, as 1.5 million Greek Catholics became Eastern Orthodox, with profound long-term implications for the cultural orientation and political loyalties in Eastern Europe. This study delves into multinational archives to assess the day-to-day experience of transforming parish material and liturgical culture, the impact of changes in religious education, and tensions expressed on all sides before, during, and after the conversion in eight Belarusian and Ukrainian provinces. It examines how both imperial officials and Belarusian and Ukrainian subjects adapted to the demands of each other with a variety of local results, challenging our understanding of Belarusian, Ukrainian, and Russian imperial identity development. In doing so, it offers a valuable contribution to European religious history and a deeper understanding of the cultural divisions that continue to shape contemporary events in the region.

[Grant products]

Participating institutions:
Indiana State University, Terre Haute (Terre Haute, IN) - Participating Institution

Project fields:
Area Studies; Russian History

Fellowships for University Teachers

Research Programs

$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
8/1/2016 – 7/31/2017