Faith and Story in Imperial Russia

A Workshop Sponsored By Canada Research Chairs Programme
Department of History and Classics

The goal of the workshop is to discuss contributions to “Faith and Story in Imperial Russia,” a planned collection of translated documents emerging from the lived religion of nineteenth and early twentieth-century Russia, in the context of a broader conversation about Russian Christian narrative.

All sessions will be held in the Department of History and Classics, in Room 2-58 Henry Marshall Tory Building. The conference is open to the university community and the public. This is a working conference discussing pre-distributed papers, which are available by request from the organizer, Heather Coleman, at or 780-492-3922.

Friday, October 1

Tea, coffee, and juice available all day

9:00-9:10 Welcome

9:10-10:30 Introductory Address and Discussion
“Faith and Story in Imperial Russia” Heather Coleman (University of Alberta)

10:30-10:45 Break

10:45-12:15 Writing the Christian Life Experience I

“Obituary of Priest Ioann Mikhailovich Orlovskii, 1905” Laurie Manchester (Arizona State University)

“Diary of Archpriest I. G., 1871” Laurie Manchester (Arizona State University)

“Childhood Memories of the Ukrainian Village of the Second Quarter of the Present Century” (1882) Heather Coleman (University of Alberta)

12:30-1:30 Lunch (conference participants only)

1:45-3:00 Sermons
“Three Crimean War-era Sermons by Archbishop Innokentii” Mara Kozelsky (University of South Alabama)

“Orthodox Sermons Address the 1861 Earthquake around Lake Baikal” Nicholas Breyfogle (Ohio State University) [in absentia]

3:00-3:15 Break

3:15-4:15 Confessions and confidences
“Confessions to Father John of Kronstadt” Nadieszda Kizenko (SUNY Albany)

“Letters to Elder Nektarii of Optina, 1912-14” Irina Paert (Tallinn University) [in absentia]

4:15-4:45 Discussion
“An Idea for an Open-Source Web Archive on 20th Century Russian Christianity” Roy Robson (University of the Sciences in Philadelphia)

Saturday, October 2

Tea, coffee, and juice available all day

9:00-10:30 Miracles and Right Worshipping—Part I
“Two Miracle Stories”
*Account of the near-death experience and death of Princess Anna Fedorovna Golitsyna in 1834
*The Healing of a Mute at the Grave of St. Sergius at Holy Trinity Monastery, 1833 Christine Worobec (Northern Illinois University)

“Son of the Church and Old Believer Piety in Late Imperial Russia” Roy Robson (University of the Sciences in Philadelphia)

10:30-10:45 Break

10:45-12:15 The Russian Orthodox Church Assesses Popular Piety
“Report on the Condition of Inmates in the Monastic Prison at Spaso-Efimiev Monastery in Suzdal’, 1841” Joy Demoskoff (University of Alberta)

“Report of the Commission on Raising the Religious and Moral Condition of the Flock in Vladimir Diocese, 1912-13” Gregory Freeze (Brandeis University)

“Conditions Favouring Sectarian Propaganda in Omsk Diocese, 1916”Aileen Friesen (University of Alberta)

12:30-1:30 Lunch (conference participants only)

1:45-3:00 Miracles and Right Worshipping Petitions to the Holy Synod
“Petitioners Request the Transfer of the Relics of St. Stefan from Moscow to Perm” Robert Greene (University of Montana)

“*Chernigov Peasants and the “Birth” of a Local Miracle-Working Icon” Vera Shevzov (Smith College) [in absentia]

“*Veneration of the Sporitel’nitsa khlebov icon” Vera Shevzov

3:00-3:15 Break

3:15-4:15 Writing the Christian Life Experience II
“Memoir of Archimandrite Toviia (Tsymbal), prior of Trinity-Sergius Lavra from 1905-1915” Scott Kenworthy (Miami University)

“Vasilii Skaldin’s ‘From Ignorance to Truth’ and Russian Baptist Conversion Narratives” (1914) Heather Coleman (University of Alberta)

4:15-5:00 Wrap-up and Future Plans

5:00-5:40 Review Partner Meetings