chapter  5
20 Pages

Religion and identity in Montenegro

ByJELENA DZANKIC

Monasticism had its beginnings among the Eastern Slavs in the eleventh century following the introduction of Christianity in the tenth, and it expanded for the next two centuries until the Mongol invasion. The eighteenth-century constraints and secularization reform had taken their toll on Russian monasticism, from which it did not recover quickly. Thus, it was the revival of contemplative spirituality in nineteenth-century Russia that served as primary basis for the growth and expansion of male monasticism during that period. Perhaps, most distinctive feature of resurgence of monasticism in nineteenth-century Russia was the revival of Orthodox contemplative spirituality known as hesychasm. Paradoxically, successive assaults on monasticism in modern Russia did not succeed in destroying or eradicating it. The eighteenth-century contractions forced monasticism to reform, to be founded on new economic and social bases. All this changed radically with the Russian Revolution, when the new communist regime sought to eradicate monasticism as incompatible with the new utopian society it sought to build.