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Narodnost` and Obshchechelovechnost` in 19th century Russian missionary work: N.I.Il`minskii and the Christianization of the Chuvash

KOLOSOVA, ALISON,RUTH (2016) Narodnost` and Obshchechelovechnost` in 19th century Russian missionary work: N.I.Il`minskii and the Christianization of the Chuvash. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.



Nikolai Il`minskii, a specialist in Arabic and the Turkic languages which he taught at the Kazan Theological Academy and Kazan University from the 1840s to 1860s, became in 1872 the Director of the Kazan Teachers’ Seminary where the first teachers were trained for native-language schools among the Turkic and Finnic peoples of the Volga-Urals and Siberia. With the help of these teachers and their pupils, as well as those of other schools set up on his model, Il`minskii created alphabets and oversaw biblical and liturgical translations into their languages, thus paving the way for native-language Orthodox parishes with indigenous clergy.
The thesis explores the context in which Il`minskii’s ideas arose and their impact on the Turkic Chuvash people of the Volga region from the 1870s to the 1920s. It traces how teachers and graduates of the Simbirsk Chuvash Teachers’ School laid the foundations of Chuvash-language Orthodox parishes and liturgical life, leading to the indigenization of Orthodox Christianity among the Chuvash and the transformation, rather than the annihilation, of their traditional religious worldview and rites. The increased sense of Chuvash national consciousness narodnost` resulting from the creation of a Chuvash literary language used in schools and churches, was accompanied by a desire for recognition of their obshchechelovechnost`, their common humanity with all other peoples, which led after the 1917 Revolution to the pursuit of Chuvash political and ecclesial autonomy.
The thesis argues that it was Il`minskii’s own writings and practices, defended from the 1880s as a continuation of Orthodox tradition rather than an innovation, which laid the foundation for what became known as the Cyrillo-Methodian Orthodox missionary tradition in the late 20th century.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:christianization, Christian mission, Russian Orthodox Church, N.I.Il`minskii, Chuvashia, I.Ia.Iakovlev, national identity, national languages, indigenization, Cyrillo-Methodian missionary tradition, narodnost`, obshchechelovechnost`
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Theology and Religion, Department of
Thesis Date:2016
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:29 Jan 2016 09:22

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