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Eastern Christians in Anthropological Perspective

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The Other Christianity?

Chris Hann and Hermann Goltz

Other for Whom?

The title of the introduction to this volume mimics the habit, common in the recent past in some parts of the West, of referring to the socialist bloc as "the other Europe." Otherness is a matter of perspective, and symbolic geographies are always contingent. Political boundaries between East and West have seldom coincided with religious boundaries. During the cold war, socialist countries such as Poland and Hungary belonged to the West in terms of their dominant religious orientation, while Greece, confusingly, was Eastern in its religious tradition but Western in terms of politics (it was admitted to the EU in 1981). Despite these inconsistencies the basic power relations are quite similar in the two domains. Mention Christianity, and most contemporary Western readers will think in the first instance of Roman Catholicism and Protestantism. They are unlikely to think of the belt of Oriental Christians stretching from Ethiopia through the Middle East into the Caucasus, with a significant offshoot in the South Indian state of Kerala. Western readers are more likely to recognize the terms Eastern Orthodoxy and Byzantium, associating them with stagnant empires and authoritarian rule ("caesaropapism"), which allegedly precluded the emergence of political liberalism and stifled the individual initiative that is essential for economic development. The tradition exemplified by Max Weber is still strong: it tends to be taken for granted that capitalist modernity is a phenomenon of the West (das Abendland), closely linked to Western Christianity, and above all to certain forms of Protestantism (Weber [1904-5] 2001).

Such stereotypes, and the skewing of the literature in virtually every discipline to laud the dynamism of the Western traditions, are prime examples of what Jack Goody has termed "the theft of history" (2007). As a result of Western global supremacy in the last two centuries, scholars such as Weber have misrepresented the preceding millennia of Eurasian history. They have produced teleological accounts that underestimate or deny the contributions of other civilizations. Whereas Goody is primarily concerned with comparisons across the entirety of Eurasia, the particular interest of the religious traditions addressed in this volume lies in the fact that Christianity, nowadays commonly perceived as the Western faith par excellence, is itself an Oriental religion by origin. The Eastern traditions of Christianity nowadays have large congregations (numbering well over 200 million), but they have attracted little scholarly attention to date from Anglophone anthropologists.

Analysis is complicated by the fact that, over the centuries the otherness of the Eastern Christian streams has often been acknowledged as such, sometimes to be applauded and sometimes denigrated, on the inside. As we know, "Orientalism" can be internalized. In their self-representations, rooted in their theology, Eastern Orthodox have emphasized the continuity of their traditions since the early fathers. The name Byzantium is a Western appellation. In their own name for themselves (as in the designation applied by their Ottoman Turkish conquerors) the Greeks of Byzantium expressed their direct connection to the Roman empire. Etic, external perspectives have often taken the emic stress on continuity much further. According to Protestant theologian Adolf von Harnack, key elements in "Greek Catholicism" were taken over unmodified from Hellenic cults. In his view the Eastern Church did not change fundamentally after the sixth century, and it was "at rest" from the iconoclastic controversies of the eighth and ninth centuries onward (1904: 222). More recently, anthropologist Charles Stewart has justified his "long synchronic approach" to Greek Orthodoxy by arguing that Orthodox doctrines really were "remarkably insulated from change" and held basic values "constant." According to Stewart, Orthodoxy is "the most conservative branch" of Christianity because its strong notion of tradition rules out rupture: "Orthodoxy is conceived to be a living tradition (parádosis), a continuous hermeneutic interaction in which individuals are guided by the Holy Spirit toward consistent interpretation of both Scripture and the existing body of tradition" (1991: 139-40; cf. Agadjanian and Roudometof 2005: 9). Even in matters of ecclesiastical organization, Stewart emphasizes long-term continuities. Many in the Eastern churches have made the explicit commitment to continuity the basis for claims to a greater "authenticity," sometimes in order to assert a moral superiority that contrasts with and compensates for their economic inferiority and political subordination to the West. Such patterns have a long history. They have been particularly evident in postsocialist countries, where blanket allegations are put forward that a communitarian Orthodoxy is hindering recognition of individual human rights, contributing to the failure of "shock therapy" to implant market capitalism, and repressing competition in the religious marketplace.

Yet it is by no means obvious that the variation that now exists within Christian traditions can be adequately approached on the basis of a binary distinction between East and West. Certainly there has always been much diversity and plurality within, as well as between, the many Eastern churches. In contrast to the Western traditions, virtually no social science paradigms have been developed to analyze the patterns of the East. East-West differences can be traced back to the first centuries of the Christian church (Gahbauer 1991). But can shades of difference in theology and divergent forms of ecclesiastical organization be held responsible for long-run patterns of political and economic development? We suggest that, to the extent that such "genetic" factors have played a role, they can only be understood when set in the context of wider institutional changes, power relationships, and their consequences for self-understandings. This means questioning hallowed Western assumptions about the breakthrough to modernity. For example, rather than emphasize the absence in the East of a Protestant ethic based in interiorized asceticism, we may recognize in the Greek and Armenian Christian communities of the Ottoman empire proof that Orthodox Christian ethics, too, were conducive to dynamic commercial activity (Antoniadis-Bibicou 2007; Krikorian 1978; Zekiyan 1997).

Of course it is hardly surprising that Western traditions should dominate the literature on Christianity in the Western social sciences. The greater dynamism of Roman Catholics and Protestants in recent centuries can hardly be denied, and it appears to many contemporary sociologists that the Eastern Christian traditions remain significantly less global (Agadjanian and Roudometof 2005). However, we should recall that long after its earlier northward expansion among the Slavs the Byzantine tradition continued to spread across Asia under the Tsarist empire, generating many conflicts between Orthodox missionaries and the Russian political authorities (Tarasar 1975; Goltz 1996; Znamenski 1999; Oleksa 2002). Moreover, the Orthodox churches can stake a strong claim to be more global in the original Christian sense of church unity: they form a global structure of local churches, as distinct from the "globalization" of a local church, be it the West Roman, the Wittenbergian, or the Genevan.

The paradigm of East/West alterity developed slowly over many centuries, both before and after the Great Schism of 1054. We sketch this history briefly below, in the section "Church Histories, Wider Histories." To point to the constructed and contingent character of this particular East/West boundary is no mere antiquarianism, given the renewed force that it has acquired among scholars and in widely disseminated stereotypes on both sides. That is why it is so important to recall that the origins of Christianity lie far to the east of the dominant centers of intellectual production in subjects such as sociocultural anthropology. Influential writers such as Samuel Huntington (1996; see Bowman, this volume) may homogenize both Western and Eastern streams in order to oppose them to each other as distinct civilizations, but a common origin in the Middle East is indisputable. From the perspective of Eastern Christians in Iran, Byzantium (today's Istanbul) was a stronghold of the West. Christianity shares its roots and its homelands with Judaism and Islam, yet in modern Western consciousness these religions are firmly associated with the Middle East. Islam was perceived to have superseded Oriental Christianity in a kind of inverse Crusade (Lepsius 1922; Goltz 2004), and the lived reality of Christian life in the East was long lost to view. For this reason the West must bear a share of the responsibility for the destruction of so many of these communities, and, above all, the annihilation of Armenians in the last decades of the Ottoman empire (Lepsius 1897). Such perceptions and ideal-types of Christianity based on Western Christianity alone reveal a profound ethnocentrism; unfortunately, some contributions in sociocultural anthropology cannot be exempted from this stricture.

The Emerging "Anthropology of Christianity"

This volume is the first to examine a range of Eastern Christian communities on the basis of ethnographic case studies. The coverage is neither comprehensive nor systematic, and much more research is needed if this stream is to be adequately integrated into comparative agendas. The dominant perspective of the volume is that of contemporary sociocultural anthropology; even those contributors who are not formally affiliated with this discipline have made use of its main method-namely, fieldwork (ethnography)-in preparing their chapters.

The word anthropology has acquired different meanings in different scholarly traditions. On the one hand, it denotes a science that investigates the human being as a biological organism. Particularly in the German-speaking world, Anthropologie has also denoted philosophical inquiry into the unique human nature of our species. This usage was popularized by scholars such as Immanuel Kant and Johann Gottfried Herder, and followed by Karl Marx, among many others. In a sense these great figures of the European Enlightenment were merely using a new term for what philosophers and theologians had always been doing. Eastern Christianities also have an anthropology in this sense-that is, a distinctive view of what it means to be human. Unlike Marx's materialist account of man's "species being" (Gattungswesen), the anthropological understanding of Eastern Christianity emphasizes man's affinity to God. We return to this theme below, in the section "Theology and Anthropology."

But the most common reference point of anthropology among English speakers nowadays is the field of cultural or social anthropology (which we take todayto form a single intellectual community). These anthropologists have generally sought to make sense of religion with reference to sociocultural contexts and often see in it the prime collective representations of society itself (Durkheim [1912] 2001). The sociocentric approaches of the Durkheimian school have become more problematic as, with accelerating globalization, it has become harder to define the boundaries of a society or a community. However, the decentralized organization of the Eastern churches and the high degree of congruence with secular, national identities leave considerable scope for investigating correspondences between cosmic and social orders. In the case of Greece numerous Anglophone ethnographers have tapped this potential by documenting the profound ways in which Orthodoxy structures the community at all levels-its use of space, its rituals, and the everyday social interaction of its members (Campbell 1964; Danforth 1982; Dubisch 1995; Hirschon 1989, this volume; Stewart 1991). Much of this literature has emphasized a dichotomy between text and practice: popular ritual performances (orthopraxy) tend to deviate from scriptural doctrine (orthodoxy) and often draw on customs that can be traced to pre-Christian times.

Alongside inquiries into the distinctive features of religion in particular local or national contexts, some contemporary anthropologists have drawn on psychological research to pursue the cognitive universals that shape all religions everywhere (Atran 2002; Boyer 1994; Whitehouse 2000, 2004). Much of this literature, too, is pervaded by dichotomous models. The so-called world religions are contrasted to the others, and within the former category, scriptural religion is equated with orthodoxy and contrasted to popular or heterodox religion. The influential theory of Harvey Whitehouse is based upon a contrast between the doctrinal mode of religiosity and the imagistic mode, and he takes the latter to be exemplified by the veneration of icons. However, this is to overlook a large body of Orthodox theology concerning icons. As Sonja Luehrmann notes in her contribution to this volume, the antimaterialist Protestant stance that privileges texts and direct communication with God cannot be taken as the general Christian norm. Along with other contributors to this volume (see especially the chapters by Hanganu, Forbess, and Naumescu), Luehrmann shows that Eastern Christianities pose problems for the standard dualisms of the anthropological theory of religion.

In between the particularist focus of the ethnographer and the universalist ambitions of the cognitive anthropologists there is the potential to develop middle range inquiries in the anthropology of religion. The "anthropology of Christianity" has been vigorously promoted as one such possibility. Joel Robbins (2003) has argued that this field remains poorly developed (e.g., when compared with anthropological investigations of Islam). While some of the early pioneers of sociocultural anthropology drew on Christian materials (Robertson Smith 1889), Christianity was by and large not strongly represented in twentieth-century ethnographies. Robbins finds that even when Christianity figures in anthropological accounts, it tends to be downgraded: the people concerned are usually converts, or the descendants of recent converts, and the Christianity of their culture is viewed by the analyst as somehow superficial (2007). Robbins has suggested a dual "cultural" explanation for the relative neglect of Christianity:

Christians are too similar by virtue of drawing on the same broad cultural tradition as anthropologists, and too meaningfully different by virtue of drawing on a part of that tradition that in many respects has arisen in critical dialogue with the modernist ideas on which anthropology is founded. Both the similarities and the pointed nature of the differences make Christianity more difficult than other religions for anthropologists to study. (2003: 192)

Joel Robbins and Fenella Cannell (2005, 2006) are the most active advocates of the emerging anthropology of Christianity. Both draw on earlier work by Talal Asad, in which he argued that the anthropological study of religion was suffused with Christian bias (1993). Specifically, according to Asad, the emphasis upon meaning, popularized above all through the work of Clifford Geertz, was a reflection of the modern Western self, an interiorized product of Christianity. This point was well taken, and it has continued to shape interesting work on meaning (and its absence) in contemporary Christianity (Engelke and Tomlinson 2006). However, as Renée Hirschon and Alexander Agadjanian and Kathy Rousselet argue in this volume, the notion of the self found in Eastern Christianities is not identical with that of the Latin tradition. Asad's critique needs to be qualified and reformulated accordingly.

Fenella Cannell, who has carried out fieldwork among Catholics in Bicol (Philippines) and among Mormons in the United States, argues that anthropological understandings of Christianity have been distorted by an exaggerated emphasis on ideas concerning asceticism and transcendence, which she traces from Hegel via Durkheim to Edmund Leach (2005, 2006b). She acknowledges that this dominant model has not hindered the writing of useful ethnographic studies that draw attention to the diversity of practices found in popular or heterodox religion, such as the work of João de Pina-Cabral in rural Portugal (1986). However, Cannell argues that popular Catholicism in Bicol presents a more radical challenge, since in this setting both ideas and practices (e.g., concerning the "dead Christ") diverge more radically from theological orthodoxy. Cannell provides strong support for Asad's critique of the bias of much previous work in the general anthropology of religion. However, like him she fails to consider the possibility that "orthodoxy" in the Christian tradition that actually bears this name might carry rather different meanings from the Western (primarily Protestant) model that she equates with Christianity as a whole. Indeed, some elements of her Bicolano ethnography-the downplaying of notions of transcendence and salvation and an emphasis instead on correct management of relations with ancestors-resemble the popular Orthodox world of the Romanian villagers documented by Gail Kligman (1988; see also Hanganu and Forbess, this volume).

Joel Robbins, who has carried out fieldwork among Pentecostalists in New Guinea, has developed somewhat different arguments to support the promotion of the study of Christianity in anthropology. Whereas Cannell argues that the discipline has been excessively Christian and hindered by its ascetic model of Christianity from adequate acknowledgment of heterodox beliefs and practices, Robbins attaches more significance to a deep incompatibility between Christianity and anthropology as a discipline (2007). He admits to simplifying the former through his reliance on Protestantism as an ideal-type but argues that it is exactly this Protestant strand that anthropologists have most difficulty recognizing. This is due to what he calls the "continuity thinking" that is embedded in the discipline, inhibiting practitioners from taking seriously the claims of those who emphasize their conversion experience as a massive rupture. According to Robbins, Christianity is unique in the emphasis it places at multiple levels on discontinuity: in the lives of individual converts but also in the history of communities and of the religion itself, with the life of Christ marking a disjuncture between the Old and New Testaments. He might have added the Reformation and the Great Schism to this list, as further prominent instances of rupture in the history of Christianity. But this argument loses its general validity once we recognize that, as noted above and in contrast to the model applied by Robbins, Eastern Christians tend to emphasize continuity in their self-representations. Their basic notions of time seem (at any rate among certain intellectuals in certain periods) to be quite different from Western temporalities. Following Robbins's logic, since the emic views of the believers correspond to the continuity thinking of the anthropologists, one might expect to find a rich and satisfying literature on Eastern Christians. In fact, there is very little; far greater effort continues to be invested in understanding Latin Christianity's continuing expansion in the territories that used to be the colonies of Christian (Western) Europe (Hann 2007).

The arguments put forward by Cannell, Robbins, and others, emphasizing factors such as excessive familiarity, revulsion, and anomaly, do not suffice to explain the neglect of the Eastern stream within the emerging anthropology of Christianity. Orthodoxy certainly differs from the broad cultural tradition shared by most Anglophone anthropologists, but at the same time it hardly resembles the "repugnant other" (Harding 1991) represented by American Christian fundamentalists. Yet the latter have attracted far more attention from anthropologists (cf. Coleman 2000, 2007).

The main reasons for this neglect are perhaps rather prosaic. Eastern Christians live mostly in Eurasia, a landmass that has never been adequately addressed by the modern discipline of sociocultural anthropology (Hann 2006). Emigration has created a large diaspora, but by and large in recent centuries the Eastern Christian churches have not expanded through missionizing, so that the themes that have animated countless studies of Catholic and Protestant interactions with the religions of nonliterate peoples could not be pursued in the same depth for the Eastern stream. Moreover, when sociocultural anthropology entered its heyday in the second half of the twentieth century, the homelands of many Eastern Christians were inaccessible for political reasons. It is surely no accident that we have a relatively abundant literature for popular religion in modern Greece, but little or nothing for most neighboring Orthodox countries. Those anthropologists who did manage to gain access to socialist countries were seldom able to place religion at the center of their inquiries. Even where "scientific atheism" was less rigorously imposed, the ideology of Marxism-Leninism proclaimed that religion was superstition, and that it was bound to disappear in the course of building communist society. Such dogmas also impeded scientific research by local scholars, whatever their disciplinary affiliation.

The situation was transformed by the collapse of socialist regimes in 1989-1991, but although political barriers were removed, other barriers have remained in place. Few researchers from the West have the historical knowledge and linguistic abilities to embark upon fieldwork projects in the former Soviet Union and the ex-socialist countries of Eastern Europe. Scholars in those countries have no strong tradition of research into contemporary religious practices on which to build as they set about exploring religious commitments in postsocialist conditions. Contemporary inquiries cannot proceed without careful reassessment of the transmission of religious beliefs and practices in the socialist era, despite strong secularization trends. At present we still lack clear paradigms and are only just beginning to exploit the potential of the postsocialist conjuncture for the insights it can give into the enduring features of Eastern Christianity and the study of religion in general (see Rogers 2005; Hann et al. 2006).

Church Histories, Wider Histories

Western images of Eastern Christianity, at least since Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, have emphasized the stagnation, sterility, and autocratic government of Byzantine emperors, which in the most extreme accounts is alleged to have provided the prototype for modern forms of totalitarianism. The great figures of European historical sociology, from Max Weber to Norbert Elias and Michael Mann, hardly engage seriously with the civilization closest to their own (it is surely remarkable that Weber wrote much more about China and India). In any case the Western focus on Byzantium has always been too narrow. Although the division of the Roman empire in 395 did not call basic religious unity into question, the schism that followed in 451 between the Oriental Orthodox churches and East Roman ("Byzantine") churches had consequences that can still be recognized today. The former churches include the Syriac, Coptic, Ethiopian, Armenian, and Indian Oriental Orthodox churches. The latter are the Patriarchates of Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem (and originally Rome). For six hundred years after this first great rupture, until the Great Schism of 1054, the "Byzantine" branch remained in communion with the Church of Rome (although the tensions between them began as early as the fourth century, they remained genetically one imperial church uniting the eastern and western parts of the Roman empire). It follows that the large Orthodox churches that we commonly take to epitomize "the East," such as those of Greece, Russia, and Romania, which feature most prominently in this volume, might more appropriately be classified as intermediate, between the Western and Oriental Orthodox churches.

When the eastern boundary of the Christian Roman empire was threatened by Sassanid Persia, Constantine the Great shifted his capital to the Nea Romi, "New Rome." On the flags of the "Christ-loving" armies of Emperor Heraclius, the Persian enemies were shocked to see the Mandylion icon of Christ's face, which in its iconographical type resembles Medusa on the shield of the defender goddess Athena. The Virgin Mary became the defender (Hypermachos) of the city of Constantinople, and people pray to her as such even today by singing the popular Orthodox Akathistos hymn, which dates from the fifth century (Goltz 1988, 2005; Peltomaa 2001). Constantinople was attacked by the Crusaders in 1204 and later threatened by the Ottoman Turks. Many Orthodox inhabitants preferred, as Grand Duke Lukas Notaras put it, to live under "the Sultan's turban than the Latin mitre" (Runciman 1985: 111; Ducas 1958: 329). Eastern Christians had to choose between maintaining their independent identity, thereby risking martyrdom under Muslim domination, and sacrificing that identity by becoming an integrated "rite" in the West Roman juridical hierarchy. The last emperor of Constantinople, Constantine XI Palaeologus, blackmailed by the West, agreed to a church union between East and West in order to obtain Western military support against the Turks. His people did not accept the deal, and it was never implemented. Despite the efforts of a small Genoese detachment from neighboring Pera, the Turks took the city of Constantine in 1453. Yet the Orthodox and Oriental Christian populations held on. It was another five hundred years before, under the pressure of a nominally "laicist" republican Turkish government, the numbers of Istanbul's Christians declined steeply (see Couroucli, this volume).

Historically the Christian churches consolidated a decentralized, conciliar structure in which nationality in the modern sense was unimportant. As in other religious traditions, for most people, most of the time, religion was simply the ultimate explanation of their place in the world. In the cases we consider in this volume that place has come to be fused with the "imagined community" of a modern nation: Greece, Russia, Romania, and others. This is a relatively recent development, and in some places it is still unfolding in complex ways, as Anna Poujeau shows below in her exploration of the recent history of the links between Greek Orthodoxy and pan-Arab ideology in Syria.

Socialist rule, which was ostensibly devoted to the elimination of religion, eventually accentuated the tendency to fuse religious identity with a secular, national identity. Unlike the Polish Roman Catholic Church, Orthodox churches were seldom prominent in the mobilization of opposition to socialism. (However, it would be a mistake to exaggerate a contrast to the Western churches, some of which-for example, the Roman Catholic Church in Hungary-also forged close links to socialist power-holders.) In the postsocialist years several Orthodox churches have claimed a privileged position in the life of their respective nations and resisted external pressure to open up the religious marketplace (again using strategies that resemble those of dominant churches in certain Western countries). Opposition to foreign missionaries has been strong. In some places, notably Serbia, the nationalist component seems to have predominated over the religious (spiritual), and Orthodoxy has been mobilized for reactionary political goals and violence. Arguably, the dominance of Orthodoxy in Romania and Bulgaria delayed their admission to the European Union and continues to delay the expansion of the EU in the western Balkans and Ukraine. The Moscow Patriarchate is frequently perceived as nationalist and anti-European (see the chapters in this volume by Agadjanian and Rousselet and Caldwell). On the other hand it maintains a delegation at Brussels and declares itself open to a "greater Europe"; it is opposed only to formulations of European identity in which Western Christianity is guaranteed pride of place.

Greece has witnessed a long-running debate about the links between religious and national identity, and conservativism or "rigorism" has emerged as a force to be reckoned within the Greek Orthodox Church (Yannaras 2007; Makrides 2004). In the view of significant sections of Greek society, only the orthodox symbolic, "negative" theology of the Eastern fathers can provide the basis for a stable Christian identity, while the West has been driven toward secularism and atheism as a result of its unbalanced positivist theology (Yannaras 2004). The official Church is now perceived as excessively "Protestant" by some Greek traditionalists, who prefer to see their religion not as a matter of interiorized faith but as the suffusing of all human life with the sacred. Their rejection of Western technology and consumerism is associated with a more general "cultural fundamentalism," which means first and foremost Greek nationalism but also solidarity with other Orthodox churches, notably the Serbian Church during the years of conflict in Bosnia (Herzfeld 2002a).

Of course similar affinities between religious rigorism (fundamentalism) and reactionary politics can also be found in other religious traditions. Disparaging and hostile attitudes toward this constellation in the Orthodox world continue a long Western tradition, for even well-intentioned commentators have tended to view Eastern Christians as basically inferior. Long before Adolf Hitler's tirades against Untermenschen, medieval Western Christian missionaries scorned the Slavs. The Slavic subpeople do stink, as we read in the Vita of Sturmi, Saint Boniface's disciple and missionary to the East (Sames 1993). Western attitudes to Eastern Christians have ranged from condescending to contemptuous, and East Slavs have attracted the most negative stereotypes. Roman Catholic clergy are confident of their central place in the very definition of Europe, and some still like to classify their Orthodox neighbors as members of another civilization.

Theology and Anthropology

In order to counter pervasive stereotypes we have taken some trouble in the discussion above to point out that many patterns found among Eastern Christians are also to be found in the West, and vice versa. However, we do not wish to gainsay differences altogether. In this section we outline the key areas in which the ideas and doctrines of Eastern Christianities diverge from those of the West. Here too we need to distinguish carefully between myths and realities, while recognizing that crude simplifications can themselves have tangible consequences when thoroughly internalized by the actors.

The basic distortion is caused by approaching the East in narrow Western terms. The premise is that Eastern Christianities failed to develop the combination of political, legal, and economic conditions that allowed for a breakthrough to an increasingly secular and bureaucratized modernity in the West. The question posed by generations of Western writers is, then, To what underlying ideas can this failure be attributed? Vasilios Makrides (2005) has reviewed the evidence for alleged irrational, mystical elements in Orthodoxy, its lack of interest in "this-worldly" transformation and in the absence (at any rate until very recently) of a "systematic social ethic" as found in both Protestantism and modern Catholicism. He finds some truth in these diagnoses but calls for a much more subtle and discriminating analysis. Closer inspection reveals plenty of precedents in the East for modern concepts of rationality. Under the hagionym of Dionysios Areopagites (cf. Acts 17) an Orthodox theologian elaborated a highly rationalized concept of society, entirely consistent with Weber's notion of "rational-legal authority" (Goltz 1974). Perhaps the key difference is that between the capitalist experiment of a single globalized rationality and an Orthodox experiment that always remained grounded in local, "bounded" rationalities.

If, instead of asking Western questions, we turn to address Orthodox theological issues in Orthodox terms, we must begin by recalling that Orthodoxy emphasizes man's affinity to God. This is the anthropological root for the principle of icon veneration. It is the human being, the anthropos as icon and likeness of God, that makes the icon so central. Genesis (1:27) tells us that the male and female anthropos were created in the image of God ("kat' ikóna Theou"; see Septuaginta 1965: 2; Hanganu, this volume). In Orthodox theological anthropology the first and highest image is that of the invisible God, the Creator, which became the visible icon of God in the second person of the Trinity, Christ, the creating Word (Logos), thereby rendering redundant the Old Testament's iconoclastic command. Men and women are the first and highest created likenesses of God. Hence the Orthodox veneration of icons is not the veneration of the material pictures, as so many critics have assumed. Veneration is directed only to the archetype of the painted icon, the uncreated, invisible Trinity of God the Creator.

Orthodox icons figure not only in individual veneration but also in liturgical interaction. One of the most famous is the image known as the Philoxenia, the Hospitality of Abraham and Sarah, also sometimes called the Holy Trinity of the Old Testament (cf. Gen. 18; see Vzdornov 1989). This image never ceases to astonish those who conceive of Orthodox iconography as limited to rigid copying. The reason for the variation found here is that Abraham and Sarah are serving the Trinity, while the Trinity at the Holy table is serving mankind through the Eucharistic offering of Christ. The Orthodox Divine Liturgy is the realization of this theological hospitality. The men and women of the parish traditionally stand to the left and right respectively, representing Abraham and Sarah. The icon is thereby integrated into the liturgical action, or one might say that God, sensuously present in his icon, integrates the parish in his action. The ethical and liturgical interaction of men and women with God in the medium of the icon is a vast field also for socioanthropological research. In addition to the semiotic (Uspensky 1976, 1994), the sociological (Onasch 1993) and the material (Hanganu, this volume) dimensions, it is essential to appreciate the full liturgical framework.

Mention of the parish and congregation brings us to another core topic of philosophical anthropology and theology. The dichotomy between individual and collective has a long history in the West, but Eastern Christian understandings are based a notion of the person that negotiates the Charybdis of (supposedly Western) individualism and the Scylla of (supposedly Eastern) collectivism. Michael Herzfeld has recently deconstructed discourses of liberal individualism for the case of Greece and drawn attention to the variation to be found in constructions of the person elsewhere in Europe. His basic conclusion is that "the idea of a typically European individualism confuses the discourse with its subject matter" (2002b: 170). Orthodox theology in this context draws on Trinitarianism as a paradigm of Christian koinonia or communion, where the individuum is not lost but saved in personal relations of love (Williams 1972; Staniloae 1994: 245-80; Yannaras 2006). Several contributors to this volume highlight individualizing tendencies, including Renée Hirschon for the case of Greece since the 1970s and Jeanne Kormina for postsocialist Russia. Agadjanian and Rousselet shed further light on the complexity of the Russian case: while some citizens (such as the "religious tourists" discussed by Kormina) pursue a postmodern bricolage that is highly individualistic and antithetical to the parish community, others (such as the pilgrims discussed in the chapter by Naletova) are deeply embedded in a "thick" religious tradition. For the latter, it is above all deep inner reflection that binds them into a community, rather than the collective effervescence stressed by Émile Durkheim and Victor Turner. Inna Naletova defines this as a kenotic community, grounded as much in theological teaching as in sociology, "centred around a holy place and guided by a belief in God's suffering for humanity and His sacrificial death on the cross."

The distinctive mystical and charismatic (pneumatological) character of Eastern Christianities has long been recognized by scholars (Meyendorff 1974). The origins are to be found in early Christian monasticism, which has exercised an influence over Orthodox parish life that persists to the present day, in close association with pilgrimages (e.g., to the hermits of Mount Athos; see Mendieta 1972; Mylonas 2000). Orthodox laity are almost everywhere closely related to their monasteries; the bios angelikos, the "angelic life" (Frank 1964) of monks and nuns is a strong magnet. The hermits who cut all ties with the "world" only succeed in strengthening those bonds, because they are hermits for the world's sake. Their prayers in the wilderness sustain the world, and the other inhabitants of the world are well aware of their debt to this minority. These seeming "unsocials" or even "anti-socials" aspiring to live in the transcendent heavenly world are in fact the foundations of the social world. Nuns and monks play a central role in transmitting religious knowledge (Forbess, this volume), in complementing basic, parish-based institutional structures (e.g. through performing special rituals; see Naumescu, Poujeau, this volume), and in establishing claims to authentic belonging through their very presence in the landscape (Poujeau, this volume).

It is often claimed that Eastern Christians tend to place less emphasis on a transcendent God and more on the dispersal of the sacred in the natural world. A theologian specialized in the Orthodox churches would reject the implicit "zero sum" assumption. According to the doctrines there is a paradoxon that has its insoluble basis in the mysterion of the Incarnation. Christ is at one and the same time the eternally ruling pantocrator over the entire kosmos and a crucified man. The titulus of the cross in certain icons of the Crucifixion gives a clue. In place of the New Testament's "Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews" one sometimes finds "King of Glory" (Greek: Vasilevs Tis Doxis; Russian: Tsar Slavy) (Kaffka 1995: 100, 109, 199; Belting 1981: 160).

This brings us back to the more general argument of this introduction. In the twenty-first century some Western theologians have applauded the Orthodox churches for their very "otherness." They see their Western Church as the Church of the Word and the Eastern Church as the Church of the Icon. These theologians (and the anthropologists tempted to follow them) have a more benign approach to West-East differences than their Western forerunners, but they do not know Orthodox Christianity. Eastern Christianities are deeply rooted in the Word; after all, many of the most celebrated icons depict Jesus or a saint with a book in his hands. Saint John Chrysostom, the most famous preacher of the universal church, the "Golden Mouth," was a preacher of the Christian East. The Orthodox developed the icon out of the Word (and more specifically from the Hymnos). The Eastern side does not yearn for the West, for the Word, in the way that so many Westerners have been attracted to icons. Arguably, the reason for this is that Eastern Christianities succeeded in evolving a multimedial expression of faith: the Word became Icon and the Icon became Word, just as the divine and creative Logos became a human being and the human son of God became the creative Word. Eastern Christians thus possess a sublime understanding of theología, but this is falsely interpreted by Western theologians as a low stage of development. Theología in the Eastern understanding is not a scholarly discourse on God; it is rather a liturgical discourse of and between God and human beings. What the West rediscovered with the help of the German Jews Martin Buber and Franz Rosenzweig-namely, the dialogical nature of human existence-the Orthodox had never forgotten (Goltz 2006b). The highest form of theology is the oral celebration of that dialogue, before and beyond all written or printed words (Goltz 2006a). The centrality of paradoxon in Orthodox theology causes Western critics to allege that it has yet to emerge from the Middle Ages and come to terms with the rationality propagated above all by the Enlightenment. But from the point of view of the East it is precisely the balance of positive and negative theology, of mystical and emotional factors that necessarily accompany understanding of the Word (i.e., dogmas), that establishes their superior claim to continuity with the early Christians (see Markschies 1999).

Finally, let us again caution against attaching excessive causal weight to the intellectual divergences we have touched upon in this section. Vasilios Makrides argues that these differences have often been exaggerated and concludes that contrasting adaptations to globalization and modernity should not be attributed to "inner theological grounds" (2005: 185). Rather, we need to recognize a complex interplay between ideas and material, institutional factors. Instead of postulating an "Orthodox mentality" as a barrier to modernity, it is time to recognize the emergence of distinctive Orthodox patterns of modernity.

Orthodoxy and Orthopraxis

Like most anthropologists who have written about world religions, Fenella Cannell, though critical of what she considers to be excessively ascetic approaches to Christianity, ends up working with a binary model-in her case, "orthodox versus heterodox. " "Scriptural versus popular" is a closely related and widely used dichotomy, as is the opposition between "doctrine" and "practice," or "theology" and "practical religion" (Leach 1968). Somewhat less common nowadays is the contrast between "great and little tradition. " With the rise of fieldwork as their prime method, sociocultural anthropologists have generally seen themselves as specialists in the latter. However, an emphasis on fieldwork and social context carries with it the danger of naïveté. The anthropologist who lacks all familiarity with the texts of a great tradition may get excited about a "discovery" that has long been a commonplace to historians and theologians. On the other hand, the anthropologist who remains fixated on scriptures and theological debates may classify all the noncanonical beliefs and practices documented during fieldwork as deviant, even though they are fundamental to the religion as it is lived. In Eastern Christianities, perhaps to a greater extent than in the West, there has always been a continuum between written canonical tradition and what believers have actually done. A broad definition of "church," one more in keeping with the traditional Eastern Christian understanding of the community of believers, must include those who venerate icons in heterodox ways and whose participation in pilgrimages appears to have more in common with the consumerism of a tourist than the devotion of a true pilgrim. Orthodox Christianity is perhaps best seen as a highly reflected pre- and postscriptural oral culture, where oral is understood to mean not a primitive but a superior, because living, mode of communication.

The dichotomy between orthodox and heterodox is more than a little piquant when we come to consider Orthodox Christianity, and not merely because of the name. As we noted above, this tradition offers solid theological backing for attaching prime importance to practice. If orthodox refers in the first instance to consistency and continuity in belief, orthopraxy refers to correct behavior, to religion in action, in particular to ritual performance. James Watson has shown with regard to death rituals in early modern China that a uniform ritual structure was much more important in creating a sense of being Chinese than shared beliefs (1988). Belief is a problematic category because it implies a concern with internal states that, according to Watson, simply was not relevant in this case. Rather, in the absence of a church, it was the imperial officials who disseminated the uniform ritual structure of funerary rituals, which, then, in its actual implementation, showed remarkable regional and local variation.

The comparison with China is suggestive, especially given the decentralized organization of the Orthodox churches. Orthopraxy can, however, be explored in other ways, and it is not necessary to maintain, as Watson does, that performance always takes precedence over belief. Eastern Christianities offer instructive insights into the literature on how communication with the divinity is mediated through different forms of language and materiality (see Coleman 1996; Engelke 2005; Keane 1997, 2007; cf. Goltz 1979). Gabriel Hanganu (this volume) detects an affinity between Orthodox approaches to religious objects and academic theorizing about material culture, and argues that no social anthropology of religious practices can be complete without close attention to both matter and spirit-that is, human relations to material objects, on the one hand, and spiritual beings, on the other. In this way, closer attention to both doxa and praxis in Eastern Christianity generates a better basis for the study of lived religious activity than the polarizing models that still dominate much of the literature. It is unhelpful to ground the comparative enterprise on ideal-types that prioritize the scriptural, the ascetic, and the transcendental. If Eastern Christianity rather than Protestantism were the basis of the ideal-type, then the similarities as well as the differences from other religions might appear with greater clarity. For example, we might then see that Oriental Orthodox churches such as those of the Copts, the Syriacs (Arameans), and the Armenians were very close indeed to particular strands of Islam. Instead of opposing beliefs to practices and theological to practical religion case by case, analysts might instead begin to recognize more complex combinations of beliefs and practices, varying between different social groups, but also between individuals, and contextually variable even for the individual.

Implications and Prospects for Future Research

The risk in pursuing the differentiation strategy indicated above is that at some point the category "Eastern Christian" would dissolve. Actually this risk is basically the same when dealing with Christianity as a whole, or with the common amalgam "the Abrahamic faiths." Limited intermediate generalizations may still be possible. Thus Forbess and Naumescu (this volume; see also Naumescu 2007) argue that Orthodoxy is better seen as representing a peculiar combination of the two modes of religiosity identified by Harvey Whitehouse, since the "imagistic mode" has never been displaced by the development of doctrinal rules but retained its centrality. Alternatively, it might be argued that Eastern Christians confound Whitehouse's dichotomy, which is left with at most a heuristic value. What is clear is that neither he nor any of the other protagonists in the current cognitive debates have looked at Eastern Christianities in any depth. A more systematic application of their theoretical framework could lead to a breakthrough in historicizing their research program.

The case studies of this volume focus on religion per se, but several chapters offer insights into the politics of church-state relations as well as wider contexts of anti-Westernism. There is undoubtedly scope for anthropologists to play a bigger role in interdisciplinary investigations of the gradual integration of Eastern Christianities into global networks (Roudometof, Agadjanian, and Pankhurst 2005). Rather than the bipolar models discussed above, it would seem important to identify at least four groupings: those "ordinary believers" who belong formally to a congregation; those who profess some form of belief and commitment but who remain "outside the walls" of the church; the official hierarchy of the church; and finally the rigorists or fundamentalists, often as critical of the official church as they are of deviant popular practices. In some cases it might be necessary to differentiate further; "monastery people" (see Kormina, this volume), for example, might form a separate group from parish clergy. Of course similar classifications can be applied to other religions; given that the major religious traditions face similar challenges and are in close competitive contact with each other, it is hardly surprising that virtually all have developed a "rigorist" current and are drawn into conflict with each other in similar ways.

Contemporary social transformation and conflict is just one context in which Eastern Christianity needs to be brought into wider comparative frameworks. Agadjanian and Rousselet argue that to understand the current situation in Russia it is important to draw together three distinct time frames: postsocialist processes of hybridization and eclectic individuality, the legacy of Soviet repression, and the "genetic" explanatory logic that traces some of the major differences between Eastern and Western branches of Christianity to the first millennium. When we turn our attention to the past, many other research avenues open up. One of the most important concerns relationships to non-Christian religions. The Tsarist empire, larger in its day than any of the far-flung empires of the Western European powers, was very active in missionizing. However, despite the great interest of the theorists of postcolonialism in mission histories, few have begun to investigate Russian history from this perspective. The influence of the Russian Orthodox Church spread beyond the Russian empire into North America; where this happened it is interesting to ask whether this was due to a closer fit with indigenous religious practices or to the warm response of native North Americans to a version of Christianity that allowed them to remain different from the religion of their colonizers.

More historical work would give further insight into the themes of continuity and authenticity that pervade this volume. We have noted that it is much too simple to maintain that the Eastern stream represents an uninterrupted flow from the primordial early church. There have been countless moments of rupture within the churches now designated "Eastern." It is also important to recognize that all these churches have been in continuous contact with each other all along. The Orthodox churches of Eastern Europe were profoundly influenced by both the Reformation and the Counter-Reformation in the West. Given all this interaction, the pursuit of "otherness" is ultimately suspect and futile. We would do better to recognize a pluralism of Eastern Christianities and to develop a multilevel comparative approach. This pluralism (of course the same applies to the Christianities of the West) should lead us to question the value of continuing to oppose East and West-after all the Nicene Creed, with its formulation of the "One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church," is common to both. If for certain purposes this basic dichotomy may still be useful, it should not prevent us from investigating many kinds of internal differences: How does Greek Orthodox Christianity in Greece today compare with, say, Greek Orthodox Christianity in Syria? Does the condition of the Romanian Orthodox Church closely resemble that of the Russian Orthodox Church as a result of a common postsocialist conjuncture? What distinctive insights can be obtained from examining Eastern Catholics-Christians who are commonly perceived to constitute a bridge between West and East? Is the Vatican's recognition that the Greek Catholics of Central Europe possess a separate rite in fact to be understood as a (historically unwarranted) refusal to grant them the status of a juridically independent church? If so, this would be a clear example of the unequal power relations that have undermined conciliar structures ever since the first centuries of the Christian church (Meyendorff 1983).

Finally, more attention to Eastern Christians promises further dividends for the anthropologist, beyond the field of religion. We have in mind the zone where the two kinds of anthropology, the sociocultural and the philosophical, come together. Many sociocultural anthropologists have questioned whether "our" assumptions about what Hirschon (this volume) calls "the human subject" are shared all over the world. If "individualism" can be operationalized at all for social science analysis (i.e., if we can link it to specific features of social reality, beyond its rhetorical invocations), we must identify the concrete historical variables that promote or discourage it. In any case it is clear that many peoples draw no comparable dichotomy between individual and society. This has led distinguished anthropologists to contrast India with "the West," or Melanesian with "Euro-American" constructions of the human subject. But Eastern Christianity is deeply rooted in Europe, and Europe in Eastern Christianity! Greater familiarity with this stream therefore invites us to undertake some basic rethinking. One response might be simply to redraw the line and adjust the labels. If it is not necessary to go to India or Melanesia to find complex relational notions of the person, because very similar notions underpin the Orthodox worldview in Greece, then perhaps one might simply substitute "North Atlantic" for "Euro-American" and continue business as usual. Another way forward is to argue, as Hanganu does below, that Eastern Christianity represents an intermediate position between the individualism of the West and the "distributed personhood" found in many other parts of the world. Rather than recognize a non-Western "other" in the heart of Europe or view the Eastern Christian cases as somehow fuzzy or liminal, their closer investigation might lead us to a more radical questioning of this dichotomy, and thus to a more careful appreciation of the historical circumstances that shape models and practices of personhood everywhere.

An Overview of the Volume

The chapters grouped in part 1 examine some of the most distinctive features of the Eastern tradition. The icon cannot itself be the object of worship, but it is a legitimate artifact of mediation in facilitating communication with the divine. A number of concepts of Orthodox anthropology developed by early Christian writers, and in particular the conceptual pair "image-likeness," provide a frame within which contemporary Romanian icon-based religious practices can be discussed in relation to more general anthropological concepts, such as "distributed personhood' and "biography of objects." In chapter 1 Gabriel Hanganu shows that to understand the efficacy of an icon in a local context it is necessary to examine interaction between and within local social groups, as well as communication with the spiritual world, and the world of material objects, which, according to Orthodox theology, is itself divine in its potential. Sensorial experiences and bodily practices are central, and, in comparison with the privatization that has taken place in Western societies, they have remained public, located in the community. Knowledge is no less central, and some icons are known to have richer "social biographies" than others; their efficacy is related to this "charging." Hence, although in theory divine intercession can be secured through any icon, there is a strong preference for famous miracle-working images. On a more general level, the specific ways in which Eastern Christians conceive of the invisible world and the material realm, and the objectification of this understanding in contemporary religious practices, suggest a new perspective for their anthropological study, one that acknowledges and reflects Orthodox Christian anthropology itself.

In chapter 2 Sonja Luehrmann explores the use of icons in the Russian republic of Marii El, where many inhabitants have preserved traces of pre-Christian religious practices, notably in the veneration of distinctive natural objects in sites held to be sacred. For the Protestant missionaries who are active in the republic today, the use made of icons by Russian Orthodox Christians is condemned as an extension of such pagan superstitions. Many people nonetheless use icons publicly and maintain "icon corners" in their homes. In chapter 3 Stéphanie Mahieu demonstrates that, in the border zone of Central Europe, Greek Catholic churches are a hybrid form-an integral part of the universal Catholic Church for centuries, yet practicing the rite of the Byzantine East. The Vatican has encouraged these churches to reject Latinization and return to the purity of Eastern liturgical forms, but Mahieu shows that while younger priests and the Greek Catholic elite in general tend to favor "re-Orientalizing," many of the faithful and some of the hierarchy are reluctant to disrupt the status quo. Some prefer to maintain a plurality of options, arguing that icons and statues offer alternative, noncontradictory representations of the sacred (for further studies of the Greek Catholics of Central Europe, see Mahieu and Naumescu 2008). In chapter 4 Jeffers Engelhardt examines a different border zone, and we move from the visual to the aural. Orthodoxy is central to the social identity of the Seto in Estonia, and their distinctive singing is the purest expression of their faith and celebration of their tradition.

The chapters in part 2 explore the concepts of image and tradition further in three monastic contexts. In chapter 5 Alice Forbess shows that religious knowledge is transmitted to novices in a Romanian convent with little reference to text-based doctrine. Rather, adapting Harvey Whitehouse's cognitive model, she shows that Orthodox Christianity exemplifies the predominance of the "imagistic mode of religiosity," in which intuitive, sensuous forms of communication with the divine are preeminent. In his study in chapter 6 of how a splinter group of monks came to specialize in exorcism rituals in postsocialist Ukraine, where the demand for the emotional intensity of the imagistic mode rose in the uncertain conditions of postsocialism, Vlad Naumescu, too, draws on Whitehouse's dichotomy. In chapter 7 Anna Poujeau outlines the crucial role played by monasteries in the consolidation of the Greek Orthodox Church as a minority community in Syria. With the help of a full ritual calendar (in which some rituals are recent innovations), the new monasteries constructed at old shrines demonstrate the rooted authenticity of Christian tradition in an Arab-dominated land.

Questions of authenticity and syncretism, already raised by Luehrmann, Mahieu, and Poujeau, are the principal theme of the analyses of shrines and pilgrimage practices grouped in part 3. In chapter 8 Glenn Bowman examines three locations in Macedonia where "mixing" between Christians and Muslims has taken different forms. Countering an influential argument of Robert Hayden, he argues that the sharing of shrines does not necessarily mean antagonism: rather, intercommunal relations will always be sensitive to the wider social and political context. In chapter 9 Maria Couroucli describes contemporary Greek Orthodox celebrations on an island in the Bosporus that are attended by many Muslims from Istanbul, few of whom have any knowledge of the Christian faith. She proceeds to draw on archival evidence to investigate the nature of syncretic activities in the late Ottoman years and finds that there was neither a crude antagonism nor the full positive embrace of "the other" that some nostalgic romanticists imagine.

Chapters 10 and 11 provide complementary insights into pilgrimage and other aspects of "religion outside the church" in postsocialist Russia. Inna Naletova's account of pilgrims as forming kenotic communities that contribute positively to the reestablishment of generalized trust in Russian society is apparently contradicted by Jeanne Kormina, who turns the spotlight on urban dwellers whose bus trips seem better classified as "religious tourism" than as pilgrimage. Authenticity, closely tied to a "simple," "pure" natural environment, is crucial to these tourists' search for new individual and collective identities. The avtobusniki with whom Kormina traveled (like the Muslims encountered by Couroucli in the Bosporus) had very little knowledge of Christianity. Describing how the hosts at holy sites put on performances for ignorant guests, and adapting the terminology of British sociologist Grace Davie, Kormina asks whether postsocialist Russia might resemble contemporary Britain in the widespread prevalence of "believing without belonging." She goes further and suggests that even belief may not be very important. The bus tourists are not interested in acquiring religious knowledge or joining a parish, but only in the experiential authenticity they can glean through visiting holy places as anonymous individuals.

Naletova emphasizes the long-term subjective "echo" of the experience of holy places for the individual, but she also notes the collective aspects of the ways in which pilgrims "achieve" their religiosity and suggests that the privileging of "we" rather than "I" is a distinguishing feature of Eastern Christianity generally. The "we" identified by Naletova also has a secular dimension, for many Russian pilgrims are deeply concerned with national literature, history, and their country's contemporary predicament.

The papers in part 4 pursue further the tight, multiple-level links between the individual and the collective, and also between religious and secular identities. In chapter 12 Renée Hirschon examines the Greek case, where the intimate link between the Orthodox Church and the nation has been increasingly threatened since the 1970s. She shows that, according to the Orthodox worldview, the church is identical with society and the sacrament of baptism marks the person's entry into both. However, modernization processes and Europeanization are threatening the relational human subject of Orthodoxy, in which the individual was encompassed, but not dominant. The change is evident in the "cosmological shift" represented by the celebration of birthdays instead of name days. In chapter 13 Alexander Agadjanian and Kathy Rousselet pursue the same themes in the context of post-Soviet Russia. They use the example of new rituals venerating the Romanov dynasty to show that religion plays a very important role in the remolding of identities at collective as well as individual levels, and indeed at other levels in between. In chapter 14 Melissa Caldwell explores widespread popular criticism of the Russian Orthodox Church's charity work. One reason for discontent is that many ordinary Russians are uncomfortable with the church's efforts to promote an ethic of personal responsibility, and to discriminate between different categories of "deserving" when distributing aid. Drawing on Marcel Mauss's theory of the gift, Caldwell argues that Russians increasingly perceive the Orthodox Church as an institutional actor that has abandoned its traditional principles for a new political and commercial agenda. The church appears to be left in a no-win situation. In postsocialist Russia the market principle is invading all domains, and consumers of religion are offered a variety of products by competing suppliers. Yet when the Russian Orthodox Church joins the neoliberal fray and expands its commercial activities, it is promptly condemned for its greed and corruption. It seems that the only strategy left to the church is to reaffirm its historic monopoly claims and adopt a nationalist stance that excludes non-Russians as recipients of Orthodox generosity.

Finally, in a concise epilogue, Douglas Rogers synthesizes the main themes of this collection and extracts a more general message. He draws attention again to the significance of long-term continuities (real as well as imagined) for Eastern Christians. Ritual practice as a living tradition is fundamental to their identities, both as persons and as communities. Rogers concludes that the study of Eastern Christianity presents a "coming of age" challenge for comparative anthropological science. Indeed, our broader aim with the research agenda initiated in this volume is simultaneously to free the category "East" from the political distortions of the cold-war era and to transcend the legacy of centuries of scholarly "Orientalism.