Russian women and orthodox ideals on the early Modern frontier

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Orthodoxy, women, gender, convents, miracles, saints, Kazan’

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1. Romaniello M. Russian women and orthodox ideals on the early Modern frontier // Journal of Frontier Studies. 2016. № 3. C. 18-38.


Following the conquest of the Kazan’ in 1552, the Russian Orthodox Church constructed a role for feminine behavior on the frontier that defined women’s participation in the imperial project. The Church’s officials presented colonial women as moral, obedient women in need of male protection. This image assured Muscovite society that these frontier women were safe and protected, and that this new territory had become a place for the Orthodox community to live an ideal existence. These exemplary women were also useful for the state, as they symbolized a colonial society that revealed Muscovy as a Russian Orthodox space, removing any connection of the tsar’s new land from its Muslim or animistic past. Furthermore, this exemplary version of Orthodox life recorded by the Church could be a suitable platform to encourage the conversion of the tsar’s newest subjects. As a result of all of these pressures, the frontier did not offer any new freedoms to Russian Orthodox women; rather Muscovy’s frontier only tolerated a narrowly constructed feminine role. 



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