Closed City Christians: An Old Orthodox Monastery in Pacific Russia’s Submarine City

Event time: 
Thursday, February 28, 2019 - 12:00pm to 1:00pm
Henry R. Luce Hall (LUCE ), 203 See map
34 Hillhouse Avenue
New Haven, CT 06511
Event description: 

Abstract: In 1996 dozens of young inhabitants of Bolshoi Kamen, a small Far Eastern military-industrial monotown and Pacific Russia’s center of nuclear submarine repair, converted to Old Orthodox Christianity. They started a ‘revival’ of this tradition across the maritime littoral, Primorskii Kray, over 5000 miles from Moscow. At the same time and on the verge of collapse, the city was granted the special status of ‘closed’ as it received a life-saving injection of funds from the United States. Henceforth Bolshoi Kamen became Pacific Russia’s centre both of Old Orthodox religion and nuclear submarine decommissioning. This talk based on long-term fieldwork describes the development of this unique religious community and its stalwart members as well as providing an new perspective on post-Soviet change.

Dr. Dominic Martin is a postdoctoral research associate and lecturer in Russian Studies in the European Studies Council at the Macmillan Center for International and Area Studies at Yale. Dr Martin was trained in social anthropology at the University of Cambridge (PhD 2016). His doctoral thesis was based on two years’ ethnographic and archival research on an Russian Orthodox monastery in a “closed” city near Vladivostok. At Yale Dominic will work on a book manuscript: an ethnography of Russian men who in the 1990s converted to Orthodox Old Belief and restored the Far Eastern Cossack Host, it describes the manly ‘thumotic’ virtues that were realised by embracing and reviving conservative Russian traditions. Before coming to Yale, Dr. Martin was a research fellow at the Center for Historical Research, Higher School of Economics, Saint Petersburg, where with colleagues he started a new field project in Ekaterinburg on the centennial commemorations of the murder of Tsar Nicholas II and his family. Dominic has previously been a visiting researcher at the University of California, Berkeley, and the Wissenschaftzentrum für Sozialforschung, Berlin, and has been a fellow for the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science in Tokyo.

Dominic Martin, Postdoctoral Associate and Lecturer in European and Russian Studies; and Lecturer in the Department of Anthropology