The Kyrgyz Anti-Islamic Mission of the Orenburg Diocese (1890s to early 20th century)

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Abstract


As a contribution to the history of the institutional development of the Russian Orthodox Church in the Central Asian parts of the Russian Empire, the present article analyzes the emergence of missionary structures in the Orenburg diocese. The research is based on a wide range of administrative documents of the Orenburg diocese (preserved in the State Archive of the Orenburg region), and on materials published in the Orenburg Diocesan Gazette. The contribution explores the reasons for the creation of the regional Committee of the Orthodox Missionary Society and the Kyrgyz Mission, and identifies the stages of their activities. It also highlights the features of the organization of Orthodox missionary work among the Kazakhs of the Urals and Turgay regions. The authors argue that Orthodox missionary work in the Steppe was meant to exclude the Kazakhs from the ongoing all-Russian Muslim consolidation. The strategy that the Russian state chose to control regions with a dense inorodtsy (non-Russians) population was acculturation, to control the respective populations by inclu- ding them into the cultural and religious Russian-Orthodox space. On the spot, however, the officials of the Kyrgyz Mission faced a whole range of obstacles, including particular attitudes of the Kazakhs about aspects of the Christian dogma. Also, there was already well-funded Islamic missionary work in the Ural and Turgai steppes. The Orthodox parish system remained weak, and state financing of missionary work was considered insufficient. The resettlement of peasants into the region required that employees of the Kirghiz mission changed their emphasis from missionary work to the ordinary duties of parish priests. All this allows the authors to conclude that the efficiency of Orthodox missionary structures among the Kazakhs of the Orenburg diocese was low.


About the authors

Yuliya A. Lysenko

Altai State University

Author for correspondence.
Email: iulia_199674@mail.ru
61, Lenin Ave., Barnaul, Altai territory, 656023, Russia

Doktor Istoricheskikh Nauk [Dr. habil. hist.], Associate Professor, Professor of the Department of Oriental Studies

Marina N. Efimenko

Orenburg State Pedagogical University

Email: efimenkom@mail.ru
19, Sovetskaya St., Orenburg, 460014, Russia

Doktor Filosofskihk Nauk [Dr. habil. Phil.], Professor of the Department of Russian History

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