Director of the Visiting Fellows Programme
Anna Korhonen
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Eeva Korteniemi
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Location & Connections


Visiting Fellows 2012-2013



Andrei Sõtšov, University of Tartu, Estonia

“Choices of Orthodox Church towards identity construction in contemporary Russia and in relations between Orthodox Churches in Russia, Estonia and Finland”
Fellowship period: August 1–31, 2012

Andrei Sõtšov is a Research Fellow of Church History at the University of Tartu, Estonia. He also holds Fellowships in the Estonian Science Foundation’s target financed projects, examining Soviet Estonia in the Era of the Cold War and contemporary diminishing institutionalization of religion (de-institutionalization) and the decline of the Christian practices and beliefs (de-Christianization) in modern religious landscape. His previous research has focused on the history of the Orthodox Church in Estonia in the late 20th century as well as on the relations between the church and state in Soviet Union. He is currently focusing on the Choices of Orthodox Church towards identity construction in contemporary Russia and in relations between Orthodox Churches in Russia, Estonia and Finland.

Abstract of current research:
The aim of my postdoctoral project is to understand and explain the role of the Orthodox Church in Russia, Finland and Estonia in the formation and reassertion of national identity. During the fellowship at the Aleksanteri Institute, I will focus on different national identity expressions of Orthodox Churches in modern Russia, Finland and Estonia, such us re-interpretation of contemporary Church History, tendencies in the canonisation of new saints and polemic for canonical-territorial influence. A simultaneous goal is to understand the reasons and processes in which the local Orthodox churches in Estonia and Finland are adapting to the reality of post-communist era.

My project aims to outline the nature of partnership expressions (in media, foreign policy, public education, army) between the Russian Orthodox Church and the State, and seeks to answer the question of how compatible is the theory of “civil religion” (Robert Bellah) in the case of  modern Russia. I also study the roots and the nature of the conflict between the Orthodox Churches in Russia, Finland and Estonia and investigate the debates over re-interpretations of Church History of Orthodoxy in Finland and Estonia, which in the last decade have become visibly apparent in the Russian Orthodox Church writings (e. g. Church periodic, sermons of clergy, published interviews).

Work plan for the fellowship period  consists of collecting materials in the local archives and libraries and working on an article on the on the choices of the Russian Orthodox Church in the formation of national identity and its expressions in relationships between the Orthodox jurisdictions in Russia, Finland and Estonia.

Email: andrei.sotsov [at]

Academic hosts at the Aleksanteri Institute: Elina Kahla and Sigrid Kaasik-Krogerus