Researching traditions that kept the Russian Orthodox Church alive during communist persecution

Cory standing with Father Victor in front of the main monastery building. Behind them is an image of St. Michael the Archangel.

Cory standing with Father Victor in front of the main building of Holy Trinity Monastery.

“I will never forget my first glimpse of the monastery in the summer of 2011. It was as if I had stumbled into Russia in the middle of New York State.”  ~from Cory McKenzie’s research article

Cory McKenzie‘s Research Experience and Apprenticeship Program (REAP) grant allowed him to complete his first “big” research project: he visited Holy Trinity Monastery in upstate New York to investigate the traditions that kept the Russian Orthodox Church alive during communist persecution in the twentieth century.

From Hampstead, New Hampshire, Cory is a sophomore history and philosophy double major. A member of the University Honors Program, Cory’s innate curiosity and love of reading have led him to study Japanese, theology, New Hampshire history, and Uechi-ryu karate, which he has practiced for nearly four years. However, no matter what roads he takes on his quest for learning, his interests revolve around history. His particular interest in Russian Orthodoxy stemmed from a class he took with Professor Cathy Frierson called “Soviet Dreamers, Despots, and Dissidents.”

“Professor Frierson once told me that Russian monks viewed themselves as ‘islands’ of Russian culture; Holy Trinity Monastery continued this island tradition. By steadfastly adhering to their faith and keeping its traditions alive in a foreign land, the monks of Holy Trinity Monastery were prepared to rebuild the Orthodox Church in Russia once communism finally collapsed in 1991. The monastery’s printing press was beyond the reach of communism; its tireless efforts to preserve the literary traditions of the faith made Jordanville famous among the Soviet Union’s persecuted Orthodox Christians. Finally, the monastery’s environment of spiritual reflection made it possible for such men as Father Kyprian to create some of history’s finest works of iconography, even in Russian Orthodoxy’s darkest hour. Holy Trinity Monastery was a refuge that preserved Russian Orthodoxy through the communist terror in an unlikely New York hamlet.”  ~from Cory McKenzie’s research article

Read the full text of Cory’s article, Refuge from Communism: A Monastery in New York Preserves Russian Orthodoxy.

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