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Ignoring nationalism? Religious, corporate, material, regional and dynastic options on Mt Athos, 1839–1912

Nations and Nationalism

Published online on


["Nations and Nationalism, Volume 28, Issue 2, Page 628-644, April 2022. ", "\nAbstract\nThe article challenges the existing view of Mt Athos, a centre of Orthodox Christian monasticism, as a hotbed of Russian and Balkan nationalism at the turn of the 20th century. It proposes to analyse that complex situation using the concept of “national indifference,” that is, prioritisation of concerns and loyalties different from the agendas pursued by nationalist activists. The article suggests that the motivations of most Russian and Greek monks in that autonomous monastic republic were dominated by traditional piety, corporate interests, mundane economic concerns, regional and dynastic loyalties. I will rely on Greek and Russian archival sources to discuss chronologically how those alternatives appeared to take the upper hand around several flashpoints from the return of significant groups of Russian friars in 1839 after a late medieval hiatus to the end of over four centuries of Ottoman control of the area in 1912.\n"]