Ryazanova Svetlana

Isolated communities as a phenomenon of contemporary religious life

Ryazanova Svetlana (2021) "Isolated communities as a phenomenon of contemporary religious life ", Vestnik Pravoslavnogo Sviato-Tikhonovskogo gumanitarnogo universiteta. Seriia I : Bogoslovie. Filosofiia. Religiovedenie, 2021, vol. 96, pp. 119-135 (in Russian).

DOI of the paper: 10.15382/sturI202196.119-135


This study is devoted to the phenomenon of modern religious communities, which in the course of gradual evolution acquire the form of isolated from the outside world. The state of isolation is considered as a result of the infl uence of external and internal factors. Particular attention is paid to the personality of the leader of a religious group as a carrier of charismatic qualities and to their consolidating principle. The objects of research attention are two religious organisations that have existed for thirty years in the territory of Perm′ region (the Church of the God’s Family and the Intercession Fraternity). These groups realise two fundamentally diff erent ways of interpreting Christian doctrine and two diff erent strategies for living in a social space. At the same time, they are similar in the style of religious life and the principles of organisation of the followers. The aim of the study was to determine the mechanism for the formation of isolated religious communities in contemporary society. For this, the main stages in the evolution of the religious doctrines of both organisations were identifi ed to justify the opposition to the surrounding world; specifi c features of cult practice have been identifi ed, which reinforce the changes taking place in communities; a set of external factors that can stimulate the ghettoisation of a group have been identifi ed. Several types of information sources were used as fi eld materials. For the Church of the God’s Family the data from a longitudinal project (1996–2019) were used, covering the materials of the participant observations (1996–1997, 2007– 2008), data of a questionnaire survey (2007), data from interviews with leaders and members of the group (2007, 2018–2019), literature published by the church and the statutory documents of the organisation. For the reconstruction and analysis of the situation in the Intercession Fraternity, materials from a series of interviews with one of the founders of the community and former believers were employed. As additional and verifying materials, data from a closed group on a social network and data from journalistic investigations (2016–2019), audio recordings of community seminars and workbooks of the group were used.


modern religiosity, isolated religious communities, Family of God’s Church, Intersession Fraternity


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Information about the author

Ryazanova Svetlana

Academic Degree: Doctor of Sciences* in Philosophy;
Academic Rank: Associate Professor;
Place of work: Perm’ Research Centre of Ural Branch of Russian Academy of Sciences; 15 Bukireva Str., Perm’ 614990, Russian Federation;
Post: leading research fellow, professor;
ORCID: 0000-0001-5387-9387;
Email: svet-ryazanova@yandex.ru.

*According to ISCED 2011, a post-doctoral degree called Doctor of Sciences (D.Sc.) is given to reflect second advanced research qualifications or higher doctorates.