Preserving Russian Culture through Education and Religion in France
In summer 2012 undergraduate student Masha Goncharova conducted interviews in France as part of an ongoing initiative of the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs and the Center for Social Justice Research, Teaching and Service at Georgetown University. She learned firsthand the stories of White Russian emigres who fled the Bolshevik revolution. In Paris, she found a Russian Atlantis: the continued life of a great, imperial Russian culture united throughout several generations by music, literature and—most strongly of all—Russian Orthodox religion. Masha's interviews and video footage reflect the critical role of education in preserving the cultural identity of Russian emigres abroad. Orthodox schools, seminaries, and summer camps facilitated the growth of these Russian communities, helping the emigres overcome financial and social challenges and enter into French life while retaining a passion for and pride in their Svetaya Russ ('Holy Russia').