(Revised June 20, 1996)




These directions supplement the instructions in the MERRE brochure "Information and Instructions for Contributors." They are intended to achieve for MERRE a standard of consistency without imposing excessively rigid restrictions on contributors. Writers are encouraged to develop their subjects as their material directs within the bounds drawn by the principles and policies stated here.

Contributors should remember both the purpose of MERRE and its intended readership, for these determine the way in which an article is composed. Focus the treatment on a subject's pertinence to religion and highlight the religious aspects and ramifications of the subject. Write first of all for the general reader who seeks a basic understanding of the subject. Then address the scholar who wants to learn about the state of scholarship on a subject and to find directions to the literature about it.

Contributors should be aware that if they fail to comply with the standards stated in these guidelines and the MERRE brochure, the publication of their entries is jeopardized. Publication of volumes cannot be delayed in order to await compliance with the requirements by a single scholar. If such noncompliance means that an entry cannot be published on schedule, it may be published subsequently as a retitled article or in the supplementary volumes.


In preparing your entry follow the Chicago Manual of Style, thirteenth edition. MERRE departs from the Chicago manual only when the Style Sheet of Academic International Press dictates. That principle underlies the following instructions.

Title Paragraph. The title paragraph informs the reader in a concise way about the significance of the topic and the essential content of the article. It must answer quickly the who? what? why? where? when? questions. The reader must learn right away what this topic has to do with religion in the Russian area.

Almost all entry titles require dates. List several identifiers that disclose the significance of the entry and especially its pertinence for understanding religion. It is not necessary to use complete sentences in the significance phrases at the beginning of the title paragraph.

Text. It is important that the reader find the article attractive and interesting. For that reason, characteristics of some encyclopedias are avoided, namely an abundance of abbreviations and symbols. Writers for MERRE should use a clear, literary, narrative style. They should include all pertinent facts in such a way that their significance is evident. It is helpful to examine in other encyclopedias the treatments of subjects which are similar to the one you are writing.

Your information must be complete and instructive for the intelligent nonspecialist. The reader has come to the encyclopedia to find the facts, so give as many facts as you can. Do not assume that readers know Russian history; they have come to MERRE to learn.

For every person whose name appears in the article provide clear identification, including dates, either birth and death dates or some other pertinent ones, and such matters as first names, middle initials, offices held, nationality, profession, and similar informative details.

Use spellings given in Webster's Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary (Springfield, Mass., 1983).

Use an uncomplicated, direct, lively, and scholarly writing style. Keep sentences short, with no more than one subordinate clause. Paragraph lengths should be not more than one manuscript page. Use simple past tense verbs. Do not break up verb forms. Do not use italics for emphasis. Avoid colons and dashes. Use parentheses sparingly. Avoid unnecessary commas.

Avoid dating your entry. Every sentence must ring true both at the time of writing and twenty years later. "Now" and "current" usually are inappropriate references because they will make your sentence untrue for someone reading your work in the twenty-first century. Do not make predictions.

Capitalization. Minimize the use of uppercase letters at the beginnings of words in accordance with the "down" or lowercase style advocated by the Chicago Manual of Style, in contrast to the "up" style.

Words to Avoid. Some words and phrases are too casual for use in scholarly writing. Avoid them. These words include "also," "furthermore," "however," "for example," "clearly," "thus," and "undoubtedly." Do not use contractions like "til," "can't," and "though."

Quotes. Use few quotations. Paraphrase your sources and secondary materials. Some brief quotations of less than a complete sentence from primary sources may be appropriate in a limited number of cases. Do not quote from secondary sources. No documentary notes or citations are included in the encyclopedia. A quote must have a source, so some way to indicate it must be devised. Use the bibliography section to direct the reader to sources that are especially useful.

Dates. Use the Gregorian Christian calendar for dates after 1917. For dates pertaining to Russia before 1918 and after 1752, when England and America adopted the Gregorian calendar, use Julian dates with Gregorian dates in parentheses. Use the form day, month, year: 14 (26) December 1825. Use B.C. in every case where appropriate and A.D. only when necessary to avoid confusion. Use all digits of year numbers: 1941-1945, not 1941-5 or 1941-45. Spell out the ordinal of centuries: the eighteenth century.

Measurements. Because the readership is an international one, include both English and metric measurements. If you refer to a number of miles in the text, put the equivalent in kilometers in parentheses. Examples: approximately 600 miles (965 km) of railroad; the brook Ishnia, five versts (3 mi., 5 km) from Rostov.

Transliteration. Since sources for most of the material in MERRE are in languages which do not use the Roman alphabet, transliteration is an inescapable feature of the production. The following guidelines on transliteration deal with Russian, but they will be applied to other languages as appropriate.

The use of transliteration is different in the text of articles from what it is for the bibliography. The text addresses all readers and nonspecialists should find it easy to comprehend. The bibliography contains material for specialists and uses forms of transliteration to which they are accustomed. In contrast to the text, bibliographies use Library of Congress transliteration strictly, but without ligatures. In the bibliography it is Gor'kii, whereas in the text it is Gorky. In this way the bibliography will be of most service to readers with facility in non-English languages and those who use on- line services. Transliterations in parenthetical material within the text also address specialists and use the same forms as the bibliography.

In the text use as little transliteration as possible. This makes for smoother reading and maximum clarity for the nonspecialist reader. Where transliteration is necessary the system followed is that of the Library of Congress with the following modifications which are designed for easier reading: (1) omit soft and hard signs, except that a soft sign preceding the e is represented by "i," e.g., Soloviev, Zamoskvorechie, (2) use "ya" and "yu" at beginning of words for ia and iu, 3) at the end of proper names, use "y" for -yi or -ii and "oy" for -oi, e.g., Yaroslavsky, Tolstoy.

In the text the general rule is TRANSLATION IS PREFERRED.

If transliteration is used provide a translation to promote understanding. The MERRE Spelling List gives the forms to be used. The decision whether to transliterate or translate is determined by what appears to be the most felicitous application of the following principles:

(1) Publications, Documents, Art. Translate where the title conveys something about contents: "Appearance of Christ to the People" (Iavlenie Khrista narodu), History of the Russian Hierarchy (Istoriia rossisskoi ierarkhii). The original form in standard DLC transliteration is given in parentheses at the first occurrence. The titles of periodicals usually are transliterated, with a translation following in parentheses at the first occurrence: Novoe vremia (New Times), Mir islama (World of Islam), Pravoslavnoe obozrenie (Orthodox Review). No transliterated titles should be given without accompanying translation at the first reference. Italics are not used for titles of periodicals or for transliterated or translated words within parentheses, nor are such words placed in quotes.

(2) Descriptive Surnames. Translate, except when translation would offend against widely accepted convention: Sergius of Radonezh, not Sergius Radonezhsky, but Alexander Nevsky is not Alexander of the Neva. For bishops of the Orthodox church, the rank may be added, e.g., Dimitrii rostovskii can be Dmitry, metropolitan of Rostov, or simply Dmitry of Rostov. In the principal entry on individuals the variant forms of a name which a reader may encounter in other works should be identified.

(3) Personal Names. Transliterate except where there are commonly accepted anglicized forms: Alexander, Alexis, Paul, Peter, but Yury, except for Saint George, Vasily, not Basil, except in Saint Basil's cathedral, Nikolai and Ekaterina, except in the case of rulers or saints (Nicholas, Catherine). Sergius is used for Sergii, but Sergei for Sergei.

(4) Place Names. Ordinarily transliterate, but use accepted forms: Arkhangelsk, not Archangel, Moscow, Ukraine, not Ukraina or the Ukraine, and Kharkov, not Khar'kov. In case of a place whose name has changed use the name of that time to which reference is made: St. Petersburg in 1825 and after 1991, Petrograd in 1917, and Leningrad from 1925 to 1991. Chinese names are transliterated according to the Pinyin system with the Wade-Giles form given in parentheses at first reference.

(5) Institutions, Departments, Buildings. Translate the name when it represents religious significance; otherwise transliterate. Troitse-Sergievaia lavra becomes Saint Sergius-Holy Trinity lavra, Preobrazhenskii sobor becomes cathedral of the Transfiguration, although Preobrazhenskii prikaz appears as Preobrazhensky Chancellery, not Chancellery of the Transfiguration. Spaso-preobrazhenskii monastyr' can be translated significantly as the "monastery of the Transfiguration of the Savior," but Zaikonospassky monastery is transliterated and not translated "monastary of the Savior behind the icon shops.'

Transliteration is used in cases of the most widely established accepted forms, even when a descriptive translation might be available: soviet in Supreme Soviet, not Supreme Council, but Council of Churches for sovet tserkvei, Duma, not Parliament. Generally preference is given to translations in order to promote clarity: royal domain, not Oprichnina, and village (or provincial) assembly for zemstvo.

(6) Denominations, Groups, Sects, Movements. For indigenous groups an attempt will be made to translate rather than transliterate, except where translation is infelicitous or where a name is well established: Dukhobor not Spirit Wrestler; Skopets, not Castrate, or Eunuch, while Name Worshiper works for imiaslavtsy and Fugitives for beguny. Plurals are anglicized according to felicity and good sense: Aaronites works for aaronovtsy and Dukhobors for dukhobory, but we use Skoptsy because Skopetses is grotesque. In the case of groups of foreign origin, use a clear identifier: Pentecostals, not Piatidesiatniki, and Catholicism, not Katolitsizm.

(7) Acronyms. Transliterate, do not translate. That is, the acronyms and abbreviations used in MERRE are not based upon the English meanings of the original but on the non-English words. Example: Vsesoiuznyi sovet evangel'skikh khristian-baptistov is designated VSEKhB. Note that this is a change in MERRE style introduced in 1991.

Bibliography. Bibliographical utility is one of the prime desiderata of MERRE. The bibliography is not a mere appendage to the entry; it is an essential part of it. At least five works ordinarily should be cited. Where possible use a narrative form, indicating the values and strengths of the sources. Generally works should be cited in order of importance for the subject and value to the user. Give preference to works in English, provided they are sufficiently trustworthy. Because MERRE has worldwide circulation, include works in other languages. A book with a good bibliography should be identified.

Where English translations are available cite them in preference to the original. If there are differences in titles of various editions, particularly between British and American ones, give the non-American form in parentheses. If an article has appeared in more than one place, e.g., in a periodical and in a book, note both appearances. For convenience, abbreviations of frequently cited works are used, following the MERRE list of "Abbreviations and Short Titles" published in the encyclopedia.

Works written by a person who is the subject of the article should be cited in a separate paragraph placed at the beginning of the bibliography.

Illustrations. We want to use illustrations, but we can do so only if all standards are met. Please note the instructions in the brochure regarding authorship and copyright matters. Illustrations also must meet the following technical specifications. An illustration must be of highest quality. It must be the size in which it will appear in print (no enlargements or reductions). It must fit onto the page horizontally. For line drawings, charts, and maps the illustration must be clear and sharp; for photos, only black and white glossies are acceptable (no colors). Maximum page size is 11.4 cm wide and 18.3 cm long, but illustrations of half-page size or smaller are much to be preferred. Illustrations cannot be returned.


The preferred form for submission is electronic the editor:

The second best form is on a 3.5 inch floppy disk. MERRE is prepared for publication in the Macintosh version of Microsoft Word. If you use MS-DOS, submit a 3.5 inch disk, not 5.25 inch. Provide technical specifications with the disk, including brand of word processor and name of file. Floppies will be returned.

If you choose to submit a hard copy instead of an electronic version, follow these instructions.

Submit your entry on white paper in one copy, typed, double-spaced, including the bibliography.

Number all pages and put the author's name at the top of each page.

The typed copy should have a "ragged" right margin; that is, do not justify the right margin. Do not hyphenate words at the ends of lines.

Title Paragraph. Type the title paragraph without indentation. Use all uppercase letters for the title of the article. Include appropriate dates.

Subheadings. A small number of subheadings may be used in order to mark abrupt changes in substance. Put the subheading on a separate line.

Italics. Indicate italics in typescript by underlining and in e-mail by asterisks before and after. Use italics sparingly. The only titles that are italicized are those of books; italics are not used for periodicals or other items like ships, paintings, and operas. Italics are not used for em-phasis or for foreign words that are in common use. No italics appear within parentheses.

Cross References. MERRE includes an extensive system of cross referencing. This system is primarily the responsibility of the editor, but suggestions from contributors are welcomed. MERRE does not use cross referencing symbols or abbreviations which clutter the text, as some encyclopedias do. The reader is directed to other entries by "see" or "see also" tags. These appear within the text, close to the point where most germane, or they are placed in the bibliography. The word "see" is not italicized and the entry cited is typed in small uppercase letters.

Bibliography. Type the word "bibliography" as if it were a subheading. Then begin your bibliographical narrative. Cite books by giving author, title, place of publication, and date. Include full names of author, not initials only. Note that except in the case of Academic International Press publishers are not identified. Give original place of publication, rather than that of a reprint. The following cities only are abbreviated in indicating place of publication: Moscow, M., Kiev, K., and St. Petersburg, SPb. or L. (note that this is a change introduced in 1991). For periodicals, give author, "title of article," name of periodical , volume and number, date, and pages. Do not use Roman numerals.

For shorter articles the bibliography may be merely a listing of pertinent literature rather than an annotated narrative. In this case use semicolons to separate the items.

After the bibliography skip one line and type your name and your current institutional affiliation.


Here are some of the specific expectations for the various categories of entries which appear in MERRE.


There are no biographical entries for living persons, although their activities will figure in appropriate articles.

Heading. Use the name by which a person most often is designated in the literature which a nonspecialist reader is likely to read, with other names and variant forms in parentheses, followed by birth and death dates. For monastic clergy and hierarchs of the Russian Orthodox church, use the monastic name. For saints, use the name by which they are known most commonly. "Saint" does not appear as part of the heading but may be indicated in the significance phrases of the title paragraph.

Treatment. A distinction is made between people whose significance lies principally in their religious activity and those whose primary importance is in some other area of endeavor. For the latter, the article will focus on those aspects of their lives which touched upon religion and deal only briefly with details which can be found easily elsewhere, such as family data, education, career development, and nonreligious publications. The bibliography should inform the reader where to find such information, including reference to MERSH or MERSL. Of course, any experiences which had significance for the development of the person's religious attitudes or activities of importance for religion must be treated. The entry still must include minimal vital data, such as dates of birth and death. The entry should describe (1) what the person did that was significant for the history of religion in the Russian area, (2) how it affected religious activity, and (3) how it reflected religious phenomena. Examples of such topics which would constitute incomplete biographical entries include a writer of fiction who treated religious themes in a few works or a minister of education whose policies affected the religious content of curriculum See ARAKCHEEV, Vol. 3.

For persons whose significance lies principally in their religious activity, complete biographical treatment is necessary, including (1) place and date of birth and death, (2) names of parents and their significance, (3) names and significance of other relatives, if pertinent, (4) formative experiences, including education, (5) spouse and children and their significance, (6) places of residence, (7) positions and responsibilities, and (8) significant achievements, including creative products, ideas, and public impact. Arrange the article chronologically. When the ideas propounded by a person constitute an important part of that person's significance, they should be expounded clearly in a separate section of the entry, usually with a subheading.

When the subject is a saint or revered person of a religion attention must be given to the history of the cult of that person. This may include a discussion of the hagiography of the person and summary of the legends. In some cases, a particularly significant Life (zhitie) may be included in translation.


Ordinarily there should be a chronological section followed by an expository one. The chronological section should identify (1) the period and place of origin, (2) founders and prominent leaders, (3) geographical and numerical expansion, (4) organization, (5) legal status, and (6) present situation or account of demise. The expository section should give an account of the belief system or main ideas attached to the subject.


The article should contain (1) a description of origins, (2) exposition of essential notions, (3) public and official reception and use, (4) important exponents and other persons concerned, and (5) evaluation of significance. For some subjects, such as a ritual, an extended translation of a germane primary text could be attached to the article.


Include (1) the occasion of composition, including date, author, influences leading to it, (2) summary of contents, and (3) effect and reception.

In selected cases a part or all of the document may be included in translated form. This is be printed as a subsection of the entry, separate from the discussion of the document which must be clear and complete in itself. The publication of such primary sources in translation will be one of the contributions MERRE makes to the scholarship and understanding of the history of Russian religion. See APOSTOLIC CANONS.



Include discussion of (1) origin, including date of composition, composer, and occasion, (2) purpose and use in religion, (3) contents, and (4) important events associated with the item.

There will be several entries which deal with a class of artistic creations, e.g., ANNUNCIATION, ICONS OF; ANNUNCIATION CHURCHES OF. For these the discussion should include (1) an exposition of the subject, (2) established standards, including evolution of forms, and (3) noteworthy examples of the class.


We intend to give a description of the religious history and practices of every national group of the geographical region covered by MERRE. The entries are to be focused on the religious aspects of the nation's life. As applicable the entries should include (1) a definition of the group, (2) early religious history, including legends, beliefs, practices, and deities, (3) the introduction of a major religion, (4) distinctives of national forms of religion, and (5) historical development of religion in the nation, including religious institutions, diversification, impact of inclusion into Russia, and the impact of modernization and Soviet religious policy.


Articles of this type are intended to give an overview of the policies and practices of the civil government as they affected religion within the specified period. They summarize and direct; they mention briefly the important topics of the period and send the reader to appropriate entries for detailed information.

Title Paragraph. Usually the subject is identified by the name of the ruler or preeminent political figure (e.g., ALEXIS; KHRUSHCHEV, NIKITA). For a few articles the heading designates the period descriptively (e.g., MONGOL PERIOD; TIME OF TROUBLES; NEW ECONOMIC POLICY). The title paragraph should include personal and reign dates of the ruler and clear statements of the significant religious developments of the period. Consult, for example, the title paragraph of ALEXANDER I in Vol. 1.

Body. Usually the text should begin with a brief biography of the ruler. Then a detailed discussion of the religious significance of the period should be given. Identify, as applicable, (1) significant changes in institutions of government and laws which affected religion, (2) figures who substantially influenced policies affecting religion, (3) responses of the government to religious manifestations within society, (4) the ruler's personal attitudes toward religion, and (5) the effect of government actions on religious activity.


Include (1) dates of founding, flourishing, and dissolution, (2) founders, (3) rule and organization, (4) significant leaders and members, (5) public impact, (6) present situation, and (7) significant events.


Include (1) date and occasion of establishment, (2) location, including names of principal cities and other distinctive characteristics, (3) all bishops, with dates, including notes about significant ones, (4) important monasteries, schools, churches, and other institutions within diocese, and (5) significant events dealing with religion which happened in the diocese.


Include (1) definition, (2) responsibilities and functions, (3) training and preparation, and (4) procedure for selection and installation. If there is an office which exists in different religions, an article for each one is be included, e.g., DEACON, BAPTISTS; DEACON, CATHOLICISM; DEACON, ORTHODOXY.