Edited by Paul D. Steeves



The Modern Encyclopedia of Religions in Russia and Eurasia (MERRE) is the most complete reference guide to religion in Russia and the other countries of the former Soviet Union available anywhere. It publishes information about all aspects of religion in those societies that have been located within the boundaries of the former Russian empire, encompassing matters dealing with religion of all varieties, including traditional, Jewish, Christian, Muslim, and Buddhist. It includes much material never before published in any widely available and conveniently accessible form in English.

The primary goal of MERRE is two-fold. First, it intends to give basic information on every subject that bears on the religious experience of the poeple residing within the defined geographical area of Eurasia. Second, it helps the user to appreciate the role and effect of religion in the historical experience of those people.

The contents of MERRE are not limited to practices, persons, and structures that are strictly religious. They incorporate information which can be construed to be pertinent to religion from many fields, including history, politics, anthropology, archaeology, law, economics, education, literature, painting, music, architecture, philosophy, and theology. Contributors to MERRE constitute a volunteer, international team of specialists from these areas of scholarship. The subjects treated in MERRE deal with matters of contemporary importance as well as of the recent and remote past.

MERRE is designed to serve the reference needs of a broad spectrum of users, with special concern for the needs of students and teachers of high schools, junior colleges, universities, and theological schools, in addition to those of researchers, religious professionals, and the general public. MERRE is planned to be a complete work, one which will stand as the sole necessary reference for its subject area in a smaller library or as the most-used, standard reference in a large one. It contains sufficient information to give the seriously curious nonspecialist a substantial acquaintance with topics discussed and to point the specialist to additional sources by means of bibliographic comments as aids in teaching and research.

Entries for MERRE generally fall into the following categories: Biography, Event, Document, Place, Denomination or Movement, Ethnic Group, Institution, Administrative Organ or District, Office, Dogma or Belief, Ritual, Deity, Idea, Tradition, Artistic Creation, Manufactured Article, Publication, Reign or Administration, Regulation or Law, Church-State Relations, and Antireligion. Length of entries may vary from a vew lines to eight to ten pages. Names of authors and editors appear with entries of more than 500 words.

Some articles summarize existing scholarship respecting their subject. Others are original scholarship in their own right. While still others represent primary sources.

Some entries are short, for identification purposes only. Others, of medium length, are intended to cover a topic more thoroughly yet succinctly. Overview entries treat a large topic in a general way and refer readers to specialized entries on particular aspects. Specialized entries are of any length needed to cover the subject. Entries of considerable length expound especially important topics. In order to increase the value of MERRE to its users, extensive cross-referencing is included.

MERRE is a multivolume, open-ended work of information which organizes existing and accumulating knowledge about the religious experience of the Russian and other Slavic and Eurasian peoples into alphabetical form and standard format. Each volume contains eight signatures (256 pages) and measures six by nine inches. Volumes are bound in red library-grade cloth and stamped in gold on spine and front cover. Each volume contains a list of contributors to that volume with their institutional or other affiliations as appropriate. A list of entries and their authors, editors, or translators appears at the back of each volume. MERRE is a subscription publication.

The Publisher

Academic International Press was founded in 1964, a house specializing in Russian, Soviet, and East European affairs. In the interval the Press has published many individual titles and translations that remain standard items in these fields, and has launched several very successful and well-received multi-volume reference works, including the following:

The Modern Encyclopedia Of Russian And Soviet History (MERSH), edited by George N. Rhyne and Joseph L. Wieczynski

The Supplement To The Modern Encyclopedia Of Russian, Soviet & Eurasian History (SMERSH), edited by George N. Rhyne

The Modern Encyclopedia Of East Slavic, Baltic And Central Asian Literatures (Formerly The Modern Encyclopedia of Russian & Soviet Literatures), edited by Peter Rollberg

Russia & Eurasia Documents Annual (REDA) (Formerly USSR Documents Annual), edited by J.L. Black

Since 1972 the Press has been located in Gulf Breeze, across Escambia Bay from Pensacola, Florida.

The Editor

Paul D. Steeves, Professor of History at Stetson University in DeLand, Florida, received his doctorate in Russian history from the University of Kansas, with a specialty in the history of Russian religious sectarianism. He is the author of numerous articles dealing with Russian religion which have appeared in various journals and reference works, including MERSH, published by AIP. He is the author of Keeping the Faiths, Religion and Ideology in the Soviet Union (1989).


All correspondence concerning editorial matters should be addressed to Professor Paul D. Steeves, Box 8344, Stetson University, DeLand, FL 32720;

Orders, subscriptions, and related enquiries should be sent to Academic International Press, POB 1111, Gulf Breeze, FL 32561.