Abstract and Keywords
Interactions between Jesuits and Orthodox believers have been characterized both by meaningful encounters and by conflict and misunderstanding. The gaps between urban, transnational, and book-oriented Jesuit culture and the traditional, rural, and preliterate cultures of many Orthodox populations were underscored by different theological ideas and by great power politics. Ethnic rivalries and a historic suspicion of Catholicism among some Orthodox also contributed to tensions. Jesuits nonetheless worked over a wide portion of Russia, the Balkans, and other locations in Eastern Europe, although their success in converting Orthodox was always very modest. The Soviet era brought severe persecution to Jesuits. Since 1991, the Society has returned to the region, but with a focus now based on education, compassion, outreach, and social justice rather than on proselytizing.
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