Other Currencies

Monastery Prisons – Published by Women

Vopiiushchee dielo: dielo V. O. Rokhova [A horrific case: the case of V. O. Rokhov]. Biblioteka "Svobodnaia Rossiia" ("Free Russia" Library; series title; no. 9).

Moscow: Izdanie E. V. Kozhevnikovoi i E. A. Kolomiitsevoi, 1906. Octavo (20.5 × 14 cm). Original staple-stitched printed wrappers on orange stock; 38, [2] pp. Very good or better.

Arguing for absolute religious tolerance, this pamphlet brings attention to the questionable practice of confinement of prisoners in monastery prisons, through the case of Vasilii Rakhov (1861–1928). A native of Arkhangelsk, Rakhov underwent a religious awakening in his early twenties, dedicating his life to helping the poor, setting up soup kitchens, organizing direct aid and visiting the poor. Seen as a threat by the local religious leaders he was arrested and tried in a civil court but found not guilty of any wrongdoing. Rather than be released, he was detained by the church, and held for eight years 1894–1902 in solitary confinement in a monastery prison in Suzdol’. Numerous petitions about his release went unheard. He was finally released in 1902, reportedly a “changed man”. The author, Aleksandr Prugavin (1850–1920), an ethnographer and scholar of sectarianism, was also a native of Arkhangelsk. One of the co-founders of the Narodniks, an agrarian socialist movement, in his writing Prugavin connected religious tensions and schisms with economic conditions, especially the economic situation of the peasantry. Prugavin first published an article about Rakhov and his eight years of solitary confinement in 1902 in the newspaper “Pravo” (Law). A longer version was published in Monastyrskie tiur’my v bor’be s sektanstvom (Monastery prisons in the fight against sectarianism) in 1905. His attempts to publish a collection of his works on the schism within the Orthodox Church were shut down by the spiritual censorship. Prugavin continued to write in favor of absolute religious freedom and tolerance, with this text one of his loudest polemics against religious persecution.

Interestingly, the present work was published by two women, E. V. Kozhevnikova and E. A. Kolomiitseva, at a time when such women-owned ventures were still uncommon. We are unable to find further information on the pair, which published several other works on social questions, such as the 1861 serfdom reform.

As of March 2022, KVK, OCLC show only two copies in North America.

Book ID: 51908

Price: $600.00