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Interview with AL Gurevich, Editor of Religious Figures and Writers of the Russian Emigration

AL Gurevich was born on June 26, 1960, in Moscow. He graduated from Moscow Institute of Administration in 1982. Professor of History from Russian State Humanities University, 2005. Worked as a senior scholar of the Center of Religious Literature at the All-Russian State Library of Foreign Literature and the Scientific Research Department of the Library Foundation " " [Russian Abroad]. His is the editor and administrator of the bio-bibiliographical reference [Religious Figures and Writers of the Russian Emigration]. He is a member of the French-Russian Commission on the Study of the Legacy of the Russian Emigration, the editing committee of the Encyclopedic Reference " " [Unforgotten Tombstones], a section of the " " [Archives of the Russian Orthodox Church] and the Russian Association of Historical Archivists []. The main theme of these research works is the religious activity of the Russian emigration and ecclesiastical archives. Over 40 of his scholarly works have been published.

-Please tell us what your website is about. How did it come into being?

Our project is called the Religious Activity of the Russian Emigration. We are creating a database of biographical details of various religious figures of the Russian, Ukrainian and Belarussian emigration. A small group of researchers works on the website, which I have the honor of heading. The website address is http://zarubezhje.narod.ru. This year, we launched a second site, http://ruszarubezhje.ru. This project has lasted almost ten years now. The basis for the project was material from the renowned researcher NM Zernov, " : , , : 1921-1972" [Russian Writers of the Emigration: Biographical Background and Bibliographies of Their Works on Theology, Religious Philosophy, Church History and Orthodox Culture: 1921-1972], where information on 360 religious figures was gathered. At the present time, the website contains biographical information on over 10,000 persons. Unfortunately, many contain only brief, sketchy information, but we are constantly updating our site. In particular, many visitors suggest corrections and provide additional information which we try to update as quickly as possible. Id like to show a recent example. It was well known of one religious figure that he was a long-time Psalm-reader of an Orthodox parish in Edinburgh. We added that this person was likely among the emigration living in Great Britain. We recently received a letter from a descendant of this clergyman who was very surprised at the possibility that this emigre lived in Scotland and asked where we got this information. We began to dig. It turned out that in Latvia, where this individual lived, also has a town called Edinburgh, which was where this person served. We also try to answer questions asked by readers, and often our correspondence brings us mutual benefit. Finally, it is important to note that all the materials in the database are open for anyone to use free of charge.

-Did you receive any grants to help you develop your website?

Yes, we received a few grants which helped. I would like to mention, first of all, the Fulbright Grant from the US and the Institute of Mankind in France. I also want to express my genuine gratitude to the All-Russian State Library of Foreign Literature, the " [Russian Diaspora] Library Fund and the State Archives of the Russian Federation, whose materials we used in our work.

-How often do you need to update your site and make corrections?

As I said, we regularly update our site, making corrections, additions and amendments. We are very grateful to the many visitors to our website, who often thank us for our work and report on errors they discover, providing additional information.

-How many visits do you get to your website and what reactions does it get?

We have over 300 visitors a day from various countries: Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, the US, Canada, France, Great Britain, Germany, Australia, China, etc. Over 1.5 million pages have been viewed so far.

-What other projects involving the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia are you involved in?

Over the course of many years, we have actively participated in providing books from Russia to Holy Trinity Seminary Library in Jordanville, NY. I have also made contributions to the Guide to the Necropolis of Holy Trinity Monastery written by Hieromonk Evtikhy (Dovganyuk).

-Who among todays Russian historians working on the history of the Russian Church Abroad is most noteworthy?

This is a very difficult question to respond to, since one can always forget someone. First of all, I would make note of the researchers I have been fortunate to knowArchimandrite Avgustin (Nikitin); Protopriest Dionisy Pozdnyaev; Protopriest Michael Protopopoff; Priest Sergei Model; Deacon Andre Psarev; AV Popov (whom I consider my main mentor and source of inspiration); VI Kosik, A Nivier; AA Korstryukov; AA Kornilov; AK Klimeniev; SS Levoshko; MV Shkarovsky, NT Eneeva; VN Yakunin and many, many others. I ask forgiveness of anyone I may have forgotten.