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Singing the Right WayOrthodox Christians and Secular Enchantment in Estonia$
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Jeffers Engelhardt

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199332120

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199332120.001.0001

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“Life Is so Simple to Live When the Corridor You Are to Walk Down Has Already Been Made”

“Life Is so Simple to Live When the Corridor You Are to Walk Down Has Already Been Made”

Byzantification and Conversion at the Cathedral of Saint Simeon and the Prophetess Hanna

Chapter:
(p.161) Chapter 6 “Life Is so Simple to Live When the Corridor You Are to Walk Down Has Already Been Made”
Source:
Singing the Right Way
Author(s):

Jeffers Engelhardt

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199332120.003.0007

This chapter examines Byzantification at the Cathedral of Saint Simeon and the Prophetess Hanna in Tallinn—a turn toward “Byzantine” styles of singing, worship, and parish culture. Generational identity, conversion, and cosmopolitanism found expression in a novel style of singing, which was attuned to a globalized sense of Orthodox tradition to reveal the temporal and spatial dimensions of right singing. Through ethnography and field recordings drawn from the author’s years of singing in the parish choir, this chapter shows why Estonians turned to Orthodoxy in the late 1980s and after, how they moved from Russian and republican-era traditions to Byzantine-inflected practices, and how ideals of right singing gave voice to their discomfort with the secular “normalcy” that limited the role of Orthodoxy in their lives. Ultimately, this chapter reframes Eurosecularity from the perspective of flourishing, conservative, institutional religious practice at the territorial (Estonia), imaginative (Byzantine), and religious (Orthodox) margins of Europe.

Keywords:   Byzantine, Orthodox Christianity, Estonia, post-Soviet, secular, Eurosecularity, Europe, conversion, singing, style

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