Razdyakonov Vladislav

Spiritual authorities of the secular age: M. P. Saburova’s spiritualist diary

Razdyakonov Vladislav (2015) "Spiritual authorities of the secular age: M. P. Saburova’s spiritualist diary ", Vestnik Pravoslavnogo Sviato-Tikhonovskogo gumanitarnogo universiteta. Seriia I : Bogoslovie. Filosofiia, 2015, vol. 62, pp. 55-69 (in Russian).

DOI of the paper: 10.15382/sturI201562.55-69


The unpublished diary (around 1800 pages) by a prominent Russian spiritualist Maria Petrovna Saburova sheds light on social, psychological and ideological contexts and implications of spiritualist practice. The article analyses social relations in Saburova’s family and defines spiritualists’ practice as a sort of family crisis therapy. In Russia spiritualist theology, mostly implemented from the western spiritualist literature, contributed to women emancipation, but it wasn’t radical and used to rely on traditional patterns of social, in particular, masculine authority. Saburova’s cosmology highlights spiritualists’ critical attitude towards current social order and proposes a new spiritual bureaucracy as an ideal of possible social relations. Though in Russia as in the West authority of spirits used to be a foundation for spiritualists’ social and spiritual individualism, which led to social and gender emancipation, still, spiritualists activity took conservative stance: spiritualists followed spiritual patterns and believed that spiritual world was the only place for complete human liberation. Spiritualists used modernist discourse, talking about human emancipation from cultural and social authorities, but their both critical and positive propositions appealed to spiritual authority. Thus spiritualists’ rhetoric blended conservative authority and modern emancipation.


Russia, Social History, History of Religion, Aristocracy, XIX century, Modern Spiritualism, Gender, M. P. Saburova.


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Razdyakonov Vladislav