Ksenia Medvedeva is a sociologist and religious studies scholar. She studied, worked and taught at the Higher School of Economics (St Petersburg and Moscow), University of Toronto (Canada), Freie Universitaet Berlin (Germany), University of Warsaw (Poland). As a scholar of religion, she focuses on different aspects of Eastern Orthodox Christianity. Her research interests include alternative lifestyles, including intentional communities such as monasteries and eco-villages. Ksenia conducted fieldwork in Russia, the US, Canada, Belarus, Poland and plans to explore Greece.
At IFiS, Ksenia is based in the Sociology of Religion department, led by prof. dr hab. Zbigniew Mikołejko.
Her PASIFIC mentor at IFiS is dr hab. Dorota Hall, prof. IFiS PAN.
Green Orthodoxy: Ecological Conversion of Eastern Orthodox Churches
This comparative project examines the “greening” of Orthodox churches by looking how contemporary Eastern Orthodox Christianity engages with environmental issues in the United States and Greece. I analyze Orthodox environmentalism in the United States and Greece since the two represent different social contexts: the US is a country where the Orthodox Church has a minority status, while in Greece, a “traditionally Orthodox” country, the church has stronger connections with and influence on civil society actors.
The project has two goals. First, I examine green Orthodox ideas and practices conceptually and empirically. At the conceptual level, I study the ideas, ideals, and values that motivate believers to engage in eco-agenda by referring to Max Weber’s understanding of social actions. Empirically, I rely on document analysis, interview, visual methods, and participant observation in Orthodox communities in the US and Greece to examine the ecological practices and the degree of environmental engagement of Orthodox communities in the US and Greece through the lived religion approach. The 2nd goal of the project is to use theoretical insights from this empirical case study to develop a model of “ecological conversion.” Overall, the research’s insights into best green practices of Orthodox communities have practical relevance for religious and secular organizations, NGOs, policymakers, and other stakeholders.