Cover Osteuropa 5/2012

In Osteuropa 5/2012

Sodom and Gomorrah in Kuibyshev
Metamorphoses of an Orthodox Legend

Ulrike Huhn

Deutsche Fassung


After Stalin’s death, church policy in the Soviet leadership was contentious. The Central Committee made conflicting decisions; reprisals against the church took place. For believers, this period of uncertainty in particular was fertile ground for the emergence of legends concerning miracles. One of the most famous of these emerged in Kuibyshev in 1956. The history of “Zoia’s standing” in which a young girl was punished by petrifaction for the desecration of an icon remains familiar to this day and continues to develop. Over the years, it has had several functions: it drew attention away from an abuse scandal in the Kuibyshev diocese and gave strength to the faithful. It also served as an identifying element for people who turned to the church after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

(Osteuropa 5/2012, pp. 93–143)