Appeared in Spring 1990, Vol. XVI, No. 1

The recent changes occurring in the Soviet Union have raised once again the question of the role which the Faith has played and will play in the future of Russia. In this article, Professor Matual examines the work of a Russian woman who converted to the Faith and sought to defend the Church she loved in her homeland.

In 1888 the Behrs Verlag of Berlin published a book in Russian under the title O Tserkvi: Istoricheskii ocherk (On the Church: A Historical Sketch). Though there is no indication of the author’s identity on the title page, it was most likely written by the Russian aristocrat and Church historian Elizaveta Grigor’evna Volkonskaia (1838-1897). A highly gifted and inquisitive woman, Volkonskaia had taken up the study of Greek and Latin in order to read the Fathers of the Church in the original languages. Eventually her studies led her to the conclusion that the Roman Catholic Church is the Church of the Fathers and consequently of the Apostles themselves. Renouncing Russian Orthodoxy, she became a Catholic in 1887. On the Church is a spirited defense of her adopted Church and the soundness of its teachings.

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