Gleb Botkin and the Church of Aphrodite
Issue: Vol 14 No. 1 (2012)
Subject Areas: Religious Studies
The Church of Aphrodite was the first Pagan religious group officially recognized as a religion by a modern state. The Church of Aphrodite was incorporated in the United States in 1939, headed by Gleb Botkin, son of the physician of the last Russian Czar, Nicholas II. Gleb Botkin emigrated to America after the Revolution in Russia, and in the 1920–1930s created a religious and philosophical system, which finally was embodied in his church. The church didn’t survive its founder and vanished after Botkin’s death in 1969. Besides Botkin’s printed works the author makes use of Botkin’s letters to Philip Proctor (1944–1963) to reconstruct the theology of his church and his life as its Arch-Priest. Ironically, Botkin did not want to revive or create Paganism: he viewed his “true” and timeless religion, based on “the laws of the cosmos,” as separate both from world religions with their “distorted” teachings, and from the Pagan element, no matter, whether that of the ancient or the modern world.
Author: Dmitry Galtsin
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Botkin, Gleb. “An American in the Making,” The North American Review 229, no. 1 (1930): 23–29.
Botkin, Gleb. Baron’s Fancy. New York: Doubleday, Doran & Company, 1930.
Botkin, Gleb.The Czar of Shadowland, The North American Review, Vol. 229, No. 5 (May, 1930), 536-543.
Botkin, Gleb. The Fire Bird: An Interpretation of Russia. NEW YORK: Fleming H. Revell Company, 1940.
Botkin, Gleb. The God Who Didn’t Laugh. New York: Payson & Clarke Ltd., 1929.
Botkin, Gleb. Her Wanton Majesty. New York: The Macaulay Company, 1933.
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Hubbard, Kim, and Jane Sims Podesta. “Tsar Wars: Gleb Botkin’s Martial Fairy Tales, Drawn to Enchant the Doomed Children of Nicholas II, Resurface In Virginia.” People, June 16, 1997.
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Moore, Oliver. “Founder Tells of Church.” Richmond Times-Dispatch, April, 12, 1965.
Proctor, Philip. Correspondence with Anna Anderson and Gleb Botkin. General Collection, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University: Folders 3 (1944–1947); 4 (1948–1956); 5 (1957); 7 (1959–1960); 8 (1961); 9 (1962); 10 (1963).
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