Gleb Botkin and the Church of Aphrodite
Keywords:Church of Aphrodite, Gleb Botkin, Paganism
AbstractThe 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.
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