We begin a new year as co-editors, Paul Mojzes having done much of the editing of the articles, Walter Sawatsky arranging for the technical and background details. There are some visual changes evident in the present issue that reflect some initial experimentation before we settle on what may now suit best both for the printed edition, and what you will be able to use on the web.
This issue includes only a sample of the number of article submissions that indicate the high level of interest to be in dialogue with our readers. It has always been clear that religion was a serious factor in the wars that have caused so much bloodshed and pain in the former Yugoslavia, but it did not quite fit the category of a war on religion. Alexander Mirescu's contribution in this issue is to examine the way in which the religious elites of both the Serbian Orthodox and the Roman Catholic churches utilized the religious issue for fostering ethnic identity formation - one might say to set the religious cultural marker for being Serb and Orthodox and being Croat and Catholic.
Monasticism which was nearly destroyed in Russia was revived after 1989. Jennifer Wynot is one of a growing number of scholars who have begun to examine the archives in order to get a fuller picture of what was happening. In this article, part of a larger study, we get a glimpse of the way the Bolsheviks sought to discredit the Orthodox Church by exposing fraudulent relics. The intense reaction that followed is what Wynot analyses. This was not the end of the story - I recall reading files from the mid 1920s where the resistance to the closure of a female monastery spread to several thousand townspeople signing petitions, in the end also to no avail. We expect to carry more on this renewed field of study.
The final article by previous REE contributor Paul Hinlicky is written in a way that enable us to catch the atmosphere of an American theologian of Slovak heritage going to teach theology in Slovakia. The deep piety of Slovak Lutherans helped them survive, yet Hinlicky argues that it is the task of theology, not to dwell on a return to the past but to face life as it presents new challenges. A theology for facing life addresses dogma as internal task for the church and also speaks to the external world through apologetics.