Patrick Lally Michelson

Patrick Lally Michelson

Associate Professor, Religious Studies

Director of Undergraduate Studies

Adjunct Associate Professor, History

Adjunct Associate Professor, Slavic and East European Languages and Culture


  • Ph.D., University of Wisconsin, 2007

About Professor Michelson

I am an intellectual historian of modern Russian Orthodoxy and, more broadly, modern European Christianity. My research about Russian Orthodoxy mainly explores the intersection of Christian theology, Russian public discourse, Orthodox culture, and the contest over what it means to be Russian and Orthodox.

My first monograph, Beyond the Monastery Walls (2017), examines the ways in which asceticism became a term used by Orthodox churchmen, theologians, and lay religious thinker to chart Russia's development toward (or deviation from) the kingdom of God, distinguish Russia from the "West," and construct national-confessional identities in the century leading up to the First World War. My co-edited volume, Thinking Orthodox in Modern Russia (2014), brought together scholars from a variety of disciplines to consider the ways in which Orthodox Christianity shaped modern Russian history and culture.

I regularly teach courses related to the history of Russian Orthodoxy, Christianity, modern European Christian thought, and the history of religious studies. I am also an affiliate member of IU's Department of History, the Department of Slavic and East European Languages and Cultures, and the Russian and East European Institute.


Beyond the Monastery Walls
Beyond the Monastery Walls

The Ascetic Revolution in Russian Orthodox Thought, 1814–1914

Patrick Lally Michelson

Journal articles & other publications

“Freedom of Conscience in the Clerical Imagination of Russian Orthodox Thought, 1801–1865,” Religious Freedom in Modern Russia (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2018), 81-103.

Freedom of Conscience and the Limits of the Liberal Solovyov,” Solov’evskie isseldovaniia [Solovyov Studies] 41, no. 1 (2014), 25-46.

Recent courses

  • Crisis, Anxiety, and Prophecy in Philosophies of Religion (graduate seminar)
  • Religion and Its Critics: The Death of God
  • Jesus: Modern Interpretations
  • True Belief: A History of Orthodox Christianity
  • Introduction to Religion

Awards & Honors

  • Indiana University Trustees Teaching Award, 2016