Keston Institute

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The Keston Institute (Keston College)[1] is an organisation dedicated to the study of religion and communist countries, at Oxford, England. It was founded in 1969 by the Revd Canon Michael Bourdeaux.


In the 1950s, Michael Bourdeaux spent a year in Moscow as a part of the first wave of British exchange students; soon he found 41 Russian Orthodox Churches still functioning out of the 1,600 before the Russian Revolution in 1917, this prompted him to take up the cause of those persecuted for their religious faith.[2]

Eventually, in 1969, he founded at Chislehurst the Centre for the Study of Religion and Communism[2] together with Sir John Lawrence, and with the help of Leonard Schapiro and Peter Reddaway, Professor of Political Science and International Affairs of the George Washington University. In the early 1970s he bought the old parish school on Keston Common and the centre was renamed Keston College. Later it broadened its purview to include formerly communist countries with its main concerns being the former Soviet Union and the Eastern Bloc.[1] Over the years it played a key role in the revival of Russian Orthodox Church,[3] and has become leading voice on religious freedom in former communist countries, with an emphasis on the former Soviet Union.[4] Eventually the enterprise was relocated to Oxford.

In 1984 Michael Bourdeaux won the Templeton Prize. Its current chairman is Xenia Dennen.

Since 2007, the Keston Institute's archive and library is under the care of the Keston Center for Religion, Politics, & Society at Baylor University, Waco, Texas.[5]


  1. ^ a b About us
  2. ^ a b The Future of Freedom in Russia, by William J. Vanden Heuvel. Published by Templeton Foundation Press, 2000. ISBN 1-890151-43-2. p. 165.
  3. ^ Russian Orthodoxy Resurgent: Faith and Power in the New Russia, by John Garrard, Carol Garrard. Published by Princeton University Press, 2008. ISBN 0-691-12573-2. Page xv.
  4. ^ the Keston Institute is an Oxford- based research charity which is... Oxford University Gazette., 2000-1.
  5. ^ Keston Center

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