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Russian Orthodoxy under the Old Regime

Russian Orthodoxy under the Old Regime

Copyright Date: 1978
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 284
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  • Book Info
    Russian Orthodoxy under the Old Regime
    Book Description:

    In this book, which is especially suitable for course use, eleven scholars examine one of the most important institutions of imperial Russia, the Orthodox church in the two centuries before the Russian revolution. The material is arranged in two sections, the first devoted to Orthodoxy’s role in Russian social and cultural life and the second dealing with the curch’s relationship to the tsarist regime.

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-5551-9
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Preface
    (pp. vii-xii)
    Robert L. Nichols and Theofanis George Stavrou
  3. Table of Contents
    (pp. xiii-2)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. 3-18)
    Robert L. Nichols and Theofanis George Stavrou

    It has been frequently asserted (or assumed) that the close identification of Russian Orthodoxy with the imperial government determined the church’s status and future. Or, as John Curtiss put it, the church “would stand or fall with the power of the Tsar.”¹ Yet the collapse of the Russian monarchy did not result in the destruction of Russian Orthodoxy, which apparently had other more durable supports that served it well despite the persecution it faced during the interwar years. Stalin’s antireligious campaign brought the church to its knees by 1939; nearly half its parishes had ceased to function. Many hierarchs fell...


    • Russian Orthodoxy and Society
      (pp. 21-43)
      Donald W. Treadgold

      It has long been assumed that Alexander Sergeevich Pushkin and St. Serafim of Sarov were mutually ignorant of each other’s existence throughout their lives. (By the nature of things the proposition cannot be proved right, though it is theoretically possible for it one day to be proved wrong.) If Pushkin, the greatest of Russian writers, and St. Serafim, the greatest of modern Russian saints, lived in two mutually impermeable worlds, then the Russian Orthodox church must have been foreign indeed to the realm of high culture, and the area of cultural creativity must have been oblivious to the life of...

    • Feofan Prokopovich and the Kiev Academy
      (pp. 44-64)
      James Cracraft

      Any list of the outstanding figures of “Russian Orthodoxy under the Old Regime” would have to include the name of Feofan Prokopovich.¹ An ecclesiastic virtually the whole of his life, he rose to the highest ranks of the Russian church, where it was his fate to be the author, in the literal sense, of the reform of that church undertaken by Peter the Great; and in this capacity he helped set the pattern of Russian churchstate relations which was to last, with some modifications, until 1917 and even, in a sense, until our own day. He was also a theologian...

    • Orthodoxy and Russia’s Enlightenment, 1762-1825
      (pp. 65-89)
      Robert L. Nichols

      Many western writers on Russian learning and education assert that historically the Russian Orthodox church either has been anti-intellectual or its contributions to education have been negligible. In the more specialized writings on Russian education, one notices a conspicuous absence of attention to the church schools of the eighteenth or nineteenth century. W. H. E. Johnson’sRussia’s Educational Heritagedepicts Russia’s heritage in exclusively secular colors and leaves the impression that practically the only education Russians received came in state or private schools. With the exception of a few passing paragraphs on seventeenth-century church schools, his focus is entirely on...

    • Revolt from Below: A Priest’s Manifesto on the Crisis in Russian Orthodoxy (1858-59)
      (pp. 90-124)
      Gregory L. Freeze

      The year 1855 marked the beginning of the Great Reforms, not only in the Russian state and society, but also in the Orthodox church. To many contemporaries, lay and clerical, conservative and liberal, it seemed that the church, like other institutions of imperial Russia, needed radical reform. Its problems were legion, its resources meager, its influence waning. Diocesan administration suffered from venality, malfeasance, and arbitrariness; the seminaries were a shambles, afflicted with poverty and pedagogical disarray; the parish clergy had become a virtual caste, impoverished, isolated, and disparaged. Although “liberal society”(obshchestvo)at first took little interest in these problems,...


    • Church and State in Imperial Russia
      (pp. 127-141)
      Marc Szeftel

      It is sometimes said that from 1721 onward the relationship between church and state in Russia displayed the characteristics of caesaropapism and of the Protestant system ofsummus episcopus.¹ Both claims are exaggerated as the Fundamental Laws of the Russian Empire clearly show. Essentially what is meant is that Peter I’s system of church-state relations derived from two sources. The-legal pattern existing in Protestant states constituted one of them. Byzantine tradition as interpreted by old Muscovy supplied the other. The Petrine reform of 1721 did not destroy this Muscovite version of Byzantine tradition; Peter merely adjusted it to conform with...

    • The Inquisitorial Network of Peter the Great
      (pp. 142-153)
      Alexander V. Muller

      The Russian Orthodox church, in its institutional aspect, was profoundly affected by the accelerated drive toward secularization and modernization that marked the reforms of Peter the Great. Of Peter’s administrative changes, the most noteworthy was the suspension of the office of the patriarch of Moscow and its replacement by the Most Holy Ruling Synod. The suppression of the patriarchate, which had been established in 1589, was accomplished not by any direct, positive act of abrogation, but by allowing it to fall into disuse and disappear. The tsar withheld permission for a council of bishops to convene for the purpose of...

    • The System of Nicholas I in Church-State Relations
      (pp. 154-169)
      David W. Edwards

      The administrative system of Nicholas I was an extension of his personality, and both were characterized by a strong sense of duty and an obsession with order. He left no area of government untouched in the drive to impose his personal qualities upon his subjects. Nowhere was his desire for duty and order more apparent, or more promptly manifested, than in church-state relations, where it was intensified by his deep devotion to the established Russian Orthodox church. His demands went beyond administrative tidiness to include unanimity in matters of belief. Decisions of the Holy Synod, the governing body of the...

    • Russian Bishops and Church Reform in 1905
      (pp. 170-182)
      John Meyendorff

      In principle and in law, the reforms of Peter the Great attempted to integrate the religious functions of Russian society with the centralized imperial administration. Thus, Russian Orthodoxy was considered not really as a “church,” enjoying a degree of autonomy, but merely as a body of beliefs shared by the emperor’s subjects and requiring statesponsored social and educational services. Its new organizational structure was designated as the Department of Orthodox Confession,(Vedomstvo pravoslavnogo ispovedoniia).

      Obviously, Peter’s system did not adequately express the traditional Orthodox conception of the church. Even the Byzantine medieval pattern, enshrined in the Orthodox canonical collections, presupposed...

    • The Idea of a Council in Russian Orthodoxy in 1905
      (pp. 183-202)
      Paul R. Valliere

      The Russian Orthodox church was one of the most important institutions to feel the impact of the 1905 revolution. Any modification of its ecclesiastical structure and laws would inevitably have profound consequences for every class in imperial Russian society. Therefore, it is not surprising to find a diversity of opinions about church reform, a circumstance easily confirmed by even a cursory glance at the literature of the period. These opinions are not easily summarized, but debate did tend to focus on certain crucial issues, particularly the relationship of the Orthodox church to the imperial government.

      If the issue of church...


    • A Bibliographical Essay on the Documentation of Russian Orthodoxy during the Imperial Era
      (pp. 205-228)
      Edward Kasinec
    • Guide to Further Reading in Western European Languages
      (pp. 229-238)
  8. List of Contributors
    (pp. 241-244)
  9. Index
    (pp. 247-261)