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Sergius, the missionary Stephen of Perm and the writer Epiphanius the Wise , contributed to the consolidation of the Russian nation. Lev Gumilev has observed that, having received the blessing of St. Sergius to make a stand against the Tatars, "the Suzdalians, Vladimirians, Rostovians, Pskovians went to the Kulikovo Field as representatives of their principalities but returned after the victory as Russians , although living in different towns",  a dictum which has been endorsed by modern church functionaries.
At the Council of Florence , a group of Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Church leaders agreed upon terms of reunification of the two branches of Christianity. Metropolitan Isidore was in the same year expelled from his position as an apostate. In , the Russian Church became independent from the Patriarchate of Constantinople. Metropolitan Jonas , installed by the Council of Russian bishops in , was given the title of Metropolitan of Moscow and All Russia. This was just five years before the fall of Constantinople in The reign of Ivan III and his successor was plagued by numerous heresies and controversies.
One party , led by Nil Sorsky and Vassian Kosoy , called for secularisation of monastic properties.
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They were oppugned by the influential Joseph of Volotsk , who defended ecclesiastical ownership of land and property. The sovereign's position fluctuated, but eventually he threw his support to Joseph. New sects sprang up, some of which showed a tendency to revert to Mosaic law : for instance, the archpriest Aleksei converted to Judaism after meeting a certain Zechariah the Jew. Monastic life flourished in Russia, focusing on prayer and spiritual growth. The disciples of St. Sergius left the Trinity-St. Sergius Lavra to found hundreds of monasteries across Russia. Some of the most famous monasteries were located in the Russian North , even as far north as Pechenga , in order to demonstrate how faith could flourish in the most inhospitable lands.
In the 18th century, the three greatest monasteries were recognized as lavras , while those subordinated directly to the Synod were labelled stauropegic. In the s, Metropolitan Macarius codified Russian hagiography and convened a number of church synods, which culminated in the Hundred Chapter Synod of This assembly unified Church ceremonies and duties in the whole territory of Russia. At the demand of the Church hierarchy the government canceled the tsar's jurisdiction over ecclesiastics.
Reinforced by these reforms, the Church felt strong enough to challenge the policies of the tsar.
Timeline of Orthodoxy in Russia
Philip of Moscow , in particular, decried many abuses of Ivan the Terrible , who eventually engineered his defrocking and murder. During the reign of tsar Theodor I his brother-in-law Boris Godunov contacted the Ecumenical Patriarch, who "was much embarrassed for want of funds,"  with a view to establishing a patriarch see in Moscow.
The four other patriarchs have recognized the Moscow Patriarchate as one of the five honourable Patriarchates. During the next half a century, when the tsardom was weak, the patriarchs notably Germogen and Philaret would help run the state along with and sometimes instead of the tsars. Painting by Vasily Perov. Although Nikon's far-flung ambitions of steering the country to a theocratic form of government precipitated his defrocking and exile, Tsar Aleksey deemed it prudent to uphold many of his innovations. Archpriest Avvakum Petrov and many other opponents of the church reforms were burned at the stake, either forcibly or voluntarily.
Another prominent figure within the Old Ritualists' movement, Boyarynya Morozova , was starved to death in Others escaped from the government persecutions to Siberia and other inhospitable lands, where they would live in semi-seclusion until the modern times. With the ascension of Emperor Peter the Great to the throne of Russia — , with his radical modernization of Russian government, army, dress, and manners, Russia became a formidable political power.
In the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, the Russian Orthodox Church experienced phenomenal geographic expansion. In the following two centuries, missionary efforts stretched out across Siberia into Alaska , then into the United States at California. Eminent people on that missionary effort included St. Innocent of Irkutsk and St. Herman of Alaska. In emulation of Stephen of Perm , they learned local languages and translated the gospels and the hymns. Sometimes those translations required the invention of new systems of transcription.
In the aftermath of the Treaty of Pereyaslav , the Ottomans supposedly acting on behalf of the Russian regent Sophia Alekseyevna pressured the Patriarch of Constantinople into transferring the Metropoly of Kiev from the jurisdiction of Constantinople to that of Moscow. The controversial transfer brought millions of faithful and half a dozen dioceses under the pastoral and administrative care of the Patriarch of Moscow and all Rus', leading to the significant Ukrainian domination of the Russian Orthodox Church, which continued well into the 18th century, with Feofan Prokopovich , Epifany Slavinetsky , Stephen Yavorsky and Demetrius of Rostov being among the most notable representatives of this trend.
In , after Patriarch Adrian 's death, Peter the Great prevented a successor from being named, and in , following the advice of Feofan Prokopovich, Archbishop of Pskov, the Holy and Supreme Synod was established under Archbishop Stephen Yavorsky to govern the church instead of a single primate. This was the situation until shortly after the Russian Revolution of , at which time the Local Council more than half of its members being lay persons adopted the decision to restore the Patriarchy.
On November 5 according to the Julian calendar a new patriarch, Tikhon , was named through casting lots. The late 18th century saw the rise of starchestvo under Paisiy Velichkovsky and his disciples at the Optina Monastery. This marked a beginning of a significant spiritual revival in the Russian Church after a lengthy period of westernization, personified by such figures as Demetrius of Rostov and Platon of Moscow.
Aleksey Khomyakov , Ivan Kireevsky , and other lay theologians with Slavophile leanings elaborated some key concepts of the renovated Orthodox doctrine, including that of sobornost. The resurgence of Eastern Orthodoxy was reflected in Russian literature, e. Russian Orthodox Church in Dresden , built in the s. During the final decades of the imperial order in Russia many educated Russians sought to return to the Church and revitalize their faith. No less evident were non-conformist paths of spiritual searching known as "God-Seeking".
Writers, artists, and intellectuals in large numbers were drawn to private prayer, mysticism, spiritualism , theosophy , and Eastern religions. A fascination with elemental feeling, with the unconscious and the mythic, proliferated along with visions of coming catastrophe and redemption. The visible forms of God-Seeking were extensive. A series of 'Religious-Philosophical Meetings' were held in St. Petersburg in —, bringing together prominent intellectuals and clergy to explore together ways to reconcile the Church with the growing of undogmatic desire among the educated for spiritual meaning in life.
Some clergy also sought to revitalize Orthodox faith, most famously the charismatic Father John of Kronstadt , who, until his death in though his followers remained active long after , emphasized Christian living and sought to restore fervency and the presence of the miraculous in liturgical celebration.
In , a sensation-creating volume of essays appeared under the title Vekhi "Landmarks" or "Signposts" , authored by a group of leading left-wing intellectuals, including Sergei Bulgakov , Peter Struve , and former Marxists , who bluntly repudiated the materialism and atheism that had dominated the thought of the intelligentsia for generations as leading inevitably to failure and moral disaster.
One sees a similarly renewed vigor and variety in religious life and spirituality among the lower classes, especially after the upheavals of Among the peasantry we see widespread interest in spiritual-ethical literature and non-conformist moral-spiritual movements; an upsurge in pilgrimage and other devotions to sacred spaces and objects especially icons ; persistent beliefs in the presence and power of the supernatural apparitions, possession, walking-dead, demons, spirits, miracles, and magic ; the renewed vitality of local "ecclesial communities" actively shaping their own ritual and spiritual lives, sometimes in the absence of clergy, and defining their own sacred places and forms of piety; and the proliferation of what the Orthodox establishment branded as 'sectarianism', including both non-Orthodox Christian denominations, notably Baptists , and various forms of deviant popular Orthodoxy and mysticism.
Tsar Alexis praying before the relics of Metropolitan Philip. The year was a major turning point for the history of Russia, and also the Russian Orthodox Church. The Russian empire was dissolved and the Tsarist government - which had granted the Church numerous privileges - was overthrown. After a few months of political turmoil, the Bolsheviks took power in October and declared a separation of church and state.
Thus the Russian Orthodox Church found itself without official state backing for the first time in its history. One of the first decrees of the new Communist government issued in January declared freedom of "religious and anti-religious propaganda". This led to a marked decline in the power and influence of the Church. The Church was also caught in the crossfire of the Russian Civil War that began later the same year, and many leaders of the Church supported what would ultimately turn out to be the losing side the White movement.
This may have further strengthened the Bolshevik animus against the church. Even before the end of the civil war and the establishment of the Soviet Union , the Russian Orthodox Church came under pressure from the secular Communist government. The Soviet government stood on a platform of antireligion , viewing the church as a "counter-revolutionary" organization and an independent voice with a great influence in society. While the Soviet Union officially claimed religious tolerance, in practice the government discouraged organized religion and did much to remove religious influence from Soviet society.
Before and after the October Revolution of November 7, October 25 Old Calendar there was a movement within the Soviet Union to unite all of the people of the world under Communist rule see Communist International. This included the Eastern European bloc countries as well as the Balkan States. Since some of these Slavic states tied their ethnic heritage to their ethnic churches, both the peoples and their church were targeted by the Soviets. The Soviet Union was the first state to have as an ideological objective the elimination of religion. Toward that end, the Communist regime confiscated church property, ridiculed religion, harassed believers, and propagated atheism in the schools.
Actions toward particular religions, however, were determined by State interests, and most organized religions were never outlawed. Orthodox priests and believers were variously tortured , sent to prison camps , labour camps or mental hospitals , and executed. Thousands of churches and monasteries were taken over by the government and either destroyed or converted to secular use. It was impossible to build new churches. Practicing Orthodox Christians were restricted from prominent careers and membership in communist organizations the party, the Komsomol.
Anti-religious propaganda was openly sponsored and encouraged by the government, which the Church was not given an opportunity to publicly respond to. The government youth organization, the Komsomol , encouraged its members to vandalize Orthodox Churches and harass worshippers. Seminaries were closed down, and the church was restricted from using the press.
The history of Orthodoxy and other religions under Communism was not limited to this story of repression and secularization. Bolshevik policies toward religious belief and practice tended to vacillate over time between, on the one hand, a utopian determination to substitute secular rationalism for what they considered to be an unmodern, "superstitious" worldview and, on the other, pragmatic acceptance of the tenaciousness of religious faith and institutions. In any case, religious beliefs and practices did persist, in the domestic and private spheres but also in the scattered public spaces allowed by a state that recognized its failure to eradicate religion and the political dangers of an unrelenting culture war.
In November , following the collapse of the tsarist government, a council of the Russian Orthodox church reestablished the patriarchate and elected the metropolitan Tikhon as patriarch. But the new Soviet government soon declared the separation of church and state and nationalized all church-held lands. These administrative measures were followed by brutal state-sanctioned persecutions that included the wholesale destruction of churches and the arrest and execution of many clerics. The Russian Orthodox church was further weakened in , when the Renovated Church, a reform movement supported by the Soviet government, seceded from Patriarch Tikhon's church also see the Josephites and the Russian True Orthodox Church , restored a Holy Synod to power, and brought division among clergy and faithful.
In the first five years after the Bolshevik revolution, 28 bishops and 1, priests were executed. The main target of the anti-religious campaign in the s and s was the Russian Orthodox Church, which had the largest number of faithful. Nearly all of its clergy, and many of its believers, were shot or sent to labor camps. Theological schools were closed, and church publications were prohibited.
The sixth sector of the OGPU , led by Yevgeny Tuchkov , began aggressively arresting and executing bishops, priests, and devout worshippers, such as Metropolitan Veniamin in Petrograd in for refusing to accede to the demand to hand in church valuables including sacred relics. In the period between and , the number of Orthodox Churches in the Russian Republic fell from 29, to less than Between and , , Orthodox priests were arrested.
Of these, 95, were put to death. Many thousands of victims of persecution became recognized in a special canon of saints known as the " new martyrs and confessors of Russia". In January Patriarch Tikhon proclaimed anathema to the Bolsheviks without explicitly naming them ,  which further antagonized relations. When Tikhon died in , the Soviet authorities forbade patriarchal elections to be held.
Patriarchal locum tenens acting Patriarch Metropolitan Sergius Stragorodsky, , going against the opinion of a major part of the church's parishes, in issued a declaration accepting the Soviet authority over the church as legitimate, pledging the church's cooperation with the government and condemning political dissent within the church.
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By this he granted himself with the power that Sergius, being a deputy of imprisoned Metropolitan Peter and acting against his will, had no right to assume according to the XXXIV Apostolic canon , which led to a split with the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia abroad and the Russian True Orthodox Church Russian Catacomb Church within the Soviet Union, as they allegedly remained faithful to the Canons of the Apostles, declaring the part of the church led by Metropolitan Sergius schism , sometimes coined Sergianism.
Due to this canonical disagreement it is disputed which church has been the legitimate successor to the Russian Orthodox Church that had existed before This is considered by some violation of the XXX Apostolic canon , as no church hierarch could be consecrated by secular authorities. The Moscow Theological Academy Seminary , which had been closed since , was re-opened.
Between and the official organization of the church was greatly expanded, although individual members of the clergy were occasionally arrested and exiled. The number of open churches reached 25, By about 22, Russian Orthodox churches had become active. But in Nikita Khrushchev initiated his own campaign against the Russian Orthodox Church and forced the closure of about 12, churches.
By fewer than 7, churches remained active. Members of the church hierarchy were jailed or forced out, their places taken by docile clergy, many of whom had ties with the KGB. A new and widespread persecution of the church was subsequently instituted under the leadership of Nikita Khrushchev and Leonid Brezhnev. A second round of repression, harassment and church closures took place between and during the rule of Nikita Khrushchev. The Church and the government remained on unfriendly terms until In practice, the most important aspect of this conflict was that openly religious people could not join the Communist Party of the Soviet Union , which meant that they could not hold any political office.
However, among the general population, large numbers remained religious. Some Orthodox believers and even priests took part in the dissident movement and became prisoners of conscience. The Orthodox priests Gleb Yakunin , Sergiy Zheludkov and others spent years in Soviet prisons and exile for their efforts in defending freedom of worship.
Although he tried to keep away from practical work of the dissident movement intending to better fulfil his calling as a priest, there was a spiritual link between Fr Aleksander and many of the dissidents. For some of them he was a friend, for others - a godfather, for many including Yakunin - spiritual father. Christians believe in the man whom we crucified, while we believe in the one God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. If God loved you and your religion, then you would not be scattered throughout various lands. Or, is it that you want this to occur to us, also?
In the same manner do these await the day of their own destruction, when God will come to judge the earth and destroy all the lawless and wicked. They [the Jews] killed these prophets, while others they dismembered, using saws. When the prophecies were to be fulfilled, God descended to earth, was crucified, and after his resurrection ascended to heaven. Then he awaited their repentance for 46 years. Since they never repented, he sent Romans against them who destroyed their cities and scattered them throughout various countries, where to the present time they live in servitude.
After giving the philosopher many gifts, Vladimir sent him away with much honor. They spoke much, narrating from the beginning of the world about the progress of the entire world. Subtle and marvelous was their narrative; everyone should listen to it. They said there will be another world and whoever enters their religion, after having died, he will resurrect and will not again die forever, but whoever enters another religion, then in that world he is doomed to burn in fire.
What can you add to my thinking? What do you advise? If you want to test it thoroughly and you do have men in your service, send them to experience the services of each of them, the manner in which they serve God. The king asked why they had come and they related to him the former events. The king was glad, and provided on their behalf a great feast that day. They accompanied the [delegates] into the Church of St. Sophia and set them in the middle of the church in an open area, 25 History of Russian Christianity showing them the beauty of the church, the singing and liturgy of the archbishop and the row of deacons, explaining to them the manner in which they served God.
They stand, not wearing a waistband;1 when they worship, they sit on their tails and look this way and that way, as though insane. There is no joy in them but only sorrow and great melancholy; there is nothing good in their law. Then we went to the Germans and saw how they performed many services in their temples, but we did not see any beauty of any kind. After this, we went to the Greeks and they led us to the place where they serve their God; and we did not know whether we were in heaven or on earth, because on earth it is impossible to view such scenery and such beauty.
We are unable to describe it to you, but only know this: that there God resides with people, and that their liturgy transcends the liturgy of all the other countries. We cannot forget such beauty; just as any person, when he has tasted something sweet, afterward he does not want what is bitter; so we ourselves do not want to go on serving our [pagan] gods. After a more or less prolonged and intensive siege, he finally conquered the city with the help of certain traitors who were found among the besieged residents.
I hear that you have a sister who is a virgin. If you do not give her to me as a wife, then I will do to your capital as I have done to this city. Typical traditional male Russian dress included a waistband as a belt. The Era of Kievan Russia it is impossible for Christians to allow a young lady to become a wife of a pagan; but that if he were to be baptized, then he would receive both the hand of the princess and the heavenly kingdom. Vladimir replied that he had come to Kherson with the firm intention of being baptized. The sorrowful princess departed, accompanied by many officials and priests, by boat, to Kherson, where loyal residents were overjoyed to greet her.
Before the bride arrived at Kherson, Vladimir lost his vision the same way Apostle Paul had lost his, and was greatly agitated. Vladimir, about 30 years of age, was united in marriage with the princess after his baptism. In memory of the events at Kherson, Vladimir built a church there and returned the conquered city to the Greek kings as a dowry for the hand of their sister, Anna. They then departed for Kiev. The account of monk Yacov adds the following incident to the traditional account: Vladimir the Great intended that one of the goals of the campaign would be the import of Greek Orthodoxy to his people.
Now I ask of You, if You hand this city over to me, I will accept and lead its Christians and priests to my land for them to teach my people the Christian law. It is not difficult for the modern reader to separate fact from fabrication and remove embellishments from the account.
There is no doubt that Vladimir came into contact with Khazar Jews and had intense discussions about their religion with them, but the chroniclers who recorded these events at least years later were distant from the actual conversations. The evidence indicating a late composition is primarily the statement about the wafer used in the Eucharist. Orthodoxy uses leavened bread, while Catholicism uses unleavened; but this was not an issue of division between Orthodoxy and Catholicism until the split between the two in , when the eastern half of the ecumenical church was excommunicated by Pope Leo IX.
Even then, its effect in Kiev was miniscule and especially so given its isolation from the politics of Europe. The chronicler apparently has no knowledge of services in a Catholic church and his statements regarding services in a mosque are far from correct, indicating that the chronicler himself had never witnessed their services but used secondhand information to discredit them and record that Vladimir rejected theirs as a good religion.
Of course, the Greek chronicler emphasized and lauded his own religion with a fictitious sermon of the delegates to Vladimir and of their journey to Constantinople to visit kings and patriarchs and to witness a liturgy, and not a typical one but a holiday liturgy especially performed to impress the delegates. The Era of Kievan Russia According to the account, his criteria were ritual and corporeal rules. But, what are rituals? Superficial conditioned movements which, without an assigned interpretation, have no meaning of their own; which, on their own, are neither good nor bad; which, for a person outside the religion, are meaningless and which do not provide understanding of the substance of the religion.
There is no reasonable explanation for Vladimir to have dispatched emissaries to survey the various liturgies and to use such as the basis for choosing the best religion for the residents of his realm. A normal person, dedicated to his religion as Vladimir was to his own, would immediately become defensive. Oddly, the account does not show this about Vladimir. The frame or shell of the circumstances does, however, still retain validity regarding the baptism of Vladimir and the introduction of Christianity into Kiev; and this leads to the question of why Vladimir would exchange his religion for another.
According to Russian historian Sergei Solovyov, all of the paganism, immorality, sexual excess, and fratricide of Vladimir was magnified if not fabricated to emphasize his sinfulness in order to heighten the impact of his conversion from paganism to Orthodoxy. Solovyov also felt that Vladimir was resentful toward Orthodoxy as a young man, including the early years of his reign over Kiev, and that this led him to murder his older brother Yaropolk, who was Christian. The opposing view, held by other Russian historians such as Tatischev, provides the hypothesis that the more Vladimir practiced his paganism, the more repulsive it became, until he abandoned it in favor of Orthodoxy.
Although he was pagan in these early years, the Christianity of his grandmother Olga still resided in Vladimir, although it was dormant. According to another account, Vladimir had five legitimate wives; four of them identified themselves as Christians: two were Greek, one was 29 History of Russian Christianity Czech, and one was Bulgarian. This, of course, is a considerable smaller harem than noted above. In retrospect, it seems that all Vladimir actually knew about Orthodoxy was its rites as performed in churches in Kiev and that — based on what meager information he was able to acquire from his wives and others — he recognized the religion as a more refined and superior paganism then the one he inherited from his forebears.
Jews, Moslems and Catholics were repulsive to him because they were not Slavic but foreigners, with alien gods, while Vladimir was somewhat able to identify Greeks with the residents of his own Kiev estate and saw the rite and ritual of Orthodoxy as a superior form of the rite and ritual of his paganism. As far as morality and ethics were concerned, apparently this never entered his conception or view of religion — because the best religion was the best rite and ritual. During the pre-Mongol period in Kiev, other religions were not proselytizing and so there was no insecurity on the part of Orthodoxy — no need to defend itself.
A small number of Catholics, or Germans as the chronicler refers to them , did live in Kiev but that would be normal along the trade route tracing the Dnepr River from Russia to the Black Sea. Khazar Jews, likewise, had a colony, along with Bulgar Moslems, in the region. But these held to their own ethnic group and religion, and there is no evidence they represented any threat to Orthodoxy.
It was published a year before his death. After hearing their intensive and extensive 30 Part 2. The Era of Kievan Russia expositions, the ruler was dissatisfied with all of them; but he noticed that both the Christian and Moslem teachers referred to Judaism as the source of their religion. Then he decided to listen to the exposition of a Jewish teacher, who was able to convince the ruler of the truth of Judaism; this subsequently led to the conversion of the Khazars to Judaism.
The notion of the Orthodox delegation showing Vladimir a large cloth with a depiction of the final judgment is adapted from a similar event that preceded the conversion of Boris I, ruler of Bulgaria. In , the First Crusade captured Jerusalem and established the Kingdom of Jerusalem, which lasted under Christian rule until , when it was reconquered by Islamic armies.
Apparently the author of the traditional account was unaware of its re-occupation by Islam and only knew of its defeat by the Christian crusaders. Why Vladimir would ask the Khazar Jews about their land also poses a problem. The first is the account of Metr. Ilarion, a contemporary of Yaroslav, written between and ; the second is that of the monk Yacov, mentioned above, a contemporary of Izyaslav, which was written about None of the three records mentions anything about delegates sent to Vladimir from adherents of the various religions or about his emissaries to being sent to survey the other religions.
What all three do state — and this, positively — is that Vladimir made the decision to accept Orthodoxy entirely on his own, without any intervention or influence of others. Ilarion states that Vladimir made the decision to accept Orthodoxy without any formal introduction or 31 History of Russian Christianity instruction in it, but solely on the basis of personal inclination and a sense that Orthodoxy was superior to the paganism of his forebears.
The monk Yacov states that God himself, having surveyed the heart of Vladimir and beholding him from heaven, enlightened his heart to accept baptism. Pseudo-Nestor follows the context of his two predecessors, but mentions that Vladimir had a divine revelation to accept baptism. Although the chronicler may not have read about his travels in any of the original manuscripts, at least he had enough information to reinterpret the event for his own purpose, as witnessed above by the traditional account, dating it 15 years earlier in the reign of Vladimir and stating its purpose being the survey of local religions.
Why not just ask for missionaries from the patriarchs of Constantinople? There is an evident parallel between the traditional account of the conversion of Vladimir with that of Constantine, in the 4th century; both renounced their paganism after years of practicing it and introduced 32 Part 2. The Era of Kievan Russia Christianity as the state religion in their realms. According to the account, Vladimir found this in the local Orthodoxy, which to his military and pagan mind was superior to the religion commonly practiced in Kiev.
As Constantine the Great utilized the Christian religion of his day to serve his needs, and modified it as necessary to adapt to his Roman style of rule, so did Vladimir in Kiev. Vladimir returned to Kiev from Kherson accompanied by Orthodox priests in the year His spoils included many icons and church appurtenances and the relics of Clement the Martyr and of other saints.
His baptism in AD occurred two years before his conquest of Kherson, which date can be set at about or His later association was primarily with the Christianity of Bulgaria rather than the Orthodoxy of Constantinople. Even as a Christian, Vladimir continued for the next 28 years, until his death in , to show strong ties to native Russian paganism, and he conducted himself as a military-style leader. According to the traditional account, when Vladimir returned to Kiev from Kherson, in about , he destroyed the idols in the city.
Orthodox priests worked the city squares where crowds were gathered and visited the homes of residents, admonishing them on the principal tenets of the Gospel, impressing on the pagans the futility of idolatry and convincing them to accept the religion of salvation. Not all of the townsmen declared their eagerness to change religions; some were stubborn, or else postponed the matter from day to day.
One evening, Vladimir issued an order for all the residents of Kiev to appear the next morning on the banks of the Dnepr River. And in the morning, crowds of people appeared, old and young, and mothers with their infants, on the banks of the river. They were baptized en masse by the Orthodox priests who had accompanied Vladimir from Kherson, and under the auspices of Vladimir and his troops. According to the traditional account, not one person of the city failed to appear.
Who would oppose the will of Prince Vladimir? Emerging from the water, they took communion from priests standing on the shore. God, give them to recognize You as the true God, just as Christian countries have recognized You, and confirm in them the true faith and help me, Lord, to oppose the enemy as I depend on You and on Your dominion. Ilarion mentions that those who did not have themselves baptized voluntarily did so out of fear of reprisal from Vladimir.
This same scenario was repeated in smaller cities shortly thereafter. According to the account, the priests on the bank of the Dnepr River recited prayers while Vladimir, in ecstasy over the event, prayed to God while standing on the river bank. He commanded the baptism in the name of the Father and Son and Holy Spirit throughout his entire land, so that publicly and loudly the name of the Holy Trinity would be glorified in all the cities and all would become Christian: 34 Part 2. The Era of Kievan Russia great and small, slave and free, young and old, noble and peasant, rich and poor.
And not one person opposed his pious command; they were baptized, if not out of love then out of fear of him who gave the command, and in this manner was authority magnanimously united in his person. And at one moment our entire land began to glorify Christ with the Father and Holy Spirit. He turned many from the error of idolatry: not only cities, but his entire realm. Vladimir proceeded to remove the statue of Perun he had earlier erected, and tied it to the tail of a horse and had it dragged out of the city.
Some residents of Kiev cried as they watched Perun being dragged through the streets. It was taken to the Dnepr, pushed into the current by soldiers, and sent floating downstream until it was destroyed in the rapids. Subsequent to the mass baptism at Kiev, Vladimir destroyed the rest of the pagan idols. The local Orthodoxy praised his efforts and began construction of new churches to replace the pagan temples.
Vladimir built a new church in honor of St. Vasili, his patron saint, on the very hill where he had earlier erected the statue of Perun. Golubinski relates that many were not convinced of the superiority of Orthodoxy over their traditional paganism and refused the superficial conversion, while others turned a deaf ear to the commands, and still others took flight out of the city. These accused Vladimir and his sycophant nobles of being renegades from the religion of their forebears. In , Bishop Joakim arrived at Novgorod and destroyed the idol temples. The statue of Perun was cut down and he ordered people to throw it into the Volkhov River.
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They tied it with ropes and dragged it through manure and beat it with sticks and hacked it with saws. In the morning, a man from the village of Pidblya went to his boat in the river, intending to deliver some pots to the city, and he noticed that Perun had floated to the shore. The accounts indicating that Russia was baptized by Vladimir are exaggerations on the part of authors striving to impress on their readers that the 2.
Diminutive of Perun. In reality, only a small segment of the population was baptized, primarily those in the larger two cities, Kiev and Novgorod, and in other cities to a considerably lesser extent. The adherents to the new religion were primarily those of Varangian or Slavic descent, and did not include any of the foreigners living in Kievan Russia. There is no record in the early chroniclers that any other specific area other than Kiev and Novgorod were baptized to any significant extent.
A saying has been preserved regarding the baptism of Novgorod. Another chronicle, part of the biography of Bishop Joakim, states that the residents took vengeance against Dobrinya by burning his own house and murdering his wife, and that Dobrinya had to use his regiment to quell the disturbance.
As Vladimir further expanded his realm over the next 25 years, Orthodox bishops were at his heels erecting churches and baptizing new subjects into the national religion, now Russian Orthodoxy. Vladimir died July 15, , somewhere between the ages of 55 and He was buried in the Desyatinnoi Tithe Church, which he had built by donating one tenth of his possessions for its construction.
Vladimir had Church books in the Slavonic language imported for use in the new churches from Bulgaria. As a person, Vladimir is described by the account as having a generous and humanitarian nature. He was not an ascetic, but a man of the people. Vladimir was hospitable, to the extent of inviting the poor to his banquets and opening his home to the destitute. He was extraordinarily adept at using both war and religion to expand the size of Kievan Russia and keep it a single solid, consolidated state for the 25 years after his baptism.
As a professional soldier, Vladimir also did not hesitate to execute any who were upsetting his new society. According to the traditional account, Vladimir also released his concubines and his earlier five wives, giving them their freedom, while keeping Anna, the sister of the Byzantine kings, as his sole legitimate wife for the rest of his life.
The Era of Kievan Russia 8. Prior to his death Vladimir had assigned each of his five sons a segment of his realm; now, fratricidal civil wars wrought devastation over a five-year period. But Sviatopolk was not able to defeat the remaining brother, Yaroslav of Novgorod. Eventually, Yaroslav defeated Sviatopolk and acquired sole control of Kievan Russia. The two attempted to flee, but realized that they were in a hopeless situation. According to the traditional account, Boris was ruthlessly slain by soldiers sent by Sviatopolk on July 24, Gleb was murdered on September 5, in the same manner.
In the year , after saturating Kievan Russia with blood, Sviatopolk was defeated by his brother Yaroslav. Yaroslav expanded the size of Kiev, attempting to imitate Constantine in the building of Constantinople. A wall was constructed around the city and many new Orthodox Churches were built within it. He constructed a church of St.
Sophia, or Holy Wisdom, built a monastery dedicated to St. Gregory, and a convent dedicated to St. Once the strife dissipated, Yaroslav began to import religious books from Bulgaria, in Slavonic, and he also brought in translators from Bulgaria to translate other church books from Greek. The first bishop of Rostov was Feodor, a Greek just like all the bishops in Kiev at the time. He built a church in the city, but his effort at converting the non-Slavic population to Orthodoxy was a failure and Feodor relocated to Suzdal to escape the angry residents. The second bishop was Ilarion, but his efforts in Novgorod were a similar failure.
In reality, the harshness of the cold climate and lack of assistance made any type of progress difficult for these clergy displaced from their comfortable Mediterranean Greece. The third bishop was Leonti; although Greek, he was tonsured at Pecher Monastery in Kiev, was a disciple of Antonius of Pecher, and was acclimated to life in Russia. Later, he became abbot of Izyaslav Monastery of St.
Dimitri in Kiev. Isai retained the position of bishop of Rostov from to , and expanded his diocese to include Suzdal. The preacher Avrami was also popular in Rostov in later years. According to tradition, he destroyed the statue of the idol Voloss with a stick given to him by Apostle John, in a vision. This occurred during the rule of Vladimir Monomakh. After the death of Yaroslav in , his sons Izyaslav, Sviatoslav and Vsevolod held control of the throne in a more or less peaceful manner until an internecine struggle burst into the open and Sviatopolk seized control in , retaining it until Vladimir Monomakh, born in , the great-grandson of his namesake, ascended the throne over Kievan Russia as Grand Prince in and reigned until Archbishop Filaret, Talberg and Count Tolstoi incline towards Mikhail, and the latter states that he died in and was buried inside the Desyatinnoi Church in Kiev and that in his remains were transferred to the cave where Antonius of Pecher resided as a recluse.
Znamenski, following the traditional account, states that Vladimir brought Bishop Mikhail from Kherson to Kiev himself after the victory and installed him as metropolitan. Kartashyov, on the other hand, provides evidence that Mikhail was one of several missionary bishops sent by Patr. Nikolas to the region after the baptism of Kiev and that his career did not progress any further. The Novgorod version of the ancient chronicle states that Leon was sent to Kiev from Constantinople in by Patr.
Nikolas, at the request of Vladimir, and then assumed the cathedra of metropolitan. This version is accepted by the more thorough and investigative historians such as Golubinski and Kartashyov, and in general is accepted by scholars as the more reliable account. The Era of Kievan Russia There were 24 metropolitans over Kievan Russia from the baptism of Vladimir in to the invasion of the Mongols in , and all of them were Greek except for Ilarion and Kliment.
They were: 1. Leon, or Leonti: sent by patriarch Nikolas II in ; he died between and Theopempt: mentioned in the year by the chroniclers when he consecrated the Desyatinnoi Church in Kiev. He was formerly bishop of Novgorod, In , he returned to Constantinople because of war between Kievan Russia and Greece. Kirill I Cyril : died shortly after his arrival at Kiev.
No dates are available regarding him. Ilarion: ordained ; he is further described in the following chapter. Efrim: mentioned by the chroniclers in the year Giorgi: arrived in Kiev from Constantinople in and became bishop of Novgorod, which cathedra he held until when he was selected as metropolitan to succeed Efrim. He traveled to Constantinople to receive ordination that year and held the cathedra through Ioyann II: ordained or ; he died in He was the type [of metropolitan] which previously had not resided in Russia and none was like him in the future.
Vsevolod, who was visiting Constantinople. He died after one year as metropolitan. Nikolas: mentioned by the chroniclers in the years and Nikifor I: arrived December 6, ; he died April Nikita: arrived in ; he died March 9, Mikhail: who was formerly bishop of Novgorod from through He became metropolitan in , but abandoned the cathedra and returned to Constantinople in Kliment Smolyatich: ordained in further described in the following chapter. Constantine I: arrived in He abandoned the cathedra the following year and died in exile in Theodor: arrived August He died in either or Ioyann IV: arrived and died in Constantine II: arrived and held the cathedra through Nikifor II: mentioned by the chroniclers for the years Gavriil: no further information is available.
Diomicius: mentioned by the chroniclers for the years Matthei: held the cathedra Kirill II: arrived on January 6, ; he died in Iosif Joseph : arrived from Nicea and is not mentioned again. It seems he fled Kiev the following year when invasion by Mongols became imminent. Archbishop Filaret and Prof. Znamenski agree with him and the dates assigned, except that they exclude Gavriil and Diomicius 20 and 21 since the scant amount of information available on these men causes them to doubt their genuine accession to the cathedra.
Vladimir the Great had ties primarily with the Bulgarian Orthodox Church, and for this reason located the initial Greek metropolitans supplied by the patriarch, Leonti and Ioyann I, not in Kiev, his capital, but at this distant residence; their efficacy was nominal, if that. The cathedra was moved to Kiev with the completion of the Church of St. Sophia, under Yaroslav, which then became the cathedra of the metropolitan. Most of them arrived from Constantinople, their cathedra having been assigned to them by the respective ecumenical patriarch; some had been bishops, monks, or priests who earlier migrated to Kiev from Constantinople and were promoted.
There are many reasons for the short accession of several of them, and the speedy return to Constantinople of others. Golubinski feels that the bishop or priest who was elevated and ordained as metropolitan of Kiev would not have been of the highest caliber or quality, because few would want to accept this relocation to a backward and barbarian region; and few or none of the Greek metropolitans actually spoke Russian or could conduct services in Slavonic in any event. This accounts for the meager advancement of Orthodoxy in Kievan rule during the years following Ilarion, after The colder climate of Kiev and the Russian north likewise sapped the enthusiasm of the transplanted Mediterranean natives.
With the introduction of Orthodoxy as the national religion in Kievan Russia under Vladimir, the patriarchs of Constantinople took advantage of the right to ordain its metropolitans, but not entirely in the manner defined by the canons. The canons assigned to the patriarch only the right to consecrate or ordain metropolitans; but their selection was assigned to a council of bishops of 40 Part 2. The Era of Kievan Russia the dioceses. With regard to the metropolitan of Kiev, the ecumenical patriarch acted, on the contrary, by both selecting the candidate and then ordaining him as metropolitan.
According to the canons, a council of Russian bishops could select a native Russian as metropolitan; but in practice, for the most part, the patriarch selected him and transferred him to Russia first to Kiev, and later to Moscow. In this manner the Greek Church was able to subject the Russian Church to its authority at the expense of Kievan or Moscovite leaders.
In reality, the ecumenical patriarch had no business or canonical justification to interfere or meddle in the affairs of Russian Orthodoxy without a specific request to do so. But, due to the persistence of the patriarch, every metropolitan through the Mongol invasion was Greek with the exception of those two. In the Greek Orthodox ecclesiastical system, the metropolitan was answerable to his counterpart in the civil government and prelates and parish clergy were subject to the authority of the metropolitan. Each diocese had a bishop assigned to it, with an archbishop charged with overseeing several dioceses or holding authority over an especially large or important diocese, such as Novgorod.
Golubinski notes that there is a strong possibility that the Russian Church never knew about the canon allowing Kievans to select their own metropolitan independently. The Greek metropolitans certainly had no reason to mention it. Even so, given the weakness of Russian Orthodoxy as a corporate body, and its lack of cohesion, and later on the weakness of the grand princes of Kiev and Moscow, they may not have beenin a position to name their own metropolitans. Kievan Russia was embroiled in internecine civil wars and struggles between local feudal estates for the entirety of the period between Vladimir and the Mongols, and there was no stability during the Mongol occupation, either.
An incoherent or disrupted national religion would easily sway the grand prince to listen to Greek promoters and send for a metropolitan from Constantinople. Ilarion was ordained in under Pr. Yaroslav Vladimirovich, and Kliment under Pr. Izyaslav Mstislavich in The intent of both princes was to create a national Russian Church without interference or influence by Constantinople. Ilarion is important in the history of early Russian Orthodoxy because he was the first native Russian metropolitan.
According to the traditional account he was senior priest in the village Berestov, which was the summer palace of Pr. As a result, Ilarion became close to Yaroslav. Ilarion led an ascetic life during his early years and dug himself a cave near the Dnepr River to seclude himself and mediate in. He wanted to imitate to some degree the cave-dwelling hermits he had heard about and went there to sing and pray to God, alone and in secret.
Ilarion was then tonsured as a monk. Yaroslav held a council of prelates in and proposed Ilarion to the council as a candidate to fill the vacant cathedra of the metropolitan, and after his selection by the council in Kiev Ilarion traveled to Constantinople for approval and ordination as metropolitan by the patriarch, which was granted in During his career, Pecher Monastery was founded. Ilarion left his cathedra in about the year and returned to the ascetic life of a recluse until his death in Ilarion wrote several edifying theological compositions during his career. In , during the reign of Pr.
Vsevolod Olegovich, Metr. Mikhail, who had retained the cathedra some fourteen years, abandoned Kiev and returned to Constantinople. He was a Greek and had been bishop of Novgorod from to Vsevolod died in and was succeeded by his brother Igor Olegovich, who only held the throne two weeks before losing it to his rival and cousin, Izyaslav Mstislavich. Two years passed and Izyaslav waited for a new metropolitan from Constantinople. He was Kliment Smolyatich, an austere, self-educated ascetic.
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Izyaslav convened an ecclesiastical council in Kiev of seven bishops whose consensus he wanted for his action. The venerated Bishop Onuthrius of 42 Part 2.
Sophia and from the patriarch. But if you repent, and you accept a blessing from the patriarch, then we will bow to you. We have the decrees of [former] Metr. Mikhail that it is improper for us to have a metropolitan who has not ministered at St. Izyaslav, and Kliment Smolyatich was ordained metropolitan of Kiev July 27, by the Russian prelates gathered at the council. After the ordination, Manuel accepted Kliment as metropolitan, but Nifont refused. Two years later, Nifont was summoned to Kiev by Kliment, with the approval of Izyaslav, and taken into custody in a cell at Pecher Monastery.
He sat there incarcerated for a few months until he was released by Yuri Dolgoruki in late However, Izyaslav twice regained his throne from Uncle Yuri — and twice lost it — during the year Yuri, who did not accept the ordination of Kliment as valid, sent an embassy to Constantinople to the patriarch requesting a Greek metropolitan to be ordained and delivered. Constantine IV did not hesitate in sending Constantine, a Greek, ordained in With the exile of Kliment and the ordination of Constantine, Bishop Nifont of Novgorod felt he was finally vindicated and he rushed from Novgorod to be on hand to greet the new metropolitan.
Waiting for Constantine in Kiev, in 43 History of Russian Christianity April , Nifont fell ill and passed away before the new Greek metropolitan arrived; Bishop Manuel of Smolensk, however, greeted him very honorably. Yuri Dolgoruki died the following year May 15, and was succeded by Rostislav Mstislavich, a brother of Izyaslav. He fled to Chernigov, to the home of Bishop Antonius — also a Greek — and remained there until his death in , two years later.
Theodor arrived August The new metropolitan only lasted a year, dying in or Eventually, Ioyann IV was accepted by Rostislav, but reluctantly. Kliment died in exile, in about , while his successor Ioyann died May 12, In the southeast of Russia, hordes of Polovtzi resided in the expanses between the Dnepr and the Don Rivers, and in the 9th century all the way to the 44 Part 2. They were perennial enemies whom Vladimir and other feudal princes fought, both in order to defend themselves and to extend the size of their territory.
With the expansion of Christianity into the region, the Polovtzi began to attack. In , they destroyed many of the cities surrounding Kiev and brutally massacred many Christians. In , they attacked Kiev and the Pecher Monastery, burning it down and executing priests. According to one traditional account, Evstratius and thirty other monks were sold to a Kherson Jew after the attack on Kiev.
Attempting to force Evstratius to deny his Christian beliefs, the Jew starved some of them to death. As Evstratius refused to deny his faith, he was crucified at Easter season, and impaled. Nikon and the rest of monks remained in captivity among the Polovtzi, and they were cruelly tortured. Nikon patiently endured the deprivation of food and drink and the cruel beating, while attempting at the same time to convert his torturers.
By the mighty hand of God, Nikon was delivered from death and by a Divine miraculous intervention many of the Polovtzi were converted to Christianity in the year Beginning at this time, Polovtzi princes who had married Kievan women began to convert to Christianity and so implanted the faith among their countrymen. Andrei Bogolubski was able to convert many of them to Christianity from both their paganism and from Islam , especially those who lived in Vladimir as merchants and businessmen.
Bogolubski was also able to convert other pagan nationalities to Christianity, such as the Cheremis, and Mordovians, and also Jews. Other Bulgars became indignant at the conversion of their brethren to Christianity and began to persecute them. The wealthy merchant Avraanius, a Bulgar himself and a convert to Christianity, was decapitated in God then took personal vengeance on the Bulgars by having half of their capital city burn down in some unexplained manner, along with several other smaller Bulgar cities.
Reduced to fear and despair as a result of these fires, in the following year , after six years of violent struggle with the northern Russians, the Bulgars asked peace from Suzdal prince Andrei Bogolubski, which he granted. During the 13th century, Russian missionaries from Novgorod also preached and converted many pagans in the area of Karelia and the Russian far north, along the Dvin River. In , Gerasim, an ascetic of the Glushevski hermitage at Kiev, left the city to live in a desolate area along the Vologda River. There, alone, he constructed a monastery and church dedicated to the Holy Trinity and for thirty years preached the name of Christ to the local residents.
He was not Greek but a native Kievan. At the age of 17, in , near the end of the life of Theodosius of Pecher, Nestor entered Pecher Monastery and was tonsured by abbot Stephen. He was immediately ordained as a deacon. During the initial years at Pecher, Nestor constantly read books in the monastery library, which led him to become the single most-educated person in the history of Pecher Monastery. Nestor died in Writings traditionally ascribed to Nester are the Primary Chronicle, a history of Russia during the years , and the martyrdom of princes Boris and Gleb.
Bishop Kirill of Turov was the son of wealthy parents, but he renounced his inheritance and became a monk at Turov. He isolated himself on a pillar, following the ascetics of Egypt such as Simon the Stylite. The austerity of his life led the local feudal prince and folk to ask that he become bishop. As a preacher he was praised by his contemporaries as a Russian Chrysostom. Tradition indicates that he was more of a religious poet than a preacher, although he left as a legacy twelve addresses, three letters to monks, thirty prayers and a liturgy for supplicants. In , Kirill left the episcopacy to return to ascetic isolationism and he died the following year.
In the north of Russia, Antoni the Roman d. He established his residence on the banks of the Volkhov River, about a mile outside of Novgorod.
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Blessed by Bishop Nikita of Novgorod, Antoni initially opened an orphanage. In , he began the construction of a stone church dedicated to the Theotokos, which took two years to build and six more years to decorate. In , Antoni built another edifice on the premises dedicated to the Presentation of the Lord, and in founded a monastery, becoming its first abbot. The Antoni Monastery, although not the first of monasteries in the Novgorod region, has survived the centuries and its ruins still remain.
Mention must be made at this time of the holiest of all icons in the history of Russian Orthodoxy: the icon of the Immaculate Theotokos of Vladimir. According to the traditional account, the icon was painted by Luke the Evangelist, but its history over the next millennium is unrecorded.
In , the icon was brought from Constantinople to Kiev along with another icon of historical importance, the Theotokos of Pigoroschei. The icon of the Immaculate Theotokos of Vladimir was first housed at a church in Kiev and then at a convent in Vishgorod, until , when Pr.
Andrei Bogolubski took the icon to his new 46 Part 2. The Era of Kievan Russia city of Vladimir — from which the icon takes it name. In , the icon was relocated to Moscow, and its final home became Moscow Uspenski Cathedral, where it was placed by Metr.
Varlaam in His ecclesiastical regulation consisted of three parts. The first dealt with his own tithe donated for the construction of the Desyatinnoi Tithe Church of the Holy Theotokos. The second section dealt with topics of ecclesiastical justice assigned to the metropolitan and bishops; it lists those crimes whereby Christians of Russia would be subject to punishment by the Orthodox Church. The list contains the following crimes: 0 1.
Acts of superstition, heresy, desecration of the church edifice, and grave or tomb robbery. Crimes against the family, such as kidnapping a wife or marriage between relatives incest was considered the marriage of grandchildren or closer blood relationship. Men were prohibited from marrying for a fourth time.
The abandonment of unwanted children, unnatural relations, offenses against parents, and strife over inheritance were specifically defined as domestic crimes. The third section consists of a list of ranks that pertain to the administration of the church, as follows: 0 1. Persons who are dependents of the church, who receive a stipend from church income: widows, the blind, cripples, hunchbacks, healers, persons who have received a miraculous healing, persons under penance who dedicate themselves to some temporary service in the church, freed slaves or serfs, mendicants, and pilgrims.
Yaroslav supplemented this code during Metr. Clearer and more detailed definitions for the degree of punishment for crimes against the church: penance, monetary compensation, execution. The latter punishment was reserved solely to the discretion of the prince. The Episcopal court was created and it had entire jurisdiction over persons subject to church regulations. Yaroslav excluded serious crimes from the Episcopal court, which were under the jurisdiction of the civil courts.
Because ecclesiastical authority is an authority not of this world, the canons proscribe its use for the punishment of civil offenders and provide it solely as a means of punishment for ecclesiastical violations. This justice, as it pertains to the laity, consisted in the following: instruction and admonishment; penance consisting of a deprivation of participation in the Eucharist; excommunication; and anathema. Pertaining to the clergy — and depending on the severity of the violation — this justice consisted of the same instruction and admonishment, interdiction and excommunication.
In situations where the guilty person, disregarding the church punishment, remained insubordinate and continued to disturb the peace of the church, the prelates were not to utilize force for punishment, themselves, but to hand the person over to civil authorities. However, as time progressed the authority of the Episcopal Court increased and prelates began to use force or corporal methods of punishment: assessment of fines; incarceration — for which special cells were constructed inside cathedrals or monasteries; and public or private whipping. Such punishments were applied by prelates on both laity and parish clergy for violation of various ecclesiastical regulations.
The records for the era of Kievan Russia are meager in this matter, but evidence for instances of the use of physical punishment is available, though scattered in historical events pertaining to church affairs. The primary goal of the metropolitans of Greek origin was the conformance of Russia to Byzantine culture and Greek Orthodox religion.
They did not view the Russian culture as being as advanced or sophisticated as their own, nor did they view the Russian Church as autocephalous. The attitude of the Greek metropolitan was that the Russian Church was a stepchild of the Greek Church and was subject to its culture as well as religion: the Byzantine mode of worship was implanted in Russian Christianity.
The manner in which priests approached a prelate and revered him was Byzantine; the manner in which the deep-voiced deacons pronounced the words of the liturgy — incomprehensible to the parishioners, in any case — was Byzantine; the art work in the churches was 48 Part 2. The Era of Kievan Russia Byzantine. In short, everything about the religion was Byzantine and quite alien to the average Russian. The preference of a Russian over a Greek was based on the presumption of loyalty or patriotism that would be displayed.
A Russian would be willing to sacrifice himself for his nation, while a foreigner would not, and Slavic loyalty could not be implanted in a Greek because of his own congenital qualities. For the most part these Greek metropolitans were officials of the mother church, serving in a foreign country, with no obligation to the country. As a result, meager information about the ecclesiastical activities of Greek metropolitans is recorded in the ancient chronicles. The Lord gathered a certain type of monk at the residence of our Mother, so that they became philanthropists, like stars, in the land of Russia.
They were firm when they fasted, while others stood vigil or prostrate; some fasted a day or two, while others ate only green soup, while others only soup of raw vegetables. All resided in love. The younger [monks] subjected themselves to the older, not bold enough to speak to them except humbly and with willingness to obey. The elder [monks] had love for the younger, instructing them as though they were their beloved children. If any fell into violation he was comforted, and two or three divided among themselves the penance assigned to him.
If a brother abandoned the monastery, all the remaining brethren sorrowed over him, and were sent to retrieve him and ask him to return. And when he arrived, they all would go to the abbot, bowing to him and beseeching him, and then they rejoiced when their brother was re-admitted. Such was divine love, such was humility and temperance among the holy brethren.
Even after their death, they still shine as inextinguished lamps through various miracles performed by them and by their intercession to God. The institution of Orthodoxy in Russia was accompanied by the institution of monasticism. Russia adopted rules and examples of the monastic life primarily from Greece and to a lesser extent from Egypt. Much as in Western monasticism, the vows were obedience, poverty and chastity. The accounts state that monasticism was already organized and practiced under Vladimir the 49 History of Russian Christianity Great, although the first monastery was built under Yaroslav in , along with the first convent.
That there were other monasteries in Kiev under Yaroslav can be confirmed by the statement of Antonius of Pecher that he visited several monasteries in Kiev after his arrival there from Mt. Athos, about the year , but none suited him. The situation was the same for Theodosius of Pecher. The oldest recorded monastery in Novgorod is the Yurievski, founded in during the reign of Pr.
Most of the monasteries erected during the era of Kievan Russia were the effort of one individual. An ascetic from Greece or a Russian who felt God calling him, either naturally or by revelation, or some other supernatural means, went alone or with others of the same mind to a secluded area and built a house, cave or lean-to and began his career and of course, waited for others to join him. Land was often given to ascetics on request by feudal princes; of course, the land included the serfs tied to that parcel. The monastery was built by the serfs and monks under supervision of the abbot.
There must have been monks residing in Kiev during the rule of Yaroslav, in order to justify his building a monastery and a convent as well. The monastery would have been subsidized by the grand prince and a subsidy would have been provided for its future, through the grant of real estate as a patrimony, just as was done for churches. Most of the monasteries — and this is clear when reviewing the list of churches and monasteries — were constructed in the Kiev and Novgorod regions. The number of monasteries outside these regions was very limited.
The total number of monasteries, male and female, in Kievan Russia was about 70, with twelve of them convents. Of this number, about thirty were constructed by feudal princes while the balance resulted from the efforts of individual ascetics or small groups of them. Some monastery construction was privately funded by a wealthy man who had decided to become a monk in his later years and used his wealth to build a monastery and then bequeathed the balance of his estate to the monastery as its patrimony.
In the information that remains available these days, the first Kiev monastery built by ascetics was Pecher to be discussed in the following chapter. Monasticism begins with hermitage. Individuals who desired to distance themselves from the world and consecrate their lives solely to the service of God 50 Part 2. The Era of Kievan Russia departed from the cities and its temptations to deserted areas and solitude. The goal of such hermits and monks was voluntary poverty and sexual abstinence, and a denial of those manners and customs considered worldly.
An exceptional dedication or concern for the affairs of the Lord was to evolve from this life of asceticism. Living for God became the mortification of the flesh by means of fasting and physical deprivation, and the perfection of the spirit through mental and oral prayer. The rules of monasticism pertained to the above goals and intents, a regimentation designed to direct the monk or ascetic toward this spiritual perfection.
Unconsciously, monasticism created an artificial division within Orthodox clergy by touting itself as the sole means of attaining the kingdom of heaven. Of course, many wanted to enter the kingdom and so, naturally, many had the desire to become a monk, whether early in life or later in life, or even on their deathbeds. Monks and nuns were a special and distinct class in the population and were, in a sense, neither laity nor clergy.
Regular monks residing in a monastery were not priests or deacons or ordained members of the clergy. They could become members of the clergy if they so desired, but the vast majority did not. Monks were selected as abbots for all episcopacies, which required a monastic candidate. Antagonism likewise surfaced between the ordained parish clergy and the ascetics.