Russian women chat room

Essentials archive:
Resources archive:
Articles archive:
Facts on Russia:

The Russian Orthodox Church History as seen from the West

Date: 2006-09-26

History of the Russian Orthodox Church as seen from the West

Russian Orthodox Church is the largest "autocephalous" or ecclesiastically independent, church in the commonwealth of Eastern Orthodox churches, headed by its own Patriarch. Church membership is estimated at 60 million people.

Christianity as the state religion has been accepted in Russia (Kievan Rus') in the 10th century after the baptism of Olga - regent of Kiev (957) and her grandson Vladimir - prince of Kiev (988).

Initially Russian church was ruled by the metropolitans of Kiev (who after 1328 resided in Moscow) and formed a metropolitanate of the Byzantine patriarchate. In 1448 the Russian bishops elected their own patriarch without recourse to Constantinople, and the Russian church became autonomous (autocephalous). In 1589 the metropolitan of Moscow (Job), has been raised to the position of patriarch with the approval of Constantinople and received the fifth rank in honour after the patriarchs of Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem.

While Russia lay under Mongol rule from the 13th through the 15th century, the Russian church enjoyed a favoured position, obtaining immunity from taxation in 1270. This period saw a remarkable growth of monasticism. The Monastery of the Caves (Pecherska Lavra) in Kiev, founded in the mid-11th century by the ascetics St. Anthony and St. Theodosius, was superseded as the foremost religious centre by the Monastery of the Holy Trinity, which was founded in the mid-14th century by St. Sergius of Radonezh (in what is now the city of Sergiev Posad). Sergius, as well as the metropolitans St. Peter (1308-26) and St. Alexius (1354-78), supported the rising power of the principality of Moscow.

In the mid-17th century the Russian patriarch Nikon, pursuing the ideal of a theocratic state, attempted to establish the primacy of the Orthodox church over the state in Russia, and he also undertook a thorough revision of Russian Orthodox texts and rituals to bring them into accord with the rest of Eastern Orthodoxy. Nikon was deposed in 1666 by tsar Alexis, but the Russian church retained his reforms and anathematized those who continued to oppose them; the latter became known as Old Believers and formed a vigorous body of dissenters within the Russian Orthodox church for the next two centuries.

In 1721 Tsar Peter I the Great abolished the patriarchate of Moscow and replaced it with the Holy Governing Synod, which was modeled after the state-controlled synods of the Lutheran church in Sweden and Prussia and was tightly controlled by the state. The chief procurator of the synod, a lay official who obtained ministerial rank in the first half of the 19th century, henceforth exercised effective control over the church's administration until 1917. This control, which was facilitated by the political subservience of most of the higher clergy, was especially marked during the procuratorship (1880-1905) of the archconservative K.P. Pobedonostsev.

In November 1917, 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 1922, when the Renovated Church, a reform movement supported by the Soviet government, seceded from Patriarch Tikhon's church, restored a Holy Synod to power, and brought division among clergy and faithful.

The Revolution of 1917 had severed large sections of the Russian church--dioceses in America, Japan, and Manchuria, as well as refugees in Europe--from regular contacts with the mother church. A group of bishops who had left their sees in Russia gathered in Sremski-Karlovci, Yugoslavia, and adopted a clearly political monarchist stand. The group further claimed to speak as a synod for the entire "free" Russian church. This group, which to this day includes a sizable portion of the Russian emigration, was formally dissolved in 1922 by Patriarch Tikhon, who then appointed metropolitans Platon and Evlogy as ruling bishops in America and Europe, respectively. Both of these metropolitans continued intermittently to entertain relations with the synod in Karlovci, but neither of them accepted it as a canonical authority. After World War II the patriarchate of Moscow made unsuccessful attempts to regain control over these groups. In 1970 it finally recognized an autocephalous Orthodox Church in America, thereby renouncing its former canonical claims in the United States and Canada; it also acknowledged an autonomous church established in Japan that same year.

After Tikhon's death (1925) the government forbade patriarchal elections to be held. In 1927, in order to secure the survival of the church, Metropolitan Sergius formally expressed his "loyalty" to the Soviet government and henceforth refrained from criticizing the state in any way. This attitude of loyalty, however, provoked more divisions in the church itself: inside Russia, a number of faithful opposed Sergius, and abroad, the Russian metropolitans of America and western Europe severed their relations with Moscow. Then, in 1943, benefiting from the sudden reversal of Joseph Stalin's policies toward religion, Russian Orthodoxy underwent a resurrection; a new patriarch was elected, theological schools were opened, and thousands of churches began to function. Between 1945 and 1959 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 25,000. A new and widespread persecution of the church was subsequently instituted under the leadership of Nikita Khrushchev and Leonid Brezhnev. Then, beginning in the late 1980s, under Mikhail Gorbachev, the new political and social freedoms resulted in many church buildings being returned to the church, to be restored by local parishioners. The collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 furthered the spiritual progress.

Your First Name
Your Email Address

     Privacy Guaranteed

GL52081914 GL52081962 GL52080057 GL52068236


      SCANNED February 22, 2024

Dating industry related news
Can Love Take Truth?Pay Dating Sites Vs. Free Dating SitesPersonals in the London Review of Books prove the language of love is charmingly eccentric
In days prior to indoctrination reality, men and women didn’t place extracurricular sex above love, nor did they confuse love for lust – at least not as an acting rule of thumb. Relationships tended to develop over time and intentional relating. Marriage was considered to be the entrance into adulthood and children the physical and permanent expression of love and marriage. Today, such notions are absurd. Marriage is demonized and children are “mentally ill.” They were not mentally ill, however,...With over 100 free online dating sites, it's easy to choose to log on or post your profile for free, but there are some unique differences between pay and free sites that you should take into consideration before signing up. Online dating services have grown since 1998, when the first ones hit the internet. There a sites especially for every type of person now, from teen online dating to senior online dating, with everyone else in between. The bottom line is you get what you pay for. Joining...With tattoos poking out of the cuffs and neck of his suit, David Rose does not look like the world's foremost matchmaker for eccentric intellectuals. As advertising director of the highbrow London Review of Books, however, Rose is the man behind the strangest, funniest and most neurotic lonely hearts section around. While most personal ads tend to emphasize the positive, LRB's advertisers have no qualms about mentioning their recent divorces, obsessive-compulsive disorders and bizarre fashion f...
read more >>read more >>
ChanceForLove Online Russian Dating Network Copyright © 2003 - 2023 , all rights reserved.
No part of this site may be reproduced or copied without written permission from