Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home

The Church in the Russian Revolution: Arguments for and against Restoring the Patriarchate at the Church Council of 1917-1918

  • Catherine Evtuhov (a1)

Extract

One of the most important events of the summer of 1917 was the opening of the All–Russian Council of the Orthodox church on 15 August in Moscow. In a dramatic opening ceremony, solemn processions from all the churches of Moscow converged on Red Square for the service led by Metropolitan Tikhon. The council had been convened by a 5 July order of the Holy Synod and its chief procurator, V. N. L'vov, with the concurrence of the Provisional Government. The calling of a church council–the first since Peter's establishment of the collegial system of administration–was a substantive change in church governance and also had a symbolic meaning. In pre-Petrine Russia, the councils not merely had played an ecclesiastical role but had formed an integral part of national government. (For example, Ivan IV and the church council had worked together to implement changes in the secular code of law as well as in spiritual and ecclesiastical matters.)

Copyright

References

Hide All

I am grateful to Gregory Freeze, Boris Gasparov, Susan Morrissey, Nicholas Riasanovsky, and Richard Stites for their comments. Research for this article was conducted on a long-term grant from the International Research and Exchanges Board (IREX).

1. Kartashev, also well-known as a historian of the Russian Orthodox church, says that opposition to the patriarchate resulted from the white clergy's and laity's fear of episcopal dominance, but the council debates do not include any such arguments. Whether this was an issue needs further research. See Kartashev, A. V., “Revoliutsiia i sobor 1917-1918 g.,” Bogoslovskaia mysl’ [Paris] no. 4 (1942): 75101 .

2. Curtiss, John Shelton, “The Russian Orthodox Church and the Provisional Government,” American Slavic and East European Review 7 (October 1948): 237–250; Rdssler, Roman, Kirche una” Revolution in Russland: Patriarch Tichon und der Sowjetstaat (Cologne: Bohlau, 1969 ; Igor Smolitsch, “Die russische Kirche in der Rcvolutionszeit vom Marz bis Oktober 1917 und das Landeskonzil 1917 bis 1918 (zur Geschichte der Beziehungen zwischen Staat und Kirche in Russland),” Ostkirchliche Studien [Wurzburg] 14 (1965): 3-34. See also Kartashev, A. V., “Vremennoe pravitel'stvo i russkaia Tserkov',” Sovremennye Zapiski [Paris] no. 52 (1933); and Titlinov, B. V., Tserkov’ vo vremia revoliutsii (Petrograd, 1924). Soviet interpretations can be seen in, for example, Preobrazhensky, Alexander, ed., The Russian Orthodox Church, 10th to 20th Centuries (Moscow: Progress, 1988 , and Russkaia Pravoslavnaia Tserkov', 988-1988, issue 2, Ocherki istorii 1917-1988 gg. (Moscow: Izdaniie Moskovskoi Patriarkhii, 1988).

3. The issue of lay representation had been one of the most important in the preconciliar discussions. The early church councils, it was pointed out, had generally consisted only of the ecclesiastical hierarchy (compare Lebedev, A. P., Predstoiashchii Vserossiiskii Sobor s tochki zreniia drevnikh soborov [Moscow, 1907]). The particular significance of the church councils within the Russian, or more specifically Muscovite , tradition, as a necessary part of the overall management of the country (for example the Stoglav was a complement to Ivan IV's Sudebnik), however, pointed to creating a council that would represent the Russian people as a whole, as a social and not strictly ecclesiastical institution. Thus, in the end, the main rules of election were as follows: The council would consist of diocesan bishops, black and white clergy, and laitytogether; five delegates (two clerics and three laity) were to be chosen from each diocese; members of the Holy Synod and the Preconciliar Conference automatically became members of the council; monasteries would have 20 delegates military clergy, 26; edinovertsy and vicariates, 22; theological academies, 12; academies of science and universities, 15; the State Duma and State Council, 20. The council thus had 314 lay and 250 clerical members (see Smolitsch, “Die russische Kirche,” Kartashev, “Revoliutsiia i sobor “). In practice, the council included those clerical and lay individuals who had dedicated much of their public activity to church renewal or reform and stood for election for this reason. Practically all of these most active and vocal members favored the patriarchate.

4. See Scherrer, Jutta, Die petersburger religios-philosophischen Vereinigungen: Die Entwicklung des religiosen Selbst-Verstdndnis ihrer Intelligencija-Mitglieder (1901-1917) (Berlin: Forschungen zur osteuropaischen Geschichte, 1973 ); and Scheibert, Peter, Die petersburger religios-philosophischen Zusammenkunfte von 1902 und 1903 (Berlin, 1964).

5. A. M. Ivantsov-Platonov, O russkom tserkovnom upravlenii (Saint Petersburg, 1898), 17-22, 77-78.

6. For the council's prehistory, see esp. James Cunningham, A Vanquished Hope: The Movement for Church Reform in 1905-1906 (Crestwood, N.Y.: St. Vladimir's Seminary Press, 1981); and John Meyendorff, “The Russian Bishops and Church Reform,” in Russian Orthodoxy under the Old Regime, ed. Robert Nichols and Theophanis George Stavrou (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1978): 170-182.

7. Astrov's “Wednesdays,” described by Andrei Belyi in his memoirs, were a gathering place for Moscow modernist circles, including the symbolist poets, in the mid-1900s. Pavel Ivanovich Astrov, 51, was a candidate of jurisprudence and a member of the Moscow District Court and an elected deputy member of the Higher Church Council.

8. The following discussion is based on the preliminary discussions of the Committee on Higher Church Governance (TsGIA, f. 833, op. 1, d. 38) and debates in the council (Deianiia, sessions 24-31).

9. Afanasii Vasil'evich Vasil'ev, age 66, was a lay member elected by the Petrograd diocese where he was a resident. University educated, he was a member of the Council of State Control and president of the society, Sobornaia Rossiia. Vasil'ev was a prominent public figure, known for his articles on legal and ecclesiastical questions, his Slavophilism, and Christian socialist views regarding land policy. The notion of sobornost’ and its explication were a preoccupation and guiding theme of his writings. (In the following footnotes biographical material will be given for each speaker; the information will include full name, age, lay or clerical status, diocese represented, education, profession or position, and permanent place of residence.)

10. TsGIA f. 833, op. 1, d. 38. Unless otherwise noted references to f. 833, op. 1, d. 38 are taken from 11. 143-173.

11. Iakov Iakovlevich Galakhov, 52, was a cleric elected from Tomsk diocese. A master of theology from Kazan’ Theological Academy, he was archpriest, professor at Tomsk University, and a resident of Tomsk; he had written many books on religion and society. Nikolai Mikhailovich Bogoliubov, 44, was a lay member elected from Saratov diocese and a theological seminary graduate. Also an archpriest, he was professor of theology at the University of St. Vladimir and a resident of Saratov; he had written several books on religious, philosophical, and historical topics. Ivan Feoktistovich, 55, was a lay member elected in Kostroma diocese. University educated, he was a doctor and taught in a women's gymnasium in Kologriv, Kostroma diocese, where he resided.

12. TsGIA, f. 833, op. 1, d. 38.

13. Ibid.

14. See Archimandrite Ioann, Opyt kursa tserkovnogo zakonovedeniia (St. Petersburg: Tipografiia Fishera, 1851) 1: 177.

15. Sviashchennyi sobor pravoslavnoi rossiiskoi tserkvi: Deianiia (Moscow, 1918), session 29, 23 October 1917, book 2, issue 2, 378.

16. Nikolai Nikolaevich Fioletov, 26, was a lay member elected from Perm’ University, where he was extraordinary professor; he lived in Perm'. Session 27, 19 October 1917, book 2, issue 2, 309.

17. Ibid.

18. Vladimir Klementovich Nedel'skii, 48, was a lay member elected from the Lithuanian diocese. A candidate of theology, he taught at the Lithuanian Theological Seminary and was a temporary resident of Riazan'. Session 28, 21 October 1917, book 2, issue 2, 345.

19. These rights and their limitations were defined in the rules of the seven ecumenical councils acknowledged by the Orthodox church.

20. TsGIA, f. 833, op. 1, d. 38.

21. Pavel Dmitrievich Lapin, 39, was elected from Kazan’ Theological Academy. A master of theology and professor at Kazan’ Theological Academy, he was an elected member of the Higher Church Council and resided in Kazan'. His scholarly work dealt with church councils as an organ of church governance. Session 30, 25 October 1917, book 2, issue 2, 431-435.

22. Nikolai Ivanovich Troitskii, 66, was a lay member elected from Tula diocese and a master of theology. In charge of the Tula chamber of antiquities and resident of Tula, he was both a writer on spiritual issues and an archeologist. TsGIA, f. 833, op. 1, d. 38.

23. Ibid.

24. Vasilii Iakovlevich Malakhov, 44, a lay member elected in Volyn’ diocese, was a candidate of theology, a teacher at Volyn’ Theological Seminary, and a resident of Zhitomir. Session 30, 25 October 1917, book 2, issue 2, 428.

25. For a general discussion of church-state relations in imperial Russia, see Freeze, Gregory, “Handmaiden of the State? The Church in Imperial Russia Reconsidered,” Journal of Ecclesiastical History 36 (1985): 82102 .

26. Nikolai Ivanovich Znamirovskii, 38, was a lay member elected from Perm’ diocese, a candidate of theology, inspector of Perm’ Theological Seminary, and a resident of Perm'.

27. TsGIA, f. 833, op. 1, d. 38, and session 30, 25 October 1917, book 2, issue 2, 431-435.

28. Anatolii Fedorovich Gorain, 37, was a lay member elected from Chernigov diocese, a candidate of theology, inspector of the men's gymnasium in Gorodnia, Chernigov diocese, where he was a resident. Session 30, 25 October 1917, book 2, issue 2, 437.

29. See, for example, Vasil'ev's comments in a committee meeting, f. 833, op. 1, 437. Incidentally, this statement corresponds to the position expressed in literary terms by Merezhkovskii, Dmitrii, particularly in the trilogy, Khristos i Antikhrist, 4 vols. (Moscow: Kniga, 1989-1990).

30. TsGIA, f. 833, op. 1, d. 38.

31. Session 30, 25 October 1917, book 2, issue 2, 437.

32. TsGIA, f. 833, op. l, d. 38.

33. Ivan Nikiforovich Speranskii, 31, was a clerical member elected from Novgorod diocese. A candidate of theology and psalm reader of Uspenskii church in Staraia Russa, he resided in Stavropol’ province. Session 26, 18 October 1917, book 2, issue 2, 284.

34. The reference to the “fashionable contemporaries” refers to those intelligentsia circles that had recently “discovered” Christianity and made some efforts to approach the Orthodox church. Session 26, 18 October 1917, book 2, issue 2, 286.

35. TsGIA, f. 833, op. 1, d. 38, 1. 180. Also book 3, 24.

36. Tikhon Maksimovich Garanin, 54, was a lay member elected from Samara diocese. Educated at home, he was an elder of the cathedral of the town of Novouzensk, Samara diocese, where he resided. The names of these “chief patriarchs,” of course, are Garanin's invention. Session 27, 19 October 1917, book 2, issue 2, 313-314.

37. Lev Zakharovich Kuntsevich, 41, lay member elected from the Don diocese, was a candidate of theology, a missionary, and proselytizer who resided in Rostov-on-Don.

38. Session 30, 25 October 1917, book 2, issue 2, 406.

39. Session 25, 14 October 1917, book 2, issue 2, 257.

40. TsGIA, f. 833, op. l, d. 38.

41. Session 24, 11 October 1917, book 2, issue 2, 229.

42. Count Pavel Mikhailovich Grabbe, 41, was elected as a lay member from Vladikavkaz diocese. Educated in the page coFps, he was a colonel of the Kuban’ Cossack army and resident of Kislovodsk, Terek region.

43. Dmitrii Ivanovich Volkov, 55, was a lay member elected from Tver’ diocese. Educated at home, he was a merchant and a resident in the village of Tal'dom, Tver’ diocese. (Subsequently he resigned from the council.) Session 25, 14 October 1917, book 2, issue 2, 270.

44. Vladimir Ignat'evich Vostokov, 49, was a clerical member elected from Ufa diocese. Educated at a theological seminary, he was priest of Ufa Cathedral and lived in Ufa. Session 27, 19 October 1917, book 2, issue 2, 304.

45. Emilian Ignat'evich Bekarevich, 58, was a clerical member elected from Kholm diocese. Educated at a theological seminary, he was archpriest and vicar of Lublin Cathedral and was active in the Tenth Army. Emile Combes, French minister of education in the 1890s, was known for his radical views and advocacy of the separation of church and state. Session 27, 19 October 1917, book 2, issue 2, 312.

46. A. G. Kuliashev, session 28, 21 October 1917, book 2, issue 2. Jews were not included in this list of elements threatening to the church.

47. Aleksandr Petrovich Rozhdestvenskii, 53, a member by participation in the Preconciliar Conference, was a doctor of theology, archpriest of the Church of Maria Palace in Petrograd, professor of Petrograd Theological Academy, member of the Holy Synod, and president of the committee on theological academies. He was a resident of Petrograd and had written several books of biblical exegesis. Session 30, 25 October 1917, book 2, issue 2, 428-429.

48. Vasilii Georgievich Rubtsov, 44, was a lay member elected in Tver’ diocese. Educated at home, he was a sales clerk and lived in the village of Rakhmanovo, Kashin district, Tver’ diocese. Session 25, 14 October 1917, book 2, issue 2, 268.

49. TsGIA, f. 833, op. 1, d. 38, 1. 213. Kuznetsov's thought on the patriarchate had been delivered in written form because fighting and gunfire prevented him from leaving his home near the Kremlin. Nikolai Dmitrievich Kuznetsov, 49, was a member by virtue of participation in the Preconciliar Conference. A master of church law who lived in Moscow, he was an attorney and the author of works on ecclesiastical reform, freedom of conscience, church property, and the teaching of religion in the schools. Sergei Nikolaevich Bulgakov, 46, was a lay member elected from Tauride diocese. Doctor of political economy and a professor at Moscow Commercial Institute and University, he was an elected member of the Higher Church Council. Bulgakov was one of the most prominent representatives of the religious “renewal” among the intelligentsia and had written the important social-philosophical work, Filosofiia khoziaistva.

50. Priest N. V. Tsvetkov, session 27, 19 October 1917, book 2, issue 2, 302-304.

51. Priest L. E. Ivanitskii, session 30, 25 October 1917, book 2, issue 2, 437-439.

52. Prince Andrei Georgievich Chagadaev, 39, was a lay member elected from Turkestan diocese. A graduate of the university and Constantine Surveying Institute, he was a justice of the peace and resident of Tashkent. Session 25, 14 October 1917, book 2, issue 2, 271.

53. Boris Vasil'evich Titlinov, 38, was a lay member by election from Petrograd Theological Academy and by participation in the Preconciliar Conference. A doctor of church history, he was professor at Petrograd Theological Academy and author of important scholarly works on church history. Session 28, 21 October 1917, book 2, issue 2, 358.

54. A. V. Vasil'ev, TsGIA, f. 833, op. 1, d. 38.

55. D. A. Nesmeianov, V. V. Bogdanovich, A. I. Iudin, TsGIA, f. 833, op. 1, d. 38.

56. A. V. Vasil'ev, P. I. Astrov, A. I. Nadezhdin, Archimandrite Ilarion, V. A. Pravdin, M. F. Piontkevich, TsGIA, f. 833, op. 1, d. 38.

57. V. V. Bogdanovich, TsGIA, f. 833, op. 1, d. 38.

58. Smolitsch, “Die russische Kirche,” 27.

59. Session 30, 25 October 1917, book 2, issue 2, 438.

60. Session 28, 19 October 1917, book 2, issue 2, 301-302.

61. Book 3, 17-21.

62. Valerian Vasil'evich Radzimovskii, 53, a lay member by participation in the Preconciliar Conference , had been educated at university. He was juridical counsel to the chief procurator of the Holy Synod and a resident of Petrograd. Session 26, 18 October 1917, book 2, issue 2, 291-295.

63. Petr Pavlovich Kudriavtsev, 48, was a lay member by participation in the Preconciliar Conference and was a master of theology. A professor of the Kiev Theological Academy and resident in Kiev, he was an elected deputy member of the Higher Church Council and had written much on questions of Christianity and society, Christian morality, and life in the church. Session 30, 25 October 1917, book 2, issue 2, 415-420.

64. See book 2, issue 2, 231, and book 3, 9.

The Church in the Russian Revolution: Arguments for and against Restoring the Patriarchate at the Church Council of 1917-1918

  • Catherine Evtuhov (a1)

Metrics

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed