When Lev Tolstoi emerged as a religious teacher in the 1880s, taking a sharply polemical stance against the Orthodox faith, the leadership of the Russian church groped for ways and means to stem the spread of the pernicious new heresy among the Russian public. The most ambitious but also the most disastrous attempt was made in 1901 when the synod promulgated an official pronouncement (poslanie) against him. This document, which created a worldwide scandal, was undertaken by the church itself and not, as has been widely assumed, at the instigation of the state authorities. In its poslanie the synod declared that Tolstoi could not receive an Orthodox burial unless he repented. This strategy badly backfired, since Tolstoi under no circumstances wanted such a burial and therefore made no move toward repentance. At the same time many Russians, including fervent believers, felt that the church itself with its requiem ban had sinned against the Christian injunction of all-embracing love. When Tolstoi died in 1910 and the burial issue became acute, the synod strenuously, but unsuccessfully, searched for a way out of its predicament.