Ways of Russian Theology

The Contradictions of the Seventeenth Century

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3. The Contradictions

of the Seventeenth Century.


For Muscovy, the seventeenth century began with the Time of Troubles. l The election of a new dynasty did not put an end to them. An entire century passed in an atmosphere of extreme tension and disquiet and in dissent, differences, and disputes. It was an age of popular revolts and rebellions.

But the Time of Troubles was not only a political crisis and a social catastrophe, it was also a spiritual shock or moral rupture. During the Time of Troubles the national psyche was reborn. The nation emerged from the Time of Troubles altered, alarmed, and agitated; receptive to new ways, but very distrustful and suspicious. This was a distrust that arose from a spiritual lack of conviction or from a sense of failure which was far more dangerous than all the social and economic difficulties into which the government of the early Romanovs was plunged.

It is still very fashionable to depict the seventeenth century as a counterpoint to the era of Peter the Great: a “pre-reform” period, a static and stagnant age, a dark background for the great reforms. Such a characterization contains very little truth, for the seventeenth century was a century of reform. Of course many people still lived according to tradition and custom. Many even felt an intensified urge to rivet every aspect of life in chains or turn life into a solemn, consecrated, if not holy, ritual. However, memory of the catastrophe was still fresh. The past had to be restored and customs observed with great presence of mired and deliberation as precise, abstract legal prescriptions.

Muscovite style during the seventeenth century was least of all direct or simple. Everything was too premeditated, deliberated, and designed. People usually begin to consider and to be disturbed about the indestructibility of ancestral foundations and traditions only when the old customs [byt'] are being shattered. Thus, in the pathos of the seventeenth century can be detected a belated self-defense against the incipient collapse of custom and routine, a kind of failing “retreat into ritual” rather than any coherent wholeness or strength. There is more than enough direct evidence that this shattering of customary life was general.

The most tenacious conservatives and zealots of the old order spoke openly about “correction.” Even they felt and admitted that it was no longer possible to survive on the inertia of tradition or habit. Resoluteness and determination were needed. By “correction” these zealots usually meant repentance, moral transformation, and concentration of will [sobrannost'], as in the cases of Neronov 2 or Awakum. 3 Their instinct became dulled and an organic sense of life was lost. That is why ritual, model, example, some sort of mooring and external standard, became so necessary. During the process of growth a bandage is not needed. “Confessionalism of custom and routine” [bytovoe ispovednichestvo] is a sign of weakness and decline, not strength and faith.

The seventeenth century was a “critical,” not an “organic” epoch in Russian history. It was a century of lost equilibrium; an age of unexpected events and the inconstant; a century of unprecedented and unheard of events; precisely an unaccustomed age (but not one of custom). It was a dramatic century, a century of harsh personalities and colorful characters. Even S.M. Solov'ev 4 describes it as “heroic” [bogatyrskim].

The apparent stagnation during the seventeenth century was not lethargy or anabiosis. It was a feverish sleep, replete with nightmares and visions. Not so much somnolence as panic. Everything had been torn down, everything had been shifted about. The soul itself was somehow displaced. The Russian soul became strange and wandering during the Time of Troubles.

It is completely incorrect to speak of the isolation of Muscovy during the seventeenth century. On the contrary, the century witnessed an encounter and clash with the West and with the East. The historical fabric of Russian life now became particularly confused and varied, and the investigator very often discovers in this fabric completely unexpected strands.

This frightened century ends with an apocalyptical convulsion, with the terrifying approach of apocalyptical fanaticism. Had not the Third Rome in turn suddenly become the Devil's tsardom? Such a suspicion and conclusion marked the outcome and the end of the tsardom of Muscovy. Rupture and spiritual suicide followed. “There will be no new apostasy, for this has been the final Rus'.” The outcome of the seventeenth century was flight and a dead end. Yet there was still a more horrible exodus: “the pine coffin” — the smoking log cabin of those who chose self-immolation.

Correction of Books.

Correction of the religious books, that fateful theme for seventeenth century Muscovy, was actually much more difficult and complex than is normally thought. Book correction is linked with the beginning of printing in Muscovy. The discussion ranged over the “correct” edition of books, services, and texts, which had a venerable history and were known not only in a multiplicity of copies from different periods but in a multiplicity of translations. Muscovite editors immediately became drawn into all the contradictions of manuscript tradition. They made numerous and frequent mistakes or went astray, but not only because of their “ignorance.” Their mistakes, missteps, and confusions often were caused by real difficulties, although they did not always know and understand exactly where the difficulties lay.

The concept of a “correct” edition is variously understood and ambiguous. The “ancient exemplar” is also an indeterminate quantity. The antiquity of a text and the age of a copy by no means always coincide, and frequently the original form of a text is discovered in, comparatively recent copies. Even the question of the relationship between a Slavonic and a Greek text is not that simple and cannot be reduced to a problem of an “original” and a “translation.” Not every Greek text is older or “more original” than every Slavonic one. The most dangerous thing of all is to trust any single manuscript or edition, even though it may be an “ancient” one.

Moscow was not the only place where seventeenth century scholars were unable to reconstruct the history or genealogy of texts. Without a historical stemma (the tree of descent of a text), manuscripts very often seem to display insoluble and inexplicable discrepancies, so that reluctantly a theory of their “corruption” is posed. Compelling haste further complicated the work of these Moscow editors. The books were being “corrected” to meet practical needs and for immediate use. A “standard edition,” a reliable and uniform text, had to be immediately produced. “Office” [chin] had to be precisely defined. The notion of “correctness” implied primarily the idea of uniformity.

The choice of copies for comparison is no easy task, and under such hurried conditions the editors had no time to prepare the manuscripts. Because of their ignorance of paleography and language, for all practical purposes Greek manuscripts were inaccessible. Necessity dictated the easiest course: reliance upon printed editions. But in doing so, a new series of difficulties presented itself. In the early years of the century, books of “Lithuanian imprint” were greatly distrusted in Moscow, as were those of the “White Russians” or Cherkassy's whom a council in 1620 6 had decided to rebaptize on the ground that they had been baptized by sprinkling rather than immersion. True, it seems these “Lithuanian” books enjoyed the widest use. In 1628 it was ordered that they should be inventoried in all the churches, in order that they could be replaced by Muscovite editions. “Lithuanian” books owned privately were simply to be confiscated. In December, 1627, Kirill Trankvillion's Commentaries on the Gospel [Uchitel noe Evangelie] was ordered burned by the public hangman, “for the heretical words and composition revealed in the book.” Lavrenti Zizani's Catechism, 8 which had just been printed by the Moscow Printing Office, was not released for circulation.

No less caution was exercised in relation to the “new translations” of Greek books (that is, those printed in the “Roman cities,” Venice, Lutetia [Paris], and Rome itself), “for if anything new is added to them, we shall not accept them, even though they be printed in the Greek language.” Even Greek emigrés, after all, usually warned against these “translations” as corrupt, “for the Papists and the Lutherans have a Greek printing press, and they are daily printing the theological works of the Holy Fathers, and in these books they insert their ferocious poison, their pagan heresy.” But from practical necessity, the Moscow editors used these suspect Kievan or “Lithuanian” and Venetian books. For example, Epifanii Slavinetskii 9 openly worked with the late sixteenth century Frankfurt and London editions of the Bible. Not surprisingly such work evoked widespread anxiety in ecclesiastical circles, especially when it led to deviations from customary routine.

The first tragic episode in the history of the liturgical reform during the seventeenth century stands apart from later events. This was the case of Dionisii Zobninovskii, Archimandrite of the Holy Trinity Monastery, 10 and his collaborators, who were condemned in 1618 for “corrupting” books. Not all aspects of this case are clear. It is very difficult to grasp why the editors received such a lacerating and impassioned trial and condemnation. They had been correcting the Prayer Book [Potrebnik], using a method of comparing manuscripts which included Greek manuscripts, although the editors themselves did not know Greek. Only in a very few cases did they use the Greek text and then with the aid of a foreign intermediary. In the majority of cases the “corrections” were directed toward restoring the meaning of a text. The accusation brought against the editors hinged on a single correction. The uncorrected text of the prayer for the blessing of the water at baptism read as follows: “consecrate this water by Thy Holy Spirit and by fire.” The editors deleted the final phrase and were accused of not recognizing that the Holy Spirit “is like fire” and wishing to remove fire from the world.

This matter cannot be fully explained by mere ignorance or personal calculations. After all, not only the half educated Loggin and Filaret, 11 the strict legalists, but the entire clergy of Moscow as well as the locum tenens, the metropolitan of Krutitsk 12 aligned themselves against the editors. The learned elder [starets] Antonii Podol'skii 13 wrote a comprehensive dissertation On the illuminating fire [O ogni prosvetitel'nom] against Dionisii in which one can discern distant echoes of Palamite theology. In any case, formal departure from the previous and familiar text was not the sole reason for anxiety. Only during the patriarchate of Filaret 14 did the resolute representations of Patriarch Theophanesls save Dionisii from final condemnation and imprisonment.

The first phase in the work of the Moscow Printing Office was carried on without any definite plan. Books were corrected and printed as need and demand required. Only later, with the accession of Aleksei Mikhailovich (1645), did this work acquire the character of a Church reform. An influential circle of “Zealots” or “Lovers of God” formed around the young tsar. Stefan Vonifat'ev, archpriest of the Annunciation Cathedral and the tsar's confessor 16 and the boyar Fedor Rtishchev 17 were the most prominent among them. The circle had worked out a coherent plan of important ecclesiastical modifications and even reforms. Their plan rested on two central pillars: proper order in the divine service and pastoral instruction. Both purposes required corrected books. Thus book emendation became an organic part of the system of ecclesiastical renaissance.

The Zealots of the capital discovered that the road to regeneration or renewal was a road to the Greeks. In their search for a standard by which to bring a disordered Russian Church into genuine unity, they adhered to the Greek example without, however, distinguishing between the “Greek” past and the seventeenth century present.

During the seventeenth century, Muscovite contact with the Orthodox East once again became vital and constant. Moscow teemed with “Greek” emigrés, sometimes men of high ecclesiastical office. These “Greeks” most commonly came to Moscow seeking gifts and alms. In return they were asked about church services and rules. Many of them were quite talkative, and from their stories it became clear that Greek and Russian rites were quite dissimilar. How this had come about remained unclear.

A tragic and passionate quarrel soon ensued. The Zealots were convinced that the Greek example should be followed. They had a genuine attraction or passion for everything Greek, as did the tsar, whose love combined with his inherent taste for decorous order, for inner and outer precision. 18 From the point of view of religious politics, since “Greek” meant “Orthodox,” whatever was Greek automatically came under the dominion of the one Orthodox tsar, who, in a certain sense, became responsible for Greek Orthodoxy. Thus, turning to the Greeks was neither accidental nor sudden.

Kiev assisted in satisfying this interest in “Greeks.” “Teachers,” monastery elders, and learned Greeks were invited from Kiev “for the correction of Greek Bibles in the Slavonic speech.” Epifanii Slavinetskii, 19 Arsenii Satanovskii (1649) 20 and Damaskin Ptitskii (1650) 21 arrived in Moscow at that moment. Simultaneously, Moscow republished such Kievan books as Smotritskii's grammar 22 and even Peter Mogila's Brief Catechism [Malyi katekhizis, 1649]. The so-called fifty-first chapter taken from Mogila's Prayer Book [Trebnik] was included in the Book of the Rudder [Kormchaia kniga, 1649-50].23 During those same years, the Book of Kirill [Kirillova kniga, 1644] 24 was compiled, while the Kievan Book on the faith [Kniga o vere] 25 was republished. Moscow apparently desired to repeat or acquire the Kievan experience in liturgical and book “reform” carried through by Mogila. Earlier, in 1640, Mogila himself had offered to set up a scholarly hospice in Moscow for the Kievan monks from the Bratsk Monastery where they could teach Greek and Slavonic grammar. In any case, the court circle of Zealots had direct connections with Mogila's Kiev. 26 One must remember that all this was taking place during the years when the Ulozhenie 27 was being prepared, at the very height of the effort toward comprehensive reform of the state.

Concurrently, direct relations with the Orthodox East were being developed. But difficulties appeared at once. Even before reaching his destination in the East and the Holy Land, where he had been sent to observe and describe the local Church customs and rituals, Arsenii Sukhanov 28 got into a stormy quarrel with some Greeks in Iasi and came to the conclusion that the Greek “differences” in rites signified their apostasy from the faith. Meanwhile, the Greeks on Mount Athos burned Russian books.

Another Arsenii, known as “the Greek,” 29 who had been left in Moscow by Patriarch Paisios 30 as a “teacher,” turned out to have been a student at the College of St. Athanasius in Rome and at one time a Uniate, who then became or pretended to be a Moslem [basurmanin] because of the Turks. He was exiled to Solovki. Subsequently this uneasy connection between “Greek” and “Latin” frequently came to light.

Initiative in Church reform came from the tsar in the face of restrained but stubborn opposition from the patriarch. Soon the eastern patriarchs found themselves questioned as the highest authority of appeal. Thus, in 1651, singing in one voice [edinoglasie] in the liturgy was introduced in accordance with the response and testimony of the patriarch of Constantinople. This decision not only reversed Russian tradition but also overturned a recent decision made by a Church council held in Moscow in 1649, when the proposal was first advanced. The introduction of singing in one voice was not merely a disciplinary measure or a question of liturgical propriety. It was a reform of music or chant, a transition from multi-part singing [razdelnorechnoe] to joint singing [narechnoe], which demanded and presupposed a very difficult reworking of all musical notation as well as a new relationship between text and music.

Nikon, who became patriarch in 1652, did not initiate or conceive this effort at aligning ritual and custom with Greek practices. The “reform” had been devised and decided upon at court. Nikon was brought in on a going concern; he was introduced and initiated into previously prepared plans. However, he invested all the ardor of his stormy and impetuous personality into the execution of these reformation plans, so that his name has become forever linked with this attempt to Hellenize the Russian Church in every aspect of its customs and organization. This “Nikonian” reform combined two motifs: rectification of ecclesiastical error and conformity with the Greeks. And the “reform” took such a turn that the second theme became the major one. It appeared that precisely such a strict and uniform order of service might most quickly arrest any nascent “wavering” of peace. Authoritative decree and strict statute seemed the best guarantee in the struggle against diversity and discord.

In sum, a profound and complex cultural and historical perspective stands revealed behind these literary and liturgical reforms.

Patriarch Nikon.

Even during Nikon's lifetime (1605-1681) contemporaries spoke and wrote a good deal about him. Rarely has anyone written disinterestedly and dispassionately or without any ulterior motive and preconceived aim. Nikon is the subject of arguments, reassessments, justifications, or condemnations. His name (no longer a name but a sign or symbol) remains a pretext for dispute and acrimony. Nikon belongs to that strange class of people who possess no personality but only a temperament. In place of a personality they offer only an idea or program. The secret of Nikon's personality lies entirely in his temperament: hence his horizons remained forever narrow. Not only did he lack a sense of history, but he often failed to exercise ordinary tact and circumspection. He had a will to history, a great presence of mind or “commanding vision” which explains how he could become a great historical figure, despite the fact that he was not a great man. Nikon was powerful, but he did not crave power, and his abrupt and stubborn nature prevented him from being a courtier. The possibility for action attracted him; power had no such allure. Nikon was a man of action, not a creative individual. Of course “reform of ritual” did not provide the vital theme in Nikon's life. Such reform had been suggested to him and had been placed on the agenda before his appointment. However persistently he may have carried through this reform, he never became consumed or absorbed by it. To begin with, he did not understand Greek. He never mastered it and scarcely even studied it. His admiration for everything “Greek” was dilettantish. Nikon had an almost pathological urge to remake and refashion everything in the Greek image similar to Peter the Great's passion for dressing everyone and everything up in the German or Dutch style. The two men were also united by the uncanny ease, with which they could break with the past, by their surprising freedom from Russian customs and by their purposefulness and determination. Nikon listened to the Greek hierarchs and monks with the same precipitate credulity which Peter exhibited before his “European” advisers.

Yet Nikon's “Grecophilism” did not signify any broadening of his ecumenical horizons. No few new impressions were present but certainly no new ideas. Imitation of contemporary Greeks could hardly lead to a recovery of lost tradition. Nikon's Grecophilism did not mark a return to patristic tradition or even serve to revive Byzantinism. He was attracted to the “Greek” service by its great dignity, solemnity, sumptuousness, splendor, and visual magnificence, His reform of ritual took its departure from this “solemn” point of view.

At the very start of his activity as a reformer (1655), Nikon submitted to Patriarch Paisios of Constantinople a long list of perplexing points concerning ritual. He received a comprehensive reply written by Meletios Syrigos. 31 Syrigos frankly and clearly expressed the view that only central and essential matters of faith required uniformity and unity, while diversity and differences in the “ecclesiastical ceremonies” [chinoposledovanii] and in the formal aspects of the liturgy were perfectly tolerable, and indeed historically inevitable, After all, ceremony and liturgical regulation only gradually became intertwined. They had not been created at a single stroke. And a great deal in the Church ceremony depended upon the “pleasure of the superior.”

One should not conclude that our Orthodox faith is being perverted if some possess a Church ceremony which differs slightly in inessentials but not in the articles of faith, if on the central and essential matter conformity with the Catholic Church is preserved.

Not all “Greeks” thought in those terms. Moreover, Moscow did not heed this Greek advice. Such strictures by the patriarch of Constantinople fell most heavily on another eastern patriarch, Makarios of Antioch, 32 who with considerable enthusiasm and notable self satisfaction had indicated all the “differences” to Nikon and had inspired him to undertake hasty “corrections” Apparently it was Makarios who revealed that making the sign of the cross with two fingers-was an “Armenian” heresy. And it was this “Nestorian” sign of the cross which visiting hierarchs had anathematized in Moscow on Orthodox Sunday, 1656. 33

Nikon “corrected” the rites according to a printed contemporary Greek Euchologion, 34 in order to achieve conformity with Greek practice. Such actions did not signify a return to “antiquity” or to “tradition,” although it was supposed that whatever was “Greek” was more ancient and more traditional. Nikon adhered to the same system when correcting books. A newly printed Greek book usually served as the basis for a new Slavonic text. True, variants and parallelisms in the manuscripts were then compared with it, but only a printed text could assure genuine uniformity. Nevertheless, discernable discrepancies appeared in various editions of the same book, for new manuscript material was being employed throughout the work.

Six editions of Nikon's service books have been forcibly distributed throughout the Russian realm; and all these service books disagree among themselves and no one book agrees with any other.

Quite legitimately opponents of Nikon's reform insisted that the new books were fashioned from “the Greek books newly printed among the Germans” (i.e., in the West), from defective and discarded books: “and we will not accept this innovation.” Moreover, it was also true that some rites were “transformed” or taken “from Polish service books,” such as the “Polish prayer books of Peter Mogila and other Latin translations.” The manuscripts brought by Sukhanov from the East were not, and could not be, extensively utilized or given the necessary attention. However, it was the abrupt and indiscriminate rejection of all Old Russian ceremony and ritual which gave Nikon's reforms their sharp quality. Not only were those rites replaced by the new ones, but they were declared false and heretical, almost ungodly. Such actions disturbed and wounded the national conscience. In fury and defiance, and moreover in a language not his own, Nikon hurled out a censure of the “old ritual.” After Nikon was deposed, Russian authorities spoke reservedly and cautiously about the “old rite.” This was true even at the Council of 1666. 35 For Nikon the reform was precisely a ritual or ceremonial reform, and he insisted upon it primarily for the sake of propriety or in the name of obedience. But by then a new motif had been introduced by the “Greeks.” Greeks suggested and contrived the resolutions and the “curses” at the Great Council of 1667. 36 Fourteen of the thirty bishops attending the Council were foreigners. The “easterners” at the Council portrayed themselves and behaved as “ecumenical judges” invited and acknowledged as arbiters of every aspect of Russian life. They were the ones who affirmed the notion that Russia's “old ritual” was a “senseless subtlety” and even heresy. “Kievans” such as Simeon of Polotsk 37 joined the “Greeks” in this scornful judgment.

The book concerning the differences in rites compiled for the Council by Dionysios, a Greek archimandrite from Mount Athos, 38 is particularly significant and characteristic. Dionysios had lived for many years in Moscow, where he worked on the book corrections at the Moscow Printing Office. He flatly asserted that Russian books became contaminated and perverted the moment Russian metropolitans ceased to be appointed by Constantinople.

And from this began the infatuation with the sign of the cross, the addition to the creed, the alleluias, and the rest. Overgrown with tares and other wild weeds, this land has remained unploughed and has been overshadowed by darkness.

Moreover, Dionysios insisted that all such Russian additions and differences possessed a heretical tinge: “These disagreements and infatuations derive from certain heretics, who had parted ways with the Greeks and, because of their sophistry, did not consult with them about anything.” The “Great Council” decided matters in a style similar to that of Dionysios, often using his own words. At this council, Old Russian ritual was declared suspect, condemned utterly, and forbidden under terrible penalties. The contemporary ritual of the eastern churches was indicated as the model and standard.

The anathemas of the Stoglav Council were rescinded and dissolved, “and that Council was no council, its curses were not curses, and we consider it as nothing, as if it had never existed, for Metropolitan Makarii and those with him recklessly feigned wisdom in their ignorance.” 39 Thus, Russian Church tradition was judged and condemned as ignorance and feigned wisdom or as sophistry and heresy. Under the pretext of establishing the fullness of the universal Church, Old Russia was replaced by modern Greece. This outlook did not represent the opinion of the Greek Church, only the views of some itinerant “Greek” hierarchs. It served as the final act for Nikon's reforms.

Yet this same council, called for that very purpose, deposed and ejected Nikon. Among other accusations, Nikon was charged with violating and corrupting ancient customs and introducing “new books and rituals” (according to the testimony of Paisios Ligarides). 40 Nikon replied by upbraiding his Greek accusers for introducing new laws from “rejected and unexamined books” (he had in mind the new editions of Greek books). Thus, once again books were the question.

Nikon's trial entangled personal passions with malice and deceit and cunning with agitated ideas and troubled conscience. “Priesthood” [sviashchenstvo] stood trial: such was the theme of Nikon's life.

According to Iurii Samarin, 41 “the scepter of papism lay concealed behind Nikon's enormous shadow.” Yet this is hardly true, for the reverse is more nearly the case. The Nikon affair marks the advance of “Empire.” Nikon was right, when in his “Refutation” [Razorenie] 42 he accused Tsar Aleksei and his government of attacking the freedom and independence of the Church. Such encroachment could be detected in the Code [Ulozhenie] which Nikon considered diabolical and the false law of the Antichrist. The emphatic “Erastianism” 43 in leading governmental circles forced Nikon into battle, and that fact largely explains his abrasiveness and “love of power.”

As with his other ideas, Nikon found his conception of the priesthood in patristic teaching, especially in that of Chrysostom. Apparently he wished to repeat Chrysostom in life. Perhaps he did not always express this idea successfully or cautiously and on occasion used “western definitions,” but he did not exceed the limits of patristic opinion by asserting that the “priesthood” is higher than the “tsardom.” On this point he was opposed not only by the Greeks, those “Asiatic emigrants and sycophants from Athos,” who defended tsardom against priesthood. He was attacked as well by the Old Ritualists [Staroobriadtsy], the partisans of Russian tradition, for whom the “Kingdom of God” was achieved within the tsardom rather than within the Church. Therein lies the theme of the Schism: not “old ritual” but the “Kingdom.”

The Schism.

Kostomarov 44 once rightly noted that the “Schism hunted for tradition and attempted to adhere as closely as possible to it; yet the Schism was a new phenomenon, not the old life.” Therein lies the Schism's fatal paradox: it did not embody the past, but rather a dream about Old Russia. The Schism represents mourning for an unrealized and unrealizable dream. The “Old Believer” [Starover] is a very new spiritual type.

Division and split wholly constitute the Schism. Born in disillusionment, it lived and was nourished by this feeling of loss and deprivation, not by any feeling of power and possession. Possessing nothing, losing everything, the Schism, more with nostalgia and torment than with routine and custom, could only wait and thirst, flee and escape. The Schism was excessively dreamy, suspicious, and restive. There is something romantic about the Schism, hence its attraction for many Russian Neo-Romantics and Decadents.

The Schism, consumed by memories and premonitions, possessed a past and a future but no present. For their “blue flower” [goluboitsvetok] 45 the Old Believers possessed the semi-legendary Invisible City of Kitezh 46 The Schism's strength did not spring from the soil but from the will; not from stagnation but from ecstasy. The Schism marks the first paroxysm of Russia's rootlessness, rupture of conciliarity, [sobornost'], and exodus from history.

The keynote and secret of Russia's Schism was not “ritual” but the Antichrist, and thus it may be termed a socio-apocalyptical utopia. The entire meaning and pathos of the first schismatic opposition lies in its underlying apocalyptical intuition (“the time draws near”), rather than in any “blind” attachment to specific rites or petty details of custom. The entire first generation of raskolouchitelei [“schismatic teachers”] lived in this atmosphere of visions, signs, and premonitions, of miracles, prophecies, and illusions. These men were filled with ecstasy or possessed, rather than pedants: “We saw that it was as if winter was of a mind to come; our hearts froze, our limbs shivered” (Avvakum) One has only to read the words of Avvakum, breathless with excitement: “What Christ is this? He is not near; only hosts of demons.” Not only Avvakum felt that the “Nikon” Church had become a den of thieves. Such a mood became universal in the Schism: “the censer is useless, the offering abominable.”

The Schism, an outburst of a socio-political hostility and opposition, was a social movement, but one derived from religious self-consciousness. It is precisely this apocalyptical perception of what has taken place, which explains the decisive or rapid estrangement among the Schismatics. “Fanaticism in panic” is Kliuchevskii's definition, but it was also panic in the face of “the last apostasy.”

How was such a mood created and developed? What inspired and justified the hopeless eschatological diagnosis that “the present Church is not a church; the Holy Sacraments are not sacraments; Baptism is not baptism; the Scriptures are a seduction teaching is false; and everything is foul and impious?” Rozanov 47 once wrote that “the Typicon of salvation provides the mystery of the Schism, its central nerve, and tortured thirst.” Might it not be better to say: “Salvation is the Typicon?” Not merely in the sense that the Typicon as a book is necessary and needed for salvation, but because salvation is a Typicon, that is, a sacred rhythm and order, rite or ritual, a ritual of life, the visible beauty and well-being of custom. This religious design supplies the basic assumption and source for the Old Believer's disenchantment.

The Schism dreamed of an actual, earthly City: a theocratic utopia and chiliasm. It was hoped that the dream had already been fulfilled and that the “Kingdom of God” had been realized as the Muscovite State. There may be four patriarchs in the East, but the one and only Orthodox tsar is in Moscow 49 But now even this expectation had been deceived and shattered. Nikon's “apostasy” did not disturb the Old Believers nearly as much as did the tsar's apostasy, which in their opinion imparted a final apocalyptical hopelessness to the entire conflict.

At this time there is no tsar. One Orthodox tsar had remained on earth, and whilst he was unaware, the western heretics, like dark clouds, extinguished this Christian sun. Does this not, beloved, clearly prove that the Antichrist's deceit is showing its mask? 50

History was at an end. More precisely, sacred history had come to an end; it had ceased to be sacred and had become without Grace. Henceforth the world would seem empty, abandoned, forsaken by God, and it would remain so. One would be forced to withdraw from history into the wilderness. Evil had triumphed in history. Truth had retreated into the bright heavens, while the Holy Kingdom had become the tsardom of the Antichrist.

A public debate about the Antichrist had been present from the outset of the Schism. Some immediately detected the coming Antichrist in Nikon or in the tsar. Others were more cautious. “They do his work even now but the last devil has not yet to come” (Avvakum) At the end of the century the teaching of a “mental” or spiritual Antichrist became established. The Antichrist had come, but he exercised his rule invisibly. No visible coming would occur in the future. The Antichrist is a symbolic, but not a “real” person. The Scripture must be interpreted as a mystery. “When the hidden mysteries are spoken, the mystery is to be understood with the mind and not with the senses.” A new account is now present. The Antichrist stands revealed within the Church. “With impiety he has entered into the chalice and is now being proclaimed God and the Lamb.” 51

Yet the diagnosis, the “approach of the last apostasy,” did not change. Disruption of the priesthood in Nikon's Church, cessation of its sacraments, diminution of Grace served as the first conclusion from such a diagnosis. However, the disruption of the priesthood by Nikon's followers meant an end to the priesthood generally, even among the adherents of the Schism. No source could “revive” this diminished Grace. A “fugitive priesthood” [begstvuiushchee sviashchentsvo] did not resolve the problem, while ritual purification taken by “fugitive priests” implied that a genuine and unexhausted priesthood existed among the followers of Nikon. Disagreements and debate about the priesthood developed very early in the Schism. Comparatively quickly the “priestly” [popovtsy] and the “priestless” [bezpopovtsy] diverged and divided. 52

The priestless segment was magistral. Compromises and concessions were not that significant, and only the priestless carried their ideas to a logical conclusion. The priesthood ended with the coming of the Antichrist. Grace withdrew from the world, and the earthly Church entered upon a new form of existence: priestlessness and absence of sacraments. Priesthood was not denied, but eschatological diagnosis acknowledged the mysterious fact or catastrophe that the priesthood had withered away. Not everyone accepted this conclusion. Varying estimates were made about the degree of the coming lack of Grace. After all, if necessary, even laymen could baptize (and “rebaptize” or “correct”), but could baptism be complete without the chrism? In any case, the Eucharist was impossible: “according to theological calculation, at the fulfillment of 666 years, the sacrifice and sacrament will be taken away.” Confession was scarcely possible. Since no one could give absolution, it was more prudent to settle for mutual forgiveness. Marriage generated particularly violent quarrels. Could marriage still be permitted as a “sacrament?” Was a pure marriage or a pure bed possible without priestly blessing? Moreover, should one marry during these terrible days of the Antichrist, when it was more fitting to be with the wise virgins? The “anti-marriage” decision possessed a certain boldness and consistency. A more general question arose about how the liturgy could be conducted without priests. Was it permissible in case of necessity for unordained laymen and monks to perform or consummate certain sacraments? How should one proceed? Should ancient services and rituals be preserved untouched and unaltered? Could the liturgy be performed by unordained laymen by virtue of some “spiritual” priesthood? Or would it be safer to submit and be reconciled to the fact that Grace was gone?

The so-called “negativist” movement [netovshchina], that maximalism of apocalyptical rejection, provided the most extreme conclusion: Grace had been completely and utterly withdrawn. Therefore, not only could the sacraments not be performed, but the divine liturgy as a whole could not be conducted in accordance with the service manuals. Oral prayer, or even breathing, was inappropriate, for everything, including running water, had been profaned. Salvation now would come not by Grace or even by faith, but through hope and lamentation. Tears were substituted for communion.

The Schism created a new antinomy. Once Grace had been withdrawn, everything depended on man, on works or continence. Eschatological fright and apocalyptical fear suddenly became transformed into a form of humanism, self-reliance, or practical Pelagianism. 53 Ritual took on particular importance during this exceptional moment of withdrawal. Only custom and ritual remained when Grace departed and the sacraments lost their potency. Everything became dependent upon works, for only works were possible. The unexpected participation of the Old Believers in worldly affairs, their zeal for custom (as an experiment in salvation through the relics of traditional life) derives from this necessary dependence on works. The Schism made its peace with the vanishing of Grace only to clutch at ritual with still greater frenzy and stubbornness. Grace had been extinguished and diminished, but the Schism tried to replace it with human zeal. By doing so, the Schism betrayed itself, prizing ritual more highly than sacrament and overestimating its value. Enduring life without Grace was easier than enduring a new ritual. The Schism attached a certain independent primary value to the “office” and “regulation.” Even when in flight from the Antichrist, the dissenters strove to organize an ideal society, although doubts were raised in some quarters about the possibility of doing so during the days of the last apostasy. The Schism withdrew to the wilderness, making an exodus from history and settling beyond its frontiers. “For God dwells only in the wilderness and the hermitages; there He has turned His face.”

The Schism always organized itself as a monastery, as “communities” and “hermitages,” and strove to be a final monastery or refuge amidst a corrupt and perishing world. The Vyg experiment — the Thebaid and “pious Utopia of the Schism” — is especially characteristic. The Vyg community was built by the second generation of Old Believers on the principle of the strictest communism (so that no one had a penny to his name) and in a mood of eschatological concentration: “care nothing about earthly things, for the Lord is near the gates.” This community probably represents the high point in the history of the Schism.

For in this Vyg wilderness preachers orated, wise Platos shone forth, glorious Demostheneses appeared, pleasant men as sweet as Socrates were to be found, and men braveas Achilles were discovered. 54

The Vyg community was not merely a significant commercial and industrial center (Peter the Great highly valued the work of the Vyg settlers at the mines in Povenets and Olonets). The Vyg “panwilderness assembly” was actually a great cultural center, particularly during the lifetime of Andrei Denisov, who is described as “clever and sweet in word,” and certainly the most sophisticated and cultured of all the writers and theologians during the early years of the Schism. Denisov 55 was consumed by the Apocalypse. 56 Yet he did not thereby lose his clarity of thought, and one can detect in him a great intellectual temperament. Denisov was not merely well read; he must be recognized as a theologian. His Pomorskie otvety [“Replies of the Shore Dwellers”] is a theological work and an intelligent one. Vyg possessed a well assembled and magnificent library where Old Believers studied the Scriptures, the Fathers, and the “literary sciences.” Andrei Denisov himself “abridged the philosophy and theory of Ramon Lull” (a very popular book judging by the number of copies which have been preserved). 57 It is particularly interesting that the Denisov brothers, Andrei and Semen, set about assiduously reworking the Great Reading Compendium or Menologos [Velikie chet'i minei] 58 as a counterweight to the agiographic labors of Dimitrii of Rostov, who borrowed heavily from western books. 59 The Vyg scholars also worked on liturgical books. Vyg housed ateliers for painting icons and contained other workshops.

One is least justified in speaking of the “well-fed ignorance” among the Vyg Old Believers. Their community was a center in the wilderness. Still, Vyg was only a refuge, where its members for a time might be concealed from impending wrath and live in impatient expectation of the last moment. All their business skill and “religio-democratic pathos” derived from this sense of having abandoned the world. In the absence of Grace, the priestless Old Believer knew that he depended only on himself and had to be self-reliant. The Vyg Old Believers took a quiet departure from history.

The “newly discovered path of suicidal deaths” served as another, more violent escape. Preaching in favor of suicide combined several motifs: ascetic mortification (for example, the flagellants, [zaposhchevantsy]), the “fear of the Antichrist's temptation,” the idea of baptism by fire (“everyone is begging for a second, unprofaned baptism by fire,” relates the Tiumen' priest Dometian, 1679). 60 Such innovative preaching produced horror and disgust among many Old Believers. The elder Evfrosin's “Epistle of Refutation” [Otrazitelnoe pisanie, 1691] 61 is particularly important in this regard. Nevertheless, Avvakum praised the first suicides by fire when he said “blessed is this desire for the Lord.” His authority was constantly cited. “The notion of suicidal death was first expounded by the disciples of Kapiton. Such men conceived this evil practice prior to the immolations among the Viazniki and Ponizov'e” (Evfrosin) Kapiton was a crude fanatic who kept rigorous fasts and wore chains. In 1665 an investigation was ordered into his “knavery” and “fanaticism.” However, his disciples and “fellow fasters,” known as the “Godless hermits” [Bogomerzkie pustynniki], continued their fanatical practices. Preaching in favor of fasting unto death began in the conditions arising from such ascetic flagellation and fanaticism.

Yet other arguments were soon advanced. Vasilii the Hirsute (Volosatyi), acclaimed “legislator of suicides,” “did not preach confession or repentance, but entrusted all things to fire: cleanse yourselves from all sin by fire and fasting, thereby being baptized with a true baptism.” He did not preach this message in isolation. A certain priest called Aleksandrishche insisted that “in this age Christ is unmerciful; He will not accept those who come without repentance.” One foreigner by the name of Vavila 62 belonged to the early “Kapitons.” The Russian Vinyard [ilinograd rossiiski] describes him as a man “of a foreign race, of the Lutheran faith accomplished in all the arts, who had studied many years in the celebrated Academy of Paris, knew many languages well and how to speak most beautifully.” 63 Vavila arrived in Russia in the 1630's converted to Orthodoxy, “proving to be of perfect diamond hard endurance.” It was not so important that in their enthusiasm some “Godless hermits” determined to commit suicide. More important is the fact that many different strata of the Old Believer movement quickly seized upon their fanatical ideas. This “death bearing disease” rapidly became something approaching a dreadful mystical epidemic, a symptom of apocalyptical terror and hopelessness. “Death, death alone can save us.” The Vyg community had been founded by the disciples of the self-immolators and dwellers along the shores of the White Sea.

The feeling of alienation and self-imprisonment entirely constituted the Schism, which sought exclusion from history and life. The Schism cut its ties, wishing to escape, not in order to return to tradition or to a fuller existence, but as an apocalyptical rupture and seduction. The Schism was a grievous spiritual disease. It was possessed. The horizon of the Old Believers was narrow: the Schism became a Russian Donatism. 64 In that regard, it is appropriate to recall the words of St. Augustine, “The field is the world and not Africa. The harvest is the end of the world-not the time of Donatus.” 65

Kievan Learning in Muscovy.

Following the Time of Troubles, foreign participation in Russian life became more and more perceptible. “After the years of the Troubles [foreigners] ranged so widely throughout Muscovy that every Russian became familiar with them” (Platonov) 66 Such contacts were no longer confined to skilled artisans and soldiers, or to merchants and traders. Foreigners are encountered where one least expects to find them. Under B.M. Khitrovo's administration of the Armory, “German” (i.e. western European) artists painted western style portraiture and icons as well. By the mid-seventeenth century, the influence of western engravings on Russian iconography had become so strong that Nikon was compelled to confiscate these profane “Frankish” icons. Their owners gave them up with obvious reluctance, so quickly had they become accustomed and attached to them. At one with Nikon on this point, Avvakum was disturbed by icons, which were “incompatible with Church tradition.” But the artists were unwilling to give up their beloved “Franks.” 67 By the end of the century, churches, notably in Iaroslavl' and Vologda, were being entirely decorated with “foreign art,” usually in imitation of such Dutch engravings as those found in the illuminated columns of Johann Piscator's famous Theatrum Biblicum,68 a battered copy of which could be found in a damp corner of the bell tower of some local church with some frequency.

Church singing supplies a further example of profound western influence. “Polish” choir singing “in harmony with the organ” existed in the St. Andrew Monastery under Fedor Rtishchev's 69 direction and in the New Jerusalem (Voskresenskii) Monastery supervised by Nikon. 70 For his choir, Nikon acquired the compositions of Marcin Mielczewski, the famous director of the Rorantist chapel in Cracow. 71 As Avvakum reports, “They observe Latin rules and regulations, they wave their hands, shaking their heads and stamping their feet to the accompaniment of the organ as is the custom among the Latins.”

During the reign of Tsar Fedor, the Polish “foreigner” N.P. Diletskii, who was invited to organize Church singing, quite openly introduced the theory and practice “of Roman Church composers.” 72 Diletskii exercised considerable influence in Moscow where he created a complete “western” school of music. 73 These are not random or disconnected facts, but a group of interrelated phenomena. The fact that during the seventeenth century various western features and details figured in Muscovite usage is not as important as the fact that the actual style or “ritual” of life was changing. Psychological habits and needs gave way to a new politesse. Western influences, derived largely from Kiev, grew steadily stronger. “The West Russian monk educated in a Latin school or in one modelled on it in Russia served as the first disseminator of western learning to be invited to Moscow” (Kliuchevskii).

However, the first generation of “Kievan elders” called to the north were still not westerners. Epifanii Slavinetskii, the most prominent among them, combined scholarship and love for education with a true monastic humility and piety. He was more at home in a monk's cell or study than in society. Less a thinker than a bibliophile, philologist, and translator, he was — according to his disciple Evfimii — “not only a judicious man and very learned in rhetoric and grammar, but he was also a renowned investigator of philosophy and theology as well as a formidable opponent in matters of the Greek, Latin, Slavonic, and Polish languages.” Slavinetskii had been summoned to Moscow as a translator rather than “for the teaching of rhetoric.” He translated a good deal, including parts of the Bible (particularly the New Testament), liturgical manuals, the Fathers, and even some secular works such as a book on medical anatomy written in Latin and based on the writings of Andreas Vesalius of Brussels. 74 Epifanii had a superb command of Greek, although it is not known where he studied it, and he typifies the erudite humanist of the time. He usually worked from western printed editions and not from manuscripts. Apparently in his youth he became enraptured with “Latin wisdom,” but by deepening his Greek studies he resisted being seduced. Later he bluntly condemned “Latin syllogisms.” 75 In any case, Epifanii trained his most prominent pupil, Evfimii, a monk of the Chudov Monastery, in a pure, almost fanatical Hellenism. Both student and teacher became literary captives of the Greeks, and they translated, as Fedor Polikarpov put it, in an “unusual Slavonic style which sounded more like Greek.” 76

The later Kievan and “Lithuanian” emigrants had a very different spirit and style. Simeon of Polotsk (Sitianovich, 1629-1680) was the most typical and influential among them. A rather common, if well read and bookish West Russian, Simeon was clever, resourceful, and quarrelsome in everyday matters. He knew how to rise high and securely in the confused Muscovite society at the time of his arrival in 1663. More precisely, he rose at court, where he served as a poet, versifier, and as an educated man capable of performing any task. At first he worked as a teacher for servitors in government departments. Inescapably, he relied on Alvarius' grammar. 77 Later he became the tutor for the tsareviches, Aleksei and Fedor, composed speeches for the tsar, and wrote solemn official declarations. He was entrusted with the “arrangement” of the agenda for the councils of 1666 and 1667 and instructed to translate Paisios Ligarides' polemical tracts. His own treatise against the Old Believers, The Scepter of Government [Zhezl pravleniia] proved of little worth, ladened as it was by scholastic and rhetorical arguments which could scarcely be convincing to those for whom the book was written. Simeon of Polotsk was pompous and arrogant, rhetorical and verbose, as his two volumes of sermons The Spiritual Feast [Obed dushevnyi] and The Spiritual Supper [Vecheria dushevnaia] testify. Both volumes were published in 1682-1683, shortly after his death.

Simeon of Polotsk's notebooks illustrate how he reworked Latin books of such authors as Johann Meffret of Meissen, a fifteenth century preacher, whose book on the Church, Hortulus reginae, Tsar Aleksei had given to Arsenii Satanovskii for translation in 1652; Johannes Faber, Bishop of Vienna (1531), known as Malleus Haereticorum from his book against Luther; 78 the fifteenth century Spanish theologian Juan Cartagena, who had written on the sacraments of the Christian faith; 79 as well as Bellarmine, Gerson, Caesar Baronius, Peter Besse, Alfonso Salmeron, and Juan Perez de Pineda. 80

In preparing his own textbooks, Simeon relied on Latin works. Thus his book on Gospel history The Life and Teaching of Christ Our Lord and God [Zhitie i uchenie Khrista Gospoda i Boga nashego] which abridged the work of Gerald Mercator and was supplemented by additions from the writings of Henry More, the celebrated Cambridge Platonist. 81 In his own way, Simeon of Polotsk was pious and upright, but the prayers he composed appeared bombastic. He developed only a knowledge of Latin and obviously knew no Greek (“he knew less than nothing”). “Unable to read Greek books, he read only Latin ones and believed only Latin innovations in thought to be correct” (Osten) 82 His work was always guided by Latin and Polish books, that is, “by the thoughts of men like Scotus, Aquinas, and Anselm.” Simeon's opponents rightly made these accusations. He was more at ease with the Latin Bible than the Slavonic one.

A “Belorussian” by birth, apparently he studied in Kiev where he became a student of Lazar Baranovich, with whom Simeon remained close for the rest of his life. 83 Baranovich gave Simeon a letter of introduction to Paisios Ligarides, when Simeon went north to Moscow. During Nikon's trial, Simeon became particularly intimate with Paisios, serving as his interpreter. Of course, he translated from Latin.

Paisios Ligarides (1609-1678) is a very instructive example of the perplexing state of affairs prevailing in seventeenth century Muscovy. A graduate of the College of St. Athanasius, where he brilliantly distinguished himself, he was ordained in Rome by the West Russian Uniate Metropolitan, Rafail Korsak. 84 In his estimation and report, Leo Allatius, a dignitary of St. Athanasius, 85 declared that Paisios was “a man prepared to lay down his life and give up his soul for the Catholic faith.” Paisios returned to the Levant as a missionary. The Propaganda Fide also later sent him to Wallachia. There, however, he made a close acquaintance with Patriarch Paisios of Jerusalem and accompanied him to Palestine. Soon afterward he became Orthodox metropolitan of Gaza. All this time Ligarides played a dual role. Greed served as his guiding passion. He tried to convince the Propaganda Fide of his fidelity and asked that his suspended missionary stipend be restored. No one believed him. The Orthodox also distrusted Ligarides, seeing in him a dangerous papist. He soon fell under a ban and was still under it when he arrived in Moscow. When asked about Ligarides during Nikon's trial in Moscow, Patriarch Dionysios of Constantinople replied that “Ligarides' scepter is not from the throne of Constantinople, and I do not consider him Orthodox, for I hear from many that he is a papist and a deceiver.” 87 Nevertheless, he played a decisive role at the Great Council of 1667. The boyar party used him to secure their ecclesiastical and social position and their program (known as the “questions of Streshnev”). 88 Nikon was not entirely wrong when in reply he dubbed the tsar a “Latinizer” and the boyars and hierarchs “worshippers of Latin dogmas.” In any case, the obvious Latins, Simeon and Paisios, spoke for them.

The new western orientation took shape at court. Tsar Aleksei's son and successor had been wholly educated “in the Polish manner.” A revolution or turning point had become obvious. Disagreements were apparent since the turn of the century. As Ivan Timofeev noted very early, “Some look East, others West.” 89 Many tried to look both ways. As western influence grew, anxiety about it increased as well. By the end of the century, a public quarrel had broken out.

Characteristically, the pretext for the debate came as a result of a disagreement on the question of the moment the Holy Sacraments became transformed during the liturgy. Seemingly, the topic of debate was a limited one, but in reality, despite all the political and personal passions or outright stupidity displayed in the matter, the clash involved basic axioms and principles amounting to a conflict between two religious and cultural tendencies. This side of the debate — the principal side — is by far the more interesting one. The individual arguments put forward by the warring factions are of interest only in so far as they enable one to detect the quarrel's mainsprings.

During the seventeenth century, the western view concerning the transformation of the sacraments during the liturgy, that is, the Words of Institution, became generally accepted and customary in the Russian south and west. 90 Such a view, “derived from newly made Kievan books,” spread northward. Simeon of Polotsk, along with his disciple Sil'vestr Medvedev, 91 insistently gave it currency. By 1673 Simeon and Epifanii Slavinetskii had a dispute, or rather a “discourse “ [razglagol'stvie] in the presence of the patriarch and other authorities at the Krestyi (Holy Cross) Monastery. Outright quarreling broke out later, after the death of Simeon of Polotsk. The monk Evfimii and the newly arrived Greeks, the “brothers Likhud,” entered the lists against Medvedev. 92 Patriarch Ioakim also took their side. 93 The “bread worshipping heresy” [khlebopoklonnaia eres'] served less as a cause than as the excuse for these arguments and conflicts. The actual quarrel centered on the question of Latin or Greek influence.

The Likhud brothers were also men of western education, having studied in Venice and Padua. Quite likely they were connected with the Propaganda Fide in one way or another, but in Moscow they distinguished themselves as opponents of Rome and as principled and informed purveyors of a Greek cultural orientation. 94 Even Evfimii often employed western and Kievan books. For example, his Vumilenie, designed to be used by the priest as a service manual, was composed on the model of Mogila's Prayer Book [Trebnik] and according to the appropriate articles in the Vilna service manual which had also been heavily influenced by Roman Catholicism. However, for all that, he remained an outright Hellenist.

Simeon of Polotsk and Medvedev not only embraced individual “Latin” opinions, but there was also something Latin in their spiritual demeanor and make up. Together they constituted a “Belorussian” element in the schools. The Kievan monks openly supported the Roman cause. 95 Both factions frequently exchanged polemical pamphlets of a serious and substantial sort, despite all their abusive tone and crude methods. The Latin party was conquered and condemned at a Church council held in 1690. The following year, 1691, Medvedev became implicated in the revolt of the streltsy. 96 He was unfrocked and executed. An impartial observer might deem Patriarch Ioakim's harshness somewhat excessive and unfounded. Was it really necessary to fan the flames of this “Sicilian fire” in the “Bread worshipping” controversy? In the first place, the Romanizing side took the initiative, or more precisely, went on the attack, apparently in connection with plans for opening a school or “academy” in Moscow. In the second place, as contemporaries explicitly stated, genuine Roman Catholics played a concealed but a very real part in the conflict.

Juraj Krizanic (1618-1683) 97 did not come to Moscow as an isolated figure. During the 1680's an influential Catholic cell took shape. Although the Jesuits living in Moscow were expelled in 1690 over the “Bread worshipping” controversy, a few years later they renewed and extended their work with undoubted success. As a contemporary wrote, “The Romans use every means to buy their way into the Russian tsardom, and through learning introduce their heresy.” Two foreign Catholics occupied very prominent and influential positions in Moscow at the time: the diplomat Pavel Menesius, sent abroad as an envoy to the pope, 98 and the noted general Patrick Gordon. 99 By the century's end, the Jesuits had even opened a school in Moscow for the children of prominent aristocratic families. However, given the nature of the Petrine wars and reforms, such a school had little chance to grow. In any case, this configuration of historical circumstances fully accounts for and explains the “xenophobia” displayed by the last patriarchs, Ioakim and Adrian. 100

By now Moscow was aware that the Russian and Kievan emigrants during their study abroad in local Jesuit schools had become Uniates. Of course, such an act could usually be justifled subsequently on the grounds that they did so with insincerity, “not with the heart, but solely with the lips.” However, justifiable doubts lingered about precisely when these emigrants were actually feigning sincerity. Did they accept the Union or reject it? As a contemporary put it, “a Jesuit residue still clung even on those who did not fall away.” The deacon Petr Artem'ev converted to Catholicism while accompanying Ioannikii Likhud on a brief trip through Italy. 101 Palladii Rogovskii's fate serves as a characteristic illustration of this problem. At one point, when he was already a monk and a deacon, he fled Moscow, for he had apparently been united with the Roman Church by the local Jesuit mission. Abroad he studied with the Jesuits in Vilna, Neisse, Olomouc and finally at the College of St. Athanasius in Rome, where he was ordained a priest monk or hieromonk. He departed from Rome as a missionary, taking with him a magnificent theological library furnished by the Propaganda Fide and the Duke of Florence. Upon his arrival in Venice, he asked the Greek metropolitan to restore him to Orthodoxy. After returning to Moscow, he addressed a penitential letter to the patriarch. Meanwhile, the Jesuit mission in Moscow continued to regard him as one of their own and sympathized with his delicate position. Ultimately, Palladii regained the confidence of the higher ecclesiastical circles, and after the removal of the Likhud brothers, he was appointed rector of the Academy. 102 Palladii died shortly afterward and did not succeed in exercising any influence on the Academy. His sermons, which have been preserved, provide a picture of his true outlook: he remained fully within the sphere of Roman Catholic doctrine. Palladii merely came first in a long line of such men. During the reign of Peter the Great, this semi-concealed Roman Catholicism inspired the extension of the school network throughout Russia.

Conflicts with Protestants in Moscow had occurred earlier. Most important were the drawn out disputes between Russian plenipotentiaries and Protestant pastors when discussing the proposed marriage of Tsar Mikhail's daughter with the Danish Crown Prince Woldemar in 1644.103 The debate touched with sufficient decisiveness and comprehensiveness on a variety of questions. During the second half of the seventeenth century, a quantity of literary anti-Protestant tracts were in circulation. These works, often derivative or translations, testify to the vital character of the polemic. Some among the emigrants from abroad could with reason and justice be suspected of Calvinist or Lutheran persuasion. Jan Belobodskii, who came from the western borderlands with the aim of acquiring a position in the newly conceived and newly planned academy, may be taken as an illustration. The Latinophile party among Simeon of Polotsk's circle gave him a cool reception and exposed him. The Likhud brothers did the same later.

By the end of the century, the “German suburb” [Nemetskaia sloboda] 104 was no longer so isolated and sealed off. The fantastic affair of Quirinius Kuhlmann, who had first been condemned and denounced by his own followers, provides a further opportunity to peer deeper beneath the surface into the life of this colony or suburb, which contained a variety of religions. Kuhlmann, one of those mystic adventurers, dreamers, or prophets who frequently made their appearance during the Thirty Years War, often journeyed throughout Europe, maintaining close ties with mystical and theosophical circles. He wrote a great deal, and among the authorities on mysticism he revered Jacob Boehme. 105 Kuhlmann's Boehme Resurrected [Neubegeisterter Bohme] appeared in 1674. The intiuence of Jan Comenius' Luxe Tenebris on Kuhlmann should also be noted. 106 He arrived in Moscow rather unexpectedly and began preaching about the thousand year reign of the righteous [monarchia Jesuelitica]. Although he discovered only a small nucleus of followers, he generated great excitement. Along with his adherents, Kuhlmann was accused of freethinking, and in 1689 he and his collaborator Condratius Nordermann were burned to death in Moscow.


There is no need to exaggerate Muscovite “ignorance” during the seventeenth century. What was lacking was not knowledge, but proper cultural and spiritual perspectives. After mid-century, the issue of schools was posed and resolved. But in the process a debate arose: should these schools have a Slavono-Greek orientation or a Latin one? The question quickly became complicated and intensified through the antagonism displayed by itinerant Greeks and emigrants from Kiev.

Generally speaking, the Kievan emigrants proved superior to these Greek vagrants who frequently sought only adventures and advantages. But the Kievans were willing and able to introduce a fully Latin school both in language and in spirit, whereas the Greeks, even those who were outspokenly Latinophiles, always underscored the decisive importance of Greek. “Having abandoned and neglected Greek-the language from which you acquired enlightenment in the Orthodox faith-you have lost wisdom,” declared Paisios Ligarides. True, this was meant as an attack on Russian tradition rather than as an attack on Latin.

In 1680, at the request of Tsar Fedor, 107 Simeon of Polotsk composed a “charter” [privilei] or draft statute founding the Moscow Slavono-Greek Academy, modelled on those in Kiev and on Latin schools in the West. The Academy was to be all-encompassing, providing “all the liberal sciences,” from basic grammar “even unto theology, which teaches of divine matters and cleanses the conscience.” In addition to “Helleno-Greek” and Slavonic “dialects,” not only was Latin to be taught, but Polish as well. Moreover, the Academy was not to be merely a school but a center for directing education and possessing very wide powers in guiding cultural activity in general. It was proposed that the Academy be empowered and charged with the duty to examine foreign scholars for their scholarly competence and for their faith. Of course, books were to be censored. A particularly stern clause in the charter concerned teachers of natural magic and books of divination which are so hateful to God. S.M. Solov'ev108 on this occasion cleverly noted that “this was to be no mere school, but an awesome inquisitorial tribunal with the superintendents and the teachers pronouncing the words: “guilty of unorthodoxy,” while lighting the criminal's pyre. . . .” The patriarch greeted Simeon's “charter” with severe criticism and had it reworked from a Hellenistic point of view. Only this reworked text is preserved; one must surmise the character of the original. However, the “charter” never received confirmation. Later, in 1687, the Academy opened rather humbly without a “charter” or statute as the Slavono-Greco-Latin school. The Likhud brothers opened the school and operated it during the first few years. Primarily they taught Greek, followed by rhetoric and philosophy in the usual scholastic manner. The Likhud brothers did not remain until theology could be taught. After their departure, the school became deserted, for there was no one who could replace them. Later, Palladii Rogovskii became the rector and Stefan Iavorskii 109 received the appointment as superintendent.

Particular notice must be given to Metropolitan Iov's educational experiment in Novgorod, 110 where a battle broke out between the Latin “party” and the “eastern” faction (Archimandrite Gavriil Dometskoi and Hierodeacon Damaskin). 111 T'he school in Novgorod had been founded on the Greco-Slavonic model, and the Likhud brothers were summoned there to teach. Latin was not taught at all, thereby emphasizing Novgorod's divergence from Moscow. With the appointment of Feofan Prokopovich 112 as archbishop in Novgorod, these Novgorodian schools were eliminated. The close of the century brought a pseudomorphosis in Muscovite education. Moscow struggled with an incipient Latinophilism coming from Kiev. But nothing among its own defective and disheveled reserves could be used as a counterweight. For all their erudition, the Greeks invited to Russia offered little promise. Kiev emerged victorious.

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