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Russian Orthodox Church Essay, Research Paper

The Russian Orthodox Church & # 8217 ; s history and development, which established it as an arm of the Tsarist province and an instrument of the prolongation of Russia & # 8217 ; s unequal category system and anti-reform policies, made it a necessary object of devastation for the security of the Bolshevik revolution.

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The myth of the Holy Russian land was the founding thought of the Muscovite tsardom as it was developed by the Romanovs from the start of the 17th century. After the civil war and Polish intercession during the Time of Troubles ( 1598-1613 ) , Mikhail Romanov, as the fable went, was elected by the full Russian population, hence reuniting the Holy Russian land behind the Romanov dynasty and salvaging Orthodox Russia from the Catholics. ( Carr 125 ) . The thought of Russia as a sanctum land contributed to the Tsar s place non as a male monarch opinion with a Godhead right, but a God on Earth. There was, in fact, a tradition in Russia of canonising princes who died pro patria et fides. Czars used Church Torahs to oppress political oppositions, unlike the Western swayers of this clip. Peter the Great subsequently tried to reform dealingss between Church and province in an effort to Westernize Russia, reassigning the Church s disposal from the patriarchate to the Holy Synod ( this was completed by Catherine II ) . This organic structure of laypersons and clergy, with its secular representative being the Procurator-General, was appointed by the Tsar and served as a faithful tool. It was in the Church s best involvements non to protest this subordination to the province, as during the latter half of the 18th century it had lost most of its land and now relied on the province to back up its 100,000 parish clergy and their households ( Curtiss Russian Church & # 8230 ; 21 ) . With most of the population being illiterate, the Church was an indispensable propaganda arm and a agency of societal control. Priests were ordered to denounce from the pulpit dissent and resistance to the Tsar, and informed constabulary of insurgent activities within their parish, even if that information was obtained through the confessional. Through about 41,000 parish schools, the clergy were expected to learn peasant kids to demo trueness, respect, and obeisance to the Tsar and functionaries, every bit Wellss as their seniors and betters ( Figes 62-63 ) . The Church s influence remained dominant and sometimes even took precedency over secular governments in certain moral and societal issues such as criminal conversation, incest, bestiality and blasphemy. Convictions resulted in entirely spiritual, even mediaeval penalties such as repentance and captivity in a monastery. Though the church was left some power, the subordination of the Church to the province resulted in the inquiring of the sanctity of Russia and the Church by ecclesiastical leaders ( Seton-Watson 411 ) . From this concern came the call for reform from many of the more broad clergy during the last decennaries of the old government. After 1917 there were many Christians, like Brusilov, who argued that the revolution was caused by the diminution of the Church s influence, but this is merely a simplistic position. It is accurate to state, nevertheless, that societal revolution was closely connected with, and slightly dependent on, the secularisation of society ( Figes 64 ) .

Urbanization was the root cause, in that the growing of metropoliss was faster than the church edifice in them. Millions of workers who had relocated to the metropoliss were forced to populate in a province of Godlessness. The Church besides failed to turn to the new jobs of metropolis life and was excessively conservative to let for sacredly inspired societal reform, despite efforts by a few extremist clergy, such as Father Gapon with his workers march to the Winter Palace in January 1905. Urbanization was a pressing force toward secularisation, with immature workers go forthing their small towns for metropoliss and happening at that place socialist groups who influenced their thought ( Figes 65 ) . What about the countryside, which boasted the sanctity of Russia and was purportedly the fastness of the Church? The religionism if the Russian provincials was one of the greatest myths. They displayed a great trade of external devotedness, continually traversing themselves, on a regular basis go toing church, ever detecting the Lenten fast, ne’er working on spiritual vacations, and sometimes even traveling on pilgrim’s journeies to holy sites, but their existent faith was far from that of the clergy ( Cherniavsky 114 ) . The provincials, in actuality, really frequently had non been wholly converted from Pagan beliefs and developed a common faith blending Christian tenet and Pagan cults and thaumaturgy ( Figes 66 ) . In add-on, provincials saw parish priests non so much as religious ushers or advisers, but as a category of shopkeepers with sweeping and retail traffics in sacraments. ( Shanin 66 ) . Priests were frequently avaricious, asked fees for services and haggled with poorness afflicted provincials, harming the prestigiousness of the Church. The low educational degree of many of the priests, their inclinations toward inebriation, their well-known connexions to the constabulary and their subservience to the aristocracy all added to the low regard of the Church ( Pipes, Russian Revolution 68 ) . Everywhere, wrote a nineteenth-century parish priest, from the most glorious drawing suites to smoky provincial huts, people disparage the clergy with the most barbarous jeer, with words of the most profound contempt and infinite disgust. ( Freeze 330 ) When this is compared to the regard and respect shown by the provincials of Catholic Europe toward their priests, it becomes more clear why provincial Russia had a revolution, and, for illustration, provincial Spain had a counter-revolution ( Figes 67 ) . Towards the terminal of the 19th century a turning figure of Orthodox clergy realized that the Church was in no place to screen the provincials from the secularisation of urban society, and it was from this concern that new calls for a extremist reform of the Church were made. New clerical progressives inspired by Great Reforms of the 1860s were better educated and more painstaking than their predecessors, and wanted to regenerate the Church by conveying it closer to the provincials lives. It was their belief that parishioners should hold more control of their local church, there should be more parish schools, and priests should be able to concentrate on spiritual personal businesss without being burdened by bureaucratic undertakings. In January 1881 Alexander II instructed his Minister of the Interior, Count Loris-Melikov, to pull up programs for a limited fundamental law which would give invited members of the populace an consultative function in statute law. On the other manus were the protagonists of the traditional tsarist order. The lone manner, they argued, to forestall a revolution was to govern Russia with an Fe manus. This meant supporting the autarchy, the unbridled powers of the constabulary, the domination of the aristocracy and the moral domination of the Church, against the broad and secular challenges of the urban-industrial order. The statements of the ultraconservatives were greatly strengthened by the blackwash of Alexander II in March 1881. Alexander III was persuaded by the Procurator of the Holy Synod, Konstantin Pobedonostsev, his coach and advisor, that go oning with the broad reforms would merely assist to bring forth more revolutionists like the 1s who had murdered his male parent. He shortly abandoned the undertaking of a fundamental law, claiming he did non desire a authorities of troublesome brawlers and attorneies ; forced the surrender of his reformer curates ( Abaza from Finance, Loris-Melikov from the Interior, and Dmitry Miliutin from War ) ; and proclaimed a Manifesto confirming the rules of autarchy ( Whelan 32 ) . This was the signal for a series of counter-reforms during the government of Alexander III, their purpose being to centralise control, turn overing back the rights of local authoritiess ; to confirm the personal regulation of the Tsar through the constabulary and his direct agents ; and to reenforce the patriarchal order, headed by the aristocracy, in the countryside. Nothing was more like

ly to convey about a revolution. ( Figes 41 ) . Still, more jobs arose. After a twelvemonth of meteoric catastrophes, the provincials of the Volga part found themselves confronting famishment in the summer of 1891. By autumn the country threatened by dearth had spread to seventeen states, in an country twice the size of France with 36 million dwellers. Then, in add-on to the deceases by famishment of people and animate beings, cholera and typhus struck, killing half a million people by the terminal of 1892. The authorities was unprepared to manage such a crisis, and a general feeling of official sloppiness arose. For illustration, there were widespread rumours that the bureaucratism was keeping back nutrient bringings until it had received statistical cogent evidence that the people for which the nutrient was intended had no other agencies of feeding themselves, by which clip it was normally excessively late ( Figes 157-8 ) . On November 17th, the authorities issued an order naming on the populace to organize voluntary organisations to assist with famine alleviation. Count Leo Tolstoy was one who made forfeits to fall in the alleviation run, but as the Church had late excommunicated him, they forbade the hungering provincials to accept nutrient from his organisation. Tolstoy blamed the crisis on the societal order, the Orthodox Church, and the authorities. He wrote to a friend in December, We have cut ourselves off from our ain brothers, and there is merely one redress – by penitence, by altering our lives, and by destructing the walls between us and the people. ( Figes 160 ) It became clear by 1900 that the Church had no hope of being revitalized until it could be free from its duties to the province. The demands of the broad clergy so broadened to a motion for the reform of the whole Church-state relationship. The motion climaxed in 1905 with calls for a Church Council ( Sobor ) to replace the Holy Synod. Besides called for was the decentalisation of ecclesiastical power from St. Petersburg and the cloistered hierarchy to the bishoprics and so to the parishes. This motion in some ways paralleled the 1905 democratic revolution, in that the clergy s demands for church reform were similar to the progressives demands for political reform. Like the zemstvo work forces, the broad clergy wanted more self-government so that they could break function society in their local communities. The conservativists within the ecclesiastical hierarchy supported the impression of self-government by the Church, but were non prepared to see the power of the bishops or cloistered clergy weakened in any manner, peculiarly if spiritual acceptance were the monetary value of such liberty ( Figes 68 ) . Prime Minister Count Witte proposed the Law of Religious Toleration in 1905, reasoning that stoping favoritism against the challengers of Orthodoxy would non harm the Church provided it accepted the reforms that would really resuscitate its spiritual life. Alternatively, senior hierarchs of the Church allied with the tribunal and utmost Rightist organisations ( such as the Union of the Russian People ) after 1905 to oppose farther efforts at reform and extension of spiritual acceptance. This can be seen in 1909 when Petr Arkadevich Stolypin, Russia s Prime Minister from 1906 until his blackwash in 1911 and condemned by socialists as one of the last bloody guardians of the tsarist order, proposed a reform of the tsarist system in order to salvage it ( Figes 221 ) . In his position, the province stood above the involvements of the nobility, even above the dynasty. His basically Western position was that everyone who owned belongings was a citizen. If his reforms were allowed to win, the Tsar s regulation would be overshadowed by the establishments of the province, and traditional societal order would be undermined. Fears like these were fuelled by old establishments such as the State Council, the United Nobility, the Orthodox Church, and the Union of the Russian People, all of which had their ain grounds for opposing Stolypin s reforms. The Church specifically opposed ( and defeated ) his proposals to spread out the province system of primary instruction, as ultraconservatives in the Church had involvement in the schools ; and his statute law to ease favoritism against spiritual minorities, the Old Believers and Jews in peculiar ( Figes 227 ) . This clang of political orientations was one of the most decisive in determining Russian history between 1905 and 1917. In 1915, the progressives were in a unstable state of affairs. The recent disintegration of the Duma had shown them that power lay steadfastly under the tsarist government, and nil short of a revolution would reassign power into their custodies. However, the First World War was already in advancement, and they feared that overly extremist motions would throw them in an every bit bloody societal revolution. Their greatest opportunity at success was to seek to keep out until an Allied triumph which would show new chances for reform, while they witnessed the dismissal of the chief Rebel curates by Nicholas. This included Samarin, the new Procurator of the Holy Synod and a outstanding critic of Rasputin ( Figes 276 ) . With the licking of the broad clergy, the Church was divided and weak, and with that the cardinal ideological pillar of the tsarist government was eventually get downing to crumple. Rasputin s rise in influence within the Church signaled its concluding autumn ( Figes 69 ) . As one former curate told the Gallic Ambassador in February 1916, The Most Holy Synod has ne’er sunk so low! If they wanted to destruct all facet for faith, all spiritual religions, they would non travel about it in any other manner. What will be left of the Orthodox Church before long? When Tsarism, in danger, seeks its support, it will happen there is nil left ( Curtiss Church… 71 ) , and so, when the tsarist province fell with the oncoming of communism, the Orthodox Church did every bit good. The February Revolution of 1917 marked the terminal of the monarchy. All its chief establishments of support, the bureaucratism, the constabulary, the ground forces, and the Church, collapsed virtually nightlong. The relationship between the Tsar and the establishments of the authorities was a common 1. He was at the same clip an officer, a priest, a governor, and a police officer, so one time he was removed, the system couldn T clasp. Equally, he was greatly supported by those establishments, so if they fell, the tsarist province would rapidly lose power. The Church was undermined by internal revolution. In the countryside there was a strong anti-clerical motion in which small town communities took away the church lands, removed priests from the parishes and refused to pay for spiritual services. The Holy Synod called on the priesthood to back up the new authorities. Religious freedoms were introduced, schools were transferred to the control of the province, and readyings were made for the separation of Church and province, although with the new province under the Bolsheviks came the rejection of faith ( Figes 349-50 ) .

Plants Cited

Carr, Edward Hallett. The Bolshevik Revolution 1917-1923. New York: The Macmillian Company, 1953.

Cherniavsky, Michael. Tsar and Peoples: Surveies in Russian Myths, New Haven: Yale University Press, 1961.

Curtiss, John Shelton, Church and State in Russia: The Last Old ages of the Empire, New York: Columbia University Press 1940.

– & # 8211 ; – . The Russian Church and the Soviet State, 1917-1950, Boston: Small Brown and Co. , 1953

Figes, Orlando. A People s Tragedy: A History of the Russian Revolution. New York: Viking Penguin, 1996.

Freeze, Gregory. The Parish Clergy in Nineteenth-Century Russia: Crisis, Reform, Counter-Reform. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1983.

Pipes, Richard. Russia Under the Old Regime. London, New York: Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. , 1974

– & # 8211 ; – . The Russian Revolution. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. , 1991.

Seton-Watson, Hugh. The Russian Empire, 1801-1917. London: Oxford University Press, 1967.

Shanin, Theodore. The Awkward Class ; Political Sociology of Peasantry in a Developing Society: Russia 1910-1925. Oxford, 1972

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