clergy to master an unfamiliar activity, and priests to communicate well with their flock. None of these aims could be accomplished quickly, and there were obvious risks in exposing incompetent novices to the mockery of their parishioners or to forensic examination by experienced Old Believer nachetchiki. Yet the synod persisted in its efforts to stimulate pastoral commitment, gathering systematic information on clerical performance in the 1840s, and the church displayed an increasing interest in contemporary social problems exemplified in the writings of Archimandrite Fedor (Bukharev) and the Moscow journal, The Orthodox Review (Pravoslavnoe Obozrenie). The most significant practical developments came in urban areas after 1880. Impatient with progress in the parishes, where it often proved difficult to persuade clergy to assume an extra burden, activist clerics in St Petersburg founded the 'Society for the Propagation of Religious and Moral Enlightenment in the Spirit of the Orthodox Church' in 1881 in order to provide teams of preachers to evangelise the city's population. From modest beginnings in the dockland, the society grew to build its own churches and to supply an active mission to the capital's factories and halls. In 1887-88, some 50,000 workers attended 161 lectures across the city; by 1904 the society claimed that its 6000 lectures had attracted a total audience of two million.47
Nor was it thought sufficient to preach. Antonii (Vadkovskii) urged students at the St Petersburg theological academy in 1888 to 'continue Christ's work on earth, show people the true meaning of life, help the destitute, heal grieving hearts, preach emancipation to prisoners, give sight to the blind, and liberate the tormented'. These, he pointed out, were tasks that demanded that churchmen 'say less and do more'.48 Antonii was as good as his word, retaining a personal commitment to prison visiting throughout his episcopate. A much wider range of churchmen, long conscious of unfavourable western contrasts between the 'fecundity' of Roman philanthropy and the 'sterility' of Russian provision, had made serious attempts to offer systematic charity to the poor.49 The monastic almsgiving at the core of eighteenth-century
47 P. Valliere, Modern Russian theology - Bukharev, Soloviev, Bulgakov: Orthodox theology in a new key (Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 2000), ch. 2; S. Dixon, 'The church's social role in St. Petersburg, 1880-1914', in Church, nationandstate inRussiaandUkraine, ed. G. A. Hosking (London: Macmillan, 1991), 167-92; P. Herrlinger, 'Orthodoxy and the experience of factory life in St. Petersburg, 1881-1905', in Newlaborhistory: worker identity and experience, 1840-1918, ed. M. Melancon and A. K. Pate (Bloomington, IN: Slavica, 2002), 33-66, at 55.
48 Slova i rechi Antoniia, episkopa Vyborskago, rektora S.-Peterburgskago dukhovnoi akademii (St Petersburg: Sinodal'naia tipografiia, 1890), 115-16.
49 Père Theiner, L'eglise schismatique russe, d'après les relations récentes du prétendu Saint-Synode, trad. de l'italien par monseigneur Luquet (Paris: Gaume frères, 1846), lvii.
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