Info

of the Resurrection or Holy Sepulchre), first appear in church architecture at the end of the sixteenth century. They have been described as iconographical motifs of the ancient shrine of the Holy Sepulchre, evidence of the importance of the Jerusalem motif in Russian piety and culture of this period.51

Monasticism

As the cultural traces of this period bear witness, the dominant form of piety was monasticism, in part the spiritual legacy of St Sergii of Radonezh (d.1392). While estimates of the numbers of monasteries vary, evidence suggests that around 150 new monasteries were founded in the fourteenth century, 250 or more in the fifteenth century and over 330 in the sixteenth century. While some of these will have failed to flourish or been destroyed by fire or plague, one may assume that by the end of the sixteenth century well over 500 monastic establishments were functioning on Muscovite territory.52 There were over 700 monks at the Trinity-St Sergii monastery by the end of this period, but most major monasteries housedbetween 80 and 200 monks or nuns.53 Many ofthese new monasteries were founded in remote rural areas, in contrast to earlier urban constructions. Hermitages and sketes (where generally two to six monks lived together in the wilderness) often developed into significant monasteries, contributing to the integration of new territories and the christianisation of indigenous peoples.

This flourishing of monasticism is hardly surprising - these were violent and uncertain times. The population was ravaged by wars with Lithuania, Livonia, Crimea and Kazan; by bloody power struggles between princes and noble factions; by continuing harassment from the Tatar horde, outbreaks of plague, and later the tyranny, pillage and executions of Ivan IV's reign. The belief, widespread at least within literate society, that the world was to end in 1492 (7000 years after its creation in 5508 bc) cannot but have encouraged this 'flight from the world'. The Orthodox Church was so assured that the world

51 A. M. Lidov, 'Ierusalimskii kuvuklii. O proiskhozhdenii lukovichnykh glav', in Ikono-grafiiaarkhitektury, ed. A. L. Batalov (Moscow: Akademiia khudozhestv, 1990), 57-68.

52 See E. I. Kolycheva, 'Pravoslavnye monastyri vtoroi poloviny XV-XVI veka', in Monash-estvo i monastyri v Rossii XI-XXveka, ed. N. V Sinitsyna (Moscow: Nauka, 2002), 81-115, for a recent overview of statistical data. The reprinted nineteenth-century multivolume IstoriiaRusskoi Tserkvi by Metropolitan Makarii (Bulgakov) includes detailed surveys of monasticism during this period: see IstoriiaRusskoi Tserkvi vperiodpostepennogo perekhoda ee k samostoiatel'nosti (1240-1589) (Moscow: Izd. Spaso-Preobrazhenskogo Valaamskogo Monastyria, 1995-96), 111, ch. 3; iv, pt 1, ch. 4, and the updated appendices in each volume listing monastic establishments and the dates they were founded.

53 E. I. Kolycheva, 'Pravoslavnye monastyri vtoroi poloviny XV-XVI veka', 89.

Was this article helpful?

0 0

Post a comment