(Lebedinskii) from Podolia in 1865, 'then it is my duty to oppose evil', but he made no attempt to conceal the misery of his 'struggles' with the Poles.26 Huge sums were raised to transform landmarks such as the Pochaev lavra in Volhy-nia, retaken from the Basilians in 1837, into recognisably Orthodox holy places. But most new dioceses offered their leaders distinctly inferior accommodation: 'the decrepitude of this most meagre and uncomfortable shelter', declared the renowned ascetic Ignatii (Brianchaninov) on arrival in Stavropol in 1858, 'has made it quite impossible for a bishop to live in'.27 Were such complaints merely redolent of the episcopal pomposity ridiculed by Leskov in The Little Things in a Bishop's Life, they would scarcely be worthy of emphasis. But they signified something more important than that. Isolated, insecure and further depressed by pessimistic bulletins from Russian missions as far apart as Japan and the Holy Land, many leading churchmen were persuaded that Orthodoxy was endangered even in Russia itself.
In an attempt to strengthen the church, scholars intensified the quest begun by Filaret (Drozdov) for an authentic Russian Orthodoxy. By the 1880s, that search had crystallised into a sharply confessionalised sense of tserkovnost' (church-mindedness)28 derived from research at the theological academies of Moscow, Kiev, St Petersburg and Kazan. Since the initial step was to purge Orthodox teachings of foreign impurities, students were encouraged to 'draw a clear line between that which is strictly ours and all that should be alien to us'.29 Patristic texts, their principal primary resource, were translated on the basis of a programme adopted in 1843 and published, along with a mountain of theological scholarship, in the academies' learned journals. The fundamental discipline was history: an expedient antidote to biblical excess; a technically sophisticated subject thanks to contemporary German developments; and
26 'Pis'ma moskovskago mitropolita Leontiia (Lebedinskago)', Chteniiav obshchestve istorii i drevnostei rossiiskikh pri Moskovskom universitete (1908), ii: iv, 26, to Prot N. I. Ogloblin, 22 August 1865.
27 Quoted in L. Sokolov, Episkop Ignatii Brianchaninov: ego zhizn', lichnost' i moral'no asketicheskiia vozreniia (Kiev: Tipografiia I-yi Kievskoi arteli pechatnago dela, 1915), I,
Was this article helpful?