power. K. P. Pobedonostsev, synodal over-procurator between 1880 and 1905, sought the solution in stricter central control. But whereas bureaucratisation had arguably increased the church's efficiency in the eighteenth century, the opposite was now true. Even the most isolated parishes in the empire were suffocated by a rising demand for paperwork: by 1914 the Karelian priest Father Aleksandr Loginevskii was obliged to communicate five times as often with his diocesan consistory in Vyborg as his father had done in the late 1880s.68 Pobedonostsev's revival of 'learned monasticism', a concept first borrowed from Catholicism in the seventeenth century, proved equally controversial. The over-procurator intended his phalanx of ascetic scholar-administrators to discipline unruly clergy and challenge contemporary moral decay. But the image of ambitious prelates 'dancing'69 to his tune in the synod did nothing to enhance the church's reputation for holiness. And though resilient leaders such as Sergii (Stragorodskii) emerged in the last years of the old regime, so did hotheads such as Sergii's acolyte, Kiprian (Shnitnikov), and his anti-Semitic contemporary, Iliodor (Trufanov). While the former inflamed Orthodox relations with Lutherans in Finland after 1905, the latter even attacked the synod itself in 1907, which forced his mentor Archbishop Antonii (Khrapovitskii) to the conclusion that his protege's 'entire literary output bore witness to his hysterical insanity'.70
By then, the synodal regime had few supporters. Though the Slavophile cleric A. M. Ivantsov-Platonov had called for the restoration of conciliar government as early as 1882, his cause gathered momentum only twenty years later when Nicholas II read an attack on Peter I's church reforms in the conservative newspaper Moskovskie Vedomosti.71 Invited to comment, Metropolitan Antonii (Vadkovskii) told the tsar that he had 'always believed' that 'sooner or later' Russian 'public opinion would be obliged to declare it shameful and impossible for Holy Rus to live under such an abnormal system of ecclesiastical government'.72 When even its own senior member questioned the synod's
68 The ratio of average annual communications from Suojarvi was 550 in 1914-16 to 109 in 1887-91: calculated from letterbooks atMikkelinmaakunta-arkisto, Suojaarven ortodok-sisen seurakunnen arkisto, ii Ab2-5.
69 'Kniazia tserkvi: iz dnevniki A. N. L'vova', Krasnyi Arkhiv 39 (1930), 122, 17 Dec. 1892. See also, S. I. Alekseeva, Sviateishii sinodvsisteme vysshikh i tsentral'nykh gosudarstvennykh uchrezhdenii poreformennoi Rossii, 1856-1904 gg. (St Petersburg: Nauka, 2003), esp. 44-70.
70 RGIA, f. 796, op. 191, v otd., 2 stol, d. I43z, l. 68.
71 J. W Cunningham, A vanquished hope: the movement for church renewal in Russia, 1905-1906 (Crestwood, NY: St Vladimir's Seminary Press, 1981), 66-78. The articles were by the terrorist-turned-monarchist L. A. Tikhomirov who remained influential after 1905: L. A. Tikhomirov, Tserkovnyi sobor, edinolichnaiavlast'i rabochii vopros (Moscow: Moskva, 2003).
72 RGIA, f. 1579, op. 1, d. 36, l. iob., Antonii to Pobedonostsev, 4 April 1905, quoting his report to Nicholas II ofMarch I903.
34i authority, reform was widely assumed to be imminent. Yet Nicholas, guided by Pobedonostsev, continued to regard a council as politically inopportune. Since laymen saw a council as a means of increasing their voice in parochial affairs, clergy as a way of gaining a foothold in diocesan management, and bishops as a means of undermining the entire synodal bureaucracy, it was far from irrational for the tsar to agonise about conciliarism's subversive potential. Yet his touch in ecclesiastical affairs was uncertain. Though Nicholas had intended the canonisation of Serafim of Sarov in 1903 as a symbol of national integration and divine legitimacy, embarrassment ensued when the popular demand for uncorrupted remains could not be satisfied.73 In March 1906, after Pobedonostsev's retirement, the tsar once again inadvertently achieved the worst of all worlds by continuing to refuse a council, but authorising a pre-conciliar commission whose published record offered a tempting target to critics by revealing widespread Orthodox dissension on crucial matters of principle without providing a mechanism for their resolution.74
Lacking conciliar authority, the church was vulnerable to the revolutionary turmoil of i905.On 9 January - 'Bloody Sunday' - Father Georgii Gapon's leadership ofthe St Petersburg assembly of Russian workers ended in tragedy when troops fired on a peaceful, but unauthorised, demonstration to the Winter Palace. On i7 April - Easter Sunday - the tsar issued a toleration edict in an attempt to prevent the spread of sedition, granting his subjects an unprecedented personal choice in matters of faith.75 Shocked church leaders descended into mutual recrimination. When reformist clergy in St Petersburg met their metropolitan in February to condemn Orthodoxy's 'unnaturally powerless' position 'in this period of social upheaval', Pobedonostsev denounced them as 'agitators and troublemakers'.76 When the prime minister declared his sympathy for conciliarism, Pobedonostsev dismissed his sources as 'idealists' and 'ideologues', 'unacquainted with reality'.77 A recluse since Bloody Sunday, the over-procurator saw his world in ruins: 'Everyone - secular and clerical - has gone out of his mind.'78 Metropolitan Antonii was indeed close to collapse. Outraged by unfounded charges of a conspiracy with Witte - 'one wants to
73 G. L. Freeze, 'Subversive piety: religion and the political crisis in late imperial Russia', Journal of Modern History 68 (1996), 312-29.
74 See, in particular, F. E. Mel'nikov, Bluzhdaiushchee bogoslovie: obzor veroucheniia gospod-stvuiushchei tserkvi (Moscow: P. P. Riabushinskii, 1911). On the commission, Cunningham, A vanquished hope, 205-312.
76 RGIA, f.797, op. 75,11 otd., 3 stol, d. 439, l. 7ob.
77 Istoricheskaiaperepiskasud'bakhpravoslavnoi tserkvi (Moscow: I. D. Sytin, 1912), 10-11,32-3.
78 L. Shokhin (ed.), '"Mat' moiu, rodimuiuRossiiu, uroduiut": Pis'maK. P. Pobedonostseva S. D. Sheremetevu', Istochnik 6 (1996), 6, 16 April 1905.
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