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from Orthodox diocesan authorities and most were closed down in the 1830s. No longer content to be first among equals in its own empire, the Russian Church wanted to dominate: but domination on its own terms proved an elusive goal.

Heterodox challenges

Superficially, the reign of Nicholas I (1825-55) was a period of militant Orthodox regeneration marked by diocesan expansion and state-sponsored conversion campaigns. The process began where the need seemed greatest: in the west, where the Uniate Church was formally 'reunited' with Orthodoxy in 1839 in the aftermath of the Polish revolt of 1830. A further burst of activity followed in the mid-i840s. Targeted in earnest from 1843, approximately half the 50,000 Jewish recruits under the age of eighteen were baptised in the army by 1855; some 800 pagan Maris in the Orenburg region were baptised in i845; and in the diocese of Riga, established in 1836, at least 74,000 Latvians and Estonians were accepted into Orthodoxy between i845 and i847 during the episcopate of Filaret (Gumilevskii).19 In the following decade, the theological academy established at Kazan in 1842 became the centre of professor N. I. Il'minskii's mission to teach Christianity in their native languages to Muslim children of the Volga and Urals regions.20

These campaigns cannot be lightly dismissed: though many Tatars understood little of their new faith at the time of their baptism, the Christian identity of their descendants remained sufficiently firm to create a problem for Soviet authorities in the 1920s.21 However, since some 'conversions' were motivated by violence or the promise of elusive material incentives, many proved insincere: Russians were obliged to celebrate the 'end' of the Uniate Church on at least two further occasions, in 1875 and 1946, and it flourishes still today. No less alarming was a growing sense that, like the Old Believers, the church's heterodox rivals were sufficiently vigorous not only to maintain their own

19 J. D. Klier, 'State policies and the conversion of Jews in imperial Russia', in Of religion and empire, 102-4; P. W. Werth, 'Baptism, authority and the problem of zakonnost' in Orenburg diocese: the induction of over 800 "pagans" into the Christian faith', Slavic Review 56 (1997), 456-80; W. Kahle, Die Begegnung des baltischen Protestantismus mit der russisch-orthodoxenKirche (Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1959), esp. 104-23.

20 R. P. Geraci, Window on the East: nationalandimperialidentities inlate tsaristRussia (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2001), chs. 2 and 4.

21 P. W Werth, 'From "pagan" Muslims to "baptized" communists: religious conversion and ethnic particularity in Russia's eastern provinces', Comparative Studies in Society and History 42 (2000), 497-523.

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