arrogant'.95 The evangelical movement did indeed become Orthodoxy's most vigorous rival. From 1907, the young Baptist preacher Wilhelm Fetler enjoyed a 'great reaping and gathering season' among the workers of St Petersburg so that there was 'never a Gospel service held without conversions resulting'. Fetler's Gospel Hall on Vasilevskii island seated 2000; in the empire as a whole, the movement could probably boast millions of adherents.96
The sectarian menace helps to explain why only a minority of churchmen saw the 1905 toleration edict as an opportunity for peaceful, unfettered mission. Most, like Sergii (Stragorodskii), instead felt betrayed: 'After a century of peaceful existence under the protection of the law, behind the strong wall of state security, our church now ventures out, defenceless and without shelter, directly onto the field of battle, to face the enemies' attack.'97 Orthodox scholars had long drawn on patristic authority to justify state intervention on behalf of their church. Now they were reduced to an unedifying struggle to limit the scope of the toleration edict and to thwart its local impact.98 Though accurate statistics are hard to determine, apostasy reached a peak in the western borderlands, where earlier attempts to impose an alien faith were exposed as a sham: a third of the 'Orthodox' population of the diocese of Kholm had converted to Catholicism by 1907.99 More damaging than the exodus itself were the attitudes engendered by the threat: even in dioceses where the church's worst fears remained unrealised, the assumption persisted that disaster was immi-nent.100 The alarmist tone of the majority at the Kiev missionary conference in July 1908 allowed the renegade archimandrite Mikhail (Semenov) to mock an increasingly defensive church, dependent on 'external' means of support, reduced to 'primitive' missionary work, and convinced that it faced a 'crisis' in which it would be 'vanquished' by rivals.101 The conversion to the schism of
96 R. S. Latimer, With Christ in Russia (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1910), 26, 31; A. McCaig, Wonders of grace in Russia (Riga: Revival Press, 1926), 119-31.
97 Episkop Sergii, Slova i rechi 1901-1905 gg. (St Petersburg: M. Merkushev 1905), 29-35. For press reactions, see Reformy veroterpimosti na poroge XX veka i sostoianie gosudarstvennoi tservki vRossii, ed. G. M. Kalinin (Nizhnii Novgorod: Tipografiia O. R. Provorovoi, 1905).
98 On the pettifogging central campaign, P. Waldron, 'Religious reform after 1905: Old Believers and the Orthodox church', Oxford Slavonic Papers, n.s. 20 (1987), 110-39.
99 T. R. Weeks, Nation and state in late imperial Russia: nationalism and russification on the western frontier, 1863-1914 (DeKalb: Northern Illinois University Press, 1996), 180-3.
100 S. Dixon, 'Sergii (Stragorodskii) in the Russian Orthodox diocese of Finland: apostasy and mixed marriages, 1905-1917', Slavonic and East European Review 82 (2004), 59-66.
101 Arkhimandrit Mikhail, 'Na s'ezde', Tserkov' 29 (1908), 1010-11; Mikhail, 'Moi vpechatleniia: s kievskago missionerskago s'ezda', Tserkov 30 (1908) 1038-42; 34 (1908), 116; andmore generally H.J. Coleman, 'Definingheresy: the fourth missionary congress and the problem of cultural power after 1905 in Russia', JahrbOcherfur Geschichte Osteuropas 52 (2004), 70-92.
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