newspapers and from the complex debates carried onby many diocesan clerical assemblies. 8

Nor should the efforts of rank-and-file believers be overlooked. By the sweat of their brows and through personal sacrifice, they provided financial support for their parish clergy, churches and charities that included care forthe indigent. In an outpouring of devotion that increased markedly after the emancipation of the serfs and the subsequent improvement in land, sea and rail transportation, Orthodox faithful flocked to nearby and faraway shrines that were significant to their personal conceptions of the world, as well as to the legitimacy of the empire. The combined force of believers' spiritual expression and improved clerical training brought about a religious renaissance that restored the moral authority of Russian Orthodoxy. While not always united, believers and parish clergymen formed an important alternative approach to the faith that was propped up by suspicion of both religious and secular authority based in St Petersburg and Moscow. At the same time, church hierarchs began to demand a national council that would decide on a wide range of pressing issues, from the restoration of the patriarchate to the role of women in the parish. However, they failed to seek support from below, preferring to fall back on theology and historical precedent. When the provisional government convoked the first national church council months after the abdication of Nicholas II in February 1917, it provided symbolic closure to a wound begun by the imperial period's founder and grandmaster of ceremonies. Sadly, the restoration of the patriarchate and progressive rulings on parish life came at a time when the great mass of believers was so alienated from the church leaders that they were only too willing to support efforts to bring down the hierarchical institutions of Orthodoxy. These very same believers were not, however, willing to abandon their parishes or local religious life.9

Popular piety in the centres and peripheries

Quite unconnected to the schism of 1666-67 was the less formal division within the church created by Peter the Great. This was between the type of

8 Freeze, Parish clergy, 319-29, 354-63; B. V Titlinov, DukhovnaiashkolavRossiivXIXstoletii, 2 vols. (Vil'na, 1908-9; reprinted Farnborough: Gregg International Publishers, 1970); C.J. Chulos, Convergingworlds:religionandcommunityinpeasantRussia, 1861-1917 (DeKalb: Northern Illinois University Press, 2003), 99-100.

9 See C.J. Chulos, 'Religious and secular aspects ofpilgrimage in modern Russia', Byzantium andthe North/Acta Byzantina Fennica 9 (1997-98), 21-58. The complexity of parish life has beendescribedin Chulos, Convergingworlds, chs. 4,7; V Shevzov, 'Chapels andthe ecclesial world of pre-Revolutionary Russian peasants', Slavic Review 55 (1996), 585-613.

Was this article helpful?

0 0

Post a comment