who styled himself metropolitan of Gaza, an office from which he had been deposed. After a local ecclesiastical council in 1666 had been unable to reach a compromise whereby Nikon would abdicate the patriarchate, but maintain his episcopal dignity and administrative control of his favourite monasteries, the government chose a more radical solution, an 'ecumenical' council ofeastern Orthodoxy with the participation of the other patriarchs, only two of whom actually appeared. Its decisions were a foregone conclusion. On 12 December 1666 the council deposed Nikon for dereliction of duty, insulting the tsar and mistreating the clergy, reduced him to the rank of an ordinary monk, and imprisoned him in the remote Ferapontov monastery.
The government and its ecclesiastical allies dealt with the critics of the reformed liturgy in a similar fashion. Taking a reconciliatory position, the local council of 1666 had proclaimed that the new rites were correct, but avoided condemning traditional Russian practices. Several of the leaders of the opposition, particularly Ivan Neronov and Aleksandr of Viatka, reconciled themselves with the new dispensation in order not to divide the body of Christ. Others resisted to the bitter end.
The ecumenical council of 1666-67 settled the issue simply and radically. It declared that only the reformed liturgy was true Orthodox usage and condemned traditional Russian practices and the Stoglav, which sanctioned them, as heretical. Simultaneously, its representatives exerted intense pressure on the recalcitrant critics ofthe new liturgy to recant. One, Nikita Dobrynin, yielded -temporarily as it turned out. Five others - Avvakum, Lazar, Epifanii, Nikifor and deacon Fedor - held out. All were defrocked, two had their tongues cut out for insulting the tsar, and all were sent to prison in Pustozersk on the Arctic coast.
The councils of 1666-67 had far-reaching implications for the future of the Russian Church. They made clear that Tsar Aleksei and his advisers - the secular government and its ecclesiastical allies - had decisive power over the church. Thereafter any religious dissenters understood correctly that the state was also their enemy.
Moreover, for better or worse, Aleksei's government chose to make scholars from Ukraine and the Greek world and their local disciples the intellectual leaders of the Russian Church. New understandings of the uses of language and new educational methods and artistic styles, based ultimately on Roman Catholic models, became norms for the cultural elite of the court and much of the church's leadership.
The decisions of 1666-67 appeared to have restored peace and uniformity to the Russian Church. The enforcement of the reformed liturgy seemed to
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