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Orthodox metropolitan of Kiev, Iov Boretsky, and other bishops. In its first years, the new hierarchy functioned illegally, but its leadership encouraged the Orthodox in Ukraine and Belarus to resist the Uniates' campaign to expropriate their churches. The resulting struggle took its most extreme form in the assassination of Uniate Archbishop Iosafat Kuntsevych in 1623.

In 1632, the Orthodox Church took another step towards confessional equality within the commonwealth. Sigismund III's death in that year set in motion the process of electing his successor. To gain the Orthodox magnates' allegiance, the successful candidate, Wladyslaw IV, recognised the right of the Orthodox to their own metropolitan and bishops (but not the existing illegal hierarchy) but limited their authority to only half of the previously Orthodox dioceses of the realm.

The Romanov regime

The Orthodox church in Russia dealt with entirely different issues. After the Time of Troubles, the most obvious was the need to re-establish a functioning government and ecclesiastical administration. The Romanov family, a powerful boyar clan related by marriage to the old dynasty, played a crucial role in both. As a first step, the teenage Mikhail Romanov was crowned tsar in 1613. The new tsar's father, Filaret, would have been a far stronger candidate for the throne but for the fact that, in 1600, he had, against his will, taken monastic vows that were irrevocable by eastern Orthodox tradition even though made under duress. Thereafter, although by origin a lay politician and courtier, he could hold only ecclesiastical office. In 1619, on his return to Moscow after years of imprisonment in Poland, Filaret ascended the vacant patriarchal throne and, in practice, also acted as effective head of his son's government. Historians have usually characterised him as a forceful but unimaginative conservative and a staunch defender of Muscovite Orthodoxy against Roman Catholic influence.

After being consecrated by Patriarch Theophanes of Jerusalem, Filaret systematically built up the power and prestige of the Moscow patriarchate. He adopted the title Velikii Gosudar (Great Sovereign), normally applied only to tsars, and often used it in decrees issued jointly with his son. In light ofFilaret's position as head of the ruling family, this practice made sense, but set a dangerous precedent. As patriarch he also made himself virtually ruler of a separate principality within the realm. He acquired estates in all parts of Russia in which he had judicial authority over all but the most serious crimes. To administer these territories and collect fees from the clergy, Filaret created separate patriarchal chanceries for administration, finances and judicial affairs, parallel to

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