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the burdensome Petrine formula of church-state relations. By the beginning of the twentieth century the legal separation of church and state and the restoration ofthe defunct patriarchate became a centrepiece ofthe clerical and secular press and diocesan clergy assemblies. With a promise from Nicholas II in the turbulent year of 1905 to convoke the first national church council in more than two centuries, religious leaders and ordinary parish clergymen busied themselves with preparations for the seminal event. Crisis after crisis distracted the doomed tsar, so that only his abdication in February 1917 cleared the path for the council to be called by the provisional government. Although the new dynamics of the church-state relationship briefly augured well for Orthodoxy in Russia, the triumph of the Bolsheviks soon demonstrated the limits of organised religion's authority, as well as the resilience of piety among rank-and-file Russians who considered themselves believers.5

The paradigms and stereotypes about Orthodox piety and culture that evolved between 1700 and 1917 tended towards binary opposites - pagan or pious, backward or progressive, ignorant or informed.6

Church and state

Already weakened by the schism of 1666-67, the Orthodox Church never entirely recovered from Peter the Great's forceful subordination of church administration to secular power. The tsar's originally benign approach that led him to withhold nominating a successor to the deceased Patriarch Adrian ended with the formal reorganisation of the faith under a holy synod of elite bishops led by a secular administrator. Despite the over-procurator's control of the day-to-day affairs of the synod, its members still retained authority over ecclesiastical matters. By 1832, when Nicholas I's Minister of Education, Count Sergei Uvarov (1786-1855), coined the patriotic slogan of Orthodoxy, Autocracy and Nationality, the church was far less a servant of the state or imperial wishes than might be supposed. The popularity of certain bishops, the rise of widespread spirituality independent of formal church through devotion to favourite shrines and holy men (especially the famed elders, or startsy,

5 C.J. Chulos, 'Religion and grass-roots re-evaluations of Russian Orthodoxy, 1905-1907', in Transformingpeasants: society, state and peasants, 1861-1931, ed.J. Pallot [Selected Papers from the Fifth World Conference of Central and Eastern European Studies, Warsaw, 1995] (Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1995), pp. 90-112. On the council, see D. Pospielovsky, The Russian church under the Soviet regime, 1917-1982 (Crestwood, NY: St Vladimir's Seminary Press, 1984), 1, ch. 1.

6 See C.J. Chulos, 'Myths of the pious or pagan peasant in post-emancipation central Russia (Voronezh province)', RH/HR 22 (1995), 181-216.

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