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By the end ofthe seventeenth century, the Orthodox churches in Russia and Ukraine had achieved some of the goals they shared with the Catholic Reformation. The hierarchy exercised tighter control over diocesan and parish life, enforced a revised standardised liturgy, and collaborated with the secular authorities in maintaining public order and moral discipline. The Orthodox in Ukraine and Belarus had created a system of education and scholarship designed specifically to meet the challenge of Catholicism and, in the second half of the century, introduced them into Russian church life. If, institutionally, the Russian government and hierarchy had absorbed the Ukrainian church, Ukrainians came to dominate ecclesiastical culture and education in Russia. Thus the united church appeared formidable and seemed to enjoy the advantages of both traditions. In some ways, however, the appearance of strength was deceiving. In both Russia and Ukraine, part of the Orthodox flock had left the church. By 1700, the Uniate Church controlled all of the once-Orthodox dioceses in Ukraine west of the Dnieper and, to the east, the Old Believers had withdrawn from the official church into their own refuges of conservative Russian Orthodoxy. Finally, the longstanding dependence of the Russian church on the secular government left it vulnerable to a wilful reforming autocrat. When Peter I abolished the patriarchate and in 1721 created the holy synod to govern the church, Russian and Ukrainian Orthodox believers had to face radically new challenges.

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