Info

and their charitable activities modest. However, where a wealthy foundress offered the prospect of greater scope, the risks increased in proportion to the scale of the enterprise. The Vladychne-Pokrovskaia community of Sisters of Mercy, founded with the support of the Moscow hierarchy in 1869, collapsed in debt within five years and its foundress, Mother Mitrofaniia, born Baroness Praskov'ia Grigor'evna Rosen (1825-98), was placed under synodal investigation.64 In the wake of such a scandal, one can understand why Metropolitan Isidor (Nikol'skii) deterred his own acolyte, Mother Evfaliia, from converting her Vvedenskaia community near Kiev into a convent and frustrated her ambition to become abbess of some 500 sisters in 1885 on the grounds that she would 'not be able to control such a big family'.65 Consistently well-managed institutions such as the convent of the Exaltation of the Cross at Nizhnii Novgorod nevertheless proved highly successful, profiting from its position at the centre of Russia's trade routes in a period of rapid industrialisation.66

Though some monasteries were notorious centres of drunkenness and immorality, of the sort that prompted the tsar himself to instigate a synodal investigation in 1901, many remained vigorous centres of pilgrimage to the end of the old regime. Smaller monasteries proved vulnerable both to inflation and to conscription in the First World War. Those in the western battlegrounds were particularly badly affected. But many of the larger monasteries and convents actively participated in the war effort at a time when much ofthe rest of the church, as we shall now see, had been driven deep into crisis.67

The church in late imperial Russia

By 1900, no thinking churchman could be unaware of the intellectual, spiritual and pastoral energies competing for influence in Russian Orthodoxy. The challenge was to channel them into a productive synthesis capable of harmonising the interests ofhierarchy, clergy and laity in a manner acceptable to the secular

Press, 1993), 84, 87; Meehan, 'Metropolitan Filaret(Drozdov) and the reform ofwomen's monastic communities', RR50 (1991), 310-23; E. B. Emchenko, 'Gosudarstvennoe zakon-odatel'stvo i zhenskie monastyri v XVIII - nachale XX veka', in Tserkov' v istorii Rossii: Sbornik5, ed. O. I. Vasil'eva etal. (Moscow: RAN, IRI, 2003), 171-221.

64 I. A. Kurliandskii, 'Mitropolit Innokentii (Veniaminov) i Igumeniia Mitrofaniia. (Po novym arkhivnym dokumentam)', in Tserkov' v istorii Rossii: Sbornik 3 (Moscow: RAN, IRI, 1999), 134-59.

65 R[ossiiskii] G[osudarstvennyi] I[storicheskii] A[rkhiv], f[ond] 834, op[is] 4, d[elo] 1193, l[ist] 89, Isidor to Evfaliia, 5 August 1882; ll. 36-7, same to same, 24 February 1885.

66 W. G. Wagner, 'Paradoxes of piety: the Nizhegorod convent of the Exaltation of the Cross, 1807-1935', in Orthodox Russia, 211-38.

67 S. M. Kenworthy, 'The mobilization ofpiety: monasticism and the Great War in Russia, 1914-1916', Jahrb├╝cher fur Geschichte Osteuropas 52 (2004), 388-401.

Was this article helpful?

0 0

Post a comment