Дорога домой. Выпуск ДД-14(01)а  [15нбр06]
История Русской Церкви.
Краткие обзоры


The Baptism (Christening) of Russia took place in 988. Count Vladimir invited Greek clergy to baptize the Russian people. This fact had immeasurable influence on all the Russian people. When other nations adopted Christianity they already had a well developed pagan culture. Therefore, frequently, Christianity was accepted with great difficulty. Russians did not have a well developed culture, and also some pagan beliefs were similar to the Christian ones and consequently Christianity was accepted rather easily. Russian culture and national history actually begins with the Baptism.
    Contents: (1) Short Overview: (2) Prior to Kiev Period (prior to 862); (3) Kiev Period (862-1240); (3) Moscow Period (1240-1700); Petersburg Period (1700-1917); Godless Period (1917-1991); New Period (from 1991). Conclusion.

1. Short Overview.
With the acceptance of Christianity Russians receive the true faith, Othodox-Christian world outlook, writing, literature, schools, statehood, laws, etc. All this has its beginnings in the Orthodox faith. The Russian character was also formed under the influence of the thousand-years of Christian sermon. This explains the abundance of Christian qualities in the Russian people, which are often noticed by observant foreigners, who had prolonged contact with Russians. One can freely say that the Orthodox faith is the cradle of Russian culture and the воспитательница [teacher, molder] of the Russian character.
    The Russian Church grew with time and gradually evolved. After the Baptism of Russia by the Greek Clergy, it was natural that initially the clergy was Greek. With time the Russian Church became independent and at first it was headed by a Russian Metropolitan and later a Russian Patriarch.
    With the arrival of the reformer of Russia, the Emperor Peter I (the Great), friction with the Church began and at the first chance he abolished the patriarchate. Instead of the Patriarch the Most Holy Synod was established. This had a negative effect on the Church and the society. The natural development of the Church was slowed down.
    During the Civil War and the following years, the Russian Church was subject to terrible persecutions and was almost destroyed. Patriarch Tikhon died suddenly. During World War II, a small amount of freedom was given to the churches, which later was either decreased, or increased. The History of the Russian Church can be divided into five periods:

  1. The Kiev Period (862-1240) (378 years)
  2. The Moscow Period (1240-1700) (460 years)
  3. The Petersburg Period (1700-1917) (217 years)
  4. The Godless Period (1917-1991) (74 years)
  5. The New Period (1991 - now)

2. Prior to the Kiev Period (prior to 862).
Little is known about the time prior to the Kiev Period. Since there was still no literacy [writing], very little documentation remains from this period. Some historians believe that St. Apostle Andrew preached on the hills of Kiev and even raised a cross there. Likewise it is thought that other Greek missionaries also reached these places. Saints Kirill [Cyrill] and Mefody [Methodius] began preaching to the Khazars, in Bulgaria and Moravia, in 858.

3. The Kiev Period (862-1240).
This Period begins with an invitation of the Varyag (Viking) counts and the beginning of Russian statehood. The Period includes the Baptism of Russia in 988, the preaching and establishing of Christianity. The Russian Church was governed by Greek clergy, which was under the Patriarch of Constantinople. The first metropolitan of the Russian Church was Metropolitan Mikhail with the seat in Kiev. He and other metropolitans after him were appointed by the Patriarch of Constantinople. The Kiev Period ends with the invasion of the Mongols and their capture of Kiev.

4. Moscow Period (1240-1700).
The Moscow Period lasted 460 years (1240-1700). It started with the Mongols taking Kiev and moving of the Church seat to Moscow. The Mongol yoke lasted 240 years (until 1480). The Russian lands, Russian people and Russian Church fell under and endured the terrible Tartar yoke, including physical and spiritual destruction. Besides this, Russians twice had to defend themselves against armies which wanted to establish Catolicism by force.
    During this Period the Russian Church became independent (1448) and Russian metropolitans appeared (Metropolitan Iona [Jonah]). These metropolitans were elected by a Sobor of Bishops of the Russian Church, and not by the Patriarch of Constantinople.
    After long deliberations of the Zemsky Sobor, the sixteen-year old Michael, son of Metropolitan Philaret, was elected. On February 21st, 1613 Mikhail Fedorovich Romanov (1613-1645) was solemnly proclaimed Russian Czar. This is how the house [family] of Romanovs started to reign. At first, his father, Metropolitan Philaret ruled for him.
    Later there came the first patriarch of the Russian Church (Iov [Job] 1589). Iov was installed by the Patriarch of Constantinople and this is how the Russian Church received full independence, that is autocephaly. Subsequent patriarchs were elected by the bishops of the Russian Church and without the Patriarch of Constantinople.
    During the Moscow Period the Church books were corrected (1666) and a schism developed.
    The Moscow Period ends with the death of Patriarch Adrian (1700) and the installation of the Holy Synod by Emperor Peter.

5. Petersburg Period (1700-1917).
The Period begins with the death of Patriarch Adrian (1700) and the establishment of the Most Holy Synod (1721) in St.Petersburg by the Emperor Peter. The Period ends with the overthrow of the government in February of 1917.

6. Godless Period (1917-1991).
This Period begins with with the February 1917 overthrow of the government and the Civil War. It is characterized by a militant atheism and the tremendous persecutions of the Church. In the beginning of the coup, almost all clergy and churches were destroyed. Starting with World War II the authorities gradually allowed the Russian Church to exist, but as an enslaved and obedient servant of the militantly godless government. The clergy serves the authorities which are hostile to the Church and try to stifle its growth and generally destroy it.
    The Russian Church outside of Russia (ROCOR) or Russian Orthodox Church Abroad (ROCA) is the free part of the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) and is like a depository of the free and true Russian Orthodoxy and the voice of the Russian Orthodox people. Completely unexpectedly, in many places she is becoming a missionary church and conducts divine services in the local languages. By God's will she became an ambassador. In the present world of a general retreat from Christian principles, one can say, that the Russian Church Abroad is one of the few Orthodox churches which stand on a solid Orthodox foundation.

7. New Period (from 1991).
In 1991 the Communist Party and its ideology were forbidden. The new authorities abandoned atheism and the Church gradually started to revive.

The Orthodox Church is not one of many Christian churches. She is that Church which was established by Jesus Christ's apostles 2000 ago, in which there is an apostolic succession and which contains the truth and fullness of Christian teaching and which is the only true Church of Christ.
    Other churches have lost contact with the historical Orthodox Church, and have at their own will changed and distorted beyond recognition many of its teachings. If one could imagine the Orthodox Faith as a beautifully decorated Christmas Tree, where everything is beautiful, meaningful, plentiful and purposeful and has some deep meaning, then many other religions one can imagine as being a simpler and empty tree and in some cases just a bare artificial trunk.
    Modesty and humility are the basic Christian qualities. These positive character qualities of an Orthodox Christian, sometimes go hand in hand with a complete ignorance of the most basic truths of Christian Church history. The result is a confusion in the mind of the so-called Orthodox person, who begins to assert that all religions teach the same and even ceases to appreciate his own Church.
    We should thank the Lord God for giving us such grace as to be the members of the Christ's True Church. Because of this, under no circumstances should we be proud, since pride is not only a sin, but also the source of many other sins. Our belonging to the Orthodox-Christian faith imposes on us a great responsibility. To know its teaching, to live according to it and to pass it on to our families and friends.


[П1] Notes in square brackets are various translation notes and were not part of the original Russian text.
[П2] Russian Alphabet (SE-03)

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История Русской Церкви. Краткие обзоры. Введение»
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