Дорога домой. Выпуск ДД-14.1а  [17дек08]
History of Russian Church.
Short Overviews


The Baptism (Christening) of Russia took place in 988. Count Vladimir invited Greek clergy to baptize Russian people. This fact had immeasurable influence on all Russian people. When other nations adopted Christianity they already had a well developed pagan culture. Therefore frequently the Christianity was accepted with great difficulty. Russians did not have well developed culture, also some pagan beliefs were similar to Christian and consequently the Christianity was accepted rather easily. Russian culture and national history actually also 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. Bibliography.

1. Short Overview. With the acceptance of Christianity Russian receive the true faith, Othodox-Christian world outlook, writing, literature, schools, statehood, laws, etc. All this has the beginnings in the Orthodox faith. The Russian character was also developed under the influence of the thousand-year of Christian sermon. This is the explanation for the abundance of Christian qualities in Russian people, which are often noticed by observant foreigners, who had prolonged contact with Russians. One can freely say that the Orthodox faith is a cradle of Russian culture and the teacher (воспитательница) of Russian character.
    Russian Church with time grew and gradually evolved. After Baptism of Russia by Greek Clergy, it was natural that at one time the clergy was Greek. With time the Russian Church became independent and at it was headed first by a Russian Metropolitan and later 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 suddenly died. During the World War II, a small amount of freedom was given to the churches, which later was either decreased, or increased. The History of Russian Church can be divided into four periods:

  1. The Kiev Period (862-1240) (378 years)
  2. The Moscow Period (1240-1700) (560 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). A little is known about the time prior to the Kiev Period. Since there was still no literacy, very little of documentation is left. Some historians believe that St. Apostle Andrew preached on the mountains of Kiev and even raised the cross. Likewise it is thought that other Greek missionaries also reached these places. Saints Kirill (Cyrill) and Mefody (Methodius) begun preaching to Khazars, in Bulgaria and Moravia, in 858.

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

4. Moscow period (1240-1700). This period begins with the capture of Kiev by Mongols and moving of the Church seat to Moscow. The Mongolian yoke continued for 240 years (until 1480). In this period are appearing Russia metropolitans (Metropolitan Ionna in 1589), that is metropolitans who were elected by the Sobor (Meeting) of Bishops of the Russian Church, instead of Constantinopole Patriarch. Later also appeared the first patriarch of Russian Church (Iova in 1589). The patriarch was approved by Constantinople. This way Russian Church received автокефалию (autocephaly-independence). Following patriarchs were elected by the Bishops of Russian Church, without interference from Constantinople Patriarch. The Moscow Period ends with the death of Patriarch Adriana (1700) and the establishment of the Most Holy Synod by Emperor Peter.

5. Petersburg Period (1700-1917). The Period begins with the death of Patriarch Adriana (1700) and the establishment of the Most Holy Sinod (1721) in St.Petersburg by the Emperoro Peter. The period ends with February coup d'etat (1917).

6. Godless period (1917-1991). The period begins with with the February coup d'etats (1917) and the Civil War. It is characterized by militant atheism and the tremendous persecutions of the Church. In the beginning of the coup, almost all clergy and churches were destroyed. Starting with the World War II the authorities gradually are allowing Russian Church to exist, but as an obedient servant to the militantly godless government. The clergy serves authorities which are hostile to the Church and tries to stifle its grows and generally destroy it.
    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 local languages. By God's will she becomes an ambassador. In the present world of general retreat from Christian principles, one may say, that the Russian Church Abroad is one of the few orthodox churches which stand on a solid Orthodox base.

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.

Conclusion. 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 simpler and empty tree and in some cases just an empty trunk.
    The 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 the Christian Church history. The result is the 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 Church.
    We should thank the Lord God for giving us such grace as to be the members of the true Christ's Church. Because of this, under no circumstances we should 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 to our families and friends.


Духовный листок «Дорога домой. Выпуск ДД-14.1а --
История Русской Церкви. Краткие обзоры. Введение»
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CONTENTS History of Russian Church