Excerpts from the
The Russian Church"
By N. Mouravieff.
(Please get the full version of this book at your bookstore)
Cyrill II. Maximus. St. Peter.5. Residence of the Metropolitans at Moscow.
Theognostes. St. Alexis. Cyprian. Photius. Isidore. Saint Jonah. Theodosius. Philip I. Gerontius. Zosimus. Simon. Barlaam. Daniel. Joasaph. Macarius. Athanasius. St. Philip. Cyrill III. Anthony. Dionisius.6. The Patriarchs.
Job.7. The Patriarchs.
Hermogenes.8. The Patriarchs.
Philaret.9. The Patriarchs.
Joasaph I.10. The Patriarchs.
Joseph.11. The Patriarchs.
Nikon.12. The Patriarchs.
Joasaph II.13. The Patriarchs.
Pitirim.14. The Patriarchs.
Joachim.15. The Patriarchs.
Adrian.16. Stephen Guardian of the Patriarchate. 17. The Most Holy Synod.
The History of the Orthodox Church of our country, which I now present to the Public, is merely a cursory glance at the great events that have marked the plantation and gradual development of this flourishing branch of the Universal Church. By the wise providence of God it was ordained that when the Church of Jerusalem, the Mother of all Churches, was overwhelmed by the invasion of barbarians, the Church of Constantinople should shine out with peculiar lustre in the East, and spread her scions into all the North. And when she again in her turn, though she lost not her inward purity, fell under external calamities, then suddenly, as a sea that bursts its bounds, the Orthodox Faith overflowed and spread itself over the boundless tracts of Russia; and the Eastern Catholic Church may now count her children from the shores of the Adriatic to the bays of the Eastern ocean on the coast of America, from the icefields which grind against the Solovetsky Monastery on its savage islet in the North to the heart of the Arabian and Egyptian deserts, on the verge of which stands the Lavra of Sinai.
This picture, consolatory to every Christian, is more especially calculated to rejoice the heart of a Russian, on account of the mighty destinies, which the Church of our country has either already accomplished, or is still accomplishing, over so vast a field. Let him but cast a look of tenderness on the cradle of our Faith, the ancient City of Kiev; or on Moscow, the elder of our two capitals, the heart of Orthodoxy; let him trace in thought the acts of Prelates such as Cyrill, Peter, Alexis, Cyprian, Jonah, Philip, Job, Hermogenes, Philaret; of Monks and Hermits, like Antony and Theodosius, Sergius, the Zosima, the Cyrill, and others without number, whose names live in that monastic world which has peopled the repose of our forests; of Princes, such as the Vladimirs, the Michaels, or Alexander Nevsky, whose earthly diadems beamed in anticipation of the crowns which they were to receive in Paradise. Then what an army of Martyrs! What a company of women and of men of every age and calling, who, by the holiness of their lives or by their sufferings, have been confessors for the Name of Christ! And in the midst of all these varied scenes, how striking is the unity of the Faith, which has been preserved in such constant purity, that in spite of all circumstances which may have temporarily interrupted external communication between the Churches of Eastern Orthodoxy, they all constitute together in spirit but one whole! When the Church of Georgia, now only a short time back, became an integral portion of the Russian Church and Empire, after having stood alone, cut off and isolated from all other Churches ever since the fourth century, there was not found to have arisen in the course of fifteen hundred years any the slightest difference between them in doctrine, no, nor even in ceremonies; but they agreed in all points with us and with the other Ecumenical Thrones of Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem, and with the Churches dependent upon the first of them in Moldavia, Wallachia, Servia, Montenegria, Transylvania, Ulyria, and in a word, throughout all Sclavonia.
In a rapid sketch like the present, which professes only to mark the general outline of the course of Ecclesiastical affairs, I have not thought it necessary to weary the reader with perpetual references to authorities, which for the most part are well known to all; such as The Annals of Nestor and his continuators, collected together by the Patriarch Nikon; The Books of the Genealogies of our Princes, by the Metropolitans Cyprian and Malarias; and The Lives of the Saints. The Church Histories of Plato and Innocentius, the valuable Dictionary of Russian Authors, by the Metropolitan Eugenius, with his Hierarchy of Kiev and all Russia, and the work of the immortal Karamzin, so rich in proofs of the close attention which he had bestowed on Russian history, together with those of other living authors on the same subject, have served me for authorities, and supplied me with most of my materials, down to the times of the Patriarchate.
From this point I have chiefly had recourse either to MSS, which are preserved in the Patriarchal Library at Moscow, or to books published by the Patriarchs. Thus the description of the coming of Jeremiah Patriarch of Constantinople, in order to raise Job to the Patriarchal dignity, with all the circumstances of this event, has been taken from contemporary Acts; and in like manner the whole affair of the trial of the Patriarch Nicon. The different steps successively taken for the correction of the Church books have been accurately described in the Prefaces to the Office-books of Philaret, the Tablets of Nicon, the Staff of Rule and Instruction of Joachim. The Ancient Russian Library, composed almost entirely from MSS of the Patriarchal Vestry, which had been carefully collected by Nicon; The History of the Unia, by Kamensky; Roumanzoffís Collection of Letters; The Archaeological Acts, full of matter which has been only recently rescued from obscurity; and the most useful Collection of the Laws of the Empire, shed abundant light on the century during which the Patriarchate lasted, and leave nothing to be desired by the historian.
Such are the sources of this imperfect work, which I cast as my mite into the Treasury of the Russian Church.
1. The Origin of Christianity in Russia.
The Russian Church, like the other Orthodox Churches of the East, had an Apostle for its founder. St. Andrew, the first called of the Twelve, hailed with his blessing long beforehand the destined introduction of Christianity into our country. Ascending up and penetrating by the Dnieper into the deserts of Scythia, he planted the first cross on the hills of Kiev, and Ďsee you," said he to his disciples, "these hills? On these hills shall shine the light of Divine grace. There shall be here a great city, and God shall have in it many Churches to His Name." Such are the words of the holy Nestor the Monk and Annalist of the Pechersky monastery that point from whence Christian Eussia has sprung.
But it was only after an interval of nine centuries that the rays of Divine light beamed upon Russia from the walls of Byzantium, in which city the same Apostle St. Andrew had appointed Stachys to be the first Bishop, and so committed as it were to him and to his successors, in the spirit of prescience, the charge of that wide region in which he had himself preached Christ. Hence the indissoluble connection of the Russian with the Greek Church, and the dependence of her Metropolitans during six centuries upon the Patriarchal throne of Constantinople, until, with its consent, she obtained her own equality and independence in that which was accorded to her native Primates.
The Bulgarians of the Danube, the Moravians, and the Slavonians of Illyria, had been already enlightened by holy Baptism about the middle of the ninth century, during the reign of the Greek Emperor Michael, and the Patriarchate of the illustrious Photius. St. Cyrill and St. Methodius, two learned Greek brothers, translated into the Slavonic the New Testament and the books used in Divine service, and according to some accounts even the whole Bible. This translation of the word of God became afterwards a most blessed instrument for the conversion of the Russians, for the missionaries were by it enabled to expound the truths of the gospel to the heathens in their native dialect, and so win for them a readier entrance to their hearts.
So far as we know, it appears that Oskold and Dir, two princes of Kiev and of the companions of Ruric, were the first of the Russians who embraced Christianity. In the year 866 they made their appearance in armed vessels before the walls of Constantinople, when the Emperor was absent, and threw the Greek capital into no little alarm and confusion. Tradition reports that the Patriarch Photius took the virginal robe of the Mother of God from the Blachern Church, and plunged it beneath the waves of the strait, when the sea immediately boiled up from underneath and wrecked the vessels of the heathen. Struck with awe, they believed in that God who had smitten them, and became the first fruits of their people to the Lord. The hymn of victory of the Greek Church "To the protecting Conductress" in honor of the most holy Virgin has remained a memorial of this triumph, and even now among ourselves concludes the Office for the First Hour in the daily Matins, for that was indeed the first hour of salvation to the land of Russia.
It is probable that on their return to their own country the Princes of Kiev sowed there the seeds of Christianity; for, eighty years afterwards, on occasion of a conference for peace between the Prince Igor and certain Byzantine ambassadors, we find mention already of a Church of the Prophet Elias in Kiev where the Christian Varagians swore to the observance of the treaty. Constantine Porphyrogenitus and other Greek annalists even relate that in the lifetime of Oskold there was a Bishop sent to the Russians by the Emperor Basil the Macedonian, and the Patriarch St. Ignathis, and that he made many converts, chiefly in consequence of the miraculous preservation of a volume of the Gospels, which was thrown publicly into the flames and taken out after some time unconsumed. Also in Codinusí Catalogue of Sees subject to the Patriarch of Constantinople, the Metropolitical See of Russia appears as early as the year 891.
Lastly, it is certain that many of the Varagians who served in the Imperial body-guard were Christians, and that the Greek sovereigns never lost sight of any opportunity of converting them to their own faith, by which they hoped to soften their savage manners. When the Emperor Leo was concluding a peace with Oleg he showed not only his own treasures to the ambassadors of the Russian Prince, but also the splendour of the churches, the holy Relics, the precious Icons, and the Instruments of the Passion of our Lord, if by any means they might catch from them the spirit of the true Faith.
Some such influences as these, while Christianity as yet was only struggling for an uncertain existence at Kiev, produced in good time their effect on the wisest of the daughters of the Slavonians, the widowed Princess Olga, who governed Russia during the minority of her son Sviatoslav. She undertook a voyage to Constantinople for no other end than to obtain a know-edge of the true God, and there she received Baptism at the hands of the Patriarch Polyeuctes, the Emperor Constantine Porphyrogenitus himself, who admired her wisdom, being her godfather. Nestor draws an affecting picture of the Patriarch foretelling to the newly-illumined Princess the blessings which were to descend by her means on future generations of the Russians, while Olga now become Helena by Baptism, that she might resemble both in name and deed the mother of Constantine the Great, stood meekly bowing down her head and drinking m, as a sponge that is thirsty of moisture, the instructions of the Prelate concerning the canons of the Church, fasting, prayer, almsgiving, and continence, all which she observed with holy exactness on her return to her own country.
There, although in spite of all her entreaties the fierce and warlike Prince Sviatoslaff persisted in refusing to humble his proud heart under the meek yoke of Christ, he had still so much affection for his mother as not only not to persecute such as agreed with her in religion, but even to allow them freely to make open profession of their Faith under the protection of that Princess. He confided his children to her care during his incessant military expeditions, and so enabled her to confirm the saving impressions of Christianity among the people who respected her, and to instil them into the mind of her young grandson Vladimir: for nothing sinks so deep into the heart as the simple and affectionate words of a mother. The Princess had with her a Priest named Gregory, whom she had brought from Constantinople, and by him she was buried after her death in the spot which she had herself appointed, without any of the usual pagan ceremonies. The people by whom she had been surnamed The Wise during life, began to bless her for a Saint after her death, when they came themselves to follow the example of this Morning-Star which had risen and gone before to lead Eussia into the path of salvation.
Nowhere has Christianity ever been less persecuted at its first introduction, than in our own country. The Chronicle speaks of only two Christian Martyrs, the Varagians Theodore and John, who were put to death by the fury of the people, because one of them from natural affection had refused to give up his son, when he had been devoted by the Prince Vladimir to be offered as a sacrifice to Peroun.
Probably the very zeal of this Prince for the heathen deities, to whom he set up statues, and multiplied altars, may have inspired the neighbouring nations with the desire of converting so powerful a ruler to their respective creeds; and thus his blind impulse towards the Deity which was unknown to him, received a true direction. The Mahometan Eulgarians were the first to send ambassadors to him, with the offer of their faith; but the mercy of Providence, for so it plainly was, inspired him to give them a decided refusal, on the ground that he did not choose to comply with some of their regulations; though else a sensual religion might well have enticed a man who was given up to the indulgence of his passions.
The Chazarian jews flattered themselves with the hope of attracting the Prince by boasting of their religion, and the ancient glory of Jerusalem. "But where," demanded the wise grandson of Olga, "is your country?" "It is ruined by the wrath of God for the sins of our fathers," was their answer. Vladimir then said that he had no mind to embrace the Law of a people whom God had abandoned. There came also Western Doctors, from Germany, who would have persuaded Vladimir to embrace Christianity; but their Christianity seemed strange to him, for Russia had hitherto no acquaintance but with Byzantium. "Return home," he said, "our ancestors did not receive this religion from you."
A Greek embassy had the best success of them all. A certain philosopher, a Monk named Constantine, after having exposed the insufficiency of other religions, eloquently set before the Prince those judgments of God which are in all the world, the redemption of the human race by the blood of Christ, and the retribution of the life to come; his discourse powerfully affected the heathen monarch, who was burdened with the heavy sins of a tumultuous youth; and this was particularly the case when the Monk pointed out to him on an Ikon, which represented the last judgment, the different lot of the just and of the wicked. " Good to these on the right hand, but woe to those on the left," exclaimed Vladimir, deeply affected: but sensual nature still struggled in him against heavenly truth. Having dismissed the missionary, or ambassador, with presents, he still hesitated to decide; and wished first to examine further concerning the faith, in concert with the elders of his Council, that all Russia might have a share in his conversion. The Council of the Prince decided to send chosen men to make their observations on each religion on the spot where it was professed; and this public agreement explains in some degree the sudden and general acceptance of Christianity which shortly after followed in Russia. It is probable that not only the Chiefs, but the common people also, were expecting and ready for the change.
The Greek Emperors did not fail to profit by this favourable opportunity; and the Patriarch himself in person celebrated the Divine Liturgy in the church of St. Sophia, with the utmost possible magnificence, before the astonished ambassadors of Vladimir. The sublimity and splendor of the service forcibly struck them; but we may not ascribe to the mere external impression that softening of the hearts of these heathens, on which depended the conversion of a whole nation. From the very earliest times of the Church, extraordinary signs of Godís power have constantly gone hand in hand with that apparent weakness of man by which the Gospel was preached: and so also the Byzantine Chronicle relates of the Russian ambassadors, "That during the Divine Liturgy, at the time of carrying the Holy Gifts in procession to the Throne or altar and singing the Cherubic hymn, the eyes of their spirits were opened, and they saw, as in an ecstasy, Glittering youths who joined in singing the Hymn of the Thrice Holy. Being thus fully persuaded of the truth of the orthodox faith, they returned to their own country already Christians in heart; and without saying a word before the Prince in favor of the other religions, they declared thus concerning the Greek: "When we stood in the temple we did not know where we were, for there is nothing else like it upon earth: there in truth God has His dwelling with men; and we can never forget the beauty we saw there. No one who has once tasted sweets, will afterwards take that which is bitter: nor can we now any longer abide in heathenism." Then the Boyars said to Vladimir, If the religion of the Greeks had not been good, your grandmother Olga, who was the wisest of women, would not have embraced it. The weight of the name of Olga decided her grandson, and he said no more in answer than these words, "Where shall we be baptized?"
But Vladimir, led by a sense which had not yet been purged by Grace, thought it best to follow the custom of his ancestors, who made warlike descents upon Constantinople, and so win to himself, sword in hand, his new religion. He embarked his warriors on board their vessels, and attacked Cherson in the Tauride, a city, which was subject to the Emperors. After a long and unsuccessful siege, a certain priest, named Anastasius by means of an arrow shot from the town, informed the Prince that the fate of the besieged depended upon his cutting off the aqueducts, which supplied them with water. Vladimir in great joy made a vow that he would be baptized if he gained possession of the town: and he did gain possession of it. Then he sent to demand from the Greek Emperors the hand of their sister Anna, and they in answer proposed as a condition that he should embrace Christianity; for though they themselves desired an alliance with so powerful a prince, they at the same time took care to follow the prudent and pious policy of their predecessors, who had ever sought to bring their fierce neighbours under the humanizing influence of the Faith. The Prince declared his consent; because, in his own words, " He had long since examined, and conceived a love for the Greek Law."
It was her faith alone, which influenced the Princess to sacrifice herself at once for the temporal interests of her own country, and for the eternal welfare of a strange people. Accompanied by a venerable body of clergy, she sailed for Kherson, and on her arrival induced the Prince to hasten his baptism; for it was so ordered, says the pious Annalist, by the wisdom of God, that the sight of the Prince was at that much affected by a complaint of the eyes: but at the that the Bishop of Cherson laid his hands upon him, when he had risen up out of the bath of regeneration Vladimir suddenly received not only spiritual illumination but also the bodily sight of his eyes, and cried out, "Now I have seen the true God."
Many of the Princeís suite were so struck by his miraculous recovery, that they followed his example, and were baptized in like manner; and these were doubtless afterwards zealous for the introduction of Christianity into their country. The baptism and marriage of Vladimir were both celebrated in the church of the Most Holy Mother of God; and hence no doubt arose his peculiar zeal for the most pure Virgin, to whose honor he afterwards erected a cathedral church in his own city of Kiev. In Cherson itself he built a church, in the name of his angel or patron St. Basil; and taking with him the relics of St. Clement, Bishop of Rome, and his disciple Thebas, with church vessels and ornaments, and Ikons, he restored the city to be again under the power of the Emperors, and returned to Kiev, accompanied by the Princess their daughter, and her Greek Ecclesiastics.
Nestor makes no mention of any of the Bishops and (St. Michael, first Metropolitan) Priests from Constantinople and Cherson who followed in the train of the Prince, excepting only of one, Anastasius, the Priest who had rendered him such good service during the siege; but the Books of the Genealogies give the name of Michael, a Syrian by birth, and of six other Bishops who were sent together with him to Cherson by the Patriarch Nicholas Chrysoberges. Some have ventured to suppose that Michael was the name of the Bishop of the times of Oskold; but Nestor says nothing about him: and thus much only is certain, that he stands the first in the list of the Metropolitans of Russia.
After his return to Kiev the Great Prince caused his twelve sons to be baptized, and proceeded to destroy the monuments of heathenism. He ordered Peroun to be thrown into the Dnieper. The people at first followed their idol, as it was borne down the stream, but were soon quieted when they saw that the statue had no power to help itself. And Vladimir "being surrounded and supported by believers his own domestic circle, and encouraged by seeing that his Boyars and Suite were prepared and ready to embrace the faith, made a proclamation to the people, "That whoever, on the morrow, should not repair to the river, whether rich or poor, he should hold him for his enemy." At the call of their respected Lord all the multitude of the citizens in troops, with their wives and children, flocked to the Dnieper; and without any manner of opposition received holy Baptism as a nation, from the Greek Bishops and Priests. Nestor draws a touching picture of this baptism of a whole people at once. " Some stood in the water up to their necks, others up to their breasts, holding their young children in their arms; the Priests read the prayers from the shore, naming at once whole companies by the same name." He who was the means of thus bringing them to salvation, filled with a transport of joy at the affecting sight, cried out to the Lord, offering and commending into His hands himself and his people; "O great God! who hast made Heaven and Earth, look down upon these Thy new people. Grant them, O Lord, to know Thee the true God, as Thou hast been made known to Christian lands, and confirm in them a true and unfailing faith; and assist me, O Lord, against my enemy that opposes me, that trusting in Thee, and in Thy power, I may overcome all his wiles." Vladimir erected the first church, that of St. Basil, after whom he was named, on the very mount which had formerly been sacred to Peroun, adjoining his own palace. Thus was Russia Enlightened.
So sudden and ready a conversion of the inhabitants of Kiev might well seem improbable, that is, unless effected by violence, did we not attend to the fact that the Russians had gradually becoming enlightened ever since the times of for more than a hundred years, by means of commerce, treaties of peace, and relations of every kind with the Greeks, as well as with the Bulgarians and Slavonians of origin with ourselves, who had already been long in possession of the holy Scriptures in their own language. The constant endeavours of the Greek Emperors, for the conversion of the Russians by means of their ambassadors and preachers, the tolerance of the Princes, the example and protection of Olga, and the very delay and hesitation of Vladimir in selecting his religion, must have favourably disposed the minds of the people towards it; especially if it be true, as has been asserted, that Russia had already had a Bishop in the time of Oskold. In a similar way, though under different circumstances, in the vast Roman empire, the conversion of Constantine the Great suddenly rendered Christianity the dominant religion, because, in fact, it had long before penetrated among all ranks of his subjects.
Vladimir engaged zealously in building churches throughout the towns and villages of his dominions, and sent Priests to preach in them. He also founded many towns all around Kiev, and so propagated and confirmed the Christian religion in the neighborhood of the capital, from whence the new colonies were sent forth. Neither was he slow in establishing schools, into which he brought together the children of the Boyars, sometimes even in spite of the unwillingness of their rude parents. In the mean time the Metropolitan, with his Bishops, made progresses into the interior of Russia, to the cities of Rostoff and Novogorod, everywhere baptizing and instructing the people. Vladimir himself, for the same good end, went in company with other Bishops to the district of Souzdal and to Volhynia. The Boyars on the Volga and some of the Pechenegian Princes embraced the gospel of salvation together with his subjects, and rejoiced to be admitted to holy Baptism.
The pious Prince wished to see in his own capital a magnificent temple in honour of the Birth of the most holy Virgin, to be a likeness and memorial of that at Cherson, in which he himself had been baptized; and the year after his conversion he sent to Greece for builders, and laid the foundation of the first stone cathedral in Russia, on the very same spot where the Varagian martyrs had suffered. But the first metropolitan was not to live to its completion only his holy remains were buried in it, and were thence translated afterwards to the Pecherskay Lavra. Another metropolitan, Leontius, a Greek by birth, sent by the same patriarch Nicholas, consecrated the new temple, to the great satisfaction of Vladimir, who made a vow to endow it with the tenth part of all his revenues; and from hence it was called The Cathedral of the Tithes.
These tithes, according to the ordinance ascribed to Prince Vladimir, consisted of the fixed quota of corn, cattle, and the profits of trade, for the support of the clergy and the poor; and besides this there was a further tithe collected from every cause which was tried; for the right of judging causes was granted to the bishops and the metropolitan, and they judged according to the Nomocanon, The canons of the holy councils and the Greek ecclesiastical laws, together with the holy Scriptures, were taken from the very first as the basis of all ecclesiastical administration in Russia; and together with them there came into use some portions also of the civil law of the Greeks, through the influence of the Church The care of the new temple and the collection of the tithes for its support was entrusted to a native of Cherson named Anastasius, who enjoyed the confidence of Vladimir and his successors.
The light of Christianity had now been diffused throughout the whole of Russia; but still the faith was nowhere as yet firmly established, because there were no bishops regularly settled in the towns. The Metropolitan Leontius formed the first five dioceses, and appointed Joachim of Cherson to be bishop of Novogorod, Theodorus of Rostoff, Neophytus of Chernigoff, Stephen the Volhynian of Vladimir, and Nicetas of Belgorod. Assisted by Dobrina, the uncle of the Great Prince, who had long governed in Novogorod, the new Bishop Joachim threw the statue of Peroun into the Voljov, and broke down the idolatrous altars without any opposition on the part of the citizens; for they too, like the inhabitants of from their comparative degree of civilization and from their relations of intercourse with the Greeks were in all probability already favourably disposed for the reception of Christianity. Tradition asserts, that even as far back as the time of St. Olga, the Hermits Sergius and Germanus lived upon the desolate island of Balaam in the lake Ladoga, and that from thence St. Abramius went forth to preach Christ to the savage inhabitants of Rostoff.
The attempt to found a diocese at Rostoff was less successful. The first two bishops, Theodore and Hilarion, were driven away by the fierce tribes of the forest district of Meri, who held obstinately to their idols in spite of the zeal of Abramius. It cost the two succeeding bishops, St. Leontius and St. Isaiah, many years of extraordinary labor and exertion, attended frequently by persecutions, before they at length succeeded in establishing Christianity in that savage region, from whence it spread itself by degrees into all the surrounding districts.
Thus Vladimir, having piously observed the commandments of Christ during the course of his long reign, had the consolation of seeing before his death the fruits of his own conversion in all the wide extent of his dominions. He departed this life in peace at Kiev, and was soon reckoned with his grandmother Olga amongst the guardian saints of Russia. John, the third metropolitan (1015), who had been sent from Constantinople upon the death of Leontius, buried the prince in the Church of the Tithes, which he had built, near the tomb of the Grecian princess his wife, and the uncorrupted relics of St. Olga were translated to the same spot.
2. Further establishment of the faith.
The first monasteries.
Family quarrels broke out amongst the sons of St. Vladimir. After his decease the eldest brother Sviatopolk endeavoured by his intrigues to appropriate to himself the appanages of his younger brothers, and succeeded in treacherously murdering three of them. But the death or rather martyrdom of Boris and Gleb recoiled upon his own head, and crushed under him his bloody throne, which passed to Yaroslav prince of Novogorod the avenger of his brethren.
The untimely end of the young princes, who tenderly loved each other, is described in an affecting manner by Nestor. The murderous sword cut them off both together while in the act of prayer: both together as pure sacrifices, sprinkled with their own innocent blood, they presented themselves before the Lord; and the Church being assured of their sanctity by the incorruption of their virgin bodies and by many signs of healing, soon began to ask their assistance in her prayers.
The long reign of the great Yaroslav, notwithstanding his foreign wars with Boleslaus king of Poland, with the Greeks, the Pechenegians, and other neighboring nations, and notwithstanding his domestic quarrel with his brother Mistislav of Tmoutaracan, was decidedly the most flourishing period of antiquity for Russia, which was at length under his powerful sceptre, Christianity was all established far and wide, as he himself was filled with the " spirit of piety, and was ever anxious for the good of the Church. His two ordinances which are extant, the one exempting the spirituality from all civil duties and payments, the other confirming to the bishops the right granted them by St. Vladimir of judging in all causes of marriage, inheritance, and sacrilege, as well as in all that related to the external or internal discipline of the Church, bear witness to Yaroslaffs good disposition in spiritual matters. Whilst he was desirous to secure the interests of his people by the enactment of a body of civil law, he gave no less attention to the subject of ecclesiastical legislation; and by his orders the Nomocanon was translated from the Greek, that our native bishops, now beginning to succeed into the places of those who had come at first from Constantinople, might be able to guide themselves by its rules. He himself gave much time and pains to the study and translation of a variety of Church books which he had collected into a library on the spot where the metropolitan resided; and he set up schools in Kiev and Novogorod for the education of those of the children of clergy or laity who might be preparing themselves for holy orders.
Three magnificent monuments of the glorious times of Yaroslav still remain to us; the cathedral of St. Saviour, which was founded at Chernigov by the Prince Mistislav, and is the most ancient of all the sacred edifices of Russia; the temple of St. Sophia in Novogorod, erected by Vladimir, son of Yaroslav, who died while only a youth, and was buried there together with his mother; this church has not suffered materially either from wars or time, but has been preserved in all its grandeur, as a jewel above price to our country; lastly, in Kiev there is the metropolitical church of St. Sophia, which was built by the Great Prince Yaroslav himself on the spot where he had gained the victory over the Pechenegians. The high-sounding name of St. Sophia pleased the prince, who wished to reproduce in his own capital the monuments of Byzantium, and was delighted that even in his time it already enjoyed the reputation of being a second Constantinople. He had called one of its gates The Golden, as if in memory of those gates at Constantinople, on which his ancestor Oleg had hung his victorious shield; but Yaroslav still more ardently desired that that temple of the Divine Wisdom, St. Sophia, in which his fatherís ambassadors had first believed on the true God, should be copied at least in name, if not altogether in structure in his two capitals of Kiev and Novogorod, as Vladimir had erected the cathedral of the most holy Virgin in memory of that at Cherson in which he was baptized. The Metropolitan Theopemptus, who had been sent by the Patriarch Alexis Studites, consecrated the cathedral of St. Sophia, and it has stood even to our own times, together with the marble tomb of its founder, through all the storms of the Mongolian invasion, and the frequent sackings of Kiev. It is not indeed, it is true, in so perfect a state of preservation as that at Novogorod, but still it retains its original form and appearance, at least up to the arches, whilst the church of the Tithes, on the contrary, has been leveled to its foundations.
Theopemptus is the first of the metropolitans who is mentioned in the Chronicle of Nestor, which is silent respecting his three predecessors and speaks only of bishops, possibly because the title of metropolitan came more into popular use after the foundation of the metropolitical residence adjoining the church of St. Sophia. We must attribute it to the resentment which Yaroslaff entertained against the Emperor Constantine Monomachus for having put out the eyes of the Russian prisoners, that on the conclusion of his last war with the Greeks, the Great Prince called together the Russian bishops to elect a new metropolitan from among themselves in the room of Theopemptus who was dead, without taking any notice of the patriarch, pious Priest Hilarion was chosen and consecrated by the synod: but this temporary infraction of ecclesiastical order was speedily made good by a benedictory letter which Hilarion sought and obtained from the Patriarch. Michael Cerularius. During the time that this prelate occupied the metropolitical throne, there came three Greek chanters from Constantinople and introduced the Church song called The Domestic for eight voices or tones, which in several places is still preserved in all its ancient simplicity. Yaroslaff also in his time founded two monasteries in Kiev, one for men by the name of his own angel St. George near the Golden gates, the other for women, which he called after St. Irene the angel of his consort.
Notwithstanding that the foundation of the Vidoubetz Monastery is ascribed to the first Metropolitan Michael, and notwithstanding that there were other religious houses in Kiev, founded by the zeal of the boyars, still to a simple and obscure hermit belongs the glory of having been the father of religious celibacy in Russia, and of having made his own poor retreat a nursery for the monastic life: and this during a period both of many external alarms, and of civil feuds caused by the three sons of Yaroslav, who purpled with gore the soil of Russia, which was only preserved by the prayers of St. Anthony and St. Theodosius. "Many monasteries," says Nestor, as he is describing the origin of the Pecherskay Lavra, "have been founded by princes and nobles, and by wealth, but they are not such as those which have been founded by tears, and fasting, and prayer, and vigil; Anthony had neither gold nor silver, but he procured all by prayer and fasting."
It is very remarkable that at the beginning of monasticism in our country there should have been a recurrence of the names of those great Hermits Hilarion, Anthony, and Theodosius, who once flourished in the deserts of Palestine and Egypt, and were now reflected, as in a mirror, in the pure lives of their Russian imitators and namesakes. The Metropolitan Hilarion when he was as yet only priest of the Church of the holy Apostles in Berestov, the favourite residence of the Princes Vladimir and Yaroslav, was accustomed to retire for seclusion and prayer into the silent forest on the beautiful banks of the Dnieper; and there, having taken an affection to a certain picturesque site on a hill, he dug himself out a dark cave or Pesch, the germ of the future Lavra, and of all the religious houses of Russia. Not long afterwards another hermit came and settled himself in it, for the place was already consecrated by the holy life of Hilarion.
An individual named Anthony, a native of Lubetch, travelling abroad, visited Mount Athos, and conceived a desire to finish his days there in the monastic state: but the hegumen who gave him the tonsure, as if foreseeing his high vocation, enjoined on him to return to his own country. The humble Anthony obeyed, and brought with him the blessing of the Holy Mountain. He went over all the monasteries of Kiev; but his soul, thirsting for contemplation, could find no resting-place for itself anywhere but in the deserted cave of Hilarion. There Anthony established himself; though during the forty years continuance of his spiritual course he was twice driven away by the disturbances caused him by the princes and boyars, who soon discovered that he was living among the woods in the neighborhood of Kiev. The Great Prince himself, Isyaslav the son of Yaroslav, on one occasion paid him a visit with his suite; and the hermit foretold to him, and to his two brothers, their disastrous defeat by the Poloftsi, on the banks of the Alta. Twelve disciples having collected themselves together about him, he set Barlaam over them as hegumen, and gave them his blessing to begin building a wooden church, to be called after the Rest or Assumption of the Mother of God, on the site of the former one, which was under ground: but he himself, to avoid the interruptions and disquietudes of governing, shut himself up in another cell, which he had excavated at a little distance, and there spent the rest of his days in prayer. But in the mean time, before this took place, when the Great Prince had taken the Hegumen Barlaam to preside over his newly-founded Monastery of Demetrius, Anthony proposed to the brethren for their superior the humble Theodosius, to whom was to belong, the glory of finally establishing the monastery, and of completing the blessed beginning of Anthony.
Theodosius seeing the brethren continually multiplying around him and already amounting to a hundred, wrote out for them the Rule of the Studium Monastery, the strictest of all in Constantinople, which a monk, who came with George the new metropolitan, had brought with him from that city. The manner in which the monks were to chant, the bowings and prostrations, the reading, and the whole order of Church service, and even their diet, was fixed by this Rule; Theodosius added to it a supplement which consisted of spiritual instructions of his own, on praying without ceasing on the means of preserving oneís self from evil thoughts, on mutual charity, obedience, and diligence in labor; and it passed afterwards as a model into all the religious houses of our country, many of which were founded by monks from the Pechersky, whilst the rest looked up to it and sought to imitate so illustrious an example. In this manner the blessing of Athos was spread abroad from it on all sides, together with the Rule of Studium. The annalist Nestor, who has preserved to us in his simple but authentic narrative the traditions of the sacred antiquity of Russia, was an eyewitness of the life and actions of Theodosius, when he established the Lavra, and entered himself into its retirement in the seventeenth year of his age, so making it the cradle of our history.
The Princes Isyaslav, Sviatoslav, and Vsevolod, who successively ascended the throne of Kiev, were all full of veneration for the holy recluse Theodosius, and paid attention to his godly instructions, although he hesitated not to rebuke one of them, Sviatoslav, for unjustly usurping his brotherís throne. With his assistance, Theodosius procured skilful architects from Greece, and founded the spacious stone Church of the Assumption in the place of the original poor one of wood. But like nearly all great founders, who have seldom been permitted to see the outward magnificence of their foundations, Theodosius was obliged to content himself with the inward beauty of the Lavra, and departed to his rest in the cells which he had dug out with Anthony. His successors Stephen, and Nikon, the great assistant of Anthony, continued the building, which was finished by the Hegumen John, and consecrated before the end of the reign of the Great Prince Vsevolod by the Metropolitan John III. By order of the same hegumen the annalist Nestor opened the cell or cave in which were the uncorrupted relics of Theodosius, and an assembly of bishops and princes solemnly translated them into the new temple. The names of Anthony and Theodosius began to be invoked in prayer from the time of the reign of Sviatopolk as the guardians of Kiev, and the fathers of all who lived a life of religious retirement in our country; for the Lavra shot its roots deep into the soil of Russia, and its beneficent influence showed itself not only in monastic seclusion, but also in the halls of princes, and on the thrones of prelates. It gave its monks to the Church; Stephen to be bishop of Belgorod, St. Isaiah to be the first illuminator of Rostov, St. Nicetas to be Lord of Novogorod, and, according to some accounts, Ephraim to be metropolitan of all Russia. Some of them preached the name of Christ to the heathen, and died the death of martyrs; as Gerasimus, the first illuminator of the savage Vess in the northern quarters, as Kouksha and Pimen, who suffered for the word of God on the banks of the Oka, while engaged in the conversion of the Yiatichi. Others, whose names are too many to be reckoned, and whose uncorrupted bodies still tenant the same caves, supplied examples in their seclusion of the practice of all the virtues. Among these latter was a son of Nicolas prince of Chernigoff, who was surnamed The Devout from his sanctity and humility. He however was not the first of Russian Princes who adopted the monastic life: Soudeslaff, the unfortunate son of the great Vladimir, who was thrown into prison at Pskoff by his brother Yaroslaff, and after twenty-eight years confinement was set at liberty by his nephews, received the tonsure in the monastery at Kiev before any other of his rank, and so became the first of the line of princely recluses in our country. But I have been seduced by the glories of the Pechersky into a digression from the regular course of ecclesiastical events.
3. Residence of the metropolitans at Kiev.
The Metropolitan George, who was sent by the Patriarch John Xiphilinus early in the reign of Isyaslav, translated with much solemnity the holy relics of the Princes Boris and Gleb (George 1072) to the new church of Vishgorod, which had been built on purpose to receive them. The faith of this prelate in the sanctity of the royal martyrs had been but wavering at first, but his doubts were altogether overcome by a miracle which was wrought over their remains, and he then instituted a festival to their honor. In the account of this translation we find mention made in the Chronicles for the first time of the following bishops; Michael of Yuriev, Peter of Pereyaslov, and John of Colma; and we may conclude that these three new dioceses were constituted about the same period, in consequence of the continually increasing spread of Christianity in the South of Russia.
The meek and timid George retired to Constantinople to escape from the civil feuds of Isyaslaff and his brethren, during the continuance of which his flock was exposed to the invasion of Boleslaus king of Poland, and to the encroachments of Rome: for the ambitious pope, Gregory the Seventh, offered military support to Isyaslaff, and stipulated that in return he should make his submission to the Roman See: and this was the first attempt of the Western pontiffs upon Russia. But Isyaslav having regained his throne without foreign assistance, disappointed the schemes of Gregory, and being confirmed in the Faith of his fathers by Theodosius the zealous and orthodox hegumen of the Pechersky, persevered, in it to the end of his troubled life. Another great luminary was now ready to appear in the person of the Metropolitan John II (1080), who was appointed by the Patriarch Eustratius, and fed as a shepherd the Church of Russia for nine years. Nestor speaks of him with particular affection, describing him as a man well skilled in learning, very charitable to orphans and widows, courteous to rich and poor alike, humble, silent, and reserved, visiting the afflicted, and ministering to them consolation out of the holy Scriptures. In the MS. copies of the Kormchay, or Russian Nomocanon, there is preserved a composition of his with the title of " Rule of the Church for sundry cases of conscience."
"There will never be his like again in Russia!" exclaims the cotemporary annalist; comparing him perhaps, at the time when he wrote, with his successor John III, a plain, ignorant man, whom Anna, the daughter of the Great Prince Vsevolod, had brought with her from Constantinople, from the Patriarch Nicolas Grammaticus. She afterwards founded a convent for nuns and a school at Kiev. Another of her sisters, Eupraxia, also took the veil and died a nun; which was the less to be wondered at, since their father himself was a man full of piety and of love for the clergy, who was constantly founding monasteries and bestowing rich presents upon churches.
The name of the Metropolitan Ephraim stands on the roll of the prelates of Kiev next after that of John, who died the year after his accession: but the Chronicles do not agree in the accounts they give of him. Some make him to have been a Greek, and sent by the same patriarch as his predecessor; others a Russian, of the suite of Isyaslav, who received the tonsure and became a monk in the caves of Anthony; Nestor says nothing of any Metropolitan Ephraim, but only speaks of a bishop of Pereyaslav of that name as the senior prelate of the synod which translated the remains of St. Theodosius, and as the builder of the celebrated cathedral of St. Michael in Pereyaslav. Perhaps after the death of John III, which took place so soon, there was no other metropolitan sent for some time from Constantinople, and Ephraim, who lived in the neighbouring diocese of Pereyaslav, administered the vacant diocese of Kiev, being respected for his Christian virtues and especially for his charity to the poor; for he had established hospitals with physicians to serve gratuitously in the different towns. His death is supposed to have occurred in the year 1096, when the khan of the Poloftzi, Boniak, suddenly assaulted Kiev, destroyed its suburbs, and burned the Pecherskay Lavra.
But there are yet further difficulties in the Chronicles respecting this Metropolitan Ephraim. According to Nikonís catalogue, Luke Jedyata, bishop of Novogorod, who had been chosen moreover by the great Yaroslav, was, through the slanders of some of his own household, cited to appear before this metropolitan in his court at Kiev, and was there detained for the space of three years, until his character could be completely cleared: but according to the chronological reckoning, this event ought to be referred to some date before Hilarion had ceased to be metropolitan; and from hence several writers have even ventured to conjecture that Hilarion took the name of Ephraim, together with the Schema, or Great Angelic Habit, and bore it at the time of his death. However that may be, the trial of the bishop of Novogorod, who already at that time had exclusively the title of Lord, on account of his share in the government of this independent town, shows how great was the power of the metropolitan over the bishops who were subject to him throughout the whole of Russia, Their election depended sometimes on the princes, either on the Great Prince or on the inferior appanaged princes, sometimes on the will of the primate, but they were all consecrated by the primate in person, and were subject to his jurisdiction and visitation; in the same way as the metropolitans themselves, who were always appointed at Constantinople, depended in spiritual matters upon the patriarch, and so preserved the infant Church of Russia in unbroken connection with the Church of Greece.
Already in the reign of Sviatopolk the son of Isyaslaff, the eldest of the grandsons of the great Yaroslav, our attention is drawn to those bitter feuds of the appanaged princes, which eventually caused the entire dismemberment of Russia and her subjection to the Mongols. However, notwithstanding the weak and deceitful character of Sviatopolk, the other princes still respected the superior authority of the throne of Kiev, and the rights of primogeniture. For when Oleg of Chernigov, the turbulent son of Sviatoslav, together with his brethren raised an insurrection against the Great Prince, he was put down by the valiant son of Vsevolod, Vladimir Monomachus, who at the same time reconciled the appanaged chieftains at the general session or assize of the princes. His sword, everywhere attended by victory, repelled also the savage enemies of the South of Russia, the Poloftzi, who leading a wandering life on the steppes of the Don and the Black sea, kept the Eastern frontiers in a state of continual alarm by their incursions, until they were themselves destroyed by the Mongols. But the perfidious cruelty of Sviatopolk in putting out the eyes of the Prince Basilko, at the instigation of his relative David prince of Volhynia, roused Monomachus and all the sons of Sviatoslaff to vengeance. They marched up to Kiev behind the walls of which the Great Prince lay trembling; when suddenly there appeared as a peace-maker in the camp of the incensed brethren the new Metropolitan Nicolas: " We beseech thee, O prince," said he, " thee and thy brethren, that ye will not be so unnatural as to ruin your own country of Russia; for know that if ye begin to fight among yourselves, the unbelievers will rejoice, and will take away from us our land, which your fathers and grandfathers won by great toil and valor in all their wars in Russia: they sought even to conquer other countries, but ye now go about to ruin your own."
There remained in Kiev a monument of the reign of Sviatopolk in the monastery of St. Michael with its gilded domes, which he built and named after his angel or patron saint; and in its magnificent church were deposited the relics of the illustrious martyr St. Barbara, which had been brought from Greece by Barbara daughter of the emperor of Constantinople, and first wife to Sviatopolk. There the same holy treasure is even yet preserved. The Metropolitan Nicephorus, a Greek by birth, who had been appointed by the Patriarch Nicolas, consecrated the new church, and during the fifteen years that he sat, showed himself a worthy fellow-laborer to Monomachus. The eloquent and edifying letters, which he addressed to him have been preserved. They were both men of great and enlightened minds, far outshining all their contemporaries, and set as twin models of Christian virtue, the one on the kingly, the other on the episcopal throne. The glory of Vladimir spreading far and wide, procured for him, in addition to the power, the crown and title of King. According to the account given in the Books of the Genealogies, the Greek Emperor Comenes sent him as a present the Crown, the Holy Barma, and the life-giving Cross, the same which are now preserved in the Treasury at Moscow; and Neophytus the metropolitan of Ephesus, who brought these regalia from Constantinople, performed for the first time upon Monomachus, in the cathedral of St. Sophia, the sacred ceremony of Coronation, which was to serve as the model for all subsequent Coronations of Russian Sovereigns.
To Nicephorus is ascribed the formation of a new diocese at Polotsk, where he appointed Mina to be bishop; we cannot however affirm with certainty that he was the first ever consecrated to that See, for it seems very improbable that the principality of Polotsk, which was less dependent than the rest upon Kiev, and ruled as an appanage by powerful princes, the eldest of the whole race of the posterity of St. Vladimir, should have remained so long without having its own separate bishop. The same may be fairly conjectured of Smolensk, one of the most ancient cities in all Russia, whose bishops begin to be reckoned still later, and the Chronicles do not even agree as to their names. Some name Michael or Manuel as the first, who was made bishop by the Metropolitan Michael II; others place two bishops, Ignatius and Lazarus, before Manuel; but Nestor speaks of the formation of the first dioceses in a very general and indeterminate manner. The lips of this father of Russian history closed about the year 1116, and another learned monk, Silvester, hegumen of the Vidoubetz monastery, became the continuator of his Chronicle, and carried it down to the year 1124. From this point the men who succeeded to the same pious work have concealed their names, but the history of Russia still continued to be written by the hand of some unknown monk, in the solitude and quiet of his cell, through all the storms and revolutions of the outer world.
About this same period, during the episcopate of St. Nieetas, who had been a monk of the Pechersky monastery, two celebrated religious houses were founded in Great Novogorod; one, the Yuriev monastery, by the zeal of Prince Mstislav, though some traditions refer its foundation to Yaroslav the Great; the other, that of St. Anthony the Roman, who sailed from the West up the Volkov, and lived as a hermit on its banks near the Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin, which he is said to have built. In like manner as in Novogorod and Kiev, so also in many other chief district-towns, wherever the dawn of spiritual enlightenment so much as penetrated, monasteries were gradually formed, which spread it abroad over all the surrounding parts; and the word of God, carried about by holy solitaries, was let fall into the depths of the vales and forests as the quickening seed of a future life, which should bring forth its fruit in due season.
The successor of the wise and learned Nicephorus, (Nicetas 1124) consecrated to be metropolitan by the Patriarch John, buried the Great Monomachus in the cathedral of the Assumption, amidst the tears of Russia. He was also witness of another great calamity, a dreadful conflagration, which destroyed, according to the account of the Chronicles, as many as four hundred churches and chapels in Kiev, which proves to what a flourishing state the capital must have already attained. He sat only for a short time. Michael II (1127), who was sent by the same patriarch during the reign of Mistislav the son of Monomachus, anxiously sought to extinguish those civil feuds, which had arisen. In the first place he appointed a great churchman, Niphont, to be bishop of Novogorod, quelled an insurrection of the people by the threat of his episcopal interdict, and even went thither himself to restrain the tumultuous citizens from going to war with the district of Souzdal; but the threats of Michael and his prophetic denunciations of their defeat were not attended to by the turbulent assembly, and it was only their fulfilment in deed which could reduce the citizens of Novogorod to a temporary calm. Afterwards upon the death of the warlike Great Prince Mistislav, in whom the power of Monomachus was extinguished, the metropolitan reconciled his feeble successors to one another; that is, his brother Yaropolk with his nephews who were in arms against him, and Viacheslav, with the powerful prince of Chernigov Vsevolod, son of Oleg, who had wrested the power and title of Great Prince out of his hands: but wearied at length with the unceasing family quarrels of the princes, he retired to Constantinople, and there ended his days, having retained the dignity of metropolitan of Kiev till his death.
At that time Russia, throughout all her wide extent, exhibited a sad spectacle of disunion. A feud which was to last for a whole century burst forth into a flame between the reigning house of Monomachus, which was supported by the affections of the inhabitants of Kiev and by the popular recollections of the life and exploits of the great Vladimir, and the house of Oleg of Chernigov, which represented the eldest branch, and so had in its favor the right of primogeniture above all the Russian princes. The appanaged princes engaging in the dispute respecting the great princedom, weakened its beneficial influence on the other parts of the state, while the incursions of the Poloftsi kept the whole South of Russia in a state of constant military excitement, until all perished together under the dreadful devastation of the Mongols. In the mean time new and dependent principalities were formed in the West and in the North, and rose into power in proportion as Kiev declined. Vladimirko son of Volodar of Volhynia, partly by force of and partly by his artful policy, founded a powerful principality at Galich, which made rapid advances during the long reign of his successor Yaroslav. Some feeble glimmerings of Christianity began to penetrate into Lithuania from the neighboring principality of Polotsk, which was a constant object of hostility to the house of Monomachus, and gradually fell under its attacks. Novogorod, while contending with the Swedes on its frontier, contributed to the spread of Christianity in the northern districts, and, in its stormy assemblies, made and unmade its own princes, changing according as this or that of the rival houses had the advantage, now inviting a prince of the house of Oleg, and then again inclining to the descendants of Monomachus.
Another germ of the future power of Russia began to form itself in the very heart of its extensive monarchy. A son of Monomachus, Yury Dolgorouky, tired of waiting for the throne of Kiev, applied himself to the extension and improvement of his own patrimony, the district of Souzdal, by the conversion of the heathen, and by building towns, amongst which then first appeared the name of Moscow. Vladimir on the banks of the Kliasma was greatly enlarged during the reign of his valiant son Andrew Bogolubsky, and speedily rose to be the capital of an independent principality, which obtained all the prerogatives of the great princedom under another of his sons, Vsevolod. In the midst of this political dismemberment, the only thing, which served as a pledge for the general unity was the confession of one and the same orthodox faith throughout all the limits of the kingdom. The bishops, as spiritual judges in their dioceses, and the hegumens of the religious houses, which were continually increasing in number through the piety of the princes, who themselves often finished in a cell their troubled days, served as mediators and peacemakers between the contending parties, and in the quality of ambassadors went backwards and forwards without danger between the hostile camps. Their dependence on the metropolitan involuntarily turned towards Kiev the attention of all Russia; while the primates themselves, who were sent to us from Constantinople, derived from that source a degree of learning and enlightenment which rendered our country superior for the time to the whole of contemporary Europe. But the disorders of civil society had their effect also on the affairs of the Church.
Isyaslav, successor of Vsevolod the son of Oleg and grandson of Monomachus, having been informed of the death of Michael at a time when the patriarchal throne of Constantinople was vacant, resolved not to have a Greek again for metropolitan, as he was displeased that Michael had absented himself from Russia. Following the example of Yaroslav, he convoked together to Kiev a synod of Russian bishops; Onuphrius of Chernigov, who presided, Theodore of Belgorod, Damian of Yuriev, Theodore of Volhynia, Manuel of Smolensk, and besides these, according to the Chronicle of the Pechersky, the following; Euthymius of Pereyaslov, Cosma of Polotsk, and Joachim of Touroff, which last shows the existence of the new diocese of Touroff. They all agreed to take the election of a metropolitan into their own hands, without the patriarchís having any participation in the matter. Only one voice, that of St. Niphont of Novogorod, protested strongly against this infraction of Church unity and of the canonical dependence of our hierarchy without which the infant Church of Russia could not rightly subsist. He reminded them of the written engagement they had entered into with Michael, probably on the eve of his departure, that they would not celebrate the Liturgy synodically again in the church of Sophia, so long as they should be without a metropolitan; but his remonstrances were in vain, and he was even confined for a short time in the Pechersky monastery, in consequence of his having refused after the election to hold communication with the new primate.
The choice of the synod fell upon Clement a monk of Smolensk and recluse of the Schema or Great Angelic Habit, and the Bishop Onuphrius proposed, that as a substitute for patriarchal Consecration, they should in ordaining him lay on his head the hand of St. Clement, Pope of Rome, whose relics had been brought from Cherson by Vladimir.
It is remarkable, that both the native Russian metropolitans Hilarion and Clement were chosen from the strictest order of recluses; but their piety could not remedy the irregularity of their appointments. The opinion of St. Niphont, the friend of the Princes Dolgorouky and Sviatoslav of Chernigov, and representative of the powerful state of Novogorod, which made use of him in all her political relations with the princes of both the contending houses, was of great weight: and so much the more so, as the new patriarch of Constantinople, Nicolas Musalon, wrote him letters of thanks and commendation for the zeal which he had shewn in behalf of the Church. For nine years this struggle was continued in the midst of civil dissensions, which ran so high at one time, that not even his sacred character of a monk could preserve the Prince Igor, son of Oleg, from being torn to pieces by the populace of Kiev, on account of the pretensions of his family and their feud with Isyaslav. But when Isyaslaff, in his turn, was compelled to fly into Volhynia, he took Clement with him, while Dolgorouky on his side despatched Niphont on an honorary embassy to the Patriarch Luke Chrysoberges to ask him to create another metropolitan; and during his short reign there arrived in consequence from Constantinople the Metropolitan Constantine, who condemned the acts of Isyaslav and Clement, and even suspended for a time all the clergy whom the latter had ordained. The great Niphont had not however the consolation of seeing in Kiev the canonical primate, though he set out to meet him from Novogorod; he died before his arrival, and was buried in the catacombs of Kiev. His name was added to the catalogue of the saints, and he left behind him the glorious reputation of having been the Defender of all Russia.
But the ecclesiastical dispute did not so end. For when, upon the death of Dolgorouky, Isyaslaff of the house of Oleg, and Rostislav of the house of Monomachus, were contending for Kiev, Mistislav prince of Volhynia, who had not forgiven the Metropolitan Constantine for the synod which condemned his father, expelled him from his see to Chernigoff, of which city he had formerly been bishop. There he ended his days, and showed at his death an example of extraordinary humility, by ordering in his will, that his body should be cast out without the town, as unworthy of burial. The prince Sviatoslav, and Anthony the bishop, did not dare to disobey the will of the deceased; but on the third day, seeing that his remains had not been touched, they buried them honorably in the cathedral of St. Saviour.
While he and Clement were both yet living, a third metropolitan, named Theodore, was sent to Kiev from the same patriarch, at the joint request of the uncle and nephew, the Princes Rostislav and Mistislav, because the former did not recognise the election of Clement as canonical, while the latter had a personal dislike to Constantine. In the mean time, Andrew Bogolubsky, who was striving by all possible means to exalt above the other principalities his own capital, Vladimir, where he had erected a magnificent cathedral of the Mother of God, for the reception of a miraculous Icon brought from Greece, took occasion from the existing differences in the Church to ask for a separate metropolitan for himself from Constantinople. But the Patriarch Luke prudently declined granting his request for fear of breaking the unity of the Russian Church; he consented to no more than that the bishops of Rostoff should in future have their residence at Vladimir, and should gratify the piety of the prince by celebrating a festival in memory of the victory which he obtained over the Bulgarians on the same day with that of the Emperor Manuel over the Saracens. This festival is still observed annually on the first of August.
Nestor bishop of Rostov, who had been deprived of his diocese by the Metropolitan Constantine, was then at Constantinople for the purpose of justifying himself before the patriarch; for, from the unhappy circumstances of the time, the dissensions of the hierarchy had been accompanied by a still greater mischief, in the dissemination of false doctrines among the people. Nestor was unjustly accused of violating the rule of the Church for fasting. He was said to have forbidden men to break their fast even on the festivals of the Nativity and Epiphany, if they fell on the Wednesday or Friday. This uncanonical doctrine, which did not originate with him, was revived by a bishop named Leon, who had come into his diocese during his absence; and Bogolubsky, standing up for the orthodox doctrine, sent Leon first to be tried by the metropolitan in Kiev, and afterwards to Constantinople, where he was condemned by the patriarch himself. But immediately after Leon, there appeared a self-elected pretender to the diocese of Rostov, in the person of Theodore, a monk of the Pechersky, who fraudulently obtained the rank of a bishop at Constantinople; his imposture, however, was soon discovered, and his austerities put an end to by the prince, who despatched the offender to Kiev, where he was put to death for the scandal he had caused in the Church.
The introduction of the rank and title of Archimandrite into the Pechersky monastery, and the giving to the monastery itself the names of Lavra and Stavropegia, by letters procured from the patriarch, is ascribed to the Metropolitan Theodore, and from the first archimandrite of the Pechersky, Akindynus, this new dignity passed into general use in the other Russian monasteries. With the blessing of the same metropolitan, the Prince Bogolubsky established a festival in honour of the memory of Leontius the first bishop of Rostov, whose relics he had disclosed in laying the foundation of his new cathedral.
Clement, who had been metropolitan, was still living in Volhynia at the death of Theodore, and the Great Prince Rostislav, yielding to the entreaty of his nephew Mistislav, had resolved to ask the patriarch to restore him to the metropolitical throne; but his ambassadors met on the road a new metropolitan, John IV, coming to Russia from Constantinople. Rostislav was so much displeased, that it was only the fear of causing a new schism in the Church, joined with the friendly entreaties of the Emperor Manuel, which could induce him to acknowledge the new primate, who, however during the two years of his short administration, won the affections of all men, and left a blessed memory behind him. There has been preserved to us a letter of exhortation, which he wrote to the pope of Rome, probably Alexander III on the peace of the Church; for at that time, as the schism was not of very long standing, there were still mutual attempts made occasionally on both sides to re-establish union. In Novogorod also the memory of John was held sacred; for the Lord Elias, whose monastic name was also John, a man of holy life, was raised, the first of all Russian bishops, to the rank of archbishop by this metropolitan, and the same title descended from him to his brother Gregory, a prelate of equal merit, in whose time the venerable Barlaam founded on the banks of the Volkov his celebrated monastery of Khoutinsk, and afterwards, in like manner, to all the Lords of Novogorod.
The heresy of Leon was revived at Kiev in the time of the Metropolitan Constantine II, who had been elected at the desire of Rostislav from amongst the Russian bishops; for the new prelate himself, from ignorance, held the opinion of Leon respecting the Fasts, and even convoked a synod at Kiev with the design of establishing this doctrine. But two men, who have since become illustrious by their writings, St. Cyrill the eloquent bishop of Touroif, and Polycarp archimandrite of the Pechersky, the continuator of the Lives of the Saints of Kiev or Patericon of Nestor, showed themselves firm defenders of the true belief: the last-mentioned of the two even endured confinement for the word of truth. The pious writer of the contemporary Chronicle says that the city of Kiev itself suffered for the fault of her metropohtan; for in his time and that of the Great Prince Mistislav of Volhynia, who succeeded Rostislav, eleven princes, who acknowledged Bogolubsky as their head, took by storm and sacked this mother of Russian cities, which lost from hence her independence. Her rulers, retaining only the bare title of Great Prince were appointed or displaced, for the most part, according to the pleasure of the princes of Vladimir of Galich, whilst the rival houses of Oleg in Chernigov and of Monomachus in Smolensk ceased not in the mean time to carry on intrigues to possess themselves of that shadow of power which might yet belong to the name.
The metropolitical throne of Kiev remained vacant about ten years after the death of Constantine, when Nicephorus II, a Greek by birth, was at length appointed to fill it by the patriarch Basil. He was a pastor filled with all the virtues of the first Nicephorus his namesake, and with love to his new country; but he labored in vain to put an end to the feuds of its rulers. He even took upon his own soul an oath pledged by the Great Prince Rurie to his son-in-law Romanus of Volhynia, in order that he might be enabled by the breach of it to satisfy Vsevolod the powerful prince of Vladimir, who demanded for himself certain towns, which had been promised to Romanus. At length this Romanus, who was already prince of Galich, got possession of Kiev, and in his treatment of his father-in-law the Great Prince Ruric, set the first example in Russia of forcing a man to receive the monastic tonsure against his will; while Ruric himself, on the other hand, affords a solitary instance of a man putting off from himself the quality of a monk, in that he returned to the world and re-ascended his throne after the death of his enemy. In consequence of these civil feuds, Kiev suffered yet again once more, and having been thus twice sacked she never recovered herself afterwards till her final fall in the great invasion of the Mongols.
The new metropolitan, Matthew, was a witness of this calamity. He was sent from Constantinople shortly before its capture by the crusaders, and did his best, like his predecessors, to mediate between the princes, and succeeded in reconciling the Great Prince Vsevolod, surnamed the Red, with all the descendants of Oleg, to Vsevolod of Vladimir. At this wretched period of dissention, the duty of peacemaker was inseparable from the dignity of the primate. In his time the men of Novogorod interfered for the first time in ecclesiastical affairs, by expelling their Archbishop Metrophanes, and sending to the metropolitan for consecration a monk of the monastery of Khoutinsk, named Anthony; but neither did he please the people. Both Lords submitted themselves to the judgment of the metropolitan, and the first was confirmed in his see, while the bishopric of Peremuishla was given to the other, which however he quit for the episcopal throne of Novogorod, and was a second time expelled from thence, and yet again restored, but after all ended his days in the monastery of Khoutinsk: such was the inconstancy and turbulence of the citizens of Novogorod. This is the earliest occasion on which we find mention made of the diocese of Peremuishla, as well as of several others, Galich, Minsk, Loutsk, and Ostrog. The precise period when these were founded is unknown, but their foundation, whenever it took place, is an evidence of the then flourishing state of the south of Russia.
New dioceses were also formed in the North. Although Riazan depended on the episcopal jurisdiction of Chernigoff, still the Chronicle speaks of a certain bishop of Riazan named Arsenius, who was taken prisoner, together with the princes of that town, by Vsevolod brother of Bogolubsky. The district of Mourom, which afterwards became subject to the bishops of Riazan, had then already been Enlightened by holy Baptism through the zeal of its Prince St. Constantine, of the family of the princes of Chernigov, and of his sons Michael and Theodore. The two sons of Vsevolod also, Constantine and George, having quarreled after the death of their father, were not content to have only one bishop in common between Rostoff and Vladimir ; each wished to have him reside in his own capital; and the Metropolitan Matthew satisfied both of them by erecting a new diocese for Vladimir, to which he consecrated Simon the hegumen of the monastery of the Nativity, a man distinguished by his virtues, and his having written the Lives of the holy recluses of the Pechersky.
The metropolitan Cyrill, who succeeded Matthew, was thus sent from Nice, where the emperors and patriarchs had taken up their temporary residence after their expulsion from Constantinople by the Latins. The cruel yoke, which weighed so heavily on the Greek empire, threw its shadow also even over our own country; for the Roman pontiffs began to act upon our frontiers through the arms of the Western Christians. The papal legate offered to Romanus prince of Galich the protection of the apostolic sword; but the chieftain pointing to his own proudly asked, "Has the pope any sword like this?" However, his youthful sons had already been driven out by Coloman king of Vengria and a Latin archbishop established in Galich. Mistislav, the enterprising son of the valiant prince of Novogorod St. Mistislav, took Galich by storm, and drove out the Roman clergy, but they speedily re-established themselves in this border district of Russia. In Novogorod too, the successors of St. Mistislaff, in conjunction with the princes of Pskov and Polotsk, were obliged to contend with a new enemy, who had established himself on the neighboring coasts of the Baltic. Bishop Albert had founded in Riga a new Order of Brethren of the Sword, who, uniting themselves afterwards with the powerful fraternity of the Teutonic Brethren, threatened our western provinces, and converted by force of arms the savage Lithuanians, who on the other side of their country, where they bordered upon Russia, were gradually enlightened by the mildest means.
Another most dreadful storm now came up from the East upon Russia, which was destined to groan under it for two hundred years the Mongols appeared! The Polovzi, flying from before them, brought word that the barbarians had poured in upon their steppes, and our southern princes formed a coalition to repel the unknown enemy. A bloody battle was fought on the river Kalka. Three princes of the name of Mistislav sustained it with desperate valor; but two, the Great Prince and the prince of Chernigov, fell in the action, while the third, the prince of Galich, was compelled to fly with a younger son of Romanus, the illustrious Daniel, to his own capital, where he ended his troubled days in the habit of a monk. The barbarians retired; for this was only their advanced guard; but other innumerable hosts gathered themselves together in Central Asia under the command of Batius, the grandson of Ghenghis Khan, so as to fall upon Russia at an interval of twelve years after the bloody battle on the Kalka. Unhappily all this time was lost in internal feuds between the southern and the northern principalities, and the virtuous metropolitan Cyrill went twice to Vladimir to reconcile the Great Prince with the masters of Kiev, and with the princes of Koursk. The invasion of Batius reduced all to peace under the ashes of their ruined cities.
Riazan was the first to suffer; her princes, Oleg and Theodore, died the death of martyrs. When Vladimir was besieged, the Bishop Metrophanes, with the consort of the Great Prince, her daughters-in-law, and the boyars, shut themselves up in the cathedral church; there they all received the Holy Mysteries and the Schema, in token of preparation for death, from the bishop, and from the Lord the crown of martyrdom, amidst the smoke and flames of the burning temple. George himself fell in battle on the banks of the Siti, while his nephew, Prince Basilko, became a martyr for the Name of Christ. All the towns of the districts of Rostov and Souzdal were sacked and pillaged; an invisible hand protected Novogorod and Pskov. Kozelesk, which was well defended by its youthful prince, suffered last of all, as Batius was on his march back from desolating the North.
After a year came the turn of Southern Russia. Pereyaslavla perished with its Bishop Simeon; Porphyry of Chernigov was let go alive by the conqueror from his ravaged diocese. The Mongols surrounded Kiev, and struck with its antique beauty, offered to spare it, if it would surrender; but in the absence of all the Russian princes it was heroically defended by Demetrius, a boyar of Daniel prince of Galich. As became the mother and head of Russian cities, Kiev gave a lesson to all Russia in preferring a glorious end to the disgrace of slavery. After a bloody siege, its walls and even every individual church was converted into a fortress by the despair of the citizens; but the cathedral of St. Sophia, the church of the Tithes, the monastery of St. Michael, and the Pecherskay Lavra, were taken one by one: they were given up to desolation; and it is probable that the Metropolitan Joseph, the unfortunate successor of Cyrill, perished with the rest in this general and fearful destruction, as there is no mention made of him afterwards in the Chronicles.
4. Residence of the Metropolitans at Vladimir.
While our afflicted country presented nothing to the view, but smoking ruins on all sides, out of which the inhabitants had fled into the woods, by the mercy of Providence there arose to succor her two valiant princes, Yaroslav of Novogorod in the North, the brother of the Great Prince Vsevolod who had just perished, and Daniel of Galich in the South. These began to collect the people together, to rebuild and wall the towns, and raise the temples from their ashes, and they roused Russia from that state of stupor into which she had fallen after the horrors of the Mongols. Daniel, whose principality had not been so entirely ruined, and who was further removed from the Golden Horde of Batius, which had established itself on the banks of the Volga, had less to fear in what he did, and was the last of all the princes to give in his submission to the khan, whose yoke he was ever meditating to throw off. But Yaroslav, whose towns had nearly all been reduced to ashes, was obliged to be the first to take upon himself the heavy yoke of the Mongols, who had settled in his neighborhood, and go and make interest at the Horde to obtain for himself the title of Great Prince. There he found others also of the Russian princes; and in the midst of their involuntary abasement, it is agreeable to contemplate the Christian heroism of Michael of Chernigov and his faithful Boyar Theodore, who received the crown of martyrdom at the hands of the enraged khan for their bold confession of the Name of Christ. Some years later, another victorious confessor, Rotnanus prince of Riazan, suffered in the same manner in the Horde, and shed his blood as a martyr for the redemption of his country and for the glory of God.
The prudent Yaroslav was succeeded by a son still more distinguished than himself for bravery and virtue, Alexander, the hero of the Neva: he was prince in Novogorod, and was the firmest defense of Russia, beating off the Swedes (1241) in a bloody battle on the banks of the Neva, and the Brethren of the Sword under the walls of Pskov. And now that the attempts made to convert Russia by force of arms had proved fruitless, the pope, Innocent IV, began to employ other means. Seeing the distressed condition of the Eastern Church, the patriarchs of Constantinople living as exiles at Nice, and Russia having been now already ten years without a metropolitan, the Roman pontiff sent to David of Galich the present of a regal crown, together with the proposition of a union of the Churches, and a crusade against the Mongols. The papal legates visited also the court of Alexander, and addressed him with flattering speeches; but the saint of the Neva refused decidedly either to receive their letters or listen to their solicitations. Daniel, however, owing to the neighborhood of Vengria and Poland, acted more cautiously. He accepted the crown, and the title of King of Galich, but put off the proposition for a union of the Churches till there should be an oecumenical council; while in the mean time he sent Cyrill, a Russian whom he had selected, to Nice to the Patriarch Manuel II, to be consecrated to the dignity of Metropolitan of Kiev.
Never was there a more happy choice of a pastor. None but a truly Russian heart like that of Cyrill, could so lovingly have taken upon itself all the wounds of its country, or labored so zealously as he did for their cure. During the course of his thirty yearsí administration, going about from one ruined city to another, he not only externally, but internally also and spiritually, repaired and re-edified the Church. As for himself, he certainly found no repose on the throne of ruined Kiev; and from his time to the establishment of two separate metropolitical sees; the life of the Russian primates continued to be most laborious, and it was chiefly by their travels and visitations, that the divided and often discordant portions over so vast a space, were kept together as one whole.
From the ruins of the ancient capital, Cyrill went to the wasted towns of Chernigov and Riazan, and to the new capital, which was scarcely yet restored. In Novogorod, which had escaped altogether, he found the Great Prince; and there he exercised for the first time his spiritual authority, by consecrating Dalmas as archbishop, in the room of the charitable Spiridion deceased. On another occasion, and in the capital itself, he had the happiness of going forth in joyful procession to meet Alexander, when he returned from the great Horde, which had been wandering in Central Asia, bringing back with him a peace, which continued only during his short and prudent reign.
Foreseeing that Sarai, the capital of the Golden Horde upon the Volga, must be for many years a central point and place of meeting for the Russian princes, the metropolitan took advantage of the favourable disposition which the heathen khans manifested towards the clergy; for they not only did not require that they should be included in the census of the people, but even exempted from all imposts every man "who," to use their own expression, " looketh to the Lord God and serveth God-his Churches." He appointed Metrophanes to Sarai to be the first Bishop of Sarai and Podonsk, and to his successor Theognostes he gave the additional title of Pereyaslav, that the memory of this ancient Russian diocese, which, with many others, now no longer existed since the desolating invasion, might not be lost. Theognostes succeeded in gaining the confidence of the khans to such a degree, that Mangou-Temir, who reigned after Batius, selected him as his ambassador to the patriarch of Constantinople, when the Metropolitan Cyrill was sending him in his own name to that capital. What the object of this mission was/is unknown.
Upon the blessed decease of St. Alexander, who at the hour of death exchanged his princely mantle for the humble monastic Schema, the Metropolitan Cyrill; amidst the lamentations of all his country, went out in procession to meet the incorrupt remains of their beloved prince, now brought back dead from the Horde to that same capital, where he had before so joyfully received him. Yaroslav prince of Tver succeeded his brother; and in compliance with his wishes, the primate erected a new see in Tver, his paternal inheritance, and consecrated the virtuous Simeon to be its first bishop. He also performed another service for Yaroslav, as a faithful subject to his lord, in reconciling him with the citizens of Novogorod, who had expelled him, and who were now become very powerful from their extensive commerce, and from their union with the Hanseatic League. The fear of an episcopal interdict overawed their turbulent assembly.
But the most important as well as the most beneficial act of Cyrillís long administration, was his convocation of a synod at Vladimir, on the occasion of the Consecration of Serapion, archimandrite of the Pechersky, to be bishop of the capital, for the purpose of restoring the discipline of the Church, which had suffered from the civil calamities of the times.
Dalmas, Lord of Novogorod, St. Ignatius the illustrious pastor of Rostov, Theognostes bishop of Sarai, and Simeon bishop of Polotsk, were present at the synod, and with one consent determined to enforce a strict examination into the fashion of life and age of all inferior clerks and laymen, before their Consecration to Holy Orders, and to root out all simoniacal practices in conferring such promotion. The synod applied itself also to the correction of abuses connected with some of the ceremonies of the Church, and touched on the administration of the mysteries themselves. It forbade the mixing of the holy chrism with oil, and the practice of using affusion instead of trine immersion in holy Baptism, which was probably creeping into our Churches through Galich from the West.
The Metropolitan Cyrill, as a true Russian, wished that the canons of the holy Fathers, the foundation of all ecclesiastical discipline, should not be, to use his own expression, "veiled, to us, as by a cloud, under the wisdom of the Greek tongue, but that they should shine clear and enlighten all with rational light:" accordingly he assiduously employed himself in their translation, and his useful labor has come down to our own times. This sage prelate died in Periaslav-Zalessky, full of days and good works, during the unfortunate reign of Demetrius the son of Alexander Nevsky. His funeral was chanted where he died by an assembled company of bishops, but his sacred remains were removed to the ancient capital. Cyrill II was the last of the metropolitans of all Russia who was buried in the cathedral of St. Sophia, and worthily terminated that line of the tombs of our prelates, which had commenced from St. Michael.
For two years the Church remained in a widowed state after the death of Cyrill, from her wish to avoid having any relations with the Patriarch John Bekkus; for though, since the year 1264, the Emperor Michael Palgeologus had recovered his capital from the crusaders, yet both he himself and that patriarch were favorably inclined towards the doctrines of Rome. At length Joseph, having been restored to the patriarchal throne of Constantinople, sent into Russia as metropolitan Maximus, a Greek by birth, who during his primacy of twenty-two years exerted himself like his predecessor to establish order and discipline in the Church, and peace amongst the princes. The bloody quarrels of Demetrius and Andrew, the sons of Nevsky, brought new swarms of Tartars upon our unhappy country, and a feud broke out between the other branches of the same house, which recalled to mind the long rivalry between the descendants of Oleg and Monomachus.
Maximus was the first of the Russian metropolitans who went to the Horde; and though no Letters of privilege from the khans running in his name have been preserved, we have every reason to conclude that he met with an honorable reception. The Mongols, while yet in a state of heathenism, looked with more favor on Christianity, than did the fierce followers of the Koran, and even when eventually converted to Mahometanism, they still maintained their former prudent policy. By protecting the Clergy they pleased the people, who were persuaded to submit and to be patient as the only way of avoiding the heaviest and most fearful calamities. Maximus on his return from the Horde, called together in Kiev a synod of the bishops beyond the Dnieper, the acts of which have not come down to us, but it was probably held with a view to prepare them for his final removal to Vladimir. Seeing the complete desolation of Kiev and all the southern parts, he transferred the ancient metropolitical throne to the new capital, still keeping the former title of metropolitan of Kiev and of all Russia; at the same time he took under his own administration the diocese of Vladimir itself, and translated Simeon, who had been its bishop, to Rostoff; while Souzdal, which had belonged to Vladimir, together with Nijny Novogorod, were erected into a separate diocese. But the residence of the metropolitans in Vladimir was only for a short period; Maximus is the only one of all the Russian primates who was interred in the glorious cathedral of Bogolubsky. Immediately after his time his successors established themselves in Moscow; for Vladimir ceased to be the capital, as the Great Princes did not like it for a residence, but allowed themselves to live in their own appanages, each striving to increase his own paternal inheritance.
Thus Daniel the son of Alexander, prince of Moscow, in the course of his long and peaceful reign adorned Moscow with temples, and with the monastery of St. Daniel, his angel, where he himself put on the Schema and died. His appanage when he received it from his father was but trifling, but he left it to his son George a flourishing principality; and his confidence in his own strength inspired this haughty prince, who was moreover the brother-in-law of the khan, with that rancorous jealousy against his lawful superior and uncle, Michael of Tver, which was only terminated by the spilling of much princely blood in the Horde, and by the destruction of the family of Tver, even to the third generation. First, Michael himself, by the intrigues of Yury, suffered the death of a martyr, and was added by the Church to the number of the saints; then his son Demetrius fell, after having himself struck down Yury, the murderer of his father, in the very presence of the khan Usbek; and lastly, another son of Michael, Alexander, with his boy Theodore, was executed by order of the same khan, for having dared to put to death at Tver, Shefkal, one of his nobles, and the Tartars, who were endeavoring to introduce Mahometanism. John, surnamed Kalita, the crafty brother of George, availed himself of the opportunity afforded by the fall of the princes of Tver, to obtain from the khan the settlement in his own family of the throne of the Great Princedom.
While the yoke of the Mongols was pressing most heavily on Russia (1308), and the glory of her princes was obscured by disgraceful civil feuds, the holy Metropolitan Peter was a faithful guardian and comforter of his flock. A Yolhynian by birth, he had from his early youth devoted himself to the monastic life, and had presided over the small convent of Ratno, founded by himself in his native district. There the fame of his virtues reached the grandson of Daniel, who with the title of king reigned over all the south-west of Russia and the Lithuanian provinces; for Voesheleg, the son of the heathen chieftain Mindovig, after having embraced Christianity against the will of his father, and propagated it within the sphere of his influence, shut himself up in a monastery, and voluntarily resigned his right of inheritance in favor of his relations, the princes of Galich. But the strength of their empire was short lived: another powerful heathen, Hedimine, established himself in Wilna, and soon wrested Kiev and all the eastern part of the principality out of the hands of the feeble sons of Yury, with whom failed the glorious race of Romanus of Galich, while his western provinces became the inheritance of Poland; and from that time the influence of the Roman Church, assisted by the heathen indifference of Hedimine and his son Olgerd, spread itself through the districts beyond the Dnieper.
Yury, like his great grandfather, wished to have the metropolitan in his own capital; and having heard that a certain hegumen named Gerontius had gone of his own accord from Vladimir to Constantinople with the intention of seeking to be consecrated to the office of primate, he by his entreaties persuaded the humble Peter, for the good of the Church, to go thither too for the same purpose, with a letter from himself to the patriarch. The petitioner of Yuryís choice was consecrated by the most holy Athanasius to be metropolitan of all Russia. But on taking possession of his throne, St. Peter saw that the ancient capital was forgotten by the princes, and that all the life of the empire was now concentrated in the North; and he did not think of preferring the particular advantage of his own native district to the general good of the Church. Like his predecessor Maxinms he removed his residence to Vladimir, though at the same time he did not cease to make journeys in every direction throughout Russia, to reconcile contending princes, to appoint bishops, and to regulate the affairs of the Church. His zeal to compose the differences of the princes of Bransk was very near costing him his life; he only escaped by taking refuge in the cathedral church.
Soon after Peter came to be metropolitan, a circumstance occurred which plainly revealed the depth of his Christian humility. Anthony bishop of Tver and son of the prince of Lithuania, envying his elevation, lodged a slanderous accusation against him with the patriarch, who sent his commissioner to try Peter. A synod met at Periaslav-Zalessky, in which Simeon bishop of Rostoff was present, together with the accuser and a venerable company of clergy and princes. The metropolitan, little caring to be great in this world, spoke thus to the assembly: " I am not better than the Prophet Jonas; if I be the cause of this tempest, cast me out of the ship, and the tumult will be still." But when his innocence could not be hid, the meek prelate revenged himself upon his slanderer by these words: " Peace be with thee, my son! This was no deed of thine, but his, who from the beginning is the envier of the human race, the devil; as for thee, take care of thyself for the future, and for the past may God forgive thee."
Notwithstanding this, on any occasion when not his own person but the Church was in danger of suffering, St. Peter acted with firmness in her defense. Thus he deprived and degraded the guilty bishop of Sarai, and by the threat of ex-communication restrained Demetrius prince of Tver from falling upon Vladimir. He even went to the Horde itself with Michael, the unfortunate father of the same prince, as a true pastor conducting his children. There he obtained the general respect of the Khan Uzbek and the Mongols, who had lately embraced the lying imposture of the Koran; and the certificate which he received of the favourable disposition of Uzbek towards him served afterwards as a pledge to secure the good will of all succeeding khans: Let no one injure the Catholic Church, the Metropolitan Peter, the archimandrites, or the popes in Russia: let their lands be free from all tax and tribute; for all this belongs to God, and these people by their prayers preserve us: let them be under the sole jurisdiction of Peter the metropolitan, agreeably to their ancient laws: let the metropolitan lead his life in quiet and meekness, and let him pray, with a true heart, and without fear, for us and for our children: whosoever shall take any thing from any of the clergy, let him restore it threefold; whosoever shall dare to speak evil of the Russian Faith, whosoever shall injure any church, monastery, chapel, let him be put to death."
The consideration which the primate enjoyed amidst the feuds of the princes of the different appanages, was the preservation of the whole empire, which was united together into one body only by the person of the metropolitan of all Russia. The Great Prince John of Moscow, perceived all the importance of his spiritual authority, when by flattery and entreaties he persuaded the metropolitan to transfer his residence to his beloved patrimony of Moscow, which from that time became the capital. But St. Peter did not comply with the wish of John without the highest motives for doing so: he foresaw the future glory of Moscow while it was then as yet poor, and persuaded the prince to lay in it the foundation of the stone cathedral of the Assumption. "If thou wilt comfort my old age," said he, "if thou wilt build here a temple worthy of the Mother of God, then thou shalt be more glorious than all the other princes, and thy posterity shall become great. My bones shall remain in this city, prelates shall rejoice to dwell in it, and the hands of its princes shall be upon the neck of our enemies!"
Thus in the words of the ancient patriarch Jacob, the man of many labors, who in the hour of death foretold the lion strength of the tribe of Judah, St. Peter, also a man of many labours, when about to depart in peace from his pilgrimage, spoke in the spirit of prescience to John; and his word of commandment was obeyed, his prophecy was fulfilled. In that same temple, in the wall of which he prepared for himself beforehand a tomb, in the view of his uncorrupted remains, and as it were before the face and presence of the prelate himself, are crowned the successors of John, now no longer princes of Moscow only, or Vladimir, but rulers over the ninth part of the globe, which scarcely finds room upon its surface for one such empire as Russia.
It is affecting to every son of the Church and of his country, to observe the blessing of the Mother of God continually resting upon the land of Russia, which has placed itself forever under her protection. The holy College or synod of the Apostles on Mount Sion at the time of her Rest, serves as the foundation and type of all the College or cathedral churches of our country. In the temple of the Mother of God at Cherson St. Vladimir was baptized, and to her honor he built the first cathedral, the cathedral of the Tithes. In the temple of St. Sophia at Constantinople, and on the festival of the "Rest" of the Virgin, who was herself the Temple of the incarnate Wisdom of God, the ambassadors of Vladimir first believed on the Lord, and Yaroslaff the Great built the two cathedrals of St. Sophia in Kiev and in Novogorod his capitals. The hermit Anthony, forming after the model of the Holy Mountain his cavern monastery, the cradle of the religious houses of Russia, consecrated it also to the Rest or Assumption of the Mother of God. Bogolubsky wished to build a new capital in the North, and laid the first stone of the magnificent cathedral of the Assumption in Vladimir, in honor of that Icon of the Blessed Virgin, which was painted by the Evangelist St. Luke. The ancient city of Rostoff is ornamented with a similar temple. Polotsk and Smolensk celebrate their festivals in honor of the most pure Virgin. Lastly, by the will of Providence Moscow is destined to become the head of Russia, and the aged Peter goes to establish himself there, holding as a child to the protection of our Lady, and in no other place than in the temple of her Rest seeks rest for himself, and glory and empire for Russia. By her name the Russian people also strengthened themselves in their battles; the warriors of Kiev, Novogorod, and Polotsk, fought for St. Sophia; the men of Vladimir, and the troops of Rostov, Smolensk, and Moscow, for the house of the most holy Mother of God. This war-cry bore testimony to the piety of our ancestors; the cathedral church was the heart of each of their cities, and its name served as the pledge of victory. " For St. Sophia!" " For the House of the most holy Trinity!" resounded terribly in the ranks of Novogorod and Pskov, when the hero-saints, Nevsky and Dovmont, overthrew the Swedes or the Sword-bearers. At the same time with the cathedral of the Assumption, John also founded in his new capital the temple of St. Saviour "In the Wood" thought to be the oldest of all in Moscow, and the cathedral of the Archangel, where he himself rests in peace. Around this sepulchre of the first Great Prince who was buried there, are ranged the tombs of the long line of his descendants, in genealogical order, a sepulchral chronicle of the Russian monarchy. The Kremlin, which was first built of wood by this same prince, enclosed even then within its crenelated wall the budding strength of Russia, and was as a roll, on which all its sacred history was afterwards to be inscribed.
5. Residence of the Metropolitans at Moscow.
At the death of St. Peter, who was laid as an immovable foundation-stone of the metropolitical see in Moscow, Theognostes (1328) came from the patriarch as metropolitan, and settled himself in the residence of his predecessor; Kalita alone could afford him a refuge in his peaceful principality: Galich had fallen, Kiev was already in the hands of Hedimine. Though a Greek by birth, Theognostes entered perfectly into the mutual relations of the Great Princes and those of the appanages; and during the whole of his twenty years" episcopate he steadily co-operated with John and his son Simeon the Proud in all their undertakings, by which he greatly assisted them towards the aggrandizement of the principality of Moscow; for the spiritual authority being always on the side of the Great Prince gave him a great preponderance. Thus Theognostes accompanied John in his expedition to Pskov, when it refused to allow the departure of Alexander prince of Tver, though his presence had been required in the Horde, and overcame the resistance of the citizens by the terror of an ecclesiastical interdict, so preventing a renewal of the desolating ravages of the Mongols. On more than one other occasion, the turbulent city of Novogorod was reconciled to the Great Prince through his mediation. But his continual journeys through the widely-separated dioceses of Russia were burdensome to the clergy, and eventually even caused a complaint to be lodged by Moses the Lord of Novogorod with the patriarch.
In ecclesiastical matters Theognostes showed remarkable firmness. When the holy Archbishop Moses, in spite of the entreaties of the popular Assembly, had retired from the throne of St. Sophia, the citizens of Novogorod sent Basil, whom they had elected to supply his place, for Consecration to Vladimir in Volhynia, where the metropolitan then was; the inhabitants of Pskov also, wishing to have a bishop to themselves, sent thither for the same end a certain Arsenius: but notwithstanding all their entreaties, and the requisition of the powerful heathen prince Hedimine, who had become master of Volhynia, Theognostes could not be persuaded to violate the order of the Church. The Lithuanian prince respected the dignity of the metropolitan; he wished however to get possession of the person of the archbishop, but he took to flight, and saved himself by largesse's from the danger of being pursued.
Basil was one of the most illustrious of the Lords of Novogorod, equally skilled in the management of civil and of ecclesiastical affairs. He did much to beautify the cathedral of St. Sophia, and through his relations of friendship with the metropolitan he had nothing to fear in his province from the Great Prince. Magnus, king of Sweden, being very zealous for the conversion of Novogorod to the Latin Church, entreated Basil to hold conference concerning the Faith with his ambassadors; but the Lord prudently declined entering into controversy, and referred them to the patriarch. The Patriarch Philotheus himself, in token of respect for his merit, sent him a blessing of some Vestments covered with crosses, and a white cowl, inasmuch as he had been consecrated to the episcopal order from the White Clergy; and the use of this cowl passed afterwards to the metropolitans, probably when some or other of them were translated to Moscow from having been Lords of Novogorod.
The metropolitan, striving to eradicate those abuses, which had crept into the monasteries from their subjection to the Tartar yoke, stood up firmly himself in the Horde for the right of the clergy, and even suffered persecution for their sake. It was a curious circumstance that Khanibek the son of Uzbek, demanded of him to be freed from the obligation of those Letters of exemption and privilege, which had been granted by his father to St. Peter; as he wished to impose a tribute on the clergy, but dared not to break his fatherís word. The metropolitan here also maintained his high character; by personal gifts he saved himself from the wrath of the khan, while he preserved for the future the privileges of the Church.
The black vomiting, a kind of plague, which raged at this time in Russia and over all Europe, carried off in one year the Great Prince Simeon with his family, the Metropolitan Theognostes, and the Archbishop Basil. In place of Basil the citizens of Novogorod again brought in Moses, though now habited in the Schema, from his retirement. Three bishops assisted at the funeral of the Metropolitan Theognostes, and buried him, near the tomb of his holy predecessor, in the cathedral of the Assumption: these were, Athanasius of Volhynia, who had been expelled from his diocese by the prince of Lithuania; another Athanasius, first bishop of the re-established diocese of Columna; and St. Alexis, of the noble family of Plescheev, who had been for the preceding twelve years vicar to the metropolitan, first in Kiev, and then afterwards in Vladimir and Moscow, during his frequent absences.
Providence, which had chosen Alexis from his early years to be exercised in spiritual labors, strengthened him in his advanced age for the salvation of his country through a stormy period, under the feeble rule of John II, and during 1353 the minority of his son Demetrius. The Horde still threatening in the East; on the West the growing power of Lithuania under Olgerd, who had gradually wrested from us our ancient inheritance; within, the turbulent independence of Novogorod and Pskov, and the rivalry of the three powerful principalities of Tver, Riazan, and Souzdal, the sovereigns of which each assumed the title of Great Prince; such was the political storm which Alexis had to oppose, and during the course of a primacy of twenty-four years he may truly be said to have taken the helm of the empire. He preserved for Demetrius till he came of age that inheritance, which his proud uncle had left to his weak father.
The unlooked-for arrival of Theodoret, a self-elected pretender, sent by the patriarch of Bulgaria, to claim the metro-political chair of Russia, even before Theognostes was yet dead, put it into the mind of that prelate, with the approbation of the Great Prince, to ask the patriarch of Constantinople, Philotheus, to allow him to nominate Alexis as his successor. The consent of the patriarch arrived only after their deaths. But the new metropolitan had scarcely time to return from Constantinople, whither they had summoned him for Institution, when he heard that another metropolitan, named Romanus, had been consecrated for Russia by the will of the same patriarch; and he was obliged to undertake a second toilsome journey into Greece. However there was not one single diocese in Russia which would receive Romanus; he remained in Yolhynia, where the Lithuanian princes had no wish that the pale of their conquests should continue subject to the spiritual authority of the metropolitans of Moscow.
The sanctity of Alexis soon became conspicuous even in the Horde itself. The khan, Khanibek, asked John to send him the chief pastor of Russia, whose prayers, he said, God never refused to grant, that he might heal his consort Taidoula of her sickness; and Alexis, after having prayed at the tomb of the Metropolitan Peter, who had himself had the grace of miracles, departed with a firm faith for the Horde, and healed the sick. Extraordinary favor, and new Letters of privilege and exemption to the clergy, were a proof of the gratitude of the khan; but very soon after this, the troubles which broke out in the Horde on occasion of the murder of Khanibek by his son, obliged the metropolitan to go again to the Mongols. There in the presence of the ferocious Berdibek, he undauntedly maintained the rights of the principality of Moscow; and through the intercession of the mother of the khan, whom he had recovered from her sickness, he was again dismissed with honor.
After this, Alexis never went beyond the limits of the Empire, but within it he was a strict reformer of the morals both of clergy and laity, whom he endeavored to enlighten; at the same time he was peace-maker amongst the princes, and in the absence of Demetrius, who ever had recourse to his prudence for counsel, he presided in the court of the boyars, giving a preponderating influence to the Great Princedom over the other appanages. In vain did Demetrius, prince of Souzdal, who for a time bore the title of Great Prince, invite the prelate to himself to Vladimir; he refused to quit the tomb of The Wonder-worker, that is, of his predecessor St. Peter, and the youthful son of John. He roused the fallen spirits of the citizens of the infant capital on the terrible invasion of Olgerd, and by this unlooked-for firmness frustrated his ambitious plans. The former capital of Kiev also, then subject to a foreign prince, Alexis would have raised up, if possible, from the desolation of those ruins, under which her ancient glories lay buried. The princes of Tver, who were at variance, the uncle against his nephews, and were dissatisfied with the judgment of Basil their own bishop, betook themselves to the arbitration of Alexis; and he kept with him at his court, as a pledge, a young relative of theirs, whom Demetrius had redeemed from captivity in the Horde. He interfered with equal authority and effect in a family feud between the two brother princes of Souzdal, the younger of whom had unfairly got possession of Nijny Novogorod: in order to compel them to be reconciled, he laid an interdict upon their capital by the lips of the meek hermit Sergius.
With the name of Sergius a new monastic world opens itself in the North. The commencement of his lonely hermitage in the woods near Moscow, is a point of as much importance in our history as the excavation of the caves of Anthony on the banks of the Dnieper; for he was destined to divide with Anthony the glory of having been the father of monasticism in Russia. Sergius was born in Rostov; when yet quite young he left the house of his parents, and together with his brother Stephen, settled himself in the thick woods in the neighborhood of Radonege, where, however, he was soon left by his brother. In this wild solitude he resisted all manner of temptations, and lived among the wild beasts of the forest, until the report of his holy life drew disciples around him: they compelled him to go to Peryaslavl-Zalessky, to receive the holy order of priesthood from Athanasius, the bishop of Volhynia, who lived there. Sergius built by his own labor in the midst of the forest a wooden church, by the name of The Source of Life, the ever-blessed Trinity, which has since grown into that glorious Lavra, whose destiny has become inseparable from the destinies of the capital, and from whence on so many occasions the salvation of all Russia has proceeded.
Prelates and princes applied to Sergius not only for the sake of his spiritual instructions, but also to receive from him teachers, who had been trained to perfection by his converse in solitude, and who in their turn might be capable of influencing others by their good example: for from the appearance of Sergius there began among us, as it were, a second era and development of monasticism; and in the fullness of its light our unhappy country, which had been suffering so long under the plague of the Tartars, revived. Thus at the request of Vladimir the brother of the Great Prince, Athanasius, a disciple of Sergius, founded the Visotsky monastery at Serpouchov; and another of his pupils, Sabba, laid the foundation of the convent of Svenigorod, while his nephew Theodore laid that of the Simonov in Moscow. The Saint himself chose the site for him, on the picturesque banks of the river, within view of the capital; and gave the Great Prince his blessing to begin building at Columna the Goloutvin monastery, as a memorial of the victory, which he had gained upon the Don. At the very moment of that decisive battle, which first shook the empire of the Mongols over Russia, the aged saint was supporting Demetrius by his prayer; his two monks, Peresvet and Osliab, fought in the ranks, with the Schema under their coats of mail; and Peresvet began the engagement by a single combat with a gigantic Tartar, the champion of the Horde. He sealed with his blood the approaching deliverance of Russia, and was the precursor of those hero-monks of the Trinity Lavra, who so gloriously distinguished themselves in other days of no less danger and distress to their country. The bodies of Peresvet and Osliab were laid as the foundation of the Simonov monastery, when it was first built, on the original site.
The Metropolitan Alexis himself founded many monasteries; the magnificent Choudov, in the centre of the Kremlin; and, without its walls, one for nuns, by the name of his angel; another at Vladimir, the former capital, called after the Emperor Constantine; and a fourth in Nijny Novogorod, on the banks of the Volga, called the Pechersky or Cave monastery, in memory of the caves of Anthony upon the Dnieper; and he too, like others, applied to Sergius to give him one of his disciples, when he was founding the Andro-nieif monastery in Moscow, in fulfillment of a vow which he had made during his tempestuous voyage to Constantinople. But when the primate, being now eighty-four years of age, and full of energy to the last, perceived his end to be approaching, and wished to give Sergius his blessing and appoint him to be his successor, the humble monk, in great alarm, declared that he could not accept nor wear the costly Panagia, which the primate had sent him from his own person. "From my youth upwards," he answered humbly, " I have never possessed nor worn gold, and now much more in my old age I am anxious to remain in poverty." St. Alexis had good reason for wishing to lose no time in choosing himself a successor beforehand; for even during his life the same Patriarch Philotheus, who has been mentioned above, had consecrated another metropolitan named Cyprian, a Serbian by birth, probably in the room of Romanus, who was deceased; but he was not acknowledged by Demetrius; so he remained in Kiev, where he resided till the death of his predecessor, and during those disturbances of the Church which broke out after it.
Scarcely had the incorrupt remains of St. Alexis been deposited in the Choudov monastery of his own foundation, when Mitai, archimandrite of the Simonoff and confessor to the Great Prince, who had originally belonged to the White or Secular Clergy, and had only recently received the tonsure, presuming upon his favor in high quarters, boldly took possession of the metropolitical palace, and began to regulate the affairs of the Church as if he were now himself the primate. He demanded his own Consecration in Moscow from a synod of Russian bishops; but Dionysius of Souzdal and St. Sergius strenuously opposed this infraction of ecclesiastical order, especially as Alexis himself, before his death, notwithstanding the entreaties of Demetrius, had absolutely refused to give his benediction to Mitai as his successor.
Sergius had tried to turn the attention of the Great Prince upon Dionysius, as having been the favorite disciple of the deceased metropolitan, to whom he had in times past intrusted his Pechersky monastery; and to save him from the persecutions of the pretender Mitai, and from bonds and imprisonment, he even became himself surety for him, and took him into his own keeping. Dionysius, however, did not reverence as he ought to have done the aged saint, but made his escape and fled secretly to Constantinople. On this Mitai also, fearing lest the patriarch should invest his rival with the dignity of metropolitan, set forth and sailed with a splendid retinue for the same destination, but died at sea within view of the Grecian capital. The Archimandrite Pimen, who attended him, made his own advantage of the letters of the Great Prince to the emperor and the Patriarch Nilus, and fraudulently obtained Consecration. Demetrius, enraged at this villainous proceeding, put him into confinement at Tver; and sent the Archimandrite Theodore, the nephew of St. Sergius, to Kiev, to invite Cyprian to take possession of the metropolitical throne of all Russia.
This occurred in the year of the celebrated battle with Mamai, which covered with eternal glory the hero of the Don. The victory of Koulikov came after a century and a half as the avenging reverberation of the disastrous slaughter on the Kalka; but still Russia had not as yet any rest from calamity. Two years after this the destructive invasion of the Khan Toktamuish again covered her eastern provinces with desolation, and the children of the traitor Oleg, prince of Riazan, introduced the Tartars into the Kremlin of Moscow, which had been left by the Great Prince and the metropolitan. Cyprianís absenting himself from the seditious capital just before the invasion, and his residence at Tver with the Prince Michael, son of Alexander, the rival of Demetrius, excited the displeasure of the Great Prince, and obliged him to remove back again to Kiev. Pimen was taken out of confinement, and occupied his place in Moscow, though for no long period, as he was obliged to go to Constantinople, at the citation of the patriarch, to be there judged with Cyprian, who refused to yield up to him his right.
In the mean time a third metropolitan appeared; Dionysius, who had been consecrated bishop of Souzdal by St. Alexis, obtained in Constantinople the rank of archbishop, and notwithstanding that his having gone thither unsent was against him, he nevertheless, by his pastoral virtues and by his eloquence, obtained the respect both of the Great Prince and of the people, and they devoutly received at his hands the holy Icons and relics which he had brought from the East. He quieted the discontent of the clergy and laity of Novogorod, where they murmured at the great sums, which were demanded of them at ordinations, and procured certain definite fees to be fixed by a patriarchal rescript, which he brought to Alexis the Lord of Novogorod. The same disturbance had already once before manifested itself, on occasion of the heresy of the Strigolniks, who rejected the ordination of priests as practiced by the Church. Dionysius visited Constantinople a second time, in company with Theodore, the confessor of the Great Prince, and probably with his consent, sought and obtained for himself the rank of metropolitan (1384), for Demetrius never liked Pimen; but as he was on his return home, Vladimir, son of Olgerd and prince of Kiev, who took part with Cyprian, arrested and detained Dionysius as uncanonically appointed during the lifetime of another metropolitan; and he died in Kiev, and was buried there in the catacombs of the Lavra.
At length Pimen, who had been once more cited to Constantinople to appear in the court of the Patriarch Anthony, died at Chalcedon, and his rival was left alone the undisputed metropolitan of all Russia (1390). Basil, the son of Demetrius of the Don, his father being now dead, received the primate with great honor in Moscow, where he arrived, accompanied by two Greek metropolitans and seven Russian bishops. Three of them, Theodore, Euphrosynus, and Isakius, had been severally raised in Constantinople to the rank of archbishops, of Rostov, Souzdal, and Chernigov, and so for that time the division, which had taken place in the unity of the Church was at an end.
Cyprian recalled to mind by his character the great Cyrill, who had done so much for the improvement and consolidation of Russia. With equal abilities for the administration of ecclesiastical and of civil affairs, he was, during his episcopate of eighteen years, in the full sense of the word metropolitan of all Russia, notwithstanding the cruel separation between Lithuania and Moscow. His former residence of fifteen years in Kiev, had gained him the affection of all the bishops beyond the Dnieper, and the respect of Olgerd himself, who had been converted to Christianity by his consort Mary, born a princess of Tver. That residence indeed, and his influence afterwards, were the main causes of the preservation of orthodoxy throughout the whole of the southern districts; for Pope Gregory XI at the request of Louis, king of Poland, had already erected four Latin dioceses in Peremuishla, Kholma, Vladimir, and Lvoff. We may well suppose that the true cause of the appointments of Romanus and Cyprian as metropolitans for the South of Russia during the life of Alexis, was the anxiety of the patriarchs lest the preservation of the purity of the faith should be endangered in those parts.
Although the governors of Lithuania in Kiev still continued to profess the orthodox Faith, the Great Prince himself, Yagello the son of Olgerd, having been elected king of Poland, was baptized together with all his people by Roman priests; and his successor in Lithuania, the powerful Vitoft, also embracing the Latin confession, exceedingly promoted its dissemination in Wilna and Volhynia; and in Kiev itself there was founded a monastery of Dominicans. Nevertheless, both Yagello and Yitoft respected the dignity and character of the Metropolitan Cyprian, who on his part prudently did all that was in his power to conciliate them; they made no attempt to withdraw their subjects from his spiritual authority, nor did he, after his removal to Moscow, ever discontinue his visits to Kiev and Lithuania. The bond of a family connection between the Great Princes promoted their accord in respect of the affairs of the Church. Sophia the daughter of Vitoft, had been given in marriage to Basil; and Cyprian being charged on one occasion to conduct the Great Princess to Wilna to visit her father, took the opportunity while there of ordaining bishops and regulating the affairs of the Church, and forewarned his sovereign of the designs of the Lithuanians, on the occasion of his having for the second time an interview with Vitoft and Yagello.
Not less prudent was his administration of affairs within the dominions of Moscow. Feeling deeply the immense importance of unity to the Church, he strove with all his might to reestablish in Novogorod the rights of the hierarchy, which had been violated and set aside during the feeble administration of Pimen by the self-willed independence of the Assembly. For they had refused to be subject to the superior court of the metropolitans, that they might escape paying to it the customary dues, and were for giving the final decision in all spiritual matters to their own Lord. But the first attempt of Cyprian was unsuccessful, and he left without his benediction the rebellious citizens, who showed no respect even to the rescript of the patriarch. The Great Prince himself engaged in this affair, which partly affected his own government, as the subordination of Novogorod to the spiritual authority of the primate made it more dependent on Moscow than it would else have been in civil affairs. The Assembly was brought to reason, though only for a short time; new disturbances on their part caused a war, and the good archbishop, John, suffered imprisonment in the Choudoff monastery for the disobedience of his flock: Tver and Riazan were in harmony with Moscow, while Souzdal, ever since the times of Demetrius of the Don, had been reckoned as part of its province. Cyprian, on the petition of Michael prince of Tver, who was his friend, consecrated in the room of Euphemius bishop of that city, who had been deprived, St.Arsenius, a man distinguished for his piety, who founded near Tver the Jeltikoff monastery, where his uncorrupted body still lies. Oleg, the prince of Riazan, had been at length reconciled to the Great Prince after the invasion of Toktamish by the entreaties of St. Sergius, who softened completely and forever the enmity of his heart. Both the illustrious rivals of Demetrius (1392), Michael and Oleg, ended their days about the same time, as monks, and in alliance with his son; and with them the glory of their principalities was extinguished.
In the reign of Basil, died also at an extremely advanced age that great defender of his country, Sergius, amidst the blessings of his contemporaries, which were soon changed into prayers for his intercession, when his uncorrupted relics were found. His disciple, the holy Hegumen Nikon, discovered them as he was building the stone church of the Holy Trinity after the destructive invasion of Edigee, and deposited them in it as a support and strength to his Lavra, which from that time forth was never touched by so much as one of those calamities which fell upon the neighbouring city of Moscow. Another great pledge of the safety of the capital was brought into it, to the cathedral of the Assumption, from the former residence of the Great Prince, Vladimir, at a time when another dreadful invasion was threatening. The conqueror of the East, Tamerlane, suddenly fell upon the Horde, and having broken the power of Toktanmish, advanced rapidly into the interior of our country, giving up every thing to fire and sword. The Great Prince with his army awaited him on the banks of the Oka; the metropolitan with the citizens went out in procession to meet the ancient Icon of the Mother of God, and to receive it into Moscow; and on that same day (1395) Tamerlane turned back, and drew off his army. The Sretensky monastery, that is, The Monastery of the Meeting, was built in Moscow in commemoration of the deliverance of Russia, which has ever since kept the 26th of August as a festival.
Many religious houses began to appear in the North from the time of St. Alexis, and during all the long primacy of Cyprian. In Souzdal, a disciple of the Archbishop Dionysius, St. Euphemius, founded his celebrated monastery of the Saviour; and in Moscow, Eudocia, the pious widow of the hero of the Don, received the tonsure by the name of Eupraxia in the convent of The Ascension, which she had founded in the Kremlin. There she was buried, and the same church from that time forth became the burying-place of the illustrious house of Moscow for all the Grand Princesses and their daughters, whose tombs are ranged side by side, beginning with hers. But that which became more celebrated than all the rest was the convent of Bielo-ozero, founded by St. Cyrill, a disciple and companion of St. Sergius, and monk of the Simonoff monastery. Thirsting after a retreat of absolute quiet, he secluded himself on the silent shores of the White lake; but such a light as his could not remain hid under the bushel; his monastery grew and flourished, even like that of St. Sergius, and became an object of the deepest reverence to our Tsars, especially to John the Terrible. In its turn it became the seed-bed of other houses, which sprang up around it, both near and afar off. From the white waters of its lake, St. Sabbatius carried the germ of monasticism to the grey waves of the Northern ocean; there, in the uninhabited islands of the White sea, his fellow-laborer Germanus, and his successor St. Zosimus laid the foundations of the Solovetskay Lavra, which has stood as a glorious boundary of our country to the North, and illumined all the coasts of the sea with the light of Christianity.
Other monasteries, though less celebrated than these two, which are of the highest rank, produced, no less than these, the same beneficial effects on their wild neighborhoods. Not far from Bielo-ozero, one of the princes of that place discovered a whole community of monks on a desolate and rocky island of the Koubensky lake, who occupied themselves solely with preaching the word of God to the savage tribes of the Choudes. Their pious zeal extended even still further to the North. The Monk Lazarus founded his monastery of the Assumption on the shores of the Onega lake, for the conversion of the Lopars; and at the same time the monks of Valaam, on the Ladoga, enlightened by holy Baptism the neighboring Carelians. Not only the spiritual instruction, but even the occupation itself and colonization of the northern and eastern districts of Russia were effected by the multiplication of religious houses, which were scattered in all parts, and around which inhabitants immediately began to plant themselves, attracted by the advantage of those exemptions which were granted to the Church, with its property and retainers, by the Letters of the khans, and by that freedom from civil jurisdiction which had been all along conceded to the clergy by their native princes. Thus every monastery which extended our boundary became the nucleus of a new pale of settlements, and even a stronghold of defense in case of any attack from barbarous tribes. Great Perm, whither the hunters of Novgorod before went for their furs, was acquired to Russia by a single monk, through the preaching of the Name of Christ. St. Stephen, penetrated with an apostolic zeal, felt his heart pained at the gross heathenism of the inhabitants of Perm; and having thoroughly known their tongue from a child, he invented letters for it. He went alone to preach Christ in the deep and silent woods of Perm, and by faith overcame all the opposition of the heathen priests, who were his enemies. He founded for them their first church, a poor and simple structure, on the river Viuma, and from thence, by little and little, the doctrine of salvation was spread abroad. He himself was consecrated to be bishop of Perm by the hands of the Metropolitan Pimen, and after many years of labor, departed this life in Moscow, where his holy relics are still preserved in the cathedral of the Saviour.
The Metropolitan Cyprian (1407), the great contemporary of so many holy athletes, departed this life, to the deep regret of the Great Prince and of all his widely-extended flock, in his favorite village of Golenischeff, near Moscow, where in mature old age he sought repose from the troubles of life. There he consecrated his hours of solitude to the task of writing an account of the holy lives of his two predecessors, Peter and Alexis, and to the making of a collection of the chronicles of his adopted country, which have been preserved to us under the title of the Books of the Genealogies; for this great churchman was at the same time wisely zealous for the promotion of learning and enlightenment. Before his easy and tranquil departure, he composed a touching testamentary exhortation to his flock, in which forgiving all who might have offended him, he himself humbly in turn asked forgiveness of all, and ordered that it should be read over his grave. After his example all the subsequent metropolitans of Moscow have been used to leave behind them similar testamentary exhortations.
For three years after the death of Cyprian (1410) there was no metropolitan in Russia, till the Patriarch Matthew sent Photius, who had been consecrated from the strict monks of the country of Amorrhaea. His arrival, first at Kiev, and afterwards at Moscow, took place just at the afflictive period of the Tartar ravages, to which our country was again subjected. The Horde, which had been divided by the quarrels between the families of Timur and Toktamuish, was still powerful under the rule of Edigee, who, like Mamai, disposed of the destiny of the khans. He wished to humble the Great Prince; for the prudent Basil, taking advantage of the wars of the Horde with Lithuania, had redeemed himself from under their yoke for the consideration of a small annual tribute. The invasion of Edigee was very destructive; all the eastern districts were reduced to ashes; Vladimir, son of Andrew, the uncle of the Great Prince, and the illustrious companion-in-arms of Demetrius Donskoy, with difficulty held out in the Kremlin of Moscow. A few years later, the ancient city of Kiev and all the southern frontiers were exposed to the sword of the Tartars, and from those times declined still more in importance.
Photius found the patrimony of the metropolitical see partly spoiled by the enemy, and partly wasted by embezzlements of the boyars themselves during the vacancy, when there was no primate; and as he stood up warmly in defense of the property of the Church, he drew upon himself their enmity, in which the Great Prince himself joined. Photius, who had been used as a monk to the solitude of his cell, could ill bear the turmoils of public life in a strange country; he sought in vain for quiet in the favorite retreat of Cyprian, where like him he gave himself up to learning, and for a time retired into the forests in the district of Vladimir; but he was driven from thence also by a new invasion from the Horde, under the khanís son, who laid waste the elder capital, Vladimir.
In the mean time another calamity, which had been long foreseen, assailed the Church of Russia from the West. Vitoft, though a zealot of Rome, yet, from his respect for Cyprian, had not attempted to break the unity of the metropolitical power; but Photiusí want of tact and experience in matters of state business, and the strictness with which he collected the revenues of the Church in the Lithuanian provinces, set the prince upon effecting a separation, which seemed convenient for his interests in a political point of view. He called together in Novogorod of Lithuania all his bishops; Theodosius of Polotsk, Isaak of Chernigov, Dionysius of Loutsk, Gerasimus of Volhynia, John of Galich, Sebastian of Smolensk, Charito of Kholma, Paul of Cherven, Euphemius of Tourov; he represented to them the difficulties which must stand in the way of the Church being well governed, so long as it was dependant upon a foreign primate, and required that there should be a separate metropolitan for Kiev. The orthodox bishops hesitated for a long time to fulfil the wishes of a sovereign who professed another faith; but threats and other vexations at length wearied them out, and compelled them to proceed to an election. Gregory Simblak, a learned man of Bulgarian extraction, was sent by the synod to Constantinople for Consecration, with a complaint against the Metropolitan Photius, as if to turn off from the electors upon him the responsibility of violating the unity of the Church. But the Emperor Manuel and the Patriarch Callistus rejected the petition of the synod. The Metropolitan Photius himself, when he heard of the designs of the Lithuanians, resolved to go to Vitoft to prevent them, and even on from there to Constantinople, but he was robbed on the frontier-territory of Moscow, and compelled to return; while Vitoft drove his vicar out of Kiev, and made himself master of all that belonged to the metropolitan within the pale of his dominions.
The refusal of the patriarch of Constantinople to consecrate Simblak was no bar to the proud Lithuanian. He again convoked the bishops to Novogrodok (1416), and compelled them to ordain Gregory as metropolitan of Kiev and all Russia. Being sensible, however, of the irregularity of their proceedings, the members of the synod sought to justify themselves by a circular letter, in which they accused of avarice not Photius only, but even the Greek emperors themselves, intimating that they made their own private advantage of sending metropolitans to Russia; at the same time they expressed their high respect for the oecumenical patriarchs, and their devotion to the doctrines of orthodoxy. On the other side, Photius called together the bishops of the Muscovite dominions, anathematized the acts of the synod of Novogrodok, and Simblak himself, and strove, with all his might, to re-establish the unity of the Church; but this he was never able to effect during the life of his rival, who had established his chair at Wilna.
Gregory, who was zealously attached to the doctrines of the Eastern Church, could not bear to see his sovereign professing another creed, and exhorted him to turn to orthodoxy. But Vitoft, while he declined entering himself into the controversy, made Gregory go to the West, where the synod of Constance was still sitting. Simblak remained unshaken in the traditions of his fathers, and soon after died at Wilna (1420). On this the Metropolitan Photius, now become more experienced from his long residence in Russia, took advantage of the favourable conjuncture, and having undertaken the charge of conducting the Great Princess Sophia, on a visit to her father, succeeded in re-establishing a good understanding, which was no more interrupted till after both their deaths; for during the last days of Vitoftís life, the metropolitan had yet once again after this, at Troki, a friendly interview with him, and with Yagello, king of Poland.
The death of Photius was very sensibly felt by the principality of Moscow, which was torn to pieces by the family feuds of its princes, after the prudent reign of Basil, the son of Demetrius. His brother Yury rose up against his youthful son Basil, the legitimate Great Prince, whom the metropolitan, on the other hand, supported by his spiritual authority, and kept down the malcontents by the fear of excommunication. But when there was no longer any ecclesiastical head in Moscow, these dissensions broke out afresh, and were the very bitterest and fiercest of all that occur in our history. It seemed as if it had been decreed, that before Russia should begin to breathe again, after her two hundred years subjection to the Tartar yoke and her own civil dissensions, and rise to greatness in the person of John III, all those long-continued miseries should once more be accumulated together, and burst, for the last time, on the head of his father Basil. For what calamity is there which he did not experience during the six-and-thirty years of his reign? He was obliged to go to the Horde, and stand before Mahomet Khan to be judged with his ambitious uncle; he was taken prisoner by the same khan, after an engagement in which he was worsted, and was kept for some time in captivity; he was twice expelled from the throne of Great Prince by his own relations, was imprisoned by them, and at last had his eyes put out. But his country is indebted to this royal sufferer for his firmness in maintaining the orthodox Faith, for never at any other time was the Church of Russia exposed to so great a danger.
The successor of Vitoft, Svidrigailo (1432), seeing that the primacy was vacant, despatched his favourite, Gerasimus, bishop of Smolensk, to Constantinople, where he was appointed metropolitan by the Patriarch Joseph. He did not succeed, however, in penetrating further than Smolensk; and was obliged to content himself with a residence there, which he preferred, in order that he might be nearer at hand to make his attempts upon Moscow, though neither that nor any other Russian diocese ever for a moment consented to acknowledge him; Novogorod alone unwillingly applied to him, after the death of their Archbishop Simeon, to consecrate to the chair of St. Sophia the holy Ephraim, one of the most virtuous of all the pastors of that city. After two years had elapsed, Gerasimus himself suffered death at the hand of his former benefactor. The ferocious Svidrigailo, having learned that he carried on a secret correspondence with Sigismund, his rival in the principality of Lithuania, to the horror of all the orthodox, burned the metropolitan alive at Vitebsk.
In the mean time, the Great Prince Basil, taking it to heart that the Church should remain so long without a pastor, caused a synod to assemble, which, at his instigation, elected Jonah bishop of Riazan, a man who by his virtues shed a light on those stormy times of our country. He was sent for institution to the Patriarch Joseph; but Jonah found at Constantinople that another person had already been appointed metropolitan of all Russia, Isidore, a bishop of Ulyria. This was at the very moment of the greatest distress of the Greek empire, which was now almost all shut up within the walls of the capital, and in daily horror of the gathering storm of the Ottomans. The Emperor John, seeing no means of deliverance within his empire, sought for aid from the Western Powers.
Eugenius IV, an experienced and politic old man, then occupied the papal throne; and although he himself was engaged in a contest with the synods of Constance and Basle, respecting the papal authority, he nevertheless proposed to the emperor to call a council in Italy for the reunion of the Churches, promising, if it were agreed to, to save Constantinople from the Turks. John, together with the Patriarch Joseph, and a venerable body of clergy, sailed for Venice; but as Russia already composed the larger half of the Eastern Church, Isidore, a friend of the pope, and a man of distinguished talents and eloquence, was chosen and sent to her as metropolitan. Kiev and Moscow gave him a public reception, and all Russia acknowledged him; but no more than four months had elapsed when he began to seek permission of the Great Prince to go to the council, representing to him that all the sovereigns and primates of both East and West were assembled to confer about the Faith, and that it was not meet that Russia alone should have no representative there. Basil gave a reluctant consent to the departure of the metropolitan, beseeching him to stand firm in defence of the doctrines of orthodoxy, and gave him Abram, bishop of Souzdal, to accompany him, together with a numerous suite. St. Euphemius, of Novogorod, conducted the primate to the frontiers of his diocese. The Grand Master of Livonia paid him the compliment of going out to meet him and giving him a public reception at Riga; from thence he sailed by sea to Lubeck, and proceeded to Ferrara, where the emperor and the pope were waiting only for his arrival in order to open the council.
Long controversies were begun respecting the procession of the Holy Spirit, purgatory, and unleavened bread, and above all respecting the power of the pope. The emperor and the patriarch, overwhelmed by the misfortunes of their country and by poverty, nevertheless stood out for a long time. The eloquent Mark, metropolitan of Ephesus, thundered against the new doctrines, and against the ambition of Rome; but Bessarion, metropolitan of Nice, and Isidore of Russia, inclined strongly to the interests of the pope. They transferred the council to Florence, where the Patriarch Joseph died. At length Eugenius obtained the upper hand, and declared beforehand the union of the Churches on conditions favourable to Rome. Mark of Ephesus was the only one who did not subscribe the acts of the council; he concealed himself, to become afterwards in the East the champion of orthodoxy; for the other oecumenical patriarchs rejected the union of Florence, and assembled together in Constantinople, and condemned all its conventions and acts. The emperor returned without obtaining any support for his falling empire; none of the western sovereigns gave him any assistance, or were even present at Florence; for they favoured rather the opinions of the council of Basle. Bessarion and Isidore were decorated with the Roman purple, while the last had the title given him of Cardinal Legate of the Apostolic See in Russia. He returned in triumph through Kiev to Moscow (1440), bearing friendly letters from Pope Eugenius to the Great Prince; but the first time that he performed Divine service, when, in the cathedral of the Assumption, he was in the act of naming the Roman pontiff, together with the oecumenical patriarchs, and the archdeacon had proclaimed from beside the chair of the primate the acts of the council of Florence, Basil indignantly rebuked Isidore, calling him a traitor to the cause of orthodoxy, and a false pastor. He summoned the bishops and the boyars to meet and pass their judgment on the new doctrine. Not one of them would consent to acknowledge the pope as the Vicar of Christ; and all of them, with one accord, rejected the western doctrine respecting the procession of the Holy Spirit that it is not only from the Father, but also from the Son, in contradiction to the ancient Creed, in spite of the subtle arguments of Isidore, whom they confined in the Choudoff monastery. He escaped, however, from his guards, and fled, and Basil prudently gave orders that he should not be pursued. Isidore was honourably received at Rome, and was sent to Constantinople, where great disturbances were excited among the people by the attempt to carry into effect the union of the Churches, even when the capital was on the very point of falling; for two patriarchs, Metrophanes and Gregory, one after the other adhered to the council of Florence. But when the last Constantine fell upon the ruins of his empire, on which the conqueror Mahomet established a new dynasty, Isidore again fled, and sought his safety at Rome, and was there honoured with the title of Patriarch of Constantinople. A disciple of his, Gregory, was consecrated metropolitan of Kiev, where about this time there commenced a succession of Latin bishops; but Gregory was not acknowledged in Russia, nor even in Lithuania, notwithstanding the protection of Casimir, sovereign of the latter country and of Poland. Thus terminated this attempt to subject Russia to the Roman see. A century and a half later its effects were felt in the grievous calamities inflicted on our country by the Pretenders, and the Unia.
After the expulsion of Isidore, the Church of Russia was again for eight years in widowhood. During this period the Prince Demetrius Shemiaka, who, after having put out the eyes of Basil and cast him into prison, had taken possession of the throne, sent for Jonah, the bishop of Riazan, and offered him the dignity of metropolitan, if he would only reconcile him with the Great Prince. He cunningly persuaded the old man to bring to him to be educated the two children of the blind prince, whom the faithful boyars had concealed in Mourom, in his diocese, promising to pacify their unfortunate father by the gift of a rich patrimony, and threatening, on the other hand, to sack the town in case of a refusal. The hope of obtaining the dignity of primate could not influence Jonah, who was already regarded as the lawful successor to the metropolitical throne; but he hoped to alleviate the lot of Basil, for he did not anticipate the possibility of his reigning, and so he complied with the wishes of Shemiaka. He received on his omophorium, or pall, the young sons of the blinded prince in the cathedral at Mourom; but when Shemiaka, violating the oath, which he had pledged, sent them to Ouglich to share their fatherís confinement, the vehement remonstrances of the holy man wrought upon him to redeem his broken faith. " Thou hast disgraced my old " age," he said, " and now I am steeped in perjury - remove " this sin from my soul and thine own: what dost thou fear "from a blind prince and two little children?" This he urged without ceasing upon Shemiaka, until he touched his heart; and so he let Basil go free with his children to Vologda, having first taken the precaution to bind him with an oath taken upon the cross, and before a synod of bishops, instead of fetters. But the blind prince, who had been treacherously seized by his enemy within the walls of the Trinity Lavra, at the tomb of the wonder-worker Sergius, within the walls of another monastery received absolution from his compulsory oath. Tryphon, hegumen of the monastery of Bielo-ozero, took the oath upon himself and his fraternity, and urged the prince, for the good of his country, to reclaim for himself and his children their lawful inheritance. Moscow went forth with joy to meet her true sovereign, and his first act was to send the Bishop Jonah to Constantinople for institution.
Basil, in his letter to the emperor and patriarch, described the particulars of the confusion, which had been introduced by the defection of the Metropolitan Isidore, and declared his own devotion to the ancient and orthodox doctrine. But reports concerning the relations which Constantinople then had with Rome, caused the Great Prince to delay his embassy. Waiting more favourable circumstances, St. Jonah governed the Church for five years without being synodically appointed. But at length, seeing that the disorders in the East still continued, Basil convoked the Russian bishops, Ephraim of Rostov, Abram of Souzdal, who had fled from the council of Florence, Barlaam of Columna, and Pitirim of Perm, who was afterwards martyred by the savage inhabitants of his diocese for the Name of Christ; these instituted Jonah as metropolitan of all Russia, while St. Euphemius of Novogorod and the bishop of Tver sent him the letters of confirmation.
From this time, on account of the fall of the Greek empire (1463) all our metropolitans were appointed by a council of their own bishops; for they had no means of passing through Lithuania to Constantinople, which was then oppressed by the Ottoman yoke. But the spiritual bond of union with the Eastern Church, and even the subordination of the Russian primate to the throne of Constantinople, were preserved inviolate; on all possible opportunities the patriarchs communicated with the metropolitans of Russia either by letters or by bishops going in person from one to the other and the other oecumenical patriarchs, yielding to the pressure of the circumstances of those times, recognised this mode of consecration, and did not break off unity with us on this account, as appears from the Book of the Kormchay or Nomocanon. St. Jonah however was the last who bore the title of Metropolitan of Kiev: his successors took that of Metropolitan of Moscow and of all Russia: for Kiev from this time began to have a regular succession of metropolitans of its own, subject to Lithuania. He continued for seven years to show forth an example of all the virtues of a good pastor, on the episcopal throne; he consoled the capital under its suffering from conflagrations and from a dreadful invasion of the Tartars, who all but got possession of the Kremlin; and even during his life he was glorified from above by the gifts of prophecy and healing; having, like St. Peter, foretold the deliverance of Russia from the yoke of the infidels, and its future glory.
The episcopate of the Metropolitan Jonah terminated (1461) nearly at the same time with the reign of Basil. A good Providence prolonged the holy life of that great Churchman to the glorious times of John III, who shed new splendour upon Russia. And here we may well fix our eyes with astonishment on those ages of slavery which have gone by, and offer a heartfelt thanksgiving to the Lord, who under the shadow of his Church preserved the rising empire during its youth, entrusting its helm, amid civil wars and barbarian captivity, during the course of two hundred years, to a glorious succession of great prelates. Scarcely had the Tartars appeared and laid waste our country, when one after another there rose up, sometimes from her own bosom, at others from Greece, Cyrill, and Maximus, the Saints Peter and Theognostes, Alexis, Cyprian, Photius, and lastly Jonah, all of whom the Church reckons in the company of her guardians and intercessors; having learned to trust by experience, even during their lives, in that heavenly aid which they afforded her after their blessed deaths. The period of the rule of each of these was so prolonged, their force of character, their devotion to the Church, so unshaken, and so touching was the sanctity of their lives, that internal storms by little and little subsided into calm at the word of the prelates, and, as in some sheltered haven, the feuds of the princes were quieted around them, while the waves without were often broken against the solid opposition of the hierarchical order. Certainly Russia is bound to remember with devout gratitude all these her holy defenders during the stormy days of her youth; especially, and above all, Cyrill, Peter, Alexis, Cyprian, and Jonah.
From the accession of John III there was a great change, both in the external and internal circumstances of Russia, which in the course of his long and prudent reign ripened into a powerful empire. The Golden Horde, which had once been so formidable, had now fallen into pieces of itself; its last khan, Achmet, with difficulty exacted a nominal tribute from the Great Prince. Three separate kingdoms were formed from its ruins; that of Kazan, which was more hostile than the others to Moscow, although its kings were often appointed by our sovereigns, as ours had once been by the khans; that of Astrachan, in the distant South, composed of many wandering hordes; and lastly, that of the Crimsaea, the founder of which, Mengly Hirey, was during his whole life the firm ally of John. He crushed the tribe of Achmet, and harassed Lithuania with his incursions. On the other hand, the great Lithuanian principality, which already embraced all the south and west districts of Russia, became still more powerful when its sovereigns of the race of Hedimine ascended the throne of Poland. It shut out the West from us, although the embassies of John visited the courts of all the sovereigns of Europe, from the pope and the Roman emperor even down to the sultan. The warlike order of the knights of Livonia, acting in concert with Lithuania, threatened the frontiers of Novogorod and Pskov, which John, to the extreme displeasure of the popular assembly, had begun to call his patrimony. The civil feuds which had distracted the empire within itself were now extinguished; Riazan alone claimed the rights of a separate but inoffensive principality, under the influence of that of Moscow; Tver had already come as it were into the family of Moscow by the matrimonial alliance which John contracted with the daughter of its prince, and he took it into his own hands altogether upon the flight of the last reigning prince, who had been discovered to entertain secret relations with Lithuania. The concentration of the empire under one head was the object, which John steadily pursued throughout his whole life.
His influence was great also in Church affairs; for the Russian Church, properly so called, was now all comprised within the limits of his empire, in consequence of the separation of the southern dioceses from the jurisdiction of the metropolitans of Moscow. With St. Jonah terminated the line of those great prelates who had extended their beneficent influence over the ancient patrimony of our Church, and had joined all together in one by their frequent journeys in different directions throughout Russia, and to Constantinople, from whence they brought the most enlightened principles and models of ecclesiastical administration. Our involuntary separation from Constantinople, after its fall, was sensibly felt in its consequences, when men of exalted acquirements, such as Cyprian and Photius, no longer came to us to fill the throne of Moscow. Inaccuracies crept by little and little into our Slavonic books of Divine service, and into some of the ceremonies, from their no longer being compared with the Greek, which, though inconsiderable in themselves, nevertheless took deep root, and served eventually for the occasion of lamentable divisions.
Theodosius, the successor of St. Jonah, was appointed (1462) by a Russian synod in the last year of Basil the Blind, from having been archbishop of Rostov, in consequence of the seniority of his see; but he did not sit as metropolitan of Moscow more than five years. The opinion then greatly prevalent of the end of the world being at hand, at the expiration of the seven thousandth year from the creation, moved the zeal of the boyars to erect numbers of private churches; while the multiplication of priests, who had no parochial cure, and the demand for whom made it difficult to observe proper strictness in their selection, produced a relaxation in the morals of the clergy. Theodosius, who was a strict disciplinarian, excited great dissatisfaction against himself by his corrective measures, and only avoided a public disturbance by voluntarily retiring into the Choudoff monastery. There he took to himself into his cell, a poor and feeble old man, and tended him as a servant till his death, washing his sores, as a pattern of Christian humility. A year before his retirement it was his fortune to take part in the affairs of the Church of Palestine. Joseph, patriarch of Jerusalem, flying from the persecutions of the sultan of Egypt, resolved to seek refuge in Russia, but died on his road, at Kaffa. His brother arrived at Moscow, with letters commendatory, and was ordained by a synod of Russian bishops to be metropolitan of Csesarea. This was the first appeal of the Eastern Church in her affliction, after the taking of Constantinople, to the charity and affection of the Russians, her brethren by unity of faith.
Philip, bishop of Souzdal (1467), was appointed metropolitan, and inherited the virtues as well as the dignity of Theodosius; during the seven years that he governed the Church, he showed a remarkable firmness of character. The name of John, which was already known in Europe, attracted the attention of the Roman pontiff, Paul, at whose court the family of Thomas, lord of the Morea, and brother of the last Constantine, had found an asylum. Just before the fall of Constantinople, there had been a renewal of the connection which had previously existed between the family of the Great Prince and that of the emperors, when Anna, sister to Basil the Blind, was given in marriage to John Paleologus; and after its fall, the pope could not find any more suitable match for Sophia, the heiress of the Greek emperors, than the powerful sovereign of Russia. The idea of a general crusade against the Turks, together with the hope of uniting our country with Rome through the instrumentality of Sophia, who had been bred up in the doctrines of the Council of Florence, induced Paul to deliver over to Russia this last relic of the ancient glories of Byzantium; and John gladly received this her last pledge in the person of Sophia. But the hopes of Rome were disappointed; the princess had no sooner crossed the frontier and come within our territory, than she showed herself a zealous follower of the Orthodox Confession; and when Anthony, the papal legate, who accompanied her, wished to make his public entry into Moscow with the cross borne before him after the Latin fashion, and John hesitated from respect to his quality of ambassador, the Metropolitan Philip stood up in defence of the supremacy of the Church of his country. " Whoever" said he to John, " praises and honors a foreign faith, that man degrades his own. If the legate enters with his cross at one gate of the city, I shall go out of it by the other." After the celebration of the marriage the metropolitan had some discussions with the legate about the Faith, but the cautious envoy of Rome avoided entering into any decisive controversy, and excused himself on the ground of not having his books with him.
Philip, zealous for the honor of the cathedral of the Assumption, where his blessed predecessors reposed, and assisted by the contributions of the boyars and the clergy, began to erect a new church on the site of the old building of Kalita, but from the unskilfulness of the builders the arches soon fell in, and this caused the Great Prince to send for Aristotle, a celebrated architect, from Italy. He erected the cathedral of the Assumption in that magnificent Byzantine style, for which it is still admired, as the brightest jewel of the ancient Kremlin; and two other magnificent cathedrals, those of the Annunciation and of the Archangel, were rebuilt under his superintendence upon their former sites. In the inside of the temple of the Assumption, there were laid as foundation-stones at the four corners the bodies of those great prelates, who had reposed in the former sanctuary; Peter and Theognostes within the side-altar, Cyprian and Photius in the south-western corner of the church; and in the opposite corner, over against them, Jonah, whose body was found uncorrupted while the building was in progress. But the Primate Philip saw neither the fall of the church which he had commenced, nor the erection of the new one; he was seized with a sudden fright on occasion of a dreadful conflagration in the Kremlin, and fell sick soon after, and died; he had much emaciated his body with fasting, and there were found upon it after death heavy irons, which were hung up over his tomb.
Gerontius, bishop of Columna (1472), having been elected to succeed him as metropolitan, completed and consecrated the cathedral of the Assumption, which Philip had begun. For more than twenty years he fed the Church of Christ, during the most glorious period of the reign of John; for he witnessed the reduction of the independency of Novogorod, and the throwing off the Tartar yoke; and on both these important occasions our attention is drawn to distinguished members of the clergy. On the first of them to Theophilus, who was the last bishop elected by the people to the throne of St. Sophia after the blessed decease of St. Jonah, a man memorable for the virtues, which adorned his long episcopate. The Assembly would not allow their new pastor to go to Moscow for Institution, because John in his letter, which invited him thither, had called Novogorod his patrimony, but wished to send him for Consecration into Lithuania, which was in their alliance, to the metropolitan of Kiev. But Theophilus, who was a zealous observer of the traditions of his fathers, refused to violate the ancient order of the hierarchy. During Johnís first expedition against them, he reconciled his flock to him, and received canonical Consecration in Moscow; and when for the second time the independent spirit of this trading republic, excited by Martha their mayoress, rose in contention against the authority of the powerful John, and his army had routed the bands of Novgorod, Theophilus, under the very walls of the city, obtained by his prayers the mercy of the conqueror for the inhabitants, although with the loss of all their popular privileges, and of his own riches, which were taken away by the Great Prince. The Lord himself shortly after suffered for the last outbreak of the democratic spirit of his fellow citizens, who wished to give themselves up to Lithuania, and terminated a life of trouble in confinement in the Choudoff monastery, having been throughout the victim of popular commotions.
The fall of Novogorod had been long before foretold by the Archbishop St. Euphemius, at the very time of the birth of its terrible conqueror; and this prophecy had been repeated to the ambitious Martha by the lips of Zosimus, the holy hegumen of the Solovetsky monastery, who was haughtily received in her palace, when he had come during the days of the glory of Novgorod, to solicit alms for his poor monastery on the ocean. Though John had confined Theophilus, he still did not think of appointing a new Lord without a synodical election. Agreeably with what had been the custom at Novgorod, three names were placed on the altar of the cathedral of the Assumption, and the lot fell on Sergius, a humble monk of the Trinity Lavra, who was consecrated by a synod of bishops. Sergius, however, before long retired in consequence of the dislike which the people manifested against having a stranger for their Lord, and their opposition to his new regulations of Church discipline. He ceded his place to the more experienced and enlightened Gennadius, archimandrite of the Choudoff monastery, who afterwards rendered signal services to the Church by his refutations of heresy.
The long wished-for time had at length arrived for the deliverance of our country from the ignominious yoke, which had so heavily oppressed her for two centuries and a half. Already had Sophia, the prudent consort of the Great Prince, who from having been educated amid the greatness of royalty wished to surround the court of John with the same, obtained the removal of the representatives of the Horde from the interior of the Kremlin, where on the site of their residence she built a church by the name of St. Nicolas of Hostoun; already the envoys of the khan had ceased to be received with honour; the tribute itself was withheld, although the alliance of Lithuania with the Horde might have inspired John with fear. At length Achmet put himself in motion; for the last time the Golden Horde armed itself against Russia, and brought to mind the hosts of Mamai. The Great Prince marched out with his army to the banks of the Oka, which is called among the common people The Girdle of the Mother of God, from the fact of Russia having more than once been saved on its banks. There his resolution faltered. His cautious policy dreaded to trust the future destinies of the whole empire to the fortune of a single battle, as the bold hero of the Don had done; and having left his son with the army, he himself retired to his capital, to the general dissatisfaction of the people. The idea that the Tartars were invincible had long since died away; Kasan, a large fragment of the kingdom of Kaptchak, had taught us the way to victory over the infidels. The murmurs of the people against John increased more and more: at this juncture the eloquent and aged Bassian, archbishop of Rostoff, who had imbibed at the tomb of the venerable Sergius, when hegumen of his monastery, the inheritance of his patriotism, by his bold speech and letter of exhortation aroused the spirit of John: "Dost thou dread death?" he wrote; "Thou too must die as well as others: death is the lot of all, man, beast, and bird alike: none can avoid it. Give these warriors into my hand, and old as I am, I will not spare myself, nor will ever turn my back to the Tartars." The Metropolitan Gerontius added his exhortations to the words of Bassian, and the Great Prince returned to the camp. Achmet fled without fighting, and Russia was set free forever.
During the last years of the primacy of Gerontius (1481), mutual misunderstandings arose between him and John, and the metropolitan in bitterness resolved to retire into the Simonoff monastery, that he might there end his days in peace. John offered his place to Paisius the hegumen of the Trinity; but the monk, who well knew already how heavy a burden he undertakes who is set to govern, had no desire for that exalted station, and Gerontius, at the entreaty of the Great Prince, remained on his throne till his decease.
Quite at the commencement of his primacy there had come another claimant to be metropolitan of all Russia, a man named Spiridion, a native of Tver, who had made interest and procured himself to be appointed by the patriarch of Constantinople; he was not acknowledged either in Lithuania or in Moscow, but was placed under confinement at Bielo-ozero. In the mean time Kiev continued to have her own succession of orthodox metropolitans, apart from Moscow, who either received their appointment personally in Constantinople, or through letters of benediction and approval, and patriarchal exarchs or nuncios, who from time to time visited our southern provinces. Misael, a man of princely blood, was the first separate metropolitan of Kiev, after the Uniate Gregory; Simeon, in whose time Mengly Hirey, khan of the Crimsea, sacked the ancient capital, and pillaged the Pecherskay Lavra, and the church of St. Sophia; Jonah, who enjoyed the favour of Casimir, sovereign of Lithuania; and Saint Macarius, martyred on the road by the Tartars, whose uncorrupted remains repose in the cathedral of St. Sophia, ruled each in his turn for a short space their extensive diocese, having their residence in Wilna, where they with difficulty maintained themselves against the influence of Rome.
After the death of Gerontius, Zosimus (1491), archimandrite of the Simonoff monastery, was consecrated in Moscow as metropolitan without the consent of a synod; but on this occasion the selection of the Great Prince was unfortunate, for under the mask of piety was concealed in the new primate a wicked heretic. For about twenty years before this, there had been secretly spreading in Novogorod a blasphemous Jewish heresy, which rejected our Saviour Jesus Christ and all his doctrine. It was brought from Lithuania by a Jew, named Zachariah, and was mixed up with the former errors of the Strigolniks. By the secret of his sorceries and cabalistic art, this Zachariah seduced two superstitious priests of Novogorod, Alexis and Dionysius, and through their means his destructive doctrines took root among the ignorant people, for they hypocritically kept up all the external observances of Christianity, although they themselves made no sort of account of them. The fame of the wisdom and virtues of these two priests deceived even the Great Prince himself, the first time that he went against Novgorod. He took them with him to Moscow, and gave to one of them the place of archpriest or dean of the cathedral of the Assumption, and to the other the same place in the cathedral of the Archangel. With them the heresy first penetrated into our orthodox capital, and although its pernicious fruits were some time before they appeared openly, nevertheless the private secretary of the Tsar, whose name was Couritsin, and the Archimandrite Zosimus, were secret disciples of Alexis, and by his means the last of the two attained the rank of metropolitan.
Gennadius, the zealous Lord of Novgorod, was horror struck on discovering this Jewish heresy amongst his flock, and was the first who gave notice of it to the metropolitan, who was then still Gerontius. But the old man, worn out with years and vexations, did not give the matter that attention which it required, but supposed that it was of no great consequence. A second and more earnest representation with stronger proofs, compelled John and Zosimus to convoke a synod of bishops; at this synod there appeared another eloquent accuser of the Judaisers and Strigolniks in the person of St. Joseph hegumen of Volokolamsk, who was the most enlightened and learned man of his times, and a "pupil of St. Paphnutius, the illustrious founder of the monastery of Borov. The heart of Joseph burned with a flaming zeal for the Church, his lips were powerfully eloquent, and his convincing letters, while they were the scourge of heresy, triumphantly defended the pure and orthodox Faith. He was personally as much dreaded by the heretics in Moscow, as Gennadius was in Novogorod.
But the protection of Zosimus, who himself shared their opinions, screened certain of the offenders in the synod. The principal heresiarch, Alexis, was already dead. Dionysius and his other followers were delivered over by the council to an anathema, and were thrown into confinement. It was not however till twelve years after that all the traces of their corrupt doctrine were eradicated in Moscow by the renewed efforts and instructions of Gennadius and Joseph; the metropolitan himself having been by that time compelled by the Great Prince to retire into the shade of his former monastery, nominally on account of habits of intemperance, that scandal might not be caused by publishing among the people his real and capital fault of heresy. After that, John delivered up his secretary, the archimandrite of the Jurieff, and others, whose guilt had been proved, and whom the first measures taken by the mildness of the Church had failed to turn into the way of repentance.
After the primacy of the Metropolitan Zosimus, so unfortunate for the Church, John (1496), having now had much experience in spiritual affairs, selected a worthy pastor in the person of his successor Simon, who had been before his consecration hegumen of the Trinity Lavra. Perhaps the unhappy result of his departure from canonical custom in the election of Zosimus, influenced the Great Prince this time to clothe the consecration of the new primate with extraordinary solemnity. Having delivered over the primate elect into the hands of the bishops at the doors of the church, he himself received him with a complimentary speech after the Mystery of Ordination had been completed upon him, after the example of the Byzantine emperors, whom he sought to imitate on all occasions of display by a splendid ceremonial both in his court and in the Church. The metropolitan in his turn, holding his Staff in his hand, replied to him with a speech from his throne. Before the heretical disturbances above mentioned were yet over, another superstitious agitation of menís minds concerning the speedy end of the world had caused the assembling of a council, which decreed that the beginning of the new year should be kept on the first of September instead of the first of March; and settled the Paschal Tables in the calendar for an eighth thousand of years, as calculated by the Archbishop Gennadius; for the former Table terminated in the year 1492, that is, with the completion of seven thousand years from the creation of the world. Soon after the appointment of Simon to be metropolitan, John manifested an intention of taking away the Church lands and hereditaments from the monasteries of the government of Moscow, as well as in Novogorod, where he had granted away part of them to the Sons of the boyars for military service, and taken part to himself. But the metropolitan laid before the Great Prince the testamentary letters of St. Vladimir, Yaroslaff, and other sovereigns, as well as the edicts of the khans of the Horde, and John was prevailed upon to lay aside his intention. In another synod strict measures were taken by him, in concert with the metropolitan, for the preservation of purity of morals amongst the clergy; and for this end the monasteries for men were separated from those designed for women, and monks were prohibited from performing Divine service in these latter; and further, to cut off all possible occasion of scandal, widower ministers were forbidden to consecrate the sacred mysteries, and it was enjoined that all unworthy clerks should be degraded from their orders. Nor did they pass over without notice the payments demanded for conferring sacred orders, which had been so frequent a cause of dissatisfaction in Novogorod, and for which at length, though on a false accusation, the Lord Gennadius himself suffered. He was deprived of the throne of St. Sophia, and afterwards ended his days in the same Choudoff monastery from whence he had been taken to be archbishop.
About this time, and acting in the same pious spirit Joseph Salkan, metropolitan of Kiev and successor of St. Macarius, convoked in Wilna a council of all his suffragan bishops, for the regulation of ecclesiastical discipline, and for the protection of the patrimony of the Church against the encroachments of the Lithuanian nobles, who were of the Roman faith. But notwithstanding his zeal for the benefit of his flock, Joseph fell under a suspicion of heterodoxy with our ambassadors, and was even accused by them before their sovereign of conniving at the conduct of his son-in-law, Alexander of Lithuania, who would not permit his consort Helena, a daughter of John, to have her own private chapel in the palace, which most sensibly afflicted the heart of her father. In vain did the meek and virtuous Helena, while she followed with constancy her own religion, endeavour to conceal the persecution she suffered from her husband, so as not to produce a quarrel between him and her father; for it had been the first article of her marriage-contract that she should enjoy the free exercise of her religion: Alexander from his blind devotion to Rome, made it but too manifest that he spared neither his subjects nor his wife, and a cruel war was the consequence of his persecution of orthodoxy. The arms of the Russians, which had been taken up in support of the religion of their fathers, were crowned with success, in spite of all the efforts of Lithuania, the Order of the Swordbearers, and even Poland itself, the throne of which Alexander had ascended. The pope and the emperor laboured to bring about a peace, but the province of Sever on this side the Dnieper remained with us as a proof of the victories of John. Its princes willingly submitted to a sovereign of their own faith, and the Russian hierarchy gained two more dioceses, Chernigoff and Bransk; the last, however, was soon suppressed.
With the fall of the Golden Horde of Achmet another ancient diocese also became extinct, namely, that of Sarai and Podonsk, because our bishops ceased to reside in Sarai, the capital of the khans: they transferred their seat to Moscow, and acted in the quality of vicars to the metropolitan within the sphere of his own proper jurisdiction: their residence on the steep banks of the Moskva procured them the appellation of Bishops of the Steeps.
Besides the painful situation of his beloved daughter in a foreign country, domestic afflictions in his own capital, and within the walls of his own palace, clouded the latter years of the glorious reign of John. His eldest son, the hope of the country, who had already shared with him the weight of the government, died in the prime of youth, leaving him a grandson named Demetrius, born of Helena, daughter of the great Stephen, Hospodar of Moldavia. A secret enmity sprung up between the two mothers Helena and the Great Princess Sophia on account of the succession to the throne, which the latter wished to obtain for Johnís second son by herself, Basil. Provoked by their intrigues the monarch took the part of his young grandson, who had the right of primogeniture on his side, and determined to raise him solemnly to the throne. The Metropolitan Simon performed on him the ceremony of coronation, for the first time since the reign of Monomachus. His crown and the holy Barma were placed on the innocent youth, but only to his hurt; for Sophia by her artfulness soon prevailed over the will of John, and Basil, even during the life of his father, was declared sovereign of all Russia, while Demetrius and his unfortunate mother ended their days in confinement.
The reign of Basil (1505) was only a continuation of that of John, whose plans he followed for the union and consolidation of his dominions under one head, though with more mildness in his measures. Under him the separate principality of Eiazan, and the independent city of Pskoff, were insensibly absorbed into the government of Moscow, and in the same way the provinces of Sever, the appanage of the family of Shemiakin, disappeared, so that there was now no longer left any division of government within Russia. Without, a struggle was going on almost without interruption; in the East with Kazan, which was still unsubdued, and ever in a distracted state, to which Basil in vain sent kings of their own tribe; in the South with the Horde of the Crimsea, from whence Machmet, son of Mengly Hirey, the determined enemy of Basil, forgetful of his fatherís league with Russia, laid waste her borders, and once even advanced upon Moscow; on the West with Sigismund king of Poland and Lithuania. But this last war was more successful than the rest in its results, and confirmed to us the conquests of John. Smolensk itself, our ancient heritage, surrendered to the Great Prince, although the bishop, Barsonophius, leaned to the side of Lithuania. He was confined in the Choudoff monastery, and upon the appointment of a new bishop named Joseph, their ancient diocese was united to the hierarchy of Moscow. The Novodayvichy monastery was built in the capital as a memorial of this joyful event. Basil also kept up friendly relations with the sovereigns of Europe, with the emperor and the pope, and in the Order of the Knights of Livonia, which had always before been hostile to Russia, he had a faithful ally against the designs of Sigismund.
Extraordinary piety was the distinguishing feature of Basilís character; he was full of reverence for all the ordinances of the holy Church, which enjoyed peace during the thirty years of his reign, and was glorified by producing illustrious saints, men beloved by God, in the same manner as she had done in the times of John. Novogorod and Pskoff during the last years of their greatness were adorned with new monasteries, the founders of which were two men of the same name of Sabba, Ephraim, and Meander, and the two Lords, St. Euphemius, and St. Jonah; while on the border Livonia a cavern monastery, called from thence Pechersky, was dug out by the clergy who fled from the persecutions Dorpat.
But, above all, the savage North was covered a flourishing growth of monasteries, as if it were inspired with life by the solitary exercises of the hermits who went forth from the communities of Balaam and Bielo-ozero, and sought for retirement in the forests of the new diocese of Vologda, which had been instituted the room of Perm. It was already long since that St. Dionysius of Gloushit, and his disciple Gregory, and Paul of Komel, had established themselves there; they were followed and emulated by Cornelius, and Theodosius of Totem, and Anthony of Sie, and still later, in the time of John the Terrible, by the three Alexanders of Komel, Sveer, and Oskeven, with many others whose names and actions cannot find room in such a rapid sketch as this. The celebrated hermits, Nilus of Sor, the writer of the Monastic Rule, Cyrill of Novo-ozero, and Nilus of Stolben, who wrought out his salvation in the district of Tver, where a little earlier the memory of Macarius of Koliazin had come to be celebrated, were also contemporaries of Basil; while the great Daniel, the hegumen of Pereyaslavla, was not only his contemporary, but his personal friend and instructor.
However, in the absence of heresies, other dark clouds came over the horizon of the Church; a misunderstanding broke out between Serapion Lord of Novogorod and Joseph hegumen of Volokolamsk, who had found in him no defence against the cruel oppressions of the prince of his district. The Metropolitan Simon, with the consent of the Great Prince, took the new monastery under his own protection, exempting it from the diocese of Novogorod, and transferring it to his own; on which Serapion laid an interdict on the hegumen and on all the community, and expressed himself in bitter terms of the person of the metropolitan. By the judgment of a synod he was deprived of his throne, and afterwards ended his days in a blessed manner, in the act of prayer, in the monastery of the Trinity, to which he had formerly belonged, after having been reconciled to the primate, and even to the hegumen Joseph himself.
The removal of St. Serapion was a very sensible loss to Novogorod, which remained for seventeen years without a Lord, till the consecration of Macarius. This prelate, who was destined to be metropolitan of all Russia, showed beforehand on the throne of St. Sophia what the Church and his country might expect from him. He re-animated the clergy arid the people, who were depressed by having been so long without a head. All the monasteries, both of men and women, received from him a Rule for their conventual life. During his episcopate the ancient temple of St. Sophia was renovated and adorned, and his pastoral cares penetrated even to the remotest parts of the North; the monk Elias, who was sent thither by him to preach the word of God, converted the savage natives to Christianity, and with the blessing of Macarius built the first church by the name of St. John the Baptist, at the request of the Lopars themselves.
We must reckon as another unhappy event for our Church (1511), after the disagreement of the two holy men Joseph and Serapion, the unjust persecution of the pious monk Maximus, of the Holy Mountain. There began to be a great number of monks coming in quest of alms from Athos and Sinai to their brethren in Russia, during the times of the Great Prince Basil and the meek Barlaam, who had been consecrated metropolitan, after the death of Simon. The Choudov monastery, which had already become illustrious by the discovery of the relics of the Metropolitan Alexis, served as a house of reception for the stranger pilgrims; and perhaps such interchange of charity suggested to Basil the idea of requesting the patriarch of Constantinople to send him a learned Greek to examine and arrange the rich collection of Greek MSS. which had been brought together in his palace, and had come to him from his ancestors and his mother Sophia. Maximus, a monk, who had received the best education in Italy, came from Mount Athos to gratify the wish of the sovereign; and having been welcomed by him in a flattering manner, set to work not only to arrange the library of MSS, but also to translate a Commentary on the Psalter, and to correct some of the Church books, into which there had crept gross errors from the ignorance of transcribers. But when the Metropolitan Barlaam, to escape from the noise of the world, had retired into his former monastery, the Simonov, and the ambitious Daniel, hegumen of Volokolamsk, had succeeded to his chair, the useful lahors of the Greek stranger were condemned, and he himself became the cause of a popular disturbance.
A pupil of the enlightened Joseph (1522), whose followers were noted for their extraordinary zeal, and were even distinguished from other monks by the title of Josephians, Daniel could not endure to see corrections made in their books by the learned foreigner, who besides had free access to the Great Prince, and no small influence at court. Maximus, as if from a presentiment of his fate, requested in good time his own dismissal; but he was detained, and heard from one of those most about him the bitter truth, that he had seen too much in Russia to be allowed to return. An incident which no one could have foreseen decided his lot: Basil, seeing himself childless after having been married twenty years, determined to put away his wife Salmone, with whom he had otherwise no fault to find, for her barrenness, and requested a dispensation, to enable him to do so, from the metropolitan. Daniel, wishing to please the Great Prince for his own political ends, consented, contrary to the canons of the Church, to dissolve the holy bond of matrimony, provided only that the Great Princess would retire into a monastery. Her doing so was made compulsory, and Salmone died a nun in Souzdal, while Basil contracted another marriage with Helena, daughter of the Prince Glinsky. Many secretly condemned him for this; but two monks, Bassian, a man of princely blood, who had been compelled by John to receive the tonsure in the Simonoff monastery for his devotion to the youthful Demetrius, and Maximus, the Greek, were not afraid to declare openly that the whole proceeding was unlawful. They were both imprisoned; the first in the monastery of Volokolamsk, the second in the Otroch monastery at Tver, where he was closely confined during all the time of the primacy of Daniel, being never so much as suffered to go out of his cell. His imprisonment was at length made more tolerable by his being removed to the Trinity Lavra; but notwithstanding his own touching letters, and the intervention of the oscumenical patriarchs in his behalf, "the pining sufferer was never again allowed to return to that country which he longed after, nor to the Holy Mountain.
John, the Terrible, was the fruit of this forbidden marriage. His father, in delight at his birth, confided him to the prayers of St. Sergius, on whose tomb he placed the royal infant. He was christened by Joasaph, the hegumen of the monastery, who was destined to suffer afterwards as metropolitan in the turbulent days of Johnís minority; three monks, among whom was St. Daniel of Pereyaslavla, received him from the font. Four years afterwards (1533), Basil was taken off by a premature death, which was affecting from the piety of the dying man. The Great Prince, having disposed of the affairs of his government and family, asked for the monastic habit: his boyars, on the contrary, represented to him the example of his great father and of his ancestors, who departed this life without relinquishing their royal dignity; but Basil persisted in demanding the tonsure. Then the metropolitan replied with anger to the boyars: "No one shall take his soul away from me; a vessel of silver is good, but one of gold is better." And so he gave the tonsure to the Great Prince Basil by the name of Barlaam, after the founder of his favourite monastery of Bielo-ozero. They took the mantle from the bursar of the Trinity monastery for the royal monk, and the whole of the two communities, of The Trinity, and of Volokolamsk, bore his corpse out of the palace in procession, amidst the lamentations of the people, into the cathedral of the Archangel, which he had not long before repaired and beautified, and which was the burying-place of his royal ancestors.
The metropolitan hastened to administer to his tumultuous boyars and to the people the oath of allegiance to the infant prince and his mother; but he was unable even to maintain himself long in his place. With the premature death of the regent mother his primacy terminated. The Council of the Boyars, which governed the kingdom during the minority of John, threw every thing into confusion by their party-quarrels and seditions, and Daniel was.the first to suffer. The powerful Princes Shouesky compelled him to sign his own abdication, and dismissed him to his former monastery of Volokolamsk, where by the rigour of his life he atoned for the errors, which he had committed in his ecclesiastical government.
The new metropolitan, Joasaph (1539), was promoted by them only to follow his predecessor in misfortune. Through his intercession, the Princes Belsky, who were nearly related to the youthful sovereign, and his cousin-german Vladimir were released from confinement. But the beneficent influence of the meek pastor lasted only till the fall of the Belskys. The same Princes Shouesky, after having loaded him with insults in the presence of the youthful Tsar, deposed him from his chair, and, scarcely letting him go with his life, banished him to Bielo-ozero, from whence he was removed to the Lavra. There the tomb of this holy prelate may still be seen, close to that of Serapion, Lord of Novogorod both were deprived of their thrones, and both were accounted blessed after death. In the mean time, during ten years of continued turbulence and faction on the part of the boyars, the youth John was growing up to manhood, abandoned to the free indulgence of all his passions, through the connivance and example of his criminal guardians. His disposition, naturally harsh, became still more fierce and cruel as he grew up, and discovered a tendency to those horrors, which were to darken his old age. But for the happiness of Russia, the intervening years of his manhood were unexpectedly adorned by royal virtues, under the salutary influence of the Priest Silvester, and of Adasheff, in the days of the Metropolitan Macarius.
Called from Novogorod (1542) by the Council of the Boyars, which had deposed his two predecessors, Macarius brought with him to the metropolitical throne that experience and tact, which enabled him to maintain his ground in the midst of contending parties, and he was a good counsellor to the youthful Tsar. The Shoueskys had already fallen; but the Grlinskys, the uncles of the sovereign, had stepped into their place, to the disgrace of their country, which was harassed by foreign enemies, while torn by its own civil dissensions. But all this was unexpectedly changed. John, by the advice of the metropolitan, announced his intention of being crowned to his kingdom after the example of Monomachus, and of entering into a matrimonial alliance. Moscow was filled with joy. In the cathedral of the Assumption, Macarius (1547) with great pomp invested him with the holy Barma, the chain, the crown, and the cross of the great Monomachus, according to the order for the coronation of the Greek emperors. The Patriarch Joasaph of Constantinople by a benedictory letter confirmed John in his kingdom, as being the last scion of the ancient imperial house. Thirty-six metropolitans, archbishops, and bishops of the Eastern Church, subscribed this precious letter, which is still preserved in the archives of Moscow, and for which, according to the account of Kourbsky, Theodoret, a monk of the Solovetsky monastery, had been sent by John to Constantinople. Soon after this another coronation, in the wedding of the youthful Tsar with the virtuous Anastasia, of the house of the Romanovs, flattered Russia with new hopes of happiness. The undertaking of pilgrimages on the part of the royal couple to the Lavra of St. Sergius, the fovourite place of Johnís devotions, to Bielo-ozero, Piesnosh, Vlokolamsk, and other monasteries, put the finishing seal upon this event, so joyful both to the family and to the empire.
An unexpected calamity completely turned the Tsar from the ruinous courses of his youth. A dreadful conflagration consumed great part of the capital, and over its ashes there broke out an insurrection of the people; one of the Glinskys was murdered by the populace in the cathedral; on the Sparrow hills, to which he had retired, John himself trembled in dismay. At that moment, as it had been some accusing angel, a very aged man, named Silvester, a priest of Novgorod, stood at his side, and by the force of his words, struck home to his conscience. His threatenings of the vengeance of Heaven at the moment of earthly suffering, shook his soul, which had not yet become wholly cruel or obdurate. John became another man; he called to him the metropolitan and all the bishops, and solemnly professed to them his penitence for his sins; and having assembled the people in the public place, he bewailed his errors before them, laying the blame upon his unworthy guardians. With the wonderful reformation of the Tsar every thing around him assumed a different appearance: the guilty boyars were removed; Adasheff, the new and virtuous friend of the Tsar, illustrious not by his birth but by his actions, stood on the nearest step of the throne; and the kingdom flourished. Men of wisdom sat in the councils of the prince, and experienced leaders commanded his armies. But if Adasheff ruled the heart of John, Silvester was the director of his soul. There was something strange in the sudden appearance of this priest from Novogorod in the palace of the prince; it may be supposed that the Metropolitan Macarius, having been personally acquainted with his worth in his former diocese, availed himself of some favourable opportunity to place him about the Tsar. To promote the interest of the Church and of their country was the sole aim of both, and the glory of Russia attested that influence which they exercised during thirty years. The attention of the new government was in the first instance turned to the civil laws. A council of the most experienced boyars, after having examined the code of John the Third, composed a new Statute Book.
John himself, notwithstanding the vices of his youth, had received good instruction, and not being without zeal for the discipline and constitutions of the Church, perceived the errors, which had crept into the performance of Divine Service, and the disorders, which existed among the spirituality. He convoked another council of all the Russian bishops (1551), presided by the Metropolitan Macarius, and opened the session himself with an affecting speech, in which he exposed the unhappinesses of his earlier years. "My fathers, pastors, and teachers," said he, Ďsee now every one of you what counsel or discernment is in him, and pray God at the same time for His merciful aid; stir up your understandings, and enlighten yourselves with sound knowledge as to all the divinely-inspired Ordinances, so as to discern in what way the Lord hath delivered them; and me, your son, enlighten and instruct to all godliness, as it ought to be with religious lyings, in all righteous laws for the kingdom, in all soundness of faith, and purity; and be ye not slack to establish the whole of orthodox Christianity, that we may keep the law of Christ in all its truth, perfect and inviolate. I for my part shall always be ready, as with one soul, to join and support you either in correcting what is amiss, or confirming what is well established, according as the Holy Ghost shall show you; if so be I should ever oppose you contrary to the letter or spirit of the Divine canons, do not ye hold your peace at it, but rebuke me; if I should still be disobedient, inhibit me without any manner of fear; so shall my soul live, and the souls of all my subjects."
John put them in mind how, in the year in which he was crowned, he had given it in charge to all the bishops and hegumens to collect the lives of the saints who had wrought out their salvation in their several dioceses or monasteries, that they might in common receive the honor of the Church, and how that the fruit of their zeal had been the glorification of twenty fresh saints, protectors by their prayers of the land of Russia. Among these were the Metropolitan Jonah, and John, Lord of Novogorod; Sabbatius, and the Zosimi, monks of the Solovetsky, and other recluses, as Dionysius of Gloushits, Paul of Comelsk, and Alexander of Sveersk; Nikon and Paphnutius, the disciples of St. Sergius, and Alexander, the hero of the Neva. The council now repeated and confirmed the former decree that their memories should be celebrated in the Church; and also approved the new Statute Book of civil laws, which was submitted to them for revision.
In the next place, the Tsar desired of them a solution of many questions relating to the external and internal discipline of the Church, to the Church courts, the monastic state, the ceremonies, the chant, the Icons, the sign of the cross, the correction of the books, the morals of the clergy, the Letters of exemption from jurisdiction, the property of the Church, the eradication of many superstitions. To all these questions the council gave a lengthy answer in writing, divided into a hundred chapters, which gave it the name, only too celebrated afterwards, of the Council of the Hundred Chapters. But though, as it seemed, all the ecclesiastical doubts of tliat time were resolved by these decisions of the council, which Joasaph, the former metropolitan, further revised in the quiet of his cell with the Priest Silvester; though the council itself was presided over by the Metropolitan Macarius, the eloquent writer of the lives of the saints, whicli he collected together in the Chetee-Menae; and though the object of the council itself was to eradicate superstitions and abuses; yet, notwithstanding all this, the prejudices and ignorance of the dark age of John showed themselves in some of the acts of this council, because there was no enlightened eye which could impartially overlook its decisions. The learned Greek Monk, Maximus, was suffering in confinement, and the energy of his spirit was broken; and they did not apply to the oecumenical patriarchs to approve the Council of the Hundred Chapters. In. this way it came to pass that certain superstitious customs and local errors were clothed with the sanction of authority, and taking root in time among the people, produced those pernicious schisms with which the Church is even yet afflicted, while, at the same time, that correction of the Church books which had been proposed in the Hundred-chapter council, and which was indeed to be desired, was put off, owing to the troubled state of the kingdom, till the times of the patriarch Nikon, though his predecessors had already before then, by little and little, made some advances towards this great work. There is, still further, one very important circumstance, which throws a shade of suspicion over the Council of the Hundred Chapters. Its acts were never confirmed by the subscription of the Russian bishops; and not only has the original copy of them not been preserved, but none of the chronicles even so much as mention it, before the times of Nikon; and the metropolitan Macarius himself is silent concerning the council, in his Books of the Genealogies, in which he has related the history both of State and Church affairs. It may have been that he did not consent to some of its canons, or that from the loss of the original, the Acts of the council have come down to us with some mutilation in the copies.
In the mean time the internal prosperity of the kingdom showed itself by victories gained over its enemies: kingdoms and provinces fell one after another at the feet of the youthful Tsar: the fragments of the Golden Horde, which had been broken up in the time of John III, became part of the empire of his grandson. Only a short time before this, the kingdoms of the Crimea and Kazan, which mutually supported each other, had assumed a threatening aspect, and the Khan Devlet Hirey, spreading desolation around him on his march, had approached within a short distance of the capital, to the great alarm of the Council of the Boyars, and of the youthful but the same khan, in his turn, fled to the Steppes the bare rumour that the Tsar, now grown to manhood, was to take the field. For the last time Kazan rose up in rebellion against the Russian deputy, who was sent thither when the Tartar Queen, Soumbeka, with her young son, were carried to Moscow. The people of Kazan invited Ediger from Astrachan to be their king, and thus roused the anger of John. Great preparations for war preceded the most important military exploit of those times. On the line of march to the rebellions city, lay the newly-erected fortress of Sviajsk; hortatory letters from the metropolitan addressed to its new colonists, and to the troops which were there assembled, urged them to the religious fulfilment of their duty. At length John himself set forth: his brilliant campaign had altogether the appearance of a crusade; the solemnities of the Church services and ceremonies were mingled with the exercises of war. Prayers preceded and concluded every movement. The immense camp of the Russians was pitched within sight of Kazan, and near the tent of the Tsar was pitched the ambulatory tent-church. The attack and defence were both desperate. A mine was carried under the principal tower, and at the moment that during the celebration of the Liturgy, the deacon uttered aloud the words of the Gospel, "there shall be one rock and one shepherd" a frightful explosion announced that the walls of Kazan had fallen.
John entered in triumph into the conquered city; he himself planted in its centre the first cross, and made the circuit of the walls in procession, with the sacred Banners and Icons, to consecrate it to the name of Christ. In the space of a few days he built a small church of the Annunciation, which was destined to shed the first rays of enlightenment upon the East: for from thence a wide door was opened for it to hear the good tidings of salvation. Innumerable were the happy consequences of the capture of Kazan, which made the name of John illustrious both in Europe and Asia. The ruler of Siberia offered him tribute: the princes of Gori, and of Circassia, their homage. Soon after, another Tartar kingdom that of Astrachan, fell before his arms, making but a trifling resistance. The Cossacks, a new people, which had been formed in the time of his grandfather, from a mixture of tribes, with no other bond of union than the common profession of orthodoxy, about the sources of the Don, and the falls of the Dnieper, harassed Lithuania and the Crimea, and united themselves under Russian leaders to attack the khan. It depended only on the will of John, whether this last remnant of the power of Batius should disappear from our frontiers. The Tsar did not pay due attention to the prudent advice of his nobles, but cast an ambitious eye on Lithuania; and so the Crimea recovered itself, to be the cause of future calamities to our country.
The young Tsar returned with joy from under the walls of Kazan; the birth of his son Demetrius doubled his satisfaction: he took his course straight to the Lavra, to offer up there his thanksgivings and prayers. Two holy men, representatives as it were of other times, met him at the tomb of Sergius; Joasaph, once metropolitan, who had suffered in the days of his childhood, and Maximus, the Greek, who had lingered on in confinement to a cheerless old age. Another meeting of a more joyful kind, and more befitting the conqueror, awaited him on his return to Moscow; the Metropolitan Macarius, with all his clergy, had come out in procession, and were standing to receive him at the gate of the same convent, where formerly his predecessor Cyprian had received the Icon of Vladimir, the pledge of deliverance from Tamerlane. The Tsar in an affecting speech gave an account of all his victories humbly attributing them to the prayers of the prelate, and in the overflowing of his feelings prostrated himself in front of the procession. Macarius complimented him in return, thanking him in the name of all Russia, and fell at his feet in like manner with his clergy. His last and tenderest meeting was in the Kremlin, where he found his consort Anastasia with their child. His baptism was distinguished by the reception at the same time of three members of the royal family of Kazan into the bosom of the Church, Soumbeka, her son, who was christened Alexander, and Ediger, who had been taken captive, and who was named Simeon, all at their own free choice and desire. The Metropolitan himself examined into the sincerity of their conversion.
The new diocese of Kazan was publicly established with great solemnity. The Metropolitan Macarius, the Archbishops Pimen of Novogorod and Nicander of Rostov, the Bishops Athanasius of Souzdal, two Gourys, of Smolensk, and Riazan, Acacius of Tver, Theodosius of Columna, Niphont of Sarai, and Cyprian of Vologda, in the presence of the court and the foreign ambassadors, elected and consecrated synodically Goury, hegumen of Selijarov, to be archbishop of Kazan, and gave him precedence next to the archbishop of Novogorod, out of respect to his diocese, formed of a conquered kingdom. The tithe of the revenues of the conquered district, and many domains of the Tsar, were assigned for the support of the prelate, who was accompanied from Moscow to his vessels by a procession with Crosses and Banners. The conversion of many thousands of heathens and Mahometans to the light of Christianity was the fruit of the labors of Goury, which were unceasing while he lived, and he was reckoned after death among the saints. About this same time Macarius presided at another synod of less note, which condemned the beginning of a heresy, which was creeping in amongst us from Lithuania. Their rejection of the canons and ordinances of the Church, her ceremonies and Icons, and their questioning the Divinity of the Saviour, discovered the guilt of Baksheen and his little knot of followers. They were delivered over to an anathema, after they had been exhorted to no purpose by Artemius, hegumen of The Trinity, who afterwards himself fell under suspicion, and was banished to the Solovetsky monastery. It is supposed that Cassian also, the bishop of Riazan, was deprived of his diocese for the same cause. The successor of Artemius, the Hegumen Eleutherius, was the first who was raised to the rank of archimandrite, and his Lavra was honored with precedence over all the monasteries of Russia, as a mark of the special zeal of John for the great saint Sergius. His piety and his gratitude to the Lord for the victories which had been vouchsafed to him were outwardly at least manifested, besides liberal alms and offerings, by his erection of the most magnificent of all the Churches of Moscow before the Gates of the Saviour, which lead into the Kremlin, by the name of the Protection of the Most Holy Virgin. This church, which is better known by the name of The Blessed Basil, who reposes in it, strikes the eye by its extraordinary mass of building, half oriental, half Gothic, a glorious monument of victory, and a sort of image of the conquered city of Kazan, which had come under the shadow of the antique sanctuary of Moscow.
Soon afterwards, a dangerous illness, which brought John to the verge of the grave, served for the commencement of the future miseries of Russia; for when apparently on his death-bed, he experienced a repetition of the same treasonable factions of the boyars which had troubled his minority. Even those nobles who were nearest to him refused to swear allegiance to his child Demetrius, from fear of the anarchy, which might ensue from a long minority, and inclined to the side of his cousin-germari Vladimir. However, the Tsar, on his recovery, appeared to forget these signs of a rebellious spirit, and in fulfilment of a vow, which he had made, set out for the Lavra, Piesnosh, and Bielo-ozero, to offer up his devotions in those monasteries. The Greek Monk Maximus now appears for the last time, at the termination of his thirty years" sufferings. In consequence of some secret suggestion, of which the particulars are unknown, he warned John against prolonging his journey, and even foretold to him the premature death of his son, but he was not listened to. At Piesnosh, another remarkable meeting awaited the Tsar, which proved destructive to his peace of mind. There was living there in disgrace an ex-bishop of Columna, named Cassian, who had been the friend of the Great Prince Basil, and the Metropolitan Daniel. The old man, whose heart was hardened by years and confinement, in a conversation with John gave him advice, which only too well suited his disposition, not to keep any one about him wiser than himself, that he might be free to rule as he pleased. The seed, which was thus sown in due time produced fatal fruit.
The Tsar was compensated for the loss of Demetrius by the birth of two other sons, John and Theodore, but nothing could make up to him for the premature decease of the virtuous Anastasia, with whom all his happiness vanished. The fiery temper of his second wife Mary, a princess of Cherkask, and the intrigues of his nobles, caused the ruin of his best friends. Silvester and Adasheff were accused of having poisoned the Tsaritsa Anastasia. Both of them foreseeing their fate, endeavoured to escape into retirement; Silvester received the tonsure at Bielo-ozero, but he was summoned from thence to be tried at Moscow, and was confined in the Solovetsky; Adasheff, who some time previously had asked and obtained for himself the command of the army in Livonia, was deprived of it, and died in prison at Dorpat.
The war in Livonia still raged at that time, and was glorious to our arms, for the fortified lines and towns of the Order fell under the assaults of our generals Courbsky, Serebrian, and Adasheff, and Fellin itself, their capital, was taken, though it proved of no lasting advantage to the empire; John retained only a few towns and the bare title of Lord of Livonia. The Order, however, was crushed; its former Master, and his knights, languished in the prisons of Moscow; but the last Grand Master, Ketler, seeing no prospect of safety on any side, surrendered himself up to Sigismund king of Poland, and abdicated his military dignity as chief of the Sword-bearers, to receive in exchange the duchy of Courland. A part of his former dominions on the seacoast went to Sweden: and from this time there began a long continuance of hostilities between those two powers. But though Lithuania was now permanently united to Poland, and they could bring all their forces in common to bear against Russia, still the successes of John, up to the death of the feeble King Sigismund, were brilliant. He himself took Polotsk, and with this exploit terminated his personal glory as a warrior. The bishop of this ancient Russian diocese was sent with the prisoners to Moscow, and Trypho, of Souzdal, was appointed as archbishop there, for a short time, till it was recovered again by the Poles. A meeting similar to that, which welcomed him after the capture of Kazan, awaited the victor on his return; though the change which had already shown itself in his character repressed all feelings of joy in the hearts of his subjects.
The Metropolitan Macarius once more received the Tsar with a complimentary address in Moscow, and soon after died. A witness of the first glorious half of the reign of John, he was spared by a merciful providence the pain of beholding the bloody horrors of the latter half, and departed, while he could yet do so, in peace, leaving behind him the blessed memory of a prudent pastor, who had directed his sovereign as far as possible to what was good. A lover of learning, but with the slender opportunities of that age he innocently became the cause of much evil by the Council of the Hundred chapters; but on the other hand he also rendered essential service by his learned labors, by his continuation of the Annals of Cyprian, his translation of the Greek Menaea, and his establishment of the first printing press in Moscow, where were printed in his time the Acts of the Apostles, and the Epistles. Superstitious arguments against printing, which had excited the opposition of the hand-writers, prevented its making any further progress after the death of its patron Macarius, and though there was an edition of the Gospels printed afterwards by order of the Tsar, still he left to the illustrious Prince Constantine of Ostrog, deputy-governor of Kiev, the oppportunity and the glory of printing there for the first time the entire Bible in Slavonic.
In Lithuania, after the death of Joseph Saltan, the line of orthodox metropolitans of Kiev was continued. His successor Jonah II elected by the intercession of the Great Princess Helena, was not inferior to him in zeal; he confirmed in orthodoxy many of the Lithuanian princes, and this his success was the reason, that the King of Poland at (1522) the Diet of Grodno forbade the appointment of the orthodox to be senators, or to fill any of the higher offices of the state: at the same time, however, he left them the right of electing their own primates. The metropolitans who succeeded after him, and who were confirmed by the benediction of the patriarchs of Constantinople, were Joseph II previously bishop of Polotsk, Macarius II, who had been one of the court chaplains of the Great Princess Helena, Silvester, 1569. Jonas III in whose time the union of the principality of Lithuania with the kingdom of Poland was completed, by the constitution of the Diet of Lublin, in the person of Sigismund Augustus, and lastly, Elias; these, assisted by the victories of the sovereigns of Russia, maintained a strong opposition against the influence of Rome, and against the Lutheran heresy, which had penetrated into the provinces on our western frontiers, where the Latin confession of faith seduced many, even among the members of the clergy.
In Moscow, after Macarius, the Archimandrite Athanasius, confessor to the Tsar, was elected to be metropolitan, and a synodal letter confirmed to him and to his successors the privilege of wearing the white cowl, which his predecessor had worn as having been before Lord of Novogorod. But Athanasius did not remain long in his chair. Alarmed at the moral change which had taken place in his spiritual son, he after a year retired into the Novospassky, or New Monastery of the Saviour, built by John III in place of the original Spassky monastery of his great grandfather Kalita.
The sudden retirement of the Tsar with all his family to the village of Alexandrov, upon the pretext of being in danger from his subjects, marked the commencement of the horrors of his reign. The capital, in consternation, sent a deputation of prelates and boyars to entreat their sovereign to return. He yielded, but only on condition that they were not to interfere between him and his victims; and the heads of the chief among the nobles fell. In a fit of incomprehensible frenzy, John divided all Russia into two parts; one he called his own peculiar property, or Personalty, in which he included many towns, and quarters of the capital itself, and this he kept under his own personal government; the other part, which he called Provincial, he committed to the boyars, and this he on all occasions sacrificed to his Personalty. He surrounded himself with a guard of six thousand reckless youths, with whom he went about the towns and villages, giving them up to fire, and sword, and insult, so that his fearful bodyguard of "Peculiars" got the name among the people of the Black, from that outer darkness out of which they seemed to have sprung.
Avoiding the capital he built himself cells in Alexandroff, with halls and a magnificent chapel, and surrounded it with a wall in imitation of a monastery. There, habited in the black mantle of a monk, with which as if in derision he also dressed his bloodthirsty fraternity, he zealously followed the whole Rule of the Church, that he might stifle the reproaches of his conscience, praying and inflicting cruel punishments, going out from church to superintend the rack. Strange play of the human heart! The religious habits of childhood which John had imbibed with his motherís milk, the external form of religion which had become part of his nature, without having any hold upon or finding any echo in his heart, continually pierced through the hard and coarse covering of his passions, which in their turn had become his second nature. Deeply read in the Scriptures, and master of a powerful style in writing, from his terrible retreat he sent abroad fierce letters to the monasteries all around, accusing them of neglecting their Rule, and relaxing the strict discipline of the monastic life, of which he showed himself the most zealous maintainer.
He himself also met with a determined accuser, one who was to wear a crown too, though no other than the crown of martyrdom, over the pastoral mitre. The mild and timid Athanasius had retired, having no strength to bear up against such a storm. The choice of the Tsar fell on Germanus, archbishop of Kazan. It was in vain that the pious old man refused the office: he was ordered to occupy the apartments of the primate, and await the public ceremony of his consecration. Sensible of the duties of his calling, Germanus desired to have an interview previously with the Tsar, and in a pastoral admonition, ventured to try to turn him away from the ruinous course he was following. John, bursting into a passion, drove him out of his palace in the Kremlin to his former diocese, and proceeded to a new election.
John then called to mind an old acquaintance of his childhood (1565), the holy Hegumen Philip, of the noble family of Kolichev. He had long since quitted the vanities of the world, and had retired to the wild solitude of the Solovetsky monastery, where the strict life of the monk did not prevent his occupying himself with the regulation of his own distant convent, or with diffusing the light of Christianity over the shores of the White sea. The fame of the holy life of Philip put it into the Tsarís mind to summon him to his own presence, upon the ground that he needed his spiritual counsel. With bitter tears the old man quitted his retirement, and, alarmed at the offer of so exalted a station, entreated not to be torn from his cell, and from the study of the holy Fathers. He understood the duties of the office to which he was called, and foresaw also what would be his own fate. The first thing he did was to refuse to recognise the ruinous distinction of the Tsarís " Personalty" which deprived him of part of his flock. He implored the bishops to oppose themselves firmly to such an injurious division; but some of them kept silence from fear, others connived at what was done, to gain the favour of men; all besought him not to irritate their frantic sovereign by attempting to withdraw himself, nor abandon the kingdom and the Church to his wrath; and in deference to their hopes, which were destined to be disappointed, Philip consented, not wishing to incur the imputation of pride and obstinacy. He knew that fresh horrors would be sure soon to bring him face to face with John, and give him an opportunity of speaking to him the words of truth.
On the very day of his consecration he gave utterance to words of admonition and reproof in the answer, which he made from his chair to the customary address of recognition by the Tsar. " For silence" said the zealous pastor, " lays sin upon the soul, and brings death to the whole people" John, still under the influence of his first impression, listened quietly to the metropolitan, and put on a show of courteousness towards him, or, to speak more correctly, of endurance; the executions ceased for a time, though that was indeed but a short one. Very soon they began again with fresh horrors in the wretched capital, and the cries of the boyars, who fled to Philip for protection, deeply wrung his soul.
Once, on a Sunday, while he was celebrating the liturgy in the cathedral of the Assumption, the Tsar entered with a crowd of his " Peculiars" dressed in strange attire, and presented himself before the primateís chair to receive the blessing. But the prelate kept his eyes steadily fixed on the Icon of the Saviour, and appeared not to notice the approach of the sovereign. The boyars announced to him that John was there. "I do not recognise the Tsar," he exclaimed, "in any such dress; I do not recognise him either in the acts of his government. What is this that thou hast done, O Tsar, to put off from thee the form of thine honor? Fear the judgments of God. Here we are offering up the bloodless sacrifice to the Lord; while behind the altar there is flowing the innocent blood of Christian men." John boiled over with fury, and tried to stop his lips with menaces; but these had no terrors for the holy man." I am a stranger and a pilgrim upon earth, as all my fathers were," he quietly replied, "and I am ready to suffer for the truth. Where would be my faith if I kept silence?"
John left the church almost beside himself with passion; but still, notwithstanding the suggestions of those about him, some secret awe restrained him from laying hands on the saint; he only avoided his presence, and took care never to meet him but in the churches, and there he heard himself reproved. A procession brought them both together "upon the walls of the Daevichy convent, and the metropolitan, as he turned himself towards the people, perceived one of the "Peculiars" with his head covered; he pointed out the offender to John, and complained of this Tartar habit of his suite. But the favourite of the Tsar had already taken off his tafia, and in his turn accused Philip of calumny. John at length felt determined to throw off the yoke of his virtues, by which he felt himself oppressed, and sought immediately for something like a ground of accusation against him. He sent Paphnutius, bishop of Souzdal, to the Solovetsky monastery, to make enquiries respecting the life of Philip on the spot itself, where the greater part of it had been spent in spiritual exercises. But none of the community dared to calumniate their former superior; only one man, the Hegumen Paisius, was induced by flattery and threats to accuse him. The Tsar, overjoyed, cited the metropolitan as a criminal before a spiritual council, where, in the number of his judges, sat the Lord of Novgorod, the ambitious Pimen, destined soon after to be rewarded as he deserved, with Philotheus of Eiazan, Paphnutius of Souzdal, and others who were equally creatures of John. Imprisonment was the punishment they awarded him. St. Philip had foretold this to Pimen; and laying aside, of his own accord, his mantle and white cowl, he joyfully surrendered them to the Tsar, begging to be restored to his retired monastery and quiet, and imploring the bishops to stand up firmly for the Church of Christ. But John, who had been publicly reproved, wished to take an equally public and triumphant revenge. He compelled the metropolitan to perform once more the service of the liturgy. A crowd of the "Peculiars" rushed into the church with a shout after the service was begun, when the prelate was now standing before the altar quietly offering up his last sacrifice, and ready also to offer up himself for the name of Christ; they tore his robes from him and left nothing on him but a shirt and so dragged him to prison. The old man made the sign of the cross, and gave his benediction to the people as thev were taking him along, and only repeated this one word, "Pray" and at the doors of the cathedral, he exclaimed, "I rejoice that I have received all this for the sake of the Church. Alas! the times of her widowhood are coming, when her shepherds shall be despised as hirelings."
On the next day, in the royal palace, and in the presence of the Tsar, Philipís sentence of deposition was announced to him. After having heard his own condemnation unmoved, he once more, for the last time, implored the Tsar to remember the good examples of his ancestors, and cease from his murders. In the monastery of St. Nicholas, where he was temporarily confined, he received as a present from John the bloody head of his nephew. Philip blessed it, and returned it to the sender. A week afterwards, he was conducted, under a strong guard, to the Otroch monastery in Tver, where he continued in his narrow cell in unceasing prayer till the time of his martyrdom.
Cyrill (1568), a retiring monk, the hegumen of the Novinsky monastery, was consecrated in the room of Philip, but neither Church nor State were sensible of his presence on the throne of Moscow. He and his successor, Anthony, who had been archbishop of Polotsk, glided like shadows through the gloom of the latter dreadful years of John. After St. Philip, they showed as if they had been already dead. John made an attack on his own city of Novgorod, while he had still upon "is hands an unsuccessful war with Sigismund; suspicion of their inclining to the king of Poland served him as a pretence for laying waste his own towns. Every thing was given up to fire and sword on his march to the Ilmen, beginning from Klin. In the midst of the desolation, which he had caused in Tver, the torturer did not forget his former victim; he sent his worthy assistant, Maliouta Skouratov, as if for Philipís blessing, to the Otroch monastery. But St. Philip quietly said to him, "Execute thy mission;" and was strangled in his cell, suffering for the truth like another John the Baptist. The Church of Russia has been distinguished by many great prelates, but among them all there is only this one martyr, and his glory is incorruptible, even as are his holy relics themselves. The living words which he spake have kept as it were life and power even in his dead body, and this immoveable pillar which supports the Church crumbles not away. On four such pillars the Church of Moscow and of all Russia rests: Peter, Alexis, Jonah, Philip. Who can shake so firm a foundation? The relics of the holy martyr lie in the cathedral of the Assumption: in vain the Solovetsky convent desired to have them in the days of the mild Theodore, that he who had aforetime chosen the rocky cave of the ocean to be his lone retreat, might rest within hearing of its hoary waves. It was right that the good shepherd, who had laid down his life for the sheep, should repose on the spot where he had laboured and suffered.
From Tver John pursued his march, marking his track with blood. His band preceded him in the commission of murders at Novogorod; the monks and the wealthiest of the citizens were put to the torture, and many were unable to support the blows. Of the clergy alone more than five hundred suffered; the property of the monasteries was plundered, and the common people were cast by thousands into the Volkhov; Pimen, the Lord, went out to meet him with a procession and crosses to the bridge. The Tsar called him a traitor, and fiercely ordered him to go and celebrate the liturgy in the cathedral of St. Sophia. From the church John went to him to dinner in the refectory, and at a given signal his Peculiars rushed upon the archbishop with a shout, seized all the boyars, and put them under guard; he himself was sent to the village of Alexandrov, and there deprived of his dignity, and shut up in the monastery at Toula. Novogorod meantime was filled with blood, and the number of deaths, was still further swelled by a famine and pestilence, which followed in the train of the executions; so that it literally lay desolate after the terrible visit of John. He collected there a vast spoil, but fled out of the monastery of Khoutinsk, struck with a mysterious dread, when he wished to touch the shrine of the venerable Barlaam. After having sacrilegiously plundered some religious houses, he devoutly adorned others: the Trinity Lavra and the monastery of St. Cyrill were the exclusive objects of his zeal. Two cathedrals, of the Assumption, and the Descent of the Holy Ghost, were built by him within the Lavra, while the convent of Bielo-ozero was fortified with strong walls, within which he hoped to find security from the incursions of the Tartars, and from the attacks of his own subjects; for there he intended to receive the tonsure, and there he deposited his treasures, the spoils which he had taken from Kazan and Novogorod.
Pskoff narrowly escaped sharing the fate of the ancient capital of Rurik. Already the terrible destroyer stood before her walls, and her last night seemed to overshadow the trembling city: all the citizens passed it in prayer; the bell sounded for matins, and the tranquillizing sound softened his cruel heart; John relented, and became calm; the people met him with bread and salt; the mad hermit Salos in his cell offered him instead a piece of raw flesh. "I am a Christian," said the Tsar in astonishment, " and do not eat flesh during the Great Fast!" " At all events thou drinkest manís blood," replied the daring hermit; and John, confounded, did not answer him a word, but hastened away from Pskov. No agreeable guest awaited him at Moscow. The warlike khan, Devlet Hirey, with the Horde of the Crimea, had passed his generals on the Oka, approached close to Moscow, and burned all the suburbs. The Metropolitan Cyrill was very near being suffocated by the smoke in the Kremlin; John fled. A second incursion of the khan was less successful. The illustrious commander Vorotinsky, destined afterwards to fall a victim to the ingratitude of John, completely defeated the khan at no great distance from the capital. The Tsar in the mean time again retired to Novogorod, but this time without any shedding of blood, as a humble worshipper on the same spot where he had before raged a cruel persecutor. He brought with him, for the consolation of the citizens, a new Lord, Leonidas.
Troubled in conscience, John sought as it were involuntarily to place himself under the shadow of the Church to find a refuge from the storm within, and was ever filling it with his atrocities; so that at each step of his life we find acts of religion closely joined with murders, and there glimmer in a strange mixture about him at one time the forms of prelates, at another of his Peculiars. After he had put St. Philip to death, and deprived Pimen, it was a strange sight to see the same man, who had thus given himself up to all the fury of his own passions, humbly asking of a synod of bishops for a dispensation to contract a fourth marriage. They granted him the dispensation, contrary to the canons of the Church, and imposed on him a certain penance, but said nothing of the torrents of blood, which he had shed. This occurred after the death of Cyrill, during the vacancy of the metropolitan throne. Anthony, who was elevated to his place, presided in another council, which, at the demand of the Tsar (1572), prohibited the monasteries from acquiring any more landed property, and restored to the sovereign those properties which had been given them by the Great Princes of Moscow. The distressed circumstances of Russia compelled her to have recourse to this measure.
The odious Personalty, which had cost so much blood, was at length done away with, but the blood of the higher dignitaries, both in Church and State, did not cease to flow. Among those who suffered were Leonidas, Lord of Novogorod, and Cornelius, the pious hegumen of the Pechersky, who was more fortunate in his meeting with John before the threatened destruction of Pskov, than at his own convert at the time of his campaign in Livonia; also Theodoret, a just man, who had formerly brought him the benedictory letter of the patriarch on his accession to the throne, and since that time had retired to the north, where he founded a monastery in the midst of the Lopars, whom he baptized. While John thus acted himself the part of an enemy in the interior of his kingdom, new and powerful enemies arose from without. The unhappy district of Livonia continued to be the occasion and the theatre of a bloody contest. On One side, it was desolated by the armies of John, who aspired to become himself its Lord, while he conferred the nominal title of king of Livonia on the Danish Prince Magnus, whom he had married to his niece; on the other side, the Swedes threw themselves upon it, and endeavoured all they could to obtain permanent possession of the sea coasts; there appeared also a third powerful invader, stronger and more active than his rivals, in Stephen Batori, the new king of Poland, was elected from the Seven Towns after the flight of of Valois. Not long before this, the Estates of Lithuania and Poland had offered the crown of those countries to Theodore the youthful son of John; but the ambition of his father, who desired to appropriate it to himself, lost it to them both. Exactly the same thing was destined some years later to be repeated on the part of Sigismund and his son Vladislav of Poland, with respect to Russia. The hero Batori, who had grown grey in battles, by the glory of his victories blunted the sword of our leaders. The ancient city of Polotsk, notwithstanding the brave defence of its inhabitants, who were encouraged by their Archbishop Cyprian, was obliged to surrender. The enemy advanced even into our own provinces and pitched his camp under the walls of Pskov; but our brave commander, Shouesky, beat off all his assaults, and rendered a long siege fruitless.
An incomprehensible pusillanimity, caused by the inward trouble of his conscience, took possession of the soul of John. Though he had a numerous army of his own, he sought aid from the mediation of the foreign powers, with whom, during the whole course of his long reign, he kept up relations of friendly and commercial intercourse. The emperor and the pope intervened in the affairs of Poland. Gregory XIII. took care not to neglect an opportunity so favourable to his views: he despatched to the contending parties the Jesuit Anthony Possevin, who, in his quality of mediator, passed from one camp to the other, and succeeded in negociating an armistice on terms disadvantageous to Russia; for after so many and great sacrifices, she gave up Livonia and Polotsk to Lithuania. The wily Anthony used all his efforts to bring John to admit the Florentine Union, and in every interview which he had with him on political matters contrived to let fall some words about the union of the Churches; but John showed no less address in evading all discussion, as he wished not at that time to say any thing which might irritate the legate, or prejudice his own affairs; but when he was relieved from his apprehensions by the conclusion of the armistice, he gave him more decided answers: sometimes, unable to restrain the violence of his temper, he expressed himself strongly on the ambition and tyranny of the Romish pontiffs, and then again fell to a calmer tone on perceiving the displeasure of Possevin; yet, notwithstanding his repeated instances, John persisted in refusing to permit the Venetian merchants to have Latin churches in his dominions, and at length honorably dismissed the ambassador with rich presents. The visit of Anthony, though it produced no effect in Moscow, left behind it deep traces in Lithuania, where his zealous exhortations and wily policy produced some years later that Unia, which appears as the source of such fatal mischief in the annals of our Church and country.
The subjugation of Siberia by Yermak gives us the last glimpse of the sunshine of Johnís greatness, who became more renowned in the East than in the West. A third Tartar kingdom was now laid at the foot of his throne: there remained only the menacing Horde of the Crimea to save the memory of the Mongols from total extinction. But John himself prematurely descended to the tomb, having been consumed by the inward fire of his passions during all his life. He was violently affected at the wretched end of his son John: the frenzied father struck him with his staff in an access of passion, and only came to himself again over his corpse. Rich alms for the good of his soul were sent to Sinai and Athos, and to the Holy Sepulchre. There remained to succeed him only the feeble Theodore, and Demetrius yet a child, the fruit of his seventh marriage, whose name was to be sadly memorable to Russia. At length, Johnís mental disease communicated itself to his body. Surrounded by so many shades of murdered men, he set as a blood-red sun in mists. At the hour of his decease, the Metropolitan Dionysius, knowing his sovereignís wish, approached to give him the tonsure in the name of his favourite monastery of Bielo-ozero: and so from the Terrible John he became the simple Monk Jonah, and rendered up his spirit to the Heavenly judge of his dreadful reign on earth.
The peaceful reign of Theodore (1582) succeeded as a calm after the storm. In his person the race of Rurik took its leave of Russia, after having conferred on her its last benefits, and its parting with us is the more marked from the repose of the interval which occurred between the horrors of the reign of John and the civil wars of the Pretenders. Five boyars of the council had been left by the late powerful monarch as guardians to his feeble son: the Princes Shouesky, Mistislafsky, and Belsky, and with these his relatives or connections Nicetas Romanov, his uncle, and his brother-in-law Boris Godounov, afterwards to be Tsar, who soon seized the reins of government, and got rid of the other nobles. The child Demetrius, with his mother, the Tsaritsa Martha, and all her court, were sent, as if in order to his education there, to the appanage of Ouglich. After the example of his father, Theodore was crowned to his kingdom; the Metropolitan Dionysius placed on his head the crown of the Monomachi, and anointed him with the holy ointment, according to the order for the coronation of the Greek emperors, which John had received from the patriarch. By the prudent dispositions of Godounov, the state prospered, and was at peace with the neighbouring powers of Sweden and Poland, where the aged Batori still lived on to enjoy his glory, and extended itself in the direction of the East. The building of Archangel, and of Oural, of the open town of the Cossacks on the Volga, and of fortresses on the Terek, marked the extreme limits of the empire. Siberia, which had been abandoned after its conquest by Yermak, was a second time subdued by the generals of the Tsar, who established themselves in Tobolsk, near Isker, its ancient capital. The king, whose name was Kouchoum, fled to the steppes. His sons were already captives at the court of Theodore, with Simeon, of the family of Kazan, who had been king of Kasimov, and who had received instead the title of Great Prince of Tver. Besides these, yet one more kingdom submitted itself, the ancient Iberia, which had been crushed between the Persians and the Turks. Its king, Alexander, took the oath of allegiance to Russia, and Theodore despatched priests into his provinces to maintain the influence of Christianity and civilization among the inhabitants, who had been so long and so severely tried by suffering. The ambition of Boris was the only thing that broke for a time the tranquillity of the palace in the Kremlin, by exciting the hatred of the boyars, on whom he in return revenged himself by throwing them into confinement. The Prince Shouesky, in concert with the metropolitan, opposed the regent, and wished to persuade Theodore to separate himself from Irene, the sister of Godounov, on the ground of her barrenness, as his grandfather had done by Salmone; but their design became known. In vain Dionysius endeavoured to reconcile Shouesky with Boris, and thought that he had succeeded: the reconciliation was not lasting, and the renowned defender of Pskoff ended his days in a dungeon at Bielo-ozero. The metropolitan himself, a man of a decided character, who was surnamed Grammaticus for his learning and eloquence, suffered on account of his illustrious friend. He ventured to accuse Godounov to the Tsar of arbitrariness and persecution, but was unable to stand against his power. Dionysius was deprived of his chair, as was also his faithful friend and vicar Barlaam, archbishop of the Steeps, and was sent to Novogorod, and there died in his former monastery of Khoutinsk. In accordance with the desire of the regent, Job, archbishop of Rostov, who had been not long before bishop of Columna, was raised to the chair of Moscow and all Russia (1587). From this point begin the annals of the patriarchs.
6. The Patriarchs.
Amost important event took place at this time in the Russian Church; important from the circumstances of the time itself; for the prosperity of the state was already declining to its fall, with the extinction of the race of Rurik, and a storm of long continuance impended, in which the Church, in the persons of her chief prelates, saved the country by seizing the helm; important also no less from its reestablishing the external order of the Church. About 150 years had elapsed since the fall of Constantinople; and the metropolitans of all Russia, who were appointed during all that time by synods of their own bishops, had not been confirmed by the patriarchs, although they still reckoned themselves as forming part of their spiritual province. Their acquiescence in this, in the first instance, and the calamitous circumstances of the East, might partly excuse this irregularity in that subordination of the hierarchy, which is so necessary to the unity of the Catholic Church; but the longer continuance of such a state of things might have been attended with danger. The remoteness, indeed, and the very extent of the Russian Church, necessarily prevented its immediate dependence upon the depressed see of Constantinople, but, on the other hand, it was impossible for her to become independent without the common consent of the four oecumenical patriarchs, lest she should fall into a fatal violation of unity.
Our Lord Jesus Christ, in His care for that Church which He purchased with His precious blood, Himself orders all for its good; and often works by such means as outwardly may be taken for the mere fortunate concurrence of circumstances, while they are in reality the secret ways of His Providence. Within a short space of time, two patriarchs, of Antioch, and Constantinople, came in quest of alms into our country; and the pious Tsar Theodore, having felt his soul gratified by the magnificence of the Church ceremonies in which they took part, conceived a wish to elevate the metropolitans of all Russia to the rank of patriarchs; and this spontaneous impulse of his heart was perhaps the only really independent act of all his reign, the only one in which the ambition of Boris had no share. The synodical institution of a fifth patriarch in the place of the patriarch of Rome, who had fallen away, appeared so great an event in the ecclesiastical world, as we may see from the language of the contemporary acts, that it could never have proceeded from any political calculations of people and of an age which lived rather an ecclesiastical than a civil life. The very gradual way in which the affair made progress, of itself shows how doubtfully, and as it were apprehensively, it was at first undertaken; and what is most remarkable of all, the Church of Russia heard of it only after it had already been agreed upon between the Tsar and the patriarch of Constantinople. In the year 1580, which was in the lifetime of the Metropolitan Dionysius, Joachim, patriarch of Antioch, came to Moscow, and their meeting in the cathedral of the Assumption gave the first idea of establishing the Russian patriarchate; for often from small beginnings great events take their rise. Dionysius, though only metropolitan, would not yield precedence to the Patriarch Joachim, but gave him his own benediction first, before he received the benediction from him, which the patriarch slightly remarked upon at the time. Soon afterwards, the pious Tsar, after making a statement to the boyars of his council on the history of the ancient and new mode of appointing our metropolitans, gave it as his judgment that it would be more suitable to erect a patriarchate in Russia, and sent the Boyar Godounov to confer upon this idea with the prelate of Antioch; but Joachim returned for answer that such a matter was for the judgment of a full synod of the heads of the Church, and only promised for himself that he would consult the patriarch of Constantinople and the other two patriarchs respecting it.
After an interval of two years, when Job was now metropolitan, Russia was visited by the patriarch of Constantinople himself, Jeremiah II, a man deservedly celebrated for his learning, and for his sufferings in the cause of the Church. He was even imprisoned by the Sultan Amurath, in Rhodes, for his firm defence of her rights. Deprived by the Turks of his ancient patriarchal Church, Jeremiah came to beg assistance from the Tsar Theodore, having been also previously informed of his wishes by the patriarch of Antioch, and was received with that honor which was due to the first among the ecumenical patriarchs, on whom also the Muscovite Church itself depended. The monarch, overjoyed at his coming, proposed to the prelate to remain in Russia for good, so avoiding the troubles of the East, and to set up his patriarchal throne in the former capital Vladimir; for Theodore, with all his desire to have a patriarch in Russia, was still in some doubt; being at once backward to violate the rights of the see of Constantinople, by establishing the independence of the Russian Church, and at the same time not wishing to see near his own person as primate a foreigner, who was ignorant of our manners, and unable even to advise with him in his own language; neither did he choose to do any thing to mortify the Metropolitan Job, who was protected by the Godounoffs; and here was the only point in which the personal views of Boris had any influence in this whole business, which was of such immense importance.
Jeremiah, experienced from age, having grown grey amid the difficult circumstances of the East, and being zealous to maintain his own see, could not consent to the Tsarís proposal. He saw clearly that a distant residence at Vladimir would make him equally useless to both the Churches of Constantinople and Moscow, and requested to be allowed to take his leave and return to Constantinople. At last however, after new instances on the part of the Tsar, he determined to appoint the Metropolitan Job, on his election and presentation, to be patriarch of all Russia. A synod of all the Russian bishops was solemnly convoked in the capital; the Tsar in person proposed to them to consult together on the institution of a patriarchate of Moscow; and the council submitted itself entirely to the wishes of the monarch, having the firmest assurance of his pious zeal for the good of the Church. They assembled in the cathedral of the Assumption for the election of three spiritual persons, leaving the final choice of one out of these to the Tsar; the Patriarch Jeremiah brought their names to the palace, and Theodore stopped at once at the name of Job, which had been placed first upon the list.
But now that the legitimate consent of the see of Constantinople had once been obtained for the independent existence of the Russian Church, the monarch made it his business to take care that the rights of a fraternal equality between the two patriarchs should in no respect be violated, and that from the very first moment Job of Moscow should enjoy a complete independence of Constantinople. Accordingly at his Nomination he was ordered to kiss the lips of Jeremiah, as a brother, and not to lay aside his crozier unless Jeremiah laid aside his too. His style and address were also changed by adding the prefix of Ecumenical Lord. Job did not return thanks standing with a wax light in his hand in the middle of the church, after the ancient order of Constantinople, but they both mutually complimented each other upon the ambon, and so separating retired with equal honor by different doors. Jeremiah solemnly performed the consecration, assisted by the synod, and repeated again over the patriarch-elect the whole office for the ordination of a bishop, as it was rightly thought that a double portion of grace was requisite or the chief pastor of the Church. Then both patriarchs seated themselves together side by side on an elevated ambon, and the sovereign placed in the hands of Job a most costly crozier, together with a rich mantle and white cowl, ornamented with precious stones. A royal banquet awaited the prelates in the palace, and Godounov himself, the Tsarís master of horse, held the bridle of the new patriarch of Moscow when, according to custom, he rode round the walls to bless all the city. The interchange of magnificent presents between the Tsar and the patriarch concluded the ceremonies.
Some days having intervened, Job, in the presence of the Most Holy Jeremiah, appointed two archbishops, Alexander of Novogorod, and Barlaam of Rostov, to be metropolitans of the same dioceses; and afterwards two others, Gelasius, bishop of the Steeps, as vicar in the patriarchís own diocese, and the archimandrite of the monastery at Kazan, the illustrious Hermogenes, to be metropolitan of Kazan. The first two had been put in nomination for the patriarchate at the time of the election of Job, and after it the names of each of them were again presented to the Tsar, together with those of two archimandrites, for him to elect to the new metropolitan sees which they had respectively filled before with a lower title. The Tsar Theodore Ivanovich had previously arranged with the Most Holy Jeremiah that the patriarchs of Moscow should be appointed by the council of their own bishops, notice only being given at the time to the see of Constantinople, as was to be done reciprocally at the change of any one of the oecumenical patriarchs; and for the sake of having the council which was to elect them complete, with all the ranks of the hierarchy, it was determined at the same time to increase the number of metropolitan sees in the Russian Church to four, and to raise six bishoprics to the rank of archbishoprics, which were those of Vologda, Souzdal, Nijny-Novgorod, Smolensk, Riazan, and Tver, also to restore the two former bishoprics of Colomna and Bransk, and to add five more new ones, of Pskov, Rjev of Vladimir, Oustiog, Bielo-ozero, and Dmitrov. The Tsar, for greater security, ordered an account to be drawn up and engrossed on parchment of all this new institution of metropolitan archiepiscopal and episcopal sees, together with the coming of Jeremiah, his consecration of Job, and his giving consent to the future appointment of the patriarchs of all Russia by the council of their own bishops. He gave force and authenticity to this document by causing to be affixed to it his own royal seal as well as the seal of the two patriarchs, and of all our own and as many Greek bishops as were present. The greater part of the Russian archimandrites and hegumens joined in with their written subscriptions, as did also the archimandrites of Constantinople, and those from the holy mountains of Sinai and Athos, and from the Holy Sepulchre, who had come with the patriarch. On the return of spring, Jeremiah was dismissed with magnificent presents and great honour, having promised to send speedily letters of confirmation from the ecumenical council.
In the mean time, the change in the external relations of the primate of Moscow with the primate of Constantinople, by which from a subordinate metropolitan he became a brother patriarch and equal, did not affect the internal relation in which he stood to his own Church. The title only was raised, but in fact the metropolitan by becoming patriarch gained no new right or power over his bishops; his ecclesiastical court continued on exactly the same footing, and had just the same jurisdiction as before over the spirituality who were subject to him, and over all the domains which belonged to him, with the exception of those religious houses, which had had the privilege granted them of having their own separate judicatories by letters of exemption from the Great Princes. The former customary dues were continued, which accrued from the decision of such judicial matters as came before him, in cases of marriage, inheritance, wills, sacrilege, and other matters; also the regular contribution which the metropolitans had received from each parish of their ecclesiastical province, and the fixed payments allowed by canon at ordinations of deacons and priests, and presents on the consecration of bishops. Neither was the court ltself of the ancient metropolitans changed, which consisted of their own boyars, gentlemen, clerks, and retainers, and of the officers of their chanceries and consistories, so as to be the counterpart of the court of the Great Princes themselves. With respect to the autocrat, the patriarch remained in the same sacred position in which from all antiquity the Catholic Church had placed her prelates in the presence of Constantine, Theodosius, Justinian, and others of the greatest Roman emperors. As a spiritual father and intercessor with God for the Tsar, Job was invited by him to share in his councils, in which he otherwise never interposed of himself; and with his blessing those matters were concluded upon, which were submitted to him for consideration by the sovereign, who trusted to his experience in all the more difficult conjunctures of his government.
A year after the departure of Jeremiah, Dionysius, metropolitan of Tirnoff and all Bulgaria, who was descended from the imperial race of the Cantacuzenes and Paleologi, brought to Moscow to the Tsar and patriarch synodical letters of confirmation from the oecumenical patriarchs, in which they affectionately acknowledged the patriarch of Moscow as their brother, in the place of the Roman bishop, who had fallen away, and assigned him the fifth place in the hierarchy of the Universal Church, and in her prayers, next after the patriarch of Jerusalem; although the first wish of Theodore had been that the primate of Muscovy should be named third, yielding precedence to the patriarch of Alexandria only on account of his title of ecumenical Judge. This document was signed by only three patriarchs, Jeremiah of Constantinople, Joachim of Antioch, and Sophronius of Jerusalem, the fourth, of Alexandria, being dead; and further, by forty-two of the eastern metropolitans, nineteen archbishops, and twenty bishops, with the rest of the clergy who were present at the council. Notwithstanding this, the Tsar and the patriarch still continued to make instances to obtain the third place; and on occasion of Dionysius of Tirnov publicly taking his leave, the Most Holy Job declined acceding to his proposal, that he should select some one of the Greek metropolitans as his representative at the patriarchal see of Constantinople, as was usual with the other heads of the Eastern hierarchy. The Tsar dismissed the Metropolitan Dionysius with great honour, and with most magnificent presents to all the patriarchs, and a long epistle, jn which he recapitulated to the whole council, and particularly to the Lord of Constantinople, all the details of his coming into Russia, of the negotiation, the election, and even of the rank of precedence given to Job, and sent at the same time bountiful alms for the erection of a new patriarchal Church, to replace the ancient Church of the Almighty Ruler, which had been taken away from the Christians by the Sultan Amurath.
The constitution of the Orthodox Church in Russia had only just been thus settled, as we have described, when she was threatened with a great danger on the side of Poland and Lithuania, on occasion of the election of a new king. Poland was without a government, and parties were divided in the diet at Cracow, where, of three candidates for her slippery throne, Maximilian of Austria, Sigismund of Sweden, and Theodore himself, the popular majority already showed a disposition to favour the Tsar, but the decided answer of our ambassadors on the unchangeable orthodoxy of our sovereign opened the way for the prince of Sweden; and from the accession of Sigismund, who was a zealot for Rome, there began that course of hostile policy of the Western Church against Russia which so cruelly manifested itself in the Unia and the pretenders, and at length in the calamitous sacking and destruction of Moscow. Theodore, as if he had a presentiment of the storm which was coming from Sigismund, sought by all means to persuade Maximilian not to yield up to him his pretensions to the Polish crown; but the establishment of friendly relations with the emperor, and royal presents of great value, designed to engage him in the plan of a general crusade to be undertaken in common, were the only fruits which he obtained of his proposed coalition.
Border disputes arose with Sweden, on account of the frequent incursions of the Swedes into Carelia, where they laid the domains of the Solovetsky monastery, and several small unprotected convents. The Tsar, having failed to obtain satisfaction, took the field himself, and commenced the campaign by besieging Narva. On the capture, however, of this town by assault, the war was terminated, and a short armistice was concluded, which left Russia in possession of several border fortresses. The hostile intentions of Sweden showed themselves on the first favourable opportunity that she found, in the time of the troubles caused by the pretenders.
But the most fatal event of this period, which in the end cost so much Christian blood, was the unfortunate death of the Prince Demetrius, half brother to Theodore, who was murdered when only eight years old at Ouglich. According to the account of all the annalists, and the unanimous voice of the people, he fell by the hands of emissaries employed by Godounov, from fear that Demetrius would be his enemy, and that by the extirpation of this last scion of the royal stock, the Russian empire might pass to his own family. The Prince Basil Shouesky, who was sent by the Tsar to Ouglich to investigate this deed of blood, accused the citizens, who had put the murderers of the princes to death, as guilty of insurrection, while he charged his uncles the Naghi, and all who had been about his person, with carelessness in providing for his security; at this mock enquiry many witnesses were brought forward, to make it appear that the blessed child had been seized suddenly by a fit while at play, and so had fallen upon a knife and run it into him. His innocent body was buried in the cathedral at Ouglich; while the zealous citizens were pursued with the punishments of death or exile; Pelim, in the marshy wastes of Siberia, was colonized with them, and the populous city of Ouglich was left without inhabitants, while the bodies of those who had been killed there as the murderers of the young prince, that is, of the city officer Bitiatofsky, his son and nephew, of the son of Demetriusís nurse, and others, who were reported to have been concerned in the murder, were committed to the ground with honor. The three Naghi, uncles of the lad, were sent to different distant prisons; the Tsaritsa his mother was compelled to receive the tonsure under the name of Martha, in the remote district of Bielo-ozero, as a member of the poor convent of St. Nicholas. The talk of the people was quieted for a time, as under a little dust, by multiplied acts of beneficence on the part of Boris, after the dreadful conflagrations which laid waste Moscow and other cities; and afterwards, all means that human precaution could devise were taken to stifle the lamentations of the land of Russia, and the innocent blood which cried out from her bosom: In vain! The Lord himself appeared as the avenger of iniquity.
An unexpected incursion of Kazi Hirey, khan of the Crimea, drew off for a time the general attention. The Russian generals allowed the Tartar army to pass the Oka, and from the heights of the Sparrow Hills the khan, greedy of plunder, already devoured with his eyes the golden-roofed city of Moscow, as though certain of the prey which his innumerable hosts surrounded. But from the upper apartments of his palace in the Kremlin the pious Theodore looked down calmly upon the hostile masses of the infidels, and considered that fear would be a sin: he took the Icon of our Lady of the Don, which in former time had accompanied his ancestor Demetrius at the battle with Mamai; the Patriarch Job caused Litanies to be sung, and committed it to the assembled clergy, to carry in procession round the walls; after which he set it up under the tent in the ambulatory church of St. Sergius, our never-failing protector in the hour of need, in the midst of the troops which had been collected and were encamped before the gates of the capital. For a whole day they fought from the walls and under the walls, and Godounov with his generals had the direction of the battle; for a whole day a fearful suspense agitated the hearts of all the besieged, except that of Theodore alone, who calmly went to sleep amidst the tumult and storm of the engagement, having said first these words, "Tomorrow there will be no enemy;" and accordingly in the morning there was none: the khan had been alarmed by intelligence of the near approach of fresh Russian troops to the capital, and had fled, leaving behind him a rich spoil. On the spot where the chapel tent of St. Sergius had stood with the miraculous Icon, a monastery was founded by the zeal of the Tsar, in the name of Our Lady of the Don, the chosen conductress of our armies on that day of victory; and the Tsar liberally rewarded his officers, and especially their commander Boris, with a gold medal and collar.
But the danger was scarcely over when the popular rumours about the death of the Tsarevich Demetrius were again revived. They said that Godounov had been the cause of the fires; that Godounov had invited the khan to invade Russia, in order to smother the memory of Demetrius; that when a son had in reality been born to Theodore, Godounov had concealed it and substituted a daughter, the same child whose birth was signalized by the sending of rich presents to the four patriarchal thrones, and whose early death was a cause of bitter lamentation to her inconsolable parents. These rumours of suspicion and hatred, which were continually renewed at every opportunity, pursued Boris throughout the whole reign of Theodore, until they grew up under his own government to the full measure of their stature, in the form of a man, who by the mere fact of his personal resemblance to Demetrius overturned his throne.
In the mean time in South Russia the exertions of the wily Jesuit Possevin, who was disappointed by John as to the reception of the Florentine Council, obtained the success he desired for them under the protection of Sigismund. The oppressions of the nobles, who, in spite of the Statute of Lithuania granted by him at his coronation, violently appropriated to themselves the property of the orthodox clergy, compelled the Metropolitan Onesiphorus, a most zealous pastor, to beg for new privileges from the king, for the protection of his Church. Already in the tenth year of his episcopate under Stephen Batori, he had found great difficulty in resisting the introduction of the new Gregorian Calendar, which had been prohibited by a circular letter of the Patriarch Jeremiah. On the one hand incessant persecutions and influences both secret and open to desert orthodoxy, on the other the weakness of their defences, and the desperate struggle they had to maintain for their fundamental rights, had produced a relaxation of morals among the clergy, and irregularities in the election of their bishops. The metropolitan himself, though otherwise a man of irreproachable life, had been twice married, which was contrary to the canons; and the same was the case with Cyrill Terletsky, bishop of Loutsk, the first author of the Unia. The Patriarch Jeremiah, when he visited for the first time this part of his flock, could not look with indifference on such disorders; by his own act and authority he degraded Onesiphorus, and consecrated in his room Michael Ragoza, who was presented to him in Wilna by the Lithuanian nobles, with reluctance, according to the testimony of the annalists, as if he had had some presentiment of his apostacy. Unfortunately, the double marriage and the vicious life of the bishop of Loutsk were unknown as yet to the patriarch, who was deceived by his pretended zeal; Jeremiah deprived, however, Timothy, the guilty archimandrite of Souprasylsk, and when he departed for Moscow gave it in charge to the metropolitan to convoke a synod in his absence for the reformation of the Church. Sensible of the necessity of learning, the Patriarch Jeremiah who had already established one Stauropegia in the monastery of the Assumption in the town of Lvov, now in like manner took under his own special protection the School of the Fraternity of the Holy Spirit in Wilna, making it also into a Stauropegia, and regulating it upon the same model; and on his return he gave his blessing to the institution of the Brotherhood of the Epiphany in Kiev, since converted into the Spiritual Academy, as he saw what a superiority the well-trained zealots of the Western Church, the Jesuits, had over the orthodox. Arsenius, archbishop of Elasson, who accompanied him to Moscow, together with the metropolitan of Monembasia, and remained there and accepted the diocese of Souzdal, probably for some similar reason, was taken by Jeremiah from being rector of his seminary at Lvoff, that he might be of use in diffusing a spirit of learning and improvement in those districts through which lie had to travel.
But after a residence of a year in the capital of Russia, the patriarch on his return to Wilna did not find that any synod had met as he desired and having Church business which made it necessary for him to go on further, he determined to wait for its assembling, first in Zamost, and then again in Wallachia, although by so doing he lost much valuable time, and was obliged to incur heavy expenses, which his impoverished see could ill afford. But Jeremiahís waiting was to no purpose. Too many exposures and convictions would have followed upon the meeting of a council, and the timid metropolitan Ragoza dreaded the consequences. In the mean time a report of the immoral life of the bishop of Loutsk had at length reached Jeremiah; and he sent from Zamost, Gregory, a monk in priestís orders, with a letter to the metropolitan, in order that he might be proceeded against and punished; but the Bishop Cyrill gave orders that this letter should be intercepted and taken away from the messenger by force on the passage through his diocese; and he himself was so daring as to go straight to the patriarch to justify himself, taking with him Gideon Boloban, bishop of Lvoff, whose zeal for orthodoxy was well known, and he succeeded once more in deceiving the pontiff by his hypocritical assurances; as a proof of his devotion, he even conducted him on his way, together with Gideon, as far as to the frontiers of Wallachia.
But the violence, which Cyrill had used towards the patriarchal envoy, could not remain long concealed. Fresh reports were raised, and Meletius Bogourinsky, bishop of Vladimir, again accused Cyrill to the patriarch. Then Jeremiah intrusted to Meletius letters authorizing him to call a synod, and commissioned the Archimandrite Dionysius to act in it as exarch from himself, as he no longer looked for any thing from the metropolitan; and he demanded from this latter, as a sort of punishment for having screened the guilty, the payment of those expenses which he had been obliged to incur during his fruitless delay at Zamost. The crafty Cyrill Terletsky knew well how to turn to his advantage this circumstance, small as it was; foreseeing his own condemnation in the council, he so wrought upon the metropolitan by his well-feigned indignation, as to prevent his fulfilling the wishes of the patriarch; while he contrived, during a friendly visit to Meletius, to steal from among his papers the patriarchal letter of commission; and upon his death, which followed shortly after, he persuaded Ragoza to consecrate to the see of Vladimir Ignatius Potsi, whom he had himself not long before admitted to the monastic tonsure as a convert, from having been one of the Castellans or Roman priests at Brest, as a fit tool of his traitorous designs, knowing that Ignatius had already once before apostatized from orthodoxy.
These two men became the chief promoters of the Unia, and strove by all possible means to bring into it the rest of the orthodox bishops, at the two local diets of Brest-Litofsky and Lvoff; but they met with strenuous opposers in Gideon Balaban of Lvoff, and Michael Copistensky of the city of Peremuishla, and in Nicephorus Toura, the eloquent archimandrite of the Pecherskay Lavra at Kiev. However, as they scrupled at no means for the attainment of their end, they fraudulently obtained the signatures of both the bishops to a parchment, upon which they pretended they were going to write a petition to the king for new privileges and securities to the orthodox Church; and then, instead of this, they wrote, as in the name of a synod, a request to him and to the pope for a union with the Church of Rome.
In the mean time the Patriarch Jeremiah, having heard of the agitation that was going on in the Church of Little Russia, sent round a circular letter by another exarch, whose name was Nicephorus, threatening the metropolitan and the bishops, in the event of their apostacy, with deprival. But the king, Sigismund, bade them rely upon his protection, and promised that the excommunication of the patriarch should never take effect in his dominions. The death of the Most Holy Jeremiah, which followed shortly after, depriving the Church of her experienced governor, and the rapid changes of his successors, of whom no less than three followed each other in the short space of two years, told very much in favour of the Unia, although the wise and learned patriarch of Alexandria, Meletius Pega, who after them was administrator of the see of Constantinople, sent fresh circulars for the maintenance of orthodoxy, by his exarch Cyrill Lucar, who afterwards became patriarch of Constantinople. Neither were the two zealous pastors Gideon and Michael of Peremuishla silent, nor the archimandrite of the Pechersky; in concert with these was the venerable Prince Constantine of Ostrog, voivode of Kiev, now a hundred years old, and long celebrated for his love of learning. While John the Terrible was yet on the throne of Russia, the orthodox Church had been indebted to him for an edition of the first printed Bible, and of other sacred books, in the Slavonian language, and for the establishment of flourishing schools in Ostrog and Kiev. He sent about the patriarchal letters in every direction, and protected the exarchs of the orthodox from the persecutions of the king, who did not venture to interfere with him.
Notwithstanding this opposition, Ignatius succeeded in assembling a council in his own diocese; it being more easy for him to incline the feeble metropolitan to his side in the frontier town of Brest-Litofsky, than it would have been in Kiev, the capital of orthodoxy, or Wilna, or Novogrodok, his usual residences. Besides the metropolitan Ignatius, and Cyrill, there were present also on the part of the orthodox, Nathaniel of Polotsk, Gideon of Lvov and Dionvsius of Kholm, with many archimandrites and hegumens; while on the part of the Romans, there was the primate of the kingdom, the archbishop of Gneznen, with four other bishops. Ignatius opened the council with a speech persuading them to a union with the Western Church; and, after many discussions, the metropolitan was gained, and he, with four other bishops who had apostatized from orthodoxy, Ignatius, Cyrill, Leontius, and Dionysius, signed a synodal letter for a union, on the terms of the council of Florence, but with a reservation in favour of all the discipline and ceremonies of the Eastern Church.
Death preserved Nathaniel of Polotsk from signing so disgraceful an act; but Gideon and Michael strenuously protested against it, and were responded to both by the clergy and the people. Nevertheless Ignatius and Cyrill, by the exertions of King Sigismund, were sent as if they were the representatives of the whole Russian Church, to the Roman pontiff, to testify before him their submission: and Clement VIII returned public thanksgivings for the successful completion of this long-desired union. But in the mean time, before the return of these envoys, Gideon and Michael, having learned the wicked use made of their signatures, proclaimed to all the world the knavery of the proceeding; while the prince of Ostrog loudly exclaimed against the apostacy of Brest, where five bishops had taken upon themselves to betray the cause of the whole orthodox Church. The general excitement which prevailed on account of the ancient doctrines of the faith, at the time when the diet of the kingdom was about to assemble, made it absolutely necessary for both parties that a fresh council should be called, which might determine more clearly the actual position of the Church, and show who were her true pastors, and who adversaries; and accordingly in the same town of Brest-Litofsky there met a second council much more numerously attended than the first. On this occasion there came not only the orthodox clergy who had their rights to defend, but the aged Prince Constantine of Ostrog also, with the prime of the nobility; while there appeared on the other side, in the name of the king, Radzivil, hetman of Lithuania, with the primate and the voivodes.
The two exarchs of the patriarch, Nicephorus and Cyrill (1596) Lucar, Luke, metropolitan of Belgrad, and the bishops Gideon and Michael, Nicephorus the archimandrite of the Peckersky, and other members of the clergy, were the representatives of their Church at the council of Brest. Seeing the weakness of the Metropolitan Michael, who only the day before had signed his definitive consent to the Unia, and the vexations to which they were subjected by their opponents, who had refused to recognise Nicephorus as exarch from the patriarch, they solemnly assembled in a private house, because they could not obtain the use of a Church; there, together with all the orthodox, both clergy and laity, after they had twice in vain summoned the metropolitan, they delivered him over to an anathema as an apostate from orthodoxy, together with the bishops who had also fallen away. On the other hand, the conventicle of the Uniates and the Romans, after having solemnly confirmed their first agreement for a union, which was sealed by the joint celebration of the liturgy in the same church, pronounced a similar sentence of excommunication against the orthodox; and thus the Church of Little Russia was divided into the Orthodox and the Uniate, both preserving, however, the same form, not only of external rite in the celebration of Divine Service, but even of doctrine; for Rome at first allowed the Creed without alteration, and required nothing but the one capital point of submission to the pope.
From this time began the hard and long continued struggle of orthodoxy against the Unia in all the Polish and Lithuanian provinces, and the persecutions of the Western Church, and more particularly of the civil government, against those who refused to betray the faith of their ancestors. Contrary to all former fundamental statutes, they were deprived of their civil rights, which had ever been equally enjoyed by both Confessions. These persecutions were so severe, that three years after the council of Brest the orthodox senators and noblemen were compelled to join, with other members of the highest, and also of the inferior orders in the kingdom, of the Protestant confession, so far as by a public act at the conference of Wilna to engage themselves to afford each other mutual succour and protection at the diets, and in the courts of justice, before the face of the king. Other defenders also appeared, armed with the sword instead of law; the free Cossacks of the Zaporojsky horde, or horde beyond the Falls, who, under the command of their atamans, had already more than once struck terror into Poland. The late king, Stephen Batori, had conferred on them legal privileges, and had recognised their ataman, but the danger of being deprived of the free profession of the orthodox faith, which had been made the first and indispensable condition of the agreement on the part of the horde, provoked them to rebel against Sigismund, and for a time deprived them of all the privileges which had been granted them by the crown, when their brave ataman, Nalivaiko, who had inflicted such losses on the Polish armies, was himself defeated by the Polish Hetman Jolkefsky, and burned alive. They, however, soon recovered themselves under the command of a new captain, whose name was Sagaidachny.
Another war also broke forth of bitter controversies and reproaches between the clergy of the two contending parties, and, till death closed the lips of the champions of the Church, Gideon, Michael Toura, and the prince of Ostrog himself, they exerted themselves to the utmost, both by speech and writing, though all they could do was weak in comparison with the overpowering violence of the Unia. The bishops, who were selected from the most devoted partizans of Rome, had not only every facility of recommending their party by preaching, but were able also to use active measures by the aid of the civil government, and thus, in the course of a few years, perverted as many as four millions of people in their dioceses.
The Metropolitan Ragoza took away from the orthodox in Kiev the ancient cathedral of St. Sophia, which, however, did not long remain in the hands of the Uniates; but he failed in his attempt to get possession of the Pecherskay Lavra, which was defended by the prayers of its founders St. Anthony and St. Theodosius. He himself did not dare any longer, after his apostacy, to reside either in Kiev or Wilna; the place which he chose for his permanent residence was No-vogrodok, and there he remained, without ever ceasing, to the end of his life, to doubt and fluctuate, writing letters, with assurances of his orthodoxy, to the prince of Ostrog, and to the Russian ambassadors, when they passed by on their way into Poland. Hypatius, bishop of Vladimir, being chosen after his death to be metropolitan in his room, maintained and strengthened the Unia by planting Dominican convents over the whole of his ecclesiastical province, and by violently taking from the orthodox monasteries a great part of their possessions, beginning with Kiev. He obtained a royal edict forbidding the reception of orthodox scholars into the schools, and at the same time allowed none to be ordained anywhere without having been educated in them. The decisive measures which he took to promote the Unia were greatly assisted by Pope Clement VIII, who twice sent his legate, the Abbati Comouleio, to the Tsar Theodore, under the pretext of inviting his co-operation in a general crusade, but really with the same end in view for which the Jesuit Anthony Possevin had formerly come into Russia.
But in the mean time, one after another, all the champions of orthodoxy departed to their rest, without leaving any to supply their places. First of all died Constantine, prince of Ostrog, at the age of one hundred years, having had his life prolonged to nearly twice the ordinary span, as if on purpose that he might support the Church in her distresses, till the approach of better times; and almost together with him went her watchful pastor Gideon, bishop of Lvov. All the family of the first, except one son, the Voivode Basil, fell away to the Unia; the flock of the latter remained long without a head, till at length the metropolitan of Wallachia appointed in his place a bishop, whose name was Joseph. Before long, the last zealous defender of the Church, Michael, bishop of Peremuishla, also departed; and the orthodox, having no longer any bishops, were all obliged to have recourse for the ordination of their priests, and for the holy chrism, to the distant town of Lvoff, to the Bishop Joseph, who was now the only one left in all the south-west of Russia. The audacity of the Metropolitan Hypatius rose in proportion to the losses of the others; he continued, even at the risk of his life, to take the ancient convents from the orthodox, and give them up to the Uniates, and at Wilna he all but fell a sacrifice to the fury of the people, on account of his having violently taken possession of the monastery and cathedral of the Trinity. Contrary to the canons of the Church, he during his own life nominated as his successor his favourite Joseph, who still further strengthened the Unia, by establishing a Congregation of Schools, and a superior seminary over them. To counteract him by the same means as he employed against them, some of the orthodox nobles endeavoured on their side also to set on foot similar fraternities of schoolmasters, and made sacrifices of their property for this purpose.
In this wretched and forlorn condition did the Church of Little Russia remain for the space of more than twenty years, without either metropolitan or bishops, till the coming of Theophanes, patriarch of Jerusalem, torn and agitated by the Unia, and trampled under foot by Rome. And these troubles and sufferings of the sister Church were to be bitterly felt by the Church of Russia itself, when, from the same poisonous nest, from the same fatal elements, the terrible pretender arose, formed by the skilful hand of the Jesuits, and burst with the same storm upon Russia.
But Theodore had now closed his eyes forever (1593), and was spared by Providence the sight of the miseries that were approaching. In his person the race of Rurik, after six centuries, bade its final adieu to Russia, shedding upon her its last benefits before a separation forever. The end of the pious Tsar was happy; a holy man appeared to him as if in the act of meeting him at the gates of heaven. The royal house of Moscow was left tenantless by his departure. His disconsolate widow, Irene, who was unanimously acknowledged as the reigning Tsaritsa, quitted the throne, and received the tonsure in the Novodaevichy convent; notwithstanding this, however, all forms continued to run, and all public business to be transacted, in her new name Alexandra, as there was no other head to the kingdom. The patriarch only watched over its tranquillity, and convoked the councils, first that of the boyars, and then that of the provinces, for the election of a Tsar. Two persons drew upon themselves the general attention, on account of their family connection with the deceased; his cousin-german on the side of his mother Anastasia, the Boyar Theodore Niketich Romanov; and his brother-in-law on the side of his consort Irene, Boris Godounoff.
But Russia, in the course of the fourteen years of Theodoreís reign, had already become used to the government of Boris; and alarmed at her own state of orphanage, which was new to her, in being left without a head, she chose him at the suggestion of the Patriarch Job and the boyars of the Privy Council. For a long time Boris refused the crown, and even concealed himself in the cell of the Tsaritsa his sister. The patriarch went in procession with the Cross, accompanied by all his clergy, and with great difficulty persuaded him to accept of it, for the sake of the Icon of our Lady of Vladimir, which they had brought to him to the convent. He then publicly crowned him in the cathedral of the Assumption with the crown of Monomachus. It seemed as if all was likely to go well with the new Tsar, who was learned, and experienced in the business of government, respected both within and without the empire, the very appearance of whose camp in the field of itself struck with a panic the ambassadors of the khan of the Crimea, on the banks of the Oka, and with whom the emperor, the queen of England, and the shah of Persia, besides his nearer neighbours, all entertained friendly relations. His royal court was distinguished for unusual splendour, while his more private apartments were graced with a flourishing family, consisting of his son Theodore and his daughter Xenia, the object of his tenderest affections, for whom he strove to realize the splendid prospect of two crowns, that of Russia for Theodore, and that of Denmark for Xenia, by marrying her to the kingís son. He had no reason to doubt but that his children would succeed to the undoubted inheritance of the throne, according to the regular order of succession; yet the boyars who stood next, and the Romanovs, as being related to Theodore, excited the suspicion of Godounov. They were falsely accused of a plot against the life of the Tsar, and, like the Naghi, the uncles of the young Prince Demetrius, five brothers of the Romanoffs were sent to different distant prisons, where four of them died. The eldest, Theodore, and his wife Maria, were compelled to receive the tonsure, the one under the name of Philaret, in a small religious house at Sieskay, the other under the name of Martha, in the convent of Zaonege; while their young son Michael, destined one day to be Tsar, shared the confinement of his uncle, the prince of Cherkask, at Bielo-ozero.
Soon after this a dreadful famine raged throughout the whole of Russia, which Boris in vain attempted to alleviate, though he did all that prudence could suggest, both in distributing relief, and engaging the people with employment on public works. The belfry tower, called after John the Great, which he caused to be erected at this time in the capital, remained a monument of the cares of the Tsar. From the famine arose pestilential diseases, together with a spirit of robbery and licentiousness throughout all the empire. This was only the beginning of those calamities, which neither the earnest prayers nor the liberal oblations and alms of Boris, the most magnificent of all our sovereigns in his gifts, could avoid. Fearful signs forewarned men, as it were, of the impending troubles: but before they came, the Tsaritsa and nun, Alexandra, had closed her eyes, like her mild consort Theodore, in peace; and Boris was left alone to drink the cup of bitterness to the dregs.
At this distressing time a report was spread about Russia that the Prince Demetrius, the son of John, the youth whom she had so long lamented, was still living, and had showed himself in Poland. Boris, alarmed by this report, began to make enquiry as to the time of his appearance and the person of the pretender himself; and even sent, that the matter might be cleared up, for the mother of the prince to come from her confinement at Bielo-ozero to the capital. It appeared that a certain Gregory Otrepiev, one of the Ďsons of the boyars" who had originally been in the service of the Romanovs, a bold youth, who had received some education, had become a monk in Souzdal, and had passed from thence into the Choudov monastery, where the Patriarch Job ordained him deacon, and employed him in copying the canons, in spite of the caution given him by the metropolitan of Rostoff, Jonah, who foresaw in the worthless young monk an instrument of the devil. At the courts of the patriarch and the Tsar, Gregory heard of the unhappy end of the prince, and of the accidental resemblance, which his own person bore to that of Demetrius, and by way of an impudent joke swore that he would be Tsar in Moscow. This insolent speech reached the Tsar, and the monk was already destined to expiate his offence in the island of Solovetsky, when Otrepiev, learning what was to be his sentence from a secretary who was his relation, secretly made off, with two other monks, to Novogorod-Seversk, passing from one monastery to another. At Poutivla he for the first time insinuated to the archimandrite his own lofty descent. Having been received in Kiev by the son of the illustrious Prince Constantine of Ostrog, he lost himself by the open profligacy of his life, fled to the Cossacks of the horde beyond the Falls, and took part with them in their distant expeditions; he afterwards learned to read and write the Latin and Polish languages in a school in Volhynia, and entered into the service of a rich nobleman, the Prince Adam Vishnevetsky, where, during a feigned sickness, he discovered himself to his confessor, and persuaded the credulous prince of his royal birth.
Such an account of the runaway monk Otrepieff was circulated from the capital at the first report of the appearance of the pretended Demetrius; and a synod assembled, which at once anathematized him, and decreed a Perpetual Memory in the church to the blessed youth whose person he counterfeited. Besides this, the uncle of Otrepiev, whose name was Smirnoy, was sent into Poland, to unmask his nephew at the court of Sigismund, whither the pretender had already made his way, through the countenance of the prince Vishnevetsky, who had taken him up as if he were really the son of John, and had been saved, as he gave out, from Ouglich by the fidelity of a physician. He was supported by the Jesuits, and by the papal Nuncio Raiigoni, who selected him as their instrument for the subjugation of Russia, and influenced the kingís mind in his favour. In the midst of the severe struggle between the Unia and Orthodoxy, which then agitated Lithuania and Volhynia, nothing could have been more opportune for Borne than the appearance of such a person, who might be able by his imposture to shake orthodoxy at its very centre, in the capital of Russia: every expedient seemed lawful for such an end. Sigismund, though he had acknowledged the false Demetrius, was yet undecided to break the truce with Russia; and went no further than to give his nobles permission to assist the pretended Tsarevich if they pleased.
The first to take up arms was Mnishek, voivode of Sendomir, to whose proud daughter, Marina, the pretender had promised his hand and the throne of Moscow. Before long there joined him bands of deserters from the Ukraine, and the Cossacks of the Don, who were persuaded by a single traitor that he was really the prince. The district of Seversk rose in his favour. Boris, in amazement, hesitated, and lost time in sending about letters from the patriarch in council to Kiev and into Lithuania, for the purpose of undeceiving the voivodes, the clergy, and the people; at last he despatched an army to which the brave defence of Novogorod Seversk by the Voivode Basmanov rendered material assistance. Twice the pretender was defeated; twice he re-appeared with fresh forces, and now in the district of Orlov; and in the mean time he was gaining more and more on the favour of the people, when death suddenly struck Boris in the act of rising from table in the palace; he scarcely lived long enough to receive the monastic habit, with the name of Bogolep, and to commit his young son Theodore to the care of the patriarch. With him the greatness of his house was at an end.
The boyars took the oath of allegiance to the new Tsar, but it did not bind them long. The warlike Basmanov, who been chosen to the command of the royal army, delivered it up to the pretended Demetrius. This act of treason was followed and imitated by many of the first nobles of Russia. Terror took possession of the capital: letters from the pretender were read aloud in the public place: in vain the Boyars Shouesky and Mistislafsky, by advice of the patriarch, went out from the Kremlin to try to undeceive the people. The insurgent mob rushed into the Kremlin and led out the young Tsar with his mother and sister from the palace to that same private mansion of Boris, from whence he had gone forth with so much magnificence to mount the throne. Those of the boyars who were partizans of the pretender, publicly swore allegiance to him, and were in vain denounced by the patriarch Job in the cathedral of the Assumption. While he was in the act of celebrating the liturgy, a band of miscreants broke into the church, and tore from him his pontifical robes. He then himself took the Panagia from his own neck, and placed it on the image of our Lady, and with a firm voice pronounced these words: "Here, before this sacred Icon, was I consecrated to my office, and for nineteen years have I preserved the purity of faith; I now see that misery is coming upon the kingdom, that fraud and heresy are to triumph. Oh, mother of God, do thou preserve orthodoxy!" They then put on him a common black gown, treated him with every kind of contumely in the public square, and drew him on a cart to the Staritsky monastery, to which he had formerly belonged. The young Tsar and his unhappy mother wrere smothered by murderers like those who had been employed to make away with Demetrius; for the Lord sometimes visits the sins of the fathers on the children.
The pretended Demetrius advanced in triumph to Moscow; the dignitaries of the kingdom went out to meet him to Toula, and even there were already forced to see his preference for foreigners. His chief counsellor was a Jesuit. The people of the capital joyfully welcomed the supposed son of John, restored to them as it were from the dead, from attachment to the ancient race of their Tsars, and as soon cooled again when they saw the baseness and licentiousness of the Poles who surrounded him, and the disrespect evinced for all that they held sacred by the Tsar himself, who trampled under foot the traditions of their fathers. No time was lost in proceeding to the election of a new patriarch in the room of Job, who was shut up in confinement. The pretender was afraid of the Russian bishops, and selected a Greek named Ignatius, then archbishop of Riazan, and formerly of Cyprus, who had come to Russia with the patriarch of Antioch, and had remained there and made it his adopted country, as Arsenius of Elasson had also done. However, that the order of the Church might not be openly violated, the pretended Demetrius sent his patriarch elect to Starits, to ask the blessing of the aged Job. But that prelate, firm in the midst of his persecutions, and knowing the leaning of Ignatius towards the customs of Rome, absolutely refused him his benediction, and notwithstanding the menaces used to shake him, called him "a pastor worthy of his Ataman" In spite of this Ignatius was consecrated. For the greater evidence of his pretended descent from John, he recalled and set at liberty those of the Naghi and Romanoffs who were yet alive, the monk Philaret, the nun Martha, and their son the youth Michael. By the will of Providence, which uses unworthy as well as worthy instruments for good, the pretended Demetrius was made the means of the elevation of Philaret Niketich, who was consecrated to be metropolitan of Rostov. Other illustrious exiles also were brought back, both living, and dead; the coffins of the Naghi and those of the Romanovs were transported with honor to Moscow; while the coffin of Boris, on the contrary, was ignominiously ejected from the cathedral of the Archangel, and put away under ground in the Varsonophiev monastery, till it should be interred for the third and last time in the Trinity Lavra, during the reign of Shouesky.
The unfortunate Tsar Simeon also, son of Bekboulat, of the Kazan family, who had received the title of Great Prince of Tver from John the Terrible, and had been banished to his province, and had had his eyes put out in the time of Theodore, now profited for a short time by the grace of the Tsar, but only to end with being again confined in the monasteries of Solovetsky and Bielo-ozero, where he terminated, in the habit of a monk, his singular and troubled course. The Nun Martha herself, the Tsaritsa, and mother of the true Demetrius, was a second time sent for from the lone convent of Bielo-ozero by her pretended son, and was obliged to testify, by her silent recognition and acceptance of the attentions of the Tsar, to the truth of his person. Apartments were prepared for her in tne Kremlin, in the monastery of the Ascension, where she also received as her daughter the proud bride of the pretender. Marina arrived from Poland, with her father the voivode, surrounded by extraordinary pomp and magnificence, to the infinite disgust of the people, who were scandalized at the immodesty of western manners, and at the misplaced prodigality of the Tsar, who gave away whole provinces to her and to his father-in-law Mnishek. Two stout prelates, Hermogenes, metropolitan of Kazan, and Joseph, bishop of Colomna, had the courage to demand that the new Tsaritsa should be baptized, and renounce the Roman doctrines, previously to her marriage; they were sent in consequence in disgrace to the monasteries of their respective dioceses. The marriage and coronation were celebrated at the same time. The pretended Demetrius, who had even before given permission both to Roman priests and to Lutheran pastors to perform their different sendees in the Kremlin, now began entirely and openly to contemn the orthodox religion, holding correspondence with the pope, who engaged him to make a union between the Churches, and maintaining the closest relations with his Nuncio Rangoni and the Jesuits. A crusade for the recovery of Constantinople was the favourite dream of the warlike pretender. In the mean time, as the violence of the Poles increased, the patience of the people was exhausted. Murmurs and accusations became more and more audible; one of the royal secretaries was not afraid to call the pretended Demetrius Otrepiev, before his own face, and paid with his life for his noble boldness, together with others who risked their lives for truth. Among these appeared the courtier Shouesky, who had in past time dissembled to please Godounov, and had borne false witness concerning the murder of the true Demetrius, but was now bold enough to speak the truth of the pretender. The intercession of the queen-mother with difficulty prevailed to save him from suffering death when he was already at the place of execution, but he became in consequence the object of the peopleís affection. The careless pretender, forgetting amid his wedding-festivities all measures of precaution, soon recalled him from banishment, and Shouesky then held meetings in his house with the boyars, the citizens, and the military, for the expulsion of the usurper.
All night Moscow was in a state of agitation; just as it was beginning to dawn the tocsin was sounded, and troops of armed men, led on by Shouesky, poured into the Kremlin to the royal palace. None defended the pretender but his body-guards, who were foreigners; he threw himself out of a window into the court of the Granary-yard, where had been the former house of the Tsar Boris, and was taken up by the Streltsi with one of his legs broken. Once more the testimony of the mother was demanded to certify them as to the truth of his pretensions; and at that moment of his fate, Martha, who had been called out of her cell, declared that she did not acknowledge him to be her son.
They then began to examine the pretender himself, when two shots struck him dead in the midst of their enquiries. The boyars only just succeeded in saving the lives of his consort Marina, her father, and the Polish ambassadors: of the other Poles few escaped the fury of the populace. Shouesky with difficulty appeased the tumult; the body of the pretender was burned, and his ashes scattered to the winds. The next day after the insurrection, the Council of the Boyars, and the people, unanimously elected as their Tsar the Prince Basil Shouesky, the author of their deliverance, who was also the senior of all the princely families of the line of Rurik. The metropolitans and bishops blessed him to the kingdom, and at the same time they shut up in the Choudoff monastery the intrusive Patriarch Ignatius, who had blessed the pretender. The first thing, which the new Tsar did was to desire the election of a "patriarch, that the Church of Russia might not be left any longer without a pastor. Job, aged and infirm, had become blind from misfortunes and persecutions. By the general voice of the Ecclesiastical synod, they elected Hermogenes, the noble-minded metropolitan of Kazan, who had been a confessor during the days of the false Demetrius, and became afterwards a martyr for the faith and for his country during the vacancy of the throne: for the dreadful storm that had been raised by the pretender was not stilled by his overthrow: the preservation of the life of Marina, and of the ambassadors and some of the nobles of Sigismund, did not satisfy Poland, which wished to take advantage of the misfortunes of Russia, and to crush her power and the orthodox faith at once.
7. The Patriarchs.
Nor was the tempest at an end either in the interior of the kingdom: it was enough to have once excited and agitated menís minds by a name dear to the hearts of the people, to cause the continual appearance of new pretenders and new traitors, with whom Basil in vain contended during the four years of his reign. It seemed as if Russia would not trust him, out of punishment for his first falsehood over the coffin of her prince. That very coffin, with the incorruptible remains of the blessed youth, Shouesky decided to remove to the capital, for the more complete satisfaction of the country, on which his letters had produced but little effect, even though accompanied by those of the Tsaritsa Martha. He sent Philaret metropolitan of Rostov, the relative of Demetrius, together with Theodosius archbishop of Astrachan, for the holy relics to Ouglich, and himself took on his shoulders this royal burden to lower it into the tomb, which had been in past time prepared in the cathedral of the Archangel for the ashes of Boris. But a great number of miracles and healings being wrought at the coffin of the prince, the interment was never completed; it was placed in the middle of the church, to receive the pious honor of the faithful; and in the presence of the uncorrupted form of her son, the Tsaritsa his mother yet once more asked and received absolution from the patriarch Hermogenes for her unwilling falsehoods. Another great absolver and sufferer was called from the depths of his cell, where he had now grown blind, but still lingered on to mourn over the vanity of the world, Job, late patriarch of Moscow. On the brink of the grave, and only a few days before his death, he was moved by the prayers of the Tsar and the patriarch, to quit his convent of Starits, and come into the capital to absolve the inhabitants of Moscow, and the whole land of Russia, of their treason to the son of Boris, and of their oath of allegiance to the pretender. A touching spectacle was exhibited in the cathedral of the Assumption. Blind, and habited in the simple black gown of a monk, Job stood in the place of the patriarchs, side by side with Hermogenes, and listened to the profession of national repentance expressed in a letter of the Tsar, which was read to him aloud from the ambon. He himself in his turn read a letter of pardon to the people, and absolved them, as having been their patriarch, enumerating withal the calamities of his country, and his own personal sufferings in that same cathedral, where he then stood as a stranger come from another world, where there is neither trouble nor care, looking with calm compassion on the manifold strife and agitation of this. And as no testament is of force till after the death of the testator, Job almost as soon as he had returned to the monastery at Starits, died.
The standard of revolt was first raised in the South, by Shachofskoy, under the name of Demetrius, before any fresh pretender had yet been found by the family of Mnishek, while Marina and her father were still at Yaroslavl. Bolotnikov, and Lapounov, the military commander at Biazan, joined themselves to him, but the latter having discovered the fraud of his associates, left them in disgust. The district of Seversk was again in a state of revolt, and there appeared among the Cossacks of the Don yet another impostor, who called himself Peter, and pretended to be the son of the Tsar Theodore. Basilís commanders fled; Toula, and Kalouga, fell into the hands of the insurgents, who were so daring as to advance upon the capital, but were defeated in their turn under its walls by the troops of the Tsar. They also fell upon the ungarrisoned city of Tver; but their spirited archbishop, Theoctistus, encouraged the citizens, and beat off the enemy.
The sovereign himself was obliged to take the field, and after a long siege, succeeded in crushing the rebellion in the bud by the capture of Toula. But, notwithstanding the imprisonment or execution of the authors of the rebellion, Kabuga still remained in the hands of another band.
In the mean time, by the exertions of the insurgents, there was at length found among the lower classes of the people a" man who assumed the character of Demetrius, appeared in the province of Seversk, and again collected about him a band of robbers, the wild volunteers of the Don, and the Shlachti or petty nobility of Poland. The confederates again united themselves around him, as did also the nobles of Lithuania, the Prince Rojinsky, the Hetman Sapiega, and the partizan chieftain Lisofsky; they advanced towards the capital, which was all in confusion, and established themselves for a year and a half, at the distance of twelve versts from it, in the village of Toushine. Basil pitched his camp in the suburbs, and sent his nephew, the young Voivode Prince Michael Skopin, who had already distinguished himself by gaining several victories, to ask for assistance from the Swedes, as the situation of Russia was desperate. Treason manifested itself within the walls of Moscow deserters from among the nobles coolly passed over from the Tsar to the pretender, who was known as the Robber of Toushine. The ambitious Marina joined herself to him, as soon as through the intercession of Sigismund she had been imprudently liberated from her imprisonment at Yaroslavla. The towns of Russia surrendered one after the other to Lisofsky and other Atamans, and few remained faithful to Basil. Hills of graves, to use the expression of the chronicles, rose up over all the land of Russia, which was torn to pieces on all sides by anarchy and rapine. It seemed as if the whole empire, which had been ages in forming, was suddenly dissolved, in spite of the exertions of the brave pastors of the Church, who held firmly by the throne, and suffered together with their flocks.
Already had the courageous Archbishop Theoctistus been taken prisoner at the capture of Tver, and slain on the road in making an attempt to escape and to avoid confinement at Toushine; Gennadius of Pskov did not survive the treason of his city; Gelaktion of Souzdal died in exile, because he refused to give his blessing to the pretender; Joseph, bishop of Colomna, who had already been an opponent of the first pretender, was seized by the soldiers of the second, whom he was in vain endeavouring to bring to reason, and was dragged after them bound to a gun. The period of his trials had not yet terminated either for the future head of the Church, Philaret Romanov, metropolitan of Rostov. In the ancient church of the Assumption, the cathedral of his diocese, he entered as a martyr upon that ten years course of suffering, from which he came out as patriarch, after his son had been placed upon the throne. The traitors of Pereyaslavla suddenly attacked Rostov, the citizens of which fled to the fortified town of Yaroslavl; but Philaret, as the good shepherd who lays down his life for the flock, refused absolutely to listen to them, when they besought him to seek safety in flight. He shut himself up in the cathedral, celebrated the liturgy, gave the communion to the people, and quietly awaited his fate. The rebels tumultuously besieged the doors: still the metropolitan did not cease from preaching until they burst into the church by violence, tore from him his episcopal robes, and dragged him, half dead, in his shirt, in the midst of their derision, to experience fresh insults at Toushine. There he was to endure the sight of the pretended Demetrius, and to witness his mock court and royalty, and did not recover his liberty till after the flight of the Robber of Toushine, when he was rescued by a detachment of Shoueskyís troops from the hands of the enemy, under the walls of the convent of St. Joseph of Volokolamsk.
In its turn the Trinity Lavra, to which from its situation none of the calamities of the capital could be indifferent, distinguished itself by the valour of its monks. After consultation held between the pretender and his confederates, Sapiega, hetman of Lithuania, and Lisofsky undertook the siege of this monastic fortress, in order to cut off the communication of the Tsar Basil with his northern and eastern provinces. The Archimandrite Joasaph, and the Voivodes Prince Dolgorouky and Golochvastov, quitted themselves like men both in words and deeds, against treacherous negotiation and fierce assaults, and by the aid of the venerable Sergius, they supported for sixteen months a close siege; although 30,000 men of the enemy had placed gabions and surrounded their precinct with intrenchments, from which they kept up a constant fire of sixty pieces of artillery upon the walls and the churches. Desperate and fierce were the attacks by storming parties, and no less murderous the sallies of the besieged: about all the neighbourhood of the Lavra, in the woods, by the moats, and in the ravines, the work of slaughter was carried on with fury; the monks and the country peasants of the villages belonging to the monastery acquitted themselves as well as the bravest regular troops; mines were carried under the towers, but they were met underground by countermines, and towers that were on the point of being blown into the air remained unshaken. So evident was the protection of the holy Hegumens Sergius and Nicon, who, by appearances in dreams or visions, encouraged the brotherhood, of whom more than 800 men fell either by the sword or by sickness during the continuance of the siege; but the Lavra stood out: and not only did it then serve for the sole defence of the state, but while itself half overwhelmed by the enemy, it actually relieved Moscow with a supply of bread, when the famous Bursar Abram Palitsin, during a time of famine, opened, at the request of the Tsar, his stores, and twice supplied the exhausted capital.
Basil already felt his throne shake under him, surrounded as he was by storms such as Russia had never up to that time experienced. With difficulty he dispersed, in the square called Beautiful, a mob of insurgents, which the Patriarch Hermogenes had in vain attempted to reason with. Once more, however, for the last time, and that a short one, a gleam of sunshine broke on the fortunes of the Tsar, and brightened the darkness of his reign by the victories of his nephew, the young Prince Michael. With the assistance of the Metropolitan Isidore he settled the citizens of Novogorod in their allegiance, concluded a convention with the Swedes, and, in conjunction with their General Delagardie, began gradually to clear the northern districts, routing the rebels and the Lithuanians on all sides. The convent of St. Macarius of Koliazinsk witnessed his victory. In the village of Alexandrov, once the dreaded abode of John, the young general intrenched himself, and had begun to concentrate upon that point the troops of the eastern provinces, when Sapiega and Lisofsky raised the siege, and fled from beneath the walls of the Lavra.
But this first trial of its courage served only for the commencement of those gigantic exertions, which the Lavra afterwards undertook in the cause of her country. Already her treasury was exhausted by three loans of 65,000 roubles, equal to a million at the present day, made to the Tsars Godounov, the pretended Demetrius, and Shouesky: the last required still further succours: they gave up their plate and ornaments, when the long siege made the repair of their shattered walls indispensable. There were not many days now left for the Tsar Basil, before he was to be forced to take the monastic vows, and to be confined in a Polish prison; nor many either for the patriarch Hermogenes to confess the name of Christ on the pontifical throne, before he was to suffer martyrdom, when the happy idea was inspired from above into both their minds, to choose the archimandrite of the Starits, Dionysius, to be the superior of the Lavra in the place of Josaphat, who was dead, and thus to preserve their country. For when there was no longer either Tsar or patriarch, when Moscow itself, as one might almost say, had ceased to exist, being weighed down for a year and a half under the Polish yoke, the Lavra became the heart of all Russia: Dionysius alone took the place of all the other authorities, and as the visible representative of the protection of St. Sergius, overshadowed with his influence the whole land of Russia, and drew her together around the ruins of the capital.
The calamitous condition of the empire, which had war at once on all sides, moved her ancient enemy Sigismund also at length to invade her defenceless territories, not with a band of volunteer-confederates like the false Demetrius, but with a regular army; for he coveted for himself, and for his son Vladislav, the throne of Moscow. The king hoped to find treason in Smolensk; but Smolensk, on the contrary, emulated the patriotism of the Lavra; the Voivode Shein and the Archbishop Sergius, fortified themselves there, and broke the force of the whole Polish invasion. The spirits and strength of their army were exhausted by the length of the siege, and this campaign of the Poles delivered Moscow itself for a time from the troops of the pretender, who was not acknowledged by the king. The counterfeit Demetrius fled with Marina to Kalouga, which remained faithful to him, and there got together a fresh band. But the traitors of Toushine, Saltikov, and Mosalsky, offered the crown to Prince Yladislav, the son of Sigismund.
In the mean time, opening himself a road by his victories, the Prince Michael triumphantly approached the capital. The people enthusiastically welcomed their deliverer: Liapounov offered him the crown, which the youthful hero magnanimously refused; but the Tsar conceived a suspicion against him, envy obtained dominion over his brother and his wicked sister-in-law, daughter of the infamous Skouratov, and Michael died suddenly at an entertainment given in their house. The rage of the people, which was with difficulty repressed, turned into lamentations over his early tomb. Once more, and now indeed for the last time, the throne of Basil was shaken to its foundations. The rebellion broke out again; Liapounov wrested out of his hands the district of Riazan; Zaraisk alone was preserved by the Prince Pojarsky, the future liberator of Russia; the fidelity of Kazan and other towns was shaken.
The Hetman Jolkefsky had by this time marched from before the walls of Smolensk upon Moscow, for the purpose of reducing it in the name of Vladislav. Prince Demetrius Shouesky, who took the command of the army after the death of his brave nephew, met the hetman at Kloushine, near Mojaisk, was defeated, and put to flight. His allies the Swedes, under Delagardie, retreated upon Novgorod. The nest of traitors and bandits, which the pretended Demetrius had got together, began also to stir in Kalouga. His followers destroyed the monastery of Paphnoutieff, where the brave Prince Volkonsky defended himself with the monks; the enemy again appeared near Moscow, at the village of Colomna. The capital was all in confusion, and turned against the unfortunate Tsar: the brother of Liapounoff, the Prince Galitzin, and other of the chief commanders of Moscow, came to an understanding with the traitors of Toushine, and determined to disown equally the pretended Demetrius and Basil, and to endeavour to work upon the latter to relinquish his throne, and entrust the helm of government to the senior boyar, the Prince Mstislavsky, with the Council of the Boyars, till a new election.
The Patriarch Hermogenes strongly opposed this new treason; but he was not listened to. Basil was deposed from the throne, and compelled to receive the tonsure in the Choudov monastery, while his wife became a nun in the Ivanov convent. One of the conspirators pronounced the words of the vow for the Tsar, upon whom the whole proceeding was compulsory. The patriarch declared that it was not binding. But the adherents of the pretender deceived the boyars of Moscow, and as soon as they were without a Tsar, proposed again the counterfeit Demetrius. But Jolkefsky was now close at hand. Under such pressing circumstances, Prince Mstislavsky proposed to the council to elect Vladislav of Poland as their Tsar. Again the patriarch rose up in opposition, imploring them not to sacrifice the Church, and suggested offering the crown, either to the illustrious nobleman Prince Basil Galitzin, or to the youth Michael, the son of Philaret Romanoff, and grand-nephew to the first consort of John; but the majority of voices decided in favour of Vladislav, because they feared there would be no strength in their own countrymen who were proposed for election. Conferences were opened with Jolkefsky, who joyfully accepted proposals so flattering to Poland, and without waiting for any authority from Sigismund, solemnly concluded a convention with the patriarch and the boyars. All the conditions were to the advantage of Russia, and ambassadors of the first distinction, Prince Basil Galitzin, and the Metropolitan Philaret of Rostov, both of whom might have had some pretensions to the throne, together with Abram the bursar of the Trinity, were sent to the camp before Smolensk, to ask Sigismund to give them his son to be their Tsar, with this condition, that he should be baptized into the orthodox faith. Hermogenes conjured them not to betray their country, and Philaret made a vow that he would be ready to die in defence of the faith.
In the mean time, the inhabitants of the capital swore allegiance to Vladislav; the pretender, deserted by his Polish allies, fled again to Kalouga, where he was soon afterwards killed for his cruelty; and Marina was left there alone with a son to whom she had lately given birth. But Jolkefsky did not retire from Moscow: it was inundated by the traitors of Toushine, Saltikov, Mosalsky, and Molekanov: they went to the cathedral to ask the blessing of the patriarch: the pastor answered them firmly: "If you have come into the church with an honest intention and without guile, may a blessing be upon you, but if not, then an anathema!" Their honesty soon showed itself; for during the night they admitted the Poles into the Kremlin, under the pretence of putting down a riot of the mob, and in the morning their arms glittered, to the terror of the citizens, on the walls of the Kremlin and the Kitai. The hetman had been waiting only for this to depart; he left in Moscow, as commandant, Gonsevsky, and the Council of the Boyars for the civil administration, and took with him the two brothers of the Tsar, and Basil himself, out of the monastery of Volokolamsk, where he had been confined, and set forth to join the king before Smolensk. There our ambassadors were already suffering from ill-treatment and astonished the enemy no less by their firmness and endurance, than the besieged citizens did by their brave defence of the town. The king did not enter into the great views of the hetman; he was by no means pleased that Vladislav should reign, but wished rather to be master himself; and as a first preliminary, he demanded the surrender of Smolensk, and supplies of money. Philaret and Galitzin, begged him even with tears not to disavow the acts of the hetman, but in vain; the hetman himself, when he saw the convention set aside, and the fruit of his own victories lost by the petty ambition of Sigisimmd, retired from the camp, having first delivered up to the king Basil, who maintained his own dignity in misfortune, and did not demean himself before his proud conqueror. But the inflexible ambassadors, after having for a long time endured cold and privation, as did their Tsar himself, were sent under guard to Poland, where they lay for nine years in a painful confinement.
At length, the general dissatisfaction felt against Sigisimund and the violence of the Poles broke out openly. Hermogenes bestowed his blessing on all those who should enrol themselves in behalf of their country. Liapounov with his province of Biazan took up arms. The people were loud in their murmurs, and were constantly quarrelling with the Poles. Letters from Moscow and Smolensk, for succour, were circulated in all parts of the empire. The epistles of Dionysius, the archimandrite of the Trinity monastery, to the voivodes, were most powerful and moving; at his pathetic appeal even the leaders of Toushine began to move, and the Prince Troubetskoy, and Zaroutsky, the Ataman of the Cossacks, who soon, however, again changed sides; but while they hesitated, Moscow was consumed by fire.
The Council of the Boyars had already lost all its authority; Gonsevsky urged the patriarch to forbid any general rising; the traitor Saltikov insolently demanded the same. " I will forbid it firmly replied Hermogenes, "when I see Vladislav baptized, and the Poles evacuating the country; if this is not to be then I enjoin on all to rise, and absolve them from their oath to the Kingís son." Saltikov lifted his dagger against the old man; the prelate made the sign of the cross over him, and said, " I oppose this sign against thy audacity; a curse light upon thy head for ever;" and then, turning to the Prince Mstislavsky, who had voted for the election of the son of Sigismund, he said to him quietly, "Thou wast first in place, and thou oughtest to have been the first to suffer for the right; but thou sufferedst thyself to be led away, and the Lord will pluck tliee and thy root away out of the land of the living." Time passed on, and the storm of patriotism rose higher and higher: once more the boyars were sent with a threatening message to Hermogenes: "All will be quiet," he again replied to Saltikoff, "if thou, O traitor, wilt only remove thyself with thy Lithuanians: as for me, I give my blessing to all who are ready to die for the orthodox faith, for I see it insulted, and I cannot endure to hear the Latin singing in the palace of the Tsar Boris." They placed him under guard, and compelled him, for the last time, to perform the usual ceremonies on Palm Sunday. In Passion week, an insurrection of the people broke out, originating in an accidental fray with some of the Poles, and Gonsevskyís guards eagerly seized the opportunity for bloodshed and pillage; flames broke out, and spread themselves over all the capital, which was nearly defenceless; the Prince Pojarsky alone fought in the midst of the smoke with the enemy, and fell wounded. For three days Moscow continued burning, the fire being continually rekindled wherever it became extinguished, and so the whole city was all at once reduced to a desert. The Poles raged with merciless barbarity, and the inhabitants fled in all directions. There remained only the Kremlin blackened outside with smoke, and the Kita, which was a den of Russian traitors. Surrounded by the smoking ruins of the capital, Hermogenes could no longer remain patriarch; he was deposed from his throne, and confined in the Choudov monastery, while, in the place of the venerable elder, the Greek Ignatius, who had been the creature of the counterfeit Demetrius, was brought forth from his cell, and occupied, for the second time as mock-patriarch, the throne of two such prelates as Job and Hermogenes. With such sufferings was the commencement of the patriarchate in Russia attended. Job, indeed, was only a confessor for the faith; but this was not enough for Hermogenes: he endured to the end, and was accounted worthy of the crown of martyrdom: inflexible alike to prayers and threats, he was starved to death in prison (1612), to be a pledge of deliverance to his country.
Then the voivodes drew their forces together round Moscow, and shut up their enemies within a circle in which they hoped to reduce them by famine. The Bursar Abram was sent from the Trinity Lavra with holy water to the camp of the warriors, to confirm their resolution. A quarrel had broken out between Liapounov, Troubetskoy, and the traitor Zaroutsky, whom the first-named of the three accused of treachery; and the Ataman, having joined himself with Marina for ambitious designs, murdered this brave defender of his country at a conference.
Meanwhile, after a siege of two years, the patriotic city of Smolensk was taken by assault; but Sigismund neither dared nor was able to advance farther with his exhausted army. He sent to the assistance of those who were besieged in the Kremlin the detachment of the Hetman Khotkevich, but returned himself with his illustrious prisoners, the Boyar Shein and the Archbishop Sergius, to celebrate his victory in Warsaw; where other noble captives, the Tsar Shouesky, his brothers, and the ambassadors, were still pining in confinement. The kingís personal vanity was gratified by the outward eclat of triumph; but this was all: the throne of Moscow was lost forever both to himself and to Vladislav.
But the weakness and anarchy which prevailed in Russia made her enemies of her former allies, and raised up new pretenders to the crown to follow the example of Sigismund. The Swedish General Delagardie, who had retreated to Novogorod after the battle at Kloushine with Jolkefsky, began to take measures in favour of his own sovereign, and seized upon several of the frontier fortresses; he took Novogorod itself, which however, though ungarrisoned, cost him a bloody engagement with the citizens, who were encouraged, from the summit of the walls of St. Sophia, by their Metropolitan Isidore, the zealous guardian of his flock. Superior force overcame valour, and Delagardie compelled Great Novogorod to conclude a convention, by which she bound herself to acknowledge as Tsar of Moscow one of the sons of the king of Sweden, either Gustavus Adolphus, or Philip, according as their father Charles IX should choose; in the mean time he continued to reduce the northern provinces in their name; but he met with a stout opposition from the Solovetskay Lavra.
This Lavra had been fortified with strong walls before, at the time of the first incursions of the Swedes, by order of the Tsar Theodore, and had been provided with artillery, and with musqueteers from its own dependant villages, as had also the Soumsky, and other forts depending upon it on the coast. When the troubles of the pretenders began, the king of Sweden enquired, through his generals, of the Hegumen Anthony, whom he acknowledged as Tsar, Shouesky, or the pretended Demetrius; and at the same time made a designing offer of his protection; but he received a resolute answer, " That no stranger should ever be Tsar of Russia, and that the Lavra stood not in any need of his soldiers." From that time it did not yield to the Trinity itself in its zeal for the common good; it gave a benevolence of 500 roubles to the Tsar Basil and the Prince Michael, for the pay of their Swedish allies, and actively co-operated besides towards the restoration of tranquillity to the country. By the prudence of the Hegumen Anthony, the whole district of the coast was saved from the Swedes, who, after their unsuccessful attempt by fraud, several times advanced to the Soumsky Fort, and even went in their vessels to besiege the monastery itself. But that glorious place, to which the remains of the great martyr, the Metropolitan Philip, some time its superior, had been lately translated, could not be shaken in. its fidelity to its country; and during the whole time of the troubles, till the final conclusion of peace with the Swedes, the high-souled Hegumen Anthony, and his successor Irenarchus, stood there sleeplessly on guard.
At length, when all appeared to be lost, when the last resources of the country were exhausted, and every part ruined, suddenly, by the help of God, she recovered herself, shook off from her the ashes of her towns and villages, and flourished in renewed strength. The Trinity Lavra, by its ardent patriotism, rekindled the same flame in her chilled and paralysed members: the holy Archimandrite Dionysius was ever on the watch, and neglected no opportunity: he took care of the people who fled out of the capital; turned the whole of the convent into one great hospital for the sufferers; armed the servants of the house; sent letters in different directions, to Kazan, which was in a state of agitation, to the Metropolitan Ephraim, urging that they should co-operate with the general rising, also to the districts down the Volga, and to the North; and at the same time found the necessary provisions and supplies for the voivodes who were besieging Moscow. In consequence of a mysterious vision, a fast of purification was imposed on the whole land of Russia, and in Nijny the spark of pure self-devotion broke out in the heart of the citizen Minin, who found his example responded to by the whole nation. There the military force which was to free the country was concentrated, under the command of Pojarsky, who had risen again from his bed of sickness.
The unceasing entreaties of Dionysius and Abram moved the Prince to disregard the danger which threatened him "under the walls of Moscow, in the camp of the troops there, from factious feuds, and to advance from Yaroslav, where he had been long making his preparations, for the accomplishment of his great work. The Bursar Abram Avas continually with the armies, where he was no less active and efficient a personage than the Prince or Minin, and besides all this, historian at the same time. His eloquent pen has handed down to posterity the deeds of that time, and has informed us how his conciliatory discourses re-established peace and quiet in the divided camp, till at length, together with Zaroutsky, treason fled from out of it. Abram contributed to the victory gained by Pojarsky on the day of the hard-fought battle of the Daevichy-plain with the Polish hetman, by persuading the Cossacks to leave their trenches and take part in the action. Having received from the old man the name of St. Sergius for their war-cry, they rushed through the river Moskva, shouting, "For St. Sergius!" "For St. Sergius!" and put to flight the Lithuanians. The Poles held out obstinately in the Kremlin. In the mean time new disturbances broke out among the Cossacks, who indignantly complained of their own poverty and the riches of their leaders, and prepared to disband themselves; but the archimandrite and the bursar sent to their camp the last remaining treasures of the Lavra, which were copes studded with pearls, begging them with tears not to desert their country, and they, touched by this appeal, swore to endure every privation.
Shortly afterwards, the venerable Sergius appeared in a dream to the Greek Archbishop Arsenius, who was confined in the Kremlin, and comforted him by foretelling their deliverance. The Kitai was taken by assault, and the Kremlin capitulated. The Archimandrite Dionysius, and all the assembled clergy, entered with the chant of thanksgivings, and proceeded to the church of the Assumption, and there they all shed tears when they saw the desolation of the holy place. Both the archimandrite and the bursar were present at the unanimous election of Michael, the youthful son of Philaret, which took place in the townhouse of the Trinity Monastery, to the delight and wonder of all. The synod and the council spoke as one man. The bursar announced from the public place the election to the people, and the people also, as with one voice, re-echoed the same name.
The Council of the Provinces appointed as deputies to Michael whom they had just elected, to invite him to accept the kingdom, Theodoret, archbishop of Riazan, the Bursar Abram, and the Boyar Sheremetev, and wrote a letter in the name of all Russia to Sigismund, in which, after recounting all his acts of perfidy, she renounced through them all allegiance to Vladislav his son, and requested him to restore his illustrious prisoners in exchange for Poles; but the father of the Tsar, the metropolitan of Rostov, was too valuable a pledge for his enemies to decide to release him, although the firmness of the venerable prelate was a complete bar to their hopes.
His youthful son, not expecting the brilliant destiny, which awaited him, was living humbly with his mother, the nun, at Kostroma, in the Hipatiev convent. The arrival of the deputies filled with alarm the tender mother, who had already experienced so many misfortunes. For a long time she rejected all their entreaties for herself and for her son, for whom it was a perilous and alarming thing to exchange the quiet of their convent for a stormy throne, shaken by all the horrors of war and civil discord; but after she had shed many tears, the presence of two miraculous Icons, that of our Lady of Vladimir, and the Theodorofskay, by which they implored her, moved the nun Martha to relent, and she yielded up her son to his country. The religious procession of Michael to the capital by the sanctuaries of Yaroslavla, Rostov, Pereyaslavla, and the Trinity Lavra, which all lay on his road, was in truth but one continued public testimony of royal piety and popular affection. Three metropolitans, Ephraim of Kazan, Jonah of The Steeps, and Cyrill of Rostov, who had been invited by the people to resume his former diocese, and had exerted himself greatly by his exhortations for the preservation of his country, crowned him with the crown of Monomachus in the cathedral of the Assumption; and letters statutory, of the whole synod of clergy, and of the council, put the seal to the election of the Romanovs, by establishing for ever the right of an hereditary autocracy, which had been shaken by the unfortunate elections of Godounoff and Shouesky.
But as yet, neither the internal nor external disturbances had subsided; extensive districts of Russia still remained in the hands of her enemies; near Moscow itself, there were some towns in possession of traitors, and others given up to riots and anarchy. Zaroutsky was still formidable by the numbers of his confederates; thousands of Lithuanians, Cossacks, and Russian traitors, were dispersed in every direction, and by their sudden attacks pillaged the defenceless towns in different quarters of the empire. The Crimeans threatened us with their incursions. Little Russia, the Don, and the Oural, were ready now, as formerly, to support any new mischief for the sake of plunder. The experienced commanders of Poland and Sweden, (Jolkefsky, Khotkevich, and Delagardie were ready to advance at the first word of their masters. In Poland, the king, Sigismund, was a zealot for Rome, who was prompted at once by views of personal ambition and by ecclesiastical considerations to attempt the subjugation of Russia to the pope. A formidable neighbour, in the hero Gustavus Adolphus, had ascended the throne of Sweden. The Russian people was indeed enthusiastically disposed towards Michael, but yet had become too much used, in the course of so many years, to see frequent changes of their rulers; the royal council itself consisted of nobles who had seen through the reigns of five Tsars within a short space, and had been themselves, in part, the causers of anarchy; yet, in the midst of all these dangers from within and from without, the youthful Michael, inexperienced indeed, but pure before God and men, and unconnected with all the horrors of the past, was established by the hand of Providence to be the harbinger of a bright future to Russia.
That he might give greater weight and consistency to the Council of the Boyars, which had been so unsteady in the time of his predecessors, Michael strengthened it by uniting to it the council of the bishops, whose patriotism had been unwavering, and by their joint consultations the business of the state was transacted. After the return of the two senior metropolitans to their dioceses of Kazan and Rostov, Jonah of The Steeps, as guardian of the patriarchal throne, ruled the Church for a time. The young Tsar sent embassies into distant countries to re-establish the political connection of the empire, with Shah Abbas of Persia, with the Emperor Rudolph, and witli the maritime powers of Holland and England, whose mediation had a favourable influence on Poland and Sweden: at the same time he gave orders to lay siege to Smolensk, and his voivodes the Princes Pojarsky, Cherkassky, and others, were constantly fighting in the neighbourhood of the capital with passing bodies of the Lithuanians. Astrachan, and the South of Russia, were quieted by the capture of the traitor Zaroutsky and Marina; but in the North, Gustavus Adolphus advanced upon Pskov, though without gaining any advantage. The troops of Delagardie plundered the wealthy Novogorod, which from that time never recovered its former greatness. But the spirit of its citizens was not yet extinguished; Cyprian, the noble archimandrite of the Khoutinsky monastery, persuaded the voivodes and the chief citizens to turn themselves to the new Tsar, and through the influence of the Metropolitan Isidore, he was sent by the Swedes as if for the purpose of negotiation with the Russian government; when he was at Moscow, he asked and obtained from Michael the pardon of all who had sworn allegiance to the Swedish prince, and so reunited again the ancient city of Novogorod to Russia, for which he suffered severe penalties after his return. At length, seeing the obstinacy of the Russians, the Swedes determined to conclude a peace with them, through the mediation of the English ambassador, at the village of Stolobov in the district of Novogorod; and though the northern possessions of Russia, Ingria and Carelia, were wrested from her for a time, this peace was indispensably necessary to enable her to assume a better attitude towards another still more powerful enemy, namely, Poland. The conferences which had been opened with her under the walls of Smolensk were broken off, notwithstanding the mediation of the Imperial ambassadors, and the last terrible invasion, under the command of the Prince Yladislav, shook Russia to her centre once more, before she was to enjoy the rest which she desired. The retreat of our voivodcs from the siege of Smolensk,, and the surrender of the towns along the road to the capital, marked again with disasters the commencement of this campaign; but Mojaisk, about which the fate of the capital was destined to be decided, stood firm. The prince passed it, and with the assistance of Sagaidachny, the hetman of the Cossacks from beyond The Falls, struck a blow at Moscow, which was now however filled with a different spirit. On every side she repulsed the attack of the Poles. At last, the Lithuanian forces advanced against the sacred precinct of the Trinity Lavra; the Archimandrite Dionysius and the bursar gave orders to fire the suburbs, and again fortified themselves to stand a siege. At the feet of St. Sergius, the thunder-cloud was destined to burst and dissolve, which for fifteen years had rolled over the darkened horizon of Russia; and its last bolt glanced on the Lavra, as if for nothing else than to illumine it with new brilliancy; for it alone had stood out this long tempest, without tarnishing its glory, by any single act of treason. Within view of its walls, in the neighbouring village of Dioulinc, conferences were opened with the prince for peace, and after long negotiations, a truce for fifteen years was concluded, with very great sacrifices on the part of Russia, which ceded Livonia, Smolensk, and the western towns; but still it was the means of preserving the distracted empire.
Then at last were liberated our illustrious prisoners, who had so long pined in captivity, first the living, and afterwards also those that were dead; the Tsar Shouesky and his brothers had been buried in a crossway in Warsaw, under a pillar, with an inscription recording their melancholy fate; our inflexible ambassador, the Prince Galitzin, was also dead; but there returned alive the brave Voivode Shein, with Sergius, archbishop of Smolensk, and, to the inexpressible joy of his royal son, Philaret himself, the metropolitan of Rostov. The meeting between the son, now Tsar, and the prelate his father, at his entry into the capital, was most affecting; each wished to fall at the feet of the other; and by a tender mutual embrace, they sealed the union between the Church and the State, which they represented severally in their persons.
At this remarkable period, so difficult and unsettled for the Church both of Northern and of Southern Russia, for neither the one nor the other had pastors, there came to Moscow Theophanes, patriarch of Jerusalem, as an angel of peace to them both. The Eastern patriarchs having heard of the troubles which prevailed among their brethren in the Russian empire, and of the Romish persecutions of Orthodoxy, which had become powerless in the South from the want of bishops, met for consultation at the Sepulchre of our Lord, and sent its meek guardian to set in order the Russian Church: the patriarch of Constantinople gave him authority to act in his name, and sent with him as exarch from himself the Archimandrite Arsenius.
At his first visit to the Russian capital, just before the liberation of the father of the sovereign, Theophanes found the Church in a state of agitation, on account of some corrections, which had been made in the Trebnik, or Office Book. The Tsar himself had remarked the gross errors which had not only crept long before into the MSS. copies of the Church books, but even into those which had been printed in the time of the patriarchs Job and Hermogenes, and had committed to the holy Dionysius, in conjunction with the brotherhood of the Trinity, the task of correcting these errors by the books of the learned Greek Maximus, and others which were preserved in the Lavra; for from the time of the Hundred Chapter Council, and down to that of Nikon, this work was a constant object of solicitude both to the Tsars and to the patriarchs. Dionysius, having collated the Russian Trebnik with the Greek, expunged from the Office for the Blessing of the Water the words " by fire," incorrectly inserted after the invocation of the Holy Spirit on the water; he likewise corrected certain Exclamations or Responses, in which the doxology of the Holy Trinity was joined with a preceding prayer to the Son of God; and for this he was subjected to a most bitter persecution from Jonah, the ignorant metropolitan of The Steeps. For the space of a whole year the holy elder suffered close confinement, blows, and torture, beside insults from the people, who absurdly accused him of wishing to extirpate the element of fire from the land of Russia; and all this he endured with exceeding meekness and patience, as a confessor for the word of God. The arrival of the patriarch alleviated the hardships of his lot.
8. The Patriarchs.
Theophanes, first of all, at the recommendation of the Tsar, and in concert with the synod of the clergy, earnestly entreated the Metropolitan Philaret, who had suffered so much, to undertake the exalted dignity of patriarch. They were long refused by the prelate, who, at the very moment of his liberation, and when he was now within the frontier of his country, had refused to proceed farther, in consequence of having learned that the enemies who had set him at liberty were trying to work upon the filial tenderness of the Tsar, to obtain further concessions, beyond those stipulated for in the treaty. Having been tried by all manner of misfortunes for the space of twenty years, made a monk against his will, banished, separated from his family, torn by force from his Church, insulted, and lastly, having pined nine years in captivity, the old man, worn out, wished only for a quiet life, and was with difficulty persuaded by the Tsar, the patriarch, and the synod, to adorn the throne of St. Peter. Thus, for the third time since the institution of the patriarchate, its throne was ascended by a Confessor, and the nine years widowhood of the Church of Moscow was at length terminated. The pseudo-patriarch, the traitor Ignatius, had fled just before the accession of Michael to Poland. The patriarch of Jerusalem himself performed the consecration of the great Philaret, and, by a statutory letter, confirmed forever the rights granted at the institution of Job by the Most Holy Jeremiah, patriarch of Constantinople. Thus was brought about an event remarkable in the annals of the world, which has in no country nor at any time been repeated, of a father as patriarch and his son as sovereign governing together the kingdom.
The Patriarch Theophanes delayed not to vindicate Dionysius, who was still suffering, before the new primate of Moscow, and promised, in testimony of the justice of his cause, to procure and send letters declaratory, after consulting with the other Eastern patriarchs; and this he afterwards performed. For the Most Holy Philarct continued zealously to apply himself to the correction of the service-books of the Church. The archimandrite was set at liberty, and returned to the Lavra, which his exploits had covered with glory, and there he had the satisfaction of solemnly receiving his deliverer, and of seeing the Lord of Jerusalem humble himself before the relics of the venerable Sergius: he presented to Theophanes the brave monks who had fought together with himself for their country, who found that their wounds received in battle served them still as the best remembrancers for weeping and sighing over their sins.
Carrying with him the benedictions of Northern Russia, the blessed Theophanes departed for the South, ancl visited Kiev, the ancient mother of Orthodoxy, which had suffered much from the want of governors to her Church. The king, Sigismund, notwithstanding his persecutions, acknowledged Theophanes as a patriarch, and ordered due honors to be paid him, though he afterwards acted inconsistently, and seemed to question his dignity. Being zealous for the promotion of learning among the clergy, Theophanes established, in the name of the patriarch of Constantinople, the Brotherhood of the Epiphany as a Stauropegia, that is, to depend immediately upon the Ecumenical Lord, aad gave them his benediction for the institution of a school in it for the Greeko-Slavonic and the Latin-Polish languages, and united to it the Brotherhood of Mercy, a house for the reception of strangers, which was converted into an academical Inn for poor scholars. Sagaidachny, the hetman of the Cossacks beyond the Falls, disposed of all his property in favor of this new house, and himself ended there in prayer a life of military exploits.
When by the long stay of the patriarch in Kiefi the orthodox had begun gradually to hold up their heads again, the reverend clergy and the nobility being assembled, with the hetman, from the neighbouring towns, on the festival of the Assumption, entreated Theophanes to give them at length a head to their Church, and pastors, of which Little Russia had been so long deprived. After the example of former patriarchs (1620), he solemnly consecrated in the Lavra Job Boretsky, hegumen of the monastery of St. Michael, as metropolitan of Kiev, and two others, the Archimandrite Meletius Smotretsky, rector of the seminary at Wilna, to be archbishop of Polotsk, and Joseph Courtsevich for the see of Vladimir in Volhynia. He afterwards consecrated to the other remaining Sees, Isaac to Loutsk, Isaiah to Pcremuishla, Paisius to Kholm, and Abram, a Greek, to Pinsk. Thus he restored all the vacant dioceses; and having exhorted all to stand firm in defence of the faith, he returned in peace to his own country. Upon this followed a renewal of the intrigues of the Uniates, and a violent persecution on the part of the government against the orthodox bishops, whose legitimacy it refused to recognise, although it had not interfered to prevent their consecration. The Metropolitan Job was obliged to send the Bishop Joseph to the diet of Warsaw for his own justification and that of all the other prelates; but, notwithstanding that the assurance which the king received from Turkey of the full powers of the Patriarch Theophanes mollified him somewhat toward the persons of the bishops, the persecutions against the orthodox Church did not cease. The Stauropegia of the Theophany in Kiev was destroyed by the Uniates; in Wilna and Loutsk the Orthodox churches were converted into inns; in Orsha, in Mogilev, Mstislav, Grodno, and other places, the churches were sealed up; in Minsk, they gave the Church lands to a Mahometan mosque; in Lvoff and Khelm the orthodox priests dared not show themselves with the Holy Gifts, nor openly bury the dead; the monasteries were emptied, the priests and monks tortured, and the new bishops were prevented from having free communication with their flocks. Jehosaphat, the Uniate archbishop of Polotsk, surpassed all others in the atrocity of his persecutions of the orthodox: he even insulted the bodies of those who had been buried; and irritated the people to such a degree, that he was himself murdered in Vitebsk; he was added, by the Romans, to the list of their martyrs: at the same time the Cossacks also of the Horde beyond the Falls, who alone stood firm for orthodoxy, and had put down in Kiev the violence of the Uniates, drowned in the Dnieper Anthony, the hegumen of the Vidoubets monastery, and vicar of the Uniate metropolitan Joseph.
The unhappy end of Jehosaphat cost the orthodox Church one of her most learned pastors, Meletius archbishop of Polotsk, who had distinguished himself by his writings in her defence. He was unjustly accused by the Polish government of having instigated the murder of Jehosaphat, and was obliged to fly into Greece, where he wandered three years, thinking that in the mean time the accusation would die away. At length, moved by fear, he pusillanimously gave himself up to the party of the Uniates, and wrote his Apology in censure of the orthodox Church. The Metropolitan Job (1622) convoked a synod in Kiev, and compelled Meletius to perform public penance in the church, and even to tear his own book. But Meletius Smotritsky, as soon as he had returned into his diocese, and settled himself in the Dermansky monastery, which he selected on account of its contiguity to Poland, published a second edition of his first Apology, apostatized decidedly from orthodoxy, end even made a journey to Rome, to do homage to the pope, who conferred on him the title of Archbishop of Hierapolis; from that time Polotsk ceased to be reckoned in the list of orthodox dioceses. Both metropolitans, Job of Kiev, and the Uniate Joseph, convoked synods, the one in Kiev the other in Lvoff, of the bishops of their side; the one for the preservation of his torn and scattered flock, the other for the extension of his; while the royal diet at Warsaw confirmed the rights of both Confessions, though rather in word than deed. The death of the persecutor Sigismund, and the accession of Vladislav IV, who proclaimed, on coming to the crown, free liberty to all Confessions, did no more than excite short-lived hopes, destined soon to be disappointed. In the mean time the government of Moscow took advantage of the temporary armistice with Poland, to make reforms in the regulation both of civil and ecclesiastical affairs, under the joint and concordant superintendance of Michael and Philaret, to whom his affectionate son even gave the title of Great Sovereign. The internal order of government was partially changed. The Council of the Boyars remained on its old foundation, that is, as the council of the Tsar in all matters of importance; but the variety of business required more intermediaries between the sovereign and his people, than only the voivodes and deputies, or governors, who administered justice in the provinces in the name of the Tsar. Separate courts were established in Moscow, which were empowered to take cognizance of the affairs of all the towns of the empire, and even to try the governors. The celebrated edict of the Tsar Theodore, by which the peasants were forbidden to change their feudal lords at will, which had been revoked by Godounoff, and re-enacted by Shouesky, was finally confirmed by Michael; and in his time the Census-Books were first established, containing a description of the towns, and of the divisions of the manors. Moved by filial affection, the Tsar extended his fatherís privileges, and gave more splendour also to the patriarchal court. Previously to this, in the year 1599, Boris, as a proof of his good will to the patriarch Job, had renewed the patent given by John to the Metropolitan Athanasius, his confessor, to this effect, " That all the people of the Primate, his officers, servants, and serfs, were freed from all dependance upon the royal boyars, governors, and judges; were not to be judged by them for any crimes, except for crimes against life, and those were first to be certified from the patriarchal court; they were also freed from all government imposts." This ancient right of our clergy to civil immunity remained unchanged, during the reigns of Basil, Michael, and his son, down to the times of Nikon. The Tsar Michael Theodorovich further ordained, that in all country places and towns, the monasteries, churches, and lands, which belonged to the special province of the patriarchs, should have the peculiar privilege of being judged in civil matters only in the Court of the Great Palace, which was supposed to be before the sovereign in person; and that all archimandrites, hegumens, priests, deacons, and clerks, of these houses and parish churches, with their lands and dependencies, should be subject to the jurisdiction of the patriarch alone, except in capital cases ; that, in fine, none should interfere with his court, petty court, tithes, and dues, which he according to his own judgment might impose on the clergy and the parishes of his province; while the privilege was reserved to the Trinity Lavra, on account of its services, as well as to two other convents, that of the Ascension in the Kremlin, and of the Novodievichy, in which so many royal nuns had gone to their rest, since the time of John, of depending on the jurisdiction of the patriarch alone. But at the same time the Tsarís edict, in confirmation of the former edicts of John to the same effect, forbade the monasteries to acquire, either by purchase or gift, any new manors or other real property, the quantity of which held by the Church had increased enormously during the years of prosperity.
Russia, confined on the West by the strong hands of Poland and Sweden, extended herself with a gigantic growth towards the East. Siberia, which could scarcely be said to have been more than discovered by Yermak, and that imperfectly, had now, by the end of fifty years, already more than half of it become a Russian province. Adventurers of the Cossacks, and hunters, with little assistance from the government, had continued to subject boundless deserts in the names of Godounov, the pretended Demetrius, and Shouesky, at the very time that they themselves perhaps were losing their uncertain thrones in Moscow: Altin, the khan of the Mongols, heard at length, in the regions high up toward the sources of the Amour, the name of Michael. Like the Varagians of old, the Cossacks first ascended, and then descended again the courses of rivers to their confluence with others, erecting small forts at their mouths, with two or three armed men as guardians of their new possessions, while the savage inhabitants came to pay them tribute in furs, and bowed before the greatness of unseen Russia, which had awed them by the exploits of her sons. With about as little risk, the New World was subjugated by Cortez and Pizarro. Siberia was in like manner a new world for Russia. By degrees towns arose in it further and further to the East, and in the midst of the uninhabited desert, by that piety which was peculiar to our ancestors, convents were erected at the same time with the towns; first one in Verchotoursk, which was founded by a certain hermit named Jonah, then in Tiumene, and so also in other places. But in the mean time this extensive kingdom had no sort of spiritual government; the fierce Cossacks paid scarcely any obedience to the commanders of the Tsar; they gave themselves up to the grossest licentiousness; and for wives they were used to carry off women by violence out of Russia, or from among the heathens: their disorders attracted the attention of the Most Holy Philaret.
Although, in consequence of the joint recommendation of the patriarchs Jeremiah and Job, the number of the Russian dioceses had before been considerably increased, Hermogenes had still felt the necessity of erecting a new archiepiscopal throne in the distant city of Astrachan, and had consecrated Theodosius as its first occupant: and now again when, during (1607) our civil dissensions, the kingdom of Siberia had been conquered, the Patriarch Philaret could not find any better means for its internal organization (1623), than the formation of the new archbishopric of Tobolsk and Siberia. The choice of the patriarch fell on Cyprian, the archimandrite of the Khoutinky monastery, a man illustrious for his sufferings: he first visited this distant flock, and in the four years that his episcopate lasted, laid a solid foundation for the future. Being urged by the letters of the patriarch to attempt a reformation of the morals of the Cossacks, he began by degrees, with the assistance of the voivodes, to extend over them his beneficent influence, and in order to confirm them in the observance of our divine religion, he founded new convents among them in Neviansk, Tagila, Tara, Tomsk, and Tourouchansk; he beautified the Znamensky convent in Tobolsk itself; and brought into more perfect order those convents both of men and women, which had been previously founded in Yerchotoura and Tourinsk; he also obtained a grant of land for the new archiepiscopal residence, in order to make it independent, in that wild region, for the benefit of his successors, he himself being soon translated to Moscow, to be metropolitan of the Steeps, and from thence again to his native city of Novgorod. Cyprian left behind him a memory to last for ever in Siberia, where he collected from the lips of the followers of Yermak, who were still living, their tales of his distant expeditions; and composed from thence a chronicle, which has preserved to posterity the exploits of that adventurous leader.
The cares of the patriarch extended equally to Novgorod in his own vicinity as to the distant Tobolsk. Grieving for, and being anxious on account of the orthodox children of the Church, who had been torn away by the treaty of Stoloboff, and made subjects of Sweden, he wrote to Macarius, metropolitan of Novogorod, to continue to govern them as his spiritual flock; while the Swedes on their part offered no impediment to their keeping up their connection with their former pastor. Thus the bond of ecclesiastical unity was preserved unbroken, in spite of their civil separation, till they were reunited to Russia. To the successor of Macarius was intrusted by the patriarch the charge of destroying certain copies of the Church Directory circulated in all the North, which were full of gross errors, and had been printed without the knowledge of the Most Holy Hermogenes, by the Directory keeper of the Trinity Lavra, a wicked heretic, named Longinus, who had put many personal affronts upon the holy Archimandrite Dionysius on account of his zeal and care for the books. These same Directories were made some time later the pretext for the outbreak at the Solovetsky convent.
Philaret himself was principally occupied with preparing a correct edition of a new Trebnik and other service books and books of an ecclesiastical nature, wishing to preserve his flock from the publications of the Western Unia, such as the Evangelical Instructions of the Archimandrite Tranquillion, which were dangerous to orthodoxy. Carried on further by his zeal, and by his sense of those calamities which he had himself seen caused by the innovations of Rome, lie decreed in council, on the occasion of certain questions being proposed by Jonah metropolitan of the Steeps, that they should restore the former custom disused by Ignatius under the pretender, of rebaptiziiig those who were converted from Latinism to Orthodoxy. It was only in the reign of the Emperor Peter, that this custom was done away with, as inconsistent with the ancient canons of the Church; but in the days of Philaret, the persecutions of the Uniates led men to widen the breach with Rome; the orthodox bishops were expelled from their dioceses, and among those who sought refuge in Russia was Joseph, the bishop of Vladimir in Volhynia.
The political horizon of Russia was again overclouded, during the latter days of Philaret, by an unsuccessful war with Poland, after the expiration of the armistice. The invasion by King Vladislav, and the shameful surrender under the walls of Smolensk of the Boyar Shein, who had formerly distinguished himself by the defence of the same town, cost that commander his life, and Russia many sacrifices. Besides the loss of her soldiers, and of the money, which by the decision of a council had been raised from the monasteries for the use of the government, she was compelled, after a short war, to conclude at Viazura a new treaty still more oppressive than that of Stoloboff, by which she lost not only Smolensk, but also Chernigov, and other towns of Seversk. But the great authors of her glorious deliverance were not now alive to be witiiesses of so humiliating a peace. The Bursar Abram had long since retired, in fulfilment of a vow which he had made, to the Solovetsky monastery, where he had originally received the tonsure, and there he died; and a year before his own decease the Patriarch Philaret interred with due honors in Moscow the holy Archimandrite Dionysius.
The great prelate himself departed this life on the day of the festival of the Protection of the Mother of God (1633), who had given him as a protection to the land of Russia, in the midst of the tears of his country, and to the inconsolable grief of his son; Michael lost in him not only a father and a patriarch, but also an experienced assistant in the government, who according to the testimony of the contemporary chronicle, " rightly divided the word of God, confirmed the orthodox faith, and converted many heathens to Christianity:" he also improved the internal administration of the provinces, by allowing no toleration of lawless violence in any part of the kingdom, while he made compensation to those who had suffered, and had served their country during the interregnum. He was respected by all the neighbouring powers; and received as a present from the Shah Abbas of Persia, then famous in the East, the Seamless Coat of our Saviour, which, according to an ancient tradition, was brought into Georgia by one of the soldiers who parted his garments at the foot of the Cross, and was preserved for many ages in the cathedral of Mtschet. Abbas could not have selected a better guardian for such a holy relic; and the Tunic of our Lord, which was distinguished by the working of numerous cures in the Russian capital, was placed by the patriarch in the cathedral of the Assumption, under the shade of a brazen tabernacle, near which he himself is laid down to his everlasting rest.
9. The Patriarchs.
Joasaph archbishop of Pskov (1631), was chosen and made patriarch in his room by the council of his own bishops; letters of notification were sent to all the other patriarchs, and their recognition received in return, for greater security; but the meek Joasaph could not supply the place of such a statesman as Philaret to the Church or to the country, any more than he could that of the father, whom he had lost, to Michael. By the will however of a gracious Providence it was ordained when this royal luminary set in the North, another, equally brilliant, should rise to shine in the South, the cradle of our orthodox religion.
Peter Mogila, son of the hespodar of Moldavia, having received his education in the celebrated University of Paris, and having distinguished himself as a soldier in the Polish armies against the infidels, renounced worldly greatness, and received the tonsure in the Pechcrsky monastery, under its learned Archimandrite Zacliarias Kopistensky, to whom he afterwards succeeded. The first act of Peter Mogila was to establish a school in the Lavra, from whence he sent forth some chosen students into foreign countries, to complete their education; among these were the future Metropolitan Silvester Kossov, and the learned Innocentius Gizel. The patriarch of Constantinople, Cyrill Lucar, having personal acquaintance with the merit of the archimandrite, appointed him exarch of his See; and he fully justified this choice; for he showed himself a powerful defender of Orthodoxy in the diet of Warsaw, at the time of Vladislaffís accession to the throne, and obtained from the new king the restoration of many convents, churches, and properties, which had been taken away from the Orthodox, together with freedom to establish seminaries and schools and printing presses, the re-establish merit of the dioceses of Lvov, Loutsk, and Peremuishla, and the formation of a new one in Mogileff, which was the only one that remained and flourished eventually, when all the other Orthodox sees had been one after another extinguished. Notwithstanding all the intrigues of the Uniates, royal letters were granted proclaiming entire freedom for the profession of the orthodox faith, and the practice of its rites. The king left to the Russian and Lithuanian nobility the right of electing their own metropolitan, subject to the confirmation of the patriarch of Constantinople: he restored to the metropolitans of Kiev the church of St. Sophia, which had been originally their cathedral; and, lastly, gave command to put a stop to all disputes about religion, and annulled the constitutions of the former diets. But these privileges were soon violated, partly during Vladislaffs own reign, but still more so during that of his brother and successor, John Casimir, who quitted the purple of the Roman cardinalate to be invested with that of royalty.
In the mean time Job the metropolitan of Kiev died, and although Isaiah, archbishop of Smolensk, had already been designated as his successor, the Orthodox who had been present at the diet, in consideration of the services rendered by the archimandrite of the Pechersky, elected him as metropolitan, and sent to procure his confirmation to Cyrill (1632), the patriarch of Constantinople. The ceremony of his consecration by the synod was performed in the town of Lvoff, and to the general delight of the people, Peter once more took possession of the ancient metropolitan residence of St. Sophia, retaining at the same time the office of archimandrite in the Lavra. Having restored his own cathedral church, which had been suffered to fall into ruins by the Uniates he next turned his attention to the sacred ruins of the original Church of the Tythes of St. Vladimir, and restored one of its chapels; he found under the arches of the church, the uncorrupted head of its founder, the illuminator of Russia, and translated it to the Pecherskay Lavra, as a head and foundation to the whole Russian Church.
Peter being zealous for the promotion of learning amoung the clergy, united the school which he had established in the Lavra, with that of the Brotherhood in Podolia, which had been begun with the blessing of the patriarch of Jerusalem: he erected new buildings, an Inn for poor scholars, at his own expense, and a preparatory school: he established a library and a printing press; and obtained from the king the title of Spiritual Academy for the school of the Brotherhood; he took upon himself the title of Senior Brother and Patron, and immortalized his memory in the Academy, which was commonly called the Kievo-Mogilian long after his death.
Taking advantage of the short breathing time which the orthodox religion enjoyed during the reign of Vladislav, Peter Mogila was constantly sending forth from his printing press different works of the Holy Fathers, and books of the services of the Church, to counteract the influence of those published by the Uniates; and his larger Trebnik, or Office book, became the model for the performance of the Orthodox service. But the most important act of the metropolitan for the confirmation of his distracted flock was the publication of the Orthodox Confession of Faith, which was written partly by himself and partly by the Archimandrite Isaiah Trophimovich, under his direction. A council of bishops was convoked in Kiev for the revision of this Catechism, which had become indispensably necessary from the agitation of menís minds and from the subtle discourses and treatises of the Jesuits, and which after being carefully corrected, and translated into modern Greek, was sent to Parthenius, patriarch of Constantinople. The appearance of such a book produced a strong impression in the East, into which the Calvinistic heresy had then penetrated. Crafty teachers of false doctrine, under the name of Cyrill Lucar, patriarch of Constantinople, had sown tares entirely contrary to the doctrines of the Orthodox Church, and giving them out as her true and authentic Confession, had caused great scandal to the unlearned. Cyrill, although he had condemned the new doctrine of Calvin, nevertheless had not stood up decidedly and openly to oppose it, and for his neglect he was himself delivered over to an anathema by his successor, Cyrill of Bercea; but the agitation still continued. By the exertions of John, hospodar of Moldavia, a synod was convoked at Jassy (1643), which once more condemned the false doctrines of Calvinism. The Metropolitan Peter Mogila, with four Russian bishops, confirmed by their subscriptions the acts of this synod. By command of Parthenius patriarch of Constantinople, his exarch, Meletius Striga, revised and finally corrected in the synod of Jassy the Orthodox Confession. From thence this book was sent for the confirmation of the Eastern patriarchs, and was returned with their letters of approval to Kiev, after the death of the great prelate Peter Mogila, who after all his labours and services rested in peace in the Lavra (1647), and has ever since been justly esteemed one of the most shining characters in our ecclesiastical history.
The period of his episcopate, which lasted as long as did the reign of Vladislaff, although favourable to Little Russia as far as regarded the improvement of clerical learning, was yet one in which her sufferings in a civil point of view increased to the last degree. The Polish government, in spite of the benevolent views of their king, oppressed in all possible ways the unfortunate Ukraine, in order to subjugate the Cossacks of the Horde beyond the Falls, who alone, from the inaccessible islands of the Dnieper, raised a free arm to strike in defence of their fellow countrymen and brethren in the faith. Their hetmans, one after the other, rose up against the cruel voivodes, and contended with their best commanders with varying success; at one time they spread terror over the Polish provinces, destroying on all sides the Kostels, for the first object of their enmity was the Roman clergy; at others, they fell themselves into the hands of the inexorable Polish leaders, and terminated their lives by the most fearful tortures. But the fate of Pavliouk, Ostranitsa, and other brave Atamans, did not terrify their valiant successors, because the acts of injustice were continually recurring, and excited the general feeling beyond the bounds of endurance, until at length there appeared in the Ukraine a great man, who determined finally to throw off the Polish yoke, and make Little Russia subject to Russia, which professed the same religion as herself: this was the Hetman Bogdan Khmelnitsky. This liberation was effected during the illustrious episcopate of Silvester Kossov, the pupil of Peter Mogila, who was elected from being bishop of Mogilev to the metropolitan see of Kiev; but by this time there had been a great change also in the political situation of the Russian empire; she had gained strength both within and without, and the helm of the state was held by different hands.
The Tsar Michael Theoclorovich, ruling as he did over vast countries which had scarcely settled down into tranquillity after so long a storm, and straitened by Poland and Sweden, was unable to profit by the first proposal of Job the metropolitan of Kiev, that he should take under his high protection the whole of the Ukraine. He could do no more than dismiss with presents and flattering hopes the envoy, who had been sent to him by Joseph bishop of Loutsk; but these hopes were realized in the time of his more powerful son the Tsar Alexis. Fearing a rupture with Turkey and the Crimea, which were ready to take up arms at the bidding of Poland, Michael could not even retain Azoph, which the Cossacks of the Don, who had gotten possession of that fortress, desired to hold in his name. The Council of the Provinces advised the Tsar to give up, for his own time at least, this valuable conquest; and he turned his attention rather to the means of strengthening against the incursions of the Tartars the frontiers of the Ukraine, and the capital itself, where the memory of the Polish invasion was still fresh. The illustrious liberator of his country, the Prince Pojarsky, who had continued, during all the reign of Michael, to conduct his armies, or to govern important provinces, died in the same year with the Muscovite Pontiff Joasaph, who left behind him a reputation for meekness, though he was not remarkable for any great abilities as a statesman.
10. The Patriarchs.
His successor the patriarch Joseph (1642), who was elected from being archimandrite of the Simonoff, and consecrated by Serapion, metropolitan of the Steeps, and a synod of bishops, resembled the great Philarct in his zeal for the promotion of ecclesiastical learning; but he found the reign of Michael now drawing to its close. The breaking off of the projected marriage between the Prince of Denmark and the Tsarevna Irene, shortened the days of her affectionate father, who had ardently desired the conversion of Voldemar to the Orthodox faith. There had been several discussions in the palace about religion between Russian priests chosen for the purpose, and pastors on the part of the prince. The Patriarch Joseph, himself took a lively part in these controversies, and wrote treatises in the form of questions and answers to Voldemar, in which he powerfully confuted his heresy, and demonstrated the truth of Orthodoxy. The speedy desease of the Tsar put an end to these consultations on religion: Michael himself having a presentiment of his speedy departure to God, gave in charge to the patriarch his youthful son Alexis, born during the life of his great Grandfather, of his happy marriage with Eudocia Streshnev, and so fell as it were into a sweet sleep, after having been in his own person the instrument of conferring on Russia that breathing time and repose, which she so much required. His countenance, says the Chronicle, shone like the sun at the hour of his departure.
The first part of the reign of the Tsar Alexis (1646), which lasted sixteen years, recalled to mind the troubled beginning of his fatherís. The boyars who surrounded him led his inexperience at their will, particularly his guardian, the Boyar Morozoff, who soon after the Tsarís union with Maria Miloslafsky, married her sister. The people were weighed down by imposts; there was no war indeed without, but local insurrections broke out in the towns from the disorganized state of the government. A mutiny of the Streltsi, our first regular body of guards, alarmed the capital, and cost the lives of two of the Tsarís private secretaries, whom the rebels accused of having arbitrarily raised the price of the necessaries of life. This was the first promise of those furious outbreaks by which the Streltsi eventually disgraced themselves during the early years of Peter. There appeared also pretenders, giving themselves out for sons of the pseudo-Demetrius, and of Shouesky; of whom the spiritual authorities of Greece forewarned the Tsar, from the affection they bore the Russians as their brethren in the faith. One of these was given up, and capitally punished; the other kept Russia for some years longer by the power of his assumed name in a state of needless excitement, while he wandered about in Turkey, at Venice, and among the Cossacks beyond the Falls.
In the midst of these disorders, the Tsar, who was exceedingly devout and religious, after consulting with the patriarch, the bishops, and the Council of the Boyars, determined to make a collection of the canons of the Holy Fathers, and the laws of the Greek emperors, also to correct the Statute Book of the Tsar John, completing it with the ukazes of later sovereigns, and to unite the whole of this in one code, capable of serving as the law for the whole kingdom. The redaction of this new code was intrusted to the Prince Nikita Odoefsky, in conjunction with two boyars of the council, and inferior secretaries; and to aid them there were called in the Tsarís Officers of the Table, of the Court, and of the Household, the Sons of the Boyars, and Strangers, chosen from all the greater towns; that, by their united efforts, this work, which concerned the provinces no less than the central government of the Tsar, might be successfully arranged. By the end of the year it was completed with the blessing of the patriarch, and was confirmed by the subscriptions of the clergy, the boyars, and all ranks of the people.
By one of the articles of the new code was instituted the Monastery Court, consisting of lay members, to judge in civil suits against spiritual persons, and in matters arising out of their manors and properties, which before were all decided in the patriarchal court. At the same time the representatives of the different civil orders and classes, who had laboured at the collection of the laws, presented a petition to the Tsar, that the bishops and monasteries should be deprived of all the landed property which they had acquired either by gift or purchase since the time of the Tsar John, in opposition to his decree prohibiting any augmentation of the immoveable property of the clergy. Although the sovereign himself in his zeal for the Church, which was remarkable, in imitation of his fatherís example had already in the three years since his accession bestowed estates on many monasteries, which he continued to do even afterwards, nevertheless to satisfy the Council of the Provinces he ordered his secretaries to institute an enquiry, and make a description of the properties that had been acquired by them. These two circumstances were the occasion of his differences afterwards with Nikon.
Nikon was an extraordinary character in Russian history; alternately bright and dark great and feeble, sometimes the benefactor of the Church and State at others doing injury to both, he appears at the very commencement of the reign of the mild Alexis as a kind of destiny given him from above and inseparable from him to the end of his days, from the influence of which proceeded alike all that was glorious and all that was painful during his long reign, and which did not cease to trouble his spirit even then when the author of his trouble was himself wasting in confinement.
Born in the district of Nijgorod of parents who were simple villagers, Nikon learned to read the holy scriptures, and secretly left his home to commence his noviciate in order to become a monk in the Jeltovodsky convent. At the urgent entreaty of his father he returned to enter into the state of matrimony, was ordained a parish priest, and removed to Moscow; but his original inclination for a life of seclusion remained in the deep of his heart notwithstanding those bonds, which connected him with the world. The loss of all his children he took as a call from above, and after having been married ten years, persuaded his wife to enter into a convent, while he himself went to seek the strictest kind of monastic life in the depths of the North, amid the ice of Solovetsky. But not even did the remote Lavra of Sabbatius and Zosimus seem desolate enough to his mind; he found out for himself a wilder solitude still on the neighbouring island of Anzer in the hermitage of the venerable Eleazar, and there he spent many years in prayer and fasting, mortifying his flesh by continual discipline: on two occasions however, he was obliged to leave his beloved retreat, the first time to persuade again his wife to receive the final tonsure, and the second time, in company with the venerable Eleazar, to collect alms in Moscow. These alms, which contrary to the counsel of Nikon, were kept a long time without being laid out upon the embellishment of the Lavra, became the occasion of a quarrel among them, and for the third time the hermit of Anzer left his cell with a sad heart. In a leaky boat he committed himself to the rough waves, and with difficulty escaped from the storm, and got ashore on the desert island of Kia, where he planted the cross, the sign of a future monastery. A favourable wind carried him to the mouth of the river Onega, from whence he went to the monastery of Kojeozersk, and then he again secluded himself to follow the same rule as at Anzer on an island, which lay near, and excited the astonishment of the brotherhood by the severity of his life. Upon the death of their superior, Nikon was persuaded by the urgent entreaties of the whole community to go to Novogorod, to the Metropolitan Aphthonius (1649), to ask to be blessed to the degree of hegumen; after three years of conventual life, he was obliged by the necessities of their Church to visit Moscow, and there for the first time he was seen by the young Tsar. Struck by the noble height and bearing and by the manly eloquence of the hegumen, and having heard the report of his holy life, the pious monarch could not bring himself to part with such a man, and gave him the Novospassky monastery, the burying-place of his own ancestors.
This was the beginning of the worldly greatness of Nikon, but by no means the termination of his monastic austerities, for in them he continued steadfast even to his last hour. Here also was the beginning of those strong temptations of spirit, under the weight of which he gave way at last and from being exalted was led to exalt himself. The extraordinary favor of the Tsar distinguished the new archimandrite above all others. In the charms of his conversation Alexis Michaelovich found consolation to his soul, and from that time accustomed himself to be guided by his sage counsels: he found in him a zeal for the Church not inferior to his own, and the loftiest view not only of ecclesiastical but also of political matters, which in Nikon proceeded solely from the originality of his mind and from his bold openness of character. During the course of three years the archimandrite came every Friday to the chapel in the palace for the purpose of conversing with the Tsar after Divine service; on his way he received petitions from the people, and the Tsar as he left the chapel, signified his pleasure upon them, usually "in favor of the petitioners. In this manner Nikon already began to enter partially into the direction of civil affairs. But when the weakness of the virtuous Aphthonius, metropolitan of Novogorod, compelled him to retire into the monastery of Khoutina, the sovereign chose Nikon to be his successor, and Paisius the patriarch of Jerusalem, who had come to Moscow in quest of alms, consecrated him at the desire of the Tsar as metropolitan of Great Novgorod. Thus by a curious concurrence of circumstances, one of the eastern patriarchs consecrated Nikon, who was destined at a subsequent period to be degraded from his dignity in like manner, through the instrumentality of the eastern patriarchs. His elevation and his fall were accompanied with equal eclat.
But Alexis had no sooner suffered Nikon to depart to take possession of his see, than he began to feel himself unhappy at his separation from a constant, true, and sincere friend, who had become necessary to him, both from the affection, which he bore him personally, and for the business of the state. Every winter he invited the metropolitan to Moscow, to consult with him: and on account of these frequent journeys, Nikon asked and obtained from the Tsar the gift of the picturesque lake of Valdai, as a resting place on the road; and there he founded on a woody island the monastery which is called the Iversky. Filled with impressions drawn from that seclusion in which he had passed the better days of his life, he conceived a wish that his new convent should put him in mind of mount Athos, the model of the monastic life, and he built it accordingly, so as to be a close imitation of a Russian monastery which was on the Holy Mountain.
Unusual authority was given by the sovereign to the metropolitan in his diocese; not only were all spiritual matters subjected to the exclusive jurisdiction of his court, but even all such civil causes as might affect persons belonging to monasteries the parochial clergy or even the manners of the Church. Nikon had further the right of entering into the prisons, and on his own personal examination releasing any of the prisoners, if he found they were innocent. This confidence of the monarch was completely justified at the time of famine, which desolated Novogorod, when the metropolitan built four alms houses and daily fed all the poor among the people in his own courtyard. It was justified still more in the midst of a dreadful insurrection, which broke out in Novgorod and Pskov. On this occasion the pastoral virtues of Nikon shone in full brilliancy, for while in Pskov the irritated populace put to death their voivodes, and were with difficulty got under by force of arms, in Novgorod on the contrary the metropolitan was the only person who suffered. He concealed in his palace the prince Khilkov the voivode, and went forth himself to the insurgent populace; blows were showered thick upon him while thus desperately exposing himself, and he was left for dead on the square. He managed to rise however with the assistance of his servants, though with scarce any breath remaining in him, and in spite of all that his body had suffered his spirit supplied him with strength to walk in procession with the cross, and to celebrate the liturgy in that part of the city where the insurrection was raging: he was not even afraid to risk his life once more by going into the very building where the rebels were assembled. The magnanimous spirit of their pastor this time struck the rebels themselves, though they did not cease to act against the government: they cut off and blockaded the road leading to the capital, and made a convention with the Swedes to betray Novgorod into their hands. But here again Nikon succeeded in giving such information to the Tsar as enabled him to take the necessary measures of precaution, while he himself publicly in the cathedral anathematized the traitors, and then calmly awaited the conclusion of the storm. The storm at length subsided broken by his immoveable firmness, and he had the consolation of seeing the people in penitence apply to him for spiritual absolution and for the pardon of the Tsar, who had given the metropolitan absolute powers for the trial and punishment of the guilty.
Such were the acts of Nikon in his diocese, in civil affairs, while his pastoral zeal for the morals of his clergy and flock and for the due magnificence of the ceremonies of the Church was carried to the highest pitch. Gifted with a fluent eloquence Nikon constantly taught in the Church, and to hear his animated preaching full of the holy scripture the people thronged together from great distances. He substituted living addresses of his own for the reading of the select instructions appointed for each day; he also turned his attention to the Church plate, furniture, and vestments, in which he loved cleanliness and magnificence, that they might become their high uses: he regulated also the order of divine service itself, for through an evil habit which had crept in those who ministered in divine service for the sake of expedition read at once in both the choirs, two or three voices only together. The Kaphisms and Kanons for Vigil, and even at the Liturgy the Ecteneias and Exclamations were run together with the singing of the choir. The metropolitan strictly forbade such irregularity in all the churches of his diocese and the same was put a stop to in the other dioceses also by edicts of the Tsar issued at the advice of Nikon. He appointed also instead of the inharmonious singing then in use another of a sweeter kind, which he borrowed from the ancient chants of Kiev and Greece. The Tsar was so much pleased with this new style of singing that he introduced it into his own private chapel, from whence it soon began to spread to other churches and monasteries.
The aged Patriarch Joseph viewed with dissatisfaction these ecclesiastical regulations of Nikon, and considered them as mere innovations, from a weakness not unnatural in a very old man who was standing on the brink of the grave. Many of the clergy who surrounded him, the archpriest Abbakum, the priests Lazarus and Niketas, Stephen the confessor of the Tsar, the two Neronoffs, the deacon Theodore and his brother Gregory, supported the old man in his most unfortunate prejudice, and abused his confidence in the printing of the Psalter, the Kormchay, and the Catechism, disfiguring them by gross errors and unauthorized glosses of their own. This they did the more easily, as the chief of the Palace Court where the printing was carried on, the Prince Lvoff, was of the same sentiments with themselves. Many of the unlearned speedily began to be infected with their erroneous views, though according to the testimony of a contemporary writer, Ignatius metropolitan of Tobolsk, the older and more learned people refused to receive their new and false doctrines. In the mean time, the indispensable necessity of a correction of the Church books came to be so evident and so much felt, and the demand for increased learning among the clergy gained such strength, that the Tsar begged Silvester Kossov the metropolitan of Kiev to send him some monks from his illustrious Academy, to compare the Slavonic translation of the Bible which had been printed incorrectly by the Prince of Ostrog, with the Greek. A private individual emulated the Tsar in his zeal: Theodore Rtischev, a pious and learned boyar, founded near Moscow the convent of the Transfiguration, the germ of the future Academy to consist of thirty brethren being monks whom he had collected in Little Russia for the translation of ecclesiastical books. Epiphanius Slavenetsky, priest and monk of the Pechersky at Kiev, the most celebrated theologian of his time, was one of the learned brotherhood of this convent, and under his direction were published many lives and discourses of the holy Fathers, and all the Canons of the Councils were translated from the Greek.
Nor was it only with Kiev and Little Russia that our ecclesiastical relations became closer and more frequent, but the same was the case also with the East. When Paisius the patriarch of Jerusalem left Moscow, Arsenius Souchanov, the bursar of the Trinity monastery, was sent with him to the Holy Places of the East, to observe how the Rule of the Church was followed by the four Ecumenical Thrones, inasmuch as there had arisen differences of opinion and disputes about certain ceremonies. Arscnius returned twice from Moldavia from the patriarch of Jerusalem to the Tsar and to the Hetman of the Cossacks, on business, which related to the pretender who had appeared among them. At length he left Paisius, and met at Galats another Greek pontiff, Athanasius Chartularius, who had sat for a short time in the chair of Constantinople. This Athanasius after having been graciously received in Moscow died on the road as he was returning, at Loubni, where his uncorrupted body still lies. On account of the fierce persecutions under which the Church of Constantinople was then suffering and the unhappy end of the patriarch Parthenius, Souchanoff was unable to see his successor; but in Alexandria he conferred with the learned patriarch Joaimicius, and obtained from him an answer to a great number of questions relative to the Church. In Jerusalem he observed and described minutely the whole order of divine service among the Greeks, and returned through Damascus, where he had an interview with the patriarch of Antioch, and from thence through Georgia. Thus he gave in the description of his journey a sufficiently full account of the Eastern Church, though somewhat shaded by his prejudiced view of the Greek character, and by mistakes in some of his observations. Arsenius returned in the last year of the life of the Patriarch Joseph, when the self-willed priests about him who were dissatisfied with Nikon were already introducing evident schisms. They took advantage of some disagreeable observations of Arseuius, to rise in opposition against the metropolitan of Novogorod, under the pretext that he desired to conform in every respect with the Greek Church, while that Church herself had not retained her ancient orthodoxy. Thus by degrees there gathered clouds on the horizon of the Church.
At this time the relics of St. Sabba of Zvenigorod, the disciple of the venerable Sergius, were discovered, and the Tsar in joy and gratitude at their manifestation convoked soon afterwards by the advice of Nikon a synod, for the purpose of instituting a solemn commemoration in honor of the three great prelates who had suffered for the Russian Church, Job, Hermogenes, and the Holy Metropolitan Philip; that from their tombs near and afar off they might be brought together and united with the assembly of prelates in that cathedral of the Assumption, where they had shone conspicuous by their pastoral virtues. The Tsar Michael Theodorovich, had paid this last duty to his predecessor the Tsar Shouesky, whose remains were restored to him from their grave in Poland to be deposited in the cathedral of the Archangel; his son Michael did the same for these three prelates. The body of the great Hermogenes was solemnly translated from the Choudoff monastery to his own cathedral, and was placed above the floor close to the brazen tabernacle of the Coat of our Lord. The aged Barlaam metropolitan of Rostov was sent to Starits for the relics of Job; the patriarch Joseph himself, feeling already the near approach of death, when he placed the first of the line of patriarchs, Job, close to his own predecessor Joasaph, asked the Tsar to give him a place himself at the feet of Job; and after a few days this his last wish was fulfilled.
In the mean time the Metropolitan Nikon, who had formerly been a monk there himself, had been despatched to the Solovetsky monastery on a mission of entreaty from the Tsar to the relics of Philip, that that great prelate would remove from the place of his rest, and come to the capital to absolve as it were by his presence the spirit of John who slept there, and who had been the cause of his martyrdom; this the mild Tsar Alexis besought of him, as if pleading to a living man for a living offender; and Philip removed, at his request, and again came over the waters of the White sea, which he had already passed over once before in his coffin, as in a funereal boat. Nikon was the steersman, and he again put in at the desert island of Kia, and the mouth of the Onega, where he had formerly been saved when he got to land from his leaky vessel, and from thence he directed his course to the convent of Bielo-ozero. Informing the Tsar from time to time of his progress, Nikon continued his way by water from the convent of St. Cyril to Yaroslavla, and by land from thence to the Lavra. He had then no presentiment that thirty years later he himself, after having experienced all the inconstancy of human fortune the highest step of grandeur and the lowest depth of poverty, was to return an exile and a prisoner by that same road to the convent of the new Jerusalem, alive as far as Yaroslavla, and the remainder of the way after death. The young Tsar and Barlaam the aged and decrepit metropolitan of Rostov hastened to meet the relics of St. Philip at the gates of the capital, but Barlaam gave way and died before he reached them, from the weight of years and excessive joy. Many signs of healing marked the solemn return of Philip to his former ecclesiastical diocese; he stood as it were again, though in his coffin, on the same spot from whence he had rebuked John, and they who were suffering from any plague or disease, as before they who were oppressed, now flocked to him as to a living fountain of relief.
It seemed as if Philip from his patriarchal chair again ruled the Church of all Russia, there being at that time no other head: the Patriarch Joseph and the guardian of the vacant see, the metropolitan of Rostoff, were both dead. The senior prelate of all the rest, Nikon of Novgorod, obstinately refused the patriarchal throne in spite of all the entreaties of the Tsar, by whom he was beloved, and whom he loved himself. He knew that those who had been about the person of Joseph, and a strong party among the clergy, looked on him as a despiser of Russian antiquity, from his attachment to the Eastern Church. He saw the affection of the Tsar, but he knew also how great an influence the boyars who surrounded him possessed over the mild disposition of their sovereign. And the austere character of Nikon, who trusted in the purity of his intentions, was unhappily too little tempered with pastoral condescendence and long-suffering. All this he was conscious of himself when he so firmly rejected all entreaties, but the Tsarís affection for him prevailed. In the church of the Assumption and before the relics of Philip, with all the council and the synod assembled, he once more for the last time and in the strongest terms conjured Nikon not to leave the Church of Russia in widowhood without a pastor, and the firmness of the prelate was shaken at such an appeal; he asked, " Whether they would always honor him as their true chief shepherd and spiritual father? and whether they would suffer him to regulate the affairs of the Church?" And when he had heard them all as with one soul swear that they would, he declared at length his consent to undertake the high office, to the general joy of the Tsar, the council, and the people, and thus pronounced against himself the sentence of his own doom.
11. The Patriarchs.
The six years of the patriarchal rule of Nikon formed the most brilliant period of the reign of Alexis; the genius and enterprising character of that prelate inspired the councils of the Tsar, and were reflected in the glory of his victories over the neighbouring powers; but the years which he had passed in the exercises of the monastic cell and in the chair of Novogorod were the best time of his life; in the cares of civil government he lost his own inward peace of mind. One thing only was there to console Nikon, and that was the true mutual affection subsisting between himself and his sovereign, which possessed them both to such a degree, that they appeared as one and the same person in all acts of government, passing all their days together in the church, in the council chamber, and at the friendly board. To unite themselves still closer by the bonds of spiritual relationship, the patriarch became the godfather of all the children of his sovereign, and they both made a mutual vow never to desert each other on this side the grave. And indeed this was the most affecting circumstance of all in the fortunes of both of them, that even in the time of those long-continued troubles which were raised between them by the envy of men who wished them ill, they preserved in their hearts to the very last moment this tender friendship; and there was nothing which the courtiers so much dreaded as the chance of a personal meeting between them.
The correction of the Church books was the first and permanent object of the patriarchís attention. This work had been proposed as early as the time of John the Terrible, in the Hundred Chapter Council, but had been laid aside, together with many other useful undertakings, in the dark years of his mental malady; it was afterwards returned to under Theodore, when the Church books were printed, though very imperfectly, and was again interrupted by the troubles of the pretenders. The Tsar Michael Theodorovich and the patriarch his father showed an equal sense of the indispensable necessity of this, when they gradually corrected the Directories and the Office-books, after having detected the errors which had crept into them from transcribers and printers. But to put the last hand to the work required men more learned and better minded than had been those priests and deacons who had been employed to print the books under Joseph. When the Patriarch Nikon, under whom the Kormchay or Nomo-canon, which they had printed was published, perceived, although too late to correct them, all the gross artifices of its unprincipled editors, especially respecting the position of the fingers in making the sign of the Cross, he inflicted on them a severe punishment, and so increased the number of his enemies.
The correction of the books by a synod was thus effected. Soon after his appointment, Nikon, in examining the confirmatory letters of the Patriarch Jeremiah and the Greek Council on the appointment of the first Patriarch Job, read in them with alarm what a condemnation was incurred by every innovation in Church matters contrary to the canons of the Holy Fathers. He also read on an ancient Sakkos or Vestment which had belonged to Photius, sometime metropolitan of all Russia, and which had been brought from Greece two hundred and fifty years before, a copy of the Creed worked in pearls, and on examining the same Creed as it then stood in the printed books as well as the order of the Liturgy, he was shocked to discover that there were discrepancies between them and the earliest copies. He then entreated the Tsar to convoke a council in his palace (1655), to consult definitively for the correction of the books; and there assembled the Metropolitans Macarins of Novogorod, Cornelius of Kazan, Jonah of Rostov, Silvester of the Steeps, Michael of Servia, and the Archbishops Marcellus of Vologda, Sophronins of Souzdal, Michael of Riazan, and the bishop Paul of Kolomna, who in the end became the head of the schism, and the cause of the condemnation of Nikon himself.
The patriarch made the following proposition to the synod: " Whereas in the new books printed at Moscow there are found many discrepancies from the ancient Greek and Slavonian copies, and these errors have come from the ignorance of transcribers and printers; ought we therefore to prefer the new books to the old ones, which the great divines and teachers of the East and of the whole Church followed, and following them pleased God, which were used by Athanasius and Basil, Gregory, Chrysostom, and Damascene, and by the Russian saints and workers of miracles Peter, Alexis, Jonah, and Philip?" The monarch and the council unanimously replied, " It is meet and right to correct the new books by the old Slavonic and Greek manuscripts, that we may in all things follow the primitive rule of the Church."
Then the Tsar, in conjunction with the patriarch, gave orders to collect together to Moscow the ancient manuscript books which had been translated eight hundred years or more before from the Greek, from the Trinity Lavra and the convents of Novogorod, from the monastery of Joseph of Volokolampsk, and from other places; and in order that not only their own will and pleasure but also the judgment of the Ecumenical patriarchs might have a share in the undertaking, they despatched to Constantinople with letters of enquiry a Greek of ability and learning named Manuel. In accordance with their commendable wishes, Paisius, patriarch of Constantinople, convoked the Greek bishops, and confirmed by a synodal act the decision of the council of Moscow, to follow in all things the orthodox text of the Eastern doctors as it was preserved in the ancient Greek and Slavonic books, and sent a copy of the Nicene Creed to serve as an immutable model to which not one word should be added, and from which not one word should be taken away.
The brotherly epistle of the patriarch to Nikon respecting the order and mystical sigmficancy of the Liturgy and many other subjects was filled at once with deep knowledge, a great zeal for orthodoxy, and a fervent pastoral affection. Paisius entreated him not to depart in any respect from the rule of the great Church of Constantinople; that all the five patriarchal thrones, of Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, Jerusalem, and Moscow, forming together one Ecumenical Church, should be one not only in doctrines and discipline, but also in their very ceremonies; he proposed the Orthodox Confession of Peter Mogila, corrected by all the patriarchs, as an accurate expression of the doctrines of the Eastern Church. But while applauding the zeal of Nikon, he at the same time entreated him to be indulgent to those who had erred not in any essential doctrines of the faith but only in some unimportant external matters, that so he might retain them within the pale of the Church. And it would have been more prudent, had the mild counsel of Paisius been followed; but unfortunately the natural hastiness of Nikonís temper, joined to his ardent zeal for eradicating all that was evil in the Church, carried him beyond the bounds which pastoral long suffering might have observed.
The Tsar and the patriarch being gratified by the letter of Paisius, sent the Bursar Arsenius Souchanoff a second time with rich alms in quest of ancient manuscripts to the Holy Mountain of Athos, where he collected as many as five hundred Greek books, among which was a copy of the Gospels written 1050 years before. The Ecumenical patriarchs also emulated the monasteries of Athos, and sent by Arsenius two hundred similar manuscripts, which continue to the present day to form the greatest treasure of the Patriarchal Library at Moscow. For the sake of adding greater authority and circumspection to what he did the Patriarch Nikon took the opportunity of the arrival at Moscow of the Patriarchs Macarius of Antioch and Gabriel of Serbia, and of the Metropolitans Gregory of Nice and Gideon of Moldavia and Wallachia, to convoke another council, which confirmed the acts of the first in the presence and with the concurrence of the Eastern hierarchs.
Nikon particularly enquired of them respecting the position of the fingers in making the sign of the Cross in the East and learned from every one of them that "the Orthodox Greek Church from the very beginning down to the present time has always joined together and still joins together to make the sign of the Cross the three first large fingers, as is customary also in the Russian;" he enquired also respecting the differences between the new books printed at Moscow and the ancient Greek and Slavonian copies, differences which had crept in during that dark period, when,, from the calamitous state of the "East, the Church of Russia was for an hundred and twenty years unable to keep up regular communications with the throne of Constantinople, so as either to receive from thence learned prelates, or send thither her own for institution as before : and both the patriarchs together with the metropolitans approved of the correction of the books.
Upon this decided steps were taken to effect the necessary correction according to the ancient Greek and Slavonian copies; and first of all there was printed at Moscow the Sloujebnik, or Service-book; after which followed others, and a work entitled The Skreejal, that is, The Table, being a spiritual collection of many doctrinal matters compiled out of the writings of the Holy Fathers. But when all these prudent measures of precaution which had guided the council in the act itself of correcting and printing the books ceased, as was the case, to be observed in their introduction into all the churches and monasteries throughout the country, and they began with severity to take away from all the monasteries whatever copies they might possess of the old impression, there immediately arose a murmuring among the people which was taken advantage of by evil-disposed men, for they abusing the ignorance of the simple people called the books of Nikon " the new books" as indeed they were at the time of their appearance, and fraudulently concealed their perfect agreement with the most ancient copies in the Greek and Slavonic languages ; from which on the contrary those which they called "the old hooks" printed since the erection of the patriarchate had departed. The most active disseminators of such notions were Nikonís personal enemies, the Directory-keepers of the Patriarch Joseph, who had been punished for their corrupted edition of the Nomocanon, the popes Habbakuk, Lazarus, Nicetas, and Stephen, and the two Neronovs named Gregory and Theodore, deacons, who became the sowers of schisms. Thus did a most excellent and useful undertaking become the cause of unexpected disturbances.
The same energy, which suddenly began to show itself from the time of the elevation of Nikon to the patriarchal throne in the government of the Church, manifested itself also simultaneously in the affairs of the State, and its first brilliant effect was the reunion of Little Russia. This had long before been ardently desired by the Hetman Kmelnitsky, but the cautious policy of the court of Moscow had kept Russia still confined within those limits to which she had been reduced by the wars of the pretenders and the weakness of the new government under Michael. In the mean time the pride of Poland had proportionally increased, and was mortifying to our Tsars, whom she barely recognised, and that too without giving them their proper title. The miseries of the Ukraine increased, and it was subjected to every kind of persecution, on account of its orthodoxy and spirit of nationality. But in the mean time, without reckoning the force of the horde beyond the Falls, numerous villages of the Cossacks, who were divided into regiments under the command of their chiefs and their hetman, could send into the field a body of 60,000 of the best cavalry. Bogdan Kmelitsky was the soul of all the Ukraine. Never vanquished himself in any of his numerous engagements, he surrounded the camp of the King John Casimir himself, under Sboroff, and dictated to him conditions, tending to the independence of Little Russia, and the free exercise of her religion.
The fixing of the army of the Cossacks at 40,000, the grant of a seat in the Polish Senate to the metropolitan of Kiev, the removal of the schools of the Jesuits from Kiev, and of the Jews from the villages of the Ukraine, were the most important articles of this treaty: for to such a point had the persecutions caused by the Unia proceeded, that the office of supplying wine and oblations for the Liturgies of the Orthodox was actually let out by contract to the Jews. But the hetman in his turn was betrayed by his allies of the Crimea, and left at the mercy of the king, from whom he was compelled to accept very hard conditions near the town of Bielay-Tserkov or Whitechurch and so seeing that there was no longer any security to be looked for on the side of Poland, he began to draw closer to Russia.
He began by obtaining permission for the Cossacks to settle on the left bank of the Dnieper, within the Russian frontiers, and he organized there five new regiments with all the privileges of the other fifteen regiments of the Ukraine. At length, on the Polish commanders making a movement as if to attack him, he took refuge with the whole strength of the Horde beyond the Falls under the powerful protection of the Tsar; and in a letter to the Patriarch Nikon, in which he proposed certain terms of subjection, he petitioned him to unite the Ukraine to Russia. A council of the spiritual and secular orders was assembled in the palace of the Kremlin. The sovereign determined before he took up arms, to demand satisfaction once more from the king of Poland: he offered his mediation for the protection of Orthodoxy; but the peaceful propositions of the ambassadors of the Tsar, were naughtily rejected by the Polish government, and war was declared, while the Ukraine was received for ever into subjection to Russia.
The Voivode Boutourlin was sent to the hetman for the completion of this important affair, which did not cost Russia so much as one single drop of blood. Kmelnitsky, who was at the summit of his glory and respected both by the Khan of the Crimea and by the Sultan, having compelled the hospodar of Moldavia to give his daughter in marriage to his son, asked the army of Little Russia in Pereyaslavla, to whom they would wish to belong; "to the unbelieving Khan or Sultan, to the Latin King or to the Orthodox Tsar?" and having heard them answer with a shout as one man, "We wish to be under the Orthodox Tsar;" he took the oath of allegiance together with the whole of the Ukraine. The free election of their hetman by the Cossacks, with the privilege of having their own separate courts among themselves, and the fixing their army at 60,000 men, were the principal conditions. But in Kiev, the Metropolitan Silvester Kossov, and the archimandrite of the Pechersky Innocentius Gizel, did not readily bring themselves to exchange their ancient dependence which was merely nominal upon the See of Constantinople for a real subjection to the patriarch of Moscow; however, after a short time, the same archimandrite was sent by the metropolitan to Moscow to obtain the recognition and confirmation of the rights of the clergy of Little Russia: by the prudent policy of Nikon he was received in a flattering manner and dismissed with presents; the complete union and amalgamation however of the metropolitan see of Kiev did not take place till thirty years afterwards.
The Polish war began at the commencement of the year 1654; the Tsar himself accompanied his army, having left both his own family and the kingdom itself in the charge of the patriarch; the Boyars of the Council were permitted to do nothing without his advice. Never before had the Russian arms been covered with so much glory as they were in this short and brilliant campaign. The Cossacks co-operated with the Tsar in the capture of Smolensk, his ancient patrimony, and after it thirty of the most important towns of White Russia surrendered themselves to him one after the other. Polotsk, at the persuasion of her eloquent Hegumen Ignatius, opened her gates to a sovereign of the same religion with her own. But in the midst of these splendid victories, the Tsar was afflicted by the arrival of intelligence that a dreadful pestilence had broken out and was raging in Moscow and its neighbourhood, which filled the capital with dead bodies, so that there were not hands to bury them. The patriarch calmed in some degree the agitation of the people by a pastoral letter, and recommending them to take certain measures of precaution against the plague, occupied himself with the care of the royal family, which had been entrusted to his charge. He moved with them from one monastery to another, and satisfied himself personally that the places where they were to stop were free from danger, and at length had the satisfaction of restoring in safety to his sovereign at Viasma all that was dearest to his heart. The grateful Alexis in the affectionate emotion of his joy bestowed on Nikon the appellation of Great Lord, as his own grandfather the Patriarch Philaret had formerly been styled; and notwithstanding Nikonís opposition ordered this title to be written in all the Acts of the kingdom, which was afterwards turned against him as a matter of accusation, although he himself would never allow that exalted title to be given him in the Church.
During the short stay of the Tsar, the patriarchs of Antioch and Serbia visited the capital for the correction of the books, as did also ambassadors with proposals of friendship from Charles X the new king of Sweden, who was himself at war with Poland. But the court of Moscow through the artful persuasions of Austria alienated itself from Sweden, and thus committed a capital error in policy. This false step was partly caused by the unfortunate advice of Nikon, who being still at that time metropolitan of Novgorod, ardently desired to recover from Sweden our ancient provinces of Ingria and Carelia, with all their numerous churches and monasteries, which had been wrested away from Russia during the calamitous period of the vacancy of the throne. Dazzled by the rapid course of success which had united Little and White Russia, he thought the day was come for recovering all our losses; and in truth, this was the most brilliant moment ofthe reign of Alexis, a moment which might well recall to the best times of Russia before the pretenders.
At the same time the adventurous Ataman Kabarov fought with the Daours on the banks of the Amoor, and descended its course to the Eastern ocean, subjecting the remotest bounds of Siberia to the Russian Tsar; and our first embassy penetrated to Pekin to the court of Bogdi-Khan, the emperor of China, who was equally astonished at the existence and power of Russia. The hordes of the Kalmouks who wandered over the boundless Steppes of Astrachan became subject to Russia; and Stephen, the hospodar of Moldavia, like the hetman of the Ukraine, asked the Tsar to receive him under his high protection, while all the neighbouring powers sought for his alliance. Alexisí second Polish campaign covered him with fresh glory. Grodno and Kovno fell before the Russian arms, which extended our empire almost to its present limits; and Wilna itself, the capital of Lithuania, which had from of old been so hostile to us, witnessed the triumphant entry of the victorious Tsar. Poland was struck with terror to find herself deprived of all her capitals, for Warsaw and Cracow had fallen before the warlike king of Sweden; the unfortunate John Kasimir fled for protection to the Roman empire.
Then it was that the crafty influence of the Austrian envoy, the Jesuit Allegretti, had its effect, and a truce was concluded with Poland, which ceded all the conquered places till a lasting peace should be concluded, solely for the purpose of turning our arms against our Swedish allies. To draw the Tsar still further into this ruinous war, they offered him the crown of Poland, and he was even solemnly proclaimed in the Diet, as the heir to John Kasimir. Seduced by this artful policy, the Tsar suddenly directed his army upon Swedish Livonia, and that movement was the turning point of his military fortune. Dinabourg and some other fortresses were taken by storm, but when he assaulted the strong town of Riga, the Tsar met with a repulse, which cooled his love for martial exploits. He returned to Polotsk, and thence to the capital. There he met again his family a second time preserved safe by the care of Nikon from the infection of the plague, which had raged without intermission during the whole period of the campaign, breaking out afresh in a dreadful manner at different places. In the mean time the useless war with Sweden was continued for two years with varying fortune on the part of our leaders, and it was only by the prudence of Ordin Naschokin, deputy of Livonia, that this conquered province was preserved to Russia. In the mean time died the brave General Boutourlin, who, together with the son of the hetman, had ravaged the southern frontiers of Poland, Bogdan Kmelnitsky also, the great author of the deliverance of Little Russia, died almost immediately after Silvester Kossov metropolitan of Kiev (1657), and in consequence of this loss the whole of the Ukraine was for many years exposed to anarchy, treason, and bloodshed.
At the same time that the external affairs of the kingdom had taken such an unfavourable turn, there arose within its bosom a disturbance injurious to the interests of the Church, with reference to the Patriarch Nikon. During the two years absence of the Tsar, he had been a strict governor, and had regulated the affairs of the kingdom authoritatively not as the chief prelate but as the friend of his sovereign, whose unlimited confidence he enjoyed. This had roused the hatred and envy of the boyars of the first rank who were related to the crown, the Morozovs, Miloslafskys, and Streshnevs, and of the Princes Troubetskoy, Dolgorouky, Odoefsky, and Ro-modanofsky. The Tsaritsa herself was secretly ill disposed towards him, either from her relationship to the Miloslafskys, or from jealousy of his influence over her husband. Those nobles who were kept down and thrown into the shade by the splendour of Nikonís genius, could not endure with patience to see him exercise the sole authority in the Assembly of the Boyars, and in the Tsarís Council. Nikon, on the other side, from the natural stiffness of his character, was ever deepening the offence, which they took by the roughness and arbitrariness with which he acted, and by making them feel too much his superiority. Macarius the patriarch of Antioch, who in his two visits to Russia was witness both of the prosperity and of the fall of this illustrious man, has written an account of his life and administration during the absence of the Tsar Alexis.
Nikon, although weighed down with the whole burden of the civil affairs of the empire, still continued to be the strict monk on the patriarchal throne, observing all the services of the Church, and that too with so much zeal for the instruction of the clergy, that during the Liturgy he always had by him some one or other of the oldest copies of the Office-Book, with which he compared the ceremonies and the prayers. He showed himself to the people only in the church, and in the short passage from his apartments to the cathedral of the Assumption he was used to receive petitions, which he either decided on the spot, or the next day. In the morning at a fixed hour on the ringing of a bell the boyars charged with the administration of the government assembled in the Cross Room in the palace. The patriarch came out to them and decided on the business submitted to him standing; but if any one came too late for this audience he had to wait for some hours in his anti-chamber. On one occasion when certain of the boyars returning from the Polish campaign, had brought with them some Icons of Latin device, and put up organs in their houses, the patriarch ordered both the one and the other to be taken away from them and to be committed to the flames, as things inconsistent with Orthodoxy; and he himself rebuked them aloud in the cathedral in the presence of the sovereign, calling each one by his name.
The patriarch was not less hard upon the clergy. Having himself passed through all its ranks and conditions, having been a novice in a monastery, parish priest for two years in a country village and in the capital, then again for a long time monk and recluse in a wild solitude, hcgumen in a poor and lone convent, archimandrite of a rich monastery, metropolitan of the first diocese, and last of all patriarch, he had experienced all that a spiritual person can experience, and having shown in every station a strict pattern of good conduct he exacted the same with equal strictness from all who were under his authority. He severely punished intemperance according to the custom of those times with stripes and imprisonment, not sparing even his own confessor. Nikon required also, as far as it was possible, that those who came to him to be ordained either as Deacons or Priests, should have received some degree of education, at the least that they should be able to read and write, and he never ordained in his own patriarchal diocese any one whom he had not first personally examined in reading; and this too appeared at that time a very oppressive measure. But above all, he was remarkable for his severity in punishing every violation of ecclesiastical order; he was not content with bringing to punishment those evil-minded men Habbakuk, Lazarus, Nicetas, and the Neronovs, but pursued with his anger also Paul of Kolomna, as soon as he observed that this bishop after having given his assent to the vote of the Synod for the correction of the books, was openly doing all he could to prevent its being carried into effect. The patriarch deprived him by his own authority of his bishopric, and confined him in a monastery, without any trial by other bishops, and thus exposed himself to the accusation of having violated the Canons of the Councils, which order that every bishop should have a regular trial. The superior clergy were irritated by this conduct, and endured it only for the time; they had already long ago been mortified at the extraordinary grandeur of Nikon, a grandeur which seemed only proper for Philaret, as the father of the Tsar, but which excited the envy of his equals against a man of obscure extraction. Those who were nearest to the person of the patriarch, were at the same time also his bitterest enemies, Pitirim, metropolitan of Sarai, the vicar of his ecclesiastical province, and Paul, archimandrite of the Choudov monastery, who eventually succeeded to the place of Pitirim, when the latter was translated to the metropolitan see of Novgorod also Hilarion archbishop of and others, although they had all been ordained by patriarch himself.
There was only one man who sincerely loved Nikon, from the recollection of his services and his unchangeable affection, " and that man was the mild Tsar Alexis, and to him alone was the patriarch devoted with all his soul, and was zealous even to excess for his glory. He could not see with patience the influence, which the boyars about his person exercised over him, and they at length by their intrigues attained the end they wished for, in estranging the monarch from him. The Tsarís two yearsí absence taught him to do without the constant advice of the patriarch; the unsuccessful Swedish campaign, after the brilliant successes in Lithuania, inspired an involuntary feeling against the untoward counsel which had prompted that war, and on his return, the general outcry of the boyars and clergy against the self willed absolutism of Nikon contributed still more to cool the affections of the Tsar. The patriarch soon remarked this. Their daily friendly intercourse at table and their frequent private consultations were discontinued. Some ecclesiastical dispositions made by Nikon were set aside by the Tsar. Thus by an ukaz, the monastery of the Epiphany at Polotsk which the patriarch had declared a Stauropegia, that is, to depend from henceforth immediately on himself alone, was suddenly taken away from him and placed under the jurisdiction of Callistus, who had been consecrated bishop of the diocese of Polotsk.
In the mean time, the Monastery-Court, which had remained inoperative during the powerful administration of Nikon, began already gradually to judge in causes affecting spiritual persons, and their landed properties, and sometimes questions were raised about the properties themselves when they had been acquired contrary to the edicts of John, and the Council of the Boyars began to act with more decision, grounding themselves upon that constitution. Nikon was not of a character to yield to men witli whom he had not been accustomed even to divide the confidence of the Tsar. He expressed himself in terms of indignation at the new state of affairs, and still hoped and expected to regain the attention of his sovereign; but the nobles, knowing the sensitiveness of his disposition, fed it with repeated personal insults.
Everything was prepared for a complete rupture, they only waited for a convenient opportunity. Perceiving the loss of his former influence in the affairs of the State and even in those of the Church, Nikon could no longer endure to occupy himself with them under the control of others, and began to meditate his own retirement. With this view he diligently employed himself in building three convents, the Krestnoy, Tversky, and Voskresensky, which he founded in memory of the three most remarkable epochs of his life, his having been a hermit at Solovetsky, metropolitan of Novgorod, and patriarch of all the Russias. He seemed to feel ashamed of his own degradation in the capital, and passed his time at a distance from it in monastic labours, while his enemies took advantage of his absence to procure his entire removal. Still however the affectionate heart of the Tsar drew him even in spite of himself into the company of the man who had once been his only friend, and their mutual feelings were touchingly displayed, for the last time, at the consecration of the wooden church of the new convent of Voskresensk, that is, of the Resurrection. The Tsar, looking down from the hill now called the Mount of Olives on the picturesque view which surrounded him, remarked to the patriarch, that God seemed from the beginning to have prepared this as a site for a monastery, " for said he, " it is as beautiful as Jerusalem itself." Nikon, whose heart was moved at that name, gratified the Tsar by calling the whole convent New Jerusalem, and charged the bursar, Arsenius Souchanoff, who was then travelling in the East for the collection of manuscripts, to bring him a model of the Holy Sepulchre, after the pattern of which he immediately laid the foundations of a large stone church.
About a year passed, and in the mean time calumnies and dissatisfactions increased; the Tsar, who was quite in the hands of the boyars, rarely had an interview with the patriarch, and even ceased to attend at the cathedral when he officiated; the courtiers railed at him, and one of them, Streshneff; even dared to call his dog by the patriarchís name. A free and ingenuous explanation between the Tsar and the prelate was the only thing which might still perhaps have extinguished the dissensions that had been kindled and blown into a flame; but when once a mutual misunderstanding is established between those who have before loved each other, the very recollection of their former friendship poisons the wounds of their hearts, because the change itself in their mutual relations is felt as a sort of wrong and offence by both.
At length the occasion arrived for a complete rupture (1638). Teymouraz, Tsar of Georgia, harassed at once by the civil discords of his own people and by the invasions of the Persians and Turks, came in person to seek for protection from the powerful Tsar of Russia, and was received by Alexis with great pomp. The patriarch also quitted his retirement, in order to increase by his presence the splendour of the reception. When the meeting with Teymouraz took place, an attendant of the Tsar, named Khitrov, in clearing the way for him, struck one of the patriarchís boyars, and repeated the blow with terms of abuse. Nikon, incensed at this, demanded satisfaction, but through the intrigues of the boyars was put off without receiving it; he reckoned on coming to a personal explanation with the Tsar in the church on the festival of the Robe of Christ; but contrary to his usual custom, the Tsar was withheld from leaving the palace, and the prince Romodanofsky, having gone to the cathedral to inform the patriarch of this circumstance, began to reproach him for his pride on account of the title of Great Lord.
At this Nikon lost all patience, and gave himself up to his indignation: when he had finished the Liturgy, he declared to all the people that his unworthiness was the cause of all the wars and pestilences, and of all the disorders of the kingdom: he then placed the staff of Peter the Thaumaturgean the Icon of the Blessed Virgin, which had been brought from Vladimir, and declared with a loud voice that from thenceforth he was no longer patriarch of Moscow; he took off his Episcopal robes, notwithstanding the entreaties of the clergy and the people, put on a common monkís mantle, and having written in the vestry a letter to the Tsar advertising him of his abdication of the patriarchal throne, he sat down on the steps of the Ambon and awaited the answer. The monarch was troubled and sent the prince Troubetskoy, to exhort him to remain, but this prince also was in the number of his enemies. The people wept and kept the doors of the cathedral shut, but Nikon remained inflexible, and refusing to return any more into the patriarchal lodgings, went out of the Kremlin on foot to the town house of the Iversky monastery, and from thence without waiting for any permission from the Tsar he proceeded to the monastery of the Resurrection, and refused to make use of the carriage that had been sent for him. Prince Troubeskoy went again after him to that monastery, to enquire in the name of the Tsar the reason of his departure. Nikon answered, that he sought for quiet for the sake of his soulís health, again renounced the patriarchate, and asked only to be permitted to retain his three monasteries the Voskresensky, Iversky and Krestnoy, gave his benediction to Pitirim the metropolitan of the Steeps, to direct the affairs of the Church, and lastly, in a toiiching letter humbly begged the Christian forgiveness of the Tsar for his sudden departure from the capital.
A report of an invasion of the Crimeans again turned upon the patriarch the thoughts of the Tsar, who was alarmed at the danger to which he was exposed in the undefended monastery of Voskresensk. He sent to him one of his own personal attendants with the proposition that he should retire while tho invasion lasted to the fortified monastery of Macarius Koliazinsky. Nikon took this as an announcement that he was to be imprisoned, and replied to the messenger that there was another place in Moscow quite as well suited for the purpose, and where he would be even more secure, close to the monastery of the Conception, meaning the city prison. He went himself straight to the capital, where however it was days before he could gain admission to an interview with the Tsar, and that only in the presence of the boyars or of the Tsaritsa, after which he returned back to his own monastery. But a return of peace and calm after the storm while Nikon was within so short a distance of the court might have been dangerous to his enemies; they therefore adopted new measures for irritating him. His secret archives in the patriarchal palace were suddenly broken open, and Nikon bitterly complained in a letter to the Tsar of this violation not only of his own private secrets and those of the state which were in his keeping, but also of others which his spiritual children had entrusted to him as to their pastor for the relief of their consciences. He ascribed this proceeding to a wish to get out of his possession all the letters he had received from the Tsar, in which he was styled Great Lord, and testifying at the same time that he had always refused this pompous and for him unsuitable title, he entreated that the Tsarís wrath might be appeased. Some short time after this the presumption of the metropolitan Pitirim, who assumed all the rights of the Patriarch, and even personated him in performing the ceremonies of Palm Sunday, and in the customary procession on an ass round the city, again provoked Nikon; he was not yet able to divest himself of the idea that he was still patriarch, and had already discovered in his vicar a personal enemy. He removed farther from the capital to the White Sea, to the Krestnoy monastery, where he passed more than a year in ascetic exercises.
In the mean time the affairs of the Church could not be left in such a state of disorder. Alexis convoked in the capital a council of the Russian bishops and of some Greek prelates who happened to be there, to come to some decision on the actions of the patriarch; and in the mean time, he sent an officer of the Table named Poushkin to him to the White sea to desire of him to give them a definitive permission to choose another patriarch. Nikon, though he confirmed his own former abdication, yet feared the power his enemy might have if he were to succeed him, and in consequence would give no permission to others to proceed to a new election or consecration, but reserved that right exclusively to himself. He well knew the men who were to be his judges, for in their Synod all the rancour, which they had treasured up against him had abundantly displayed itself. The metropolitan of the Steeps endeavoured to prove by a number of witnesses that the patriarch had broken off without finishing the Liturgy, and had left his throne with an oath that he would never return to it, which was contradicted by the testimony of Michael, metropolitan of Serbia, and of others who were present at the time but heard no such oath at all. Even the Greek strangers showed themselves hostile to Nikon, and Cyril archbishop of Cyprus maintained that for the fault he had committed he ought to be deprived of all the properties bestowed upon him by the sovereign, and that it was not fitting to entrust monasteries to the government of prelates who had retired from their episcopal duties for the sake of repose, although this practice is a regular custom in the Eastern Church. Another of the Greeks reproached Nikon with the insolence of Hainan: all agreed unanimously not only to his deposition from the patriarchal throne, but even to his degradation from the episcopal dignity, because he had of his own will quitted his diocese, and they endeavoured to confirm this decision by extracts from the Canons of the Councils. Only two but they eloquent defenders took Nikonís part in the council: the one Epiphanius Slavenetsky, a learned monk and priest of the Pechersky monastery, who had transcribed all the acts of the councils, and who declared that he had never found any canon of the Church to deprive a bishop who resigned his see of his orders; the other, who was Ignatius archimandrite of Polotsk, contended in opposition to the decision of the council for the election of a new patriarch, that the Russian bishops had not the right to judge their own primate without the concurrence of the Eastern patriarchs, and his voice reached the heart of the mild Tsar, who was unwilling to take upon himself the condemnation of Nikon.
In the midst of circumstances of so much difficulty and disorder, there came to the capital a Greek prelate named Paisius Ligarides, who had formerly been metropolitan of Gaza, and who had been long wandering about Italy and Greece without a diocese. This man the patriarch Nikon himself had three years before invited from Moldavia, little foreseeing that he was to find in him a bitter enemy. Paisius brought letters from Parthenius patriarch of Constantinople, recommending him as a person well versed in all that related to the discipline and offices of the Church, and qualified to examine the conduct of Nikon. Ligarides was favorably received by the Tsar and boyars, took the side of the enemies of Nikon, and was made president of the Synod, which continued to sit and govern the Church during the absence of the patriarch.
Nikon again returned from the Krestnoy monastery to Voskresensk, that he might be nearer at hand to watch the proceedings of the Synod. At first, he was well pleased at the arrival of Paisius, who had formerly been kindly treated by him, and wrote him a letter of complaint, stating all his grievances, but he soon found out his mistake. He then made application by means of a similar letter to Dionysius the new patriarch of Constantinople relating to him as to a brother all that he had done from his very first accession to the patriarchate, and all the injuries and insults he had suffered; but this letter was intercepted, and served only as a fresh ground of accusation against him. The Boyar Streshnev, one of the most virulent enemies of the patriarch, laid before Paisius thirty questions artfully prepared on purpose with reference to Nikonís conduct, and Ligarides wrote him answers condemnatory of it grounded upon the Canons. Nikon was provoked at this, and composed in his own defence a reply at length to the questions and answers of them both, in which, together with a deep knowledge of the sacred Scriptures, he freely manifested the indignation, which swelled within his breast. In the mean time, Paisius, who was the instrument and channel of all relations between the Tsar and Synod and the Eastern patriarchs, sent them twenty-five similar questions, concerning the limits of the royal and patriarchal authorities, and the conduct, and trial of Nikon, not naming him, but only laying before them certain cases for their decision; and, agreeably to the spirit of these questions, the answers of the four patriarchs, procured through a secretary of the Tsar in Constantinople, were all in favor of the Synod. Nectarius of Jerusalem alone, though he had given his signature to the common document, wrote a separate letter on his own account, to entreat the Tsar to bear in mind the former services of Nikon, and graciously to restore him to the patriarchal throne, in order to put an end to all dissension and scandal.
Great, indeed, was the scandal in the Church of Russia, arising from this long dissension, and the enemies of Orthodoxy rejoiced at it. On the one side, Paisius and those members of the clergy who were hostile to Nikon, acting irresponsibly and doing many things to gratify the boyars in the election of bishops and in the affairs of the Church, were less anxious for the good of the Church herself than for the final downfall of Nikon, and heaped upon him all kinds of reproaches and mortifications, because they had already gone so far that they could not recede; while, in the mean time, those false teachers, Lazarus, Habbakuk, Nicetas, the monk Capito, and others, taking advantage of the opportunity afforded them by the fall of Nikon, spread abroad reports that the real ground of his trial was heresy, and his having corrupted the Church books. On the other side, Nikon himself, though he wasted his body with prayer and fasting in his solitary hermitage, and worked like a common mason at the building of the church of the Holy Sepulchre, was not humbled in spirit. Such was the morbid and gloomy state of his soul, that he took to heart every affront, and continually overstepped the due limits of the episcopal character. He did not spare his enemies either in speech or in writing, but delivered them over to an anathema for the wrongs they had committed against the religious houses, especially in taking their estates, so that he even exposed himself to an accusation, though that was indeed utterly unfounded, of having pronounced a curse against the Tsar. But against him alone Nikon entertained no enmity: knowing however the artifices of the noble, he only complained to him by letter, or through trustworthy persons; and his generous sovereign, recollecting his former affection, alone strove with the numerous enemies of the patriarch, and would not deliver him up to their malice, but was constantly sending presents and offerings to the monastery at Voskresensk. At length for the sake of establishing peace in the Church, the Tsar was obliged to invite the Eastern patriarchs to form a court for his trial, and sent his letters to that effect to the four Ecumenical thrones.
There was however among all the courtiers hostile to Nikon one man who wished him well, and that was a boyar named Nicetas Ziuzin. Afflicted at the injurious consequences of these prolonged dissensions, and hearing continually from those who were most about the Tsar, how painful the obstinacy of the patriarch was to his affectionate heart, and how much he desired his return on account of their mutual vow of friendship, and his wish to consult him on the state of his affairs with Poland, the incautious boyar determined to act upon report alone. Ho wrote to Nikon desiring him to come unexpectedly to Moscow, on the festival of Peter the Wonder-worker, to Matins in the cathedral of the Assumption, and from thence send to invite the Tsar to attend the prayers as was his former custom, just as if there had been no differences between them, and that so the past might be consigned to oblivion. The prelate received two such letters and still hesitated: but the favourable reception given to the archimandrite of Voskresensk who had been sent by him to the Sabbin monastery to the sovereign, shook Nikonís resolution: at length a vision which he had himself as he slept in his solitary hermitage, in which it seemed to him as if the whole line of palates his predecessors rose up from their tombs in the church of the Assumption at the call of the Wonderworker Jonah, and gave him their hands to raise him a second time to his Chair, decided the patriarch.
He went secretly by night to the city, accompanied by the brethren of the monastery of Voskresensk, for the festival of the Metropolitan Peter, entered publicly into the church of the Assumption, and after having saluted the holy relics and Icons, took his stand in the patriarchís place, with the staff of the Wonderworker which he had before himself laid aside and left on the same spot. The good old man Jonah metropolitan of Rostov, who had been guardian of the patriarchate since the removal of Pitirim to Novgorod, astounded at the sudden appearance of the patriarch himself went up to him to receive his blessing with all the clergy of the cathedral. The patriarch sent him to the palace with the intelligence of his own arrival, as if he had just returned after making a long progress about his ecclesiastical province, and invited the Tsar to the cathedral to receive his blessing and to assist at the prayers.
The Tsar was no less astounded than the Metropolitan Jonah had been. He had already heard Matins in the chapel of the upper story of his own palace, only a few steps distant from the cathedral, and in perplexity he sent for the boyars of his privy council and the spiritual authorities. The moment was a critical one, for on it depended their own fall or the final deposition of Nikon. They persuaded the Tsar not to admit the patriarch to an interview, but only to receive from him a letter in which he had described his vision, and the princes Odoefsky and Dolgorouky with the Metropolitan Paul went to the cathedral, to notify to him the Tsarís pleasure that he should return to the monastery of Voskresensk, and there wait till he should be tried by the Ecumenical Patriarchs.
Nikon was now in his turn surprised, for he had supposed that by his unexpected return he was gratifying the secret wishes ofthe monarch. The patriarch could scarcely believe what he heard, and suspected some underhand management of his enemies. He left the cathedral, but took with him the staff of the Wonderworker as a proof that he had never left his throne with any vow of renouncing it. The monarch was informed of this, and sent after him to the village of Cherncvo to take the staff away from him and to ask the reason of his having come to Moscow. Nikon would not deliver up the staff to Paul the metropolitan of the Steeps, or Joachim the archimandrite of the Choudoff, as they were his enemies; but he sent it by his own archimandrite direct to the Tsar, together with the letters of invitation he had received from the Boyar Ziuzin, who was banished to Kazan in consequence.
In the mean time, Nikon plainly perceiving that it was all over with him, and that there was no longer any hope of a reconciliation, declared by the same messenger his consent to the election of a new patriarch, with the stipulation that he should keep his three convents with their properties, in the regulation of which the diocesan prelates were not to interfere, nor in the appointment of the officiating clergy of those three monasteries or of the churches depending upon them; also that he should retain the title of patriarch, and the second place in Synods, and have free access to the Tsar and liberty of communicating with all who wished to visit him; and at the same time, he promised to absolve from his anathema the capital and all those whom in his anger he had subjected to it. But the Synod having considered his proposals, refused to recognise his independence of the new patriarch, or to allow him liberty to ordain in his own monasteries without interference of the diocesan; it demanded the restoration of those estates which he had transferred from other places to the new monastery of Voskresensk, deprived it further of the high-sounding name of New Jerusalem, and lastly, limited his visits to the capital. At the same time the Synod imposed a penance on Jonah metropolitan of Rostov, for having dared to present himself to Nikon for his blessing in the church of the Assumption, and named Paul the metropolitan of the Steeps as guardian of the patriarchate. But when the news came that the Patriarchs Paisius of Alexandria and Macarius of Antioch were coming into Russia, all the prelates who were assembled in the capital, together with the whole of the clergy, alarmed by the rumors which ill-intentioned men had spread among the people of the heterodoxy of these patriarchs who had been so long oppressed by the Turkish yoke, and of the incorrectness of the Greek books, unanimously took an oath that they acknowledged both the Greek prelates and their books to be orthodox.
The time now arrived when an end was to be put to the disturbances which had for eight years agitated the Russian Church, and the powerful individual Nikon, on whom the general attention had been fixed for the last twenty years, was to descend from that stage on which he had acted so lofty a part. The Ecumenical patriarchs arrived from the East, and were met and received with due honors at all the places through which they passed on their road. The Archbishop Joseph remained at Astrachan on purpose to receive them; but all the rest, together with the Greek bishops who either were in Moscow at the time or came with the patriarchs, and together with the archimandrites and hegumens of the first rank both of our own nation and of the Easterns, presented in the halls of the Kremlin the spectacle of a more imposing Synod than the Church of Russia had ever hitherto witnessed. Besides the two patriarchs, and a third, the new patriarch of Moscow, who was added in the sequel, there were present four Russian metropolitans, Pitirim of Novogorod, Laurentius of Kazan, Jonah of Rostov, and Paul of the Steeps; six Greek metropolitans, of Nice, Amasia, Iconium, Trebizond, Varna, and Scio, one from Georgia, and one from Serbia; Paisius of Gaza declined sitting for fear lest he himself should be called in question for deserting his own diocese in Palestine, and in fact he was so exposed, though somewhat later, in a letter which Nectarius the patriarch of Jerusalem wrote to the Tsar; the archbishop of Sinai and a Wallachian archbishop took their seats, together with six Russian archbishops, Simon of Vologda the meek friend of Nikon, Philaret of Smolensk, Stephen of Souzdal, Hilarion of Riazan, a fierce accuser of the patriarch, Joseph of Tver, Arsenius of Pskov there were also present five bishops, Misael of Kolomna, the successor of Paul who had been degraded, Alexander of Viatka, Joachim from Slavano-Serbia, and two from the dioceses recently reunited from Poland, Lazarus Earanovich the eloquent and virtuous pastor of Chernigov, and Methodius of Mistislavla another of Nikonís chief enemies; besides these there assisted at the Council more than fifty archimandrites, hegumens, and archpriests, without counting monks and other spiritual persons.
Before this Council so composed Nikon was solemnly cited to appear from the monastery of Voskresensk, and went with the same sort of preparation as if he were going to his death, having received the Viaticum of the Holy Gifts and the Unction with oil, for he had already a presentiment of the bitter fate which awaited him. He received the third summons in the village of Chernevo, and stopped in the Kitai at the lodge of his monastery, which was surrounded by a guard. He did not however present himself before the Council in the Tsarís palace in any other character than that of patriarch, and with the form which denoted his rank, that is, with the cross borne before him: and when he saw that there was no place prepared for him on a level with those of the Eastern patriarchs, he would not seat himself but remained standing, and so heard his accusation from the lips of the monarch himself. It ran upon the disorders he had occasioned in the Church by his self-willed retirement and his capricious actions for the last eight years past. Tears fell from the eyes of the mild Tsar, at having thus harshly to accuse a man who had once been so near to his heart, and the Council also was moved to tears. He further blamed Nikon for the letter of complaint, which he had written to the patriarch of Constantinople, and then testified before all that he entertained no personal ill-will against him.
Nikon replied that he had retired to avoid the royal anger: that he had indeed fixed his residence in a convent, but still that convent was within the limits of his own diocese, which he had never renounced with an oath as he was falsely accused of having done, but only sought to be out of the way of the factions and intrigues of the boyars; as for the letter to the Ecumenical patriarch he said that he had written it as a private letter from one brother to another, and never expected that it should be made public to cause any hurt or scandal. Then there rose up against him his malicious accusers, Paul metropolitan of the Steeps, Hilarion of Riazan, and Methodius of Mistislavla, with their charge of his having left his throne with an oath never to return, of his having arbitrarily degraded Paul of Kolomna, and of his general harsh conduct towards the clergy; while Nikon in his powerful replies gave full course to his indignation and did not spare his accusers.
On the second day after this, he was again summoned before the Council, and heard besides the old fresh accusations brought against him; that he had said the Russian Church was Latinizing, because of the presidency of Paisius Ligarides, who had run away out of Greece into Italy and always spoke in the Latin language, and that he had refused to acknowledge a copy of the Nomo-canon as orthodox, because it had been printed in the West. Both the patriarchs, in attestation of the genuineness of its canons, kissed the book in the midst of the Council. Then the Tsar Alexis turning round to his boyars and seeing they were all silent, asked them whether they had not some more charges to bring against the patriarch; but the prince Dolgorouky was the only one who stepped out from among them to prefer any accusation, for all the rest had only personal causes of enmity against Nikon, which they dared not make public. In the mean time, the patriarch taking advantage of the silence of the rest, contemptuously exclaimed, "That they might perhaps have a chance with stones, but that they would never put an end to him with words, even though they should spend nine years more in collecting them." In the mean time Nikonís letter to the patriarch was being read, and questions were put respecting the harsh expressions it contained. The affectionate heart of the Tsar however could not endure to see his former friend standing before him in so cruel a position, sometimes answering to his accusers and at others remaining speechless: he quietly left his throne and approaching Nikon took him by the hand and said, "Oh Most Holy Father., why hast thou put upon me such a reproach, preparing thyself for the Council as if thou wert going to be put to death? thinkest thou I have forgotten all thy services both to myself personally and to my family during the plague, and our former mutual friendship?"
He then mildly expostulated with him for his letter to the Patriarch Dionysius, with expressions of his desire for peace. The patriarch answered him with equal gentleness, exposing all the intrigues that had been formed against him: he excused himself for his private letter which had been intercepted through want of sufficient precaution, and notwithstanding the pacific assurances of the Tsar, feeling that it was impossible now to undo the past, he foretold his own severe sentence of condemnation. This was their first interview and their first unrestrained conversation after a separation of seven years; and by this little brief communication their hearts were mutually warmed again towards each other. It was the last time they were destined to meet during this mortal life.
A week was spent in the deliberations of the Council; extracts were made from the Nomo-canon corresponding with the different charges against Nikon; they also enumerated the precedents which had occurred in the Church of Constantinople, of patriarchs who had quitted their thrones of their oivn accord and never returned to them, of others who had returned, and lastly of those in whose places new patriarchs had been elected. Only one voice, that of the Bishop Lazarus, was given in opposition to the rest in favour of Nikon, who he thought should only be deprived of the patriarchal chair, but allowed to retain his dignity. The two Eastern patriarchs wrote letters to the Ecumenical patriarch and to the patriarch of Jerusalem, excusing themselves for having found themselves obliged, in consequence of not meeting them or their legates in the Muscovite capital, to proceed to the trial of Nikon without them. Lastly, Nikon himself summoned for the third time before the Council, which now no longer assembled in the palace, for the kind-hearted. Alexis could not bear to be present at his condemnation, but in a small church over the gates of the Choudoff monastery. They read over his accusation to him: it was, that he had caused disorders in the kingdom of Russia by interfering in affairs that did not belong to the place and authority of the patriarch; that he had voluntarily deserted his chair with an oath never to return to it for no better reason than for an affront offered to one of his retinue; that after thus retiring from the patriarchate he had exercised an arbitrary authority in his three monasteries, and had given them the ambitious names of Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Calvary, and the like; that he had plundered like a robber, and if he had been suffered to go on, would have gotten possession of the third part of the kingdom; that he had done all he could to hinder the election of a new patriarch, anathematizing numbers, while in consequence of his retirement all kinds of scandals and divisions were multiplied; that he had arbitrarily deposed Paul, bishop of Kolomna, and had been otherwise harsh and oppressive towards the clergy; that he had made complaints against the Tsar to the Eastern patriarchs; that he had said the Church was Latinizing, and had calumniated the Canons of the Councils and the patriarchs themselves in his pride. Immediately after his accusations they read to him his sentence, which was, that he should be degraded, and retain only the quality of a simple monk, to do penance for the rest of his life in a remote monastery.
Then the patriarchs, one of whom, the patriarch of Antioch, had seen Nikon in all his greatness, and had partaken of his bounty, approaching him in their mantles, ordered his Khlobouk, which was embroidered with cherubims in pearls, to be taken from him; but Nikon refused to lay aside this mark of his monastic quality, and demanded of them "why they degraded him thus unjustly and privily without the presence of the Tsar, and in that small church? that they ought rather to do it publicly in the cathedral of the Assumption, in the place where they had formerly implored him to ascend the patriarchal throne." But when they had taken awav from him his Khlobouk, leaving him still his episcopal mantle and crozier for fear of the people, he again reproached the patriarchs for their mean subserviency and for wandering about the world as they did; and offered to present them with the pearls of his Khlobouk, as something towards their maintenance. Of all the Russian bishops Simon of Vologda and Lazarus of Chernigoff were the only two who refused to be present at this painful business. Nikon was led away under a guard to the court-house of the province, and was overwhelmed on his way with the reproaches of the commissioners who conducted him, especially of the Archimandrite Sergius; but he bore all with that extraordinary firmness which in some passages of his life amounted to obstinacy. All those who had adhered to him were scattered abroad.
On the next day the good-natured monarch moved with compassion towards him sent him money and sable furs for his long journey; but Nikon would accept of nothing, and was sent poorly clad and under strict guard, to Bielo-ozero, that is, to the White lake, to the monastery of Therapontov, where apartments had been prepared for his confinement. Joseph archimandrite of the Pechersky, who accompanied him from Kliazma, gave him a winter cloak to protect him from the cold; on his arrival at the monastery his episcopal staff and mantle were taken from him, and for some months his confinement was exceedingly severe.
12. The Patriarchs.
In the mean time the prelates who remained in Moscow continued to be occupied in regulating the affairs of the Church; and the first thing they did was to elect as patriarch of all Russia the archimandrite of the Trinity Lavra, the meek Joasaph, a man who by the great gentleness of his disposition disarmed all hostility. Although the arbitrary acts of the late patriarch had been condemned, and the high sounding name of his Jerusalem Monastery disallowed, and the estates which had been transferred to it taken away, still the faith of Nikon was acknowledged to have been pure, and his correction of the books was confirmed as canonical and agreeable to the spirit of the Orthodox Church; the vain glosses of the Monk Capito and the Popes Lazarus, Habbakuk, and Nicetas, respecting the position of the fingers, and the correct form of the Cross, the Name of Jesus, the Creed, and the Double Alleluia, and all their objections against the book put forth by authority of the Patriarch Nikon, under the title of the Skreejal or Table, were rejected and condemned. A new book which was composed for the refutation of their errors, entitled the Staff of Rule, served as the means of the tempoary conversion of Nicetas, who confessed his errors and was solved from the anathema of the Council under which the rest continued to lie. The acts themselves of the Council of Hundred Chapters, which had been the foundation of the subtleties in question, were annulled by the decision of the Patriarchal Council of Moscow, the authority of which was not far short of being Ecumenical; for the representativcs both of the Greek and of the Russian Churches were present at it: and so in the early ages the smaller or local synods were always liable to be corrected by those that were greater or Ecumenical. Besides this, many constitutions were passed relating to the internal and external discipline of the Church, and various customs which had crept in irregularly were reformed, as for instance, that of rebaptizing-converts from the Latin Church, the prohibiting widower priests to serve Churches, and some undue privileges which had been conferred on the archimandrites of great monasteries.
The Pontifical which had been brought to Nikon by the blessed Athanasius Patellarius patriarch of Constantinople, was collated in the Council with other ancient Greek copies, as were also all the Directories and Office-Books, and were unanimously acknowledged to be correct. At the same time in consideration of the need caused by the increasing extent of the kingdom, the Council decided to raise certain dioceses to the dignity of metropolitan sees, as those of Astrachan, Tobolsk, and Riazan, and to form a fresh one at Bielogorod for the newly-settled townships of the Ukraine; to restore the suppressed sees of Nijgorod and Vladimir to make Perm separate, as it had been before, from Viatka, forming at the same time a distinct diocese for Archangel. The ancient towns of Chernigoff, Pskoff, and Kolomna, had the honour of being advanced to be archbishoprics, while the metropolitans ol Novogorod, Kazan, Rostov, and Riazan, were relieved of sonic part of their burden by the appointment of bishops-vicars to assist them, who took their titles from Kargopol, Oustiog, Oufa, Ouglich, Tambov and Voronege. It was also proposed to erect new bishoprics at Tomsk and on the Lena on account of their great distance from the metropolitan city of Tobolsk. Such important changes and establishments in the Churh remained as a lasting memorial of this Council, in which to the last time the Greek Church showed by the personal presence of her highest dignitaries the kindly interest she took in the Russian Church, which had originally derived from her the blessing of spiritual illumination.
When the Council was terminated Paisius patriarch of Alexandria took his leave, and was followed the next year by Alacarius of Antioch, both loaded with alms, honors, and presents. But although one of the teachers of false doctrine, the Priest Nicetas, had been converted from his errors, and another of them, Paul, the ex-bishop of Kolomna, was confined by decree of the Council in the monastery of Paleostrov, still the rest continued to be actively at work as before, nor could be silenced, although some of their number had been punished, and others banished to Siberia. The unsound decisions of the Hundred Chapter Council gave them a hold upon the opinion of the people, as did also the old printed books of the patriarchs, and the custom which had crept in not more than a century before of making the sign of the Cross with the fingers in a wrong position; while in the mean time it was not every one who could discern the propriety of the reforms made by the Council which had been just held.
The ancient Lavra of Solovetsky, which not long before in time of war had volunteered to contribute 50,000 silver roubles to assist the state, and had repelled since then fresh incursions of the Swedes, now set a deplorable example of error; and it was this very circumstance of military strength and resources of the monastery which became the cause arid means of its revolt. Some Streltses and Cossacks who had been sent for the defence of the island had brought thither with them the tares of schism, and having joined themselves with some of the religious and with some of the exiles who were there, they prevailed over the well-disposed portion of the fraternity. The spark had long lain concealed and smothering; at last it burst out into a flame. Even as far back as the year 1556 the books of divine service which had been sent to the Lavra were thrown aside, and all the offices continued according to the old fashion. Soon after the council of Moscow the schism showed itself by the insubordination of the bursar and treasurer who headed the brotherhood against the Archimandrite Bartholomew. They addressed to the Tsar a petition filled with vain subtleties, which is held even to the present day in great esteem amongst the Sectaries, and refused to receive their new Archimandrite Joseph. However the rebellious Bursar Sabbatius was removed from the Lavra, as was also the exiled prince Lvov who had formerly been at the head of the printing establishment in Moscow, and in that capacity had favoured the corruption of the church books, and had spread his infection through the monastery. Letters of exhortation were addressed to them by the Tsar to no purpose; and a detachment of the military which was sent afterwards proved too weak to produce any effect on 1,600 rebels, who had established themselves in the Lavra, and were provided with cannon, stores, and a military chest: in the mean time their teachers of false doctrine went about all the neighbouring coasts, and spread heresy and anarchy in the government of Olonetz, where many nests were formed of those schismatics who are called Pomorians. It was not till ten years later that the Tsarís general, Nescherinoff, after a long siege, succeeded in taking the Lavra by storm, and so restored it to the Orthodox party, when the evil had already struck deep root in all the surrounding districts, and had extended itself even into the distant Siberia.
The affairs of the state were not in a more flourishing condition than those of the Church during this second period of the reign of Alexis. The benevolences obtained from the monasteries, like those of the Trinity and Solovetsky, could not cover the extraordinary expenses of the ruinous war in Poland. The consequence of this was that a change took place in the coinage, and the introduction of the new copper money excited first murmurs among the people, and eventually an insurrection, which brought back to mind the first revolt of the Streltses. The Swedish war, which had been so unprofitable to Russia terminated in our restoring all those provinces, which had been subdued by our arms in the course of six years. But the Polish war still continued with an alternation of successes and defeats to both sides. Little Russia itself fell away for a time from the Muscovite sceptre by the treason of the Hetman Vitofsky, who had been elected contrary to the just claims of Youry son of Kmelnitsky. Deluding himself with the dream of entire independance for the Ukraine, he suffered himself to be captivated by deceitful promises on the part of Poland of civil and religious liberty, and purpled with blood that rich country, the re-union of which to Russia had been effected without the shedding of so much as one single drop. The Poles and the brigands of the Crimea seized the opportunity offered by the disordered state of the Ukraine, to pillage sometimes as allies of Vitofsky, at others as those of Youry. Youry himself made his appearance in the field as claimant for his fatherís hetmanship, was acknowledged by Russia, betrayed her, and finally terminated his strange and stormy career in the flower of his age by taking the monastic vows; while he left the hetmanship of the Zaporog horde first to Seter, then to Opar, and afterwards to Doroshenko. The most experienced generals of the Tsar, Troubetskoy, Romodanofsky, and Sheremetiev, lost several battles owing to disputes about precedence, while there was a contention between the two Ukraines. But when the Zaporog Cossacks beyond the Falls fell away, then those who were settled on the Russian side remained devotedly attached to the Tsar of Moscow, under the command of their brave Ataman Samki, and the new hetman of that part of the Ukraine, Bruchovetsky.
The ecclesiastical hierarchy, of which Kiev was the centre, had been in no less deplorable a state of disorder since the death of Silvester Kossov, in consequence of intestine divisions. Dionysius Boloban bishop of Loutsk having with the consent of the Tsar been appointed metropolitan in Pereyaslavla refused to receive consecration from the patriarch of Moscow, and in consequence, Methodius, who had been ordained bishop of Mistislavla, was sent to Kiev to act as guardian of the metropolitan see. Dionysius died at Korsoun; and upon this the clergy assembled at Chigirin, elected in his room Joseph Toukalsky, bishop of Mogilev (1664), as the new metropolitan, out of consideration for the persecutions which he had suffered at the hands of the Uniates. But the hetman of the Ukraine on the other bank of the Dnieper for his part favoured the claims of Anthony bishop of Vinnitsa. Besides these there appeared afterwards a third candidate for the chair of Kiev in the person of Joseph archbishop of Lvov, who confided in the protection of Poland, and some years afterwards in consequence of having had his ambition disappointed, went over with all his diocese to the Unia.
Joseph was very unfortunate at Chigirin, where he was metropolitan only in name: the distinguished Polish general, Chernetsky, took him prisoner, together with the Archimandrite Youry Kmelnitsky, and when he regained his liberty after a three yearsí imprisonment, he no longer dared to go to Kiev, but remained in Wilna till the conclusion of the truce of Androusov. By this Smolensk and Chernigov were apportioned to Russia, but the Principality of Lithuania to Poland; the Ukraine was divided between the two powers, and broken up into two hetmanships. When this took place, the metropolitan attached himself to the brave hetman of Chigirin Doroshenko, and gave him the support of his presence. The truce shook the confidence of the clergy of Little Russia, and although the Tsar Alexis declared himself the defender of orthodoxy against the Unia, and demanded that the persecutions should cease, still Kiev itself, by the terms of the treaty, was after two years to pass again under the yoke of Poland, and the Tsarís commanders had violated the rights and privileges of the Ukraine, so that even the Hetman Bruchovetsky himself deserted Russia before his death.
In the mean time, the archimandrite of the Pechersky, Innocentius Gizel, in vain demanded by a synodal letter the election of a new metropolitan; for the two senior bishops, Lazarus of Chernigov and Methodius of Mistislavla, were in Moscow at the trial of the patriarch, and the clergy of the Ukraine were obliged occasionally to have recourse to Metropolitan Joseph in Chigirin. The guardian of the see, Methodius, soon after his return to Kiev, was taken prisoner hy the Hetman Doroshenko, and deprived of his rank by the Metropolitan Joseph. He escaped from imprisonment by flying to Moscow, but there he was convicted of holding criminal correspondence with the Hetman Bruchovetsky, and ended his days in the Novospassky monastery. Lazarus, archbishop of Chernigoff, succeeded to his office and held it during the hetmanship of Mnogogreshny, and under the brave Samuelovich, who at length succeeded in uniting the government of both the Ukraines in his own person. So desperate was the state of Kiev, that the hetman and the guardian proposed to transfer the metropolitan chair from the ancient capital of orthodoxy to Pereyaslavla or Chernigov, while the Metropolitan Joseph, in order to rid himself if possible of his two rivals, of Vinnitsa and Lvov, obtained letters of confirmation from Methodius patriarch of Constantinople. He died however in Chigirin, after having first lost his protector the hetman Dorosheako, who was at length subdued by the arms of Russia, while the greater part of the Ukraine on the other side the Dnieper, with Kamenets-Podolsky, was in the hands of the Turks whom he had called in, and the new king of Poland, the valiant John Sobiesky, was contending, with the assistance of the hetman of the Ukraine, against their immense hosts.
But the protection of King John did not procure, after the death of Joseph, the metropolitan chair of Kiev for the archbishop of Lvoff, nor did his own traitorous desertion of orthodoxy bring him any personal advantage. The Uniatcs had already their own Metropolitan Cyprian in Polotsk. Equally unsuccessful were the intrigues of the other competitor Anthony of Vinnitsa; Lazarus archbishop of Chernigov, an experienced and virtuous pastor, continued to discharge the duties of the see of Kiev, in conjunction with Innocentius Gizel, the learned archimandrite of the Pechersky, till the election of a new metropolitan.
At that period when the Hetman Doroshenko was endeavouring to obtain a complete independance both of Russia and Poland, and was still maintaining himself in Chigirin with the Metropolitan Joseph, and all the efforts of the Tsar were turned upon the Ukraine, there appeared another insurgent leader of Cossacks of quite a different spirit and character named Stenka Razin. Having collected a band of desperadoes, he made marauding expeditions with them about the Volga, the Oural, and the shores of the Caspian sea, took Saratov and Astrachan, and slew there the voivode in command and the Metropolitan Joseph. The number of his followers was increased by a false report, which he caused to be spread abroadóthat the Tsarevich Alexis, who had died not long before, was still alive and in his camp together with the Patriarch Nikon, whom he pretended to have freed from his confinement. His failure in the siege of Simbirsk was the point at which Razinís good fortune left him. The ataman of the forces of the Don finished what had been begun by the voivodes of the Tsar, took the insurgent chieftain himself prisoner, and brought him to Moscow, where he was executed. This was the last violent shock the government of Alexis received: during the remaining years of his reign, both the internal and external affairs of the kingdom gradually assumed a settled aspect. With the exception of his expeditions into the Ukraine against Doroshcnko, and the incursions of the Crimeans, the Tsar was at peace with his neighbors, and sent his embassies to all the European powers, and even to China, for the purpose of settling our eastern boundaries, which were continually being enlarged. Sweden was well inclined to preserve peace, Poland that had been our enemy for so many years, had been much enfeebled during the reign of John Kasimir, a prince who experienced more misfortunes than any of his predecessors. The last of the house of Vasa, he voluntarily abdicated his throne, as if he had foreseen the future partition of his dominions between Russia, Austria, and Prussia. His successor Michael Yishnevetsky immediately sought to establish for himself a connection with Moscow by ceding Kiev in perpetuity, while the truce of Androusoff was converted into a peace under the glorious conqueror of the Turks, the King John Sobiesky, who was elected after the death of Michael, although Theodore, the son of the Tsar Alexis, had been one of the candidates for the Polish throne. But another and more permanent throne was preparing for Theodore, that of Moscow, and a glorious successor in the person of his younger brother Peter, who was about this time born. The Tsar Alexis, after the death of his first consort Maria, united himself in marriage with Natalia, the adopted daughter of the Boyar Matfeev, who was herself of the family of the Narishkins, and the happy fruit of this marriage was the Great Peter. For his colossal genius was prepared the task of completing that orderly settlement of the empire which had been begun by his father, and great was the joy which was manifested by all Russia at his birth, as if she had had a presentiment who it was that was then given to her.
13. The Patriarchs.
In the affairs of the Church alone the Tsar Alexis found no satisfaction, for whilst he felt the necessity of keeping Nikon at a distance, he could not forget their mutual vow of friendship, and was troubled in spirit to be deprived of his blessing; and besides this after Nikonís degradation, he saw three patriarchs pass in rapid succession before his eyes as if in mysterious reprehension of his conduct, while he who had been patriarch before them was still pining in confinement. After the death of the meek Joasaph (1673) the choice of the clergy, which always fell on the senior prelate, elevated to the patriarchate men whose sentiments vere unfriendly to Nikon. And thus Pitirim, who had been before at Novogorod, after sitting only ten months, yielded up the chair to another Lord of Novogorod, Joachim, of the noble family of the Savelloffs, who, when archimandrite of the Choudov monastery, had together with Paul, then metropoitan of the Steeps, taken away the crosier of Peter the Wonder worker from the Patriarch Nikon. This same Paul also was still alive, and employed the latter years of his life in conjunction with Epiphanius Slavenetsky and other learned men, in correcting the translation of the Bible from the Greek into the Slavonic language, but his labors remained unfinished in consequence of his premature decease.
14. The Patriarchs.
Alexis lightened the original severity of Nikonís confinement, and ordered the iron bars and fastenings to be taken, from the windows and doors of his apartments, so that he enjoyed complete liberty in the monastery, and had his own chapel to himself, where he continued to serve as a bishop with those monks who shared his confinement. The Tsar continually sent him rich alms, food, and vessels for the service of the Church, as if he had forgotten his having been degraded by the Council; and what was more than all this, in his last will he called him his "Father," "Great Lord" "Most Holy Pontiff" and " Most Blessed Pastor." Nikon for his part also became by degrees reconciled to the Tsar; at first he refused every kind of present, but at length he began to accept them, and wrote affectionate letters to his sovereign, hoping to be allowed to return to the monastery at Voskresensk, which was the constant object of his solicitude, and in which he had prepared for himself a tomb under the Calvary. He refused to accept any presents of money for commemorations of the Tsaritsa Maria, reckoning it as his duty without any special request to pray for the repose of her soul. He rejoiced at the new marriage of the Tsar and the birth of Peter, and wept bitterly at the intelligence of his sovereignís death.
Nikon learned this melancholy news in the depths of his solitude, and exclaimed with a groan, " The will of God be done. What though he never saw me to take leave of me here, we shall meet and be judged together at the terrible coming of Christ." A messenger was sent to ask him to give a letter of absolution to the deceased; Nikon gave a verbal absolution, but no letter, lest it should seem to have been extorted from a prisoner. Soon new trials came upon him, for his former enemies taking advantage of the weakness of the youthful Tsar Theodore, and the dislike borne against him by the patriarch Joachim, brought calumnious accusations against his life in the monastery where he was confined. They were not ashamed to accuse him of having taken part with the traitor Razin, and even to impute moral impurities to an old man, whose monastic life had been spotless even from the earliest days of his youth. He was transferred from the Therapontov monastery, which had become in a manner his own, to the fortified monastery of St. Cyrill, and was placed under the strictest inspection; and for the space of three years more he lingered on there confined in close apartments, and forgotten alike by the patriarch and the Tsar.
There were, however, still some individuals at the Tsarís court who wished Nikon well: among these was Theodoreís preceptor, the monk Simeon Polotsky, who had received his education in the schools of the West, and together with profound learning, had imbibed in them some of the opinions of the Romish Church. He exercised a powerful influence over the mild disposition of the Tsar, and did all he could to favour the early education of Peter, whom the Miloslafskys endeavoured without success to separate from his royal brother, though they had already succeeded in procuring the imprisonment of the virtuous Boyar Matveev. The Patriarch Joachim was displeased to find in Simeon Polotsky a powerful opponent about the person of the monarch, and only agreed with him in their common wish and endeavour to promote an improvement of education and learning among the clergy, the indispensible necessity for which became the more sensible, the more the schisms which had been engendered by ignorance increased.
The school for the Greek and Latin languages, which had been first founded at Moscow, as early as the time of the Patriarch Philaret, and enlarged and remodelled bv Nikon, appeared to Simeon inadequate for the end proposed. He therefore persuaded the Tsar, who was well inclined to patronise learning, to establish at Moscow in the Zaikonospassky monastery a spiritual Academy after the model of that at Kiev, and the Tsar applied to the Ecumenical patriarchs by a letter begging them to send him Orthodox teachers for this his new Academy. Two brothers of distinguished abilities and learning from Cefalonia, the priest-monks Joannicius and Sophronius Lichoudi, were accordingly sent with the benediction of the patriarch to Russia, but neither the Tsar nor Simeon Polotsky lived to witness their arrival, and so the establishment of the Academy which followed was the fruit of the labours of the Most Holy Joachim alone.
Among other strange projects that floated in the visionary mind of Simeon, which still preserved the impressions of the West, was one of erecting in Russia twelve new metropolitan sees, and four patriarchates in lieu of the former metropolitan sees of Novogorod, Kazan, Rostov, and Sarai or the Steeps, after the likeness of the four Ecumenical thrones, and then, in imitation of the hierarchy of Rome, to appoint one Pope over them all; and his Pope he intended should be Nikon, in order to humble Joachim, who was his enemy. These strange ideas of Simeon were mingled with astrological divinations, which were the favorite object of his studies, according to the spirit of that time. However he was destined to be the means of disposing the good-natured Theodore to alleviate the lot of his godfather. His prudent aunt the Tsarevna Tatiana Michaelovna, who had ever been Nikonís friend, persuaded the Tsar to visit his neglected monastery of the New Jerusalem, and to receive from the brethren who remained there a petition for the return of their founder. Struck with the magnificent scale of the buildings, which had been commenced after the model of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the monarch ordered them to be continued, and, moved with compassion, laid before the Synod a proposition to allow the aged Nikon to die in the monastery, which he had founded. The patriarch remained for a long time inflexible, till at length the news coming that Nikon had put on the Schema, and was altogether broken and enfeebled, his heart was touched, and he consented.
On the very same day on which the gracious permission of the Tsar and the patriarch arrived at the monastery of St. Cyrill, Nikon, while it was yet very early, from a secret presentiment had prepared himself for the journey, and to the astonishment of everybody, ordered the religious who were in personal attendance upon himself to hold themselves in readiness. With difficulty they placed the old man, now worn out with sickness and infirmity, in the sledge, which took him by land to a barge on the river Sheksna, by which he descended to the Volga. Here he was met by brethren from the Aroskresensky monastery, that is, the monastery of the Resurrection or New Jerusalem, who had been sent for that purpose. Nikon gave orders to drop down the Volga as far as Yaroslavla, and having put in to shore at the Tolskoy monastery, he received the Communion of the Sick, for he began to be exceedingly feeble. The hegumen with all the brotherhood went out to meet him accompanied by a former enemy of Nikon, the Archimandrite Scrgius, the same that during his trial kept him under guard, and covered him with reproaches, but had since been sent to this monastery in disgrace to perform penance. This Sergius, having fallen asleep in the Trapeza or Refectory at the very hour of the arrival of Nikon, saw in a dream the patriarch appearing to him, and saying, " Brother Sergius, arise; let us forgive and take leave of each other when suddenly at that moment he was awakened and told that the patriarch was actually approaching by the Volga, and that the brotherhood had already gone out to the bank to meet him. Sergius followed immediately, and when he saw Nikon dying, he fell at his feet, and shedding tears of repentance asked and obtained his forgiveness. Death had already begun to come upon the patriarch, by the time that the barge was again moving down the stream. The citizens of Yaroslavla hearing of his arrival crowded to the river and seeing the old man lying on his couch all but dead, threw themselves down before him with tears, kissing his hands and his garments, and begging his blessing; some towed the barge along the shore, others threw themselves into the water to assist them, and thus they drew it in and moored it against the monastery of the All-merciful Saviour.
The sufferer was already so exhausted that he could not speak, but only gave his hand to them all. The Tsarís Secretary ordered them to tow the barge to the other side of the river to avoid the crowds of the people. Just then the bells were struck for evening prayers. Nikon was on the point of death: suddenly he turned and looked about as if someone had come to call him, and then arranged his hair, beard, and dress for himself, as if in preparation for his last and longest journey. His confessor, together with all the brethren standing round, read the Commmendatory prayers for the dying; and the patriarch, stretching himself out to his full length on the couch, and laying his arms cross-wise upon his breast, gave one sigh, and departed from this world in peace. In the mean time the pious Tsar Theodore, not knowing that he was dead, had sent his own carriage to meet him with a number of horses. When he was informed of it he shed tears, and asked what Nikon had desired respecting his last will and when he learned that the departed prelate had chosen him as his godson to be his executor, and had confided every thing to him, the good hearted Tsar replied with emotion, "If it be so, and the Most Holy Patriarch Nikon has reposed all his confidence in me, the will of the Lord be done. I will not forget him." He gave orders for conveying the body to the New Jerusalem.
New difficulties were raised by the Patriarch Joachim with regard to the funeral of Nikon, to whom he would not consent to render episcopal honors, objecting that he had been degraded by the sentence of the Ecumenical patriarchs. However, the Tsar persuaded Cornelius, the metropolitan of Novgorod, to officiate without any permission from Joachim; and he himself in person took a part in that affecting ceremony, and helped to bear the body on his shoulders from the cross on the Mount of Olives, the spot where formerly the deceased had stood with his royal father when he gave the name of New Jerusalem to his monastery, to the tomb under Calvary which he had himself prepared for his everlasting rest. Not more than eight months were to intervene before the amiable prince who had thus assisted at the funeral of Nikon was to be himself peacefully removed from a temporal to an eternal kingdom; he however made use of this short space to obtain letters of absolution for the deceased from the four Ecumenical patriarchs, who unanimously received him again into their pontifical assembly.
Thus did this illustrious prelate finish his strange and troubled course; a prelate who had exercised so powerful an influence on the destinies of the Russian Church, and upon whose personal lot the attention of the whole kingdom had been fixed for the space of about forty years, the last fifteen of which he spent in confinement. During the course of his seventy yearsí life on earth, Nikon was more or less contemporary with all the Russian patriarchs. He was born while the patriarchate was still held by Job; he was a boy in the time of Hermogenes, a monk under the great Philaret, superior of a convent under Joasaph I, metropolitan of Novgorod in the time of Joseph, and a prisoner in bonds during the rule of the three patriarchs who came after himself, Joasaph II, Pitirim, and Joachim; he died when the last patriarch, Adrian, was already archimandrite of the Choudov, while the last guardian of the patriarchal chair, Stephen Yavorsky, had become distinguished by his virtues throughout the south of Russia, and was preparing himself for his high calling. Thus the colossal character of Nikon took up to itself almost the whole age of the patriarchs in our annals.
Every thing began to assume a settled character during the six years of the peaceful reign of Theodore. Little Russia was brought into a state of tranquillity, and a peace was coneluded with the Porte, while that which already existed with our neighbours of Sweden and Poland gave every promise of continuance. At one word from the Tsar in a mixed council of all the spiritual and temporal authorities of the state, after an exhortation from the patriarch, those destructive disputes concerning the local antiquity and precedence of families, which had caused so many evils to Russia, were terminated for ever; and the Books of Pedigrees were solemnly committed to the flames. The Church also prospered: for with the co-operation of the Tsar the vigilant Pastor Joachim stopped the spread of schisms, did much to promote the spread of learning in the spiritual schools, and, for the better superintendence of the clergy and their flocks, proposed further to institute as many as fifty new episcopal sees either local or vicarial. But this project fell to the ground upon the death of Theodore, and the kingdom was for a time plunged into a state of faction, disorder, and agitation, from which it was rescued only by the powerful arm of Peter, when he began to grow up to manhood.
The commencement of these evils was a furious mutiny of the Streltsi which broke out upon the proclamation of Peter (1682), then a vigorous boy of ten years old, to be Tsar, in preference to his elder brother John. This was done by the patriarch in concert with the most loyal and well-disposed of the nobles, on the ground that John was incapacitated by his imbecility for reigning; and they placed Peter under the regency of his mother the Tsaritsa Natalia, and the virtuous Boyar Matveev. The ambitious sister of the young princes, the Tsarevna Sophia, acting secretly in concert with her relations the Miloslafskys, instigated the Streltsi to a mutiny, to which in the space of three days Matveev, the Narishkins, and all those who had been the chief supporters of the thrones of Alexis and Theodore, fell victims. The patriarch himself narrowly escaped with his life from the fury of the mob, when he attempted to address a crowd of the insurgents from the Krasnoy stairs. The compulsory proclamation of to reign jointly with Peter, and the invitation of Sophia to govern the kingdom together with her younger brothers were the elects of this first revolt of the Streltsi, which cost the state so many valuable lives.
These civil disturbances soon had ill consequences for the Church. Taking advantage of the weakness of the government, the Priest Nicetas, a hypocritical pretender to sanctity, after having once been reconciled and then a second time fallen into schism,, began to get about him on the other side of the Yaouza, and in the public square, the grosser sort of the populace, in defence as he pretended of the Orthodox religion against ravening wolves, by which name he called the whole body of the clergy. His insolence reached to such a height that he made his way into the Kremlin with a crowd of his adherents set himself a lectern with Icons upon it in the cathedral of the Archangel, and demanded that the patriarch himself, who was then performing the Liturgy in the cathedral of the Assumption, should come and dispute with him. A priest who was sent to him scarcely got back with his life. At that crisis, in order to pacify the populace, the two Tsars conjointly issued an order that all the bishops should assemble in their palace, and the rioters were called to appear before the patriarch, assisted by seven metropolitans, five archbishops, and two bishops, one of whom was Metrophanes, the recently ordained bishop of Voronege. The sham-saint, finding himself exposed and powerfully refuted in all his sophistries by the eloquent Athanasius, archbishop of Kholmogori, in an outbreak of rage rushed at him and attempted to seize him by the throat, but was prevented by those who were about him; while the young Tsar, the boy Peter, rose up from his throne with such an air of command as made itself felt in the midst of the general confusion, and with one sternly-pronounced word drove the mutinous populace out of the hall. The band was broken up in consequence of the disaffected being put to shame by the evident madness or possession of their false teacher, who was seized with a violent fit of epilepsy on the public square where he was capitally punished. His secret adherents, however, did not cease to promulgate their pernicious doctrines, especially among the Streltsi and in the neighbourhood of the capital.
Two priests of their number, named Kosma and Stephen, terrified at the fate of the arch-hypocrite their master, took to flight, and went in the first instance to Little Russia, to the location of the Starodoubofsky Cossack regiment or polk, and afterwards into the neighbouring districts of Poland, where they formed a second settlement upon the river Vetka. Their successor, whose name was Theodosius, built a church there which became the root and headquarters of Popoftshinism, that is, in the literal sense of the word, of Presbyterianism, or of those schismatics who acknowledge the priesthood, but so as to have no other priests themselves than such as have been expelled or have run away from the Church. Another and much more pernicious form of schism was that of Bespopofski-schism, or Absque-Presbyterianism, which asserted that from the time of Nikon the grace of the priesthood was lost, and that the period of Antichrist had commenced. This had rooted itself in the North under the denomination of Pomorians, that is, people of the sea coast, and in Siberia under various denominations after one or other of their false teachers: for according to their individual peculiarities of opinion they were divided into a number of sects, mutually hostile to each other. Their ignorance and superstition led them to the highest pitch of fanaticism. The followers of the Priest Habbakuk and the Monk Joseph the Armenian, in Olonetz, Nijgorod, and Siberia, to which last region the two leaders themselves had been banished in the time of Nikon, solemnly burned themselves alive by whole families in hopes of a reward in heaven, fancying themselves to be thus voluntary martyrs. Not far from the Paleostroif monastery, where Paul ex-bishop of Kolomna had been confined and died, many nests were formed of the Pomorians, who were reinforced by such of the rebels of the Solovetsky as had escaped in time from the siege; and two brothers, Andrew and Simeon Denisov of the ancient family of the Princes Mnishetsky, settled a colony of schismatics at Vigoretz in the government of Olonetz, and collected by all the means in their power ancient manuscripts and books for the purpose of deceiving the ignorant.
Under such difficult circumstances both in Church and State, the prudent Patriarch Joachim was continually on the alert; he assisted in repressing the Streltsi who had been infected with the same spirit of insubordination, because their principal commanders, the Princes Khovansky, favoured, certainly not from religious motives, the schism, as offering a powerful means for the excitement of insurrections. He also refuted the heretics by synodical instructions. His book entitled "A Spiritual Exhortation," and "his numerous letters, remain as memorials of those distressing times. Before long the patriarch was compelled to arm himself against a new doctrine introduced from the West concerning the time of the transubstantiation of the Holy Gifts. Silvester Medvedev, a pupil of Simeon Polotsky, and superior of the Zaikonospassky monastery, incorrectly taught, according to the Romish traditions, that it is not through the invocation of the Holy Spirit and the blessing of the Gifts, but through the words themselves of our Saviour, "Take and eat this etc." and "Drink ye all of this etc," that the bread and wine are changed into the Body and Blood of Christ. The two distinguished brethren, natives of the Ionian islands, Sophronius and Joannicius Lichoudi, who had been sent to Russia by the Ecumenical patriarchs, were the first to expose this error, and entered into a controversy in writing with Silvester, in which a considerable number of persons took part.
Under the protection of this enlightened prelate, they fixed themselves at first in the monastery of the Theophany, where their school, composed of a small number of the nobility and clergy, in a short time attained an extraordinary degree of prosperity; and afterwards, in a building erected on purpose for them at the Zaiconospassky, their unwearied activity produced the Slaveno-Greeko-Russian Academy. But the zeal of the Lichoudi for learning and Orthodoxy, which was duly appreciated under the Patriarch Joachim, subjected them to a long imprisonment under his successor. Although Silvester, upon the refutation of his error by their writings had been degraded by Joachim, who convoked a Synod against him, and even for greater security addressed enquiries to the bishops of Little Russia concerning the doctrine in question, still many were offended at the zeal with which the learned brethren interested themselves about the purity of the Eastern doctrine.
The Church of Little Russia had now at this point become an integral part of our hierarchy, and this was one of the most important events of the patriarchate of Joachim. When both the Ukraines were restored to tranquillity under the dominion of the Hetman Samuelovich, and John Sobiesky, king of Poland, was inclined to conclude a lasting treaty of peace after ceding Kiev and Smolensk, the occasion which presented itself was made use of to re-establish the metropolitan chair of Kiev, which had now remained vacant for twenty-eight years without any regular pastor, the primateís chair having been filled during that period only by guardians. The one who occupied it the longest time of all was Lazarus, archbishop of Chernigov. This venerable prelate, now much enfeebled by age, together with the learned archimandrite of the Lavra, Barlaam Yasinsky, the worthy successor of Innocentius Gisel, were among the candidates thought of for the chair of Kiev. But the choice fell on Gideon, bishop of Loutsk and prince of Chetvertinsk, who had retired from his own diocese in consequence of the persecution of the Uniates and the encroachments of Joseph bishop of Lvoff, who had intrigued to obtain that diocese for his own brother. The hetman being devoted to Russia, and desirous of the firmest union with her, decided that the new metropolitan of Kiev should go for consecration to the patriarch of Moscow, and should be in full dependence upon him, which neither Lazarus nor Barlaam would consent to, but did all they could to maintain the rights of the see of Constantinople. But when Gideon, who was received with extraordinary honors at Moscow, had been instituted by Joachim as metropolitan of Kiev, Galicia and all Little Russia, with jurisdiction also over the arch-bishopric of Chernigov, the Pecherskay Lavra, and the dioceses of Southern Russia, the same individuals again opposed this arrangement, and the Patriarch Joachim was obliged to acknowledge the Lavra as a Stauropegia, and to allow Chernigov an honorary precedence over all the other Russian archbishoprics, without being dependent upon Kiev.
On this the hetman and both the Tsars, to set at rest the clergy of the Ukraine, sent ambassadors to Constantinople with letters of request to the patriarchs that they would confirm the dependence of Kiev on the patriarchate of Moscow, in order to its better defence and more distinct separation from the Unia; and two patriarchs, Dionysius of Constantinople and the learned Dositheus of Jerusalem, acknowledged by letters patent in due form the final union of the hierarchy of Kiev and all the South with that of Great Russia. In this way was terminated the long separation of these two Churches, both of which had ever held one and the same doctrine, a division which had lasted for more than two centuries and a half, from the period when Vitoft, by the compulsory appointment of Gregory Simblak as metropolitan of Kiev, rent off Southern Russia from her spiritual union with Moscow.
But while Kiev was thus re-united to Russia, the other Orthodox sees in Lithuania and Poland, Lvov, Peremuishla, and Loutsk, were all within the space of a few years afterwards extinguished, with the single exception of Mogilev. The Polish government of that day, like Vitoft, dreaded the consequences of their Ecclesiastical dependence on Moscow, and fresh and more violent persecutions, notwithstanding the favourable conditions of the lately-concluded peace, extirpated the remains of Orthodoxy in the Polish provinces; while the Uniate archbishop of Polotsk, with the title of metropolitan of Kiev and all Russia, by degrees appointed bishops in the room of the Orthodox prelates, who either died or expelled by his persecutions.
In the mean time an important change had taken place in the kingdom. "Peter, tall and manly beyond his years, could not endure to lead an idle life in the palace of the Kremlin: thirsting after knowledge, he availed himself for his education of the services of a Genevese emigrant, named Lefort, and was himself his own master in military exercises, which he practised with a band of noble youths whom he had selected and formed into a company for his amusement: at the same time he openly showed his dissatisfaction at his sister the Tsarevna Sophiaís retaining the government. Her favorite and lover the Prince Basil Galitsin, notwithstanding his two unsuccessful expeditions to the Crimea, was covered with honors, and succeeded in throwing the blame which belonged to himself upon the Hetman Samoilovich. The hetman was most unjustly banished to Siberia, and in his place they appointed a captain of Cossacks, the false and crafty Mazepa. In a state of no less disorder were the internal affairs also of the kmgdom, while Peter now seventeen years old and already a giant both in mind and body, could not endure to remain under female rule, and demanded that his sister should yield up the honos of sovereignty. So determined was he on this point, that once on occasion of a religious procession he absolutely refused to walk with her side by side, and went off in anger to the village of Preobrajensk, the usual place of his royal studies and labors. A new mutiny of the Streltsi, which was secretly excited by Sophia, and a conspiracy against the life of the young Tsar, were the consequences of ths reckless conduct. But Peter had well wishers who gave him timely notice of the danger, and succeeded in retiring in safety to the Trinity Lavra where the members of the roval family and the patriarch himself gradually gathered tliemselves together around him. The Streltsi confounded at this new failure returned to their duty, and awaited the Tsar in the capital with a peace-offering of the heads of their ringers. The authoress of the rebellion was also discovered, whose confidence Shaklovity the prefect of the department the Streltsi had enjoyed. It was to no purpose that the Tsarevna and the patriarch entreated Peter to pardon Sophia - they were all themselves too well convinced of her criminal designs: equally to no purpose was it that Sophia went in person to the monastery to beg for mercy; she was not admitted to see her brother. The conspirators were capitally punished she herself was forced to receive the tonsure in the Novodaivichy convent, where the ambitious Sophia was transformed into the humble nun Susannah. Peter became the governor and autocrat of Russia, for the feeble and sickly John was Tsar only in name, and by remaining constantly in Moscow gave his enterprising brother an opportunity of travelling throughout Russia, of examining her capabilities and resources, and so adapting his own vast genius to that immense empire which at his powerful bidding was suddenly to burst forth and grow into the ninth part of the world.
The primates of Little and Great Russia both died about the same time. The place of the metropolitan of Kiev was filled by Barlaam the superior of the Pechersky, and he went like his predecessor to be consecrated at Moscow, but found the Patriarch Joachim no longer living. Having promoted Peterís election at the first, and his actual succession afterwards, this true guardian of the kingdom during the minority of his two sovereigns, and zealous promoter of learning under the patronage of Theodore and Sophia, ruled the Church for only one year after the actual accession of the youthful Peter. With Peterís mother the pious Tsaritsa Natalia he was grieved at the spirit of innovation and the partiality for foreign customs, which were already apparent in the royal youth. These feelings he poured forth in an eloquent testamentary exhortation, in which he implored the Tsar to adhere firmly to the national maxims, which he had received from his ancestors, for the welfare and establishment of Russia.
15. The Patriarchs.
It is to be regretted that after such a distinguished pastor as Joachim, Adrian the aged metropolitan of Kazan should have been elected to the patriarchal chair (1690): for though he was adorned with episcopal virtues, he was ill qualified to appreciate the necessity of those changes which fermented in the creative mind of Peter, and which circumstances themselves imperiously required. For from the time of the Tsar Alexis and the enterprising Nikon every thing in the kingdom had been tending gradually to a settled order of improvement and civilization, although not so rapidly as Peter effected it. Opinions of the boyars and prelates unfavorable to all his undertakings frequently reached the ears of the sovereign; and unfortunately his habits of intercourse with foreigners of low rank, whom he had invited into his dominions for the equipment of his fleet and the training of his forces, gave ground for the common complaints; and they who condemned him were unable to distinguish his great actions from such weaknesses as are incidental to human nature. Peter on the other hand who had passed through so many trials from his childhood, and had been obliged in all the heat of youth to moderate his anger against those who threw impediments in the way of his projects, for both mother and his elder brother were generally of the same with the boyars and the patriarch, looked with no friendly feeling upon Adrian, whom he regarded as the representative of antiquated prejudices contending against his own bright genius. The creative spirit of Peter having once formed to itself in idea Russiaóthe object of his ardent affectionsósuch as she was to become hereafter, from thenceforward, as if he had her actually before his eyes, was offended whenever his contemporaries were unable to divine that which only their posterity, after the lapse of a century, were to seeóthe embodying of his idea in the Russia of our times.
However, the patriarch himself, together with the prelates and boyars of the first rank, all joined in giving pecuniary contributions for the construction of the first Russian fleet, when Peter having conquered his natural aversion to water first on the still lake of Pereyaslavla, and then on the rough waves of the White sea, began to build vessels at Voronege for the reduction of Azoff. At this time the pastoral virtues of Metrophanes, first bishop of Voronege, and since reckoned among the saints, shone conspicuously. In him the great Peter found a true friend and assistant in his labours, while he was occupied there with the formation of his fleet, and at the same time no less a zealous and uncompromising maintainer of the doctrines of the Church, in defence of which he was ready to have laid down his life.
Other bright lights also shone at the same time in the now united Church of Great and Little Russia. In the North two zealous refuters of the heresies of their times, Athanasius archbishop of Kholmogori, and Ignatius metropolitan of Siberia, of the family of the Romano-Corsakovs, strove both by word and deed to counteract those pernicious schisms with which their remote dioceses were infected. Three Letters or Charges of Ignatius, together with other Pastoral Admonitions, contain a description of the evil commencements of these heresies; and the Patriarch Adrian himself following the example of his predecessor, wrote against them a controversial book, called the Shield of the Orthodox Faith. In the South, under the paternal wing of the sage Barlaam Yasinsky, appeared two distinguished churchmen who afterwards exercised a most important influence on the destinies of the Russian Church, St. Demetrius, and Stephen Yavorsky. The first of these after having received a very superior education in the schools of Kiev and Lithuania, had sequestered himself for a long time in the convent of Batourin, the place of the residence of the hetmans, and there Barlaam entrusted to him the continuation of a work commenced by Peter Mogila and Imioceiitius Gizel, on the lives of the Greek and Russian- saints, which had been collected in the MS copies of the Great Chetee-Menae of the Metropolitan Macarius in the reign of John IV. This vast and important work which was encouraged by letters of commendation from the Patriarch Adrian, occupied the whole life of St. Demetrius, and still remains a rich treasure of spiritual edification to feed the souls of Christians, exciting them to the imitation of those saints whose labours and conflicts it records. The other of the two, Stephen, as yet only Preacher of the Word of God in Kiev, was destined to be called to the arduous duty of feeding the whole Church of Russia, and carrying into effect the bold designs of Peter, with a firm and vigilant adherence at the same time to the principles of Orthodoxy.
After the capture of Azoff, which crowned with glory the first military enterprise of the Tsar, and after the death of his brother John, which was marked to him by a fresh mutiny of the Streltsi, Peter determined to gratify his thirst for information by visiting foreign countries. He committed the government of the kingdom to the Prince Romodanofsky with the title of Csesar, in conjunction with the boyars who were related to him, and the patriarch; and set out himself on his travels, following in the suite a Grand Embassy, in which his Preceptor Lefort appeared as the chief person. His route lay through Prussia to Holland, where the Tsar throwing of all his greatness devoted some months as a common workman to the acquisition of the art of ship-building, but his divesting himself of his outward splendour only made the inward brightness of his genius to show more clearly, as a lamp burning brighter in the dark. England in her turn presented herself to the inquisitive observation of Peter. The Roman Emperor Leopold conferred with him in Vienna on the question of war or peace with Turkey, whose power under the Great Soliman had become a cause of apprehension to Europe. The death of John Sobiesky and the election of another king by the restless republic of Poland also occupied the mind of Peter. He favored the pretensions of Augustus Elector of Saxony, and sent some regiments of Streltsi to assist him; but this service served as a pretext for their last mutiny, and hastened the return of the Tsar.
A dreadful fate awaited the guilty. Peter, rendered severe by so many revolts, resolved utterly to extirpate this hotbed of mutiny in the capital. Many thousands were sent away to different distant towns; and many hundreds were condemned to public execution. In vain the patriarch moved by feelings of humanity went in solemn procession with the Icon of Vladimir, to entreat Peter to have mercy. The mildness of the prelate only the more provoked the monarch, who saw that their strict punishment would be productive of the general good, and therefore rejected the intercession of Adrian. The Tsarevna Sophia was placed under still closer inspection in her monastic cell, on account of the designs of the Streltsi, who wished to see her again on the throne; and at the same time another sister named Martha was compelled to receive the tonsure in the same monastery on account of certain family quarrels. Even the young wife of Peter herself, the Tsaritsa Eudocia, of the family of the Lopouchins, did not escape the same sad fate: her fixed attachment to those old-fashioned opinions, which were so offensive to the sovereign, destined her to be confined in the convent of Souzdal during the whole course of Peterís reign.
After his return from abroad, his inclination for foreign customs and dress became still more apparent than before, and he resolved to introduce them gradually amongst his subjects, that he might in this way make them approach, more rapidly to European civilization. The beards and kaftans of the boyars gradually disappeared in obedience to the will of Peter; but the clergy and the lower classes retained what they had inherited from their ancestors. Peter also changed certain usages which did not correspond with his way of thinking; such as the solemn procession of the patriarch on an ass on Palm Sunday, which had crept in amongst us from the West, and which the Patriarch Joachim also had already forbidden the other prelates to observe: also another custom, of all the people kissing the Tsar and the patriarch on the square of the Kremlin during what was called the Act of the New Year. He even transferred the festival of the new year itself to the first of January, so as to make it agree with the custom of the rest of Europe; he did not, however, venture to introduce the Gregorian Calendar; and notwithstanding so great a change in the civil and ecclesiastical reckoning, the festival of the new year of 1700 passed over without the slightest disturbance.
The aged patriarch, however, who was worn out with disease, was offended, and refused to officiate at the solemn liturgy, which Cornelius metropolitan of Novgorod celebrated in his absence in the cathedral of the Assumption, and complimented the Tsar on the new year. Adrian was still more disquieted when Peter, meditating great reforms and alterations, invited all the Functionaries of the first rank in the kingdom to assist him in correcting the national code and in forming a new one, with a clear separation between the provinces of the civil and ecclesiastical jurisdiction. The patriarch, during the last days of his life, and whilst he was standing with one foot already in the grave, gave orders in vain for a collection to be made and copied out of the rights and privileges of the Russian Church, beginning with the Nomocanon and the edicts of Vladimir and Yaroslav, and including also the Tallies of the Khans of the Hordes, granted to the great prelates Peter, Alexis, and their successors: lastly, like Joachim, he exhorted with tears the boyars who were to form the code to respect all these privileges and rights, and not to depart from the maxims of their ancestors. He departed this life at the end of the year 1700 and with him the personal dignity of patriarch in the Russian Church came to an end.
16. Stephen Guardian of the Patriarchate.
Triphyllius metropolitan of Sarai and Podonsk, in quality of vicar of the patriarchal diocese, directed during the last days of Adrian, and some time after his decease, the affairs of the Church. But by the providence of God there was prepared to take the place of the patriarch, an illustrious successor who had been already consecrated bishop before his death. This was Stephen Yavorsky. The penetration of Peter had discovered his merit when he was sent to the capital by Barlaam, the metropolitan of Kiev, to obtain a confirmation of the privileges of the Schools of Little Russia. On that occasion he preached an eloquent sermon at the funeral of the Boyar Shein, who had been a favourite of the Tsar. The monarch, touched with the sweetness of his discourse, ordered the humble hegumen of the lone convent of St. Nicholas to be promoted at once to the metropolitan chair of Riazan; and the heart of the Tsar was again in the hands of God, when he passed over all the senior metropolitans of Great Russia, and chose the same Stephen to be guardian of the patriarchal throne; for he, profiting by the Tsarís confidence, with a steadfast faith and firm purpose presided over the Russian Church during a period of great changes in the state, taking his stand, as became a good pastor, on the immutable ordinances of the Church.
He found a faithful fellow-labourer in his attached friend Demetrius archimandrite of the Seversky monastery, whom Peter had brought also to the capital in order to have him consecrated metropolitan of Siberia. The monarch was personally acquainted with that holy man, who had already become celebrated for his work of writing the lives of the saints, and who laboured to diffuse that learning for which the Church of Little Russia was distinguished throughout the North. But Demetrius from his weak state of health was not capable of undertaking the journey to his distant diocese, and through the intervention of Stephen he was translated to Rostoff to take the place of the Metropolitan Joseph there deceased. From thence he was destined to illuminate by his virtues and learning the whole Church of Russia, which he edified for the space of seven years, as a zealous and uncompromising maintainer of Orthodoxy and refuter of its enemies, as an annalist, as a preacher, and above all, as a man of prayer. Thus the all-embracing heart of Demetrius united itself already with every Christian heart of his earthly country, before he began to receive prayers from those whom he had taught to pray.
Such a spiritual support was needful for the faith of Stephen, who was to be exercised with no light responsibility. Soon after the death of Adrian, the Patriarchal Court was closed, which had exercised jurisdiction over all the affairs of the Church, not only those which were properly spiritual or related to members of the clergy, but also all that related to their estates, property, and civil suits; for from the time that the Monastery Court had been put an end to by the Tsar Theodore all suits against spiritual persons had proceeded only in the Patriarchal Court of Requests. They were sometimes indeed taken up to the Court of the Inner Palace, that is, to the decision of the monarch in person, when any partiality of the judges, in any affair in which they were themselves interested from relationship to the parties concerned, was discovered. Peter ordered all the causes which were pending to be referred for final decision to the different government tribunals, according to the nature of each, and the order of civil suits; and by this means all matters of inheritance, wills, and sacrilege, which had hitherto belonged to the spiritual jurisdiction, were transferred to the civil. But those matters which were strictly ecclesiastical, relating either to hierarchical discipline or to doctrine, he committed to the cognizance of the metropolitan of Riazan, as president of the Spiritual Patriarchal Court, even before he was appointed Guardian. However, in a very short time, all suits against spiritual persons were restored back to the Patriarchal Court, and on the representation of the Metropolitan Stephen, the ordinary Ecclesiastical Court for the enforcement of discipline among the Clergy was re-opened.
At the same time that he suppressed the Patriarchal Court of Requests, the Tsar re-established in full force the Monastery Court, which had been recognised by the code of his father, and separating it completely from the Spiritual Court, placed it under the presidency of the Boyar Mousin Poushkin. To his cognizance, judgment, and jurisdiction, were subjected all the peasantry and other persons, and all the numerous estates which had formerly been under the jurisdiction of the Patriarchal or Diocesan Courts, as well as all the rich properties of the monasteries, of which an inventory was at the same time made. These were no longer managed by the bursars and the senior members of the communities, but by Officers of the Tsarís Table, without any dependence on the local Voivodes or on the Governors, and were immediately subject to the Monastery Court, into which all the proceeds arising from them were paid. The number of the religious was limited also in every convent by edict; " white" (i.e. lay, or secular) brethren and sisters, who lived idly in the convents without seeking the tonsure, were all expelled; and a fixed age was appointed for the tonsure, which was not to be earlier than forty years for nuns, and thirty for monks. Such a provision as should be a security against absolute want was assigned to every monk; ten roubles a-year, and ten chetverts of bread instead of their former rich revenues, which were applied partly to the current necessities of the state, and partly to the foundation of hospitals and the maintenance of poor soldiers, who were quartered as pensioners in the monasteries. Those convents, however, which from their poverty had always been supported by the royal bountyístill continued to enjoy it, and thus the whole order of the religious properly so called, which was at that time very numerous, was preserved in all its integrity, though deprived of its worldly superfluities. In like manner also the chief spiritual authorities, each according to their rank, began to receive from this time certain fixed rates of allowances and salaries in lieu of their estates which had been transferred to the Monastery Court, and in lieu of those ecclesiastical dues which they had been used of old to receive from each parish in their dioceses. Such was the system under which Church property continued to be administered down to the institution of the Most Holy Synod.
Such were the regulations of Peter regarding the Church, while he adopted similar means of organizing all the different branches of the civil government; increasing the revenues by a better method of taxation, putting down luxury, and entering even into all the details of civil and domestic life; establishing printing presses and schools, forming and giving a new alphabet to the common spoken language, encouraging trade and commerce by the institution of guilds or corporations, in order that the mercantile classes might the better manage their own matters, and lastly creating both a fleet and an army at the severest period of her trials, when Russia groaned beneath the Swedish invasion.
The necessity of a port on the shores of the Baltic for communication with Europe, and the pride of the Swedes on the accession of their youthful hero Charles XII to the throne, induced Peter to conclude a triple alliance with Frederic king of Denmark, and Augustus of Poland. The northern war, which for twenty-two years had been a cause of alarm to Russia, at length burst into a flame. Its commencement was unfortunate for us. Charles quickly reduced Denmark, and turned all his forces against Russia, and under the walls of Narva, which our troops were then besieging, almost entirely destroyed our inexperienced army, the creation of the first efforts of Peter. It improved, however, by combating with the Swedish generals during the conquest of Livonia and Ingria, while the daring Tsar, in the very midst of the theatre of war, laid the foundations of his new capital, while Charles was engaged in Poland, where he defeated Augustus at every step, got possession of both his capitals, Warsaw and Cracow, and at length raised Stanislaff Leschinsky to the throne of the conquered kingdom.
He then turned back again upon Russia, and having rejected all overtures of peace, marched with his victorious army into the Ukraine, where he reckoned on the secret treason of the Hetinan Mazeppa. But Charles, though he might compare himself to Alexander the Great, did not find a Darius in Peter, who everywhere watched and followed his enemy, cutting off his communications with other Swedish corps, which were fortunately not concentrated on one point. The treason of Mazeppa was discovered in time for him to prevent the Ukraine from rising, and three prelates, the metropolitan of Kiev, with his vicar, and tlie archbishop of Chernigov, delivered over at Glouchov to an anathema the traitor who had forgotten all the benefits he had received from the Tsar. He appeared with only a few adherents in the camp of the Swedish king (1709). The Swedish army laid siege to Poltava, and on its plains the two giants of the North met in battle for the first time. Charles though wounded was carried through the ranks in a litter, and animated his warriors who had grown old in battle; Peter filled with love for his country begged his men to forget Peter for the sake of Russia, that Russia to whom this day of Peterís life is memorable for ever. Under his blows the Swedish army was broken and vanished away, as if it had never been the terror of Russia, The king and the hetman fled together beyond the Steppes of the Ukraine and the Tartars, and only halted on the banks of the Dniester. The traitor Mazeppa died in Bender, but before this took place, Skoropadsky had been appointed hetman in his room.
The zeal of the Tsar founded a monastery in the name of the Chiefs of the Apostles on the field of Poltava; and in memory of the day itself of the lattle a church was erected in the new capital by the name of St. Sampson the Receiver of Strangers. The conqueror made his public entry into Kiev, and was met with 31 grand procession by the metropolitan Joasaph Krokofsky, who had been archimandrite of the Lavra, and had been consecrated a year before to succeed Barlaam on his decease; and Theophanes Procopovich, then prefect of the Academy, pronounced eloquent complimentary oration before the Tsar. It was on this occasion that he first attracted the notice of the monarch by the agreeable eloquence of his speech, and by the show of that profound learning which he had acquired in the Uniate and Romish schools. His desire for learning had influenced Theophanes to such a degree that: he even temporarily deserted Orthodoxy at Rome, and aftervwards showed the same leaning in the doctrines of the faith when he attained a higher rank in the Russian hierarchy. The inhabitants of both the capitals went out with no lesss solemnity to meet the victor. Europe, which had been hittherto stunned with the noise of the victories of Charles, heard with astonishment of the exploits of Peter, and began to regard with lively attention the rising power of Russia.
In the midst of his military exploits, Peter did not forget our Orthodox brethren in the Faith who were suffering in Lithuania and Poland from the violence of the Uniates, and taking advantage of the rights of an ally he pressingly demanded of Augustus that a stop should be put to their persecution. Notwithstanding the conditions of the peace of 1686, by which the king, John Sobiesky, had bound himself to grant free exercise of their religion to the dioceses of Loutsk, Galich, Peremuishla, Lvov, and White Russia, with the confirmation of their former privileges, all these engagements were continually violated by the turbulent Schlacti, and the independent nobles of Poland. These by force of arms took away churches and monasteries, trampled upon holy things, tortured the ministers of the altar, and exposed the Orthodox to such indignities as neither Jews nor Mahometans had ever endured at their hands. From the wretched circumstances of the time, many of the bishops themselves, Innocentius of Peremuishla, Joseph of Lvoff, and Cyprian, formerly of Polotsk, and afterwards metropolitan of those who had fallen away, went over to the party of the Uniates, and became in their turn persecutors of Orthodoxy. Two only remained to maintain it, and one of these, Cyrill of Loutsk, was compelled to fly from his diocese to Kiev, and received that of Pereyaslavla with the title of Vicar; while the bishop of Mogilev, the Prince Silvester Chetvertinsky, with difficulty kept possession of his chair. All the Orthodox monasteries cried out to Peter as their only protector, who learned by experience the truth of their complaints; for he was himself exposed to insult and even danger from the Uniate monks, when he visited their Church in Polotsk. But all the letters and entreaties and even threats of the Tsar were unavailing with King Augustus. The redress of grievances was deferred from one Diet to another, and the Orthodox were obliged to content themselves with bare promises on the part of the Polish government for the future amelioration of their lot.
The struggle between Peter the Great and Charles XII was not entirely terminated by the glorious victory of Poltava. While the Tsar was enabled by his victory to give his powerful hand to raise up Augustus of Poland, and renewed with him and with Denmark the Northern alliance, his enemy as in desperation was fortifying himself on the banks of the Dniester, and never ceased from thence to urge the Sultan to break the peace then existing with Russia, till at length he attained his end. Peter never desired peace more than at this juncture, as, profiting by his success at Poltava, he had now begun to carry into effect his great plans in the interior of the kingdom. At the time that he was constantly absent in some part or other of his vast dominions, he instituted the Governing Senate, in which the superior administration was to be concentrated, and on which all its different branches were to depend. To this senate, composed of the highest dignitaries of the empire, he entrusted the care of Russia when he himself was obliged to take the field again to repel the armies of the Sultan, which had advanced upon the Danube. Catherine, the new consort of the Tsar, accompanied him for the salvation of the country. Both the principalities of Moldavia and Wallachia were favourably disposed towards Russia, but Cantimir of Moldavia alone remained faithful to Peter; nor did Peter on the other side desert him at the most painful moment of his life; for when he was suddenly surrounded by superior numbers of the enemy on the banks of the Pruth he refused to deliver up the hospodar to the Turks. Catherine inclined the low-minded vizir by her gold to conclude a peace, which cost us Azov and all Peterís youthful conquests, but preserved Peter himself to Russia. The imperial crown was Catherineís reward. For five years longer Charles continued his efforts to renew the war, and would not let the Sultan be at rest, till at length he was compelled to leave the neighbourhood of Constantinople. Attended by a single foreigner he galloped off for Sweden, which he seemed to have forgotten, and which was then sinking under the blows of the Northern alliance, to which Prussia, Hanover, Holland, and England had acceded. In the mean time Livonia, Ingria, and a part of Finland in the neighbourhood of the new capital, had become the permanent possession of Russia.
In the midst of unceasing military operations and in spite of them the internal improvement of the country advanced. Every interval of peace was signalized by civil institutions in all departments of government, to which Peter for the sake of system and regularity endeavoured by degrees to give the form of Colleges: for he placed more confidence in the counsel of many than in the discretion of a single individual. And so after the institution of the Senate followed that of Colleges, first for Foreign Affairs, then for War, and so on with others, while the whole of Russia was divided into eight vast Governments. Not only were a fleet and an. army formed amid the thunder of war, but the Tsar, with an eye which embraced every thing, observed all the springs of wealth in his dominions, and by his powerful word called them into action. Learning also was increased, both temporal and spiritual, by multiplying the number of schools of every description, and by sending Russian youths to travel in the civilized countries of the West.
The Metropolitan Stephen co-operated zealously with the Tsar for the promotion of learning, and took upon himself the title of Protector of the Academy of Moscow, which he enlarged, and regulated after the model of that of Kiev. Demetrius also continued to be a shining light till the time of his blessed decease in his diocese of Rostov, where he founded and himself superintended a seminary. By degrees, after his example, schools were instituted at all the episcopal residences for the education of those who were to minister in holy things, which were afterwards converted into seminaries. Job metropolitan of Novgorod, a man full of Christian piety, besides other charitable foundations, established in his diocese as many as fourteen spiritual schools; and the better to ensure their success, he called to his aid from the Hipatieff monastery the two long-forgotten brethren, the Lichoudi, who had been pining for fifteen years in confinement. Joannicius and Sophronius, as two lights suddenly brought out from underneath the bushel, shed forth learning and instruction in these schools. Sophronius the younger of the two was sent to Moscow after a printing press, and was detained there by the guardian of the patriarchal throne for the purpose of regulating the Academy, and to him, in conjunction with its learned Rector Theophylact Lopatinsky, who was to suffer for the truth, was committed the task of continuing that revision and correction of the Slavonic Bible which had been commenced by Epiphanius. After the death of the Metropolitan Job, Joannicius also removed to the capital, in order to take a share in the labors of his brother in the Academy; and there he shortly after died; but Sophronius, who was raised to the rank of an archimandrite, attained to extreme old age.
But at the same time with this improvement in learning there showed itself also in our country a mischief which had come in secretly and had taken dangerous root. Travellers and foreigners had brought into Russia the anti-ecclesiastical doctrine of Luther and Calvin, which by its contempt of established rites and ceremonies and discipline, by its principle of the right of private judgment in the mysteries of religion favored greatly irreverence, and individualism or self-will. The Orthodox Eastern Church feared not the influence of the Western Church, for she had been used openly to contend with her on the borders of Poland; and the violences of the Unia had embittered the hearts of all Russians so much against Rome, that there was no danger from that quarter. But we had never up to this time had any actual conflict with the German innovators: the accession of the Baltic provinces, and the useful labors of foreigners whom Peter had invited into Russia, involuntarily brought us in friendly contact with them. Their superiority in worldly civilization, and the very fact of their being seen on State-occasions to attend at the ceremonies of our Church, conciliated towards them many of the inexperienced, who knew not how to distinguish where the bounds of secular acquirement end, and that spiritual wisdom begins, which, according to the words of Christ, is hid from the wise and prudent but revealed to the simple and to babes.
It was in the neighbourhood of the Northern capital, where the confluence of strangers was greatest, that these opinions began to be diffused, though they were vigorously opposed by the virtuous Job, metropolitan of Novgorod. He moved the two zealous brothers, the Lichoudi, to take up their arms in defence of the foundations of Orthodoxy, which seemed to be attacked, and they composed a book in refutation of the new heresy, which received the benedictions of the four Ecumenical patriarchs, the natural guardians of the true religion. Nor did the metropolitan Stephen either, the guardian of the throne of Moscow, remain an indifferent spectator, since the same heresy had broken out also in the other capital, where its chief propagator was one Demetrius Tveritinov, an army-surgeon in the corps of the Streltsi. He had lived long with a foreign physician, and had learned from him not only his medical science but also his religious opinions; and so he began to spread objections and revilimgs against the Icons, the Relics, the Liturgy, the invocation of the Saints, and the commemorations of the departed. Many of the Streltsi and artisans adhered to him, and carried their audacity to such a pitch, that one of these revilers, a barber named Thomas Ivanov, even openly insulted the Icon of St. Alexis the metropolitan in the Choudoff monastery. The most reverend Stephen in the first instance made secret enquiries into this affair, and reported it to the sovereign, and afterwards by his desire convoked at Moscow a council of the neighboring Bishops, Ignatius of Sarai, Barlaam of Tver, and Joannicius a Greek, metropolitan of Stauropolis. There in the patriarchal palace, after a due examination and admonition, those who remained impenitent were anathematized, while the authors of the heresy themselves were delivered up to be judged and punished by the civil authority. But not satisfied with correcting the mischief for that one time, the Metropolitan Stephen, as a faithful pastor with a paternal anxiety for his flock, collected into one book all those lying subtleties, and showed how they are clearly rejected by the doctrine of the Church; and this book he entitled the "Rock of Faith," a rock to crush all the enemies of Orthodoxy. The doctrines of the Holy Icons and Relics, of the Sign of the Venerable Cross, of Tradition, of the Mystery of the most pure Body and Blood of Christ, of the Invocation of Angels and Saints, and especially of the most immaculate Virgin, and lastly, of the State of Souls after Death, and of Prayers for the Departed, were presented in their due fulness and clearness for the benefit of all followers after piety, with the casting down of every proud imagination which exalts itself against the true doctrine of the Church. In his preface the meek Stephen spoke thus humbly of himself, " It is ours to administer medicine, but Godís only to cure. This "Rock" is hard (so he called his book) answering to the barrenness of my soul; but even from this rock God can raise up children unto Abraham, and can cause water to flow from a worm, giving drink unto life eternal"
The Guardian exhibited no less zeal in crushing another evil, which had taken root in Russia from the impunity enjoyed by the schismatics, and the ignorance of their leaders. His writings concerning the time of the coming of Antichrist, and the end of the world, dissipated those mischievous interpretations which were craftily spread through the capital that Antichrist had already appeared, and that the end was at hand. Notwithstanding however the prudent measures of the government which forbade the giving of any public offices to schismatics, and imposed on them a double tribute for their obstinacy, the unsettled state of Russia, amid constant wars and changes, gave opportunities to the ill-disposed of eluding detection and punishment. The frontiers of Livonia and Pskov were by degrees filled with colonies of schismatics. The congregations of dissenters on the sea coast, though by no means agreeing among themselves, increased in numbers in the recesses of the woods and marshes of Olonetz, as well as in the uncultivated wilds of Perm and Siberia. Vetka, being within the frontiers of Poland, was a still more inaccessible settlement, where in fourteen villages lived more than 30,000 of the Old Ceremonialists of the Popof-shism, or Presbyterian branch of Dissent. The Polish landed proprietors received them favorably from considerations of private interest. The influence of Vetka was extraordinarily great, for in it there was a church by the name of the Protection of the Blessed Virgin, which was the only one the schismatics had, and from thence they carried out supplies of the consecrated Gifts to every part of Russia, often however not without some deception. In some places the oldest people of that way boasted that they had preserved Gifts, which had been consecrated before the apostasy in the time of Nikon, and these they sacrilegiously mixed up with new dough to serve for administration to the ignorant people whom they deluded. Not far from Viatka were established the equally numerous colonies of Starodoubov, the state of which became still more flourishing when, in reward for the zeal they had shown against the traitor Mazeppa, they received various privileges and grants of land.
In the forests of Nijgorod there was another nest got together at about the same time with the settlement of Viatka and the spread of the Pomorians, by a runaway disciple of the Pope Habbakuk, whose name was Onuphrius. After his death a deacon named Alexander, disapproving of certain ceremonies, originated a new sect for himself which received from him the name of Diaconarians; but it was not nearly so numerous as that of the Presbyterians, which, by the accession of runaway monks and Streltsi, spread itself down the banks of the Volga and the Don. The Tsar, who was attentive to every thing, wishing to attack the schism in its very heart and centre, chose for bishop of Nijgorod Pitirim, a man who had once lived in Viatka but had returned to the Church, that through his personal experience he might be the better able to expose and refute the deceits of the false teachers. Accordingly, as soon as he was consecrated, he engaged with all pastoral diligence in this difficult business, and himself more than once visited the colonies of the schismatics which were scattered about in the woods. By replying in a reasonable and satisfactory manner to all the questions of these bewildered men, he brought them to doubt the truth of their doctrines, and at length attained the end he desired; for the Deacon Alexander, and the chief elders of his sect, confessed their errors, and were reconciled to the Church. And though in the sequel the inconstant deacon relapsed into his former schism, and suffered the punishment he deserved, still his former adherents remained firm in the true faith. A book written by this Bishop Pitirim under the title of The Spiritual Sling, remains still to afford a salutary medicine to such as may be disposed to relinquish error, as does also another by Demetrius, bishop of Rostov, entitled, An Examination of the Faith of the Brinsky Dissenters, by which he confuted the gainsayers of his diocese.
A new expedition of the Tsar beyond the frontiers for the purpose of confirming the northern alliance, during the continuance of his military operations, was marked at once by political disappointments from the inconstancy of his allies, and by family afflictions from the unworthiness of his son.
In vain did Peter endeavour to prepare a successor worthy of himself in the person of the Tsarevich Alexis; an incapacity for military and civil employment alike early discovered itself in him, as well as a dislike to all the changes effected by his great father. The recollection of the confinement of his mother Eudocia within the Avails of the convent of Souzdal, together with the evil counsels of certain lay and spiritual persons who favoured his way of thinking, and hoped to see in him a restorer of the old order of things, completed the moral ruin of Alexis. When threatened with being disinherited and cut off from his right of succession to the throne, he expressed a wish to leave the world; but not having sufficient strength of mind to subdue his grosser passions, he resolved to seek for safety from his harsh father beyond the boundaries of Russia. Peter was in Holland when he received the bitter intelligence of his flight, and sent to seek for his son in the dominions of the Roman emperor, while he himself continued his route to Paris. While he was there, the celebrated Academy of the Sorboime took advantage of the personal presence of the Russian monarch to make proposals to him for the union of the Western with the Eastern Church; but he prudently declined taking upon himself so weighty a matter, and only promised that he would command the Russian prelates to return an answer to the document which had been presented to him by the Sorbonne.
Peter hastened back to his own dominions whither the guilty Tsarevich, who had been found at Naples, was also soon after brought. He was solemnly deprived of his right of inheritance to the throne, in the ancient capital, and a mixed court, composed both of spiritual and temporal dignitaries, was appointed for his trial. Among his accomplices were found individuals nearly connected with the Tsar, and also some members of the clergy. The former Tsaritsa, Eudocia, was again implicated, and found to have turned to a bad use the liberty allowed her in Souzdal; while it appeared that her ambitious views had been favoured by Dositheus, bishop of Rostoff, and by the Tsarís sister, the Tsarevna Maria, making three, with Sophia and Martha, to rise up against their brother. She was confined in the fortress of Shliisseibourg, and the Tsaritsa was closely imprisoned in the convent of Nova-Ladoga. He was the only one upon whom his father hesitated to pronounce sentence, although his treasonable intentions had been now fully detected; he waited till such time as he should make a full confession, and transferred the Court of Inquiry to the new capital. The Tsarevich, however, made only partial confessions, and acted undecidedly. At length the sovereign overcame the father, and sentence of death was pronounced against him by a mixed court, composed both of civil and ecclesiastical persons; but the mere announcement of this so struck the Tsarevich, that he died suddenly. He left an infant son named Peter, who became thus the heir apparent to the throne, another infant of the same name, born to Peter the Great of Catherine, having died before him.
About this period Peter delivered to the Guardian of the patriarchal throne and the bishops that were with him the memorial, which he had received from the Sorbonne. It was a document of some length, in which the Parisian doctors enlarged upon the agreement of the two Churches, in their doctrines, sacraments, and traditions, in their reverencing of holy relics and Icons, in invocation of the saints, and ecclesiastical discipline. They touched superficially on the doctrine of the procession of the Holy Spirit, endeavouring to interpret the correct Greek expression of the mission of the Holy Spirit from the Father through the Son, by the incorrect Latin addition to the Creed concerning the procession being " also from the Son" and in testimony of their desire for peace, proposed the example of the Uniates, with whom the Greek Creed had remained unaltered by the permission of the Pope. Still more slightly did the Sorbonne speak of the pope, dwelling on all the liberties of the Gallican Church, and calling him only the first according to seniority among the other bishops his equals, according to the testimony of the ancient Fathers, and rejecting his infallibility, made him subject to the authority of the Catholic Church as expressed by a general council.
But however plausible this request for peace might be in appearance, the Russian bishops replied to it with becoming prudence; they expressed on their own side their wish for that unity, for which the Orthodox Church perpetually prays in all her Services. But they remarked to the Sorbonne, that this was an affair which, from its great importance, could not depend on the particular determinations of a party of divines; but that the whole Western Church, together with the whole Eastern, must have part in one common agreement, and that therefore for the present they must rest contented with learned communications on theological subjects, lest by a new league with a foreign Church, they should endanger their ancient unity with the four Ecumenicaland Orthodox thrones. The Metropolitan Stephen, with two archbishops, Barnabas of Kholmogori and Theophanes of Pskov, subscribed this answer. The answer itself was the composition of Theophanes, who had been lately called to the capital from Kiev, and already took a great share in the affairs of the Church.
The extraordinary talents of Theophanes for every kind of business, and his profound and varied knowledge, both secular and ecclesiastical, his zeal for learning, which he constantly promoted even out of his own private revenues, having formed a large seminary adjoining his own house, drew upon him the particular regards of the sovereign; while his acuteness of mind, and his lively and sociable character, with which Peter became acquainted during his Turkish campaign, had linked the Tsarís heart to his companion, who was at that time still rector of the Academy of Kiev. But the Metropolitan Stephen, the illustrious Guardian of the Church of Russia, having known in Kiev the history of Theophanes from the beginning, did not look with equal favour on this new fellow laborer. He placed no confidence in that learning which he had acquired in the West, and mistrusted besides the lively turn of his character, which inclined him to favor religious innovations of foreigners of other creeds. Having placed his own " Rock of Faith" as a rock of offence against their doctrines, this great churchman thought it part of his pastoral duty to rebuke Theophanes, who had been elected bishop of Pskoff, for those erroneous theological opinions, which he had taught in the Academy of Kiev. But this rebuke was disregarded by Theophanes, and served only as a motive with him for enmity against Stephen.
But in the meantime, notwithstanding the proposals of the Sorbonne, made from one particular quarter, for a union of the Churches, the so-called Unia was fiercer and more inveterate than it had ever been before, in its persecution of Orthodoxy. The new metropolitan of the Uniates, Leo Kishka, the successor of Cyprian, had succeeded in a council convoked at Zamost, in openly establishing the Unia throughout all the dioceses, which were under the government of Poland, and in having the deposition of all Bishops adhering to Orthodoxy recognised as legitimate. A constitution of the Diet ratified this act of violence with only one exception, which was in favour of the see of Mogilev. Some few monasteries and churches, which had remained entire in Lithuania and Volhynia, though oppressed by taxes and contributions, were now deprived of the remainder of their property. The clergy endured every species of oppression and insult: the sacred vessels and ornaments were taken away by violence, and the Holy Mysteries themselves were trampled under foot: the estates of the monasteries were spoiled without there being any to defend them; while such of the petty nobility and proprietors as were Orthodox, were excluded from holding any public office. The bishop of Mogilev himself, the Prince Sviatopolk Chetvertinsky Silvester, was wounded, and then imprisoned by the violence of the Poles. Two of the Uniate bishops, the bishop of Smolensk, and especially Innocentius of Peremuishla, made it all but impossible for any of the Orthodox to live in their dioceses: it was in vain that the persecuted cried out for protection. The Tsar, through his ambassador at Warsaw, interposed in defence of his brethren in religion; representing what liberty all Confessions enjoyed in Russia, and demanded the issuing of a commission of enquiry along the frontiers, for examining into the wrongs endured by the Orthodox in Lithuania, White Russia, and Volhynia. He even appointed, on his own side, Roudakofsky as his commissioner at Mogilev. King Augustus and the papal nuntio at Warsaw, the Archbishop Santini, and the pope himself, were gradually influenced by the letters and remonstrances of Peter the Great; but though strict orders were given by Augustus, and though the legate wrote circular letters, and even laid a curse on such as should disobediently disturb the peace of the Church, no effect was obtained. Acts of violence, pillage, imprisonment, and torture, instigated by the fanaticism of the Romans and the Uniates, still continued to contend in the unhappy principality of Lithuania, with the invincible attachment of the Orthodox to the faith of their forefathers. And all this was done with boldness and impunity, although Russia had now gained in strength after her twenty yearsí struggle with Sweden, and was mistress of the northern coasts, after the formidable Charles who had led them into war had vanished from the field of strife, and his successor had at length concluded with Russia the to her honorable peace of Ncustadt, which placed her in a position of security with regard to her external relations.
Confined in the West during the reign of Peter, she extended herself in the East to the extreme boundaries of the ocean, and entered into permanent relations with China. Christianity also continued to be propagated over the immense wilds of Siberia. Theodore, metropolitan of Tobolsk, and the successor of Ignatius, converted 10,000 Ostias. By degrees the true faith shed its light also on the Southern dictricts, and the parts about the distant Irkutsk, where there were by this time a good number of Christians, manifested their desire to have a bishop. Innocentius Koulchinsky, who had been appointed head of the spiritual mission to Pekin, was consecrated the first bishop of Irkutsk, and laid there a good foundation for the Church, being celebrated for the holiness of his character during life, and for the discovery of his relics uncorrupted after death. This was a third saint besides those we have mentioned above, Metrophanes and Demetrius, who was contemporary with Peter, and to whom, as to others, it has been given from on high to distinguish themselves by miracles in our own days.
In the midst of the storms of war the new capital of the Tsar, which he had built in spite of all obstacles on the banks of the Neva, continued to grow up and nourish. His will overcame both nature herself and the natural prejudice existing in favor of the ancient capital of Moscow. Churches and buildings, both public and private, gradually sprang up near the poor dwelling of its great founder, and the humble church of the Trinity. There was already a magnificent cathedral church by the name of the Chief Apostles, Peter and Paul. The Nevskay Lavra had also been founded, and placed on an equal footing with the two ancient Lavras of the Pechersky and the Trinity. It only needed further, for its complete establishment, the possession of the relics of the Great Prince Alexander Nefsky, who had acquired so much glory in war in these same parts, where now another conqueror of the Swedes had laid its foundation. And accordingly before long the relics of the holy prince were solemnly translated into it from Vladimir, while Theodosius, the first archimandrite of the Lavra, a man adorned with every pastoral virtue, united with that place the dignity of metropolitan of Novgorod.
The time had at length arrived for settling permanently the affairs of the Church, which had long been left in an indeterminate and provisional state owing to civil and military disturbances. Peter, victorious over all his enemies, with the titles which he had acquired of Emperor and Father of his Country, according to his own expression, "felt no groundless fear in his conscience lest he should show himself ungrateful to the Most High, if after having been so blessed by Him with success in the improvement of the military and civil departments, he were to neglect the better regulation of the Church.
This was indeed a business, which it was impossible to defer much longer: the Metropolitan Stephen, the virtuous Guardian of the patriarchal throne, who fully merited both the confidence of the Tsar and his high calling, after having held the helm of the Church for twenty years, began to feel the advances of old age, and had no longer the strength requisite for following the energetic Peter in all his movements. He was especially burdened by being obliged to make long residences in the new capital, which as yet afforded none of the conveniences of life, and was altogether out of the way for the government of the Church. As far back as the year 1718, he had complained in a letter to the monarch that he was kept many months in St. Petersburgh in a hired house, at a distance from the church, and still further from the synodal administration confided to him, and from the patriarchal diocese, with the two additional dioceses of Riazan and Tambov, which had been placed provisionally under his personal charge; that the metropolitan sees of Kiev, Novgorod, Rostov, and Smolensk, were in the same state of disorder, having been left vacant ever since the death of their respective prelates, while the other bishops, enfeebled by age, were unable to undertake additional charges; that they all resorted to him for advice as the guardian of the patriarchal throne; but that he himself, at a distance from the elder capital, and without any council, was quite unable to satisfy all the demands made upon him, and knew not whom to choose to fill so many vacant sees.
The sovereign replied that a synodal administration alone was capable of answering to the wants of the Church; and afterwards became more and more confirmed in this his rooted opinion, which in the course of a long reign he had gradually reduced to practice by the institution of a Senate and twelve Colleges. He perceived by experience what great advantages accrued to the state from the concentration of the civil government in the senate, and began more decidedly to contemplate the institution of a permanent local synod, the decisions of which might at once be more impartial and carry greater weight than those of an individual patriarch.
The composition of a Spiritual Regulation for the guidance of this Governing Synod, was committed to Theophanes, bishop of Pskoff, who in the three parts of the Regulation made an accurate statement of the composition and object of such a government, of the business which belonged to it, and of the duties, operations, and powers of the members themselves, according to the forms of the ancient councils, and the rules of the holy Fathers. Together with the duties of the bishops in respect of this superior administration, and in respect of all religious and secular persons in their dioceses, means were appointed in the Regulation for the correction of manners in the flocks, for their instruction in the doctrines of the Faith, for the eradication of Dissent, and for the training of candidates for holy orders in seminaries to be annexed to every episcopal residence, and in a superior Spiritual Academy which it was proposed to erect.
This important affair was carefully examined and discussed by a council convoked in the new capital at the commencement of the year 1721. The whole of the Regulation was read through in the presence of Stephen guardian of the patriarchal throne, Silvester metropolitan of Smolensk, Pachomius metropolitan of Voronege, of the Bishops Theophanes of Pskov, Pitirim of Nijgorod, Barlaam of Tver, and Aaron of Carelia, of Theodosius archimandrite of the Nevskay Lavra, five other archimandrites, and seven of the highest civil dignitaries of the state, and was witnessed by them all after it had been signed and confirmed by the Tsarís hand. It was afterwards again subscribed by all the bishops and archimandrites, and hegumens of the first rank in the Russian Church.
17. The Most Holy Synod.
And now was solemnly opened in the presence of the Emperor Peter this standing spiritual synod, which was for the future to rule the Russian Church under the name of the Most Holy Governing Synod; and this title was inserted in all the Litanies and prayers where the patriarchs were formerly mentioned. To its administration were committed all the estates of the bishops and monasteries, which had got into disorder under the management of the Monastery Court. The election of bishops, the supreme right of jurisdiction over spiritual persons, except in capital cases, which were to be tried in the different courts, all matters of heresy and schism, as well as of marriages and divorce, which had formerly belonged to the patriarchal Court of Requests, and afterwards had been under the cognizance of the Metropolitan Stephen, the Guardian of the throne, were referred to the jurisdiction of the synod; and the meek Stephen himself, after having so long ruled all the Church, was honoured with the title of President of the Most Holy Synod, with the same voice as the other members; and he executed the duties of this office for two years longer till the time of his blessed decease. He departed this life at Riazan, and was buried there in the magnificent cathedral, which he himself had built. Two Vice-presidents were also appointed, Theodosius, who had not long before been consecrated archbishop of Novogorod, and Theophanes of Pskov. The other members who took part in the consultations of the synod, were Leonidas, archbishop of the Steeps, Gabriel, archimandrite of the Lavra of St. Sergius, the archimandrites of the throe Stauropegial monasteries at Moscow, the Choudoff, the Novospassky, and the Simonoff, the distinguished Theophylact Lopatinsky, Hierotheus, and Peter, the Hegumens Athanasitis Tolgsky from Yaroslavla, and Barlaam Ougreshsky from near Moscow, one priest-monk named Theophilus, and two arch-priests of the new collegiate churches in St. Petersburgh, John of the Trinity, and Peter of that of the two Chief Apostles. Such was the original composition of the Most Holy Synod.
This synodal form of ecclesiastical government was proclaimed to the people throughout all Russia, but there still needed, in order to its permanent establishment, the recognition of the other Eastern Churches, that the unity of the Catholic Church might not be violated. The Emperor Peter had several times during the course of his reign applied to the see of Constantinople, at one time for dispensations for the contraction of marriages with persons of different religions, and for authority to discontinue the previous custom of re-baptizing Lutherans and Calvinists converted to the Orthodox faith, whereas the proper course was to receive such by administering to them only the Mystery of the Holy Chrism or Confirmation; at another time for granting a dispensation from the Fasts to soldiers engaged in actual service in the field; and now on this occasion he wrote a letter with his own hand to the Patriarch Jeremiah. In it he informed him of those necessities of the Russian Church, which had induced him to take it under his special care after the example of other religious sovereigns in old time, and to institute a spiritual synod with authority equal to that of the former patriarchs for its government; and he expressed his hope that Jeremiah also, as the first hierarch of the Eastern Catholic Church, would favourably recognise this institution, and would inform the other most blessed patriarchs of Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem, of it, and that he would hold communion and correspondence with the Most Holy Synod in the same way that he formerly had done with the Patriarchs of all the Russias.
It is a remarkable fact, that the name of the patriarch to whom Peter applied on the institution of the synod, was Jeremiah, the same having been also the name of that prelate with whom the Tsar Theodore held communication at the time of the establishment of the Russian patriarchate. Several other curious coincidences were also noticed: on this occasion, as well as on the former, the person most of all engaged in forwarding the views of the Tsar and the Lord of Constantinople was the patriarch of Antioch, while both times the patriarch of Alexandria died during the negotiations. Another important business occupied the attention of the Ecumenical patriarchs at the time they received this letter from the Tsar, and the Russian Church also took some slight share in the same matter. A certain bishop of Thebais who appertained to the throne of Alexandria, happening to be in Great Britain in quest of alms, suggested to the Anglican bishops the idea of uniting themselves to the Ecumenical Church, and was the bearer of a letter from them to the patriarchs.
The guardians of Eastern Orthodoxy, having consulted together in council, made answer at length to the enquiries of the British, laying before them those unalterable foundations of the faith of their ancestors, on which alone the Eastern Church could receive them into her bosom, for she had already in the past century had an example of a false union with the Calvinists, who had deceived Cyrill Lucar, patriarch of Constantinople, and endeavored to propagate their heresy in the East under his name. The successor of Lucar, another Cyrill, known as Cyrill of Bercea, was obliged to deliver over the doctrines ascribed to his predecessor to an anathema. But the learned Dositheus, patriarch of Jerusalem, convoked a council at Bethlehem, and set forth at large in eighteen articles the whole Orthodox Confession of the Catholic Church, with a rejection of the German doctrine, grounding himself upon the already existing "Orthodox Confession" of Peter Mogila, which had been acknowledged by the whole Church.
In the mean time the British bishops, through James Protosyncellus of Alexandria, entered into communication on the same subject with the Most Holy Synod, and transmitted to it their rejoinder to the answers of the patriarchs, with the request that they might be forwarded to Constantinople. But the Russian prelates, seeing with what heresy the Anglican document was filled, rejecting the traditions of their fathers, for the invocation of the saints, and the reverencing of Icons, proceeded in the same guarded manner as the Greek bishops, requesting them to give their advice in council, without which they would undertake nothing. Upon this, three of the Ecumenical patriarchs, Jeremiah of Constantinople, Athanasius of Antioch, and Sophronius of Jerusalem, together with the bishops that were in Constantinople, immediately sent to the Most Holy Synod the synodical Confession of the Patriarch Dositheus, as the best refutation to oppose against the Anglican and Calvinistic doctrines, and entreated them by a circular letter, to remain steadfast in the pious doctrines of Orthodoxy; as they had long since been thoroughly sifted and decided by the Ecumenical Councils, and the holy Fathers, and had been uninterruptedly held and preserved by the service of the Catholic Church, and it was impossible either to add any thing to them or to take any thing away.
At the same time the patriarchs wrote letters to the Most Holy Synod, concerning its recognition by the whole Ecumenical Church, after the example of the throne of Constantinople, upon which in ancient times the metropolitan chair of all the Russias had depended. The letter from Constantinople was as follows:
Jeremiah, by the mercy of God Patriarch of the city of Constantinople.
Our Humility, by the grace and power of the all-holy and life-giving Spirit, the sole Author of all governance, legitimatizes, confirms and proclaims the Synod, which has been instituted in the great and holy kingdom of Russia, by the most pious and pacific Autocrat, the Holy Tsar, Sovereign of all Muscovy, of Little and White Russia, and all the Northern Eastern, Western, and many other countries, the Lord, Lord Peter Alexaevich, Emperor, whom we love, and of whom we desire to have refreshment in the Holy Ghost. It is, and is to be named "our Brother in Christ, the Holy and Sacred Synod" by all pious and Orthodox Christians, both Clergy and laity, Rulers and subjects, and by all official persons and dignitaries; and it has authority to do and perform, all that is done or performed by the four Apostolical and Most Holy Patriarchal thrones. Moreover, we put it in remembrance, we exhort and enjoin on it, to hold and preserve inviolably the customs and Canons of the seven Holy and Ecumenical Councils, and all besides that the Holy Eastern Church acknowledges and observes; and so may it stand fast forever. The Grace of God, and the Prayer and Blessing of our Humility be with you.
In the year 1723, this 23rd day of September.
Jeremiah, by the mercy of God Patriarch of Constantinople, your Brother in Christ.