List of primates of Russia

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List of Primates of the Church of Russia. These are the list of the Primates of the early Kievan Metropolia (which was predecesor of the Church of Ukraine, and Church of Russia, under the Church of Constantinople), and the Moscow Metropolia and Patriarchate. Michael I became the first primate when the entire city of Kiev was baptized in 988 by order of Vladimir of Kiev.

988-1304 - The Kievan Metropolia

In the pre-Tartar period of its history, the Kievan Church (Russian, and Ukrainian, the country at the time was known as Kievan Rus' , which later became the countries of Russia and Ukraine) was one of the Metropolitanates of the Patriarchate of Constantinople. The Metropolitan was based in the city of Kiev, and he a Greek appointed by the Patriarchate of Constantinople:

  • St. Mikhail I (988-991)
  • Leontii I (992-1007)
  • Ivan I (1008-1035)
  • Feopemt (1035-1049)
  • Kirill I (1050 )

In 1051, the first native of Kievan Rus', Metropolitan Hilarion (who was noted as one of the more educated men of his time) was installed to the primatial see. (Also in 1051, St. Anthony of the Caves brought the traditions of Athonite monasticism to Russia.)

  • Hilarion (1051-1054)
  • Efrem I (1055 )
  •  ?
  • Grigorii II (1067-1077)
  • Ivan II (1077-1089)
  • Ivan III (1089-1091)
  • Efrem II (1092-1097)
  • Nikolai (1097-1102)

The 12th century was a period of feudal divisions in Russia, but the Russian Church remained the only bond of the Russian people, resisting the feudal conflict among Russian princes.

  • Nikifor I (1103-1121)
  • Nikita (1122-1126)
  • vacant
  • Mikhail II (1129-1145)
  • vacant
  • Kliment Smolyatich (1147-1154)
  • St. Konstantin I (1155-1158)
  • vacant
  • Feodor (1161-1163)
  • Ivan IV (1164-1166
  • Konstantin II (1167-1177)
  • vacant
  • Nikifor II (1182-1198)
  • Gavriil ?

In the 13th century, the Tartar invasion failed to break the Kievan Church. The Church managed to survive as a real force and was the comforter of the people in their plight. It made a great spiritual, material, and moral contribution to the restoration of the political unity in the country as a guarantee of its future victory over the invaders.

  • Dionisii I (1205)
  • vacant (1205-1209)
  • Matfei (1209-1220)
  • vacant (1220-1224)
  • Kirill II (1224-1233)
  •  ?
  • Iosif I (1237- ?)
  • Kirill III (1243-1281)
  • vacant (1281-1283)
  • Maximus (1283-1305)

1304 - 1448 - Metropolitans of Moscow and Vladimir

Russian principalities began to unite around Moscow in the 14th century. The Russian Orthodox Church continued to play an important role in the revival of unified Russia. Outstanding Russian bishops acted as spiritual guides and assistants to the princes of Moscow. St. Metropolitan Alexis (1354-1378) educated Prince Dimitry Donskoy. He, just as St. Metropolitan Jonas (1448-1471) later, by the power of his authority helped the prince of Moscow to put an end to the feudal discords and preserve the unity of the state. St. Sergius of Radonezh, a great ascetic of the Russian Church, gave his blessing to Prince Dimitry Donskoy to fight the Kulikovo Battle, which marked the beginning of the liberation of Russia from the invaders.

  • St. Peter (in Moscow from 1318) (1304-1326 )
  • vacant
  • St. Theognostus (1328-1353)
  • St. Alexis (I) (1354-1378)
  • vacant
  • St. Cyprian (1380-1385 d.1407)
  • Pimen (I) (1385-138? )
  • Dionysius (138?-1390 )
  • St. Cyprian (restored) (1390-1407)
  • St. Photius (1408-1431 )
  • Isidore the Apostate (1437-1441)
  • vacant

1448 – 1589 - Metropolitans of Moscow and all Russia

Jonas (1448-1461) was the first to be elected without the sanction of Constantinople, thus establishing the Russian Church as a fully independent body. Liberating itself from the invaders, the Russian state gathered strength and so did the Russian Orthodox Church. In 1448, not long before the Byzantine Empire collapsed, the Russian Church became independent from the patriarchate of Constantinople. Metropolitan Jonas, installed by the Council of Russian Bishops in 1448, was given the title of Metropolitan of Moscow and All Russia.

1589 – 1721 - Patriarchs of Moscow and all Russia

The growing might of the Russian state contributed also to the growing authority of the Autocephalous Russian Church. In 1589 Metropolitan Job of Moscow became the first Russian patriarch. Eastern patriarchs recognized the Russian patriarch as the fifth in honor.

  • St. Job (1589-1605)
  • Ignatius (1605-1606)
  • St. Hermogenes (1606-1612) (also known as, Germogen)

The beginning of the 17th century proved to be a hard time for Russia. The Poles and Swedes invaded Russia from the West. The patriarch, an ardent patriot of Russia who was to be tortured to death by the invaders, was the spiritual leader of the mass levy led by Minin and Pozharsky. The heroic defense of St. Sergius' Monastery of the Trinity from the Swedes and Poles between 1608-1610 is of note to both the Russian state and the Russian Church.

At this time, the Russian Church was engaged in introducing corrections into its service books and rites. A great contribution to this was made by Patriarch Nikon, a bright personality and outstanding church reformer. Some clergymen and lay people did not understand and did not accept the liturgical reforms introduced by Patriarch Nikon and refused to obey the church authority. This was how the Old Believers' schism emerged.

  • Pitirim, Metropolitan of Krutitsy, Coadjutor (1658-1667)
  • Joasaphus II (1667-1672)
  • Pitirim of Krutitsy (restored, as Patriarch ) (1672-1673)
  • Joachim (1674-1690)
  • Adrian (1690-1700)
  • Stefan Yavorskiy, Metrop. of Ryazan, Coadjutor (1700-1721)

1721-1917 Holy Synod

The beginning of the 18th century in Russia was marked by sweeping reforms carried out by Peter I. The reforms did not leave the Russian Church untouched. After the death of Patriarch Adrian in 1700, Peter I delayed the election of the new Primate of the Church.He established, in 1721, a collective supreme administration known as the Holy and Governing Synod. The Synod remained the supreme church body in the Russian Church for almost two centuries. The the Tsar's cabinet member, Ober-Procurator, was a lay head of this Synod.

In the Synodal period, the Church paid a special attention to the development of religious education and mission in the provinces. Old churches were restored and new churches were built.

The Holy Synod, consisted of the most influential metropolitans, archbishops and bishops. Moscow itself was administered by a territorial archbishop, combined with Vladimir (1721-1745), with Sevsk (1745-1764), with Kaluga (1764-1799), then Metropolitan, combined with Kaluga, (1799-1917).

Metropolitans of Moscow

1917 – Patriarchs of Moscow and all Russia

Early in the 20th century the Russian Church began preparations for convening an All-Russian Council. But it was to be convened only after the 1917 Revolution. Among its major actions was the restoration of the patriarchal office in the Russian Church. The Council elected Metropolitan Tikhon of Moscow Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia (1917-1925). Again, the primate was known as the patriarch.

  • St. Tikhon (1917-1925) (St. Tikhon of Moscow exerted every effort to calm the destructive passions kindled up by the revolution. )
  • vacant - (Peter Patriarchal locum tenens (1925-1937) )
  • Sergius, Deputy locum tenens (1925-1936), locum tenens (1936-1943) Patriarch (1943-1944)
  • Alexius I (1945-1970)
  • Pimen (1970-1990)
  • Alexius II (1990-2008)
  • Kyrill I (2009-Present)

See also