→External links: Fixed broken link to CNEWA website.
name= Patriarchate of Moscow|founder= [[Apostle Andrew]], St. [[Vladimir of Kiev]]|
independence= 1448 |
recognition= 1589 by [[Church of Constantinople|Constantinople]] |
Alexei II ( Ridiger) of Moscow| Patriarch Alexei II]]|
territory=Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan
, some former Soviet republics|possessions= United States, Canada, Great Britain, Australia, China|
mospat.ru/ Church of Russia]
The '''Church of Russia''', also referred to as the '''Moscow Patriarchate''', is one of the [[autocephalous]] Orthodox
churches, ranking fifth after [[Church of Constantinople|Constantinople]], [[Church of Alexandria|Alexandria]], [[Church of Antioch|Antioch]], and [[Church of Jerusalem|Jerusalem]]. It exercises [[jurisdiction]] over Orthodox Christians in Russia and the surrounding Slavic lands as well as [[exarchate]]s and patriarchal representation churches around the world. It also exercises jurisdiction over the autonomous [[Church of Japan]] and Orthodox Christians in China. The Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia is currently His Holiness [[ Alexei II ( Ridiger) of Moscow| Alexei II]].
According to the statutes of the Russian Orthodox Church
, its jurisdiction includes persons of Orthodox confession living on the [[canonical territory]] of the Russian Orthodox Church in Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Moldavia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Estonia, and also Orthodox Christians living in other countries who voluntarily join the jurisdiction.
*The [[Latvian Orthodox Church]]
*The [[Moldovan Orthodox Church|Orthodox Church of Moldova]]
*The [[Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia]]
*The [[Church of Ukraine|Ukrainian Orthodox Church]]
The self-governing churches receive their [[chrism]] from the Patriarch of Moscow and exercise their activities on the basis of patriarchal [[tomos]].
This claim of jurisdiction is disputed by other Orthodox churches in a number of cases (particularly in Estonia and Moldova, as well as in the [[diaspora]]; there are also major schismatic elements in Ukraine that want an [[autocephaly|autocephalous]] Ukrainian church), due mainly to the changing shape of the boundaries of Russia (the canonical territory of the Church of Russia was ecumenically defined in 1589 as being the territory of the now-defunct Russian Empire).
===The Kiev period (988-1237)===
Cyril and Methodius not only brought Christianity in a common language, they brought Byzantium. The Slavs received a fully articulated system of Christian doctrine and a fully developed Christian civilization. The age of the [[Ecumenical Councils|Seven Councils]] was complete and the doctrines of the [[Trinity]] and the [[Incarnation]] had already been worked out. Because people were preached to in their own tongue, and of taking services in Slavonic, they truly could make Christianity their own.
Around 864 Patriarch Photius sent a bishop to Kiev(capital of present day Ukraine), but this was stopped by Oleg, who assumed power at Kiev (the chief Rus' city at this time) in 878. Christian ideas from Byzantium, Bulgaria, and Scandinavia, still came into Kievan-Rus'.
===Mongol Tartars over Russia (1237-1448) ===
In the 12th century, the period of feudal divisions, the Kievan-Rus' Church
(present day Ukraine) remained the only bearer of the idea of unity of the people, resisting the centrifugal aspirations and feudal strife among Rus' princes. Even the Tartar invasion, this greatest ever misfortune that struck Rus' in the 13th century, failed to break the Orthodox 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 of Russia as a guarantee of its future victory over the invaders.
Also, at this same time, the Grand Duke Alexander of Novgorod, won a great victory on the banks of the Neva' over the Swedes, who had been incited by the Pope to conquer Russia for the Latin Church.
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 [[Ecumenical Patriarchate]]. Metropolitan Jonas, installed by the Council of Russian bishops in 1448, was given the title of Metropolitan of Moscow and All Russia.
The Russian Church thus gained its independence, more by chance than from any deliberate design. Hitherto the Patriarch of Constantinople had appointed the head of the Russian Church, the Metropolitan. At the [[Council of Florence]] the Metropolitan was a Greek, Isidore. A leading supporter of the union with Rome, Isidore returned to Moscow in 1441 and proclaimed the decrees of Florence, but he met with no support from the Russians. He was imprisoned by the Grand Duke, but after a time was allowed to escape, and went back to Italy. The chief [[see]] was thus left vacant; but the Russians could not ask the Patriarch for a new Metropolitan, because until 1453 the official Church at Constantinople continued to accept the Florentine Union. Reluctant to take action on their own, the Russians delayed for several years. Eventually in 1448 a council of Russian bishops proceeded to elect a Metropolitan without further reference to Constantinople. After 1453, when the Florentine Union was abandoned at Constantinople, communion between the Patriarchate and Russia was restored, but Russia continued to appoint its own chief hierarch. Henceforward the Russian Church was self-governing, but its autocephaly was not ratified by the rest of the Church until 1589.
After the [[fall of Constantinople]] in 1453, there was only one nation that saw itself as capable of assuming leadership in Eastern Christendom. The growing might of the Russian state also contributed to the growing authority of the autocephalous Russian Church. To the Russian people, it was a sign from God, that at the very moment when the Byzantine Empire was ending, they themselves were throwing off the few remaining vestiges of Tartar control. To them, Moscow became the [[Third Rome]], a status never acknowledged by the remainder of the Church but nevertheless which served to inspire Russian Orthodox Christians.
===Non-Possessors ===Saint [[Nilus of Sora]] (Nil Sorsky, 1433?-1508), a monk from a remote hermitage in the forests beyond the Volga, launched an attack on the ownership of land by monasteries.
Saint Joseph, Abbot of Volokalamsk (1439-1515), replied in defense of monastic landholding. This became known as the dispute between the " the Possessors" and the "Non-Possessors". (Note that both are saints of the Church.)
As the "Third Rome",
the tsar derived his power and right to rule from being God's chosen representative on earth. So, to keep his status, he needed to protect and promote the church. In the Byzantium tradition, the relationship between the church and the state acted as a check on the power of the tsar. The metropolitan and the tsar were equals, and the metropolitan had the right to censure the tsar. The dispute between the Possessors and the Non-Possessors challenged this idea because about a third of the land in Russia belonged to monasteries at this time.
The Possessors and the Non-Possessors held different views about the role the church should play in society and in politics. When the Possessors triumphed, the church gained the right to wealth at the expense of political influence. The tsar became superior to the metropolitan, and could now interfere in secular matters of the church. The tsar was cut off from any source of accountability.
Also, behind the question of monastic property lay two different conceptions of the monastic life, and ultimately two different views of the relation of the Church to the world. The Possessors emphasized the social obligations of monasticism. Monks argued that they did not use their wealth on themselves, but to care for the sick and poor, to show hospitality, and to teach. To do these things efficiently, monasteries needed money and therefore they must own land. (Possessors emphasized unity in preaching and worship, beauty and dignity in ritual.)
The Non-Possessors argued on the other hand that almsgiving is the duty of the laity, while a monk's primary task is to help others by praying for them and by setting an example. To do these things properly a monk must be detached from the world, and only those who are vowed to complete poverty can achieve true detachment. Monks who are landowners cannot avoid being tangled up in secular anxieties, and because they become absorbed in worldly concerns, they act and think in a worldly way. (Non-Possessors were more concerned with freedom in religious practice and taught that God was most pleased with a simple, contrite heart, even in the absence of an elaborate Liturgy. They were the scholars and mystics, who upheld evangelical poverty.)
While the Russian people sympathized deeply with the afflictions of their brethren in Constantinople, they did not have sufficient military strength to come to their relief.
In 1588 the
Grand Duke Theodor applied to the Patriarch of Constantinople for permission to form a new Patriarchate for the Russian people. The question was referred to the other Patriarchs of Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem, and they all decided that, although the Councils had established five Patriarchates, the exact number was not a matter of divine right, but of ecclesiastical convenience, and consequently, the request could be granted.
In 1589 Metropolitan Job of Moscow became the first
Russian patriarch, and the autocephaly of the Church of Russia was officially acknowledged by the Church. The patriarchs of the ancient churches recognized the Russian patriarch as the fifth in honor, defining the [[canonical territory|canonical boundaries]] of the Church of Russia as being that of the Russian Empire.
When [[Nikon of Moscow]] was the primate, the Russian Church was engaged in introducing alterations and amendments into its service books and rites. A great contribution to this was made by Patriarch Nikon, a bright personality and outstanding church reformer.
The reforms caused the separation from the Church of those who
ignorantly and blindly supposed that the corrupted service-books were divinely inspired. Some [[clergy]]men and [[laity|lay people]] were perhaps more hesitant about accepting the liturgical reforms introduced by Patriarch Nikon and were anathematized by the church authority. These groups became known as the [[ Old Believers]], many of whom have now been subsumed into the [[Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia]].
===The Synodical Church (1700-1917)===
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 because he did not want another Nikon. He established, in 1721, a collective supreme administration known as the Holy and Governing [[holy Synod|Synod]]. The constitution of the Synod was not based on Orthodox Canon Law, but copied from the Protestant ecclesiastical synods in Germany. Its members were not chosen by the Church but nominated by the tsar; and the tsar who nominated could also dismiss them at will.
The Holy Governing Synod was constituted at St. Petersburg, and consisted of twelve members; four archbishops, six archimandrites, and two arch-priests. This body, was presided over by the Metropolitan of St. Petersburg, but subject to the tsar. The Holy Synod rendered an annual account of its affairs through a lay procurator, who in fact governed the Russian Church. Whereas a patriarch, holding office for life, could perhaps defy the tsar, a member of the Holy Synod was allowed no scope for heroism: he was simply retired. The Synod remained the supreme church body in the Russian church for almost two centuries.
During this time, the Russian Church was divided into fifty-eight dioceses, with a bishop at the head of each. These bishops were divided into three metropolias. They were in Kiev, Moscow, and St. Petersburg.
===20th century the Russian Church
The Russian Orthodox Church claims about 26,000 parishes. Out of these, more than 50% (14,700) are in Ukraine.[http://www.risu.org.ua/library/doc/MP_canter.pdf]
*[[List of Primates of Russia]]
*[http://www.mospat.ru/index.php?lng=1 DECR Communication Service] Communication service of the Department for External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate
[[es:Iglesia Ortodoxa de Rusia]]