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Church of Russia

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External links: Fixed broken link to CNEWA website.
name= Patriarchate of Moscow[[Image:Russia logo.gif|center|Church of Russia]]|founder= [[Apostle Andrew]], St. [[Vladimir of Kiev]]|
independence= 1448 |
recognition= 1589 by [[Church of Constantinople|Constantinople]] |
primate=[[Alexei II Kyrill I (RidigerGundyayev) of Moscow|Patriarch Alexei IIPatr. Kyrill I]]|
hq=Moscow, Russia|
territory=Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan, some and other former Soviet republics|possessions= United States, Canada, Great Britain, Australia, Western Europe, China|
language=[[Church Slavonic]]|
music=[[Russian Chant]]|
calendar=[[Julian Calendar|Julian]]|
website=[ Russian Orthodox Church of Russia]
The '''Church of Russia''', known officially as the '''Russian Orthodox Church''' and also referred to as the '''Moscow Patriarchate''', is one of the [[autocephalous]] Local Orthodox churchesChurches, ranking fifth after the Churches of [[Church of Constantinople|Constantinople]], [[Church of Alexandria|Alexandria]], [[Church of Antioch|Antioch]], and [[Church of Jerusalem|Jerusalem]]. It exercises [[jurisdiction]] over the Orthodox Christians living in Russia and the surrounding Slavic lands as well as [[exarchate]]s former member republics of the USSR and patriarchal representation churches around the worldtheir diasporas abroad. It also exercises jurisdiction over the autonomous [[Church of Japan]] and the Orthodox Christians living in the People's Republic of China. The current Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia is currently His Holiness [[Alexei II Kyrill I (RidigerGundyayev) of Moscow|Alexei IIKyrill I]].
According to the statutes of the Russian Orthodox Church, its jurisdiction includes persons of the Orthodox confession faithful living on the its [[canonical territory]] of the Russian Orthodox Church in RussiaAzerbaijan, UkraineBelarus, BelarusChina, MoldaviaEstonia, AzerbaijanJapan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, EstoniaUkraine, and also Uzbekistan as well as Orthodox Christians living in other countries who voluntarily join the submit to its jurisdiction.
This includes these In addition to its regular [[diocese|dioceses]] the Russian Orthodox Church is comprised of the following self-governing Churchesand/or autonomous churches:*The [[Church of Estonia (Moscow Patriarchate)|Estonian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate)]]
*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 [[Church of Japan|Japanese Orthodox Church]]
The autonomous and self-governing churches receive their [[chrism]] from the Patriarch of Moscow and exercise their activities on the basis of their patriarchal [[tomos|tomoses]]. This claim of The Russian Orthodox Church's jurisdiction over particular territories is disputed by other Orthodox churches in a number of cases (particularly , most notably in Estonia and , Moldova, as well as in the [[diaspora]]; there are also major schismatic elements in and Ukraine that want an [[autocephaly|autocephalous]] Ukrainian church), due mainly to the changing shape of the boundaries of Russia (the canonical territory of but it remains by far the largest Orthodox Church of Russia was ecumenically defined present in 1589 as being the territory of the now-defunct Russian Empire)all three countries.
===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, [[Isidorethe Apostate|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 and Josephites ===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 St. [[Joseph of Volokolamsk|Joseph, Abbot hegumen of Volokalamsk Volokolamsk]] (1439-1515), replied in defense of monastic landholding. This became known as the dispute between the "the Possessors" (Josephites) 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.)
===Russian patriarch===
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 , during reign of the Grand Duke Theodor applied to Tsar Feodor I (Theodore) of Moscow, Boris Godunov requested of 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 Patriarch of Moscow; the autocephaly of the Church of Russia was being officially acknowledged by the Mother-Churchof Constantinople. 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 Moscow as being that of Moscow and the Russian Empire"Northern lands".
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.
Daring During the Tartar rule, many mistakes had been made in the service-books, through the ignorance of scribes. Nikon carefully corrected and restored the rites, comparing them with the Greek service books, and introduced many practical reforms. But his zeal made him many enemies, so that at last this great and good man died in exile.
===Old Believers===
The reforms caused the separation from the Church of those who ignorantly and blindly rightfully supposed that the corrupted old 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 wrongly anathematized by the church authority. These groups became known as Hieromartyr Andrew, Archbishop of Ufa confessed that: "On the basis of Patriarch Nikon's mistake was established that caesaropapism which has, since the time of Patriarch Nikon, undermined all the roots of Russian Church life and was finally expressed in the formation of the so-called '[[Old BelieversLiving Church]]', which is at present the ruling hierarchy and which has transgressed all the church canons... But I, although I am a sinful and unworthy bishop, many by the mercy of whom God ascribe myself to no ruling hierarchy and have now been subsumed into always remembered the command of the [[Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia]]holy Apostle Peter: 'Pasture the flock of God without lording it over God's inheritance'."
===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 of Moscow|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.
===The Russian Church (20th century )=== Early in the 20th century the Russian Church began preparations for convening an [[All-Russian Church Council of 1917-1918|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 Rus' (1917-1925). St. Tikhon of Moscow exerted every effort to calm the destructive passions kindled up by the revolution.
Early When in 1921-1922 the Soviet government demanded that church valuables be given in aid to the population starving because of the failure of crops in 1921, a conflict erupted between the Church and the 20th century new authorities who decided to use this situation to demolish the Russian Church began preparations for convening an to the end. By the beginning of [[All-Russian Church Council of 1917-1918|All-Russian CouncilWorld War II]]the church structure was almost completely destroyed throughout the country. But it was There were only a few bishops who remained free and who could perform their duties. Some bishops managed to be convened only after survive in remote parts or under the 1917 Revolutiondisguise of priests. Among its major actions was Only a few hundred churches were opened for services throughout the restoration Soviet Union. Most of the patriarchal office clergy were either imprisoned in labor camps, where many of them perished, or hid in [[catacombs]], while thousands of priests changed occupation. World War II forced Stalin to mobilize all the national resources for defense, including the Russian Orthodox Churchas the people's moral force. The Council elected This process, which can be described as a "patriotic union", culminated in Stalin's receiving on September 4, 1943, Patriarchal Locum Tenens Metropolitan [[Tikhon Sergius (Stragorodsky) of Moscow|Sergius (Stragorodsky)]] Patriarch and Metropolitan [[Alexei I (Simansky) of Moscow |Alexius (Simansky)]] and All Rus' [[Nicholas (1917-1925Yarushevich). St. Tikhon of Moscow exerted every effort to calm the destructive passions kindled up by the revolutionKrutitsy|Nicholas (Yarushevich)]].
When in 1921-1922 the Soviet government demanded that church valuables be given in aid to The Russian clergy outside the population starving because of the failure of crops in 1921USSR, a conflict erupted between the Church and the new authorities who decided to use this situation to demolish the Church to the end. By the beginning rejected demands of World War II the church structure was almost completely destroyed throughout the country. There were only a few bishops who remained free and who could perform their duties. Some bishops managed loyalty to survive in remote parts or under the disguise of priests. Only a few hundred churches were opened for services throughout the Soviet Union. Most of the clergy were either imprisoned Communist authorities put forth by Sergius (Stragorodsky) in concentration camps, where many of them perished, or hid 1927 (in catacombs, while thousands of priests changed occupation. World War II forced Stalin to mobilize all the national resources for defense, including the Russian Orthodox Church as the people's moral force. This process, which can be described as a "patriotic union", culminated in Stalin's receiving on September 4, 1943, Patriarchal Locum Tenens Metropolitan so called [[Sergius I (Stragorodsky) Declaration of Moscow|Sergiy Stragorodsky1927]] and Metropolitan [[Alexei I (Simansky) of Moscow|Alexy Simansky]] and , formed the [[Nicholas (Yarushevich) of Kiev|Nikolay YarushevichRussian Orthodox Church Outside Russia]].
===The Russian Orthodox Church today===
The Russian Orthodox Church claims about 26,000 parishes. Out of these, more than 50% (14,700) are in Ukraine.[]
==See also==
*[[List of Primates of Russia]]
==External links==
*[ Moscow Patriarchate] (Official Website)
*[ Department of External Affairs] (Official Website)
*[ Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia] (Official Website)
*[ Article on the Orthodox Church of Russia by Ronald Roberson on the CNEWA web site]
*[ "The Canonical Territory of the Moscow Patriarchate" by J. Buciora] (Article)
*[ Church in history of Russia. Lev Regelson.]
==Further Reading==
* Dimitry Pospielovsky. [ The Orthodox Church in the history of Russia]. St Vladimir's Seminary Press, 1998. 413 pp. (ISBN 0881411795; ISBN 9780881411799)
*[ HostKingdom]
*[ DECR Communication Service] Communication service of the Department for External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate
== External links ==
*[ Church of Russia] official website in English
*[ Patriarchia.RU] official portal of the Moscow Patriarchate (Russian only)
* [ Eastern Christian Churches: The Orthodox Church of Russia] by Ronald Roberson, a Roman Catholic priest and scholar
<!--- * [ Commission Dialogue Moscow Patriarchate-Church outside Russia] --->
*[ Canonical Territory of the Moscow Patriarchate: An Analysis of Contemporary Russian Orthodox Thought], by Fr. J. Buciora, Ph.D. (a paper criticizing the actions of the MP outside Russia)
*[ The Russian Canonical Territory], from the website of the [[Church of Estonia]] (a paper critical of the MP's actions in Estonia)
[[el:Ρωσική Ορθόδοξη Εκκλησία]]
[[es:Iglesia Ortodoxa de Rusia]]
[[fr:Église de Russie]][[ro:Biserica Ortodoxă RusăOrtodoxă Rusă]][[ru:Русская Православная Церковь]]

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