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Statute of Grand Prince Yaroslav

STATUTE OF GRAND PRINCE YAROSLAV

The Statute is reported to have come from the hand of Grand Prince Yaroslav (r. 10191054), son of Kievan Grand Prince Vladimir, who is credited with the conversion of Rus to Christianity and also with the authorship of the Statute of Grand Prince Vladimir, which instituted church courts in Kievan Rus. Inasmuch as no copy of Yaroslav's Statute from before the fifteenth century survives, many historians doubted the authenticity of the document, but modern textological study has rehabilitated the Statute.

Scholars now know of some one hundred copies of the Statute, which may be divided into six separate redactions that reflect changes in the document's content as it developed in different parts of the Rus lands in the medieval and early modern period. The archetype of the Statute evidently did appear in Rus in the reign of Yaroslav, and gave birth to the two principal versions that dominated all later modifications in the text. The archetype of the Expanded version came into being in the late twelfth or early thirteenth century, then spawned a host of specially adapted copies in the fourteenth, fifteenth, and sixteenth centuries. The Short version seems to have arisen early in the fourteenth century, also stimulating many further variations in the document's content and organization in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. No later than early in the fifteenth century the Statute came to enjoy official standing in the eyes of both churchmen and secular officials. In 1402 and again in 1419 Moscow Grand Prince Basil I (13891425) confirmed the judicial and financial guarantees laid out in the Statute. Most extant copies, consequently, survive along with other texts of secular and canon law in manuscript books such as the Kormchaya kniga (the chief handbook of canon law).

According to the statute's first article, Grand Prince Yaroslav, in consultation with Metropolitan Hilarion (10511054), used Greek Christian precedent and the example of the prince's father to give church courts jurisdiction over divorce and to extend to the church a portion of fees collected by the Grand Prince. The various versions of the statute contained additional provisions, whose specifics depended upon the place and time that the version was created. Among other subjects, articles consider rape, illicit sexual intercourse, infanticide, bigamy, incest, bestiality, spousal desertion and other issues of family law and sexual behavior. The Statute also attempted to regulate Christian interaction with Muslims, Jews, and those who were faithful to indigenous religions. Finally, the Statute confirmed the precedent articulated in the Statute of Grand Prince Vladimir, according to which both monastic and church people would be subject exclusively to the authority of church courts. Later versions sometimes provided for punishment by secular authorities, but in the main version the Statute relied upon monetary fines to punish wrongdoers.

No records of litigation that employed the Statute survive from Kievan Rus, but similar statutes that arose in Novgorod and Smolensk suggest that something like Yaroslav's Statute existed in Kiev. In addition, secular codes such as the Novgorod Judicial Charter and Pskov Judicial Charter confirm that church courts in Rus did exercise jurisdiction independent of secular courts.

See also: basil i; kievan rus; statute of grand prince vladimir; yaroslav vladimirovich

bibliography

Kaiser, Daniel H. (1980). The Growth of the Law in Medieval Russia. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

Kaiser, Daniel H., ed., tr. (1992). The Laws of Rus': Tenth to Fifteenth Centuries. Salt Lake City, UT: Charles Schlacks, Jr.

Shchapov, Yaroslav N. (1993). State and Church in Early Russia, TenthThirteenth Centuries, tr. Vic Shneierson. New Rochelle, NY: A. D. Caratzas.

Daniel H. Kaiser

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"Statute of Grand Prince Yaroslav." Encyclopedia of Russian History. . Encyclopedia.com. 22 Oct. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Statute of Grand Prince Yaroslav." Encyclopedia of Russian History. . Encyclopedia.com. (October 22, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/statute-grand-prince-yaroslav

"Statute of Grand Prince Yaroslav." Encyclopedia of Russian History. . Retrieved October 22, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/statute-grand-prince-yaroslav

Statute of Grand Prince Vladimir

STATUTE OF GRAND PRINCE VLADIMIR

Allegedly authored by Grand Prince Vladimir (r. 9801015), who is credited with the conversion of Kievan Rus to Christianity, the Statute established the principle of judicial separation between secular and clerical courts and forbade any of the Prince's heirs from interfering in the church's business. The Statute provided that all church personnel would be tried in church courts, no matter what the subject under litigation. The text scrupulously lists those who qualified for clerical jurisdiction, identifying not only monastics and members of church staffs, but also various social outsiders: pilgrims, manumitted slaves, and the blind and lame, for instance. In addition, the Statute granted church courts exclusive jurisdiction over certain offenses, even if secular subjects of the prince were involved. Divorce, fornication, adultery, rape, incest, disputes over inheritance, witchcraft, sorcery, charm-making, church theft, and intrafamilial violence were among the subjects assigned to church courts. Over and above the income generated by church courts, the Statute assigned the church a tithe from all the Rus land and a portion of various fees that the Prince collected. Finally, the text authorized bishops to supervise the various weights and measures employed for trade.

More than two hundred copies of the Statute survive, but none is older than the fourteenth century, a relatively late date for a document of such ostensible importance. In addition, the text includes some obvious errors that have helped undermine confidence in the legitimacy of the Statute. For instance, in the opening section the Statute reports that Grand Prince Vladimir accepted Christian baptism from Photius, Patriarch of Constantinople, who died almost a century before Vladimir converted to Christianity.

The most recent study of the Statute, however, has concluded that, if not in Vladimir's own time, then very soon thereafter, something like the Statute must already have existed. Archetypes of different parts of the Statute probably did originate in the reign of Vladimir, but the archetype of the entire Statute seems not to have arisen before the mid-twelfth century. This document, no longer extant, fathered two new versions in the late twelfth or early thirteenth century, and each of these, in turn, contributed to a host of local reworkings, especially during the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. As many as seven basic versions of the Statute survive, each evidently revised to correspond to local circumstances and changing times.

No later than early in the fifteenth century, however, the Statute had come to enjoy official standing in the eyes of both churchmen and secular officials. In 1402 and again in 1419 Moscow Grand Prince Basil I (13891425) confirmed the judicial and financial guarantees laid out in the Statute. As a result, most extant copies survive along with other texts of secular and canon law in manuscript books like the Kormchaya kniga (the chief handbook of canon law) and miscellanies of canon law. Medieval secular codes, such as the Novgorod Judicial Charter and Pskov Judicial Charter, confirm that church courts in Rus did exercise independent authority, just as the Statute of Vladimir decreed.

See also: kievan rus; novgorod judicial charter; pskov judicial charter; statute of grand prince yaroslav; vladimir, st.

bibliography

Kaiser, Daniel H. (1980). The Growth of the Law in Medieval Russia. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

Kaiser, Daniel H., ed., tr. (1992). The Laws of Rus': Tenth to Fifteenth Centuries. Salt Lake City, UT: Charles Schlacks, Jr.

Shchapov, Yaroslav N. (1993). State and Church in Early Russia, TenthThirteenth Centuries, tr. Vic Shneierson. New Rochelle, NY: A. D. Caratzas.

Daniel H. Kaiser

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

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"Statute of Grand Prince Vladimir." Encyclopedia of Russian History. . Encyclopedia.com. 22 Oct. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Statute of Grand Prince Vladimir." Encyclopedia of Russian History. . Encyclopedia.com. (October 22, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/statute-grand-prince-vladimir

"Statute of Grand Prince Vladimir." Encyclopedia of Russian History. . Retrieved October 22, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/statute-grand-prince-vladimir