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Patriarchate

PATRIARCHATE

In 1589 the metropolitan of Moscow, head of the Orthodox Church in Russia, received the new and higher title of patriarch. This title made him equal in rank to the four other patriarchs of the Eastern Church: those of Jerusalem, Antioch, Alexandria, and Constantinople. Patriarch Jeremias II of Constantinople bestowed the new title on Metropolitan Job, who had been metropolitan since 1586.

The establishment of the Moscow patriarchate was the result of a complex arrangement between Boris Godunov, de facto regent of Russia in the time of Tsar Fyodor (r. 15841598), and the Greeks. The new title implied the acceptance by the Greek church of the autocephaly (autonomy) of the Russian church and considerably reinforced the prestige of the Russian church and state. In return the Greeks found a protector for the Orthodox peoples of the Ottoman Empire and a strong source of financial support for their church. Building on the powers and position of the earlier metropolitans, the patriarchs of Moscow were the leading figures in the church in Russia until the abolition of the office after the death of the last patriarch in 1700. The power of the patriarch came not only from his authority over the church, but also from his great wealth in land and serfs in central Russia. As the Russian church, like the other Orthodox churches, was a conciliar church, the power of the patriarchs was limited by the power of the tsar as well as by the requirement that, when making important decisions, a patriarch call a council of the bishops and most influential abbots.

Job, the first patriarch, supported Boris Godunov as regent and later as tsar. The defeat of Boris by the first False Dmitry at the beginning of the Time of Troubles led to the ouster of Job in 1605. The Greek bishop Ignaty replaced him that year, only to be expelled in turn after the Moscow populace turned against the False Dmitry. The new patriarch Germogen (16061612) was one of the leaders of Russian resistance to Polish occupation during the later years of the Troubles. Only after the final end of the Troubles and the election of Mikhail Romanov as tsar was the situation calm enough to permit the choosing of a new patriarch. This was tsar Mikhail's father, Patriarch Filaret (16191633). An important boyar during the 1590s, he had been exiled by Boris Godunov and forced to enter a monastery. Imprisoned in Poland during the Troubles, in 1619 he was allowed to return home, where the Greek patriarch of Jerusalem, Theophanes; the Russian clergy; and tsar Mikhail chose him to lead the church. Filaret quickly settled several disputed points of liturgy and began to rebuild the Russian church after the desolation of the Time of Troubles. Much of the time during his patriarchate was occupied with matters having to do with relations with the Orthodox of the Ukraine and Belorussia under Polish Catholic rule. Filaret also played a major role in Russian politics.

Under patriarchs Joseph I (16341640) and Joseph (16401652) the church was quiet. Only in the last years of Joseph's patriarchate did new currents arise, the Zealots of Piety under the leadership of Stefan Vonifatev, spiritual father to Tsar Alexei (r. 16451676). The Zealots wanted reform of the liturgy and more preaching, with the aim of bringing the Christian message closer to the laity. Iosif was skeptical of their efforts, and their triumph came only after his death under the new patriarch Nikon (16521666, d. 1681). Nikon accepted the Zealots' program, but his liturgical reforms led to a schism in the church and the formation of groups known as Old Ritualists or Old Believers. Conflict with tsar Alexei led Nikon to abdicate in 1658, and he was formally deposed at a church council in 1666, which also condemned the Old Ritualists. The short patriarchates of Joseph II (16671672) and Pitirim (16721673) were largely devoted to efforts to defeat the Old Ritualists and restore order after the eight-year gap in church authority. Their successor Patriarch Joakim (16741690) was a powerful figure reminiscent in some ways of Nikon. He attempted to reorganize the diocesan system of the church, found schools, and suppress the Old Ritualists, an increasingly fruitless effort. Russia's first European-type school, the Slavo-Greco-Latin Academy, was set up with his patronage in 1685. He supported the young Peter the Great in overthrowing his half-sister, the regent Sophia, in 1689. The last patriarch, Adrian (16901700), usually considered a cultural conservative, was actually a complex figure who supported some of the new currents in Russian culture coming from Poland and the Ukraine. His relations with Peter the Great were never warm, and, when he died, Peter did not permit the church to replace him, and placed the Ukrainian Metropolitan of Ryazan, Stefan Yavorsky, as administrator of the church without the patriarchal title. Ultimately, Peter abolished the position and organized the Holy Synod in 1719, a committee of clergy and laymen and under a layman, to take the place of the patriarch. The Synod headed the Orthodox church in Russia until 1917.

Beginning at the end of the nineteenth century, voices within the Orthodox Church called for the reestablishment of the patriarchate. Such a move would mean the lessening of state control over the church and the beginning of separation of church and state, so both the government and many conservative churchmen opposed it. The collapse of the tsarist regime in March 1917 made such a radical change not only possible but necessary. Consequently, the Synod organized a council of the Russian church, which opened in August 1917. Its work continued after the Bolshevik seizure of power, and elected Tikhon, the metropolitan of Moscow, to the dignity of patriarch on November 21, 1917. Patriarch Tikhon's fate was to head the church during the Russian Civil War and the early years of Soviet power. Tikhon was sympathetic to the White anti-Bolshevik cause and was faced with a radically anti-clerical and explicitly atheist revolutionary regime. He suffered imprisonment and harassment from the state, as well as internal dissent in the church. Upon his death in 1925, the church was in no position to replace him. The ensuing decades saw fierce antireligious propaganda by the Soviet authorities and massive persecution. Most churches in the USSR were closed, and thousands of priests and monks were imprisoned and executed.

In 1943 Josef Stalin suddenly decided to once again legalize the existence of the Orthodox church. He met with the few remaining members of the hierarchy to explain the new policy and permitted a council of the church to choose a new patriarch. The choice was Sergei, metropolitan of Moscow, senior living bishop and erstwhile prerevolutionary rector of the St. Petersburg Spiritual Academy. The elderly Patriarch Sergei died early in 1944, and in 1945 Alexei, metropolitan of Leningrad, replaced him, continuing to lead the church until his death in 1970. In these years the Soviet state permitted a modest revival of worship and religious life, but also placed the church under the watchful eye of the state Council on the Russian Orthodox Church, headed in 19431957 by Major General Georgy Karpov of the KGB. Patriarch Alexei endured the last major attack on the church under Nikita Khrushchev as well as the modus vivendi of the later Soviet years. His successors were patriarchs Pimen (19701990) and Alexei II (beginning in 1990).

See also: alexei i, patriarch; alexei ii, patriarch; ilaret romanov, patriarch; holy synod; joakim, patriarch; job, patriarch; metropolitan; nikon, patriarch; pimen, patriarch; russian orthodox church; sergei, patriarch; tikhon, patriarch

bibliography

Bushkovitch, Paul. (1992). Religion and Society in Russia: the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries. New York: Oxford University Press.

Pospielovsky, Dmitry. (1984). The Russian Church under the Soviet Regime, 19171982. 2 vols. Crestwood, NY: St. Vladimir's Seminary Press.

Paul A. Bushkovitch

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patriarchate

pa·tri·arch·ate / ˈpātrēˌärkit/ • n. the office, see, or residence of an ecclesiastical patriarch.

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"patriarchate." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Encyclopedia.com. 20 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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"patriarchate." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Retrieved August 20, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/patriarchate-0

patriarchate

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"patriarchate." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Retrieved August 20, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/patriarchate