Anthony Vadkovsky, Metropolitan

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(18461912), metropolitan of St. Petersburg, moderate church reformer.

Anthony began his career at the Kazan Theological Academy as a scholar and editor of the academy's widely read journal Orthodox Interlocutor (Pravoslavny sobesednik ). His scholarly life ended abruptly with the sudden illness and death of his wife and two children. He became a monk, thereby contributing to the notable revival in the 1880s of the "learned monasticism" that had characterized the church hierarchy in Russia before the Great Reforms of the 1860s.

Anthony soon became rector of the St. Petersburg Theological Academy and bishop of Vyborg, vicar to the metropolitan of St. Petersburg. Some of Anthony's favorite students at the academy subsequently became prominent churchmen: Sergei Stragorodsky, the future leader of the Russian church during the communist era, and Anthony Khrapovitsky, Sergei's rival and leader of the Russian church in exile after 1920. While promoting monasticism, Anthony also sought to reform the monasteries, particularly those whose economic activities harmed the material welfare of the parish clergy. The parish clergy, he felt, must be accorded a more secure livelihood if they were to rescue the church's failing parishes. Anthony used his influence as bishop to advance these reforms. In 1892 Anthony became the archbishop of a newly created Finnish diocese aimed at encouraging Russian patriotic feeling and devotion to the Russian Orthodox Church among the Finnish Orthodox population.

When the revolutionary disturbances in 1905 generated a new law on religious toleration, Anthony, as ranking member of the Holy Synod, entered the broader struggle for church reform. He argued that the new law put the church at a disadvantage because other religious faiths were freed from state interference in their internal affairs in a way not permitted to Orthodoxy. These sentiments, transmitted to Nicholas II by Sergei Witte, chairman of the Council of Ministers, decisively advanced the popular reform movement that culminated in an all-Russian council (sobor ) of the church and reestablishment of the patriarchate after the fall of the Russian monarchy in 1917. At the same time, fearing that the church might be swept into a political maelstrom, he warned against clerical participation in the newly forming political parties of post-1905 Russia. During these years, Anthony courageously, if ultimately unsuccessfully, resisted the harmful influence of Rasputin in church affairs, and there is some evidence to suggest that he tried to intervene personally with Nicholas II in order to quell Rasputin's potential influence on the Tsarevich Alexis. Following Anthony's death in 1912, Rasputin's influence in the Holy Synod grew rapidly.

See also: holy synod; rasputin, grigory yefimovich; russian orthodox church


Cunningham, James W. (1981). A Vanquished Hope: The Movement for Church Renewal in Russia, 19051906. Crestwood, NY: St. Vladimir's Seminary Press.

Curtiss, John S. (1965 [1940]). Church and State in Russia: The Last Years of Empire, 19001917. New York: Octagon Books.

Meyendorff, Fr. John. (1978). "Russian Bishops and Church Reform in 1905." In Russian Orthodoxy under the Old Regime, eds. Robert L. Nichols and Theofanis G. Stavrou. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

Robert L. Nichols

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Anthony Vadkovsky, Metropolitan

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