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Neronov, Ivan


(15911670), ardent worker for church reform, first in the provinces and later in Moscow. He opposed Nikon and church reforms he implemented and suffered for his opposition.

Neronov was of humble birth, but learned to read. He entered a church near Ustiug as a reader and chanter. Appalled by the lax manners and morals of the local clergy, Neronov complained to Patriarch Filaret, manifesting his zeal for religious reform. By the mid-1620s, Neronov had relocated to a village in the Nizhny Novgorod region. Many of those who would be energetic supporters of church reform in the second half of the seventeenth century were connected with this region. During the Smolensk War (16321633), Neronov moved to Moscow. In the mid-1640s he was associated with the Zealots of Piety, a circle of church reformers centered on the court and led by Tsar Alexis Mikhailovich's confessor, Stefan Vonifatiev. In 1649 he was named archpriest of the Kazan Cathedral in Moscow. Early in 1653 Neronov was among the first to challenge the revised liturgical books printed under Patriarch Nikon. Retribution was swift: By the end of 1653 Neronov had been defrocked and exiled in chains to a monastery near Vologda. There he took monastic vows and assumed the name Grigory. Called before the Church Council of 1666, Neronov renounced his opposition to the new liturgies. Subsequently he was made archimandrite of a monastery near Moscow, where he lived out his days seeking reform within his monastery.

See also: church council; monasticism; patriarchate; religion; russian orthodox church


Michels, Georg B. (1999). At War with the Church: Religious Dissent in Seventeenth-Century Russia. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.

Cathy J. Potter

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