Timeline of Orthodoxy in Russia
Problem of periodisation of Russian Church history
In the church-historical science there are some points of view on a problem of a periodization of Russian Church history. The most notable have been formulated by such famous historians of Russian Church as archbishop of Chernigov Philaret Gumilevsky, Moscow metropolitan Macarius Bulgakov, Evgeny Golubinsky and Igor Smolich.
So, archbishop Philaret (Gumilevsky) in the work «History of the Russian Church» (M, 1850-1851) has allocated five periods in the history of Russian Church:
Events of intrachurch history were borders mainly: division of the one metropolis on two parts (the author considers that a beginning of the division happened, when an attempt to separate West Russian dioceses has been undertaken by the pressure of Lithuanian prince Vitovt), an establishment of the Patriarchate in Moscow, Governing Synod in St.-Petersburg; however external factors of vital importance - mongol invasion of 1237 and further yoke over Russia were considered also.
Periodization bases have been developed in detail by metropolitan Macarius (Bulgakov). He has distinguished three big periods, and also the special period defined as "introduction in history of Russian Church" -"Christianity history in Russia to equal-to-apostles prince Vladimir". The basic periods were distinguished proceeding from canonical status of the Russian Church: 1) full dependence of the Russian Church on the Constantinople Patriarchate (988-1240); 2) gradual transition of the Russian Church from this dependence to independence (1240-1589); 3) the independence (autocephalous) period (with 1589).
Sub-periods in each of three periods were distinguished already on "internal" to signs, were defined by time of primacy of heads of the Church taking into account reignings and reigns, because the church life was defined not only by spiritual and moral authority of hierarchs heading Church, but also and by a policy of the state and its secular ruler. In the third period "Russian Church in period of its autocephaly" Metr. Macarius has had time to investigate only the initial stage, to the Council 1666-1667. The History of the Moscow Patriarchate is stated in parallel with history West-russian metropolis.
E. Golubinsky has distinguished three periods in Russian church history: Kievan, Moscow and Petersburg. The invasion of Mongols and the establishment of the Synod (1721) became borders between the periods. However, it is necessary to note that Golubinsky proved his allocation on the doubtful precondition of absence of true spiritual education in medieval Russia. In his opinion, the Kievan and Moscow periods represent actually a single whole characterised by absence of the valid education which we have not acquired with acceptance of Christianity and without which remained to Peter the Great ("Golubinsky". Vol. 1, part 1, page XXII). During this period in national religious consciousness "the external more or less prevailed more or less over internal, is conditional-formal ceremonialism - over true belief". However, if during the Kievan period this prevalence still kept measures, during the period Moscow it has gone into extremes». Golubinsky understood the Petersburg period as time of establishing in Russia the present education and more perfect understanding of Christianity.
All three models of the periodization have been subjected to criticism by Igor Smolich. Estimating Metr. Philaret's work, Smolich named as "very right" a principle of division on the basis of the historical phenomena which have occurred in Russian church life, however Metr. Philaret, according to Smolich, did not try "to connect outside influence on actually church development with church history", did not consider opposition of the Church and the state, constant pressure of the state upon Church; Philaret represented their relations, according to Smolich, in peacefully idyllic tones.
Estimating the periodization of Metr. Macarius Smolich disagreed with the main principle put in its basis, - a jurisdiction principle. According to his opinion, the end of the subordination of Moscow metropolis to Constantinople has not rendered influence on activity and the right of the church authority, on an internal life of the Church and people, and establishment of the Moscow Patriarchy "cannot be explained from dynamics of the previous period; it was most likely only a consequence of Boris Godunov's ambitious policy". Smolich also criticized the periodization of Golubinsky "by a topographical principle", especially without approving division "on metropolitans" (Golubinsky so built the work since the Moscow period). The "a methodological principle" Smolich has considered that «the unique firm basis for a periodization can be only such facts which really defined destiny of the development of Russian Church's organization and life", and it were its relation with the state. According to this principle two basic historical periods are allocated only: the first - till the end of XIII century and the second - till 1917; their border is transfer of a residence of the Russian metropolitan from Kiev in Vladimir and soon after that to Moscow. Here it is possible to see a likeness to "a topographical" periodization of Golubinsky. Hardly probable it is possible to consider question of Smolich as correctful, what was more important for Church - its relations with the Constantinople or own secular authority, and his unconditional choice in favour of the second.
Historically developed coexistence of these two complexes of relations does not allow to oppose, define them their "subordination", because they were inseparable one from another. The author should feel some amorphy of the periodization and also has entered internal division of the second period, however periods allocated by him and key dates practically do not differ from what were suggested by his predecessors: 1589 - establishment of the Patriarchate (though earlier Smolich subjected value of this date as key to doubt), the beginning of the Synod period (1700). Thus, difference of a periodization of Smolich from constructions of his predecessors consists not so much in allocation of new key events, how many in an estimation of the maintenance and value before the allocated periods.
Modern division of Russian church history is built basically on a periodization developed by Metr. Macarius. The first period is 988-1448: Russian Church under jurisdiction of Constantinople. The second period is 1448-1589: autocephalous Russian metropolis. The third period is 1589 - till XVIII century - Patriarchy. The fourth period is Synodical (beginning of XVIII-1917). The fifth period is 1917-1988: Russian Church during the atheistic state. The sixth period is since 1988 up to now. The events whose paramount value in the history of Church is indisputable are specified as borders of the periods. This is the Moscow Hierarchical Council of 1448, on which St. Jonah has been consecrated by the Council of Russian bishops without the Constantinople Patriarch; Moscow Council of 1589 with participation of Patriarch Jeremy II and representatives of the Greek clergy on which the Moscow Patriarchy has been established; establishing of the Synod (1721); Patriarchate restoration on Moscow Council of 1917-1918; public and state celebrating of the millenary of Baptism of Rus', begun a new epoch in a life of the Church (1988) and its revival. It is necessary to notice that offered dates are significant for history of Church not only on the earths Moscow state, but also for history West Russian Metropolis: 1459 is division of common metropolis on Kiev (West Russian) and Moscow, 1596 is date of the Union of Brest, 1686 is the reunion two parts of Russian Church.
Each of the named historical events is end of the long historical process occurring frequently on more extensive geographical space. Besides it is necessary to consider a little conditional character of any periodisation, being guided on exact dates. There are the transition periods lasting sometimes not one decade both combining one lines of preceding and next periods. For example, the beginning of Synodical period is dated sometimes not 1721 (establishment of the Synod), but 1700 (death of last Patriarch Adriana) and etc.
The Origin of Christianity in Rus'
- First century Apostle Andrew First-called visits the future Ukrainian lands and planted a cross on one of the high hills of Kiev
- 864 Patriarch Photius sends bishop to Kiev
- 954 Princess Olga of Kiev baptized.
- 983 Protomartyrs Theodor and his son John
Russian Church under jurisdiction of Constantinople (988-1488)
Period of the Kievan Metropolia till the mongol invasion to Rus'
- 988 Baptism by St. Vladimir of Kievan Rus'
- 991 † St. Michael of Kiev
- 1015 Murder of passion-bearers Boris and Gleb
- 1051 Hilarion of Kiev installed to the primatial see; St. Anthony of the Caves brings Athonite monasticism to Russia.
- 1073 † St. Anthony of the Caves
- 1130 Nifont of Novgorod is made Bishop of Novgorod.
- 1158 † Konstantin I of Kiev
- 1163 John is made Bishop of Novgorod and builds seven churches.
- 1185 † John, Bishop of Novgorod, September 7
Russian Church after the mongol conquest (since 1240)
- 1245 Martyrdom of right-believing Prince Michael of Chernigov and his boyarin Theodore in Gold Orda
- 1261 Sarai diocese (in Gold Orda) was established
- 1263 † Right-believing Prince Alexander Nevsky
- 1267 The first authentically known yarlyk (decree) of Mongol khans granted freedom for the faith and tax exemption to the Church.
- 1342 Sergius of Radonezh with his brother Stephan founded Holy Trinity Lavra;
- 1379-1396 Missionary activity of Equal-to-the-Apostles Stephan of Perm (1340-1396), Enlightener of Komi
- 1378 † Metropolitan Alexis of Moscow
- 1392 † St. Sergius of Radonezh, September 25;
South-west (Kievan-Lithuanian) Metropolis (1458—1686) under the Patriarch of Constantinople
- 1596 Union of Brest, large persecutions on the Orthodoxy in Polish–Lithuanian_Commonwealth
- 1646 †Peter Mogila, Metropolitan of Kiev
- 1686 Kievan metropolis passed from jurisdiction of Constantinople under Moscow Patriarchate
Autocephalous Russian Metropolis
- 1448 Russian Church (Moscow Metropolis) became autocephalous
- 1471 †Metropolitan Jonas of Moscow
- 1499 The Gennady Bible (Gennadievskaia Biblia), the oldest surviving complete collection of Biblical books in the Church Slavonic language, is completed under the auspices of Abp. Gennady of Novgorod (1484-1504).
- 1508 †Nilus of Sora
- 1515 †Joseph of Volokolamsk
- 1551 Council of a Hundred Chapters (Stoglav) in Moscow
- 1555 Kazan Diocese is established
- 1566, July 25 - 1568, November 4 St. Phillip, Metropolitan of Moscow
- †1569 St. Phillip was martyred by Tsar Ivan IV (the terrible), January 23
- †1570 Cornelius of the Pskov Caves was martyred by Tsar Ivan IV (the terrible), February 20;
- 1580 †John of Rostov, September 3
- 1588 Tsar Theodore applies for permission to form a new Patriarchate for the Russian people.
First Patriarchate Period
- 1589 Ecumenical Patriarchate acknowledges autocephaly of Church of Russia and first Patriarch of Moscow, Metropolitan Job of Moscow is styled.
- 1666 Moscow Big Council
- 1685-87 The Slavic Greek Latin Academy is organized as the first higher education establishment in Moscow, under the guidance of two Greek brothers, Joannicus and Sophronius Likhud, on the premises of the Zaikonospassky Monastery with over 70 students.
- 1700 Peter the Great published an Ukase (edict) on June 18th that made a resounding appeal for the propagation of the faith in Siberia and China; death of Patr. Adrian.
- 1700-†1720 Patriarchal Locum Tenens metropolitan Stephen Yavorsky
- 1702 In response to the Ukaz of 1700, Philothei (Leschinsky) of Kiev is chosen as Metropolitan of Tobolsk and All Siberia (1702-1711), long since a center of missionary operations, in order to "lead the natives in China and Siberia to the service of the true and living God"; he built 37 churches and personally accounted for the baptism of 40,000 Siberian tribesmen by 1721.
- 1712 Tsar Peter the Great issued an ukaz ordering the printed Slavonic text of the Bible to be carefully compared with the Greek of the Septuagint and to be made in every respect conformable to it; the revision was completed in 1724 and was ordered to be printed, but the death of Peter (1725) prevented the execution of the order.
The Synodical Church (1720-1917)
- 1721 Holy and Governing Synod has been established
- 1724 Beginning of christianisation of Yakuts, baptism of Kalmyk khan Baksadai
- 1744 Empress Elizabeth issues an ukaz ordering resumption of the work of revision of the Slavonic Bible, started by Peter the Great in 1712.
- 1751 The first edition of the Queen "Elizabeth" Slavonic Bible (QEB), (LXX), was published.
- 1756 The second edition of the Queen "Elizabeth" Bible (QEB) is issued (LXX); all later reprints of the Russian Church Bible are based upon this second edition, which is the authorized version of the Russian Orthodox Church.
- 1764 The decree by Empress Catherine II on the secularization of Church lands in Great Russia
- 1771 Decree about establishing orthodox mission for Ossetians
- 1773 The decree about toleration
- 1780 Beginning of christianisation of Chukotka peoples
- 1786-1788 Secularization of church lands in the Little Russia and Slobodskaya Ukraine
- 1793-1795 Secularization of church lands in South Lithuania, West Belorussia and West Ukraine
- 1794 First russian missioners arrived to North America (Kadyak island)
- 1795 About 2 million uniates passed to the Orthodoxy in Ukraine and Belorussia
- 1800 The beginning of Edinoverie
- 1807 The Committee for the work out the reforms of the theological education and material maintenance of clergymen is created
- 1807-1822 Orthodox mission in China led by archimandrite Iakinf Bichurin
- 1808 The beginning of reforms of spiritual (theological) colleges
- 1811 Georgian Church becomes Georgian Exarchate of Russian Orthodox Church
- December 6, 1812 Statutes of Russian Bible society is established
- 1814 Confirmation of Statutes of the Theological Academies. Moscow Theological Academy moves to Holy Trinity-St. Sergius Lavra
- 1816 The beginning of translation into modern Russian of the Bible
- 1817-1824 So called Double Ministry under the direction of prince A. N. Golitsyn
- 1826 Russian Bible society is closed
- 1874 Basil (Bogoyavlensky) graduates from the Theological Academy in Kiev.
- 1883 Ceremonial ground breaking for the Church of the Resurrection of Christ (St. Petersburg), October 18
- 1887 Plans approved and construction of the Church of the Resurrection of Christ (St. Petersburg) commences, May 1
- 1888 Vladimir of Kiev consecrated Bishop of Staraya Rus and serves as a vicar bishop in the diocese of Novgorod]; Anthony (Khrapovitsky) of Kiev awarded the degree of Master of Theology and becomes friends with St. John of Kronstadt
- 1890 Anthony (Khrapovitsky) of Kiev appointed rector of the St. Petersburg Theological Academy and raised to the rank of archimandrite. He also produces "An Exegisis of the Book of the Prophet Micah";
- 1891 Anthony (Khrapovitsky) of Kiev appointed rector of the Moscow Theological Academy.
- 1892 Vladimir of Kiev installed Archbishop of Kartalin and Kahetin
- 1897 Anthony (Khrapovitsky) of Kiev consecrated Bishop of Cheboksary
- 1898 Vladimir of Kiev installed as Metropolitan of Moscow and Kolomna
- 1907 Church of the Resurrection of Christ (St. Petersburg) consecrated August 31
- 1912 Vladimir of Kiev ordained Metropolitan of Petrograd
- 1913 In a decree on August 27 the Holy Synod declared the Onomatodoxoi/Imiaslavie movement a heresy.
- 1915 Vladimir of Kiev falls out of favour with the tsar for disapproving of Rasputin
- 1917 Vladimir of Kiev announces Tikhon as Patriarch of Moscow.
Communist Era (1917-1991)
- 1917 All-Russian Church Council elects Metropolitan Tikhon of Moscow as Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia; Belogorsky St. Nicholas Orthodox Missionary Monastery Cathedral is consecrated as the largest cathedral in the Urals, becoming known as the Urals Athos.
- 1918 Bolshevik forces vie for control of Kiev damaging many churches and monasteries by cannon fire; The Bolsheviks seize the Kiev Caves Lavra, January 23; Vladimir of Kiev is murdered, January 25; The Grand Duchess Elizabeth the New Martyr  is murdered, July 17.
- 1925 † Tikhon of Moscow
- 1937 † Hieromartyr Bp. Seraphim (Zvezdinsky) of Dimitrov executed by firing squad (canonized by the Russian Orthodox Church in 2000).
- 1945 † Sergius I (Stragorodsky) of Moscow
- 1952 † Matrona the Wonderworker of Moscow
- 1970 † Alexei I (Simansky) of Moscow
- 1981 Elizabeth glorified by ROCOR.
- 1987 On August 19 Patr. Pimen of Moscow and All Russia, and Ec. Patr. Demetrios I of Constantinople co-celebrated the Divine Liturgy on the Feast of the Transfiguration at the Holy Trinity St. Sergius Monastery, for the first time in 398 years (since January 1589).
- 1988 1000th anniversary of Orthodoxy in Russia.
- 1990 † Pimen I (Izvekov) of Moscow; murder of Fr. Alexander Men; first Orthodox service in seventy years held in St. Basil's Cathedral.
Post-Communist Era: Russian Orthodox Church Resurgent (1991-Present)
- Discrimination of the orthodox in West Ukraine, restoration of so called Greek-Catholic church.
- Church schism in Ukraine (formation of so called Kievan Patriarchate, UAOC etc)
- 1992 Church of Russia glorifies Grand Duchess Elizabeth and Vladimir of Kiev;
- 1993 Martyrdom of New Martyrs of Optina Pustyn.
- 1997 Russian Law on Freedom of Conscience and Religious Associations declares Orthodox Christianity as Russia's predominant religion.
- 1998 Church of Constantinople, not recognizing Russia's right to issue a tomos of autocephaly in 1951, issues its own tomos for the Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia;
- 2000 Russian Orthodox Church announces the canonization of Tsar Nicholas II of Russia and his immediate family; the restored Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Moscow was consecrated on August 19; Church of Russia glorified Hieromartyr Andronik, Archbishop of Perm, one of Russia's New Martyrs and Confessors; ritual murder of Siberian Hieromonk Grigory (Gennady Mikhailovich Yakovlev) by a member of the Krishna Consciousness sect, prompting Church authorities in the Russian Orthodox Diocese of Krasnoyarsk in Siberia to condemn the rise of cults in Russia.
- 2004 Consecration of first Orthodox church in Antarctica by Church of Russia; Tikhvin Icon returned to Tikhvin Dormition Monastery after six decades in the United States; Ecumenical Patriarchate canonizes Fr. Alexis Medvedkov, Fr. Dimitri Klepinine, Mother Maria Skobtsova, George Skobtsov and Elie Fondaminskii of the Russian emigration in France;
- 2006 Publication of first Orthodox prayer book in Chinese and Russian; Pope Benedict XVI drops Patriarch of the West title; Russian Orthodox parish opened in Pyongyang, North Korea; death of Elder Archimandrite John Krestiankin of the Pskov-Caves Monastery.
- 2007 Restoration of full communion between Moscow Patriarchate and ROCOR; Russian delegation walks out of Ravenna talks in protest of presence of Estonian delegation (EP); world's first Russian-Chinese dictionary of Orthodox vocabulary is printed in Moscow.
- 2008 † Alexei II (Ridiger) of Moscow; first Orthodox Liturgy celebrated at the North Pole.
- 2009 Kyrill I (Gundyayev) of Moscow elected as Patriarch of Russia; Metr. Valentin of Orenburg and Buzuluk consecrated the first-ever Russian Orthodox church in Rome on May 24, the day of St. Cyril and Methodius, being the Church of the Great Martyr St. Catherine, with the blessing of Patr. Kirill; murder of prominent Russian missionary Fr. Daniel Sysoyev, Rector of St. Thomas' Church in Moscow on Kantemirovskaya, who had a talk ministry especially designed for muslim inquirers, had converted a former Wahabi believer, and wrote in his internet diary that he had received telephone threats from muslims; Russian Constitutional Court outlaws death penalty forever.
- 2010 Official visit of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I (Archontonis) of Constantinople to the Church of Russia, concelebrating the Divine Liturgy with His Beatitude Patriarch Kyrill I (Gundyayev) of Moscow and All Russia on Pentecost, at the renowned Holy Trinity-St. Sergius Lavra in Sergiev Posad; President Dmitry Medvedev signed a law establishing a new National Holiday on July 28 as Christianization of Rus Day, the country's 9th "memorial holiday," expected to effect closer ties between Russia and its predominantly Orthodox neighbors, Ukraine and Belarus; Abp. Hilarion (Alfeyev) called for an end to the "monopoly of Darwinism" in Russian schools, saying religious explanations of creation should be taught alongside evolution; Greek nuns from the Annunciation Monastery in Ormylia, Halkidiki Peninsula, Greece, pray to Father Daniel Sysoyev as a saint.
- Dimitry Pospielovsky. The Orthodox Church in the History of Russia. St. Vladimir's Seminary Press, 1998. ISBN 9780881411799
- John Garrand and Carol Garrand. Russian Orthodoxy Resurgent: Faith and Power in the New Russia. Princeton and Oxford: Princeton University Press, 2008. ISBN 978-0-691-12573-2
- Nathaniel Davis. A Long Walk to Church: A Contemporary History of Russian Orthodoxy. 2nd Edition. Westview Press, 2003. ISBN 9780813340678
- Prof. Paul Bushkovitch. Religion and Society in Russia: The Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries. Oxford University Press, 1992. ISBN 9780195069464
- Tatiana A. Chumachenko. Church and State in Soviet Russia: Russian Orthodoxy from World War II to the Khrushchev Years. Transl. Edward E. Roslof. M.E. Sharpe Inc., 2002. ISBN 9780765607492
- Valerie A. Kivelson and Robert H. Greene. Orthodox Russia: Belief and Practice Under the Tsars. Penn State Press, 2003. ISBN 9780271023502
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