Vladimir Nikolayevich Lvov

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Vladimir Nikolayevich Lvov was the penultimate Ober-Procurator of the Apostolic Governing Synod of the Church of Russia, serving from March 1917 to July 1917. After the government of Russia was taken over by the Bolsheviks, he took part as a member of the Renovationist Movement (Living Church) in the attempt to control the Russian Orthodox Church.


Vladimir Lvov was a member of the State Duma in the first decade of the twentieth century. He was a member of the Progressist party and was very liberal with inclinations toward non-denominalationism. He was also an enemy of Rasputin. As a member of the Duma he worked with the ministry that coordinated efforts with the Holy Synod.

With the formation of the Provisional Government after the abdication of Tsar Nicholas II on March 3, 1917 (NS), Lvov was selected Ober-Procurator of the Holy Synod on March 7. At the first session of the Holy Synod under the new government, Lvov personally dismissed Metr. Pitirim of Petrograd and Metr. Makari of Moscow because of their associations with Rasputin's circle of associates. On March 15. Lvov threatened to dismiss all the other members of the Holy Synod, even in the face of the prelates warning to him that that would be "un-canonical". With the backing of the Provisional Government, Lvov followed up on his threat by dismissing all the member except Abp. Sergius (Stragorodsky) of Finland.

After the Paschal recess, Lvov named the membership of the new Synod that included in addition to Abp. Sergius, Apb. Agafangel of Yaroslav, Bp. Michael (Bogdanov) of Samara, Bp. Andrei (Yukhtomsky) of Ufa, Apb/Exarch Platon (Rozhdestvensky) of Georgia, and four protopriests. While relations between the Holy Synod and the dioceses and parishes had been deteriorating for years, under the new Synod their relationships eroded further.

In addition to his position as Ober-Procurator, Lvov became closely associated with Alexander Kerensky. During July 1917, Lvov acted as a representative and agent in dealings of Kerensky with General Lavr Kornilov, who was then Commander in Chief of the Russian army responsible for coordinating the defense of Petrograd against the revolutionaries. Lvov, who favored military dictatorship, was a party in a misunderstanding between Kerensky and Kornilov that developed into a crisis between July 16 and July 20 that ended on August 27 when Kerensky dismissed Kornilov and accused him of treason. [1] During this period, Lvov was replaced on July 27 by Anton V. Kartashyov as Ober-Procurator.[2]

When the local council of the Russian Orthodox Church convened on August 15, 1917, Vladimir Lvov attended as a delegate. [3]

During the last days of the Provisional Government, Lvov took part in the establishment in Petrograd of the All-Russia Union of Democratic Orthodox Clergy and Lay Persons that included the newspaper Golos Khrista (Voice of Christ). This was the beginnings of what became the renovationist movement in the Church of Russia. The movement expanded when elements of the Russian Orthodox Church that opposed the re-establishment of the patriarchate split from it. The Bolsheviks soon took advantage of this division in the Church as they began to create further divisions among the hierarchy and the clergy, thereby accelerating the destruction of the Church.

Over the next several years Lvov took active part in the renovationist movement. In May 1922, he wrote articles for the renovationist publication called The Living Church. In these articles he advised clergy to remove their cassocks, cut their hair, and blend in with the general population. In July 1922, he headed a commission of the renovationists that prepared for a regional council of the Living Church that was held from August 6 to 16, 1922. In 1922, he became a member of the Supreme Ecclesiastic Administration of the Living Church. From this position he advocated a purge from the Church all counter-revolutionary elements in order to accomplish reform.


  1. [[1]] The Russian Revolution (1917-1918)
  2. [[2]] Russian Provisional Governemnt
  3. [[3]], Vladimir Moss, New Zion in Babylon, Part II, P16

Succession box:
Vladimir Nikolayevich Lvov
Preceded by:
Nicholas Pavlovich Rayev
Succeeded by:
Anton Vladimirovich Kartashev
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