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Stoglavy Sobor

The Stoglavy Sobor, Russian: Стоглавый Собор - also translated as Hundred Chapter Synod and Council of a Hundred Chapters, was a local church council (sobor) of the Russian Orthodox Church held in Moscow in 1551. The council was convened under the initiative of the Russian State which aspired to support the Church in its struggle against heretical anti-feudal movements and at the same time to subordinate it to secular authority. Participating in the council, in addition to Metropolitan Macarius and clergy, were Tsar Ivan IV and representatives of the Boyar Duma. The council met in January and February 1551, although some later sessions were held as late as May 1551. The council also glorified St. Euphrosynus (Eleazar) of Pskov, the founder of Spaso-Yelizarovsky Monastery near Pskov.


The council was convened to regulate the Church's relationship with the State, reform its internal life, strengthen the authority of the bishops, and eradicate non-Christian folk customs from among the populace. It was not intended to introduce anything new but only purify the irregularities in the Russian church. The council called for the correction of many irregularities in church life. Among other things, drunkenness among the clergy was to be eradicated, parish priests were to be better educated, and priests and laity alike were to be protected against rapacious episcopal tax collectors.

The Sobor proclaimed the inviolability of Church properties and the exclusive jurisdiction of ecclesiastical courts over ecclesiastical matters. The State canceled the tsar's jurisdiction over ecclesiastics. In exchange, members of the Stoglavy Sobor made concessions to the government in a number of other areas such as a prohibition on monasteries founding new, large villages in cities.

By the decisions of the Sobor, church ceremonies and duties in the whole territory of Russia were unified, and norms of church life were regulated with the purpose of increasing the educational and moral level of the clergy to ensure they would correctly fulfill their duties, such as through the creation of schools for preparation of priests.[1] Control by church authorities over the activities of book writers, icon painters, and others was firmly established.

The Sobor produced a church code called the Synodal Code of the Russian Orthodox Church Synod (Соборное Уложение Собора Русской Православной Церкви). It was formatted as a record of questions by the Tsar to the clergy, with answers. By the end of the sixteenth century the text of the Code was formatted into 100 chapters (or "Sto glav" in Russian), which became commonly referred to as the Stoglav. As a result, since those times the Sobor acquired the name "Stoglavy Sobor".

During the second half of the sixteenth century, the decisions of the Stoglav Council became the basic code of law for the internal life of the church in Russia and its mutual relations with society and the State, having been promulgated in many hand-written editions of Stoglav.[2] However, during the Moscow Sobor of 1666–1667 some of the resolutions of the Stoglavy Sobor were canceled. [3]

It was at the Stoglavy Sobor that the iconography of Andrei Rublev was announced as a model for church use.


  1. Jack E. Kollmann, "The Stoglav and Parish Priests," Russian History 7, Nos. 1-2(1980): 65-91.
  2. Jack Kollmann, The Moscow Stoglav (Hundred Chapters) Church Council of 1551 (Ph.D. diss., University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, 1978).
  3. Church Court in the Resolutions of the Stoglavy Sobor