Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople
The Ecumenical Patriarch is the Archbishop of Constantinople–New Rome and ranks as primus inter pares among the heads of the several autocephalous churches that make up the Eastern Orthodox Church. The term Ecumenical in the title is a historical reference to the Ecumene, a Greek designation for the civilised world, i.e. the Roman Empire, it stems from Canon 28 of the Council of Chalcedon. The Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople is one of the most enduring institutions in the world and has had a prominent part in world history; the ecumenical patriarchs in ancient times helped in the spread of Christianity and the resolution of various doctrinal disputes. In the Middle Ages they played a major role in the affairs of the Eastern Orthodox Church, as well as in the politics of the Orthodox world, in spreading Christianity among the Slavs. In addition to the expansion of the Christian faith and the Eastern Orthodox doctrine, the patriarchs are involved in ecumenism and interfaith dialogue, charitable work, the defense of Orthodox Christian traditions.
Within the five apostolic sees of the Pentarchy, the Ecumenical Patriarch is regarded as the successor of Andrew the Apostle. The current holder of the office is Bartholomew I, the 270th bishop of that see; the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople is first among equals, or first in honor among all Eastern Orthodox bishops, who presides in person—or through a delegate—over any council of Orthodox primates or bishops in which he takes part and serves as primary spokesman for the Orthodox communion in ecumenical contacts with other Christian denominations. He has no direct jurisdiction over the other patriarchs or the other autocephalous Orthodox churches, but he, alone among his fellow primates, enjoys the right of convening extraordinary synods consisting of them or their delegates to deal with ad hoc situations and has convened well-attended Pan-Orthodox Synods in the last forty years, his unique role sees the Ecumenical Patriarch referred to as the spiritual leader of the Orthodox Church in some sources, though this is not an official title of the patriarch nor is it used in scholarly sources on the patriarchate.
The Orthodox Church is decentralized, having no central authority, earthly head or a single Bishop in a leadership role, having synodical system canonically, is distinguished from the hierarchically organized Catholic Church whose doctrine is the papal supremacy. His titles primus inter pares "first among equals" and "Ecumenical Patriarch" are of honor rather than authority and in fact the Ecumenical Patriarch has no real authority over Churches other than the Constantinopolitan; the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople is the direct administrative superior of dioceses and archdioceses serving millions of Greek, Ukrainian and Albanian believers in North and South America, Western Europe and New Zealand, Korea, as well as parts of modern Greece which, for historical reasons, do not fall under the jurisdiction of the Church of Greece. The Orthodox Church in America, while acknowledging the Ecumenical Patriarch's role in "guiding and preserving the worldwide unity of the family of self-governing Orthodox Churches" emphasizes that he carries no sacramental or juridical power over bishops outside of his own Patriarchate, further states that "it is possible that in the future this function may pass to some other church."His actual position is Patriarch of the Orthodox Church of Constantinople, one of the fourteen autocephalous and several autonomous churches and the most senior of the four orthodox ancient primatial sees among the five patriarchal Christian centers comprising the ancient Pentarchy of the undivided Church.
In his role as head of the Orthodox Church of Constantinople, he holds the title Archbishop of Constantinople, New Rome. The Ecumenical Patriarchate is sometimes called the Greek Patriarchate of Constantinople to distinguish him from the Armenian Patriarchate and the extinct Latin Patriarchate, created after the Latin capture of Constantinople in 1204, during the Fourth Crusade; the see of Byzantium, whose foundation was ascribed to Andrew the Apostle, was a common bishopric. It gained importance when Emperor Constantine elevated Byzantium to a second capital alongside Rome and named it Constantinople; the see's ecclesiastical status as the second of five Patriarchates were developed by the Ecumenical Councils of Constantinople in 381 and Chalcedon in 451. The Turkish government recognizes him as the spiritual leader of the Greek minority in Turkey, refer to him as the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Fener; the Patriarch was subject to the authority of the Ottoman Empire after the conquest of Constantinople in 1453, until the declaration of Turkish Republic in 1923.
Today, according to Turkish law, he is subject to the authority of the state of Turkey and is required to be a citizen of Turkey to be Patriarch. The Patriarch of Constantinople has been dubbed the Ecumenical Patriarch since the 6th century; the exact significance of the style, used for other prelates since the middle of the 5th century, is nowhere defined but, according to the Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, the title has been criticized in the Catholic Church as incompatible with its own claims by the Holy See. The monastic communities of Mount Athos are stauropegic and are directly under the jurisdiction of Ecumenical Patriarch, the only bishop with jur
Bulgarian Orthodox Church
The Bulgarian Orthodox Church is an autocephalous Orthodox Church. It is the oldest Slavic Orthodox Church with some 6 million members in the Republic of Bulgaria and between 1.5 and 2.0 million members in a number of European countries, the Americas, New Zealand and Asia. It was recognized as an independent Church by the Patriarchate of Constantinople in AD 870, becoming Patriarchate in 918/919; the Bulgarian Orthodox Church considers itself an inseparable member of the one, holy and apostolic church and is organized as a self-governing body under the name of Patriarchate. It is divided into thirteen dioceses within the boundaries of the Republic of Bulgaria and has jurisdiction over additional two dioceses for Bulgarians in Western and Central Europe, the Americas and Australia; the dioceses of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church are divided into 58 church counties, which, in turn, are subdivided into some 2,600 parishes. The supreme clerical and administrative power for the whole domain of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church is exercised by the Holy Synod, which includes the Patriarch and the diocesan prelates, who are called metropolitans.
Church life in the parishes is guided by the parish priests, numbering some 1,500. The Bulgarian Orthodox Church has some 120 monasteries in Bulgaria, with about 2,000 monks and nearly as many nuns. Eparchies in Bulgaria: Eparchy of Vidin Eparchy of Vratsa Eparchy of Lovech Eparchy of Veliko Tarnovo Eparchy of Dorostol Eparchy of Varna and Veliki Preslav Eparchy of Sliven Eparchy of Stara Zagora Eparchy of Plovdiv Eparchy of Sofia Eparchy of Nevrokop Eparchy of Pleven Eparchy of Ruse Eparchies abroad: Eparchy of Central and Western Europe. Christianity was brought to the Bulgarian lands and the rest of the Balkans by the apostles Paul and Andrew in the 1st century AD, when the first organised Christian communities were formed. By the beginning of the 4th century, Christianity had become the dominant religion in the region. Towns such as Serdica, Philipopolis and Adrianople were significant centres of Christianity in the Roman Empire; the barbarian raids and incursions in the 4th and the 5th and the settlement of Slavs and Bulgars in the 6th and the 7th centuries wrought considerable damage to the ecclesiastical organisation of the Christian Church in the Bulgarian lands, yet they were far from destroying it.
Kubrat and Organa were both baptized together in Constantinople and Christianity started to pave its way from the surviving Christian communities to the surrounding Bulgar-Slavic mass. By the middle of the 9th century, the majority of the Bulgarian Slavs those living in Thrace and Macedonia, were Christianised; the process of conversion enjoyed some success among the Bulgar nobility. It was not until the official adoption of Christianity by Khan Boris I in 865 that an independent Bulgarian ecclesiastical entity was established. Boris I believed that cultural advancement and the sovereignty and prestige of a Christian Bulgaria could be achieved through an enlightened clergy governed by an autocephalous church. To this end, he manoeuvred between the Patriarch of Constantinople and the Roman Pope for a period of five years until in 870 AD, the Fourth Council of Constantinople granted the Bulgarians an autonomous Bulgarian archbishopric; the archbishopric had its seat in the Bulgarian capital of Pliska and its diocese covered the whole territory of the Bulgarian state.
The tug-of-war between Rome and Constantinople was resolved by putting the Bulgarian archbishopric under the jurisdiction of the Patriarch of Constantinople, from whom it obtained its first primate, its clergy and theological books. Although the archbishopric enjoyed full internal autonomy, the goals of Boris I were scarcely fulfilled. A Greek liturgy offered by a Byzantine clergy furthered neither the cultural development of the Bulgarians, nor the consolidation of the Bulgarian Empire. Following the Byzantine theory of "Imperium sine Patriarcha non staret", which predominated that a close relation should exist between an Empire and Patriarchate, Boris I greeted the arrival of the disciples of the deceased Saints Cyril and Methodius in 886 as an opportunity. Boris I gave them the task to instruct the future Bulgarian clergy in the Glagolitic alphabet and the Slavonic liturgy prepared by Cyril; the liturgy was based on the vernacular of the Bulgarian Slavs from the region of Thessaloniki. In 893, Boris I expelled the Greek clergy from the country and ordered the replacement of the Greek language with the Slav-Bulgarian vernacular.
Following Bulgaria's two decisive victories over the Byzantines at Acheloos and Katasyrtai, the government declared the autonomous Bulgarian Archbishopric as autocephalous and elevated it to the rank of Patriarchate at an ecclesiastical and national council held in 919. After Bulgaria and the Byzantine Empire signed a peace treaty in 927 that concluded th
Crucifixion of Jesus
The crucifixion of Jesus occurred in 1st-century Judea, most between AD 30 and 33. Jesus' crucifixion is described in the four canonical gospels, referred to in the New Testament epistles, attested to by other ancient sources, is established as a historical event confirmed by non-Christian sources, although there is no consensus among historians on the exact details. According to the canonical gospels, Jesus was arrested and tried by the Sanhedrin, sentenced by Pontius Pilate to be scourged, crucified by the Romans. Jesus was stripped of his clothing and offered wine mixed with myrrh or gall to drink after saying I am thirsty, he was hung between two convicted thieves and, according to the Gospel of Mark, died some six hours later. During this time, the soldiers affixed a sign to the top of the cross stating "Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews" which, according to the Gospel of John, was written in three languages, they divided his garments among themselves and cast lots for his seamless robe, according to the Gospel of John.
According to the Gospel of John after Jesus' death, one soldier pierced his side with a spear to be certain that he had died blood and water gushed from the wound. The Bible describes seven statements that Jesus made while he was on the cross, as well as several supernatural events that occurred. Collectively referred to as the Passion, Jesus' suffering and redemptive death by crucifixion are the central aspects of Christian theology concerning the doctrines of salvation and atonement; the baptism of Jesus and his crucifixion are considered to be two certain facts about Jesus. James Dunn states that these "two facts in the life of Jesus command universal assent" and "rank so high on the'almost impossible to doubt or deny' scale of historical facts" that they are the starting points for the study of the historical Jesus. Bart Ehrman states that the crucifixion of Jesus on the orders of Pontius Pilate is the most certain element about him. John Dominic Crossan states that the crucifixion of Jesus is as certain as any historical fact can be.
Eddy and Boyd state that it is now "firmly established" that there is non-Christian confirmation of the crucifixion of Jesus. Craig Blomberg states that most scholars in the third quest for the historical Jesus consider the crucifixion indisputable. Christopher M. Tuckett states that, although the exact reasons for the death of Jesus are hard to determine, one of the indisputable facts about him is that he was crucified. While scholars agree on the historicity of the crucifixion, they differ on the reason and context for it. For example, both E. P. Sanders and Paula Fredriksen support the historicity of the crucifixion but contend that Jesus did not foretell his own crucifixion and that his prediction of the crucifixion is a "church creation". Geza Vermes views the crucifixion as a historical event but provides his own explanation and background for it. John P. Meier views the crucifixion of Jesus as historical fact and states that, based on the criterion of embarrassment, Christians would not have invented the painful death of their leader.
Meier states that a number of other criteria, e.g. the criterion of multiple attestation and the criterion of coherence help establish the crucifixion of Jesus as a historical event. Although all ancient sources relating to crucifixion are literary, the 1968 archeological discovery just northeast of Jerusalem of the body of a crucified man dated to the 1st century provided good confirmatory evidence that crucifixions occurred during the Roman period according to the manner in which the crucifixion of Jesus is described in the gospels; the crucified man was identified as Yehohanan ben Hagkol and died about 70 AD, around the time of the Jewish revolt against Rome. The analyses at the Hadassah Medical School estimated. Another relevant archaeological find, which dates to the 1st century AD, is an unidentified heel bone with a spike discovered in a Jerusalem gravesite, now held by the Israel Antiquities Authority and displayed in the Israel Museum; the earliest detailed accounts of the death of Jesus are contained in the four canonical gospels.
There are other, more implicit references in the New Testament epistles. In the synoptic gospels, Jesus predicts his death in three separate places. All four Gospels conclude with an extended narrative of Jesus' arrest, initial trial at the Sanhedrin and final trial at Pilate's court, where Jesus is flogged, condemned to death, is led to the place of crucifixion carrying his cross before Roman soldiers induce Simon of Cyrene to carry it, Jesus is crucified and resurrected from the dead, his death is described as other books of the New Testament. In each Gospel these five events in the life of Jesus are treated with more intense detail than any other portion of that Gospel's narrative. Scholars note that the reader receives an hour-by-hour account of what is happening. After arriving at Golgotha, Jesus was offered wine mixed with gall to drink. Matthew's and Mark's Gospels record, he was crucified and hung between two convicted thieves. According to some translations of the original Greek, the thieves may have been bandits or Jewish rebels.
According to Mark's Gospel, he endured the torment of crucifixion for some six hours from the third hour, at 9 am, until his death at the ninth hour, corresponding to about 3 pm. The soldiers affixed a sign above his head stating "Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews" which, according to the Gospel of John, was in three languages, divided his garments and cast l
Clergy are some of the main and important formal leaders within certain religions. The roles and functions of clergy vary in different religious traditions but these involve presiding over specific rituals and teaching their religion's doctrines and practices; some of the terms used for individual clergy are clergyman and churchman. Less common terms are churchwoman and cleric. In Christianity the specific names and roles of clergy vary by denomination and there is a wide range of formal and informal clergy positions, including deacons, priests, preachers, pastors and the Pope. In Islam, a religious leader is known formally or informally as an imam, mufti, mullah or ayatollah. In Jewish tradition, a religious leader is a rabbi or hazzan; the word "Cleric" comes from the ecclesiastical Latin Clericus, for those belonging to the priestly class. In turn, the source of the Latin word is from the Ecclesiastical Greek Clericus, meaning appertaining to an inheritance, in reference to the fact that the Levitical priests of the Old Testament had no inheritance except the Lord.
"Clergy" is from two Old French words, clergié and clergie, which refer to those with learning and derive from Medieval Latin clericatus, from Late Latin clericus. "Clerk", which used to mean one ordained to the ministry derives from clericus. In the Middle Ages and writing were exclusively the domain of the priestly class, this is the reason for the close relationship of these words. Within Christianity in Eastern Christianity and in Western Roman Catholicism, the term cleric refers to any individual, ordained, including deacons and bishops. In Latin Roman Catholicism, the tonsure was a prerequisite for receiving any of the minor orders or major orders before the tonsure, minor orders, the subdiaconate were abolished following the Second Vatican Council. Now, the clerical state is tied to reception of the diaconate. Minor Orders are still given in the Eastern Catholic Churches, those who receive those orders are'minor clerics.'The use of the word "Cleric" is appropriate for Eastern Orthodox minor clergy who are tonsured in order not to trivialize orders such as those of Reader in the Eastern Church, or for those who are tonsured yet have no minor or major orders.
It is in this sense that the word entered the Arabic language, most in Lebanon from the French, as kleriki meaning "seminarian." This is all in keeping with Eastern Orthodox concepts of clergy, which still include those who have not yet received, or do not plan to receive, the diaconate. A priesthood is a body of priests, shamans, or oracles who have special religious authority or function; the term priest is derived from the Greek presbyter, but is used in the sense of sacerdos in particular, i.e. for clergy performing ritual within the sphere of the sacred or numinous communicating with the gods on behalf of the community. Buddhist clergy are collectively referred to as the Sangha, consist of various orders of male and female monks; this diversity of monastic orders and styles was one community founded by Gautama Buddha during the 5th century BC living under a common set of rules. According to scriptural records, these celibate monks and nuns in the time of the Buddha lived an austere life of meditation, living as wandering beggars for nine months out of the year and remaining in retreat during the rainy season.
However, as Buddhism spread geographically over time - encountering different cultures, responding to new social and physical environments - this single form of Buddhist monasticism diversified. The interaction between Buddhism and Tibetan Bon led to a uniquely Tibetan Buddhism, within which various sects, based upon certain teacher-student lineages arose; the interaction between Indian Buddhist monks and Chinese Confucian and Taoist monks from c200-c900AD produced the distinctive Ch'an Buddhism. Ch'an, like the Tibetan style, further diversified into various sects based upon the transmission style of certain teachers, as well as in response to particular political developments such as the An Lushan Rebellion and the Buddhist persecutions of Emperor Wuzong. In these ways, manual labour was introduced to a practice where monks survived on alms; this adaptation of form and roles of Buddhist monastic practice continued after the transmission to Japan. For example, monks took on administrative functions for the Emperor in particular secular communities, thereby creating Buddhist'priests'.
Again, in response to various historic attempts to suppress Buddhism, the practice of celibacy was relaxed and Japanese monks allowed to marry. This form was transmitted to Korea, during Japanese occupation, where celibate and non-celibate monks today exist in the same sects.. As these varied styles of Buddhist monasticism are transmitted to Western cultures, still more new forms are being created. In general, the Mahayana schools of Buddhism tend to be mo
An episcopal polity is a hierarchical form of church governance in which the chief local authorities are called bishops. It is the structure used by many of the major Christian Churches and denominations, such as the Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, Church of the East and Lutheran churches or denominations, other churches founded independently from these lineages. Churches with an episcopal polity are governed by bishops, practicing their authorities in the dioceses and conferences or synods, their leadership is both constitutional. Bishops are considered to derive their authority from an unbroken, personal apostolic succession from the Twelve Apostles of Jesus. Bishops with such authority are said to represent the historical historic episcopate. Churches with this type of government believe that the Church requires episcopal government as described in the New Testament. In some systems, bishops may be subject to bishops holding a higher office, they meet in councils or synods.
These gatherings, subject to presidency by higher ranking bishops make important decisions, though the synod or council may be purely advisory. For much of the written history of institutional Christianity, episcopal government was the only known form of church organization; this changed at the Reformation. Many Protestant churches are now organized by either congregational or presbyterian church polities, both descended from the writings of John Calvin, a Protestant reformer working and writing independently following the break with the Roman Catholic Church precipitated by The Ninety-Five Theses of Martin Luther; the definition of the word episcopal has variation among Christian traditions. There are subtle differences in governmental principles among episcopal churches at the present time. To some extent the separation of episcopal churches can be traced to these differences in ecclesiology, that is, their theological understanding of church and church governance. For some, "episcopal churches" are churches that use a hierarchy of bishops that regard themselves as being in an unbroken, personal apostolic succession.
"Episcopal" is commonly used to distinguish between the various organizational structures of denominations. For instance, "Presbyterian" is used to describe a church governed by a hierarchy of assemblies of elected elders, referred to as Presbyterian polity. "episcopal" is used to describe a church governed by bishops. Self-governed local congregations, governed neither by elders nor bishops, are described as "congregational". More the capitalized appellation "Episcopal" is applied to several churches based within Anglicanism, including those still in communion with the Church of England. Using these definitions, examples of specific episcopal churches include: The Catholic Church The Eastern Orthodox Church The Oriental Orthodox churches The Assyrian Church of the East The Churches of the Anglican Communion The Old Catholic churches Numerous smaller "catholic" churches Certain national churches of the Lutheran confession The African Methodist Episcopal Church The United Methodist ChurchSome Lutheran churches practice congregational polity or a form of presbyterian polity.
Others, including the Church of Sweden, practice episcopal polity. Many Methodist churches retain the form and function of episcopal polity, although in a modified form, called connexionalism. Since all trace their ordinations to an Anglican priest, John Wesley, it is considered that their bishops do not share in apostolic succession, though United Methodists still affirm that their bishops share in the historic episcopate. All orthodox Christians were in churches with an episcopal government, that is, one Church under local bishops and regional Patriarchs. Writing between ca. 85 and 110, St. Ignatius of Antioch, Patriarch of Antioch, was the earliest of the Church fathers to define the importance of episcopal government. Assuming Ignatius' view was the Apostolic teaching and practice, the line of succession was unbroken and passed through the four ancient Patriarchal sees, Jerusalem and Alexandria. Rome was the leading Patriarchate of the ancient four by virtue of its founding by Saints Peter and Paul and their martyrdom there, not to mention being the political center of the Roman empire at the time.
Some organizations, though aloof from the political wranglings of imperial Christianity also practiced episcopal polity. Shortly after the Roman Emperor Constantine I legalized Christianity in 321, he constructed an elaborate second capital of the Roman Empire located at Byzantium and renamed it Constantinople, in 324; the single Roman Empire was divided between these two autonomous administrative centers and Constantinopolitan, West and East, Latin speaking and Greek speaking. This
Russian Orthodox Church
The Russian Orthodox Church, alternatively known as the Moscow Patriarchate, is one of the autocephalous Eastern Orthodox Christian churches. The Primate of the ROC is the Patriarch of Moscow and all Rus'; the ROC, as well as the primate thereof ranks fifth in the Orthodox order of precedence below the four ancient patriarchates of the Greek Orthodox Church, those of Constantinople, Alexandria and Jerusalem. Since 15 October 2018, the ROC is not in communion with the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, having unilaterally severed ties in reaction to the establishment of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, finalised by the Ecumenical Patriarchate on 5 January 2019; the Christianization of Kievan Rus' seen as the birth of the ROC, is believed to have occurred in 988 through the baptism of the Kievan prince Vladimir and his people by the clergy of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, whose constituent part the ROC remained for the next six centuries, while the Kievan see remained in the jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarchate until 1686.
The ROC claims its exclusive jurisdiction over the Orthodox Christians, irrespective of their ethnic background, who reside in the former member republics of the Soviet Union, excluding Georgia and Armenia, although this claim is disputed in such countries as Estonia and Ukraine and parallel canonical Orthodox jurisdictions exist in those: the Estonian Apostolic Orthodox Church, the Metropolis of Bessarabia, the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, respectively. It exercises ecclesiastical jurisdiction over the autonomous Church of Japan and the Orthodox Christians resident in the People's Republic of China; the ROC branches in Belarus, Latvia and Ukraine since the 1990s enjoy various degrees of self-government, albeit short of the status of formal ecclesiastical autonomy. The ROC should not be confused with the Orthodox Church in America, another autocephalous Orthodox church, that traces its existence in North America to the time of the Russian missionaries in Alaska in the late 18th century; the ROC should not be confused with the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia, headquartered in the United States.
The ROCOR was instituted in the 1920s by Russian communities outside Communist Russia, which refused to recognize the authority of the Moscow Patriarchate de facto headed by Metropolitan Sergius Stragorodsky. The two churches reconciled on May 17, 2007; the Christian community that developed into what is now known as the Russian Orthodox Church is traditionally said to have been founded by the Apostle Andrew, thought to have visited Scythia and Greek colonies along the northern coast of the Black Sea. According to one of the legends, Andrew reached the future location of Kiev and foretold the foundation of a great Christian city; the spot where he erected a cross is now marked by St. Andrew's Cathedral. By the end of the first millennium AD, eastern Slavic lands started to come under the cultural influence of the Eastern Roman Empire. In 863–69, the Byzantine monks Saint Cyril and Saint Methodius, both from the region of Macedonia in the Eastern Roman Empire translated parts of the Bible into the Old Church Slavonic language for the first time, paving the way for the Christianization of the Slavs and Slavicized peoples of Eastern Europe, the Balkans and Southern Russia.
There is evidence that the first Christian bishop was sent to Novgorod from Constantinople either by Patriarch Photius or Patriarch Ignatios, c. 866–867. By the mid-10th century, there was a Christian community among Kievan nobility, under the leadership of Bulgarian and Byzantine priests, although paganism remained the dominant religion. Princess Olga of Kiev was the first ruler of Kievan Rus′, born a Christian, her grandson, Vladimir of Kiev, made Rus' a Christian state. The official Christianization of Kievan Rus' is believed to have occurred in 988 AD, when Prince Vladimir was baptised himself and ordered his people to be baptised by the priests from the Eastern Roman Empire; the Kievan church was a junior metropolitanate of the Patriarchate of Constantinople and the Ecumenical Patriarch appointed the metropolitan, a Greek, who governed the Church of Rus'. The Kiev Metropolitan's residence was located in Kiev itself, the capital of the medieval Rus' state; as Kiev was losing its political and economical significance due to the Mongol invasion, Metropolitan Maximus moved to Vladimir in 1299.
Following the tribulations of the Mongol invasion, the Russian Church was pivotal in the survival and life of the Russian state. Despite the politically motivated murders of Mikhail of Chernigov and Mikhail of Tver, the Mongols were tolerant and granted tax exemption to the church; such holy figures as Sergius of Radonezh and Metropolitan Alexis helped the country to withstand years of Mongol rule, to expand both economically and spiritually. The Trinity monastery founded by Sergius of Radonezh became the setting for the flourishing of spiritual art, exemplified by the work of Andrey Rublev, among others; the followers of Sergius founded four hundred monasteries, thus extending the geographical extent of the Grand Duchy of Moscow. In 1439, at t
In Eastern Orthodox church history within Russian Orthodox Church, the Old Believers or Old Ritualists are Eastern Orthodox Christians who maintain the liturgical and ritual practices of the Eastern Orthodox Church as they existed prior to the reforms of Patriarch Nikon of Moscow between 1652 and 1666. Resisting the accommodation of Russian piety to the contemporary forms of Greek Orthodox worship, these Christians were anathematized, together with their ritual, in a Synod of 1666–1667, producing a division in Eastern Europe between the Old Believers and those who followed the state church in its condemnation of the Old Rite. Russian speakers refer to the schism itself as raskol, etymologically indicating a "cleaving-apart". In 1652, Patriarch Nikon introduced a number of ritual and textual revisions with the aim of achieving uniformity between the practices of the Russian and Greek Orthodox churches. Nikon, having noticed discrepancies between Russian and Greek rites and texts, ordered an adjustment of the Russian rites to align with the Greek ones of his time.
In doing so, according to the Old Believers, Nikon acted without adequate consultation with the clergy and without gathering a council. After the implementation of these revisions, the Church anathematized and suppressed—with the support of Muscovite state power—the prior liturgical rite itself, as well as those who were reluctant to pass to the revised rite; those who maintained fidelity to the existing rite endured severe persecutions from the end of the 17th century until the beginning of the 20th century as "Schismatics". They became known as "Old Ritualists", a name introduced during the reign of Catherine the Great, they continued to call themselves "Orthodox Christians". The installation of a Metropolitan of Kiev and All Russia, but resident in Moscow, by a council of Russian bishops in 1448 without consent from the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople initiated the effective independence of the Eastern Orthodox Church in the Grand Duchy of Moscow. By apart from Muslim and Jewish minorities and pagan subject peoples, the Russian people were Christianised, observing church festivals and marking births and deaths with Orthodox rituals.
However, many popular religious practices were of pagan origin or marked by superstition, disorder or drunkenness. The main objectives of reformers in the 16th century, many from the secular “white” clergy, were to outlaw pagan rituals and beliefs and to standardise the liturgy throughout the Muscovite realm; this resulted in the holding of the Stoglavy Synod, a Russian church council in 1551, whose decrees formed the basis of Orthodox ritual and liturgy in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. This synod condemned many popular religious practices. In addition, while stressing the need for accurate copying of sacred documents, it approved of traditional Russian liturgical practices that differed from contemporary Greek ones. During the reign of Aleksei Mikhailovich, the young tsar and his confessor, Stefan Vonifatiev, sponsored a group composed of “white”, non-monastic clergy and known as the Zealots of Piety; these included the archpriest Avvakum as a founder-member and the future patriarch Nikon, who joined in 1649.
Their original aim was to revitalise the parishes through effective preaching, the orderly celebration of the liturgy, enforcement of the church’s moral teachings. To ensure that the liturgy was celebrated its original and authentic form had to be established, but the way that Nikon did this caused disputes between him and other reformers. In 1646, Nikon first met Tsar Aleksei who appointed him archimandrite of the Novospassky monastery in Moscow. In 1649, Nikon was consecrated as the Metropolitan of Novgorod and, in 1652, he became Patriarch of Moscow. During his time in Novgorod, Nikon began to develop his view that the responsibility for the spiritual health of Russia lay with senior church leaders, not the tsar; when he became patriarch, he started to reorganise the church’s administration so it was wholly under his own control. In 1649, a Greek delegation, headed by Patriarch Paisios of Jerusalem, arrived in Moscow and tried to convince the tsar and Nikon that current Greek liturgical practices were authentically Orthodox and that Russian usages that differed from them were local innovations.
This led to a heated debate between the visiting Greeks and many Russian clerics who believed that, by accepting the decrees of the Council of Florence, the Greek patriarchate had compromised its authority and forfeited any right to dictate to Russia on liturgical matters. Tsar Aleksei and some of the Zealots of Piety decided that best way to revitalise the Russian church was to conform with the usages of the Greek church and accept the authority of the Patriarch of Constantinople. By the middle of the 17th century and Russian Church officials, including Patriarch Nikon of Moscow, had noticed discrepancies between contemporary Russian and Greek usages, they reached the conclusion that the Russian Orthodox Church had, as a result of errors of incompetent copyists, developed rites and liturgical books of its own that had deviated from the Greek originals. Thus, the Russian Orthodox Church had become dissonant with the other Orthodox churches; the unrevised Muscovite service-books derived from a different, older, Greek recension than that, used in the current Greek books, revised over the centuries, contained innovations.
Nikon wanted to have the same rite in the Russian tsardom those ethnically Slavic lands now the territories of Ukraine and Belarus tha