Edinoverie and Official Orthodoxy: the Failure of Unity in Ceremonial Practice (1900–1913)
This article examines the way in which the Russian Orthodox Church used ceremonies between 1900 and 1913 to show unity with edinoverie, a century-old uniate movement for Old Believer converts. Edinoverie was a compromise movement that allowed these converts to keep their rituals in exchange for loyalty to the Orthodox hierarchy. The early twentieth-century ceremonies were spectacles which aimed to convince the edinovercy' that they were fully part of the Orthodox Church, to reduce tension and criticism, and defend the Church’s authority. However, Old Believers, secular journalists, and yedinoverie separatists appropriated the ceremonies to serve their own goals. In particular, the alternative vision of an autonomous and inviolable edinoverie offered by the separatists led to infighting during the ceremonies, disrupting any sense of unity. As a result, the ceremonies failed and edinoverie separatism remained strong until at least 1918. These ceremonies considered within this article include the centenary of edinoverie’s existence in 1900 in several cities, the opening of edinoverie congresses between 1905 and 1912, the canonisation of Anna of Kashin in 1909, and the visit of the Patriarch of Antioch to Russia in 1913. This article is principally based on descriptions of ceremonies found in a variety of articles and books from both edinovercy' and Orthodox believers. Old Believer and secular journals have also been examined to find interpretations of the ceremonies that were opposed to the messages that the Church intended to spread through the ceremonies. Some archival evidence has also been considered. The article employs semiotic analysis of the ceremonies in order to demonstrate their explicit and implicit messages. It also conceptualises the ceremonies as stages where the Church’s authority was confirmed through collective rituals. However, it also notes that these stages offered rival groups the opportunity to resist this demonstration of power, challenge the legitimacy of the Holy Synod, and appropriate the performances for their own ideological aims. In doing so, the article adapts recent insights from ritual studies to innovate the historiography surrounding edinoverie and provide a different perspective on the fate of religious compromise movements at the dawn of the twentieth century.
Bell, C. (1992). Ritual Theory, Ritual Practice. New York & Oxford, Oxford University Press.
Bloch, M. (1987). The Ritual of the Royal Bath in Madagascar. In D. Cannadine & S. Price (Eds.). Rituals of Royalty: Power and Ceremonial in Traditional Societies(pp. 271–297). Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.
Freeze, G. L. (1983). Parish Clergy in 19th Century Russia. Princeton, Princeton University Press.
Freeze, G. L. (1996). Subversive Piety: Religion and the Political Crisis in Late Imperial Russia, Journal of Modern History, 68, pp. 308–350.
Greene, R. H. (2010). Bodies Like Bright Stars: Saints and Relics in Orthodox Russia. DeKalb: Northern Illinois University Press.
I. A. (1867). Obozrenie Vyatskoj eparhii [The Review of Vyatsk Diocese], Vyatskie eparhial′ny′e vedomosti, 18, pp. 543–570.
Yunovidov, V. (1887). Kratkij ocherk sostoyaniya raskola i edinoveriya v Altajskoj, Anujskoj, Aleskoj, Shimanaevskoj, Vladimirskoj i Bobrovskoj volostiah Bijskogo okruga [An Overview of the Schism and Common Faith in Altay, Anuysk, Alesk, Shanamayevsk, Vladimir and Bobrovsk Volosts of Biysk District], Tomskie eparkial′nye vedomosti, 1, pp. 1–15; 3, pp. 1–11.
Karant-Nunn, S. (1997). The Reformation of Ritual: An Interpretation of Early Modern Germany. London & New York, Routledge.
Kaurkin, R. V. & Pavolva, O. A. (2011). Edinoverie v Rossii. Ot zarozhdeniia idei do nachala XX veka [Common Faith in Russia. From the Emergence of the Idea to the Early 20th Century]. Saint Petersburg.
Kem i kak polozheno nachalo edinoveriyu v Russkoj cerkvi [Who and How Introduced Common Faith in the Russian Church] (1891), Bratskoe slovo, 2, pp. 108–138.
Kraveczkij, A. (2004). K istorii snyatiya klyatv na donikonovskie obryady′ [On the History of Oath Nullification on Rites before Nikon], Bogoslovskie trudy′, 39, pp. 296–344.
Loginovskih, F. (1900). Stoletie edinoveriya v g. Permi [The Centenary of Common Faith in the City of Perm’], Permskie eparkhial′ny′e vedomosti, 23, pp. 453–457.
Majorov, R. A. (2008). Edinoverie i lider ego soedinencheskogo napravleniya vtoroj poloviny′ veka svyashhennik Ioann Verhovskij [Common Faith and the Leader of Its Unifying Branch of the 2nd Half of the 19th Century Priest John Verkhovsky]. (PhD thesis). Moskovskij pedagogicheskij gosudarstvenny′j universitet.
Miller, D. B. (2010). Saint Sergius of Radonezh, His Trinity Monastery, and the Formation of the Russian Identity. DeKalb, Northern Illinois University Press.
N. (1912). O smy′sle edinoveriya (po povodu edinovercheskogo s′′ezda) [On the Meaning of Common Faith (On the Yedinovertsy Congress)], Cerkov′, 4, pp. 90–92.
Nikol′skij, S. (1900). Edinoverie, stupen′ k pravoslaviyu [Common Faith – A Step to Orthodox Christianity]. Stavropol.
Nikol′skij, A. (1904). Shestidesyatiletie (1843–1903) Pokrovskoj edinovercheskoj cerkvi v Holmsko-Varshavskoj eparhii [60th Anniversary (1843–1903) of Pokrovsky Common Faith Church in Kholmsk-Warsaw Diocese]. Warsaw.
O. (1908). Dvizhenie sredi edinovercev (k Vyatskomu s′′ezdu) [A Movement among Common Believers (on the Vyatsk Congress)], Cerkov′, 23, pp. 821–822.
Palkin, A. Edinoverie v konce 1820-h – 1850-e gg.: mehanizmy′ gosudarstvennogo prinuzhdeniya i protivostoyanie staroverov [Common faith in the late 1820s–1850s: mechanisms of state oppression and Old Believers’ opposition], Quaestio Rossica, 2014, no. 3, pp. 86–106.
Pervy′j Vserossiiskij s′′ezd pravoslavny′h staroobriadcev (edinovercev) [1st All-Russian Congress of Orthodox Christian Old Believers (Yedinovertsy)] (1912). Saint Petersburg.
Rossijskij Gosudarstvenny′j Istoricheskij Arkhiv [Russian State Historical Archive]. F. 796.
Ryabuhin, I. (1907). Pravoslavno-staroobryadcheskij (edinovercheskij) s′′ezd v g. Kurske [Orthodox Christian Old Believer (Yedinovertsy) Congress in the City of Kursk], Pravda pravoslaviya, 1, pp. 10–14.
Shalaev. (1909). Edinovercy′ i novy′e sviaty′e [Yedinovertsy and New Saints], Cerkov′, 8, pp. 288–289.
Shalaev. (1912b). Resul′taty′ edinovercheskogo s′′ezda [Results of the Common Faith Congress], Cerkov′, 6, pp. 140–141.
Shleev, S. (1901). Edinoverie i ego stoletnee organizovannoe sushhestvovanie v Russkoj cerkvi [Common Faith and Its 100-Year Organized Existence in the Russian Church]. Saint Petersburg.
Shleev, S. (1913). Sluzhenie Antiokhijskogo patriarha Grigoriya IV-go v edinovercheskoj, chto na nikolaevskoj ul. g. Spb., cervki i znachenie ego [The Service of Gregory IV, Patriarch of Antioch in the Common Faith Church in Nikolayevskaya Str., Saint Petersburg, and His Role], Pribavleniya k cerkovny′m vedomostyam, 11, pp. 501–502.
Shleev, S. (2004). Edinoverie v svoem vnutrennem razvitii [Common Faith in Its Inner Development]. Moscow., V. M. (1901). Yubilejnoe torzhestvo pravoslavnogo staroobrjadchestva (edinoveriya) (27 oktyabrya 1900) [Anniversary Celebration of Orthodox Christian Old Believers (Common Faith) (27 October, 1900)]. Saint Petersburg.
Skvorczov, V. M. (1912). Pervy′j Vserossijskij edinovercheskij s′′ezd [1st All-Russian Yedinovertsy Congress]. Saint Petersburg.
Smirnov, S. K. (1869). Spaso-Vifanskij monasty′r′ [Spaso-Vifansky Monastery]. Moscow.
Sredi edinovercev [Among Yedinovertsy] (1910), Cerkov′, 6, pp. 181–182.
Strickland, J. (2013). The Making of Holy Russia: The Orthodox Church and Russian Nationalism Before the Revolution. New York, Holy Trinity Publications.
Subbotin, N. I. (1901a). O edinoverii (po povodu ego stoletnego yubileya) [On Common Faith (for Its Centenary)]. Moscow.
Subbotin, N. I. (1901b). Pervy′e dvenadczat′ let sluzheniya cerkvi bor′boj s raskolom [The First Twelve Years of Serving the Church by Fighting the Schism]. Moscow.
Trudy′ Moskovskogo edinovercheskogo s′′ezda [Works of the Moscow Common Faith Congress] (1910). Moscow.
V. (1870). Ispoved′ staroobryadcza Rogozhskogo kladbishha [A Confession of an Old Believer of the Rogozhskoye Cemetery], Moskovskie eparhial′ny′e vedomosti, 1, pp. 2–4.
Vtoroj Vserossijskij s′′ezd pravoslavny′h staroobriadcev (edinovercev) v N. Novgorode 23–28 iyulya 1917 goda [2nd All-Russian Congress of Orthodox Christian Old Believers (Yedinovertsy) in N. Novgorod (23–28 July, 1917)] (1917). Petrograd.
Vyatskij edinovercheskij s′′ezd (10–17 iyunya 1908 g.) i ego postanovleniya [Vyatsky Congress of Yedinovertsy (10–17 July, 1908) and Its Resolutions] (1908), Vyatskie eparhial′ny′e vedomosti, 42, pp. 1089–1097.
White, J. M. (2014) A Bridge to the Schism. Edinoverie, Russian Orthodoxy and the Ritual Formation of Confessions, 1800–1918. PhD dissertation, European University Institute.
Wortman, R. (1995). Scenarios of Power: Myth and Ceremony in Russian Monarchy (in 2 vols.). Princeton, Princeton University Press.