Priesthood and Tsardom as Viewed by Siberian Metropolitan Ignatii (Rimsky-Korsakov)
Keywords:Ignatii (Rimsky-Korsakov); church-state relations; the Russian Church in the 17th century; Tobolsk diocese; bishop
Relations between the Orthodox Church and the tsardom of Muscovy in the second half of the seventeenth century have become one of the most important issues of the Church and social agenda. However, the views of the Great Russian episcopate and the degree of their connection with the declarations and claims of the leaders of the Russian Church in the pre-Petrine era remain little-studied. The author suggests that the ideological attitudes at the beginning of Alexei Mikhailovich’s reign and during the reforms of Patriarch Nikon forged the worldview of a generation of Russian bishops, including that of Ignatii (Rimsky-Korsakov) (died in 1701), metropolitan of Tobolsk and Siberia, a famous church leader, religious writer, and thinker. The author examines the bishop’s activity as that of a bearer of both a traditional and innovative worldview in order to correctly assess Ignatii’s striving for change and acceptance of innovation. The article refers to a number of works (including unpublished ones) and the bishop’s activities in order to reconstruct the metropolitan’s views on church-state relations. According to the concept of the “Byzantine (Constantinople) heritage” and philhellenic ideas, Ignatii put priesthood over tsardom in origin, sought the complete independence of the church court, and strove to expand the role of the Church in public life. At the same time, he emphasised the responsibility of royal power to take care of the Church. Ignatii directly writes about tsars’ duty to render “reverence and obedience” to the patriarch. An analysis of the Tobolsk bishop’s views demonstrates their closeness to those of many figures in the Russian Church at the time, such as patriarchs Nikon, Joachim, and Adrian, philhellenic writers, etc. The views of the higher clergy on the relationship between priesthood and stardom were new in comparison with the tradition of the sixteenth and first half of the seventeenth centuries, and the officials of the young Tsar Peter were more likely to follow the traditional policy of subordinating the Church to the state. The author concludes that it was precisely the understanding by bishops of the Church’s place and role in the tsardom of Muscovy that caused Peter I to completely replace Russians in the episcopate with candidates from the Kiev metropolia.
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