Posted 23 июня 2021,, 10:45

Published 23 июня 2021,, 10:45

Modified 24 декабря 2022,, 22:37

Updated 24 декабря 2022,, 22:37

Three centuries of enmity: is there a chance today to be reconciled with church schismatics

Three centuries of enmity: is there a chance today to be reconciled with church schismatics

23 июня 2021, 10:45
On December 5, 1620, in the village of Grigorovo, Nizhny Novgorod district, a boy was born into the family of a parish priest, who went down in the history of Russia as Archpriest Avvakum, "the fiery archpriest". The life and hagiography of Archpriest Avvakum is a tragic encyclopedia of the Russian church schism.


The celebration of its 400th anniversary was planned for 2020 as a cycle of significant social and cultural events, but failed due to the coronavirus pandemic and was postponed to 2021. Recently, Moscow hosted the International Old Believers Forum dedicated to Avvakum. On June 30, the Russian Ethnographic Museum will host an exhibition "Ancient Orthodoxy: Symbols of Preserved Traditions".

Not only over the past 350 years, but immediately, in the course of tragic events, words and concepts have changed their meaning. Former zealous Old Believers became adherents of a new, official state course, and their adherents, supporters of the ancient canon, ancient piety, were declared troublemakers, rioters - schismatics. That is, in fact, everything was the other way around.

And who really was the schismatic?

We speak already familiar words: schism, Patriarch Nikon, correction of church books, two-fingered, Old Believers... And behind them - blood, fire devouring living people, violence and a furious desire to destroy each other.

But what was there besides rage and hatred?

Let's start with the fact that Patriarch Nikon, the initiator of the church reform, which turned into a great schism, was himself an Old Believer.

Nothing new, it has long been established in humanity. And in Europe, many of the executioners and violent exterminators of heresy were themselves formerly heretics or the children and grandchildren of heretics.

Basically, yes, so. But in this case, the parallels with Europe are inappropriate. Both the Cathars and their followers - the Albigensians, and the Manicheans were still "heretics", that is, the overthrowers of the canon.

In our country it is the opposite.

Our symbol of the fierce Old Believers is Archpriest Avvakum, the persecutors of the Old Believers, Patriarch Nikon and Tsar Alexei at the beginning were like-minded people, members of the same circle. Moreover, Habakkuk was on the second and third roles there.

Our "Old Belief" was the most that neither is canon.

That is, the official procedure.

The bottom line is that the church charter, adopted in the ancient Orthodox world, originates from Byzantium. But Byzantium fell - first under the blows of the Western crusaders, then under the blows of the Turks. And in the Orthodox world a new, Greek charter has spread. And the original, Byzantine, survived only in Russia.

The hundred-headed cathedral of 1551 confirmed the old charter and confirmed fidelity to the old rituals. The Orthodox were ordered to exterminate polyphony in the church service (singing and reading at the same time), in every possible way to destroy the games of the people, festivities, in a word - blasphemous buffoonery. And once again it was confirmed that one should be baptized with two fingers: "If anyone does not bless two fingers, like Christ, or does not imagine the two fingers of the sign of the cross, let him be cursed". Since 1640, the prescription for two fingers has been printed in all liturgical books.

New patriarchs and new tsars continued the work of the Stoglava collection. Patriarch Joasaph I, tsarist confessor Stefan Vonifatyev, archpriest of the Moscow cathedral of the Kazan Mother of God Ivan Neronov, the young Tsar Alexei who completely fell under their influence and his friend boyar Fyodor Rtishchev are supporters of ancient piety. The most zealous among them is Nikon. I repeat: Archpriest Avvakum, who became a symbol of Old Believer fanaticism, was in their company in second and third roles.

And then everything suddenly turned 180 degrees.

Nikon, becoming patriarch, proposed introducing a new, Greek charter and began a church reform that canceled the decisions of the Stoglav Cathedral. That is, from the point of view of the canons of the Stoglavy Cathedral, Nikon was the schismatic. The schismatic was the official church behind him. Tsar Alexei was a schismatic. The Russian state was the schismatic.

Another thing is that schismatics at all times were not those who deviated from this or that ideology, from this or that canon, but those who deviated from its state embodiment. Those who carried out this or that new state ideology and policy called and call themselves reformers.

In 1653, Patriarch Nikon, by his sole decision, overturned the decision of the Stoglava Cathedral and sent an order to the churches to make the sign of the cross "with the first three fingers." In 1654, Tsar Alexei and Patriarch Nikon convened the Moscow Local Council, at which Nikon expounded the essence of the innovations, and Tsar Alexei was immediately the first to approve them. Thus, to object was to object to the king. All the hierarchs, except for Paul, Bishop of Kolomna and Kashira, were meekly silent. (Bishop Paul was subsequently defrocked, thrown into prison, and murdered in secret.)

The Council, under pressure from the Tsar and the Patriarch, decided to correct the Russian liturgical books according to Greek models. Thus began the church reform of Patriarch Nikon. It is clear that she met secret and open resistance in the flock and clergy.

Then the Great Moscow Cathedral was convened (November 1666 - August 1667). On it, the zealots of the old rite were declared schismatics and heretics, anathematized. The quarrels ended - the persecutions and executions began.

Cut-off and whether the language and cut his fingers - not to preach and not baptized with two fingers

Boyar Feodosiya Morozova and Princess Evdokia Urusova, after being tortured on a rack, wanted to give them a cruel execution - to be burned alive. In Europe, heretics were burned at bonfires, tied to a pillar, and in Russia - in wooden log cabins, without being tied, and there, inside, they rushed about in the fire. The same fate awaited Morozov and Urusov.

However, the Boyar Duma opposed. And the king did not dare. After all, Alexei is only the second tsar of the Romanovs, and the Romanovs are not the highest nobility. In Russia there were originally sixteen noble families, whose representatives became hereditary boyars - Cherkassky, Vorotynsky, Trubetskoy, Golitsyns, Khovansky, Morozovs, Sheremetevs, Odoevsky, Pronsky, Sheins, Saltykovs, Repnins, Prozorovsky, Buinosovs, Khilkovs and Urusovs. In the Time of Troubles, under the letters about the salvation of Russia, which were sent throughout the country, the first was the signature of boyar Morozov.

So the tsar did not dare to cruelly execute women of such noble families.

Not having achieved abdication by torture, they were taken to Borovsk and there thrown into an earthen prison - in a deep hole, starved to death.

On September 11, 1675, Princess Urusova died.

On the night of November 2 - Boyarynya Morozova.

They were sisters not only in faith, but also in blood - born Sokovnins.

Their sufferings and destinies are among others, many and many. Tens and tens of thousands of their sisters and brothers in faith endured exactly the same and more terrible torments.

Once even Moscow, which is accustomed to everything, was amazed when it saw dozens of people crawling, rolling around Red Square and mooing meaninglessly. This Old Believers Neg e Zali tongue to keep his word rumor heretical.

Priest Lazarus had his tongue cut off and his hand cut off at the wrist.

Deacon Theodore had his tongue cut off and his hand cut off across his palm.

Elder Epiphanius had his tongue cut off and four fingers cut off.

Hands, palms, fingers were chopped - so that they did not cross with two fingers.

Everyone who was exiled to Pustozersk together with Archpriest Avvakum had their tongues cut off. But, apparently, not completely, because they continued to speak, albeit slightly. They preached from their fetid pits! And they bowed the guard to their side.

Therefore, all of them had their tongues cut off a second time. To be silent.

Only Avvakum did not chop his fingers and cut his tongue - Tsar Alexei, probably, pitied him as his former confidante, comrade, with whom he once spoke about ancient piety and ancient rituals.

On April 14, 1682, Avvakum, Epiphanius, Lazarus and Theodore were burned in a wooden frame. The famous painting by G. Myasoedov "The Burning of Archpriest Avvakum" is an artistic interpretation. The Old Believers were not tied to pillars, but burned in log cabins, and there, inside, they rushed about in the fire. In front of the eyes of people who were standing with their hats off.

Habakkuk crossed himself with a two-fingered cross and shouted: “If you pray with this cross, you will not perish forever, but leave it - your town will perish, it will be covered with sand. And the town will perish, the end of the world will come! "

Bishop Pavel Kolomensky was tortured to death and secretly killed.

Kostroma Archpriest Daniel was tortured and killed in an earthen pit.

Priest Gabriel from Nizhny Novgorod was beheaded.

In Moscow, Elder Abraham and Isaiah Saltykov were burned at the stake.

Elder Jonah was cut into five parts.

Ivan the Fool was burnt in Kholmogory.

In Borovsk, they burned the priest Polyekt and 14 people with him.

In Kazan, 30 people were burned.

Sagittarius Hilarion was burned in Kiev.

The holy fool Cyprian Naked was beheaded in Izhma.

Fyodor the Fool and Luka Lavrentyevich were hanged on the Mezen.

The sons of Archpriest Avvakum were also sentenced to be hanged. But they repented and were pardoned - together with their mother they were just “buried in the ground,” that is, they were put in an earthen hole.

"It is impossible for us not to burn - there is nowhere else to go"

Mass self-immolations began in 1676. They were called "gari". When the tsarist troops approached the Old Believer villages, churches, cities, the Old Believers, in order to avoid beating with batogs, exile or capital punishment, torture demanding renunciation of the faith, burned themselves. As Elder Sergius used to say: "Truly it is impossible for us not to burn - there is nowhere else to go."

In just ten years, only in one Poshekhonsky district of the Yaroslavl province, 2000 people died in the "burnt places".

In Tyumen, priest Dometian arranged a massive "fire" for 1,700 people.

In the Paleostrovsky monastery on Lake Onega, 2,700 Old Believers burnt themselves. This is already 1687.

The next year, in the same monastery, another 1,500 people died and burned themselves in battles with the tsarist troops.

Self-immolations continued in the 18th century. And even in the 19th century. Just imagine - Pushkin, our solar genius, a child of light, already lived, and his contemporaries burned themselves at the stake.

According to approximate statistics, in just 15 years from the beginning of the "burnout", from 1676 to 1690, in Russia more than 20 thousand people burned themselves alive.

Those who committed self-immolation in the 18th and 19th centuries were not counted.

Those who were beaten to death with batogs, burned, hanged, beheaded or executed in any other way at the behest of the authorities in the 17th and 18th centuries were not counted. There are only general estimates.

Many historians define the Schism as a Russian catastrophe with far-reaching grave consequences.

Nikita Krichevsky, Chief Researcher at the Institute of Economics of the Russian Academy of Sciences, writes in his book Antiskrepa: “If we chronologically extrapolate the population growth achieved in the period 1646–1678 to the subsequent time stage of 1678–1719, then the population of Russia by 1719 could not be 15.6 million, and 17.8 million people. Thus, in 1678-1719, the total number of victims of the Schism - executed, tortured, dead, unborn - amounted to 2.2 million people. "

Here we are talking not only about direct victims, but also about unborn ones. Note: 2.2 million out of 17.8 million is a decline of one eighth of the population.

All this murder was carried out in the name of the Orthodox Church and the state.

Tens of thousands of Old Believers burned themselves alive. Those who were executed at the behest of the authorities in the 17th and 18th centuries were not counted. According to the Institute of Economics of the Russian Academy of Sciences, the population decline in 1646-1678, including the unborn - 2.2 million people. " This is one eighth of the then population of Russia.

The fact that people in Europe were burned at the stake is not a reason to justify our auto-da-fe. Europe, though centuries later, admitted guilt. Let us recall the repentance of the Roman Catholic Church for the Crusades, the Inquisition, St. Bartholomew's Night, the church's anti-Semitism, “for the evil done to brothers from other confessions”, recall the rehabilitation of Giordano Bruno, Galileo Galilei, Savonarola, Jan Hus, Martin Luther ...

It seems that we have not learned anything through the centuries, and even more so we do not repent of anything.

Power never repent

Of course, time softened hearts. There were attempts to create a single church, the Old Believers even agreed to this. But nothing happened.

In 1929, the Moscow Patriarchate recognized the persecution of Old Believers, how to put it, illegal. In a special document "Deed" it is written: the liturgical books of the Old Believers are "recognized as Orthodox", the two-fingered and other canons of the Old Believers are "blissful and salutary." And the "condemnatory expressions" and "oath prohibitions", that is, the curses of the church - "we reject and as if we are not previously imputed."

Regarding the "as if not before," the late Nikolai Nikolayevich Pokrovsky - academician, researcher of the history of the Old Believers - told me in a conversation over tea back in Soviet times: "It's the same as how today's government would announce 6 years of my term in the political zone in Dubrovlag - as if not past." ...

The Old Believers are outraged that the bloody persecutions, the burning of people are called by the official church just "condemnatory expressions." They had and still had one main requirement - the repentance of the Russian Orthodox Church at the Local Council. But the church, having confirmed the wording of "Acts" at the Local Councils of 1971 and 1988, rejects repentance.

And this is also our, Russian historical, political, social reality and tradition - the authorities never repent. (The church in this case is the same power.) The repressions of Stalin's times were defined as "the consequences of the personality cult." Until now, they are trying to silence and even justify unprecedented crimes, unprecedented victims, they have introduced textbooks into schools, where Stalin was called "an effective manager".

The current leaders of the Communist Party and the current government, allegedly cursed by the current communists, agree on this aspiration.

“All this frantic waste of spiritual energy and religious heroism cannot but cause great regret in us,” wrote A.V. Kartashev, the largest researcher of the history of the Russian Church. Some historians consider the church schism to be the source of all subsequent troubles in Russia, likening what happened almost to the self-immolation of the country. This is probably an exaggeration. But the fault of the church is unconditional. After all, it was not the people themselves who entered the "heresy" - the church hierarchs led them there. Moreover, their guilt is immeasurable, because they are shepherds. But then Patriarch Nikon and Tsar Alexei suddenly turned 180 degrees, declared themselves reformers, and their former co-religionists - heretics.

Finally, where and why were you in a hurry? Why were they fierce? If the power - both ecclesiastical and secular - is in your hands, then why execute ?! Wait, educate new, competent priests, send them out to parishes, let them preach a new, correct canon, enlighten lost souls. Through a century of enlightenment, victory will still be yours.

But no. Anyone who thinks differently should immediately be forced to think as ordered! Violence is the solution to all problems. And they do not dare. Violence - especially in matters of faith - cripples the people and the country, remains and hurts through the centuries.

And this is no longer a fault, but a disaster. The trouble of the church, society, state. Yes, violence is worldwide. But we are not talking about world history, but about the Russian share and Russian destiny. That violence and harshness are a given ominous dotted line of Russian life. As they say today - a paradigm.

Could the Old Believers have become Sharia for Russia?

And now I will turn my line of reasoning 180 degrees.

It is quite possible that the Old Believers would have become a greater misfortune for Russia, Russia.

It is difficult to say this with a general sympathetic attitude towards them. Sympathy is always on the side of the martyrs. All the more so - the martyrs of the faith.

But ... It took a long time. Let's try to analyze it calmly.

Let's see in which direction Russia was headed, headed by the Old Believer patriarchs and the Old Believer tsars.

Patriarch Filaret banned dressing, carols and ritual pagan games in 1627. Patriarch Joseph ordered to fight mercilessly with buffoons. Tsar Alexei, in a letter of 1648, forbade all games, amusements: do not drive bears, do not sing, do not dance, do not swing on a swing, burn domras, surnas, beeps and gusli, and whoever disobeys - beat with batogs.

In Russia, asceticism was introduced with an iron hand.

They were fanatics. They called themselves "the soldiers of Christ." Skomorokhs, artists, dancers, singers, poets - everyone would have been burned. Pushkin would not exist - I assure you.

Let's have a drink, good friend

Poor youth of mine,

Let's drink from grief; where is the mug?

The heart will be more cheerful.

No matter how it is. They would have burned them together with the mug and with the nanny Arina Rodionovna.

Russia, more than likely, would become an Orthodox semblance of an Islamic state. Let's remember: the Arabs in the early centuries were the foremost people of the world. Arab science and culture reached unprecedented heights, while Europe was in savagery and barbarism. But Islam came and suppressed science, literature, painting - all secular culture.

And the Old Believers were no less tough than the Muslim orthodox. Apparently, Nikon and Tsar Alexei understood in time where they themselves were leading the country. And they caught themselves. And they turned the steering wheel abruptly.

Yes, the power and successors of Nikon - Patriarch Joasaph II and Patriarch Joachim dealt with the Old Believers with truly Old Believer inexorable.

Although there were attempts to persuade, persuade. But they were doomed in advance to failure, given the general intolerance of both sides. Here's an example. In the summer of 1682, a debate took place in the Faceted Chamber of the Kremlin with a large crowd of people. From the official church - Athanasius, Bishop of Kholmogory. From the Old Believers - the Suzdal Archpriest Nikita Dobrynin.

Athanasius, a man experienced in book knowledge, easily smashed all Nikita's arguments, put him in a dead end. Tradition says that Nikita, finding no words for a worthy answer, got angry and attacked Athanasius with his fists.

How did the Old Believers react? Shouts of delight. They walked across Moscow in a triumphant crowd, raising their double-fingered hands and shouting: “Make this up! Victory! "

It was impossible to convince them. Just wait. For decades. But the church and the authorities decided: since it is impossible to persuade them, they must be forced or destroyed.

A war of extermination began. The official church and the authorities committed a crime, pouring blood and eclipsing fires on the Russian land, persecuting, killing Russian people for their faith.

At the same time, one cannot but think (and this is exactly what we do not think about) that in the event of the victory of the Old Believers, there could be more blood, cruelty and violence. Here is what Avvakum wrote: “All that dogs would be overstretched in one day. First Nikon - the dog would be cut in four, and then Nikonian ... "

What kind of Christian humility and splendor is there. Yes, this was written by a man taken to the extreme, in a state of hardening of all human forces. And it is true. But the general attitude of the Old Believers was just that. Conquer the Old Believers - no one would be given indulgence. Not with anything. Not in faith, not in everyday life.

That is why I believe that the bloody victory of the Nikonian state church became the lesser evil. The Nikonian Church is still a compromise, condescending to human weaknesses. You could live with her. And the Old Believers could turn Russia into a state with intolerant Sharia laws.

And finally, a modern plot. From the documentary film "Altai Kerzhaks" by Alexander Klyushkin and Tatyana Malakhova, Kultura TV channel, 2006.

The film was made with kindness, warmth, full attention and respect. There is an almost final scene there. A guy of about eighteen sits at the spinning wheel, his name is Alexander. There are about ten yards on the Hare's Hut where he lives, there is no electricity or TV - this is a sin. True, young people have transistor radios and tape recorders. Old people condemn, but not very harshly. There are no batteries anyway. Alexander made a dynamo out of a spinning wheel. It spins, spins the wheel, and the spinning wheel provides electricity for the tiny light bulb above the machine and for the transistor tape recorder. In the evenings he works on a spinning wheel with electric lights and music. He never went to school, he does not know about the electrical laws of Ohm, Faraday and other things. I thought of it myself, I did it myself. Spinning wheel powerhouse!

Unfulfilled Kulibin and Lomonosov.

However, the morals are not so tough everywhere. Time takes its toll. Old Believer culture is already an integral part of the all-Russian and general human culture, up to the status in UNESCO.

In May 2017, President Putin arrived in Rogozhskaya Sloboda - the original center of the Old Believers, now also known as the historical and architectural ensemble "Rogozhskaya Sloboda".

“You have committed today, I think, a historic event. For the first time in the history of the Old Believers, in 350 years, the head of the Russian state visits an Old Believer spiritual center, for which we are very grateful, "said the head of the Russian Orthodox Old Believer Church, Metropolitan Korniliy.

President Putin, both before and after more than once met with the spiritual leader of the Russian Old Believers, but his arrival in Rogozhskaya Sloboda, an excursion, photographing with the hierarchs of the church at the Intercession Cathedral is a demonstrative act designed for a loud resonance and a certain understanding both in broad public and in narrow church circles.

After all, in addition, the visit of the head of state was tacitly timed to coincide with the 350th anniversary of the end of the Great Moscow Council, at which the Old Believers were declared heretics and schismatics, and anathematized. Such visits are regarded as a change in the internal policy of the state towards the Old Believers, as a signal: "It's time to make up, 350 years have passed ..." And the 400th anniversary of Archpriest Avvakum is a loud, obvious stage and reason for such reconciliation.

Earlier, in 2016, President Putin supported the initiative of Metropolitan Korniliy to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the birth of Archpriest Avvakum, revered by the Old Believers as a confessor and martyr. Then the head of state instructed the government to take part, develop and implement a plan of joint activities. A working group with stakeholder representation was established. But ... Here one cannot fail to mention the conflict in the church environment.

In Russia there are two main, apart from small isolated communities, Old Believer churches. The largest, more than 370 parishes, is the Russian Orthodox Old Believer Church, and the second in importance is the Russian Old Orthodox Church, with about 80 parishes.

In September 2020, the Moscow Patriarchate RDC announced its withdrawal from the working group. The highest hierarchs of the Russian Orthodox Church, ROC and RDC did not comment on the incident, but the clergy of a lower rank exchanged harsh public speeches in the press, on social networks, listing mutual claims, outlining fundamental positions. We will not quote them here, so as not to multiply the reasons for discord.

So, there is still no world under the olives? To some extent, yes. But - only to some extent. Because, apart from the disagreements of the hierarchs, there is the life of the flock, that is, ordinary citizens. As well as the activities of the government, bureaucratic apparatus, which carries out the instructions of the president and prepares a series of events for the 400th anniversary of Archpriest Avvakum.

And here they - the existence of ordinary Old Believers and the activities of government officials - lead to one goal, to one result.

At the words “Old Believer village” and “Old Believer customs”, a stereotypical picture immediately arises: something gloomy, dark gray, ascetic, a kind of conscious protection from our common world, including education, achievements of science and technology. I have already given an example of how a boy from the Old Believer settlement invented and made a dynamo machine, a mini-power plant from ... a spinning wheel. At the same time, he did not know the laws of electrical engineering, because he did not go to school, the elders forbade him. Yes, in some territories and regions there are communities that live in isolation, separately, do not let anyone into their world and, of course, do not themselves participate in the life of the villages ..

But far, far from everywhere. An example is the Old Believer villages of Buryatia. They are colorful and fun, like children's drawings. No gloominess, dullness, gloominess. The villages of Desyatnikovo and Bolshoi Kunalei, for example, are recognized as the most beautiful in Russia.

These villages of Transbaikalia are not an isolated and even less a special case. In Buryatia, with a total population of 986 thousand people, there are 200 thousand direct descendants of those Old Believers who were sent here at the behest of the authorities two and a half centuries ago. “Our Old Believers, with their originality, are open to everything that is most modern and progressive,” says Sergei Chebunin, choirmaster of the “Sudbinushka” ethnographic ensemble from the village of Tarbagatai. In 2006, the Museum of the History and Culture of Old Believers, created by a local priest, Father Sergius, was opened in Tarbagatay. It contains about 700 exhibits.

It would seem that this is where the scope for federal television is. But no. We know little about the modern life of Old Believers. Meanwhile, UNESCO has included the culture of the Trans-Baikal Old Believers in a number of masterpieces of the World Intangible Heritage of Humanity.

Now let's go back to the boring words "events at the government level", planned in the framework of the 400th anniversary of the birth of Archpriest Avvakum. The administration is responsible for general guidance, financing, assistance, in general - the main thing, that is, provision. The leading performing role, of course, is given to scientific, artistic, literary, public organizations and institutions. Their programs and plans were developed by the Russian Academy of Sciences, the Russian State Library, the State Historical Museum, the Russian Academy of Arts, the State Archives, Writers' Unions, the Culture Departments of the Komi Republic, the Republic of Buryatia, Altai, Tuva, Khakassia, Novgorod and Nizhny Novgorod Regions ...

An international conference and the World Old Believers Forum are scheduled.

Alas, I thwarted all my plans pandemic coronavirus. Events have been postponed until 2021. But in any case, they will be held and will become a significant event in Russian life. And the country will learn more about Old Believers, adherents of the old faith, the old rite of religion - about the people who live next to us, together with us, making up one nation, by the way. And it would be nice to involve art groups of Old Believers from all regions and regions in all these large-scale events. With extensive television coverage.

Thus, from the Trans-Baikal, Altai, Nizhny Novgorod villages to the corridors of the Kremlin administration, ministries, departments and academies, what is called ordinary cultural interaction will take place. Thus, the Old Believers' history and culture will appear as a socially designated component of the all-Russian multinational culture, the Russian general cultural space.

And culture is the only way of rapprochement, recognition, interaction, elimination of any misunderstanding, and even more so - opposition.

Culture and misunderstanding, culture and opposition are antipodes. The public atmosphere, the everyday life of millions of Orthodox Christians, who in their everyday life do not divide themselves according to rituals, in any case, explicitly shows the sterility and meaninglessness of the centuries-old, still existing disagreement at the top. Thus, the state political course will have a decisive influence on the positions of the parties, will lead to agreement and reconciliation of the churches that have been living in schism for 350 years.


At the same Great Moscow Council of 1666-1667, which declared the Old Believers to be heretics and anathematized, Patriarch Nikon, whose name is primarily associated with the reforms and schism of the Church, was stripped of his patriarchal dignity and sent into exile. The underlying reason was that he took a lot of power, was titled the Great Sovereign, put forward the doctrine that "the priesthood is higher than the kingdom." But this is already another chapter of the story.