Theoretical and practical aspects of the debate on marriage
among the priestless Old Believers from the end of the
seventeenth century to the mid-nineteenth century.
Doctoral thesis, University of London.
The priestless Old believers did not have the sacrament of marriage because they did not have a priesthood. Unions between men and women were therefore regarded as sinful, and this difficult situation caused much debate. In this dissertation, the history of the debate itself is studied both for its Intrinsic interest and as a means to explore the development of the ideas, beliefs and behaviour of priestless Old Believers. Chapter 1 is devoted to the resolutions of the Novgorod council of 1694, including the prohibition of marriage, and to Feodosy Vasil'ev (1661-1711), who was an active participant in the council and the founder of the Theodosian branch of the Old Believers. Chapter 2 deals with the first debate on the nature of marriage between Andrey Denisov (1674-1730) of the Vyg community and the already mentioned Feodosy Vasil'ev. Chapter 3 examines the doctrines of Ivan Alekseev (1709-1776) who polemicized against the priestly Old Believers, but also tried to find some arguments in favour of marriage for the priestless. Chapter 4 is an attempt to show the practical implications of the prohibition of marriage, and of the meaning of the doctrine within the Old Believer communities. Other Old Believers who took part in the debate are briefly mentioned. Chapter 5 is dedicated to Pavel Onufrevich Lyubopytny (1772-1848) and his radical revision of Old Believer conceptions of religion, the church, ritual, history and marriage. Chapter 6 expounds the ideas and writings of Sergey Semenovich Gnusin (?-1839), the most prominent ideologist of Theodosian conservatism. Chapter 7 shows how the debates among the priestless Old Believers were misunderstood by the Government, causing unjustified alarm which resulted in the setting up in 1820 of a Secret Committee on the Old Believers and in a partial return to policies of intolerance and persecution. The dissertation is based on both published and unpublished sources, and on archival materials.
|Title:||Theoretical and practical aspects of the debate on marriage among the priestless Old Believers from the end of the seventeenth century to the mid-nineteenth century|
|Open access status:||An open access version is available from UCL Discovery|
|Additional information:||Thesis digitised by British Library EThOS|
|UCL classification:||UCL > School of Arts and Social Sciences > SSEES|
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