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The Russian Orthodox white clergy in the seventeenth century

Coulter, DA; (2000) The Russian Orthodox white clergy in the seventeenth century. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

The aim of this study is to shed light on the world of the white clergy in seventeenth-century Russia, in order to give a fuller understanding of their role in society and influence in their communities, locally and nationally. In the Russian Church, the white clergy were the married non-monastic priests, deacons and minor clerics who served in parishes, endowed churches, and cathedrals, as well as in non-parochial fields. Pre-Petrine Russia, or Muscovy as it was generally called by foreigners, was an essentially Orthodox society with a strongly religious outlook, within which the clerical estate played a crucial role. Consequently, an understanding of the white clergy promotes a better knowledge of the religious, cultural, and social life of the country, yet there have been few detailed scholarly investigations of the topic this century. In this study I redress this lacuna, in addition to examining common myths and stereotypes concerning Russian priests. Chapter I investigates the processes of ordination and clerical training in the Muscovite Church; chapter II examines the social origins of the white clergy. Chapters III and IV focus on the parish clergy, assessing clerical livelihood and the parish priest's role in his community. Chapter V concentrates on the cathedral clergy and their link with the State, whilst chapter VI considers the contribution to society of extra-parochial ministries such as regimental and hospital chaplaincies. Chapters VII, VIII and IX discuss the widowed clergy, clergy families and episcopal supervision, respectively. Data for this thesis has been drawn from primary source material in diocesan, patriarchal and government archives. The field of study includes all regions of Russia, concentrating in particular on the eparchies of Vologda, Moscow, Ustiug, Kholmogory, Novgorod and Tobol'sk.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: The Russian Orthodox white clergy in the seventeenth century
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10136528
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