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The Resignation of Metropolitan Afanasii in 1566

Bogatyrev, S; (2015) The Resignation of Metropolitan Afanasii in 1566. [Review]. Canadian-American Slavic Studies , 49 (2-3) pp. 174-192. 10.1163/22102396-04902004. Green open access

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Abstract

This article offers a new perspective on the relations between Ivan the Terrible and the Orthodox Church by examining the cultural and anthropological context of the resignation of Metropolitan Afanasii in 1566. Historians usually think that Afanasii, who headed the Orthodox Church from 1564 to 1566, resigned because of his disapproval of the Oprichnina terror. Correspondingly, most historians are skeptical about the official reason for Afanasii's resignation, his illness. On the basis of a critical reassessment of existing sources from the perspective of Muscovite attitudes to illness, this paper argues that Afanasii's illness was genuine. At the same time, his illness and resignation included a performative component because Afanasii faced a dilemma: to stay in the metropolitan's office until his death as required by cultural conventions or to seek a spiritual cure for his illness through repentance and redemption. In his response to this cultural challenge, Afanasii evoked the themes of miraculous healing and glorifying God through creative work by resorting to the cults of his most venerated predecessors on the metropolitan's see.

Type: Article
Title: The Resignation of Metropolitan Afanasii in 1566
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1163/22102396-04902004
Publisher version: http://doi.org/10.1163/22102396-04902004
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: Metropolitan Afanasii; illness; ritual; Orthodox Church; Ivan the Terrible; Oprichnina
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > SSEES
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1499340
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