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«Vladimir milkov УДК 2-335 + 27-144.89 + 94(470)“13” seRgiy RaDoNezHsky. RussiaN patH to soliDaRity The article analyzes the ideological and ...»

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Vladimir milkov

УДК 2-335 + 27-144.89 + 94(470)“13”

seRgiy RaDoNezHsky.

RussiaN patH to soliDaRity

The article analyzes the ideological and religious originality of Sergiy Ra-

donezhsky and the impact of his activity on social and political life of Russia at

the end of the 14th century. Radonezhsky’s involvement in monastery reform, as well as his role in the introduction of the cult of Trinity, a novelty cult for Russia, are scrutinized in detail. The paper shows that these measures were in fact carried out consciously by the Trinity father superior who had in mind the consolidation of the Russian nation in anticipation of the upcoming events to overthrow the foreign subjugation. The two main periods of Radonezhsky’s church and public service are explored in the article: 1) Sergiy’s participation in social and political life as a representative of the “national” church party and

2) his acceptance of spiritual leadership amidst the difficulties of the Church cri- sis caused by the struggle for the vacant chair of the primate after the death of Metropolitan Alexius. Also mentioned are the arguments that allow Sergiy to be hailed as the spiritual leader of the nation on the eve of the Battle of Kulikovo.

It is concluded that Sergiy’s contemporaries deservedly distinguished him as a significant figure of the epoch of change, and the skepticism present in some historiographical works lacks solid foundation. It was Sergiy Radonezhsky who most audibly expressed the aspirations of the Russian spirit, when destruction, savagery and shock caused by foreign enthrallment, were replaced by the gather- ing of forces, marching hand in hand with the processes of centralization.

Ke y words: Ancient Rus, Sergiy Radonezhsky, Battle of Kulikovo, monas- tery reform, Trinity cult.

Анализируется идейно-религиозное своеобразие деятельности Сер- гия Радонежского и его влияние на общественно-политическую жизнь страны в конце XIV в. Детально рассматривается причастность подвиж- ника к осуществлению монастырской реформы и введению нового для страны культа Троицы. В статье показано, что эти мероприятия осознан- но проводились троицким игуменом с целью сплочения этноса в пред- дверии назревавших событий свержения иноземного ига. Сравнивают- ся два этапа церковного и общественного служения: 1) участие Сергия в общественно-политической жизни как представителя «национальной»

церковной партии; 2) выход на позиции духовного лидера в труднейшей ситуации церковного кризиса, вызванного борьбой за пустовавшую Quaestio Rossica · 2014 · №3 © Milkov V., 2014 58 Problema voluminis после смерти митрополита Алексия кафедру первосвятителя. Приводятся соображения, которые позволяют назвать Сергия духовным вождем нации в канун Куликовской битвы. Делается вывод, что ближайшие современники Сергия заслуженно выделяли его как знаковую личность эпохи перемен, а высказываемый в историографии скепсис по этому поводу не имеет под собой прочных оснований. Именно Сергий Радонежский наиболее четко выразил устремления русского духа, когда разорение, одичание и шок, вызванные иностранным порабощением, начали сменяться собиранием сил, шедшим рука об руку с процессами централизации.

Ключевые слов а: Древняя Русь, Сергий Радонежский, Куликовская битва, общественно-политическая деятельность подвижника, идейнорелигиозная ситуация в стране, монастырская реформа, культ Троицы.

The Ancient Russian Chronicle described Sergiy Radonezhsky as “The teacher and the mentor of the Russian Land” [ПСРЛ, cтб. 165]. This high evaluation of the works and the influence upon contemporaries of this simple 14th-century monk, who was far from being noble or highly positioned, is an exceptional occurrence for the Russian Middle Ages. The crucial role of Sergiy in Russian statehood can be elucidated by the fact that Trinity Monastery, founded by him, became a major national religious center and a place for the pilgrimages of Russian rulers in subsequent times. This fact not only underscores the importance of examining Sergiy’s religious ideas, but also the political significance of his activities. Many existing versions of Sergiy’s ‘Life’ served the biases of a particular historical period; as a result, the true features of his personality were changed by multiple editors and substituted for hagiographic stereotypes.

Questions separate from his religious activities have been considered fruitless by many researchers who prefer to primarily concentrate upon the sacred meanings of his activities and to view the religious person himself within a broader context of Church doctrine and history. This approach is understandable and justifiable for the purpose of understanding religious ideas; however, Sergiy also acted passionately as a leader of social change, and thus his actions, outside of Church scholarship, carry historical significance and should be scrutinized.

Sergiy Radonezhsky appears to be a unique personage among the known historical figures of the time of the Battle at Kulikovo (1380). He never took a high position within the Church, nor formulated a textual plan, nor even wrote a single literary work. Sergiy was merely a monastery founder and an abbot, one of many at the time. Nevertheless, he is mentioned at least twelve times in the Chronicles and is cited in seven official documents. This attention to father superior demonstrates that the fame of the ascetic had been firmly established in public opinion, and the lay authority was interested in the father superior of the Trinity Monastery. The extreme authority of the ascetic cannot be explained simply by the proximity to some political party or acknowledgement of his preaching activities. What, then, were the reasons that would make the Chronicles’ authors focus on Sergiy?

59 V. Milkov. Sergiy Radonezhsky. Russian Path to Solidarity Church veneration of Sergiy the Founder begins during the time of Grand Duke Vasiliy (1389–1425), who continued his father’s, Dmitry Donskoy, politics of collecting lands. The initial events, in the form of the Finding of the Relics of St. Sergiy, occurred in the last years of the reign of Vasily Dmitrievich (1422). By the 1448–1449 an official veneration of the saint had been established.

By that time an extended ‘Life’ of the Reverend was written by his closest pupil, Epiphanius the Wise. The finished ‘Life’ then went through multiple revisions.1 The existence of multiple revisions can be explained by the church authorities’ desires to correct the depiction of the saint’s life. Pachomius, the Serb, was a professional hagiographer, who worked on commission, and was ready to input the corrections on demand.

Epiphanius created his work in anticipation of the new conflicts that were inevitable during the struggle for the legacy of Dmitry Ivanovich Donskoy. The recollection of a consolidation of social forces, the symbol of which, according to ‘Life’, was St. Sergiy, sounded like a warning. The course of historical events nevertheless made such an interpretation irrelevant. Pachomius’ versions originate from 1438–1449, when a feud broke out, and the covenants of the Kulikov era were forgotten. In these circumstances Epiphanius’ text fostered a sense of patriotism, which was adapted then by Pachomius to serve internal needs of the Church.

The original text of ‘Life’ should be reconstructed from later editions.

The beginning of ‘Life’ by Epiphanius can be seen in its fullest version in the Prostrannaya Edition (The Longer Version). This edition contains a Preface, ten out of thirty chapters, and a “Eulogy”. These sections reveal Epiphanius’ work was not typical for the hagiographic genre. There is a noticeable tendency towards accuracy and precision in the reproduction of events, a trait that is not typically practiced in religious works. The descriptions of the miracles by Epiphanius come very close to reality [Петров, с. 195]. The quality of storytelling and the vivid details provide even more ground for concluding that ‘Life’ is non-canonic [Духанина, с. 70].

The history of the conception of ‘Life’ and its realization are not typical for such works. According to Epiphanius’ confession, he sought to preserve the memory of the founder of the monastery on his own initiative, without the direction of Church superiors, as he assembled the biography of the Trinity Convent abbot. He began to collect material immediately after the death of St. Sergiy on September 25, 1392. At first, Epiphanius uncovered original data and the documents.2 B. M. Kloss concludes that the major Research has uncovered three to five editions of ‘Life’ within the time period when 1 Pachomius the Serb (Logofet) was active [Кучкин, 1988, c. 110–113; Шибаев, с. 293; Клосс, с. 160–212]. Apart from that, various mosaic compilations that are hard to account for were found stemming from different versions of the saint’s veneration [Зубов, с. 145–158]. There are altogether around 400 known versions of the ‘Life of Sergiy’.

In his work, Epiphanius was treading on personal memoirs and witness accounts of the 2 people who intimately knew the Saint. He appeared in Trinity-Sergiy Monastery not earlier than 1374, he took the vows in 1375, and died in 1422 [see: Клосс, с. 95, 96, 100].

60 Problema voluminis work happened between 1418–1419 [Клосс, с. 17]. Thus, the initial biography was written before the acquisition of the relics in 1422, a fact that speaks for the veneration of St. Sergiy among the monastic brotherhood.

His burial in the church confirms the existence of the local tradition of the ascetics’ worship, contrary to his will of being interred in the monastery cemetery. The reverend did not wish to be considered exceptional among the common monks, even after his death.

Lack of control by church authorities partly explains Epiphanius’ freedom of authorship, which amplified his personal tastes and preferences.

His ‘Life’ was devoted more to rethinking the role of the extraordinary personality than to promoting the objectives of Church veneration. A considerable adjustment was needed to make ‘Life’ fit the traditional Church form and make it useful for liturgical purposes. This task was solved by Pachomius, the Serb. His text omits descriptions of social activities, reproaches of luxury, servility, as well as descriptions of the saint’s mercy towards commoners [Клибанов, с. 73–74]. As a result of this adjustment, the political component and indeed lively features of the epoch were trimmed. Instead, descriptions of Sergiy’s deeds were embedded in the tradition of Christian cosmopolitanism, and set alongside other Byzantine hagiographies, thus better serving the objectives of official canonization.

Epiphanius was an ardent follower of Sergiy, so ideological preferences for the author of ‘Life’ can be transplanted onto the saint himself with reservations.

According to ‘Life’ and the Chronicle, Sergiy started his social service during the turbulent time of the revival, which experienced an increase of hopes, expectations, and capabilities and represented the first sacrificial attempt at overthrowing the Mongol “yoke”, which drained, according to Karl Marx, ‘the very soul of the Russian people’.

Sergiy, born on May 3, 1322, in Rostov Principality, spent his childhood and younger years under the rule of Ivan Kalita (?–1340). In search of a better life, his parents moved to Radonezh around 1332. Consequently, the ten-year old boy arrived at the place where later the grown man would build the monastery. After the Golden Horde established the Rus’s dependence, the Khan bestowed tremendous privileges upon the Church, and it emerged as a major feudal power. This state of affairs created competitive relations between the Church with the lay authority. Canonization of the Galician metropolitan, Peter (1308–1325), who requested to be interred in a town that was neither a capital nor a diocesan seat. [Кучкин, 1962].

Transferring his seat to Moscow, a Greek metropolitan named Theognost (1328–1353) sought to differentiate from Kalita in the collection of levies.

Although Theognostus, much like the greedy Ivan Daniilovich, contributed to the rise of Moscow, the time for the union of priesthood and tsardom had not yet come.

New conditions formed only during the time of Theognostus’ successor, Alexius (1353–1378.) He was an avid supporter of Moscow’s authority and godson of Ivan Kalita; consequently he became the first metropolitan 61 V. Milkov. Sergiy Radonezhsky. Russian Path to Solidarity who stood ready to assemble the anti-Horde forces. The resistance to Tatar control was strengthened not only by feuds within the Horde that began in the 50s, but also by cessation of the period of tolerance, which was due to the conversion of the Khans to Islam [Плигузов, Хорошкевич, с. 122].

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