«Vladimir milkov УДК 2-335 + 27-144.89 + 94(470)“13” seRgiy RaDoNezHsky. RussiaN patH to soliDaRity The article analyzes the ideological and ...»
In the Jerusalem Charter ‘emphasis is given to the public service of the Church’: non-possession, obedience, prayer, work, respect for authority, and prayer for all Christians [Клосс, с. 48]. On can judge how these principles were followed by turning to ‘Life’. The basis of property relations between the monastic brotherhood of the Trinity Convent was the principle of non-possession or renunciation, and the rule was established for anyone owning or calling anything his own: ‘no one to possess anything or to call their own but to have everything as communal’ [Житие, с. 368].
In the Rules of Athanasius Vysotsky, a corresponding norm was formulated: ‘everybody should have everything communal… they should exist by the common mind and common prayer’ [cit. by: Клосс, с. 53].
As an ardent non-possessor, Sergiy showed indifference to earthly things and possessed no desire to either accumulate or pursue treasure [Житие, с. 418]. Guided by these principles, the father superior categorically refused to accept gifts, often referring to the fact that he was never ‘a gold-bearer’.
Poverty and the restriction on consumption were also connected to the principle of renunciation (see references to hunger in the convent, and the chapter, ‘On torn trousers of Sergiy’) [Ibid, с. 342–344, 352–358].
Sergiy’s renunciation of property was not only a continuation of the tradition established by Theodosius of the Caves, but also a statement of reproach towards the official Church, which tended to accumulate ‘possessions’. Sergiy acted contrary to the established practice of the Church, even still he sought neither high rank, nor gifts, nor did he pay the fee for joining church ranks [Ibid, с. 330].
The principle of renunciation had a social aspect. The monastery served as an example of the village world, and the emphasis on poverty offered a nonverbal criticism of the widening property gap. This sort of monastic practice came to be unattainable but nonetheless existed as a more compassionate and sympathetic ideal for many laymen.
A separate narrative aspect of ‘Life’ relates to labor. Monastic labor in the Trinity Monastery was a combination of spiritual and physical work.
Philotheus was the ecumenical patriarch of Constantinople from 1353–1354 and 6 1364–1376. Nominated by the father superior in 1353–1354, Sergiy could not have been known to the patriarch; therefore the message can be dated by the second period.
66 Problema voluminis Sergiy was permanently occupied with providing monks with water, baking communion bread, plowing, delegating responsibilities and overseeing their implementation. Very characteristic are the descriptions of the ‘terem works’, when the construction of the monk cells was combined with fasting, humility, and austerity [Житие, с. 318–322]. Epiphanius described unforced labor, based on the principles of mutual respect and assistance.
Labor was a blessing for the one who works.
Labor was associated with the transformation of one’s native land.
Epiphanius describes how the land was plowed, wilderness populated, and how the population and number of villages grew around the Trinity Monastery. Depictions of the transformation of devastated and deserted Rus lands formed a sense of optimism in the era of national revival.
The ‘Life’ designates Sergiy as ‘head of the coenobite living’. However, in spite of the vitae tradition, Sergiy was not the founder of the coenobite monastic living. A more likely inspiration for the reform of the monkhood was Metropolitan Alexius [Кузьмин, с. 92–93]. He initiated the expansion of the network of coenobite life monasteries,7 and Sergiy actively supported this initiative. Apart from the Trinity Monastery, the Annunciation Monastery on Kirzhach River (between 1365–1373) and Stromyn Monastery of the Assumption (1381) were founded with Sergiy’s direct involvement. The Trinity Monastery was directly connected with the appearance of such coenobite monasteries as the Annunciation on the Kirzhach River, Moscow Andronnikov Monastery (which, according to the testimony of Epiphanius, was decorated by Andrei Rublev), the Annunciation Simonov Monastery (founded by the saint’s nephew, Fedor), the Annunciation Golutvinskiy near Kolomna (where Trinity Hieromonk Gregory was sent for service), and lastly the Zachatievsky Vysotsky Monastery in Serpukhov (the abbot of which was a disciple of St. Athanasius) [Житие, с. 368–374, 376–384]. A number of Trinity Convent disciples initiated the creation of monastic coenobites themselves.8 Indeed Sergiy’s disciples founded more than half of all the monasteries in the Russian North during the 14th and the 15th centuries, a collection of monasteries, which began to be described as a Russian Thebaid [Муравьев].
The construction of new monasteries turned into a wider monastic colonization of the provinces. In place of the small ktitor monasteries in the With his blessing, the following coenobite monasteries were created: Chudov Monastery in the Kremlin (1365), Blagoveshhensk Monastery in Nizhniy Novgorod (1370), Constantine and Helena Monastery in Vladimir (after 1370), Vvedensky Monastery in Serpukhov (before 1377), Alexeevsky Monastery in which Metropolitan’s sister Ulyana ‘was the head of coenobite living’ (before 1367) [see on this: Клосс, с. 37–42].
Savva founded the Nativity Monastery on Storozhi Mountain (1398–1399), Methodius – Nickolas-Pesnoshsky Monastery near Dimitrov (before 1392), Pathnutius – Nativity Monastery near Borovsk, Stephan – Trinity Makhrishsky Monastery, Sergiy Nuromsky – Transfiguration of Christ Monastery on the Nura River in Vologda region, Pavel Obnorsky – Trinity Monastery again on the Nura River. After meeting with Sergiy, Dmitry of Prilutsk founded the Savior Monastery in Vologda. Kirill of Belozersk first substituted Fedor in Simonov Monastery (1388), and then founded the Holy Assumption Monastery on Siverskoe Lake (1398), and Ferapont who followed him to the north that same year founded the Nativity Monastery [Ibid, с. 35, 43–46, 58–54].
67 V. Milkov. Sergiy Radonezhsky. Russian Path to Solidarity hamlets, large religious and economic centers appeared in different parts of the country [Смолич, с. 116]. Modeled on the Trinity Monastery, the newer monasteries developed vibrant economic communities.
The modest lifestyles of the Russian monk-settlers reflected the daily difficulties of the majority of Russian people, which bolstered the authority of the clergy.
Built on the principles of collectivism and mutual assistance, the monasteries revived communal principles and demonstrated how striving for unity could solve important problems. Sergiy’s method for instituting monastery reforms presented a model for interpersonal relationships in communal labor, moderation, mutual assistance, service to God and the state. For the surrounding world and laymen, ‘coenobyte living became an ideal basis of the world order’ [Клибанов, с. 98], epitomizing a positive and attainable example of unity. These ideological means helped to cement the solidarity of the Rus peoples. Sergiy’s activities embodied the values of uniting lands, power and the Church.
The process of monastic colonization of the Russian provinces expanded the capabilities of Christianity to influence the mindset of peoples inhabiting the vast territories, which were poorly controlled by secular and spiritual authorities alike. The outflow of monkhood to the wilderness and rural regions of Russia, which started in the 14th century, connected to political and economic objectives and reflected the growing state and religious activity of the central Russian principalities. The missionary and economic activity of the Church intensified [Смолич, с. 44–46]. New monasteries became bridges linking together ethnically diverse peoples and cultures within an immense Russian domain. Monastery reform, initiated by Alexius, promoted the incorporation of distant lands into Moscow’s sphere of religious and political influence, which facilitated the integration of remote lands, and led to the amassing of Rus forces and the consolidation of the nation. As a result, the military units from remote lands were the first allies of Dmitry Donskoy on the Kulikovo Field.
Sergiy differed from the majority of church leaders in ancient Russian times because in his multi-faceted teaching and mentoring activities he never denounced pagan beliefs. On the one hand, it is a hallmark of a gentle and kind abbot who avoided critique and punishment. Indeed the Trinity Monastery’s father superior, according to ‘Life’, never imposed deserved penances upon monks and only lectured violators of discipline codes. [Житие, с. 340]. Instead of reproof and punishment, Sergiy beckoned the sinners to rectify themselves through humility and meekness [Ibid, с. 456]: “And he loved everybody equally and respected equally, neither choosing, nor judging, nor looking at people’s faces” [Ibid, с. 418].
Yet, there is another side to his forbearance and benevolence. The establishment of the Trinity Cult within the public consciousness, which was initiated by Sergius, is better understood within the context of extreme tolerance towards the cult’s traces from the past. Celebration of the Holy Trinity coincided with the day of Pentecost, which was worshiped by the 68 Problema voluminis Church as the memory of the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles on the fiftieth day after Easter. But Sergiy was the first to turn this date into a gala celebration. Trinity Day became one of the most popular and distinctive celebrations within the Church, with some of its features persisting to this day.
The very notion of Trinity (not to be confused with the Trinitarian postulates!) appeared for the first time in Russian literature in the work of Epiphanius the Wise. The hagiographer attributed the exaltation and glorification of the Trinity to the principal achievements of St. Sergiy, who is pictured simultaneously as a disciple and servant of the ‘Holy Trinity’ [Житие, с. 270, 272, 29]. Sergiy founded the ‘Holy Trinity convent’ [Ibid, с. 300] and built a church of the same name at his own expense [Ibid, с. 284, 296].
The theme of the Trinity is revealed in ‘Life’ not by theological, but by artistic means: the trinity motif is repeated three times in the fabric of the narrative; the author refers three times to the main theme of his existence. This style of presentation served to assist the reader who might be unfamiliar with the intricacies of the exegesis. Without delving into the complexity of the religious dogma, the author visually demonstrates the omnipresence of the trinity in human existence. Attention is focused on the existence of the trinity in the real world and on impressions left by the intimate within the sphere of the phenomenal. In this fashion, the doctrine of the trinity is introduced through an associative, visual representation.
As correctly noted by Fedotov: “The Holy Trinity has not been the subject of speculation neither before Sergiy nor after him” [Федотов, с. 150]. There was no church holiday dedicated to Trinity before St. Sergiy, and the texts for relevant services did not exist. This is partly explained by the absence of the Trinity in the Scriptures. Only odd mentions of the Trinity Church in Novgorod (under 1165, 1194, and 1224 Chronicle years) and Pskov (1130) are known to the Rus. The building of temples in honor of the Trinity was not widespread. In the West, the honoring of the Holy Trinity began by forming the Order of the Trinity, which in turn initiated a special holiday of the Trinity (13th century) [Георгиевский, с. 1, 7, 9]. According to Pavel Florensky, the Russian cult of the Trinity was associated with the establishment of a ‘symmetric triadic formula’ in the 14th century, an event that effectively encouraged the celebration of the Holy Trinity with liturgical practices in the celebration [Флоренский, с. 18]. Sergiy’s participation in this process was recalled and credited decades later, as evidenced by the custom to arrange chapels, dedicated to St. Sergiy, in Holy Trinity Churches (‘cult hearths of the Trinity’, as coined by A. I. Klibanov) [Клибанов, с. 95].
The holiday of Trinity, introduced into ritual practice, quickly became popular. The Russian cult of Trinity had two sides: formal and informal, with many features of popular beliefs. Trinity celebrations developed as multi-day rites and rituals, called Trinity-Semitsky cycle, or the Mermaid week. In the Church and the agricultural calendars, these days were 69 V. Milkov. Sergiy Radonezhsky. Russian Path to Solidarity dedicated to honoring the vegetative processes of the land; predictions of welfare and the commemoration of ancestors took place at this time.
Participants of the Trinity-Semitsk rites were called ‘rusal'cy'’ (mermaidfollowers). Rusal'cy' performed agrarian magical acts in the groves and near the water sources using wreaths, Trinity birches and other ritual objects [Соколова, с. 190–192, 216 и след.; Агапкина, с. 320–325].
These actions were motivated by the faith in the productive power of the Trinity-Semitsk magical performances. All ritual actions were focused on the cult of the earth [Виноградова; Громов, Мильков, с. 302–306;
Мильков, с. 128–134].
The Trinity holiday, like no other holiday of the Christian calendar, related the Christian Rus, especially with the Rus that observed the ancient agrarian holidays. For this reason, it is clear why we do not find condemnation of pre-Christian traditions in the ‘Life of Sergiy’ by Epiphanius. At a time when the objective of marshalling forces became paramount, the leaders and strategists who were thinking on the national level avoided confrontation and clashes on the subject of purity of religious belief. The objective and requirements for consolidation outweighed the need for religious purity. The new cult, although with obvious traits of religious syncretism, served the purpose of overcoming feuds and consolidating the nation.
The principle of the Trinity was thought to be the foundation of the world order, so social ties were scrutinized for this tripartite harmony.