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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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Perceptions of unity and harmony at the sacral level were carried over to all other levels of existence. In ‘Life’ the concept of the sacred was interpreted in a social context. The idea of the Trinity, appearing in the monastic environment in Sergiy’s circle, transformed into the idea of harmony in Russian life, a symbol of marshalling national forces in a plan to build a unified Rus, free of internal conflicts. The Church, erected in Trinity Monastery, and other Trinity Churches that followed, took on the value of visual symbols, reminding laypeople that the concord on earth should be built upon the unity of the Trinity. The sacred symbols encouraged the public consciousness to overcome social conflicts and divisions. The monastery, created by Sergiy, turned into a ‘unifying center’ for the Russian world, and the newly introduced cult of the Trinity became the ideology for this unity [Георгиевский, с. 14–15; Клибанов, с. 93].

Researchers have long discussed the impact of Sergiy Radonezhsky on Andrei Rublev’s work, primarily, upon the creation of the main masterpiece of the master from Early Medieval Russia. A typical statement on the subject states: “Rublev was revealing that very Trinity, which St. Sergiy has been teaching about. It was the God of unity and harmony. As the supreme and the sacred endorsement of unity and self-determination of the people, this ideal was proclaimed by St. Sergiy and received an unparalleled artistic and philosophical embodiment in the creation of Andrei Rublev; it indubitably belongs to the history of Russian social thought and culture” [Клибанов, с. 102]. The greatest Russian icon painter used to live among Sergiy’s 70 Problema voluminis followers; as such the mindset that presided over the convent, founded by the reverend, even after his death, was reflected in Rublev’s ‘Trinity’ [Клибанов, с. 101].9 The clearest and most insightful description of Rublev’s ‘Trinity’ belongs to Pavel Florensky: “Among the powerful circumstances of the time, among the feuds, the international discord, the universal savagery and Tatar raids, amid this deep peacelessness that corrupted Rus, Rublev opened a spiritual glance into an infinite, unflappable, indestructible peace, ‘the upper world’. Enmity and hatred that prevailed in the lower world, was opposed to mutual love, flowing in eternal harmony, in eternal silent conversation, in the eternal unity of the upper worlds” [Флоренский, с. 19].

Rublev’s icon inspired the thought that celestial unity can be a blueprint for earthly unity, and that the world’s feuds can be overcome with kindness, humanity and solidarity based on love. He gave, in fact, an answer to the question of how one should live, and this, in turn, signified how the country should exist.

Andrey Rublev, along with Epiphanius the Wise, can be shown to be ideally and spiritually close to Sergiy Radonezhsky. Because of those great representatives of the Russian culture, we can evaluate the program for rebuilding society, which was implemented by the Trinity abbot.

The vibrant and honest image of Sergiy in ‘Life’ by Epiphanius helped facilitate the acceptance of Sergiy by his contemporaries and successors as a model of Russian sanctity [Алексий (Кутепов), с. 183–193; Топоров, с. 558–559, 573]. Epiphanius succeeded in showing that the sanctity of Sergiy did not manifest in austerity, but in an active civic consciousness, expressed through his multiple good deeds towards others.

The spiritual father for the Russian land initiated the cult that sanctified the unity of the country and called for ceasing feuds. Epiphanius the Wise verbalized the principles, which Sergiy followed in his nation-unifying activities. The same ideals were ingeniously embodied by Andrey Rublev in his famous ‘Trinity’. The abbot, the writer, and the icon painter stand in the same row of supporters for nation rebuilding. All of them were monks from the same convent, and all of them were the servants of the Trinity and the promoters of the consolidation of the nation on principles of love, equality, and mutual assistance. They can indeed be named as a trinity within the creation and formulation of a national idea. Sergiy Radonezhsky takes an undisputed leading place in this group. He was a pioneer who roused the Russian spirit by marshalling the warriors for the Battle of Kulikovo and gave the people strength to overcome the difficulties of centralization.

The ‘Tale of the Saint Icon Painters” (the end of the 16th – the beginning of the 17th 9 centuries) directly links the new iconic version of the Trinity to the covenants of St. Sergiy. It is said in ‘Tale’ that the image of the Holy Trinity was created by Andrey Rublev ‘as a praise to his Godfather St. Sergiy the Thaumaturge’ [Сергий (Спасский), с. 11]. It is mentioned in the same work that the icon painter was a novitiate at the Trinity abbot, Nikon. This leads to the conclusion that Andrey was a monk at this monastery for quite some time [Кузьмина, с. 110–111, 120–121].

71 V. Milkov. Sergiy Radonezhsky. Russian Path to Solidarity The works of Alexius and Sergiy had a decisive result, the victory at the Battle of Kulikovo in 1380. Sergiy was hardly the first face of Church hierarchy, but his actions demonstrate that he had tremendous influence during those dangerous years in the country’s history. The popularity of Sergiy in the eyes of his contemporaries and successors can be explained by the fact that the ideas, which he implemented by his social activities, answered the painful questions of Russian society.





Sergiy acted on the historical stage in an epoch of state, spiritual, and cultural revival of Russia and became one of the central figures of the time of change, which was decisive for the country. Without exaggeration, he can be called the spiritual leader of the Russian world, which was amassing forces to do battle against the Tatar “yoke”.

The success of Christianization and the consolidation of the nation at the end of the 14th century were driven by monastic colonization, which was caused by the exportation of Russian monkhood beyond city walls and into remote territories. Gradually, a new image of society was formed as it prepared to do battle against its overlords. Sergiy’s contribution to this process is clear. He was a rare type of Early Medieval leader who fascinated his contemporaries with the dream of harmonizing the earthly world, and his actions followed the principles he proclaimed.

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