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very little over his private conduct, as the history of Russia testifies. We can
now understand how it came about that the church possessed so much influence over the people ; and if we add to this the ignorance and superstition of the masses, the tyranny of the boyars, who held almosi absolute power over the serfs, and the despotic and generally cruel character of the czars, there will be no difficulty in accounting for the personal appearance of the Russians, as described by travellers. Destitute of all legislative protection, beaten like hounds by their boyars, on the least provocation, and frequently on none at all, having no right of property on which they could rely, subject to the harrowing knout for any offence against the laws, it is no wonder that they became habitually sullen and melancholy, that their features became distorted and degraded, their countenances mean and repulsive, their minds narrow and their feelings deadened. Under the iron rule of their czars, and the want of anything like real instruction in christianity from their ignorant and servile clergy—the bulk of the latter being as servile towards their superiors as themselves--they have become a distinct race, wholly unlike the peasants of the western Slavonian tribes.
We ought also to take into account the cruel oppression they suffered from the Tartars for so long a period, though we think that the effects of the subjugation of their country by the golden horde have been overrated. Surely their degradation could not have been much greater during that period than it was in Yaroslav's time (A. D. 1019-54). That prince framed a code of laws which were, however, but modifications of, or improvements upon the old traditional laws, and which exhibit fully the darkness and barbarity of that age. This code divided the population into three classes-the nobles, the freemen, and the slaves. For the murder of a boyar, or thane of the duke, the highest penalty was 80 grionas; for a page of the duke, his cook, or other domestics, for a merchant, or a sword-bearer of a boyar, and for every free Russian, without distinction of origin, 40 grionas; for a woman, half the usual fine. No fine for killing a slave ;
but if killed without sufficient cause, the value to be paid to the master; for a serf belonging to a boyar, or free Russian, 5 grionas to the owner; for a superintendent of a village, an artisan, a schoolmaster, or nurse, 12 grionas; for a female servant, 6 grionas to the master and 12 to the state. Prisoners of war, and their posterity, were condemned to perpetual slavery. Insolvent debtors became slaves by law; and all freemen who married slaves unconditionally, participated in the servitude. Horse-stealing was visited with imprisonment for life. But the most characteristic penalty was that of 12 grionas for pulling a man by the beard, or knocking out a tooth.*
What can be said of a state of society wherein a man might murder a lady for three dollars, a woman of the middle class for a dollar and a half, and a female servant for one dollar and thirty-five cents? The degree of barbarism which this indicates was too low to be elevated by such teaching as the Greek clıurch, itself corrupt, ignorant, and servile, could impart. We find, accordingly, that recourse was had to numerous rites and ceremonies in order to impress the minds of the savage population. Magnificent churches were built ; splendid vestments were worn by the clergy; the worship of images of saints became common; the use of bells was introduced ; and so much of the wealth of the nation was absorbed by the priesthood for these purposes, that in the twelfth century there were more than four hundred churches and chapels in the city of Kieff alone! + The proportion was equally great in every city in the empire, and as the rule grew up that the sons of priests, and the inferior orders in the church, should follow their fathers' profession, and that the daughters should marry among members of these orders—though this was not imperative—the priesthood became exceedingly numerous ; and, notwithstanding the immense wealth of the church at large, very many of the lower orders were poor. Those who will take the trouble to read Madame Romanoff's book will obtain a good notion of the condition of these ecclesiastics. **History of Russia (Lardner's Cabinet Cyclopædia), vol. 1, p. 88.
† Mouravier, History of the Church of Russia, p. 32.
“Romàn, the Reader,” is a tale designed to illustrate it. The “reader" is the lowest in rank among those who officiate in the Russian churches. There are two classes of “readers,” viz. : lay and clerical. The latter are sons of the clergy, born and brought up to the church, and they are appointed and ordained by the proto-pope, or high priest of the district, after due examination as to their fitness. The lay readers, or ponomars (unordained), are also appointed by the proto-pope, but are only so on trial, and they must undergo an examination before consecration. Their duties are simply to read the litanies aloud, and they are not allowed to lay their hands on the “antimins," or communion-cloth—an indispensable appendage to the altar. This antimins is so holy a thing that it is to be touched only by priests and deacons. It is consecrated by and obtained from the archbishop, and is brought from him in a case made for the purpose, which is worn on the breast of the bringer during the journey.
The reader in time becomes a deacon or village priest, without priest's orders; but on taking holy orders he becomes a full priest. The next step is that of proto-pope, or highpriest. ; then that of bishop; then archbishop, metropolitan and primative. Few men of humble origin can look forward to elevation to the highest offices of the church; these were formerly in the patronage of the patriarch of Moscow; but in the year 1721, Peter the Great abolished the patriarchate and established in its place the Holy directing Synod, an ecclesiastical college which was to take cognizance of matters connected with religion, but finally refer their decisions to the sovereign, who thenceforth became the head of the church. In the ordinance he issued under the title of “Spiritual regulations” the motives are explained which induced him to effect this change, and the laws enumerated by which the conduct of the clergy was to be governed. These regulations constitute the basis of the established church of Russia as it now exists. They distinctly state that no one but the sovereign shall be recognized as its head, and the bishops, on
* Sketches, p. 51.
entering on their spiritual office are required to swear to this article. They are, moreover, bound by oath to observe all the statutes and canons of the church, and likewise, by article six, to teach and enjoin the priests within their dioceses to prevent the increase of schism, superstition and foreign rites, and by article seven they are prohibited from interfering in secular concerns on any pretence whatever. In connection with this bold measure of Peter, we may mention, that he also taxed the clergy like the rest of his subjects, reduced the number of monks and nuns, converted many of the monasteries into hospitals for invalid soldiers, and caused the Bible to be printed and distributed. He further procured from the patriarch of Constantinople, and through him from the patriarchs of Antioch, Jerusalem, and Alexandria, the recognition of the Holy directing Synod as a patriarchal institution, equal in dignity to the patriarchal office.* Thus Russia, being the only great political power of the persuasion of the Greek church, obtained the tacit acknowledgment that she has a protectoral right over the rest of the oriental churches—a right which she has exercised on many occasions since the time of Peter, sometimes with benefit to Greek christians of Turkey, but always with danger to the peace of Europe.
Notwithstanding the daring and comprehensive schemes of Peter, however, his measures have failed to infuse any degree of independence of character into the Russian priesthood. They have adhered to their routine life and ritual,and produced no original thinkers, or men of great literary eminence as the Roman Catholic church has done. They are like the Levites, a class to themselves. Madame Romanoff happily illustrates this feeling in a speech which she puts into the mouth of her hero, Romàn.t In a dialogue between him and his friend Michael Haraldin, wherein the latter tries to arouse some aspiration in Roman's breast, and insists on the sin of entering into holy orders for the mere sake of a living. Romàn exclaims :
• What! not enter the church ! How am I to live, then ?”
" As you
• Mouravieff, History of the Church of Russia, p. 287. Sketches, p. 34.
please ; as you can." “But I have just lost my father. My mother and sister look to me for support. I am the only son. My father left ns nothing but a small house and its contents. What can I be? What am I fit for ?” “Do not be in too great a hurry, Romàn Dmitrièvitch. Neither you nor I can decide here, in a few moments, what you ought to do, or what you are fit for. Take time to reflect. Consult with your own heart and conscience. Ask yourself if you wish, above all things, to be a priest, and compel yourself to give an answer--a clear, honest answer !” “I never thought of being anything else,” replied Roman, with a gesture of impatience. “ We are like the Levites you know. We sons of the clergy are born and brought up with the prospect before us, of following the same calling as our fathers, grandfathers—ancestors, in fact; we grow up with the conviction that priests, deacons, or readers we must be. Our parents do not approve of our becoming layinen; many will not give their blessing to such sons as feel an insurmountable aversion to the church-fancy that! Perhaps the fellow might make a good military man, civil servant of the crown, or something ; but if the father deprives him of his parental blessing, what can he do but be ordained ? And then our marriages. I do not suppose you would find half a dozen fathers or mothers in our whole diocese but would sooner see their son married to the ignorant daughter of a country reader, than an educated girl of the nobles. But there, what's to be done ? And the consistory, and vladika ! they cannot endure departure from the church. Lastly, finally, and in conclusion, the church will give me daily bread, without which, alas ! man cannot live.”
This interest is characteristic of the lower orders of the Russian clergy. How widely the Russians differ from the people of western Europe! But then their priests are allowed to marry, and to remain unmarried is not looked
with favor, while among the clergy of the Roman Catholic church celibacy is rigorously enforced. This has the effect of deterring young men from entering into holy orders, and forces them to turn their attention to other avocations. Besides, the catholic clergy are for the most part poor and selfdenying; at least in a worldly point of view,"their laborious life is by no means enviable.
It is strange what a hold the system of perpetuating certain avocations in families has upon the Russians. Not only does the office of priest descend from father to son, but in almost every trade the son succeeds the father. Whole villages may be met with, inhabited entirely by one class of workmen : shoemakers in "one, carpenters in