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another, tailors in a third. The Russians, in this respect, are truly oriental; unchangeable in their habits and tastes, and conservative in the most bigoted sense of the word. Like all Asiatic nations, splendor and glitter have great attractions for them; and this taste is gratified in the lavish decoration of their churches, and the gaudy display resorted to in their rites and ceremonies. They, however, omit, or rather, will not allow any organ or instrumental music in then; the choristers being the only means employed to produce harmonious sounds. Their churches are principally built in the Byzantine style, having a long body, a cupola over the east end, and the belfry at the west. Some have several belfries at the corners, and small ones have their bells hung in a little tower on the top of the cupola. Most of them are surmounted by a cross, and are frequently covered with bright metallic plates.
One characteristic of the Russian church is, that it does not allow worshippers to sit down. There are no seats in the churches, and both priests, readers, singers, and congregation are compelled to stand during the entire service.* What a contrast to our luxurious places of public worship, with their well-lined pews, spring-cushioned seats, hassocks, and foot-stools! Another peculiarity is, that the altar screens are hung with pictures in silver or plated rizas; that is, they are completely covered with metallic plates, chased and ornamented, which represent the clothing of the saints; and there are apertures left for the face, hands, and feet of the painting to be visible. Before each picture are candlesticks or suspended lamps of immense size, capable of containing thirty or forty candles. The priests officiate behind the screen, which has three doors in it, and when these are closed, nothing can be seen of the service. There is a throne before the principal or “royal” door, on which are placed the gospels, a gold or gilt cross for the congregation to kiss, a small chest, or catafalque, with a box in it containing the holy elements, and a silk handkerchief, in which is wrapped the antimins.
The conservatism of the Russians has in nothing been more strongly manifested than in their church. Since its
• Sketches, p. 83.
foundation this church has retained the creed that was first delivered to it. For nearly 900 years there has been no alteration in its doctrines, services, rites, ceremonies and discipline. If, therefore, we would desire to know in what it differs from the church of Rome, we may compare it as it was in the days of Olga with what the catholic church is now. During the whole of the period which has since elapsed, both clergy and laity among the Russians have enjoyed free access to the Scriptures, and made use of the “Liturgies of St. Basil and St. Chrysostom ;” whereas in the west the Bible was for ages a sealed book. And when it was opened there sprang up a multitude of sects which rent Christendom with their disputes, and drenched Europe with blood; nor is the strife entirely over yet. In Russia, upon the other hand, there have been very few troublesome heresies, but an almost unbroken unanimity of belief. The Russian hierarchy claims an uninterrupted succession from the patriarchal throne of Constantinople, and from the apostles themselves; though not exclusively from St. Peter. The Greek form of christian worship has been planted by them whereever Russia has acquired dominion, and thus the wild tribes of Perm, Viatha, the Ukraine, Siberia, and Kamtschatka have received some of the light of christianity. The Russian church has, throughout her career, steadfastly supported and helped to preserve the state—through all dangers and difficulties, feuds and distractions, the wars with the Poles, the dominion of the Tartars, the civil wars of the Pretenders, and those of disputed succession. It is not too much to say that had the state been deprived of this bond of union, the great Russian empire would have been dissolved into a number of petty, independent states; or, perhaps, barbarous and wandering tribes, like those still found within her territories, and have ceased to exist as an independent whole.
The Russian church can accordingly boast of a countless number of patriots among her ministers—men who had cheerfully laid down their lives, or sacrificed themselves in every way for the honor and safety of the nation, and for the promotion of order and peace. But it is equally true that she cannot
boast of many learned and eloquent men, who have commanded the world's admiration. We meet with no St. Bernard, Gregory the Great, Hildebrand, Benedict, Francis of Assisi, Abelard, Bossuet, Massillon, De La Salle, Richelieu, or Fenelon among her priesthood. We must be content with such men as the monk, Nestor, the patriarch, Nikon, the metropolitans, Cyprian, Macarius and Eugenius, Iob, Hermogenes, and Philaret--men known only to those who are familiar with the annals of Russia. There has been but little demand upon the Russian clergy hitherto for intellect, eloquence or learning. Such gifts would be wasted upon congregations unable to appreciate them. When the people shall wake from their long torpor, and become educated, men of a superior order will, doubtless, be forthcoming in their church.
Among the heresies which have troubled the Russian church, that of the Strigoluiks was one of the most remarkable; but M. Mouravieff passes it over with the slightest possible notice, * as though it were scarcely worthy of attention -a very unfair and injudicious course for a historian to take. This sect first appeared A. D. 1371. Its founders were a layman named Karp and a deacon named Nicetas. They taught first in Pskoff and then in Novgered, where they met with great success. They denounced the clergy for the disorders which prevailed in the church, and denied their power to bind and loose. They also denied the necessity of confession to a priest, saying that confession to God was enough. They maintained that St. Paul gave power to any one to teach, and rejected episcopal ordination, electing their own teachers. They denied that the clergy could impart the grace of the Holy Ghost to the members of the church, but claimed the power of imparting it themselves. They rejected the offering of oblations to the dead, or singing or celebrating service over them. This sect had many votaries, notwithstanding that Nicetas was degraded from the deaconate, and his partisans excommunicated; and Karp was thrown into the Volkoff by the populace of Novgered. It died out, however, after a while.
* listory of the Church of Russia, p. 65.
The doctrines of Calvin penetrated into Russia and occasioned great trouble in the church. Crafty teachers of those doctrines gave them out as part of the orthodox confession. Cyrill Lucar, patriarch of Constantinople, although he condemned Calvinism, did not decidedly and openly oppose it, and for this he was anathematized by his successor, Cyrill of Bera. But the agitation still continued, and a synod was convoked at Iassy, in Moldavia, which condemned the teachings of Calvin. The Russian metropolitan, Peter Mogila, with four bishops, confirmed the acts of this synod, and, by command of Parthenius, patriarch of Constantinople, his exarch, Meletius Syriga, revised and finally corrected the orthodox confession. This confession received the confirmation of the eastern patriarchs, and thus the peace of the Greco-Russian church was secured. The Reformation, which caused such terrible convulsions in Europe, produced no effect in Russia, and neither Lutheranism nor Calvanism has met with any success there. The orthodox confession was finally accepted throughout the oriental church, excepting the Nestorian. What would have been the effect upon Russia, had the Reformation penetrated there, is matter of curious speculation.
One of the peculiar characteristics of the Russian church is the extreme minuteness of detail in her ceremonial. In this respect there is considerable difference between her and the Latin church. In christening, churching, confession, commmunion, marriage, burial, ordination, consecration, adult unction, adoption, bishop's visitation, and other rites, the minutiæ are surprising. Take, for example, the mode of administering the Lord's supper, as a specimen of them. It is administered on Saturday, but the ceremony really begins on the preceding day, after vespers, when the deacon or priest reads aloud to those who intend to communicate the next morning, an address or exhortation, interspersed with psalms, ejaculations, and reflections. This address is called “the rules," and is immensely long. After the hearing of these 'rules' no food whatever ought to be taken until after receiving the sacrament. Confession has to be made either that evening after vespers, or on communion day, after matins. All persons
who are entitled to wear uniforms, appear in full dress, but without their swords. Married ladies wear their handsomest dress, a lace shawl, or a mantle, and a cap with ribbons, but not flowers. Young ladies dress in white muslin as for a party, but it is the fashion for old ladies to array themselves in the clothes they intend to be buried in, with the addition · of a shawl or a mantle, and a cap made for a living being, not for a corpse !
Before leaving home the communicants kiss everybody, servants and all. On arriving at church they take off their cloaks and furs, approach the altar-screen, prostrate themselves before the pictures in it, and kiss them. They return to their standing-place, for no sitting down is allowed. The liturgy proceeds in the usual manner. When the royal gates are slowly opened the deacon appears with the cup in his two hands, held on a level with his face, and covered with an embroidered velvet napkin. He then pronounces the words, “In the fear of the Lord, and in peace, come ye !” and all the communicants approach the steps of the altar of sacrifice, from which the Eucharist is administered.
The priest then takes the cup from the deacon and pronounces very slowly the articles of belief on the subject, the communicants repeating them after him. The napkin is then removed from the cup, which contains tiny morsels of bread mixed with wine, to which is added a little warm water in remembrance of that which poured from the wound of Jesus.
The priest takes in a spoon a morsel of this bread with a little wine, puts it into the mouth of the communicant, who has first to make a devout prostration and fold his hands across his breast, saying, “The servant of God, A. B., communicates in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.” The choir sings, “Receive ye the body of Christ, taste ye the fount of everlasting life" an indefinite number of times during the service. The deacon holds a silk handkerchief under the chin of the communicant to prevent the possibility of a drop falling to the ground, and wipes his lips with it afterwards; the communicant then kisses the edge of the cup, a type of the wounded side of Christ, crossing himself, but without prostration, in honor of the presence of the sacrament. He