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Vocabulary work Read and memorize the following words and expressions, suggest their Russian equivalents:

prejudice, n trade route slogan, n to pave the way for smth origin, n supremacy, n (e.g. military, political originate, v supremacy) nomad, n supreme, adj (e.g. supreme ruler) abode, n (e.g. semi-permanent abodes) cradle, n (e.g. the cradle of the Russian marshland, n state) tribe, n trickery, n tribal, adj (e.g. tribal consciousness) political machinery fuse, v achievement, n (=accomplishment) fusion, n subjugation, n chronicle, n (the Chronicle) reinforce, v (e.g. to reinforce an idea) monk, n compel, v (to compel smb to do smth) credible, adj possess, v (e.g. to struggle for possession credibility, n (e.g. the credibility of a of land) legend, story, etc) prince, n rivalry, n principality, n warfare, n village communes (=obshchina) strife, n merchant, n expulsion, n bourgeoisie, n scholar, n treaty, n commerce, n (=trading) artisan, n (=craftsman) bulwark, n (=stronghold) tribute, n seafaring people stratified society warlike trading fraternities grand duke assembly, n (=meeting) rule of succession Questions for discussion Comment on the following:

1. The author traces the origin of the word Rus to the name of the northern Varangian invaders. What other hypotheses concerning the issue have been formed by scientists Which one seems the most plausible to you 2. Why is the Chronicles story about Rurik invitation considered a subject of much controversy 3. How can you define the role the Varangians played in early Russian history 4. On what ground does the author compare Vladimir I of Russia with Alexander the Great and Charlemange 5. What is the core of the scientific debate as to Kievan statehood What are the general criteria of a state Does Kiev match them, from your point of view Chapter THE CHRISTIANISATION OF RUSSIA Read the text:

Few institutions have been as persistent and constant in their influence upon people as the church and the system of beliefs and customs which it preaches and practices. This propensity for religious beliefs seems to be anchored in the inner recesses of the human psyche. Whether you call this the divine spark in man or superstition does not matter. The fact is that religion is something indestructible in human nature and in human history.

After more than 70 years of Soviet rule and the propagation of atheism, the Russian Church still exists and there are no signs of immanent death. No history of Russia, therefore, would be complete or even meaningful without due consideration of the formative influence of religion and the church, particularly in its early history.

Christianity and Russia before the Conversion Prior to their conversion, the eastern Slavs were heathen and worshipped crude images representing the forces of nature. It is likely that Christianity was known in the territory of future Russia in the ninth century and perhaps earlier. The Grand Duchess Olga became a Christian in the middle of the tenth century. By that time many Russians, Varangians, as well as Slavs, had probably received baptism. The intimate trade contacts with Constantinople, by which scores of merchants annually visited the Byzantine capital marveled at the splendor of its churches, was responsible for many conversions.

Indeed, this trade contact paved the way for the eventual acceptance of Christianity by Kiev. Byzantine colonies in the Crimea - the Eastern Empire as successor to Rome had fallen heir to the Greek towns in the peninsula - brought Russians in contact with Christianity. The Slavs of Moravia and of Galicia, with whom Kiev maintained trade contacts, had long been Christian and the Bulgars had been won over by 864. Missionaries from Moravia and Constantinople had appeared in Kiev even before it was seized by Oleg, Olga's predecessor.

Whether Oleg and Igor ever considered accepting Christianity is uncertain.

There was good reason why they should not accept it. That reason lay in the fact that converts to the church headed by the patriarch of Constantinople must accept the authority of the patriarch in religious matters and at the same time the eastern emperor insisted upon recognition of his authority over the new converts in political matters. Whenever a pagan nation in the East accepted the new faith, there arose this question of religious and political subjection to Constantinople, the two going hand in hand. The only possibility of retaining political independence was through the patriarch's consent that the new converts might have their own autonomous church under an archbishop or a metropolitan bishop. The consent was never lightly given and had to be wrung from the patriarch in each case.

However, missionaries from Constantinople baptized Olga in Kiev in 955. She probably accepted Christianity as a matter of state policy. She may have hoped that more cordial economic and political relations with the Eastern Empire would grow out of her baptism. The nation, however, did not follow her, nor did her son Sviatoslav, in spite of her earnest attempt to persuade him.

Olga stepped aside and in 962 Sviatoslav took over as grand prince of Kiev.

Sviatoslav was more interested in war and conquest than religion. He left Kiev with the intent of establishing a new capital in Bulgaria. Russia was now ruled by three of his sons who soon began to fight among themselves. They gradually killed each other off. One of the sons, Vladimir survived.



Vladimir on the Throne: Paganism vs Christianity Vladimir spent the first decade of his reign in constant war. He won the title of Grand Prince of Kiev in the role of champion of paganism against the rising tide of Christianity that had been washing over the area from Constantinople, from Moravia and Central Europe, and from the Byzantine outpost on the Sea of Azov with its bishopric at Tmutorokan. Missionaries from the West and south had been at work in Kiev in the time of Askold and Dir. Some of Igor's druzhina or bodyguard had been baptized and Olga had accepted the new faith.

Many Russian merchants, Varangian and Slav, who constituted the dominant class in a commercial state, had become Christian. And there were a few of Kiev's neighbors who had not forsaken their pagan gods. The Khazars were Jewish and the Volga Bulgars were Moslems. Poland, Hungary, and Bulgaria had become Christian.

even the Varangians in their Scandinavian homeland were welcoming Christianity.

The kings of Norway and Denmark accepted baptism shortly after Vladimir assumed power in Kiev. The pressures upon Vladimir, then, were strong and mounting to adopt a new faith and the new civilization that went with it.

After Vladimir's accession there had been a brief, violent reaction in favor of continuing pagan worship in Kiev. On the hills of the city the new grand prince set up idols to the pagan gods of the Slavs and offered human sacrifices of Christian martyrs to them - to Pereni, god of thunder and lighting; to Veles, protector of flocks and herds; to Svarog, the god of the heavens; and to his children, Dazhbog, giver of warmth and fertility, Stribog, who controlled the atmosphere and brought wind and rain, and Khors, the god of sunlight. Contemptuous of the virtues proclaimed by the Christian missionaries, Vladimir took seven wives, one of them the beautiful widow of his murdered brother Yaropolk, and in addition, says the chronicler, kept hundreds of concubines. Like many Russian rulers, Vladimir had a gargantuan sexual appetite.

Choosing the Religion After the brief orgy of paganism and sexual feasting that opened the new reign, Vladimir went off on military campaigns. Everywhere he went, to the west or to the east, the grand prince came up against the fact that only Kiev was behind the times in still clinging to her old gods. During the negotiations to end his indecisive war with the Volga Bulgars his recent antagonists urged him to accept Islam. Returning from that campaign, Vladimir decided to examine the various religions that surrounded pagan Kiev.

Elders of the capital and members of the prince's bodyguard came together to discuss the merits of the various faiths, and it is not unlikely that missionaries from east, west and south attended the meetings. Those who spoke for affiliation with Constantinople could make the best case. They could remind the prince that his grandmother Olga had chosen the faith that emanated form the eastern capital, and they could plead the advantages that must come from associating with the greatest city of the Western world, the city upon whose markets Kievan prosperity in large measure depended.

While the question of accepting one of the new religions was under discussion, envoys came to Kiev from the emperor in Constantinople to beg Vladimir's help in putting down a revolt in Asia Minor that threatened the capital. The envoys proposed as an inducement, the offer that Vladimir might marry the emperor's sister, a signal honor form the head of so powerful a state. Vladimir, in turn, must accept Christianity before the marriage could take place. The prospect must have flattered him. But behind all the pressures of the moment, Vladimir must fully have realized that Russia's religious isolation had to end sooner or later, and he must have understood as well that the logic of Russia's geographical, economic, and political situation was overwhelmingly on the side of accepting the faith of Constantinople in preference to any other. In the fall of 987 Vladimir sent his ambassadors to Constantinople to sample the Orthodox Christian faith. On September 8 a splendid service was celebrated for them in the Cathedral of St. Sophia, and they were in ecstasies of rapture. They thought they were in heaven, and that during the service the angels of God (who were in fact mosaics seen behind fluttering candles) had come down and floated about their heads.

The Byzantine clergy gravely assured them that such was undoubtedly the case. They returned to Vladimir full of praise for the imperial religion. Early in Vladimir was baptized, his army came to the aid of the emperor and the emperor's twenty-five year old sister Anna became Vladimir's wife. The young imperial princess was quite reluctant to surrender herself into the hairy arms of the barbarian from the north. "You send me into slavery," she told the emperor, "I would rather die here." But, nevertheless, she became a humble instrument in the Christianization of Russia. But her first experiences of the land of midnight were undoubtedly discouraging. She fell desperately ill, and it took a miracle to save her.

Christianity Makes its Way in Russia Vladimir now set to work with a vengeance to establish the faith that he had espoused. His men hurled down the pagan idols in the city and caste them into the Dnieper. At his order, the entire population of the city marched to the river to receive baptism from the priests who had come from the Crimea. Couriers rode off to the other cities of the realm to order similar measures. That very summer construction began on the first of a number of stone cathedrals, and the prince assigned a tithe of his revenue to their maintenance. The chief Kievan cities - Novgorod, Chernigov, Polotsk, and Rostov - became episcopal centers. For many years the bishop of Tmutorokan served a head of the Kievan church. Vladimir ignored the patriarch of Constantinople, and there was no direct contact between the Russian church and Constantinople until 1037. In that year the patriarch appointed the first metropolitan bishop of Kiev who assumed the headship of the Russian church.





Christian churches rose up all over Russia at Vladimir's command, the prince insisting that they should occupy the sites where pagan idols earlier had stood.

Monasteries appeared, not only in Kiev but in the recesses of the forest. The church opened schools to which Vladimir ordered members of the upper classes to send their children. The schools, as a matter of course, were church schools whose chief purpose was to train recruits for the clergy. A regular system of charity for the unfortunates of society was inaugurated under government auspices.

Russia's conversion was an act of public authority that took the form of mass baptism. It is clear that strong official pressure was brought to bear upon the Russians to make them embrace the new faith. The result was that the acceptance of Christianity was in many instances formal rather than a matter of inner conviction, and heathenism survived for centuries in the religious practice of the Russian people side by side with Christian doctrine and observances. The slow and unsatisfactory progress of Christianity may be explained in part by the character of the Russian church organization and the complexion of the clergy.

How the System Worked The significant feature in the organization of the Russian Church was its dependence on Constantinople. The whole of Russia constituted one metropolitanate, governed by a metropolitan who was both nominated and consecrated by the patriarch of Constantinople. Many of the early clergy were Greeks and Balkan Slavs, and it took a long time before native Russians replaced them. There was a marked difference in the social and economic status of the higher and lower clergy. The bishopric was lucrative and honorable.

Bishops received the proceeds of a special tax levied on the laity as well as various fees and charges paid by the lower clergy, for consecration, permission to perform marriages, etc. Judicial fees were another source of revenue. It also appears that at an early date Church dignitaries and institutions acquired large landed estates.

Members of the higher hierarchy were well provided for, lived in ease and luxury, and zealously defended Church properties and privileges against the secular power.

The lower clergy enjoyed none of these advantages, depending on donations and fees charged for marriages, baptism and funerals.

With some exceptions, the intellectual standards of the clergy were low. Few of the village priests were fully literate, while a large proportion could neither read or write and merely committed to memory the more important prayers and services.

This complexion of the clergy may well explain the high place held in Russian piety by external observance, and the relative indifference to dogma and the inner meaning of the Christian faith. This aspect of Russian Christianity had important consequences in the subsequent history of the Russian church.

Monasteries played an important part in the development of the Russian church. Some, like the Kievan Monastery of the Caves, were founded by men of ascetic disposition who dedicated themselves to mediation and prayer and strictly observed the rules of the monastic orders. Others were established by princes and wealthy boyars and had as their primary objective to minister to the spiritual needs of their benefactors and, after their death, to pray for the peace of their souls. In conclusion then it is fair to say that the reign of Vladimir is pre-eminently important in the history of Kievan Russia.

Consequences By his decision to embrace Christianity, although it could not for long have been forestalled and the choice of a religion was never really seriously in doubt, he brought a new civilization to Russia. A new code of morals, a sense of social justice, a corps of clerics capable of keeping court records and of committing to writing the historical experience of the nation, a sense of the need for education, a school of art and architecture, an alphabet and a language, and a changed international position - all these came to Russia with the new faith. But Vladimir accepted the new religion without sacrificing his independence.

The Russian church from its very founding was an intensely national church.

Religiously Russia was not lost in the anonymity that characterized western Europe in medieval times. Indeed, there would be many times in later centuries when the most nationally conscious agency in the nation was the Russian church that Vladimir head founded and whose chauvinistic direction he had done so much to inspire.

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