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Religion and Society in RussiaThe Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries$
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Paul Bushkovitch

Print publication date: 1992

Print ISBN-13: 9780195069464

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195069464.001.0001

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Orthodoxy in the Sixteenth Century

Orthodoxy in the Sixteenth Century

(p.10) 1 Orthodoxy in the Sixteenth Century
Religion and Society in Russia

Paul Bushkovitch

Oxford University Press

The Orthodox church of medieval Russia was a monastic church. The decline in spiritual significance of monasticism in the Orthodox church of Russia in the course of the sixteenth century was a change with profound religious and social implications. The resulting vacuum at the heart of Orthodoxy required the church to strengthen episcopal and priestly authority in order to bring its message to the laity in ways that had never before been necessary. The decline in authority of the monk had social implications as well, for it went along with a certain plebeianization of the monasteries, and the withdrawal of the aristocracy of the Russian state from direct participation in most religious activities. The decline in influence of monasticism also led to the decline of the significance of the monastic saint, hitherto the primary type of medieval Russian saint.

Keywords:   Russian state, Orthodox church, monks, plebeianization, monasteries

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