Who were the first Protestants in Russia? Part 1

For the first time sectarians, known by documents, appeared in Russia in the XII century under the name of Bogomils. But we will not speak about this flow either. It probably did not originate in Russia, but came from Bulgaria. And the current is not Protestant, but rather a Manichaean, recognizing the dualism of the universe. The emphasis is placed on the fact that the world is the arena of the struggle between the dark and light beginnings. The first, having fallen away from God, created the world, the second appeared with the coming of Christ. Not in vain, historically, Bogomilism is associated with the teachings of the Cathars.

In addition, during the first centuries of Christianization, the church continually fought against the influence of unsophisticated paganism. But these influences do not correlate with sectarianism, much less with Protestantism.

Formally, in Europe, the reform movement begins with the speeches of the Hussites in the first half of the 15th century, although the social movement itself in this direction appears in the middle of the 14th century. In the middle of the 15th century, Luther wrote his famous 95 theses, which initiated the actual movement of the Reformation. And although the ideas of Luther and Calvin did not find a wide response in Russia, an independent Protestant trend emerges here. And it occurs long before Luther! Speech on the sect strigolnikovwhich existed for about a century.

However, with respect to Russia it is worth making a reservation. Both the strigolnicheskaya, and the subsequent heresy of the Judaizers originated in North-Western Russia. Which for a long time did not seek to unite with other principalities. After all, Novgorod and Pskov became a full-fledged part of Russia under Ivan the Terrible. Once Novgorod was not just a burden to the West (however, not striving for dependence on European “partners”), it was an equivalent part of the Hanseatic League! Hence the specific mentality of the northern cities, and strong European influence. And in Europe at this time there are Protestant tendencies.

The doctrine of strigolnikov is considered a purely Pskov-Novgorod phenomenon. It was here that the relevant prerequisites came together: the need to get rid of the dependence of the religious seigneur; strong desire for independence (not only religious, but also political), typical of the northern cities; geographical and political isolation, allowing to achieve, if not independence, then fair autonomy. The social structure of Pskov and Novgorod also differed from other Russian cities. The veche system was preserved here, and a specific church structure corresponded to it.

Under such conditions, heresies could not only arise, but also develop. After all, everything in society is interconnected! Any social phenomenon does not arise by itself, demanding an economic and social basis. In the context of which it only makes sense to consider. Taken separately, such a large-scale phenomenon, as an attempt to reformation of the church, is not clear and therefore not so interesting. Knowing the roots of the phenomenon (social environment and way of thinking), one can understand the way of thought of the heretics: how, why this heresy arose and developed. What is the point of knowing ready-made facts about a phenomenon that has existed and developed for hundreds of years?

In Pskov and Novgorod, churches were built and maintained by streets or professional associations. Naturally, the priests depended primarily on their “sponsors”, and the exactions of the higher hierarchs (heads on the spiritual line) concerned not only the priests, but first of all the parishioners, the parish organizers. In the XIV century. the participation of the Novgorod bishop in the affairs of the subordinate Pskov diocese consisted more in collecting taxes. He came personally to her and the reception of the high guest cost the townspeople dearly. Taxes were taken for the supply of new priests, and for the episcopal court. Since economically and politically Pskov became independent, it all began with a desire to reduce church dependence. Initially, the Pskov people succeeded in appointing the Pskov “Master of the Fodder” from Pskov, not Novgorod, and then canceling personal visits by the Archbishop of Pskov.

But the appetite comes with eating! The compromise did not satisfy all taxpayers, Pskov did not receive his archbishop, and as a result, the opposition brought out the radical idea of ​​the uselessness of the higher church hierarchy. There were also arguments in Scripture, mainly directed against the bribe for the ordination. In addition, there is reason to believe that penance could be replaced by the order of paid liturgies ... in fact, again, bdsm. And since they paid for ordination to everywhere, the heretics deduced that there was no true priesthood! From here it was not far to the negation of the hierarchy of the church, and then the uselessness of the priesthood itself!

I note that when, over the centuries, the question of the ordination of new priests stood before the schismatics, only part of them came to such extremes. Most schismatics sought ways to acquire ordained priests, without denying the transfer of apostolic grace. Strigoliki came to the conclusion that lay people began to teach and perform rites. Foundations found in Scripture, which was carefully studied. And they knew, unlike many priests and even hierarchs. All this is very similar to the Protestants of Europe! Only the movement of the strigolnik appeared much earlier.

From Pskov, the movement spread to Novgorod and Tver. And it continued to develop, sometimes reaching extremes: the denial of rituals and icons, the worship of the cross, and even temples as sanctuaries. But the ritual at that time occupied the main place in the Russian cult! Also, the riders didn’t deny prayers for the dead. This is especially important because they were the main business of monasticism. And a source of income. From the very beginning, the enormous possessions of the monasteries were composed of lands that were “to the remembrance of the soul”!

Strigolniks seem to be the exact opposite: they studied the Holy Scripture, putting the New Testament at the head; distinguished by the purity of morals and money for teaching and ceremonies were not taken. Stririgolism is often called a sect. But if we consider sectarianism as a distortion of Scripture, then the strigolnik see an attempt to return to the Gospel doctrine. Although there may be differences, because the movement was not one. Reached the denial of the divine nature of Jesus and the idea of ​​the Trinity ... but, after all, these concepts did not immediately become generally accepted ...

Evolution is important to us: from striving for economic and political independence, through criticism of church organization to new dogma. After all, the movement, despite the struggle of the authorities with it (even execution or reprisals), existed for almost a century. His ideas persisted, including in the spiritual environment, until the second half of the 15th century. And after that, the movement of the Judaizers, which approximately coincided with the beginning of the Reformation in Europe, replaced stririgolism.

Watch the video: The Protestant Reformation: Crash Course European History #6 (December 2019).

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