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(1918) With: Jesse W. Brooks - Tema: Russia
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Full resolution (JPEG) - On this page / på denna sida - The Russian Orthodox Church. The Rev. Robert M. Russell, D. D., LL. D. - The Gospel in Russia - Government and Worship

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Rev. Robert M. Russell *
afterwards the territory of the Russian Empire. Russian historians
date the foundation of the empire in the year 862, A. D. Prior to that
time, the organization of the peoples inhabiting Russian territory
was tribal, and there was among them no capacity for unified effort,
and no power to moderate their tribal conflict. There were centers
like Novgorod and Kiev, but there was no national unity. About the
middle of the ninth century a Scandinavian leader, Ruric by name,
came to Novgorod with a band of war-like followers in response to an
invitation to establish order and unity. The foundations of the em-
pire were thus laid. Igor, the son of Ruric, was incapable of exer-
cising kingly power, so from 879 to 912 A. D. a chieftain named Oleg
reigned as Regent. Igor (912-945) was succeeded by his widow, Olga
(945-957), and here again appears the importance of woman in the
religious history of the world. Olga was baptized in 955 by the
Patriarch of Constantinople, thus opening the door for the dominion
of the Greek Church in Russia. Olga abdicated the throne in favor of
her son, Sviatoslaff (957-972), a war-like pagan who was treacherously
murdered. The principality was then divided among his three sons,
and the quarrels usual in such family dominion followed, continuing
until Vladimir the Great (980-1015), the youngest son, became the sole
ruler. Vladimir, by successful wars, greatly extended the boundaries
of Russia, and in 988 opened the way for the further extension of the
Gospel by becoming a convert to Greek Christianity. History makes it
manifest that Vladimir’s conversion was to a system rather than to a
Saviour, and that political considerations were quite as prominent in
his thought as spiritual. It is recorded that representatives of Mo-
hammedanism sought his allegiance, but when the king learned of
the edicts of that religion against pork and wine he would have none
of it. Leaders of the Jews also strove for his favorable consideration,
but the king naively inquired how it came that if the Jews were the
special people of God they were so scattered and oppressed. Investi-
gators who had visited the churches of Constantinople reported on the
gorgeousness of the Greek worship, and through this the king was
persuaded, and accepted Greek Christianity for himself and his fol-
lowers. A state church was thus introduced permanently in Russia.
Government and Worship
In government the Greek Church is a partiarchal oligarchy in dis-
tinction from the papal monarchy of Rome. The episcopal hierarchy
is retained, the papacy rejected. The Vatican decrees of 1870 con-
cerning the infallibility of the Pope, have intensified the separation
between the east and west. Centralization is unknown in the east.
The Patriarchs of Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem

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