1917–18 Local Council of the Russian Orthodox Church

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1917-1918 meeting of the Local Council of the Russian Orthodox Church was a local council, the first since the end of the 17th century, the Local Council of the Russian Orthodox Church, which opened 15 August 1917 in the Assumption Cathedral of the Moscow Kremlin. The most important decision was to restore the Patriarchate of the Russian church, ending a period of about 300 years in which Russia was governed by the Most Holy Synod as a results of Peter the Great's religious reforms.


Cathedral met more than a year, and 7 (20) in September 1918, working sessions ("conciliar sessions") took place in Moscow diocesan house in Likhov Lane. Cathedral coincided with important events in Russian history as the war with Germany, the statement of General LG Kornilov, the proclamation of the Republic in Russia (September 1, 1917),[1] the fall of the Provisional Government and the October Revolution, the dispersal of the Constituent Assembly, the publication of the Decree on the separation of church and state and the beginning of the Civil War. Cathedral made the statement in response to some of these events. Bolsheviks, whose actions and legitimize directly condemned by the council (or personally Patriarch), did not put direct obstacles holding sessions of the Council.

Cathedral, preparation for which was conducted from the early 1900s, opened during the reign antimonarchist attitudes in society and the Church. The composition of the Council consisted of 564 members, including 227 from the hierarchy and clergy, 299 from the laity. Attended by the head of the Provisional Government of Kerensky, Interior Minister Avksentiev, representatives of the press and the diplomatic corps.


Election of the Patriarch[edit]

The first session of the Council, which lasted from August 15 to December 9, 1917, was devoted to the reorganization of higher church management: restoration of the patriarchate, the election of the patriarch, the determination of his rights and duties, the institution of the cathedral authorities to work together with Patriarch management of church affairs, as well as discussion of the legal position of the Orthodox Church in Russia.

Immediately from the first session of the Council was an urgent debate on the restoration of the Patriarchate (preliminary discussion was within the competence of the Division of Higher Church Administration, Division Chair - Bishop Mitrofan Astrakhan. The most effective advocates restoration of the patriarchate, along with Bishop Mitrofan, were members of the Council, Archbishop Anthony of Kharkov (Khrapovitsky) and Archimandrite (later Archbishop) Hilarion (Troitsky). Opponents of the patriarchate pointed to the danger that it can forge conciliar Church start in life and even lead to absolutism in the Church, among the prominent opponents of the restoration of the Patriarchate were Professor Peter Kiev Theological Academy Kudryavtsev, Professor Alexander Diamond, Archpriest Nikolai Tsvetkov, Professor Ilya Gromoglasov Prince Andrew Chagadaev (layman from the Diocese of Turkestan). Professor Nikolai Kuznetsov believed that there is a real danger that the Holy Synod, as an executive authority acting in the period between the Councils, may turn into a simple advisory body under the Patriarch, that will also be a diminution of the rights of bishops - members of the Synod.


  1. ^ Священный Соборъ Православной Россійской Церкви. Дѣянія. — Изданіе Соборнаго Совѣта, М., 1918, Кн. I, вып. I, стр. 12—18