A bridge to the schism : Edinoverie, Russian Orthodoxy, and the ritual formation of confessions, 1800-1918
Title: A bridge to the schism : Edinoverie, Russian Orthodoxy, and the ritual formation of confessions, 1800-1918
Author: WHITE, James Matthew
Series/Number: EUI PhD theses; Department of History and Civilization
Between 1800 and 1918, the Russian Orthodox Church attempted to re-unite the Old Believer schism with Russian Orthodoxy by means of Edinoverie. This was a uniate movement that would allow schismatic converts to retain their old rituals whilst being subordinated to the authority of the Church hierarchy. From the very moment of its foundation, Edinoverie was subject to high levels of suspicion from most members of the Church. The rules of Metropolitan Platon, the settlement that created Edinoverie in 1800, embodied this distrust: the provisions sought to keep the converts at the boundaries of the Orthodox confession so as to prevent them from tempting Orthodox parishioners towards the schism. Over the next 118 years, edinovertsy, churchmen and government authorities struggled with the legacy of Platon’s rules as they tried to define Edinoverie’s place between Orthodoxy and Old Belief. In doing so, they devised new ways about thinking of the Orthodox confession. However, the Church enacted reform of Edinoverie reluctantly. It was permanently held back by fear of apostasy. Pressure for change always came from without, primarily from the side of the state. The shifts in its policies towards Old Belief ultimately forced the Holy Synod to renovate Edinoverie so as to maintain its missionary appeal. By 1918, Edinoverie had not come any closer to bringing the Old Believers back into the Church. Its attractiveness was undermined by earlier state coercion, by the hostility of many churchmen and by the contradictions inherent within its foundation. Edinoverie also represented a fundamental misunderstanding on the side of the Church as to why the schism had begun in the first place.
Defence date: 23 September 2014; Examining Board: Professor Stephen Anthony Smith, European University Institute (Supervisor); Professor Boris Kolonitskii, European University in St. Petersburg; Professor Simon Dixon, University College, London; Professor Irina Paert, University of Tartu.
Type of Access: openAccess