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Webster's Dictionary [1]

(n.) A country of Europe and Asia.

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature [2]

one of the largest empires of the world, containing in 1881 an area of 8,500,000 square miles, and a population of 103,716,232 souls, has under its rule about one sixth of the entire surface of the earth, and still continues to expand in Asia. It is in point of territory about equalled by the British empire, but is more than twice as large as any other country. Among the Christian nations it is the foremost standard bearer of the interests of the Greek Church, being not only the only large state in which this Church prevails, but containing within its borders fully seventy-seven percent of the aggregate population connected with it. More than any Catholic or Protestant state, the government of Russia uses its political influence for advancing the power of its official Church at home as well as abroad; and has recently not only cooperated in the reestablishment of a number of independent coreligious states in the Balkan peninsula, but is rapidly planting the creed of the Greek Church among the subjected tribes of Asia, and also, to some extent, in the adjacent countries. The Russian empire, by its vast conquests in Europe and Asia, embraces a variety of religions, even the Mohammedan and heathen. The relation of the state to other forms of religion is deter, mined by Article 40 et seq. of the first volume of the Russian law, as follows: "The ruling faith in the Russian empire is the Christian Orthodox Eastern Catholic declaration of belief. Religious liberty is not only assured to Christians of other denominations, but also to Jews, Mohammedans, and pagans, so that all people living in Russia may worship God according to the laws and faith of their ancestors." This law, however, is interpreted in such a manner as to mean that religious liberty is assured only so long as a member of an umnorthodox Church adheres to the faith in which he was born; but all unorthodox churches are forbidden to receive as members proselytes from other churches. A severe penalty is imposed upon any one who leaves a Christian for a non-Christian religion.

I. The Russian Church.

1. Its Origin And Progress. - The Russian empire begins with the elevation in 862 of the Norman Ruric to the throne. At that time, the territory inhabited by the Russians was without Christian churches. A Russian tradition, according to which the apostle Andrew had planted the first cross at Kief, cannot be authenticated. Tertullian, Origen, and Chrysostom speak of the triumphs of Christianity among the Scythians and Sarmatians, and a doubtful inference has been drawn from their words that Christianity had also made converts among the Russians at this early period. If really any congregations were organized, they perished during the migration of nations. It is reported that in the 9th century patriarch Ignatius of Constantinople sent again missionaries to the Russians, and patriarch Photius praised them for their enthusiastic desire for the Gospel a praise which was not verified by subsequent events. In 955, Olga, the widow of Igor (912943) and regent of Russia during the minority of her son Svatoslav, procured baptism for herself in Constantinople from the patriarch Theophylact, and had her name changed to Helena; but even to the close of her life she could enjoy the services of a Christian priest only in secret. Her pious desire to see her son converted was not fulfilled; but her grandson Vladimir I (980-1014), called Isapostolos (apostle-like), not only embraced Christianity himself (988), but at once decided the triumph of Christianity in the empire. After investigating the conflicting claims of Mohammedanism, Judaism, and Christianity, as represented by missionaries of these various creeds, he was won over by the enthusiastic accounts which his ambassadors to Constantinople made of the splendor of the Eastern service in the Church of Sophia. The people cried when the images of Peroun and other gods were cast into the Dnieper, but without active resistance yielded to the demand of Vladimir that the people be baptized. His son Yaroslav (1019-54) nearly completed the conversion of the Russians who remained in close connection with the see of Constantinople. A metropolitan see was established at Kief, which was called a second Constantinople.

The fifth metropolitan, Hilarion (105172), was elected by order of grand-duke Yaroslav at the Council of Kief without the cooperation of the patriarch of Constantinople. A cave convent (Peczera) at Kief became in the 11th century a famous seminary of the Russian clergy and a flourishing seat of Russian literature. Here the monk Nestor (1056-1111) wrote his Annals, the chief source of information for the earliest history of the Russian Church. The rapid growth of the Church, and the great practical strength which it displayed so soon after its establishment, naturally attract the attention of the Church historians, who attribute it chiefly to the fact that the Church, at its foundation, found the translation of the Bible by Cyril and Methodius into the national Slavonic, language ready for use. The practical strength displayed by the Russian Church at so early a period is the more surprising, as Russia alone among the European nations (unless Spain and Hungary be counted exceptions) was Christianized without the agency of missionaries, and chiefly by the direct example, influence, or command of its prince. The Russian Church has dignified its founder, prince Vladimir, with the name of saint, and the same honor has been conferred upon another prince of the 13th century, Alexander Nevski, so called from a victory on the banks of the Neva, in which he repulsed the Swedes. Besides these two saints, two other princes are held in high veneration the one, Yaroslav (1017), for introducing the Byzantine canon law and the first beginnings of Christian education; the other, Vladimir I1, surnamed Monomachos, for being a model of a just and religious ruler. Ivan I transferred (1325) his residence, and with it the primacy of the Russian Church, from Kief to Moscow. Gradually the metropolitans of the Russian Church became independent of Constantinople. In the middle of the 17th century, Jonah was appointed by the grand-prince metropolitan of Moscow, and recognized by a synod of all the Russian bishops held at Moscow as metropolitan of Russia. He was the first in whose appointment "the great Church" had no direct share. The metropolitan of Moscow remained, however, in close and friendly relations with the patriarchs of the Byzantine empire, and conjointly with them the metropolitan Isidor attended the Union Council of Florence.

The fall of Constantinople in 1453 smoothed the way for an entire independence of the Russian Church, which, however, was not fully established until 1587. In that year, the patriarch Jeremiah of Constantinople, while visiting Russia to obtain support, consented to turn the metropolitan of Moscow into a patriarch in the person of Job, the patriarchate of Russia thus taking, in the opinion of the Eastern bishops, the place of the schismatic patriarch of Rome. It was further arranged that the Church of Russia be governed by four metropolitans, six archbishops, and fight bishops. Soon after, the patriarchs of Alexandria and Jerusalem, sixty-five metropolitans and eleven archbishops of the Byzantine Church, declared their concurrence in the independent organization of the Russian Church. The Muscovite patriarchs continued, however, to apply to Constantinople for confirmation until 1657. Soon after, in 1660, the Russian ambassador received from patriarch Dionysius II of Constantinople and the other Greek patriarchs the documentary declaration that the Russian patriarch night in future be elected by his own clergy without needing a confirmation by the Greek patriarchs. The Roman popes of the 16th century, especially Leo X, Clement VII, and Gregory XIII, made renewed efforts for gaining over the Russian Church to a union with Rome. When Ivan Vasilivitch (1533-84) had been defeated by the Poles, he intimated a readiness (1581) to unite with the Roman Catholic Church as long as he needed the help of the emperor and the mediation of the pope. Gregory XIII sent the Jesuit Possevino to the grandprince, who held a religious disputation with the Russians, in which the grand-prince himself took part. Possevino was, in the end, unsuccessful in Russia; but in those Russian provinces which fell with Lithuania into the hands of the Poles, his efforts had the desired effect.

The metropolitan Rahoza of Kief. keenly offended by the patriarchs Jeremiah and Job, convoked the bishops of his metropolitan district to a synod held at Brzesc (1593), where the union with Rome was effected in conformity with the agreement which had been formed in Florence, with a great respect at first for old ancestral usages. Clement VIII announced the union to the Catholic world in his bull Magnus Dominus ac laudabilis, and confirmed the metropolitan in the possession of his traditional rights of jurisdiction (1596), including the right of confirming the bishops of his metropolitan diocese; only the metropolitan himself was to apply to the papal nuncio in Poland for confirmation. For that part of the Russian Church which refused to enter into the union with Rome, Peter Mogila was in 1633 elected orthodox metropolitan of Kief, with the approbation of king Vladoslav IV. As a bar against the further advance of Roman Catholic and Protestant views, Mogila composed (1642) a catechism, which was confirmed by all the patriarchs as an official confession of the orthodox Eastern Church. Important innovations in the liturgy of the Russian Church were made by patriarch Nikon, who has been called by a modern Church historian (Stanley, History of the Eastern Church) "the greatest character in the annals of the Russian hierarchy," "a Russian Chrysostom," and also "in coarse and homely proportions a Russian Luther and a Russian Wolsey." The most important among the changes introduced by him was the revival of preaching, entirely without an example in the other Eastern churches at that time. Among the innovations which he made in the Russian ritual, in order to make it more conform to that of Constantinople, were benedictions with three fingers instead of two, a white altar cloth instead of an embroidered one, the kissing of pictures to take place only twice a year, a change in the way of signing the cross, and in the inflections in pronouncing the Creed. Many regarded these changes as an apostasy from orthodoxy, and refused to adopt them, but at that time their protests were put down with an iron hand. The man whose energy introduced a new period in Church history was finally himself deposed from his office. His severity had exasperated the clergy, his insolence had enraged the nobles. In 1667 a council of the Eastern patriarchs, convened at Moscow, and presided over by the czar, formally deprived him of his office.

A still greater change was introduced into the Russian Church by Peter the Great. The aim of his life was to civilize the Russian empire and to raise it to a level with the remainder of Europe. While traveling in Europe, he studied the Protestant and Roman Catholic systems of belief. He heard the doctrines and studied the religious belief of all the countries which he passed, but he concluded to remain a prince of the Orthodox faith. He believed, however, he would be guilty of ingratitude to the Most High if, "after having reformed by his gracious assistance the civil and military order, he were to neglect the spiritual," and "if the Impartial Judge should require of him an account of the vast trust which had been reposed in him, he should not be able to give an account." Among the practical reforms which he introduced were the increase of schools, restrictions on the growth of monasteries, and regulations respecting the monastic property. But by far the most radical change was the abolition of the patriarchate and the substitution for it of a permanent synod, consisting of prelates presided over by the emperor or his secretary.

After the death of the eleventh patriarch, Hadrian (1702), whose retrograde policy had greatly exasperated him, Peter allowed his see to remain vacant, and transferred the administration of the patriarchate to the metropolitan of Riazan, who as exarch had not the full authority of the patriarch, and was not allowed to exercise all his functions. This semblance of a patriarchal government lasted for twenty years, and during this time various changes were gradually carried through. Taxes were levied on the possessions of cloisters and bishops, the titles and dignities of several episcopal sees which were offensive to the czar were abolished, and the episcopal jurisdiction, which in former times had been wholly unhindered, was now in many respects restricted. A number of reformatory regulations were issued for the government of the religious orders. For the reform of the secular clergy Peter wrote with his own hand twenty-six articles of Spiritual Regulations, and for the use of the bishops he issued a pastoral instruction. After having accustomed in this way the clergy and the people to an absolute submission to his all powerful authority, Peter declared in an assembly of bishops, held in 1720 at Moscow, that a patriarch was neither necessary for the government of the Church nor useful for the State, and that he was determined to introduce another form of Church government which would be intermediate between the government by one person (the patriarch) and a general council, since both forms of Church government were subject in Russia to great inconveniences and difficulties on account of the vast extent of the empire. When some of the bishops objected that the patriarchate of Kief and of all Russia had been erected with the consent of the Oriental patriarchs, Peter exclaimed, "I am your patriarch!" then, throwing down his hunting knife on the table, "There is your patriarch!" The plan of Peter was vigorously supported by Theophanes, archbishop of Pskov, and Demetrius of Rostoff, adopted by the episcopal synod, and sanctioned by the whole body of Eastern patriarchs. In the next year (1721), the Holy Governing Synod of Russia was instituted, and solemnly opened by an address of its vice-president, archbishop Theophanes. Even those who blame Peter for subjecting a Church formerly enjoying the fullest amount of self-government to the rule of the State readily admit that its first members were the best men of the Russian Church, and generally esteemed on account of their character and ability.

While the abolition of the patriarchate and the establishment of the Holy Synod fixed the position of the Russian Church among the large national divisions of Christianity, other measures led to the separation from it of a large number of ultra- conservatives, who could not bear the idea of seeing the smallest change in the holy faith of their forefathers. Peter resolutely continued the work of patriarch Nikon, and as the latter had introduced many innovations from Constantinople, Peter introduced new customs from the West. Thus. on the opening of the 18th century the emperor decreed that henceforth the year should no longer begin on the 1st of September and be dated from the creation of the world, but that the Christian eras should be adopted and the new year begin on the 1st of January. Still more irritating for the uncompromising opponents of ecclesiastical reforms was Peter's endeavor to assimilate his countrymen to the West by for. bidding the use of the beard. The Eastern Church had shown a strong attachment to the beard. Michael Ceerularius had laid it down in the 11th century as one of the primary differences between the Greek and the Latin Church. and "to shave the beard had been pronounced by the Council of Moscow in the 17th century as a sin which even the blood of the martyrs could not expiate." So determined was the opposition which was made to this innovation that even Peter, with all his energy, quailed before it. The nobles and the gentry, after a vain struggle, had to give way and be shaved; but the clergy were too strong for the czar, and the magnificent beards which the Russian priests are known to wear to the present day are the expressive proof of the ecclesiastical victory they gained in this particular over the reforming czar. The implacable enemies to the reforms of Nikon and Peter sullenly withdrew from the communion of the Established Church, and under the name "Raskolniks" (Separatists), or, as they call themselves, "Starovertzi" (Old Believers), have continued separate ecclesiastical organizations to the present day.

The reigns of most of the successors of Peter during the 18th century have left no marked influence upon the progress of the Russian Church. None of them continued the work of political reform with such energy as Catharine II. She was a friend of Voltaire, but did not deem it expedient to open to the deistic tendencies of Western Europe a road to the National Church of her dominions. During her reign, Ambrose, the learned archbishop of Moscow, came to a violent death (1771) by the populace of that city because he had ordered the removal of a miraculous picture to which the people flocked in immense numbers at a time of frightful pestilence. (See Ambrose). "I send you the incident, "wrote the empress Catharine in one of her letters to Voltaire, "that you may record it among your instances of the effects of fanaticism." One of his successors to the see of Moscow, Plato, has attained outside of Russia a greater celebrity than any other Russian bishop. He was the favorite both of the civilized Catharine II and for a time of her savage son, Paul, and in the last years of his life was the trusted comforter of Alexander I in the terrible year of the French invasion. Alexander I made noble efforts to raise the educational standard of the Russian people, and thus contributed much to tlhe improvement of the National Church. Schools were established on all the lands belonging to the crown, improvements made in the theological seminaries, and the respect of the people for the priestly character strengthened by exempting the priests from the knout. For a time, Alexander showed himself very favorable to the principles of evangelical Protestantism; and when the British and Foreign Bible Society was formed in London, Alexander requested the society to establish a branch in St. Petersburg. In the labors of the Russian Bible Society he took a warm interest. At his request, the Holy Synod prepared a translation of the New Test. into Russian, and into almost all the other languages spoken in the Russian empire. The emperor's inclination towards Biblical theology and experimental religion was greatly strengthened by the influence which in 1814 the pious and enthusiastic baroness von Krudener gained over him; but in the latter years of his life the emperor yielded to the growing ecclesiastical opposition to the Bible Society, and it was finally abolished under Nicholas I in 1826. In the same year, Philaret, formerly bishop of Reval and archbishop of Iver, was appointed archbishop of Moscow. He has been called the most gifted and influential archbishop of Russia since Nikon. He revived in the Church the spirit of austere asceticism, inflamed the religious enthusiasm of the people in the wars against the Mohammedan Turks and the Catholic Poles, vigorously aided the emperor in preparing the abolition of Russian serfdom, and made valuable contributions to the theological literature of the Russian Church. During the reign of Alexander I, the Russian Church began to make earnest efforts for the conversion of the Mohammedan and pagan subjects of the vast empire, and inducements were held out to those who might become converts to Christianity. The missionary zeal thus awakened was greatly strengthened during the reign of Nicholas I (1825- 55), when schemes were formed and extensively supported for the consolidation of all the tribes of the vast empire into one language and one religion. The Armenian Church, which, in consequence of the conquest of a part of the Persian territory by Russia, saw the seat of its ecclesiastical head, the catholicos of Etchmiadzin, placed under Russian rule, showed itself disinclined to being incorporated with the Russian Church; but the United Greeks of the formerly Polish provinces, who during Polish rule had been induced to recognize the supremacy of the pope, yielded to the influences brought to bear upon them by the Russian government. These exertions were begun as soon as Catharine II had acquired the possession of the Polish provinces, and it has been calculated that during the reign of this empress about seven millions of United Greeks joined the Russian Church. Little was done for this purpose during the reigns of Paul and Alexander I, but Nicholas I resumed these efforts with extraordinary vigor; and in 1839 the bishops and clergy of the United Greek Church of Lithuania and White Russia were induced at the Synod of Polotsk to declare in favor of a union with the Russian Church. Only one United Greek diocese Chelm, in Poland remained in communion with Rome until about 1877, when the majority of its priests and people were reported to have likewise been received into the Russian Church. (See Roman Catholic Church).

The missions among the pagan tribes of the empire made considerable progress, and especially Innocent, archbishop of Kamtchatka, became a much praised example of the revived missionary spirit in the Russian empire, traversing to and fro the long chain of pagan islands between Northeastern Asia and Northwestern America. The reign of Alexander II (since 1855) has been prolific of important reforms in the civil administration of the empire. Some of them, as the total abolition of serfdom, and the organization of a system of public schools, have had a considerable and favorable reaction upon the progress of the national Church. The efforts for Russifying the polyglot and polyreligious tribes of the empire in one tongue and one creed gained in vigor and extent. The great Eastern war of 1877 was proclaimed by the Russian bishops as a holy religious war for the overthrow of the Mohammedan power over the Orthodox Eastern churches in the Turkish empire, and made the Russian Church appear to a greater extent than ever before as the standard bearer of all the interests of the Oriental Eastern Church. The increasing missionary zeal of the Church overstepped the boundaries of the empire and founded missions in China and Japan which were prosperous beyond expectation. In many large cities of Western Europe and of the United States, Russian priests were appointed by the Russian government to gather not only the Orthodox Russians, but all persons belonging to the Eastern Oriental Church, into permanent congregations, and in 1879 even a bishop, with his residence in San Francisco, was appointed to exercise the episcopal superintendence over the congregations on the Pacific coast of North America. A strong desire for establishing friendly intercourse and relations with other churches of episcopal constitution madle itself felt among many of the most educated and zealous priests and laymen of the Church, and "societies for religious enlightenment" were formed at St. Petersburg and in other cities which proclaimed the promotion of this intercourse as one of their chief objects. The grand-duke Constantine. brother of Alexander II, is an enthusiastic patron of this movement and the president of the St. Petersburg society.

2. Doctrinal Basis Of The Russian Church . Although the connection between the Russian Church and the other sections of the Orthodox Eastern Church has for some time been severed, they have remained in entire union with regard to their common doctrine. Some (Schaff, Creeds Of Christendom , 1, 70) regard as "the most hopeful feature of the Russian Church the comparatively free circulation of the Scriptures, which are more highly esteemed and more widely read there than in other parts of the Eastern Church." Hepworth Dixon (Free Russia, p. 290) says that the Russians, next to the Scotch and the New Englanders, are the greatest Bible readers, but it must be remarked that not more than one out of ten Russians can read at all. Dr. Pinkerton, an English Independent, who for manyr years resided and travelled in Russia as agent of the British and Foreign Bible Society, takes, in his work on Russia (London, 1833), a hopeful view of the future of the Russian Church, "for the Church that permits every one of its members to read the Scriptures in a language which he understands, and acknowledges this Word as the highest tribunal in matters of faith on earth, is possessed of the best reformer of all superstition." It is also noteworthy that the treatise on The Duty of Parish Priests, which was composed by archbishop Koninsky of Mohilev, aided by bishop Sopkofsky of Smolensk (St. Petersburg, 1776), and on the contents of which all candidates for holy orders in the Russian seminaries are examined, approaches more nearly the Protestant principle of the supremacy of the Bible in matters of Christian faith and Christian life than any deliverance of the Eastern Church. Thus it says, "All the articles of the faith are contained in the Word of God; that is, in the books of the Old and the New Testament. The Word of God is the source, foundation, and perfect rule, both of our faith and of the good works of the law. The writings of the holy fathers are of great use, but neither the writings of the holy fathers nor the traditions of the Church are to be confounded or equalled with the Word of God and his commandments" (see Schaff, Creeds of Christendom, 1, 73).

Notwithstanding this respect of the Russian Church for the supreme authority of the Scriptures, it has never been prevailed upon to hold ecclesiastical communion with any other than the several branches of the Orthodox Eastern (commonly called Greek) Church. An interesting attempt to establish intercommunion and cooperation between the Russian Church and some Anglican bishops was made from 1717 to 1723 by two High-Church English bishops, called Nonjurors (for refusing to renounce their oath of allegiance to James II), in connection with two Scottish bishops. They wrote to this end, in October, 1717, to Peter the Great and the Eastern patriarchs. The patriarchs, in 1723, sent their ultimatum, requiring as a term of communion absolute submission of the British to all the dogmas of the Greek Church. The "Most Holy Governing Synod" of St. Petersburg was more polite, and in transmitting the ultimatum of the Eastern patriarchs proposed, in the name of the czar, "to the most reverend the bishops of the remnant of the Catholic Church in Great Britain, our brethren most beloved in the Lord, that they should send two delegates to Russia to hold a friendly conference, in the name and spirit of Christ, with two members to be chosen by the Russians, that it may be more easily ascertained what may be yielded or given up by one or the other; what, on the other hand, may or ought for conscience' sake to be absolutely denied." The conference, however, was never held, for the death of Peter the Great put an end to the negotiations.

A more serious attempt to effect intercommunion between the Anglican and Russo-Greek churches was begun in 1862, with the authority of the Convocation of Canterbury and the General Convention of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States. In the session of the latter held in New York in 1862, a joint committee was appointed "to consider the expediency of opening communication with the Russo-Greek Church, to collect authentic information upon the subject, and to report to the next general convention." Soon afterwards (July 1, 1863) the Convocation of Canterbury appointed a similar committee looking to "such ecclesiastical intercommunion with the Orthodox East as should enable the laity and clergy of either Church to join in the sacraments and offices of the other without forfeiting the communion of their own Church." The Episcopal Church in Scotland likewise fell il with the movement. These committees corresponded with each other, and reported from time to time to their authorities. Two Eastern Church associations were formed, one in England and one in America, for the publication of interesting information on the doctrines and worship of the Russo-Greek Church. Visits were made to Russia, fraternal letters and courtesies were exchanged, and informal conferences between Anglican and Russian dignitaries were held in London, St. Petersburg, and Moscow. The Russians, however, as well as the other branches of the Orthodox Eastern (Greek) Church, did not show the least disposition towards making any concession. A number of Russian divines took an active part in the Old Catholic reunion conferences at Bonn in 1874 and 1875; but although the Anglican and Old Catholic theologians here surrendered to the Orientals as a peace offering the filioque of the Western Creed, the Orientals made no concession on their part.

3. Ecclesiastical Polity . In regard to Church constitution, the organization of the Holy Governing Synod has established a considerable difference between the Russian Church, on the one hand, and all the other sections of the Orthodox Eastern Church, on the other.

(1.) The Holy Synod . The members of the synod are partly priests, partly laymen. All of them are appointed by the czar, who has also the right to dismiss them whenever he pleases. They meet at St. Petersburg in a special part of the large building which has been erected for the high imperial boards. At first the synod had twelve clerical members, one president, two vice-presidents, four councillors, and four assessors. The twelfth member was destined for the synodal office at Moscow. Three of the twelve clerical members had to be bishops, the others were to belong to different degrees of the hierarchy. It was, however, forbidden to appoint an archimandrite or protopresbyter from any diocese the bishop of which was a member of the synod, as it was feared that the former might be influenced by their bishop. According to the pleasure of the czar, the number of the clerical members was, however, sometimes larger, sometimes smaller than twelve. No episcopal see except that of Grusia (Tiflis) confers ex officio upon its occupant the right of membership in the Holy Synod, but the metropolitans of St. Petersburg, Moscow, and Kief invariably belong to it. Some of the members are obliged to reside at St. Petersburg, others are absent members who are invited only when matters of prime importance require the presence of all the members. The synod is always presided over by the oldest metropolitan. The most prominent among the lay members is the procurator-general of the synod. He represents the czar, makes the necessary preparations, has the right of veto, and carries out the measures that have been adopted. Every member of the synod, before taking his seat, must bind himself by a solemn oath to discharge faithfully the duties of his office, to be loyal to the czar and his successor, and to recognize the czar as the highest judge in the synod. The salaries of the members of the synod were at first paid from the property of the former patriarchate, which after its abolition was called synodal property. At present they receive a very moderate fixed addition to the salaries which they derive from their regular ecclesiastical office (as archbishops, bishops, or priests).

The synod is subject to the emperor, and receives his orders; on the other hand, all prelates and clergymen are subject to the synod. Among the chief duties of the synod are to preserve purity of doctrine, to regulate divine service, and to act as the highest court of appeal in all Church matters. The Synod has to prevent the spreading of heresies, to examine and censure theological books; it is entitled to prescribe ceremonies, and to see to it that they are observed. It has to superintend all churches and convents, to present to the czar suitable candidates for the vacant positions of archimandrites and prelates, and to examine the candidates for episcopal sees. It may transfer bishops to other sees, remove them, or send them to a convent. It acts as a court of appeal from the decisions of the bishops, and receives the complaints of any clergyman against his superiors. It has the right in doubtful cases to give instruction to the prelates; but it can make new laws only with the consent of the czar. It can grant dispensation from ecclesiastical laws, as from the rigid observation of the fasts. All trials which were formerly brought before the court of the patriarch belong now to the jurisdiction of the synod; among them are trials for heresy (against the Raskolniks), blasphemy, astrology; for doubtful, unlawful, and forced marriages; for adultery, divorce. Fornication and abduction are tried before secular courts. In affairs which are partly of an ecclesiastical and partly of a secular character, the synod acts conjointly with the senate, to which it is, in general, co-ordinate. The administrative functions of the synod are divided into two sections, the Economical Department (or College of Economy) and the comptroller's office. All affairs which involve an outlay of money as the erection of churches, schools, convents, payments, supports of clergymen, and so forth are first submitted to the Economical Department. The Department of Comptrol has to examine whether the moneys assigned have been properly used, and to examine the accounts. Since 1809 all sums realized by the sale of consecrated candles and other objects which the faithful purchase from the Church, as well as the proceeds of the voluntary offerings of the people, have to be sent by the bishops to the synod, which distributes them among the eparchies according to their several wants. The treasury of the synod, which receives all these moneys, stands under the special control of the two youngest members of the synod, and of a civil officer appointed by the chief procurator.

In 1839 the commission of ecclesiastical schools, which had been established in 1808, was dissolved by the czar, and the Holy Synod was charged with the direction of these schools.

Subordinate to the Holy Synod are 1, the synodal office of Moscow, which is presided over by the metropolitan of the city, who is assisted by a vicar- general, one archimandrite, and one protopresbyter; 2, the synodal office of Grusia, in which the metropolitan of Tiflis and Grusia presides, being assisted by two archimandrites and one protopresbyter; 3, the college of the former Greek United Church in White Russia and Lithuania, presided over by the archbishop of Lithuania, who is assisted by three members of the secular clergy. The synod has two printing offices, in St. Petersburg and Moscow, in which all rescripts of the czar and the synod referring to ecclesiastical affairs, all books used at divine service, and, in general, all books, registers, circulars, prayers, pictures, etc., intended for Church use are printed. The synod sends the printed matter to the bishop, who distributes it among the clergy. Every parish priest has to render at the end of the year an account to the bishops of all articles sold, and to remit to him the proceeds. The bishop sends an account of all articles sold within the diocese and remits the amount. The synod has annually from these sales a considerable surplus, which is used for supplying poor eparchies and parishes gratuitously with the books and other objects needed at divine service. Books on theological subjects are not only printed in the offices of the synod, but their contents must be expressly approved by it. For this purpose the Holy Synod is assisted by three committees of censorship, which have their seats at St. Petersburg, Moscow, and Kief.

(2.) Orders Of The Clergy . The higher clergy of the Russian Church consists of metropolitans, archbishops, and bishops. At first Russia had only one metropolitan, at Kief; when the patriarchate was erected, the archbishops of Novgorod, Kasan, Astrakhan, Rostoff, and Krutizk were raised to the rank of metropolitans. In 1667 the czar Alexis Michaelovitch raised the archbishops of Kasan and Siberia to metropolitans, and appointed a special metropolitan at Astrakhan. Five other metropolitans were appointed by Theodore Alexievitch, and, on the accession of Peter the Great, Russia had, therefore, twelve metropolitans. Peter appointed in the place of the deceased metropolitans and archbishops only bishops, and conferred the title of "metropolitan" and "archbishop" upon any bishops he pleased. Thus the titles "metropolitan" and "archbishop" are now not bound to dioceses of a higher degree, but are only the honorary titles of bishops whom the czar wishes to distinguish by a higher title. It has, however, been customary that the occupants of the eparchies Novgorod- Petersburg, Moscow, and Kief have the title "metropolitans, "and in 1878 no other archbishop had this title. The eparchies are divided into eparchies of the first, second, and third classes, according to the salaries connected with the sees. The three metropolitans of Novgorod-Petersburg, Moscow, and Kief belong to the first class. According to Silbernagl (Verfassung und gegenwartiger Bestand sammtlicher Kirchen des Orients, 1865), there were seventeen eparchies of the second and thirty of the third class. Not embraced in these numbers are the eparchies of Georgia or Grusia, which territory in 1801 was incorporated with Russia. The country has at present five eparchies, which are not divided into classes, but among which that of Tiflis holds the highest rank. The occupant of the see has the title "exarch of all Georgia," and is always ex officio member of the Holy Synod and president of the synodal office at Tiflis. When an episcopal see becomes vacant, the synod, according to the regulations of Peter the Great, presents to the czar two candidates, of whom the czar is to select one. Often, however, the czar himself designates a candidate, whom the synod has to elect. As the bishop has to be unmarried, and all the secular clergy are married, the candidates for the episcopal sees can only be taken from the regular clergy. The first claim belongs to those archimandrites who are members of the Holy Synod, or those to whom affairs of the synod have been intrusted, and who have given proof of their ability. After the confirmation of the bishop elect by the czar, all the archbishops and bishops present in the capital assemble in the hall of the synod, and the new bishop is proclaimed by the oldest archbishop. The consecration always takes place in the cathedral, and is also attended by all bishops of the capital.

The rights and duties of the bishops are fully explained in the Spiritual Regulations of Peter the Great. The bishop ordains all the clergymen of his diocese, but he is expected not to ordain more priests, deacons, and other clergymen than are necessary for the celebration of divine service. He has to superintend all the monks under his jurisdiction, and to see that they observe the monastic rules, but he has not the right to punish them without the previous consent of the Holy Synod. The secular clergy, on the other hand, are, also in this respect, wholly under his jurisdiction. Laymen may be excommunicated by the bishop on account of public transgression of the divine commandments, or on account of heresy, but the bishops must previously admonish them three times, and must not involve the family of the culprit in the sentence. The bishop is in particular expected to devote himself zealously to the establishment of schools and seminaries. In order to become acquainted with his eparchy, the bishop shall visit all its parishes at least once every two or three years, and he is not allowed to leave the diocese without the permit of the Holy Synod. In all important or doubtful affairs he is directed to ask for the advice of the Holy Synod. The bishop holds the official rank of a major-general and a councilor of state. According to a ukase of 1764, issued by Catharine II, the property of all bishoprics, convents, and churches of Great Russia was confiscated and transferred for administration to the College of Economy, which now pays to all the bishops a fixed salary. To new eparchies the czar assigns likewise a fixed salary, to be paid by the College of Economy; he also determines, in case two eparchies are united, whether the bishop shall receive the income of one or of both. As has already been stated, the eparchies are divided, according to the amount of the salaries, into eparchies of the first, second, and third class. According to the ulase of Catharine II, the prelates of the first class are to receive a salary of 1500 rubles, those of the second class 1200 rubles, and those of the third class 1000 rubles. Besides, the bishops receive a certain amount of table money, etc., for defraying the expenses of their household. The table money of the metropolitans ranges from 2200 to 3900 rubles; the bishops of the second class receive 1000, and those of the third class 800. The bishops generally reside in celebrated convents, which, however, although they are still called convents, are now rather extensive "episcopal houses." Besides the incomes derived from the State, the bishops receive fees for their episcopal functions, as the consecration of new churches, the ordination of priests, for masses for the dead, etc. The eparchies bear their name from the place where the prelate has his residence, rarely from a province. It is common to mention the name of the eparchy by means of adjectives, as the "Muscovite metropolitan" instead of the "metropolitan of Moscow."

Besides bishops, archbishops, and metropolitans, Russia has also vicars of episcopal rank. They were at first appointed in very extensive eparchies, where the prelate found it impossible to perform all the episcopal functions. The first eparchy which had a vicar was Novgorod; in 1764 the empress Catharine II established another for the eparchy of Moscow. The vicars have their own dioceses and full episcopal jurisdiction. They have a consistorial chancery like the other prelates, but an appeal may be taken from their judgments to the metropolitan or archbishop in whose eparchy their district is situated. In regard to salary, they are placed on a level with the prelates of the third class. At present the Russian Church has ten vicariates. Every prelate is assisted in the administration of his diocese by a consistory which is composed of from five to seven members. They are presented to the synod by the bishop, and, after their confirmation, can only be removed with the consent of the synod. Each consistory has its own chancery, which generally consists, in eparchies of the first class, of twenty-eight persons, in eparchies of the second, of twenty-one, and in eparchies of the third, of nineteen. The consistory has to take the necessary measures for preserving the purity of the faith. It superintends the sermons and the keeping of the clerical registers, and reports once a year on the condition of the eparchy to the synod. To its jurisdiction belong also matrimonial affairs and the complaints of clergymen and laymen against each other. If secular priests or monks wish to return to the ranks of the laity, the consistory has to subject them to an admonition, the former during three and the latter during six months; it has also to sentence clergymen for important or disgraceful offenses. The sentences pronounced against such clergymen are: 1, suspension; 2, degradation to a lower degree of the clergy; 3, entire degradation or deposition. The last named sentence involves the surrender of the culprit into the army or to the imperial manufactures, and, in criminal cases, to the secular authorities. From the judgment of a consistory an appeal may be taken to the prelate, and from the latter to the Holy Synod. In every large town of the eparchy there are offices called "ecclesiastical directories," generally consisting of two members, which have to receive petitions to the consistory and make reports to it. The bishop appoints, with the consent of the synod, deans for superintending the churches and the clergymen. A dean's district embraces from ten to thirty parish churches. They have to visit the churches of their district, and to revise once every six months the registers of the Church and the lists of baptisms, marriages, and deaths. Under their presidency the parishes elect the church-wardens. In the cities the protopresbyter of the principal church has the superintendence of the entire clergy.

The clergy are divided into the white, or secular, clergy, and the black clergy, or monks. The white clergy chiefly recruits itself from the sons of the priests and other employes of the Church. The admission of persons from other classes of society is surrounded with difficulties. The bishop is forbidden to ordain any one without the necessary knowledge, the requisite age, and good certificates of character, and is not to exceed the number of priests wanted by his eparchy. No one shall be ordained a secular priest without having previously been married to a virgin. The other persons employed for the services of the Church, as sextons, choristers, etc., do not receive any ordination, but are also regarded as a part of the clergy.

(3.) Schools . Peter the Great was the first who commanded the prelates to establish in the capitals of their eparchies ecclesiastical seminaries where boys especially the sons of priests might be educated for the priesthood. All that had been required before his time was that the candidates should be able to read, to write a little, and to perform the liturgical functions. Peter the Great also decreed that the chief convents should contribute one twentieth, and the principal churches one thirtieth of their corn for the gratuitous education of the pupils of the ecclesiastical schools. After the confiscation of the Church property in 1764, the support of the seminaries devolved upon the Holy Synod. The ecclesiastical schools are divided into the four school districts of Petersburg, Kief, Moscow, and Kasan. At the head of each of the districts is an ecclesiastical academy. At each academy is a conference consisting of the rector of the academy, one archimandrite, one yeromonach, two secular priests, and several professors, and presided over by the metropolitan or archbishop, who has to superintend the execution of all the decrees of the synod in regard to the education of the clergymen and of the priests. The Conference of the Academy of St. Petersburg constitutes the center of the scientific life in the Russian Church, as the conferences of the other school districts receive from it the decisions of the Holy Synod. The system of Church schools, which is under the direct jurisdiction of the Holy Synod, consists of the ecclesiastical academies, the eparchial seminaries, the circuit schools, and the parish schools. Every pupil has first to enter the parish school and to remain there for two years. He then attends in succession the circuit school, the eparchial seminary, and finally the academy, remaining in each of these schools for three or four years.

(4.) Marriage And Privileges Of The Priests . As the secular clergy must be married, they cannot ascend to a higher position than that of a protopresbyter. Widower presbyters were required by a canon of Theodosius, metropolitan of Moscow, to resign and withdraw to a convent. The Council of Moscow in 1667 authorized widower clergymen who led a virtuous life in the convent to continue their priestly functions as yeromonach. Peter the Great forbade the bishop to force any widower priest to retire to a convent. By a second rescript, issued in 1724, he provided that widower priests who were good scholars or preachers and who should marry a second time should be employed as rectors of the seminaries or in the chanceries of the bishops. At present the synod can give permission to widower priests to remain in their office.

The secular clergy are exempt from personal taxes and from military duty. For any criminal offense the clergy are subject to the civil court, but the proceedings against them always take place in the presence of deputies of the ecclesiastical court. In the case of any other offense they are judged by the Church courts. No priest or deacon can be subjected to corporal punishment until he has been degraded by his ecclesiastical superior. The wives of priests and other Church employes share the privileges of their husbands as long as they are not married again.

(5.) Appointment And Support Of The Clergy . In 1722 and 1723 the synod fixed, conjointly with the senate, the number of clergymen who were to serve at every church. Since the confiscation of the Church property in 1764, the Economy College of the Holy Synod pays fixed salaries to the clergymen and employes of all churches which had real estate, or at least twenty serfs. In case a community wants a larger number of clergymen than the government is bound to pay, it has to make satisfactory provision for a sufficient salary.

Every regiment of the army has its own priest, who is under the jurisdiction of the prelate in whose eparchy the regiment is stationed. Only in time of war all the military priests are placed under the jurisdiction of a superior priest who is specially appointed for this purpose.

The bishop has full freedom in appointing the priests of all churches which have no patron. In the army no priest is to be appointed without the consent of the bishop. The children and relatives of a parish priest must not be appointed at the same church. The nobleman on whose estate a church has been erected has the right of patronage. He may propose a priest whose appointment he desires to the bishop, and without his consent no priest can be appointed. In villages the patrons superintend the church- warden and hold the key to the Church treasury.

(6.) Monks And Nuns . All the convents of Russia follow the rule of St. Basil. No one can become a monkl before the fortieth year of age, nor a nun1 before the fiftieth year. Before the year 1830 the thirtieth year of age was required for monks. The synod grants, however, dispensations in regard to age, especially to young men who, after completing their studies at an ecclesiastical academy, desire to enter a convent with a view to securing as early as possible an appointment as prelate, archimandrite, or professor. Children need the consent of their parents to their entrance into a convent, and many legal precautions have been taken to close the gates of the convents against persons who are unwilling, or who by entering a convent would violate other duties. In those convents which are supported by the State the limit of the number of monks is fixed by law. The novitiate lasts three years. After its termination the permission of the diocesan bishop is required for admitting the novices to a preparatory degree. On this admission they put on the black habit, from which the monks have received the name of the black clergy. The taking of the monastic vows is connected with solemn rites. There is a third monastic degree, called the "great" or "angelic" habit, but only a few monks are admitted to it.

Every convent of monks is either under an archimandrite or an igumen; smaller convents are under a predstoyatel (president); the female convents are under an igumena. Formerly the superiors of convents were elected by the monks, now they are appointed by the Holy Synod. The monks are divided into two classes, those who have received the order of priests or deacon and are called yeromonachs and yerodeacons, and common monks called monachs. The number of the former is only small. The convents are under the superintendence of the bishop in whose eparchy they are situated; only the lauras, a small class of the most prominent convents, and the stauropigies, or exempt convents, are under the direct jurisdiction of the Holy Synod. The present regulations of the Russian convents date from the time of Peter the Great. By a ukase of 1701 he abolished the institution of the lay brothers, and bound the monks to receive and nurse invalid soldiers and other aged and poor men; the nuns, in the same way, were required to receive aged females, to educate orphans, and teach female handiwork. The regulations are, on the whole, the same as for most of the religious orders of the Eastern and Roman Catholic churches. The monks are admonished to read often in the Bible and to study, and the superiors are required to be well versed in the Scriptures and the monastic rules. The monks are excluded from pastoral duties; only the chaplains of the navy are taken from their ranks. The government has established a college for this special purpose at Balaklava, in the Crimea. To this college monks are called from the various eparchies, and the archimandrite of the convent elects from them chaplains for the men-of-war. As the monks receive, in general, a better education than the secular clergy, the professors in the seminaries and ecclesiastical academies are generally taken from them.

The first Russian convents were established during the reign of Vladimir the Great, but the cradle of all the Russian convents was the Petchersky Laura at Kief, which had been founded by Anthony, a monk of Mount Athos, during the reign of Yaroslav (1036-54). From that time the convents increased rapidly. In 1542 Ivan II Vasilivitch forbade, at the Council of Moscow, the establishing of a convent without the permission of the monarch and the diocesan bishop. Peter the Great not only forbade bishops and other persons to build convents or hermitages, but also ordered the abolition of smaller convents and of all hermitages. Catharine II, in 1764, confiscated the entire property of the convents. At the same time many convents were suppressed, for the empress intended to preserve only the most prominent convents in the large cities and those that were most celebrated. In consequence of numerous petitions addressed to her, the empress allowed the continuance of many convents under the condition that such convents should support themselves or be supported by the voluntary offerings of the people. Since that time two classes of convents have been distinguished, those which are supported by the Economy College and those which are not. The former are, like the eparchies, divided into three classes, according to the number of inmates and the amount of their salaries.

4. Statistics . The procurator-general of the Holy Synod publishes annually an account of the condition of the Russian Church. The following facts are taken from the report made by the present procurator-general, count Tolstoi, on the state of the Church in 1876, and published in April, 1878. There were in 1875 in all the eparchies, with the exception of the exarchate Grusia, the Alexandro-Nevski Laura (convent of the first rank) of St. Petersburg, and the Petchayevsk-Uspensky Laura at Kief, from which no report had been received, 56 archiepiscopal houses and 380 convents of monks, of which 169 received no support from the State. The total number of monks was 10,512, of whom 4621 were serving brothers. Of nunneries there were 147 (forty of which derived no support from the State), with 14,574 nuns, of whom 10,771 were serving sisters. The number of cathedral churches, including 57 episcopal churches, 562 chief churches of cities, 3 army cathedrals, and 3 navy cathedrals, was 625; of other churches, 39, 338; of chapels and oratories, 13,594. Of the churches, 227 parish churches are reported to belong to Raskolniks. The total number of the secular clergy, which includes the sextons, was 98,802. In the course of the year 1876,323 churches and 170 chapels and oratories were built. There were 87 hospitals with 1192 inmates, and 605 poorhouses with 6763 inmates. The number of persons received into the Russian Church was 12, 340, embracing 1192 Roman Catholics, 516 United Greeks, 8 Armenians, 688 Protestants, 2539 Raskolniks, or Old Believers (1498 completely united with the Russian Church, and 1041 reserved the use of the ancient canons), 450 Jews, 219 Mohammedans, and 6728 pagans. The number of divorces was 1023; in 29 cases the cause was remarriage of the one party during the lifetime of the other; in 2, too close consanguinity; in 15, impotence; in 80, adultery; in 650, the unknown residence of one party; in 247, the condemnation of one party to forced labor or exile.

The institutions for the education of the clergy, with the number of their teachers and pupils, were as follows: The number of schools connected with churches and monasteries was 6811, with an aggregate of 197,191 pupils, of whom 170, 461 were male and 26,730 female. The number of Church libraries was 15,770; the number of new libraries established in the course of the year, 235. The Church property under the administration of the procurator-general amounted, on Jan. 1, 1877, to 26, 855,858 rubles. The population connected with the Orthodox Russian Church, with the exception of three Asiatic eparchies, the exarchate Grusia, and the army and navy, from which no reports had been received, amounted to 57,701,660. Adding an estimate of the Orthodox population in the districts above named, the total population of the Orthodox Russian Church was in 1876 about 60,100, 000. The Orthodox Church prevails in each of the sixty governments into which European Russia is divided, except sixteen, of which twelve are chiefly inhabited by Roman Catholics, three by Protestants, and one by Mohammedans. Of the total Orthodox population about 54,900,000 live in European Russia, 2,100,000 in Caucasia, 3,000,000 in Siberia, and 270,000 in Central Asia. The grand-duchy of Finland has about 37,000 adherents of the Russian Church. Outside of Russia the Russian Church has established missions in China and Japan which are reported as making satisfactory progress, and as counting in each country a population of about 5000 souls.

II. Other Christian Churches . While nearly the entire population in those provinces which have not been under any other than Russian rule belong to the Greek Church, the empire has received a large Roman Catholic population by the partition of Poland, and a considerable Protestant population by the annexation of the Baltic provinces. The conquest of Erivan in 1828 placed under Russian rule not only a considerable portion of the Armenian Church, but the seat of its head, the catholicos of Etchmiadzin.

1 . Roman Catholics . Until 1642 no provision had been made for the few Roman Catholics living in the Russian dominions. In 1642 the Italian embassy to Moscow was attended by a Jesuit, who was followed by twenty Capuchin monks and a praefect. From 1705 to 1715 several other Jesuits were sent to Russia, and a college was established by them at Minsk. Pius VI sent a legate to St. Petersburg, and placed under his jurisdiction the missions of that city, Moscow, Riga, and Reval. As the provinces which were incorporated with Russia at the first partition of Poland contained a considerable Catholic population, Catharine II concluded to erect a bishopric of the Latin rite for her Catholic subjects. This led to the establishment of the archbishopric of Mohilev, which was confirmed in 1783 by Pius VI. By the second and third partitions of Poland, a number of episcopal sees fell under Russian rule, all of which, except that of Livonia, were abolished by Catharine II, who, instead, erected two new ones. Paul I came to an understanding with the pope about a reorganization of the Catholic Church in the new Russian provinces, and accordingly, in 1797, the following dioceses were organized: Mohilev, archbishopric; and Samogitia, Wilna, Luzk, Kaminiec, and Minsk, bishoprics. All these dioceses received a new circumscription by the concordat of Aug. 3, 1847. By the same concordat a sixth episcopal see of Kherson, or Tiraspol, was erected for the Catholics in the southern provinces of European Russia and in the Caucasus.

The archbishop of Mohilev is president of the Roman Catholic academy, a kind of central or general seminary for all the Catholic dioceses above referred to. The constitution of this academy is almost the same as that of the four academies of the Orthodox Russian Church already referred to. The diocese of Mohilev embraces all those parts of Russia proper (exclusive of the former kingdom of Poland) which do not belong to one of the six dioceses which have been mentioned, also the Catholics of Finland. Besides the archbishopric of Mohilev, Russia has in the former kingdom of Poland the ecclesiastical province of Warsaw, embracing the archbishopric of Warsaw and the bishoprics of Cracow, Lublin, Yanov or Podlachia, Sendomir, Seyna or Augustovo, and Vladislav-Kalish or Kuyavia. This ecclesiastical organization of Poland dates from the papal bull of June 30, 1818, and was confirmed by another concordat concluded in 1847. The Russian government has pursued, with regard to the Catholic Church of Poland, the same policy as that with regard to the Russian State Church. The Church property was confiscated, and, in return, the clergy were paid and the buildings maintained by the government. The number of convents was greatly reduced, and the remaining ones placed under almost the same regulations as those of the Orthodox Russian Church. As the Russian government, in many cases, carried through new regulations in regard to the Roman Catholic Church without having come to a previous understanding with the pope, frequent conflicts between Russia and the pope have been the consequence. In 1878 the diplomatic relations between Russia and Rome were still interrupted. The active part which a number of the Catholic clergy in the Polish districts have always taken in the national movements of the Poles against the Russian rule has naturally added to the unfriendly feelings which have generally prevailed between Russia and the Roman Catholic Church. Notwithstanding these incessant conflicts, the immense majority of the total population of the former kingdom of Poland has remained in connection with the Roman Catholic Church. In 1878 the Roman Catholics there were reported as numbering 4,597,000 in a total population of 5,210,000, while the Orthodox Russian Church had only a population numbering 34,135 souls.

Exclusive of the kingdom of Poland, Russia proper in Europe had a Roman Catholic population of 2,898,006 souls; in Caucasia, 25, 916; in Siberia, 24,316; in Central Asia, 1316. Only in two governments did they forma majority of the total population in Kovno, where they constitute 79.5 percent, and in Wilna, where they constitute 61 percent

Besides the Roman Catholic population of the Latin rite, the Polish provinces had formerly a large population belonging to the United Greek Church. Nearly the whole of this population has been induced by the Russian government, in the manner already referred to, to unite with the Russian Church, and to sever its connection with Rome. The Russian government in 1879 reported the Church as n

The Nuttall Encyclopedia [3]

Next to the British empire the most extensive empire in the world, embracing one-sixth of the land-surface of the globe, including one-half of Europe, all Northern and a part of Central Asia; on the N. it fronts the Arctic Ocean from Sweden to the NE. extremity of Asia; its southern limit forms an irregular line from the NW. corner of the Black Sea to the Sea of Japan, skirting Turkey, Persia, Afghanistan, East Turkestan, and the Chinese empire; Behring Sea, Sea of Okhotsk, and the Sea of Japan wash its eastern shores; Sweden, the Baltic, Germany, and Austria lie contiguous to it in West Europe. This solid, compact mass is thinly peopled (13 to the sq. m. over all) by some 40 different-speaking races, including, besides the dominant Russians (themselves split into three branches), Poles, Finns, Esthonians, Servians, Bulgarians, Lithuanians, Kurds, Persians, Turco-Tartars, Mongols, &c. Three-fourths of the land-surface, with one-fourth of the population, lies in Asia, and is treated under Siberia, Turkestan, Caucasia, &c. Russia in Europe, embracing Finland and Poland ( q. v .), is divided from Asia by the Ural Mountains and River and Caspian Sea; forms an irregular, somewhat elongated, square plain sloping down to the low and dreary coast-lands of the Baltic (W.), White Sea (N.), and Black Sea (S.); is seamed by river valleys and diversified by marshes, vast lakes ( e. g . Ladoga, Onega, Peipus, and Ilmen), enormous forests, and in the N. and centre by tablelands, the highest of which being the Valdai Hills (1100 ft.); the SE. plain is called the Steppes ( q. v .). The cold and warm winds which sweep uninterrupted from N. and S. produce extremes of temperature; the rainfall is small. Agriculture is the prevailing industry, engaging 90 per cent. of the people, although in all not more than 21 per cent. of the soil is cultivated; rye is the chief article of food for the peasantry, who comprise four-fifths of the population. The rich plains, known as the "black lands" from their deep, loamy soil, which stretch from the Carpathians to the Urals, are the most productive corn-lands in Europe, and rival in fertility the "yellow lands" of China, and like them need no manure. Timber is an important industry in the NW., and maize and the vine are cultivated in the extreme S.; minerals abound, and include gold, iron (widely distributed), copper (chiefly in middle Urals), and platinum; there are several large coal-fields and rich petroleum wells at Baku. The fisheries, particularly those of the Caspian, are the most productive in Europe. Immense numbers of horses and cattle are reared, e. g . on the Steppes. Wolves, bears, and valuable fur-bearing animals are plentiful in the N. and other parts; the reindeer is still found, also the elk. Want of ports on the Mediterranean and Atlantic hamper commerce, while the great ports in the Baltic are frozen up four or five months in the year; the southern ports are growing in importance, and wheat, timber, flax, and wool are largely exported. There is a vast inland trade, facilitated by the great rivers (Volga, Don, Dnieper, Dniester, Vistula, &c.) and by excellent railway and telegraphic communication. Among its varied races there exists a wide variety of religions—Christianity, Mohammedanism, Buddhism, Shamanism, &c.; but although some 130 sects exist, the bulk of the Russians proper belong to the Greek Church. Education is backward, more than 85 per cent. of the people being illiterate; there are eight universities. Conscription is enforced; the army is the largest in the world. Government is an absolute monarchy, save in Finland ( q. v .); the ultimate legislative and executive power is in the hands of the czar, but there is a State Council of 60 members nominated by the czar. In the 50 departments a good deal of local self-government is enjoyed through the village communes and their public assemblies, but the imperial power as represented by the police and military is felt in all parts, while governors of departments have wide and ill-defined powers which admit of abuse. The great builders of the empire, the beginnings of which are to be sought in the 9th century, have been Ivan the Great, who in the 15th century drove out the Mongols and established his capital as Moscow; Ivan the Terrible, the first of the czars, who in the 16th century pushed into Asia and down to the Black Sea; and Peter The Great ( q. v .). Its restless energies are still unabated, and inspire a persistently aggressive policy in the Far East. Within recent years its literature has become popular in Europe through the powerful writings of Pushkin, Turgenief, and Tolstoi.