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Humanitarian sciences in Siberia

2021 year, number

PATRIARCH NIKON AND ESCHATOLOGY

N.S. Gurianova
Institute of History SB RAS, Novosibirsk, Russian Federation
Keywords: Russian Church, XVII century, religiosity, Nikon, patriarch, reform, schism, eschatology, Old Believers

Abstract

The article is devoted to studying the problem of Patriarch Nikon`s appeal to the Christian eschatological doctrine in the letters to Tsar Alexey Mikhailovich and the essay «Vozrazhenie, ili Razorenie.... The text analysis allowed showing that Nikon began to interpret his status change as persecution of the Church after leaving the patriarchal throne. He presented himself as protector of the Church. Opponents of church reform chose the same line of behavior. During the exile Nikon was forced to justify his behavior and defend his views, i.e. found himself in a situation very similar to that of his opponents. In this case, Nikon clearly manifested the religiosity of the medieval type, and explaining his position, he turned to the eschatological doctrine. This doctrine provided an opportunity to interpret the current situation of persecution as a result of the Antichrists reign coming. The church reform opponents perceived their position in a similar way. They also appealed to the Christian eschatological doctrine. Appealing to Patriarch Nikons epistles written after the patriarch had left his position, as well as to the text of the essay Vozrazhenie, ili Razorenie... made it possible to conclude that such eschatological expectations were possible in the worldview of any person who lived in the second half of the XVII century. It could be explained both by the spiritual crisis and changes in the situation of a particular person, which is especially noticeable in Patriarch Nikons life. His theological, historical-canonical, philosophical views should be defined as typical of a Modern history person. Having lost the status of patriarch, Nikon, like his opponents, began to interpret the persecution in the spirit of the Christian teaching about the ultimate destinies of the world and man. Eschatological constructions in the Old Believers and Patriarch Nikons writings indicate that religiosity of the medieval type remained a characteristic feature in views of Russias population in the XVII century.