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about whom he had heard so much, bowed
to the ground and asked : " For what hast
thou come to me, reverend father ? " Ser-
gius replied that he had brought a petition.





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with an account of the heresies in the new
books. "I myself am a sinner," replied
Havansky. " I much wish that all should,
as of old, worship in the holy church unan-
imously and without difference; but, al-
though I am a sinner, I undoubtedly keep
to the old piety. I read the old books, and
I sign myself with the sign of the cross,
made by two fingers." Havdnsky then re-
cited the creed, with the addition, thought
indispensable by the Dissenters, of " and in
the real life-giving Holy Ghost," and con-
tinued : ** Thus I believe, and thus I teach,
and I pray God to be merciful to the Chris-
tian people, and not to allow Christian
lands to be utterly ruined by the present

them." Other Dissenters then suggested to
Havansky the famous Nikita, of Suzdal, as a
fit man for the time — a priest who, after hav-
ing been a leading Dissenter, had formally re-
canted, but had now gone back again to
Dissent. His adversaries had given him
the nick-name of " Bladder-head." Hav-
dnsky was delighted with the suggestion,
for he had a high opinion of Nikita*s abil-
ities, and thought that none of the orthodox
could successfully oppose him in dispute. " I
am glad to help you, brethren," he said, " and
do not at all imagine that, as of old, you will
be punished, or hanged, or cut to pieces, or

The Dissenters then demanded a public


new Nfkonian belief." According to cus-
tom, he ended his discourse with texts.
The petition was then read, but Havdnsky
did not receive such a favorable impression
of the " firm adamant " as his supporters
desired. " I see, O father," he said, " that
you are a peaceful and quiet monk, not talk-
ative, not eloquent. You are not the man for
such a great act. We must set against them
a man of many words, who can reply to

discussion at the Lobn6e Place in the pres-
ence of the Tsars and of all of the people,
and, if not there, at least in the Kremlin at
the Red Staircase, and insisted that this dis-
cussion should take place without fail on
the following Friday, the 3d of July; for
Friday, by old custom, had been specially
set apart for religious assemblies. Havin-
sky replied that Friday would be impossi-
ble, because Sunday, the 5th, was appointee/

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vatius, who had just arrived from the Volo-
kolimsky Hermitages^ carried a picture of
the "Last Judgment" Crowds of people,
surprised by this unusual procession, col-
lected in the streets, and asked one another
in whispers what all this meant; and as
they followed the procession, recited in low
tones, " Lord, have mercy on us ! Lord,
have mercy on us ! "

On their arrival at the Klr6mlin, the Dis-
senters' procession stopped at the Red Stair-
case, and sent word of their arrival to Prince
Havinsky. They were taken, according to
custom, into the "answering hall" where
Havdnsky put on an air of ignorance, and
went through the usual formula of asking the
purpose of their coming. At the same time
he made obeisance to the Gospel and to the
cross. Nikfta replied : " We have to come
to petition with regard to the old orthodox
faith, that the Patriarch and the archbishops
may be ordered to officiate according to the
old rite. If the Patriarch refuse to do this,
let him answer in what respect the old books
are bad, and why he has persecuted the ad-
herents of the old rite." He promised, for
himself and his adherents, to show many here-
sies in the new books. Havinsky replied to
Nikita, as he had formerly done to Sergius :
" I myself am a sinner, but I believe accord-
ing to the old books." He took the petition
and went up to the chamber of the Tsars.
Returning in a little time, he said that, at the
request of the Patriarch, the Tsars had put off
the discussion of their petition until Wednes-
day, as it was an important matter, which
needed much time ; that the books must be
compared ; and he advised them to come on
Wednesday, after dinner. Nikfta, however,
did not forget that the coronation was ar-
ranged for Sunday, and immediately asked :
" How will the Tsars be crowned ? " " Ac-
cording to the old rite," answered Havdnsky.
Nikfta insisted that the Patriarch should
officiate at the liturgy, as of old, with
seven wafers, and that the cross upon these
wafers should be the real and true cross,
and not a Latin one. To get rid of him,
Havinsky answered : " Bring me some
wafers baked with the impress of the old
cross. I myself will take them to the Patri-
arch, and order him to serve according to
the old rite, and you, Father Nikfta, go

Next day, two other refugee Dissenters
arrived — Father Doroth^us and Father
Gabriel. There was great joy among the
Dissenters, who felt sure of a speedy triumph.
Nikfta requested a certain widow of his ac-

quaintance to prepare the wafers in the old

Although Nikfta started out early on Sun-
day morning with his wafers carefully
packed in a wallet, when he arrived at the


Kremlin, he found the crowd so great in
the square about the Cathedral that it was
perfectly impossible for him to reach even
the barriers. Much against his will, he was
obliged to return, and coming sadly into
the assembly of the faithful, placed the
wafers on the table, saying : " Pardon me,
O holy fathers ! The people would not allow
me to approach the Cathedral, and I have
brought back the wafers." They were,
therefore, after service, distributed among
the faithful at benediction.

Meanwhile the coronation had taken
place. On the evening of the 4th of July,
1682, there was a grand vesper service
in all the cliurches, and especially in the
Cathedral of the Assumption, where it was
celebrated by the Patriarch Kir Joachim,
attended by all the superior clergy. During
the night a square platform, raised on twelve
steps, was erected in the middle of the
Cathedral, immediately under the dome.

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and covered with crimson cloth. From
this platform to the chancel, the pavement
was spread with red cloth, on which two
strips of scarlet velvet were laid for the
Tsars, and a strip of blue velvet for the
Patriarch. On each side were raised seats
for the clergy, covered with Persian carpets
and cloth- of-gold. On the center platform
a double throne was erected. There had
not been time to make entirely fresh rega-
lia for the double coronation, and the sil-
vered gilt throne of handsome workman-
ship made for the Tsar Alexis was divided
by a bar in the middle, so that it could be
used by the two boys. Behind, a seat was
placed, so that the monitor of Peter, through
the hole in the back, could whisper to

less expense, for the use of Peter. The old
historic ones, with which all the Tsars had
been crowned, were reserved for Ivin.)
This was the last time they were ever used.
The successors of Peter were Emperors, not
Tsars ; and the crown and pectoral cros^
of Monomachus, the visible symbols of the
relations of the Muscovite Tsars to the em-
perors of Constantinople, are now mere cu-
riosities in the Imperial treasury at Moscowj
On the left side of this throne was a third
throne for the Patriarch, the spiritual emJ
peror. This, too, was used for the last time^
The power of the clergy was to be dimin-
ished, and the rule of the Patriarch to be
broken. I

In the chancel were placed six reading-


him the necessary responses. The crown,
scepter, and globe, originally presents from
Constantine Monomachus, Emperor of the
^.ast, to the Grand Duke Vladimir of Kfef,
i been imitated in smaller size, and at

desks, two lower than the rest, covered with',
satin embroidered with jewels, on which l
were to be placed the crown and scepter and
the pectoral cross of Monomachus, contain-
ing a relic of the true cross. 1

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At the first dawn of day, on the 6th of
July, the bells began to ring joyfully and
there was a great procession of the clergy
from all the churches. At 5 o'clock the
two boy Tsars went to the Palace Chapel
for Matins, and then in procession to the
banqueting-hall. Here, in honor of the day,
they promoted to the rank of boydr Prince
Andrei Havdnsky, Michael Plestch6ief, and
Matthew Milosldvsky. L4rion Milosldvsky
and Zmeief were made ok61nitchi, and
Hitrovo and Push^tchnikof appointed privy-
councillors. The Tsars wore long robes of
cloth-of-gold covered with lace and fringes,
broad sleeves and caps set with precious
stones. Not only were their robes cut from
the same piece, but the candles they held
were of the same length that there might be
no inequality. Select boydrs were then sent
to the treasury to fetch the cross, the crown,
the scepters and the other regalia, which
were brought in by priests, and then carried to
the Cathedral of the Assumption, where they
were received by the Patriarch and the supe-
rior clergy on gold dishes, and placed on the
lecterns prepared for them. On entering the
banqueting-hall the boydrs informed the
Tsars that all was ready, and then a long
procession — beginning with the inferior
officials, rising to the highest boyars, then to
the Tsars, and gradually diminishing again
to the petty officials and nobles — went
slowly down the Red Staircase, from the
banqueting-hall to the Cathedral of the
Assumption, over a path made on the pave-
ment by crimson cloth, wliich was sprinkled
by priests with holy water, through the
dense masses of the populace which filled
the whole square. At the entrance of the
Cathedral, the Tsars were met by the Pa-
triarch, who wished them long life and held
them the cross to kiss. After kissing the
great pictures on the altar-screen, especially
the Virgin painted by St. Luke, the Tsars
took their places on the platform. Stand-
ing here in this old cathedral, crowded
with their subjects, the gilded walls and
pillars of which, lighted up by flickering
candles, displayed the rude pictures of saints
and martyrs ; under the great central dome,
firom which looked down the gigantic image
of our Savior, with hands upraised in the
act of blessing, the Tsars, after reciting
the story of their accession to the throne,
demanded of the Patriarch the rite of con-
secration and coronation. The Patriarch
in reply, asked to what faith they belonged.
They answered : " To the holy orthodox
Russian faith," and set forth in a long

speech, the good which they expected to
do to their people. Then, after hymns and
prayers, and swinging of censers, the Patri-
arch placed on their heads the crown of
Monomachus, threw over their shoulders
the coronation vestments, placed on their
breasts the pectoral cross, gave the scepters
and globes into their hands, and then, when
all had again taken their seats, ascended the
pulpit and preached a sermon upon the
mutual duties of Tsar and people. Then
followed the mass, during which the Tsars,
ia sign of their being priests as well as kings,
went within the chancel behind the altar-
screen, and administered to themselves the
Eucharist with their own hands. When the
service was over, the Tsars again kissed the
true cross, the relics and the holy pictures,
and with the nobles went in procession to
the Cathedral of the Archangel Michael,
where they paid reverence to the tombs of


their ancestors, the Tsars who are buried
there, and especially to that of the Tsar-
^vitch Dimftri, who had already been canon-
ized, and of whose death recent events
must have often made them think. From
there they went to the Cathedral of the
Annunciation, then to the banqueting-hall
of the palace, where they received congratu-
lations. Two days later occurred the great
official banquet of the coronation.

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A WEEK was passed in waiting, though
it was made useful by meetings for prayer
and public preaching in the remoter quarters
of Moscow. On the 13th of July, the
Dissenters and the delegates of the Streltsi
resolved again to demand the solemn
dispute which had been promised them by
Havinsky, and for that purpose went to
the Kremlin. Havdnsky, who had heard
that the Streltsi were not entirely agreed
upon the matter, asked, in the name of tlie
Tsar, if all the regiments were united in
their desire to restore the old belief. The
delegates replied that all the regiments and
the people of the suburbs would joyfully
stand up for the old orthodox Christian
faith. Havinsky repeated the question
twice, and again the delegates replied : " We
are ready not only to rise, but even to die
for the faith of Christ." When Havinsky
had reported this answer to the Princess
Sophia, he went with the delegates to the
Patriarch, and after a lively exchange of
words and arguments the Patriarch agreed
to a solemn disputation on Wednesday, the
15th of July, the next day but one. This
having been decided upon, Havdnsky and
the delegates advanced to the Patriarch and
received his blessing ; but Paul, one of the
leading Dissenters, declined it unless the
Patriarch should bless him according to the
old rite. This was refused, and Paul went
away without the benediction. Havansky
kissed him on the forehead, and said : " I
did not really know you, my dear fellow,
until now."

Meanwhile the dissenters lost no time.
Their preachers went everywhere through-
out the town, preaching in the streets, and
calling upon the inhabitants to rise for the
old orthodox faith. On Wednesday, the
15th of July, Nikfta, after performing serv-
ice with the Tit6f regiment, went with his
adherents to the Kremlin, accompanied, as
before, by delegates of the Streltsi, and a
crowd of people. They drew near the
Cathedral of St. Michael the Archangel,
close to the Red Staircase, set up their
reading-desks, placed upon them old images
and books, and lighted their candles. Ni-
kfta stood upon a bench, and began in a
loud voice to preach to the people.

The Patriarch at this time was celebrating

e liturgy and praying for the appeasement

of the riot. As soon as he learned that the
crowd had arrived, he sent priests out to
exhort them, and distributed among them
printed copies of the recantation, which
Nikfta had signed in the time of the Tsar
Alexis, and by which he had promised in
future to abstain from the errors of Dissent
The Streltsi tore up the copies of the peti-
tion, seized the priest and handed him over to
the Dissenters, whom they had taken under
their protection. The Dissenters went on
reading the pamphlets written by the Solo-
v6tsky monks about the true method of sign-
ing the cross, while all around listened with
silence and respect, and many wept.

As soon as the service in the Cathedral
was ended, the crowd demanded that the
Patriarch should come out into the Place.
Havinsky insisted at the palace that the
Patriarch should be ordered to go out
to quiet the people, but that neither the
Princess Sophia nor the Tsaritsas should be
present at the assembly, as the crowd was
too great, and they might be in danger.
Sophia decided that the conference should
take place in the banqueting-hall, and, in
spite of the efforts of Havansky, insisted
upon being present. The Tsaritsa Natalia,
and one of the aunts of Sophia, agreed also
to be present.

The Patriarch was then advised, as a mat-
ter of precaution, to come to the palace by
the back staircase, with all the archbishops;
but to send the old parchment manuscripts
and books from the Patriarchal Sacristy by
the priests, up the Red Staircase. The
crowd expressed great satisfaction as they
saw the books being carried past them to
the palace. " Now," they said, " the truth
will evidently be made clear." The leaders
of the Dissenters for a long time refused the
invitation to enter the banqueting hall, say-
ing that they would not be safe, and that
they would be in danger of being arrested.
Havdnsky gave them his solemn assurance
that no harm should attend them. Still
there was hesitation, until Nikfta told Prince
Havinsky that he believed him, and then
they agreed to go. Once again Havansky
tried to frighten Sophia, and induce her not
to be present in the banqueting-hall. The
Patriarch steadfastly refused to go there
without her, and Sophia said decisively that
she would not abandon the Patriarch.
Havdnsky then sent word to the Dissenters
to enter.

The Dissenters started with their crosses,
their gospels, their images, desks and can-
dles, chanting hymns as they went

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In an ante-room they met the priests, who
were carrying the ancient books and parch-
ments into the banqueting-hall ; there was
much scuffling and pushing, and some blows
were exchanged. Havdnsky, hearing the
disturbance, angrily turned out the priests,
who had come there by orders of the Patri-
arch, and admitted only the Dissenters and
as many of the crowd as could force their
way into the hall with them.

The Dissenters had come to declaim

windows below the ceiling which were made
for such purposes.

Bowing to the Princess, the Dissenters
stationed their reading-desks before the
throne, arranged their images and books,
and hghted their candles, exactly as they
had done in the open air. Sophia turned
to them, with half-concealed anger, and
asked :

" Why have you come so boldly into
the Tsar*s palace, as if to infidels and


against what was new, and to insist upon
the re-establishment of old and time-hon-
ored rites and practices. Yet, strangely
enough, they accepted, without comment, a
novelty far greater than that which they had
come to inveigh against, for, on the throne
not the Tsar, but the Princess Sophia sat,
together with her aunt, Tatiana; and in
arm-chairs below were the Tsaritsa Natalia
and the Princess Mary. The young Tsars
were not present, but in all probability
looked on the scene from one of the small

heathen, and what do you want of us ?
How dare you go about the town and the
Kremlin preaching your Dissenting heresy,
and exciting the common people ? "

"We have come to the Tsars, our Lords,"
said Nikfta, " to petition about the amend-
ment of the orthodox faith, that divine
service may be performed according to the
old rites, as was ordered in the time of the
Tsar Michael Fe6dorovitch, and of the
Patriarch Philaret."

The Patriarch then turned to them, and

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repeated what he liad already said to them
in his own house :

" It is not for you common people to
manage church matters. You ought to be
advised by the Holy Church, and by the
archbishops, whose duty it is to judge of these
things. Our faith is that of the old ortho-
doxy of the Greek rite ; we have only cor-
rected the service-books grammatically from
Greek manuscripts, parchments, and books."

" We have not come to talk about gram-
mar," answered Nikfta, "but about the
dogmas of the church ; " and he boldly be-
gan to enumerate his arguments, beginning
with the question, " why the archbishop
should carry his cross in his left hand, and
his candle in his right hand."

Athandsius, the archbishop of Holmog6ry,
began to explain, when Nikita advanced, as
if to seize him by the collar, saying :

" Why dost thou, who art the foot, place
thyself above the head ? I am not talking
to thee, but to the Patriarch."

" Do you see what Nikfta is doing ? "
cried out Sophia, turning to those about
her. " He wants to fight, even before us.
If we were not here, he would certainly
have killed the Patriarch long ago."

'* No, lady, I did not beat him ; I only
waved him off, so that he should not speak
before the Patriarch."

" How do you, Nikfta, dare to talk to the
Patriarcli ? " Sophia continued. " Is it not
enough for you to be in the presence of our
* piercing eyes ' ? You made a recantation
to our father of blessed memory, and to the
most holy Patriarch, with a great curse
upon yourself, never to petition against the
feith, and now again you have set about the
same business."

" I do not deny," repUed Nikfta, " that
I did sign a recantation through the power
of the sword, but to the petition, which I
gave to the assembly, not one of the arch-
bishops dared answer. Simeon Pol6tsky
aimed his book — * The Staff' — at me; but
in that book he did not touch a fifth of what
I said. If you will allow me to read the
answer against that * Stafl^' I will refute it."

" Hold your tongue," said the Princess,
angrily. "You have no business to talk
with us and be in our presence;" and
she ordered the petition to be read.

When they came to the place where it
was stated that the heretical monk, Ars^nius,
together with Nfkon, wrongly influenced the
mind of the Tsar Alexis Michaflovitch, and
that since that time true piety had ceased in
Russia, Sophia could no longer contain her-

self, angrily interrupted the reading, and,
starting from her throne, said :

" We will no longer endure such talk. If
Ars^nius and the Patriarch Nikon were
heretics, then our father and brother were
also heretics, and it is plain, then, that the
Tsars are not Tsars, that the Patriarch is
not the Patriarch, and that the archbishops
are not archbishops. We will no longer
hear such outrageous things. Sooner than
that, we will leave the Empire."

With these words she left her place and
moved away fi-om the throne. The boyirs
and the delegates of the Streltsi immedi-
ately begged her to return to her place, and
swore that they were ready to lay down
their lives for the Imperial house ; but there
were some voices that called out :

" It has long been time, lady, for you to go
to a monastery. You have troubled the
Empire quite enough. Tsars will be good
enough for us. Without you the place will
not be empty."

A cry ^uch as this could scarcely weaken
the impression made upon the Streltsi dele-
gates by the words of Sophia.

" It is all because the people are afraid of
you," said the princess to them. " It was
fix)m hope in you that these riotous Dissent-
ers have come hither so boldly. What are
you thinking about ? Is it right for such
brutes to come to us with rioting, and cry at
us, and give us discomfort ? Are you, who
were true servants of our grandfather, our
father, and our brother, really joined to the
Dissenters ? You call yourselves our true
servants. Why, then, do you allow such mis-
conduct ? If we are going to be in such slav-
ery that we and the Tsars can no longer live
here, we will go to another town, and we will
tell to the people what we have suffered.**

Nothing could affect the Streltsi more than
the threat that theTsars would leave Moscow,
while they well enough knew that the riots
and murders of May had excited the feelings
of the boydrs and upper classes, they also
knew that the common people obeyed them
only because they feared them ; and if the
Tsars should leave Moscow and collect an
army in the country, there would be no hope
for them. The delegates therefore answered :

"We are ready to serve our lords with
truth and fidelity, and to lay down our lives
for you and the orthodox feith, and to act
according to your commands."

Sophia then returned to her place and
the reading of the petition continued. She
could not always restrain herself from inter-
rupting and arguing with the Dissenting

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monks. After the petition had been finished
the Patriarch took in one hand the gospel
written by the Metropolitan Alexis, and in
the other the decretal of the Patriarch Jere-
miah, with the creed, just as it was written

Online LibraryGeorge Streynsham MasterThe Century, Volume 19 → online text (page 151 of 160)