In the middle of the XV century there was an unfortunate event in the life of world Orthodoxy: its center, Constantinople, was captured by the Turkish conquerors. Golden crosses over the domes of the temples gave way to the Ottoman Crescent. But the Lord was pleased to revive the greatness of His Church in the Slavic lands. The Patriarchate in Russia has become a symbol of inheritance of Moscow's religious leadership vanquished the Byzantine Empire.
The Independence Of The Russian Church
When in 1453 the Turks captured Constantinople, the Russian Church became practically independent. However, the status, giving it full independence, it was necessary to legislate in accordance with the then existing canonical rules. With this purpose, arrived in Moscow the Patriarch of Constantinople Jeremia II, who on January 26, 1589, made the ordination of the first Russian Patriarch job (in the world John).
The establishment in Russia of the Patriarchate
This act was destined to happen in the Dormition Cathedral of the Kremlin. Records of his contemporaries testify that the whole of Moscow gathered in the square, thousands of people kneeling, listened to the bells of the Cathedral bells. This day became one of the most significant in the history of the Russian Orthodox Church.
The following year, the Cathedral of the Eastern bishops secured the Russian Church Autocephalous status, that is independent. However in the “Diptych of the Patriarchs” ― the established order – the Patriarch job was given only the fifth place, but it was not a derogation of his dignity. The Russian people took it due to smirenim, conscious of the youth of his Church.
The role of the king in the establishment of the Patriarchate
Among historians there is a perception that the administration of the Patriarchate in Russia was initiated personally by the Emperor. In the Chronicles of that time describes how, during his visit to Moscow Patriarch Joachim of Antioch was received by the king, and the Liturgy, Metropolitan Dionysius, approaching the honored guest, and blessed him that under the Charter of the Church was completely unacceptable.
This gesture sees the hint of the king for the establishment in Russia of the Patriarchate, as such was entitled to make a Bishop equal to his San to a foreign Patriarch. This action could only be done under the personal direction of the king. So Feodor Ioannovich could not remain aloof from such an important cause.
The first Russian Patriarch
The selection of the first Patriarch was very successful. From the beginning of his reign, the newly elected Primate has developed the vigorous activity on strengthening of discipline among the clergy and to raise their moral level. He has also done a lot to educate the masses, teaching them reading and writing and distributing books containing the Scriptures and the patristic heritage.
His life on earth, the Patriarch job made up as a true Christian and a patriot. Rejecting all the lies and lack of principle, he refused to admit to moving in those days to Moscow falsdmitry and was imprisoned his supporters into the Staritsa assumption monastery, from which came the sick and blind. His life and death he showed to all future heads of the sacrificial example of service to the Russian Orthodox Church.
The role of the Russian Church in the Orthodox world
The establishment of the Patriarchate played an important role in consolidating national unity. This is manifested with particular force in Troubled times, when it seemed that the state was on the verge of losing its sovereignty. Suffice it to recall the dedication of the Patriarch Hermogenes, the cost of his own life managed to pick up the Russians against the Polish invaders.
Elections of the Russian patriarchs
The establishment of the Patriarchate in Moscow, as mentioned above, made the Patriarch of Constantinople Jeremiah II, but all subsequent primates of the Church were elected, the highest Russian Church hierarchs. To this end all the bishops on behalf of the sovereign has sent the command to come to Moscow for the election of the Patriarch. In the beginning practised an open form of voting, but eventually it began to carry out by lot.
In subsequent years, the continuity of the Patriarchate lasted until 1721, when by decree of Peter I it was abolished, and the leadership of the Russian Orthodox Church was entrusted to the Holy Synod, representing the Ministry of religious Affairs. This forced beshlawy Church continued until 1917, when she finally regained its Primate in the person of Patriarch Tikhon (Belavin V. I.).
Russian Patriarchate today
Currently Russian Orthodox Church is headed by its sixteenth Primate ― Patriarch Kirill (Vladimir M. Gundyaev), the enthronement of which occurred on February 1, 2009. On the Patriarchal throne, he changed ended his earthly journey Alexy II (A. M. Ridiger). From that day on, when was the establishment in Russia of the Patriarchate, and until the present time, the Patriarchal throne represents the Foundation on which rests the whole building of the Russian Church.
The current Russian Patriarch carries his pastoral obedience, with the support of the episcopate, clergy and the masses of parishioners. It should be noted that, according to Church tradition, this high-San does not give its holder any exclusive sanctity. The Council of bishops, the Patriarch is only a senior among equals. All the key decisions on the management of the Affairs of the Church he accepts jointly with other bishops.