Rus Articles Journal

Why Peter I sent orthodox celibate priests to the fighting ships?

At all times the Russian history the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) actively worked in the military environment. Blessing the flock on protection of the Fatherland, the Church constantly was near it in this responsible and difficult obedience. To October events of 1917 the military and sea clergy which was together with the flock in the most heartrending military experiences directly carried out a spiritual okormleniye of orthodox soldiers and officers.

During the pre-Pertine period of structure of military clergy in Russia did not exist. Church services in the period of military campaigns for army were carried out by princely confessors, parsons or celibate priests. The first mentions of constant priests in shelves of the Russian army belong by the time of the tsar Alexey Mikhaylovich.

Organizationally the structure of military clergy in Russia begins to be formed at a turn of the XVII-XVIII centuries in connection with large-scale reforms of Peter I. Creating army, the tsar considered both religiousness of the people, and a role which was traditionally played by Church in the organization of protection of the Fatherland. In new army soldiers who came off the rural environment habitual to them should carry out all life in campaigns and fights. Therefore the army was in great need in effective system of moral education and unity of soldiers which basis at that time could be only Orthodoxy. For the solution of this task the Church needed to be put under control of the state. Among other, it became one of the reasons of the church reform conceived by Petr.

Peter I`s reform eliminated church hierarches from participation in public administration and significantly changed structure of intra church management, dispossessed ROC of considerable part. The patriarchate was as a result abolished, and the management of Church was organized on a sample of civil boards. Results of reform were consolidated by Spiritual regulations according to which all functions of church management were transferred to specially created government body - the Spiritual kollegium, subsequently it was renamed into the Holy Synod. Decisions of the Synod were without fail vised Auber - the prosecutor of the Synod - the government official to whom and, in essence, the higher executive power in Church was assigned.

As a result of this reform of ROC turned into one of the public institutions operating under supervision and the management from officers, the person kind and courageous as was defined in the Petrovsky decree on appointment of the first Auber - the prosecutor. It is remarkable that its rank in structure of the state ranks was rather modest. In Tables of ranks, entered by Peter I in 1725, a rank Auber - the prosecutor of the Synod corresponded 4 - mu to a class of civil service (in army to 4 - mu to a class the rank the general - the major belonged).

The reform which is carried out by Petr allowed to make ROC by the reliable conductor of a state policy. But, despite all efforts of the church management, completing of army and fleet by priests progressed difficult. In the Moscow archive of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs the curious letter of the admiral Kryus of 1704 showing the real situation remained: on seven galleys seven priests and on hundred brigantines 3 bottoms are required, and it is available consists only two .

There were catastrophically not enough priests for satisfaction of requirement in them of army and fleet. It confirms Instruction or Articles military to the Russian fleet approved as Peter I in April, 1710. In it the order of the organization of church services by the ships is defined and concrete punishments for its violations are prescribed. But obligations for the organization of church services are assigned not to the ship priest, and to the commander who on all notches and vecher by the ship or the ships has to the Lord to pray .

The need for priests for fleet and army constantly grew. In April, 1717 Peter I demanded to contain in the Russian fleet by the ships and other warships of 39 priests . Except fleet the powerful army was created by this time. In 1710 33 cavalry, 47 infantry and 5 grenadierial regiments for which priests were required were a part only of field army. But, besides, they relied on staff to fortresses, some garrison and irregular parts, shipyards, hospitals etc.

At first the created institute of military and sea clergy existed in Russia without accurate definition of its functions and tasks. Functions and the rights of military priests were legislatively affirmed only in 1716 Army regulations . According to it at the commander of army the position Auber - the field priest who is a svyashchennonachalnik for clergy of the military units entering into army was entered.

In the Charter requirements to Auber - to the field priest, his duty and the rights were defined: It has management over all field Priests. Bude has extraordinary what prayer, or a solemn grateful prayer at army is sent to be, he is forced other regimental Priests under the decree of the commander General to order: onyya to send Kako at each regiment. When quarrel and disagreement between regimental Priests occur, then it has to reconcile and edify it them to kind life, more it in the advantage of the rank Wuchang, it is circumspect, diligent, sober and kind life has to be... .

On fleet during this period attracted to service by the fighting ships of priests from among regular clergy - celibate priests (generally from Aleksandro - the Nevsky monastery). It was connected with severe conditions of service by the ships, and also with categorical unwillingness to go on fleet of the secular clergy having families. By preparation Sea charter approved in 1720, Peter I considered all this and Auber - the celibate priest of fleet entered a svyashchennonachalstvenny position. Duties and the rights of naval clergy were affirmed Points on the Celibate priests consisting at fleet .

In almost invariable look the military and naval clergy existed the whole century. Until the end of the 18th century it submitted Auber - to field priests and Auber - to celibate priests of fleet only in the period of campaigns and military campaigns. All rest of the time military and sea clergy submitted to the diocesan authorities in the place of dislocation of military units. The emperor Paul I seeking to enter accurate hierarchy of subordination in all structures of the state isolated military clergy from diocesan, having created for the management of it special body led by Auber - the priest.

The created by Peter I at the beginning of the 18th century, military clergy was organically included into structure of the Russian army and fleet, having made the contribution to nice victories of the Russian weapon.