Rus Articles Journal

For what in Russia monastic prisons were created?

in the Middle Ages the Russian Orthodox Church was it is built-in in the state system of an execution of the punishment. Quite often to monasteries under strict supervision sent accused of heresy, blasphemy and other religious crimes. Here also those whose fault, original or imaginary, the very few knew got - monastic walls were able to keep secrets of the prisoners.

For departure of punishment in monasteries special prisons, the attitude towards which prisoners traditionally did not differ in mercy, were created, and often was more severe, than in usual jails. Protection of prisoners in large monastic prisons was carried out by special military teams.

Often prisoners got to monastic prison without having visited under court and a consequence. In 1775. koshevy Zaporizhia Sechi Kalnishevsky, sechevy the judge Golovaty and the clerk Globa according to Potemkin`s petition without court were cloistered by Catherine II from where they were not released any more. Concerning Kalnishevsky justice triumphed he was released from - under guards by the deepest 110 - the summer aged man, but was not able to leave the monastery already.

In Russia there were many monastic jails. In 1905 the researcher of monastic prisons A.S. Prugavin listed 18 men`s and 9 convents serving for an imprisonment of prisoners in the book, and this list was not full. According to the decision of the emperor or the Synod for detention any monastery could be used.

The oldest and most known monastic prisons were in Solovki and Spaso - Evfimyevsk monasteries. In the first traditionally banished dangerous state criminals, the second originally intended for keeping of the insane and staying in heresy, but then began to send to it also the prisoners accused of high treasons.

Remoteness of Solovetsky Monastery from the rendered habitable places and inaccessibility made it the ideal place of an imprisonment. Originally casemates settled down in fortifications and towers of the monastery. Often it were closets without windows, in them it was possible to stand, having bent, or to lie on a short trestle bed, having drawn in legs. It is interesting that in 1786 the archimandrite of the monastery where 16 prisoners (from them 15 contained - for life), did not know about the reason of the conclusion of seven. The decree on the conclusion of such persons was usually laconic - for important fault to contents before death of a stomach .

Among prisoners of the monastery there were also priests accused of alcoholism and blasphemy, both various sectarians, and the former officers who in hop unflatteringly spoke of moral qualities of the next empress, and the large dignitaries planning revolution, and pravdoiskatel the written complaints to authorities. On unknown charge the French nobleman de Tournel spent five years in this prison. The most young prisoner got to prison in 11 - summer age on a charge of murder, he had to spend in prison 15 years.

The mode in monastic prison differed in extreme cruelty. The power of the abbot not only over prisoners, but also over the soldiers protecting them was almost uncontrolled. In 1835 complaints of prisoners filtered for monastic walls, to the Solovki there arrived the audit headed by the gendarme colonel Ozeretskovsky. Even the gendarme who saw on the century of everyone was forced to recognize that many prisoners bear the punishments which are very exceeding measures of their fault . As a result of audit three prisoners were released, 15 are sent to military service, two are transferred from chambers to cells, one is accepted in novices, and the gone blind prisoner is sent on continent in hospital.

But also after audit the mode in prison was not facilitated. Prisoners were fed poorly, forbade them any communication with will, did not give writing-materials and books, except religious, and for violations of the rules of behavior subjected to corporal punishments or chained. Especially cruelly treated those whose religious beliefs did not coincide with official Orthodoxy. Even the sincere repentance and transition to Orthodoxy of such prisoners did not guarantee them an exit to freedom. Separate staying in heresy prisoners carried out all conscious life in this prison. So, the peasant Anton Dmitriyev for a samooskopleniye was cloistered in 1818 and spent 62 years in a solitary confinement.

There are a lot of famous persons passed through Spaso`s casemates - the Evfimyevsky monastery. In a prison cell the course of life of the Decembrist prince Shakhovsky and monk - the prophet Abel ended. Even at the end of the 19th century concluded in monastic prison without judgment, often on far-fetched charges. So, sent the peasant Fedoseyev Sinod to the monastery for the fact that it lived in a cave and with the hypocritical righteousness attracted to itself the mass of the simple people . Truly believing resident of Arkhangelsk Vasily Rakhov who was actively doing charity work and opened a children`s shelter and two dining rooms for the poor was accused by the local clergy which felt in it the competitor of a shtundizm. Business came to court, but the secular court of Rakhov justified. Then according to the petition of the Synod approved by the emperor it was sent for the conclusion to the monastery. The unfortunate prisoner was released only in 1902, having spent in prison of 7 years.

In the second half of the 19th century monasteries began to be used as a jail more and more seldom. The last prisoners of the Solovki prison, sectarians Davydov and Leontyev, in 1883 were translated for accommodation at monastic cells. In 1885 the guard team was abolished, and the prison finally stopped the existence. In 1903 in the building of prison the hospital was equipped. Longer Spaso - Evfimyevsky monastic prison which last prisoner, the Old Believer Fedor Kovalyov, was released on March 2, 1905 existed.