schism in the orthodox church

In the seventeenth century, the national revival following the Time of Troubles was strongly religious in nature, but it was undermined by increasing contacts with a more secular West. Orthodoxy and Westernization were on a collision course.

The decisive moment of the seventeenth century was the Old Believers’ schism in 1667. It involved a bitter controversy over the proper form of worship. Its key antagonists were Patriarch Nikon, a monk, and Archpriest Avvakum, a charismatic preacher. Their uncompromising positions deeply divided Russian society. In the context of a considerably weakened Church grew a powerful, secular state. By the end of the seventeenth century, clocks and calendars had replaced icons in some government offices. To the devout, these changes signaled the coming of the apocalypse.

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