Pavel Korin's "Requiem". State Tretyakov Gallery

Natalya Alexandrova, Vera Golovina

Notes on the history of "The Passing of Rus'"
Magazine issue: 
#2 2014 (43)


Biographical commentary to selected portraits


Schema-hegumene Phamar (Tamar). 1935
Oil on canvas. 142 x 75 cm Tretyakov Gallery

The subject is schema-hegumene Phamar -Tamara (Tamar) Alexandrovna Marjano-va (Marjanishvili) (1869-1936): a founder of the Serafimo-Znamenskaya Skete (Monastery) and spiritual mentor of the younger generation of the Soviet intelligentsia in the 1920s-1930s, she was one of the prominent figures of the Russian Orthodox Church in her time.

Timeline: the Life of Schema-hegumene Phamar (Tamara Marjanova)

1869: January 1 - born into the noble Marjanov (Marjanishvili) family, in Georgia. The elder sister of Konstantin "Kote" Marjanishvili (1872-1933), the celebrated actor and director and one of the founders of the Georgian national theatre.

1880s: trained as a singer, preparing for study at the voice faculty of St. Petersburg Conservatory of Music.

Late 1880s-early 1900s: entered the Convent of St. Nino in Bodbe in Georgia.

As a novice, together with the hegumene of the Bodbe Convent Juvenalia, she visited St. Petersburg and Moscow, where she met repeatedly with Father John of Kronstadt, the prominent church and community leader and preacher (canonised in 1990).

Phamar's mother recorded one of these meetings in her memoirs: "The royal door [central door in the iconostasis] opened. Along came the communicants, I walked up too, trembling. Suddenly the Father (John of Kronstadt)... unexpectedly, as if answering my thoughts, said gaily, God is gracious, God will forgive everything...'" 1

She also recalled a meeting with Father John of Kronstadt which took place soon after the death of Emperor Alexander III in Livadia: "This time we spent in St. Petersburg about three months; while we were there, the Father [St. John of Kronstadt] was asked to go to Livadia... Upon his return, he told all of us... about the last days in the life [of Emperor Alexander III]...We saw him off to the palace, where he was expected to bestow his blessing on the young R[oyal] C[ouple] [the future Emperor and Empress, Nicholas II and Alexandra Fyodorovna]." 2

1897: took convent vows.

1900s: elevated to the rank of hegumene and became Mother Superior at the Bodbe Convent, and later - Mother Superior at the Pokrovskaya Community of the Sisters of Charity in Moscow.

The Pokrovskaya Community was housed in a palace of Grand Duchess Elizabeta Fyodorovna, renovated especially for the purpose; nuns from the Community together with nuns from the Marfo-Mariinsky Convent nursed the wounded.

Late 1900s: following the example of Grand Duchess Elizabeta Fyodorovna, Mother Phamar decided to set up a new convent. Before the construction of the new Serafimo-Znamensky Skete (Monastery) began, she visited the Serafimo-Ponetaevsky Monastery in Sarov; she also often visited the monastery Zosimova Pustyn near the Holy Trinity-St. Sergius Lavra (Troitse-Sergiyeva Lavra), where she conferred with her confessor Father Alexei Soloviev, as well as Archimandrite Tovia, governor of the Lavra.

The construction project did not proceed smoothly at the beginning. Disagreements with the administration of the Ryazan-Uralskaya Railway led to relocation of the future convent's site. As a result, the Serafimo-Znamensky Skete was founded on a hill near the villages called Zaborie and Bityagovo (now in the Domodedovsky District of Moscow Region).

On the grand duchess's advice, the architect Alexei Shchusev was hired for the project.

1912: The Serafimo-Znamensky Skete was sanctified by Metropolitan of Moscow Vladimir Bogoyavlensky.

The rules and regulations for the new monastery, drawn up personally by hegumene Phamar, included the following: "In addition to mandatory attendance of worship services, the sisters must [daily] observe the following private prayer rules:

33 down-to-earth bows to mark the number of years the Saviour lived,
12 down-to-earth bows to the Mother of God,
12 down-to-earth bows to St. Seraphim.

To read: one chapter from the Gospel, one chapter from the Acts of the Apostles, one Kathisma; without fail - an Akathist Hymn to St. Seraphim; repeating the prayer Mother of God and Virgin, rejoice' - 150 times."

The sisters in the skete "...under no circumstances should abandon themselves to despair, grief; should never become frustrated at anything; always cultivate in themselves lightness of spirit, cheerfulness, and gleeful mood."3

At the end of the day each of the sisters had to ask herself several questions, including "What has the state of your heart been like during the day?"4

Mid-1910: took the monastic schema, adopting the name Phamar. The ritual was performed by Bishop Arseny Zhadanovsky, who became the confessor to Mother Phamar and the nuns at the Serafimo-Znamenskaya Convent.

1924: the Serafimo-Znamensky Skete was closed (it was revived only in the early 2000s). According to some of Mother Phamar's spiritual children, following the closure of the skete she lived for a while in the private quarters of Grand Duchess Elizabeta Fyodorovna in the Marfo-Mariinsky Convent. Later, together with several nuns she settled in a small house in Perkhushkovo village near Moscow, where they established themselves as a cooperative association of artisans, manufacturing toys and sewing bed quilts.

According to the memoirs of the hegumene's goddaughter T. Nekrasova, who visited them with her mother during that period, "This house with a small garden and a chapel resembled a small skete. The garden was full of shade. The house in Perkhushkovo was surrounded by lilac bushes. The path along which the Mother liked to walk was edged, on the side of the garden, with a wide strip of turf grown with motley daisies."5

M. Veselovskaya, T. Nekrasova's close friend, had this to say about the hegumene: "... Many people were initially afraid of approaching her [hegumene Phamar]. [and] talking with her. But this fear [and] shyness disappeared as she gazed at you., most affectionately... I also learned in Perkhushkovo from one of the sisters that the Mother wore chains, something you would have never guessed from her monastic habit, which looked almost elegant due to its impeccable cleanliness."6

1931: Schema-hegumene Phamar was arrested together with the sisters. According to the accounts of eye-witnesses, "The group of arrested people included. the Mother herself, some of the sisters, and Father Filaret. The remaining sisters were told to go their separate ways..."7

Schema-hegumene Phamar was exiled to Ust-Uda, a Siberian village by the Angara River, near the city of Irkutsk.

1931: September 29 - this is the date on one of the letters written by Mother Phamar to T. Nekrasova in Moscow; in this letter the schema-hegumene wrote, among other matters, the following: "It is more difficult to get here from Irkutsk than to reach Vladivostok. Ships never arrive or depart as scheduled, and in several days the shipping season will be over. The mail, it seems, is delivered by horse, because letters arrive even in the absence of ships. Sure enough, if I lived in Irkutsk, I would not be living with this deadly fear which I am experiencing here... I live in a nook behind the stove, the floor has a door leading to a cellar; oh, and I'm thanking God even for this..!" 8

1933: returning from exile, she settled in a summer community near Moscow, not far from the Pionerskaya Station on the Belorusskaya Railway. In the opinion of people close to her, in particular, T.M. Nekrasova and O.M. Nekrasova, "...thanks to her famous brother and the advocacy of the artist Pavel Korin, who was a friend of Maxim Gorky and his wife Yekaterina Peshkova, Mother Phamar was allowed to live near the Pionerskaya Station, and not at a one-hundred-kilometre distance from Moscow, as returnees from the camps or exile were required to do in those years" 9

1933: April 17 - the schema-hegumene's brother, Kote Marjanishvili, died in Moscow. O. Nekrasova recalled: "Once... when we came and walked into the room, we saw on the table a white lilac, in full bloom, in a white wicker basket. I was so stunned by this sight that this memory remained with me for life. I was told that the lilac was sent to the Mother in memory of her recently deceased brother - the famous director Marjanov..." 10

During those years, a serious illness that the hegumene had contracted in exile worsened considerably. According to O. Nekrasova, "... due to the escalation of her illness, the Mother was ever more rarely sitting in her armchair. when she greeted her spiritual children who came to see her... During the last period [of her life] she did not leave her room and spent most of her time lying or sitting by the iconostasis..." 11

1935: in the house at the Pionerskaya Station schema-hegumene Phamar sat for Korin's portrait for his "Requiem". The artist also made a pencilled drawing of her ("Schema-Hegumene Phamar", album no. 13, sheet 28)

1936: June 23 - she died in the house at the Pionerskaya Station, and was buried in the Vvedenskoe cemetery in Moscow.

On the sketch for the "Requiem" (1935-1959) Korin depicted schema-hegumene Phamar in the group on the right, next to her spiritual daughter Tatiana Nikolaevna Protasieva.12

  1. "My Beloved Little Children... Schema-hegumene Phamar (Princess Marjanova)". Moscow: 2008. P. 21
  2. Ibid., p. 23
  3. Ibid., p. 53
  4. Ibid., p. 57
  5. Ibid., p. 109
  6. Ibid., p. 274
  7. Ibid., p. 251
  8. Ibid., pp. 157-158
  9. Ibid., p. 113
  10. Ibid., p. 112
  11. Ibid., p. 113
  12. Schema-Hegumene Phamar, album no. 13, sheet 28


Young Hieromonk (Priest-monk) Fyodor. 1932
Oil on canvas. 196 x 73.5 cm Tretyakov Gallery

The portrait features hieromonk Fyodor -Oleg Pavlovich Bogoyavlensky (19051943), one of the leaders of the spiritual resistance in the 1920s-1930s. He is a venerable martyr of the Russian Orthodox Church.

Fyodor Bogoyavlensky was also depicted by Korin as a young Russian warrior in the 1942-1943 triptych "Alexander Nevsky" (as a central figure in the right-hand section).

Timeline: the Life of Hieromonk Fyodor (Oleg Bogoyavlensky)

1905: December 26 - born into a noble family in Tehran. Father: Pavel Georgyevich Bogoyavlensky, Russian consul in Persia. Mother: Olga Petrovna (nee Nechaeva).

1910s-early 1920s: after the assassination of his father during a riot in Tehran, Oleg Bogoyavlensky returned with his family to St. Petersburg, where he studied at a gymnasium.

After the Bolshevik revolution Olga Bogoyavlenskaya, Oleg's mother, was forced to give music lessons in order to provide for her three children. Later Oleg and his family lived for several years in his uncle A. Nechaev's house in Samara (according to other accounts, in Saratov).

1923: matriculated from Moscow University's faculty of medicine. As a student, he took part in the activities of a literary-philosophical club; together with his siblings, his sister Olga and younger brother Georgy, he sang in a choir at the Church of the Georgian Icon of the Mother of God.

1926: his mother's sudden illness obliged him to leave university, after which he took a clerk's job at the People's Commissariat of Education.

1927: drafted into the Workers' and Peasants' Red Army. In the army, he did not make a secret of his religious faith, for which he was regularly victimised. According to a transcript of his interrogation at the OGPU (Secret Police), Father Fyodor said, "When I served in the Red Army.. I used to go to church in my uniform and help to hold services of worship, reading out the Gospel, the Book of Psalms and such like"1.

1928: after discharge from the army, regularly attends worship services at the Vysoko-Petrovsky Monastery - the services continued in the churches after the monastery was closed in 1918.

In the same year, after the closure of the monastery known as Zosimova Pustyn, its former inhabitants hieromonk Nikita Kurochkin and hegumen Mitrofan joined the community formed around the churches at the Vysoko-Petrovsky monastery.

Later hieromonk Fyodor together with Archimandrite German Polyansky became leaders of the communities of monks who set up, in secret, a monastery and a school of theology.

This year saw the death of Father Fyodor's mother, Olga Bogoyavlenskaya.

1929: Summer - after the final closure of the Vysoko-Petrovsky Monastery, Father Fyodor and other monks joined the Church of St. Sergius of Radonezh on Bolshaya Dmitrovka street.

1930: November - took monastic vows, assuming the name Fyodor, and was ordained hierodeacon of the Vysoko-Petrovsky Monastery's secret community of monks, which continued its activities at the Church of St. Sergius of Radonezh on Bolshaya Dmitrovka street.

1933: Korin pencilled in his notebook (No. 8) a drawing from life entitled "The Three Men", featuring Father Fyodor with Father Alexei Sergeev and Father Agafon Lebedev.

The artist indicated this year as the year when Father Fyodor's portrait for the "Requiem" was accomplished.

March - Father Fyodor is arrested together with monks and parishioners of the closed Vysoko-Petrovsky Monastery and accused of running a secret monastery under the auspices of the Church of St. Sergius of Radonezh. According to some accounts, not confirmed by documents, the responsibility for the arrest of the monks lay with one of them - hieromonk Alexei Sergeev.

April - during one of the interrogations Father Fyodor said he disagreed with what was going on, which was recorded in the transcript: "I deem the content of this transcript to be NOT true"2.

In the same month the Special Council of the OGPU (Secret Police) sentenced him to three years of corrective labour and he was sent under guard to Novosibirsk, and then to Vladivostok, to Section 1 of Dal'lag (the network of prison camps in the Far East). He was granted a meeting with his sister Olga before departure. When the convicts were boarding the ship, he was beaten because he could not stand on his feet. A prison doctor diagnosed partial paralysis and noted that emergency care was needed.

The same year saw the destruction of the Church of St. Sergius of Radonezh on Bolshaya Dmitrovka street in Moscow.

1934: October - wrote in a letter from the camp to a monk from the Vysoko-Petrovsky Monastery, Father Sergius: "... these years, when we were growing far away from each other, have given rise to the same sorts of fruit in us..."3. In the camp Father Fyodor, who had some medical training, worked as an assistant to the doctor.

1935: February - Father Fyodor wrote a letter from the camp to Father Sergius's sister: "... much good has been acquired, but much has been expended as well, especially recently. Nevertheless, in general - I feel buoyant and joyfully calm, and I ascribe this state to the prayers of my family"4.

1936: After release from the camp, he lived near Moscow - first in Yegorievsk, then in Tver.

In April he wrote in a letter to his family: "Now my life and prospects for the future appear in a new light."5 Instead of continuing his study of medicine, he serves as a hierodeacon in Amelfino village near Volokolamsk.

1937: May - after the death of Archimandrite Nikita Kurochkin, Father Fyodor took over at Kurochkin's parish at the Church of the Icon of the Mother of God of the Sign in Ivanovskoe village.

1939: after the Church of the Mother of God of the Sign is closed, he again moved to a new parish - the Troitsky (Trinity) Church in Yazvishche village, where the senior priest had been recently arrested.

1940: December - the Troitsky Church was closed. The authorities prohibited Father Fyodor from living near Moscow, so he settled in the village of Zavidovo near Tver and, in spite of the prohibition, often came to Moscow, to visit his spiritual children and sister Olga in Vostryakovo village.

A transcript of one of Father Fyodor's interrogations contains his account about that time: "... Since December 1940... my acquaintances living in Moscow and my sister helped me to secure orders for drawings, retouching of portraits and such, and this is what I've been doing"6.

1941: late in June, learning about the beginning of arrests, Father Fyodor came to his sister Olga in Vostryakovo, unaware that the order for his arrest had already been issued.

July - arrested in his sister's house. According to her memoirs, after a five-hour-long search, before leaving the house he held a service in his room in front of an icon of the Mother of God of Kazan, under the eyes of NKVD (Secret Police)1 officers, who watched him from an adjacent room. When Father Fyodor was in the Butyrskaya prison, he was subjected to round-the-clock interrogation accompanied with beatings and sleep deprivation. Soon he was transferred to a prison in Saratov, where the questioning and beatings continued.

1943: February - after the completion of the investigation, new charges were brought against Father Fyodor - desertion from the army.

June - A Special Council of the NKVD sentenced him to five years of exile. He was transferred from Saratov to Prison No. 3 in Balashov.

1943: July 19 - died in Prison No. 3 in Balashov.

At present, there is no precise information available about the circumstances of his death or his place of burial.

2000: August 20 - canonised by the Sobor (council of bishops and other clerical and lay delegates) of the Russian Orthodox Church.

In the sketch for the "Requiem" (19351959) Korin depicted Father Fyodor Bogoyavlensky in the group to the right, next to Mikhail Kholmogorov.

  1. Hegumen Damaskin (Orlovsky). "Martyrs, Confessors and Champions of Piety of the Russian Orthodox Church in the 20th Century". Tver: 2001. Book 5. P. 110
  2. Ibid., p. 112
  3. Ibid., p. 113
  4. Ibid., p. 114
  5. Ibid., 115
  6. Ibid., 129 1   Ibid., 120


The Hieromonk and the Bishop. 1935
Oil on canvas. 207 x 108 cm Tretyakov Gallery

The figure on the left is hieromonk Pimen - Sergei Mikhailovich Izvekov (19101990): a Doctor of Theology, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia (1971-1990), and one of the prominent hierarchs of the Russian Orthodox Church of the 20th century. As for the bishop to the right of Pimen, there are several hypotheses. They all originate from two versions of the bishop's name inscribed by Korin on the back of the double portrait. According to one of the hypotheses, the figure to the right is Bishop Antonin - Alexander Andreevich Granovsky (1865-1927): the creator of the concept of unity of the legislature, the executive and the judiciary in Russia as the harmonious likeness of the Holy Trinity, who studied and knew ancient languages, he was also a prominent scholar and translator of early Christian texts and the canonical worship texts into modern Russian. In the hypothesis relying on another version of the name, it is currently impossible to identify Bishop Antonin because modern scholarship references several hierarchs with this name who were active in the 1920s-1930s (in particular, Antony Milovidov, Antony Pankeev, Antony Romanovsky and others). However, none was directly connected to the group of people whom Korin featured in his "Requiem".

In the sketch for the"Requiem" (1935-1959) Korin used the same double portrait format, featuring hieromonk Pimen and Bishop Antonin in the foreground on the right side.

Timeline: the Life of Patriarch Pimen - Sergei Izvekov

1910: July 23 - born in the village of Kobylino, near Kaluga (Kaluzhskaya Governorate) (by other accounts, in the town of Bogorodsk, now Noginsk, near Moscow), to Mikhail Karpovich Izvekov and his wife Pelageya Afanasievna.

Early 1920s: after finishing the Korolenko secondary school in Bogorodsk, entered the Sretensky Monastery in Moscow as a rassophore monk (inok), assuming the name Platon.

While a student at school, attended services in the Bogoyavlensky (Epiphany) Cathedral, sang in the choir and read out the holy texts standing on the kliros.

Second half of the 1920s: was the choir leader in different Moscow churches: the Spasa Preobrazhenia (Transfiguration of the Saviour) Church in Pushkari, the Church of St. Florus and St. Laurus near Myasnitskie Vorota, the Church of Maximus the Confessor on Varvarka street, the Church of Abba Poemen (Pimen) in Novye Vorotniki in Sushchev.

1926: the year inscribed on Korin's pencilled drawing of hieromonk Pimen (Poemen) ("The Young Monk in Charge of the Choir", notebook 3, sheet 19).

1927: after the closure of the Holy Trinity-St. Sergius Lavra (Troitse-Sergiyeva Lavra), he was tonsured a monk, assuming the name Pimen (Poemen), in the Lavra's Skete of the Paraclete (Paracletova Pustyn', an isolated refuge for monks).

Late 1920s: after the closure of Paracletova Pustyn, served as a priest at the Bogoyavlensky Cathedral in Dorogomilovo. Was ordained as a hieromonk.

In the 1920s-1930s: Korin often attended services in the Bogoyavlensky Cathedral in Dorogomilovo.

1930s: information about this period of the future Patriarch's life is incomplete and inconsistent.

The major events of this period which different accounts agree on are arrests made in 1931 and 1937 (the reason was a breach of the law separating Church and State, according to some sources, and according to other sources, desertion from the army); imprisonment and exile (first in the environs of Moscow, on the construction site of the Moscow Canal, and later, before the start of the Great Patriotic War, in Uzbekistan).

The information about hieromonk Pimen's imprisonment in the camps is confirmed by memoirs of a nun called Ignatia Petro-vskaya - she cites the account of a hieromonk Serafim, who was in the camp at the same time as Pimen1.

1932: by some accounts, was conscripted into the Workers' and Peasants' Red Army and sent to a post near Vitebsk, in Belarus; while in the army, received training as a paramedic and veterinarian.

After discharge from the army, hieromonk Pi-men again served in the Bogoyavlensky Cathedral in Dorogomilovo.

1935: Korin indicated this was the year when the double portrait was created.

1941-1943: serving in rifle regiments 519 and 702 and rifle division 213, fought in the Great Patriotic War - in particular, in the fierce battles in 1942-1943 near Kharkov, Belgorod and Kursk, where he was wounded.

Hieromonk Pimen (Senior Lieutenant Sergei Izvekov) "... went missing on August 26 1943, in Merefsky Region, Kharkov Oblast"2. V. Nikitin in his book "Patriarch Pimen. The Road to Christ" claims that the shell-shocked Pimen was found by paramedics after a battle and sent to a hospital in Moscow, never to return to the army.

1945: sentenced to 10 years of penal servitude in a camp in Vorkuta (Vorkutlag), to which he was escorted under guard. "Pimen was accused of possessing forged identity documents and 'evading the responsibility posing as a churchman'... Considering that at a meeting with participants of the Council of Bishops (Arhiyereisky sobor) on November 24 1944. the chairman of the Council for the Matters of the Russian Orthodox Church Georgy Karpov assured the assembly that 'all churchmen serving in the parishes are granted exemption from military duty irrespective of their age', hiero-monk Pimen could not have been deemed to be a deserter: he was entitled to exemption from military service. [Pimen] was convicted because his appointment to a parish was formalised too late."3 At the end of the year Pimen was granted amnesty on the occasion of the victory over Germany.4 According to archimandrite Dionisy Shishigin, from September 1945 to February 1946 Pimen was treated in a Moscow tuberculosis hospital.5

Second half of the 1940s: was appointed a treasurer of the Iliinsky Monastery in the Odessa Diocese; elevated to the rank of hegumen; later became governor of the Pskovo-Pechersky Monastery in the Pskov Diocese.

1950s: elevated to the rank of archimandrite; appointed governor of the Holy Trinity-St. Sergius Lavra; then Bishop of Balta in the Odessa Diocese; then Bishop Dmitrovsky, vicar of the Moscow Diocese.

Early 1960s: elevated to the rank of archbishop and appointed business manager of the Moscow Patriarchate; later, archbishop of Tula and Belyovsky Region; Metropolitan of Leningrad and Ladoga Region; and later still, Metropolitan of Krytitsy and Kolomna.

At the same period, became a member of the World Peace Council and Soviet Committee for Cultural Ties with Compatriots Living Abroad.

1967: November - after Korin's death, conducted funeral service for the artist at the Smolensky Cathedral of the Novodevichy Convent.

1970-1971: after the death of Patriarch Alexy I (Simansky) became Patriarchal locum tenens. Took the helm of the Local Council of the Russian Orthodox Church in this capacity.

1971: June 2 - unanimously elected Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia in an open ballot at the meeting of the Local Council.

1983: May - thanks to Patriarch Pimen's efforts, the buildings of the former Danilovsky Monastery in Moscow were transferred to the Moscow Patriarchate.

1988: April - a meeting between Patriarch Pimen and members of the Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church and the Secretary General of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union Mikhail Gorbachev.

In the same year, the patriarch took part in organising the festivities on the occasion of the 1,000th anniversary of the Christiani-zation of Rus'. The Conference of Bishops sent out a statement that "...participants of the Pre-conciliar Conference of Bishops gratefully deem it necessary to acknowledge the Soviet government's positive attitude to questions brought up by hier-archs of our Church. "6 In the renovated Svyato-Danilovsky Monastery Patriarch Pimen held a divine liturgy together with heads of the foreign churches, including Patriarch Ignatius IV (Hazim) of Antioch and All the East, Patriarch Diodoros of Jerusalem and others.

In June the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR issued a decree awarding him the Order of the Red Banner of Labour "for active peace-making".

1989: Patriarchs Tikhon and Job canonised on Patriarch Pimen's personal initiative.

1990: May 3 - died in Moscow, in his residence on Chisty lane. Buried in a crypt in the Us-pensky Cathedral at the Holy Trinity-St. Sergius Lavra, next to the grave of Patriarch Alexy I (Simansky).


Timeline: the Life of Bishop Antonin (Granovsky)

1865: November 21 - born in the village of Khorishki, near Poltava (in Poltava Gover-norate), to a deacon's family.

1880s: studied at Poltava Theological Seminary and Kiev Theological Academy, graduating from the latter with a degree in theology. Was tonsured a monk and ordained as a hieromonk.

1890s: worked as an inspector's assistant at Kiev Theological Academy, a superintendent at Donskoy Theological College in Moscow and Kievo-Podolsky Theological College, an inspector at a theological seminary in Tula, an instructor at Kholmskaya Theological Seminary; after his elevation to the rank of archimandrite, worked at a theological seminary in Blagovesh-chensk-upon-Amur and as a censor at St. Petersburg Theological Censorship Committee.

1902: received a Master's degree in theology. Studying the Bible, published an exegesis of the Book of Baruch. In his dissertation Bishop Antonin attempted to reconstruct the lost original Hebrew text of the Book of Baruch using versions of the text in Ancient Greek, Coptic, Old Arabic, Old Armenian and other Oriental languages. Using his research, reconstructed the Hebrew original.

1901-1903: participated in religious-philosophical meetings in St. Petersburg - other participants included famous Russian philosophers, writers and cultural figures, such as Dmitry Merezhkovsky, Zinaida Gippius, Vasily Rozanov and Alexandre Benois. The topics discussed included the freedom of conscience, relations between Church and State, etc. The meetings were chaired by the rector of St. Petersburg Theological Academy, Bishop of Jamburg Sergius (Stragorodsky), the future Patriarch.

1903: elevated to the rank of Bishop of Narva, vicar of the St. Petersburg Diocese.

1905: joined the Commission for Drafting the Law on Freedom of the Press; spoke publicly in favour of abolishment of all forms of censorship. After the Bloody Sunday on January 9 1905 (when peaceful demonstrators were shot by the police), participated in a fund-raising campaign to benefit the injured.

Since that time began to elaborate the concept of unity of the legislature, the executive, and the judiciary in Russia.

1910s: after retirement, lived in Sergieva Pri-morskaya Pustyn (Monastery) in Strelna, where he studied the Old Testament's Book of Proverbs. Later was appointed Bishop of Vladikavkaz and Mozdok.

Retired again and lived in the Bogoyavlensky Monastery in the Kitai-Gorod area in Moscow.

1921: participated in the activities of "Pomgol" (Relief for the Starving); believed that the confiscation of Church assets was unlikely to insult the feelings of religious believers because the possible sale of the holy vessels was necessary to bring relief to the starving.

In the same year Patriarch Tikhon prohibited Bishop Antonin from holding services of worship as a sanction for the latter's unauthorised changes to the liturgy.

1922: as an expert at the trial of the opponents of the confiscation of Church assets, Bishop Antonin indirectly encouraged the sentencing to death of the accused. Later pleaded for their pardon, but was unable to secure it for all.

In the same year, after Patriarch Tikhon's arrest, became one of the first hierarchs to support the movement for the renovation of the Church ("Renovationism", or the Living Church). Was appointed chairman of the Provisional Church Administration - the highest ecclesiastical authority of the Ren-ovationist movement; elevated to the rank of Metropolitan of Moscow.

1923: as a chairman of the council of the Living Church, was one of the first signatories of the decree to strip Patriarch Tikhon of his priesthood - a resolution the validity of which Tikhon never recognised.

In the same year, after disagreements with the Renovationists' leaders, was removed from the council chairman's post and spoke up against the personnel policies of the Living Church, saying that "drunkards and vulgarians" should not be tolerated in its governing bodies.

In the autumn of the same year resigned from the post to which he was promoted within the fold of the Living Church.

1924: in the spring Patriarch Tikhon yet again banned Bishop Antonin from the priesthood and said he should be tried in the ecclesiastic court.

At that period Bishop Antonin, no longer a champion of the Renovationists' ideas, adopted an intransigent attitude to Patriarch Tikhon.

Mid-1920s: in the years following Patriarch Tik-hon's death, Bishop Antonin suffered from severe health problems and underwent surgery.

1927: by some accounts, Bishop Antonin did not succeed in making peace with the Patriarchal Church as he wished to, because Metropolitan Sergiy (Stragorodsky), Patriarchal locum tenens, was arrested.

Died on January 14 1927 in Moscow.

Buried at the altar wall of the Smolensky Cathedral in the cemetery of the Novodevichy Monastery.

After the death of the hierarch, the Holy Synod of the Orthodox Russian Church1 issued a special decree revoking the ban on priesthood imposed on Bishop Antonin and commending him as a prominent theologian and scholar. This decree also allowed the clergy under the authority of the Synod as well as members of the Synod to take part in the funeral service for the deceased bishop.

The reaction to Bishop Antonin's death signalled a beginning of the reconciliation within the Russian Orthodox Church in the 1930s.

  1. Monkhood of the Recent Times. Moscow: 1998. P. 88
  2. Nikitin, V. "Patriarch Pimen. The Road to Christ". Moscow: 2011. P. 85
  3. Ibid.
  4. Odintsov, M. "The Russian Orthodox Church in the 20th Century". Moscow, TSINO. P. 24.
  5. Orthodox Moscow, 2007, No. 21 (399)
  6. Magazine of Moscow Patriarchate. 1988, No. 9, P. 37
  7. The appellation of the Russian Orthodox Church prior to 1943


Metropolitan Sergius I of Moscow. 1937
Oil on canvas. 242 x 137 cm Tretyakov Galery

The subject is Metropolitan Sergius, Ivan Ni-kolaevich Stragorodsky (1867-1944) - a Master of Theology, educator, author of several akathist hymns; one of the prominent hierarchs of the Russian Orthodox Church, he was its first primate in modern time - the Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia (1943-1944).

Timeline: the Life of Patriarch Sergius (Ivan Stragorodsky)

1867: January 11 - born in the town of Arzamas near Nizhny Novgorod, into the family of an archpriest. He received elementary education in Arzamas - first in a parochial school, then in a religious school.

Late 1880s - early 1890s: studied in a theological seminary in Nizhny Novgorod, then at St. Petersburg Theological Academy, graduating with a Master's degree in theology.

Was tonsured a monk and ordained a hiero-monk.

At that period, served at a Russian religious mission in Japan, worked as a chaplain on the Pamyat Azova ship, and accompanied the heir to the throne Nicholas (future Emperor Nicholas II) on a journey.

Later was appointed adjunct professor at the department of the Old Testament at St.Petersburg Theological Academy and worked as an inspector for Moscow Theological Academy.

Second half of the 1890s: elevated to the rank of archimandrite and appointed governor of the Russian Ambassadorial Church in Athens. Later he again worked in Japan. Upon his return he was appointed rector at St.Petersburg Theological Seminary and inspector and rector at the Theological Academy.

Received the degree of Master of Theology for his dissertation "Christian Orthodox Teaching About Salvation".

Early 1900s: consecrated Bishop of Jamburg and appointed Vicar at St. Petersburg diocese.

Chaired the religious-philosophical meetings in St.Petersburg. The participants included famous Russian philosophers, writers and poets, such as Vasily Rozanov, Dmitry Merezhkovsky, Zinaida Gippius, Alexander Benois. Antonin Granovsky, whom Korin featured on the double portrait was an unofficial representative of the church in the discussions.

Second half of the 1900s: participated in a session of the Most Holy Synod, chaired its Educational Committee, was responsible for introducing corrections into the service books; was an honorary member of St.Petersburg Theological Academy.

1910s: as a member of the Synod, chaired its Preconciliar Commission, then the Missionary Board. The Synod awarded him a Diamond Cross.


1917-1918: participated in the meetings of the Local Council of the Russian Orthodox Church in Moscow, where Tikhon Belavin was elected Patriarch by sortition after Alexey Soloviev, a distinguished elderly monk (starets) from the Svyato-Smolenskaya Zosimo-va Pustyn (monastery), drew the lot for him.

Besides, Father Sergius was ordained Archbishop of Vladimir and Shuya, and later elevated to the rank of metropolitan.

1921: arrested and put in Butyrskaya prison.

In spring was banished to Nizhny Novgorod; there he lived in the Krestovozdvizhensky Monastery and held worship services.

1922: the publication of the Appeal, in which Father Sergius and archbishops Yevdokim Meshchersky and Serafim Meshcheryakov recognised the recently established Supreme Church Administration (SCA). The SCA was created by a group of priests backed by the GPU (secret police) at the beginning of a campaign to nationalise the assets of religious communities and organisations. The creation of the SCA caused a new split in the Russian Orthodox Church -the new movement to emerge from it is called in the modern scholarship Reno-vationism.

1923: during a service at the Donskoy Monastery Father Sergius publicly acknowledged his guilt and renounced Reno-vationism. After the penitence he was received by Patriarch Tikhon.

Second half of the 1920s: appointed the Metropolitan of Nizhny Novgorod.

Became the Patriarchal locum tenens after the arrest of Metropolitan Peter of Krutitsy (Pyotr Polyansky).

Later Father Sergius arrested again. After release from prison, he took the helm of the Orthodox Russian Church1 as the deputy Patriarchal locum tenens.

1927: issued the Declaration of Loyalty, which stated, in particular, that "the establishment of the Soviet government was seen by many as a fortuitous and therefore short-lived aberration. People have forgotten that there is no such thing as fortuity for a Christian and that what happens here, as what happens everywhere and always, comes by the hand of God, which steadily leads every nation to its destined goal..."

The Declaration also emphasised the need to struggle against the "foreign enemies" in order ".to show that we, church leaders, are not on the side of enemies of our Soviet state or the insane tools used in their schemes, but on the side of our people and the Government".

The Declaration was met with mixed reaction in the Russian Orthodox community. Some priests returned its copies to Metropolitan Sergius in protest, although disagreement with the Declaration could have led directly to arrest and exile.

Early 1930s: Pope Pius XI, Archbishop of Canterbury William Cosmo Gordon Lang and other clergy spoke up against the persecution of the Russian Orthodox Church.

In response to these allegations, Metropolitan Sergius gave several interviews, signed by him and members of the Synod, to Soviet and international journalists.

In one of the interviews, published in the "Iz-vestia" newspaper on February 16, 1930, Metropolitan Sergius said, in particular: "...There has never been persecution of faith in the USSR. . Yes, some churches indeed close. But these closures are not the authorities' initiative - they happen because the people want it, and in some instances, even because the believers decide so. The Soviet government persecutes the believers and the clergy not on account of their religious convictions but for general reasons, just as it does other citizens who engage in anti-governmental activities. Regrettably, even today some of us cannot understand that there is no return to the past and continue to act as political enemies of the Soviet state."

Father Sergius's policies caused many hier-archs of the Patriarchal section of the Russian Orthodox Church to defy his authority as the head of the Russian Orthodox Church. Eager to preserve the unity of the Church, Father Sergius repeatedly tried to engage with the dissenters.

Late 1920s: The League of Militant Atheists began its activities, calling for the demolition of churches and repudiation of faith. Mass arrests of the clergy began.

1934: the title of the Holiest Metropolitan of Moscow and Kolomna conferred on Metropolitan Sergius, and the right to wear two panagias granted to him.

1936: appointed Patriarchal locum tenens of the Orthodox Russian Church.

1938: after the abolishment of the Commission for Religious Matters existing under the auspices of the Board of the Central Executive Committee (Presidium TsIK) of the USSR, the Church was completely separated from state.

At that period, Father Sergius talking with journalists denied the allegations about the closing down of churches on a massive scale and spoke out against the Western campaign in defence of the persecuted Russian Church.

1941: immediately after the start of the Great Patriotic War the metropolitan called on the believers to fight against the Nazi invaders, work relentlessly in the unoccupied part of the country, make voluntary donations for the cause of the country's defence. The Church-led fund-raising campaign yielded more than 300 million rubles and large amounts of valuables. These funds were used, in particular, for the production of the Dmitry Don-skoy tank column and Alexander Nevsky squadron.

1941-1942: Father Sergius was evacuated to and stayed in Ulyanovsk.

1943: together with the metropolitans Alexy (Simansky) and Nicholas (Yarushevich) had an audience with Stalin.

Russian Orthodox churches began to open in different cities across the country; many bishops - those who sided with Metropolitan Sergius - were released from the prisons and camps and rewarded with bishoprics; former clergymen were discharged from military service.

Moreover, the theological academies and seminaries were re-opened and the Church was enabled to publish religious texts.

In the same year in Moscow, in a new building of the Patriarchate on Chisty Pereu-lok, a Council of Bishops was convened, which elected Metropolitan Sergius Stragorodsky Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia.

Soon Sergius was enthroned at the Bogoyav-lensky [Epiphany] Cathedral at Yelokhovo.

1944: May 15 - died in Moscow. Buried in the St. Nicholas Chapel in the Bogoyavlensky [Epiphany] Cathedral at Yelokhovo.

The sketch for the "Requiem" (1935-1939) features Patriarch Sergius in the central group of hierarchs on the pulpit, next to Patriarch Tikhon.

  1. That was how the Russian Orthodox Church was called prior to 1943.
  2. Praskovia Korina's memoirs published in "Pavel Korin. Letters from Italy". Moscow: 1982. P. 43.


The Blind Man. 1931
Oil on canvas. 173 x 102.5 cm Tretyakov Galery

His identity unknown, the subject is one of the "common people" in the Russian Orthodox milieu - those individuals who were traditionally revered in the Russian Orthodox Church as "fools in Christ", or "holy fools".

This "holy fool" ("Blind Danilo", as Korin called him), according to the accounts of some contemporaries - in particular, the nun Ignatia Petrovskaya - in the 1920s was a chorister in Moscow, in the Church of St. Sergius of Radonezh and the Church of the Bogolyubskaya Icon of the Mother of God (both at the Vysoko-Petrovsky Monastery), and in the Church of the Nativity of the Mother of God in Putinky.

Blind Danilo had a good ear, remembered large passages from the Holy Scriptures and the works of the Holy Fathers, and regularly participated in worship.1

The artist's wife, Praskovia Tikhonovna Korina, related her memories of Korin's work on the blind man's image: "[The man] had a shabby look. A big head, shaking all over. The mouth was a total rot, as if after a fire. He stayed with us for three days. Pavel Dmitryevich always preferred to work in silence. It was quiet in the room. Only occasionally you could hear the blind man's voice: Hey, Babylon is buzingl' (on Arbat street, near our house, the streetcars rang loud and long). 'I'm so tired,' Panya [Pavel Korin - Ed.] used to say after a sitting, 'soon I too shall have my head shaking, like blind Danilo's'."2

In the sketch for the "Requiem" created in 1935-1959 Korin pictured blind Danilo in the left group, between Archimandrite Alexei (Sergeev) and schema-monk Agafon (Lebedev).

  1. Monkhood of the Recent Times. From the Recollections of the Nun Ignatia (Petrovskaya). Moscow: 1998. Pp. 136-137
  2. Praskovia Korina's memoirs published in"Pavel Korin. Letters from Italy". Moscow: 1982. P. 43.





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