The History and Culture of the Russian Orthodox Old Ritualists" - Dostoevsky an Atheist and Revolutionary? Consider the misconceptions about Dostoevsky.

Russian Orthodox Paleo-ritualists Dostoevsky and Christianity


An inescapable part of the study of Russian Orthodox doctrine and history is the existence of what is known as the Old Ritualists (Separatists). This separatist group is called "Raskolyniki" in Russian.

The name "Raskolyniki" may ring a bell with some of you.

In fact, Dostoevsky'sCrime and Punishment."It is said that the name of Raskolnikov, the main character of the "Raskolnikov" is derived from this "Raskolyniki".

However, he explains that it is dangerous to read too much into it, since Raskolnikov himself is not an archaic ritualist (separatist), but only that his name implies it.

The Old Ritual School is extremely important in the history of religion in Russia, and whether or not you know about it will drastically change the way you look at Russian literature. Without this history, you will not be able to see how Russian writers such as Dostoevsky and Tolstoy viewed Christianity.

This article will first look at the religious situation in Russia with reference to "The History and Culture of the Russian Orthodox Old Ritualists".

Then, in "Dostoevsky an Atheist and Revolutionary? Consider the misconceptions about Dostoevsky" in the "Conclusion" section of this talk.

It will be a bit long until the "Conclusion," but I hope you will read it, even if only briefly, as I will be discussing something very important in considering the question, "Was Dostoevsky an atheist and a revolutionary?

What is the Old Ritualist (Secessionist) School?

To begin with, what exactly is the Ko-ritsumei-ha? As the name suggests, it is a sect that observes ancient rituals.

The impetus for the creation of this sect can be traced back to 1653, with the reforms of Patriarch Nykon of the Russian Orthodox Church, who was in league with the then Russian Czar.

Nicon wanted to change the way of praying from the traditional Russian style to the European Greek style.

For example, the two-fingered cross was changed to a three-fingered cross, and the kneeling prayer was changed from a kneeling prayer to a bending prayer, to name a few.

But the faithful objected strongly to this.

The difference between two-fingered and three-fingered may not seem that significant to us modern Japanese.

However, the teaching of the Russian Orthodox Church is a Christianity that emphasizes "salvation through correct teaching (prayer).

Therefore, if we made a correction here, it would mean that our previous prayers were in error.

If so, what was our prayer so far? The inevitable question arises: were we disobeying God because we were praying the wrong prayers?

And the Russians, with their strong spirituality of tradition, were not so easily willing to accept new ways of doing things.

Those who wanted to preserve the old traditions came to believe that Patriarch Nicon's reforms to enforce a new way of praying were the work of the devil in defiance of Christ.

Thus was born a sect opposed to Patriarch Nykon, which was later declared heretical by the Russian Orthodox Church and called the Old Ritualists or Separatists.

This is a rather rough explanation, and in reality, the history of the Ko-shiki school has gone through more complicated twists and turns, but for now, I have given you a rough idea of the history of the school.

The book "The History and Culture of the Russian Orthodox Old Ritualists," which I am introducing today, provides a very detailed and careful explanation of the Old Ritualists (Separatists).

Outline and Comments on "The History and Culture of the Russian Orthodox Ko-ritual School", edited by Hideaki Sakamoto and Atsuo Nakazawa, Akashi Shoten

Amazon's product description describes the book as follows

The religious schism caused by the church reforms of the Russian Orthodox Church in the mid-17th century led to a split in Russian society and national psyche, creating a splinter group known as the "Old Ritualists". Understanding Russia is impossible without a deep awareness of this schism. This book is the first overview of the Old Ritualists.

AmazonProducts Page.

The term "separatists" sometimes appears meaningfully in Dostoevsky's commentaries.

It seems that "secessionist" was used in Russia as a legal term for "archaic ceremonialist," and that "secessionist" and "archaic ceremonialist" may be used almost synonymously.

And according to this book, there has been no reference book written in detail about the Ko-ritual school in Japan or anywhere else in the world for a long time.

The book notes that under the Soviet regime, the study of religion was taboo, especially for the Old Ritualists, who were regarded as heretics by the Russian Orthodox Church.

However, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, research has progressed rapidly, and many researchers have now published their findings on the paleo-ritual school.

This book provides an easy-to-understand overview of such ancient ceremonial schools, which have been rapidly studied in recent years.

This is a great book to learn what the Old Ritual School is all about in the first place.

The book is very interesting because it explains not only doctrinal issues, but also political issues, historical and cultural issues, and above all, the influence on literary figures such as Dostoevsky.

I am not an expert, so I will refrain from further reference, but since I am here, I would like to share with you some of the interesting passages in the book.

Christian eschatology and the work principle

 It would be insufficient to explain the work ethic and asceticism found among the Paleo-ritualists by simply mentioning the disciplinarianism and ritualism of a closed group.

In this regard, it should not be forgotten that they were adherents of an imminent apocalyptic eschatology, or Antichrist (Antichrist).

Both Old Rites were keenly aware of the coming of the Antichrist and sought to prepare for it. The salvation theory of the Paleo-ritualists was forged in opposition to it, and their own asceticism was also formed in the process.

 Apocalyptic eschatology gained strength among Paleo-ritualists during the time of Nietzsche's Reformation and the subsequent suppression of Paleo-ritualism.

Among the leaders of the early Paleo-ritualist movement, it was the chief priest Razali (? - 1682) who developed eschatology clearly and coherently. ~1682). In a petition to Tsar Alexei Mikhailovich (1668), he detailed how the reforms in ritual and worship practices brought about by Nicon's reforms deviated from the faith tradition of the fathers, and warned that if these errors were not corrected, they could lead to catastrophe.

The light motif that ran through the petition was the idea that those deviations were a retreat from the true faith and that the "end of the world" would soon arrive. The discourses of early leaders such as Razali and the chief priest Avakum (1620-1682) greatly influenced the movement in later periods and became the source of several intra-Orthodox currents.

 Many Pagans sensed Antichrist's rule even during the reign of Peter the Great. Not only did Peter the Great implement calendar and writing reforms, enforce the westernization of lifestyles and customs, and strengthen the tax system by imposing a double tax on the Pagans, but he also attempted to ascertain the Pagan population through population census.

The Paleo-ritualists either saw the spirit of Antichrist working behind the emperor's throne and the patriarch, represented by the emperor, or they saw Pyotr as the visible Antichrist himself, and apocalyptic anxiety quickly grew.

 While Pyotr tried to scoop up their economic power for the treasury by double taxation on the archaic ceremonialists, he allowed them to reside within the city. In this sense, he actually semi-legitimized the Paleo-ritualists.

However, the doctrine of the coming of the Antichrist led to a growing distrust and fear of the imperial state and of Russian Orthodoxy itself. Under this fear and apprehension, they could not help but hope for deliverance.

There were two main paths to salvation. One was the Antichrist, i.e., to escape thoroughly from the clutches of the government and the Orthodox Church, specifically through mass immolation or flight to outlying regions or out of the country.

The other was the path of living a strictly ascetic life in the secular world and living by diligent labor to build by one's own efforts a unique and disciplined society that would be able to compete with the world dominated by, or creeping toward, Antichrist.

This method originally began at the end of the 17th century in the vicinity of the monastic hermitages in northern Vig near the White Sea, and gradually spread to other parts of the country with the development of active economic activities. The ascetic lifestyle, diligent and sincere work ethic was aimed at the salvation of the soul.

In order to oppose the world covered by the shadow of Antichrist, the Paleo-ritualists strove in the struggle to give birth to an ideal world, protected by the divine will, in the remote northern regions of Russia.

In the north, a life of prayer and labor developed in monastic asceticism, and eventually, energetic believers with a secular ascetic attitude spread throughout Russia to expand their trade and commercial network.
Some line breaks have been made.

The History and Culture of the Russian Orthodox Koso Ritualists, edited by Hideaki Sakamoto and Atsuo Nakazawa, p. 157-158.

The idea that the world would come to an end with the coming of the Antichrist was deeply rooted in the Old Ritualists.

That Antichrist was Patriarch Nicon, that Emperor Peter.

Speaking of Emperor Peter, the previousThe Man Who Created St. Petersburg, Peter the Great: A Close Look at the Substandard Czar who Ushered in Russia's Version of the Meiji Restoration.article, he was the czar who abandoned old Russia, westernized Russia, and created St. Petersburg.

For the Old Ritualists, abandoning the ancient symbol of Russia, "Moscow," and imitating Catholic European countries to create the city of St. Petersburg was nothing but anti-Christ.

I think you can get some sense from the above quote that the Old Ritualists are a conservative position that seeks to protect old Russia.

And one more, this time citing Dostoevsky's relationship with the Old Ritualists.

The Present Image of the Popular Believer (Dostoevsky)

 Dostoevsky's literature has shown an interest in sects such as the whipping school since the 40s, but he does not portray the Old Ritualists head-on,The Record of the House of Death."(1862) was the first.

Based on his experience as a political prisoner in exile in Siberia, this prison novel in the style of a memoir features an elderly prisoner of the Old Ritualist school who maintains a solitary posture while earning the respect and trust of those around him.

He is modeled on an old Starodubierite who was imprisoned for life for refusing a request to convert to the Kainichi sect, and in the film he is portrayed as a "Passionate for the Faith" who set fire to a Kainichi church built by the government. However, the author emphasizes that this man, despite his radical background, is extremely mild-mannered, and is free from the formalism and haughtiness that plague the other Old Ritualists.

After living with this person for a while, you will involuntarily ask yourself: How could such a quiet, childlike person become a rebel?

I started a 'faith argument' with him several times. He would not yield a single step in his beliefs, but not once did his rebuttal contain any malice or any hatred. And yet he destroyed the church, and yet he would not repudiate his actions.

The way he believed, it seems to me that he deserved to have his actions and the "suffering" he undertook as a result of them regarded as a matter of honor.

But no matter how closely I looked at him, no matter how closely I observed him, I never found even a trace of vanity in him. (......) He was extremely sociable, cheerful, and laughed a lot. ()He was very sociable, and laughed often, not with the rude and mocking smile that prisoners often show, but with a bright and quiet laugh, full of childlike naivete, which somehow suited his gray hair. (......) The old man was respected by the prisoners, and there was not the slightest snub of it."

 This portrayal of the characters is not only a product of actual experience, but may also be seen as a projection of the aforementioned "soil-oriented" philosophy that the original Russian values remain only under the old ceremonialists, who have been pushed out of the mainstream of modern Russian history. In any case, it seems that Dostoevsky sees in the archaic ceremonialists, whom Tolstoy saw as noble savages, the ideal type of popular believers.

 Although detailed sketches of the Old Ritualists do not appear in Dostoevsky's later works, his interest in the Old Ritualists is reflected in various ways in his later works.

Crime and Punishment."has two figures reminiscent of the Old Ritualists: a young man named Raskolnikov, who belongs to a well-known "two-hundred-year-old" family from Zaraysk, Ryazan Province, and whose family name contains "separatist" nuances, and a painter named Mikolka, also from Zaraysk, who belongs to the fugitive faction.

The work's "isolationrathcallThe concept of "the spirit of the modern Russian culture" seems to imply a certain religious and ideological fervor, a rebellion against authority, and, on the one hand, an unfortunate split in the spiritual culture of modern Russia itself.

The Moron.In the "The Ritualists of Moscow," Rogozin, whose name is reminiscent of the Moscow cemetery of Rogoskoye, has been associated with the Ritualists since his father's time, and Myshkin, the main character, makes a speech at a night party in Epanchin, quoting some Ritualist merchant who said, "A man without land at his feet has no god. He makes a speech at the Epanchin banquet. In general, this work has aspects of Catholicism, atheism/nihilism, and Orthodoxy in opposition to each other, and the archaic ritualists and sects are also important factors in this Russian form of belief.

 In the 1970s, Dostoevsky was clearly attracted to the idea of what might be called the reintegration of the Russian Church through reconciliation with the Old Ritualists, and in this context, he is interested in the discussions in the religious education enthusiasts' association to raise the status of the Returned One School.

He also welcomed the news that in the Russo-Turkish war in the Balkans in 1976, Moscow's Old Ritualists organized a medical unit and sent it to Serbia, as a sign of the Eastern Orthodox Church's renewed unity.The Brothers Karamazov.The theme of religious tolerance as seen in Elder Zosima of the "Russian Church" also seems to be somehow connected to the theory of the reunification of the Russian Church.

 For the theme of the revival of Russian piety, which is thus developed in various directions, the calm image of the Omsk prison's ancient ritualists seems to be a starting point.
Some line breaks have been made.

The History and Culture of the Russian Orthodox Koso Ritualists, edited by Hideaki Sakamoto and Atsuo Nakazawa, p. 373-376.

The connection between Dostoevsky and the Old Ritualists is not radical in any way, and it seems natural that Dostoevsky, who loved the simple spirituality of the Russian people, would be interested in them.

Conclusion - Dostoevsky an Atheist and Revolutionary? Consider the misconceptions about Dostoevsky

I was reminded of this after reading "The History and Culture of the Russian Orthodox Old Ritualists."

It is,

Dostoevsky was a Christian."

is a very difficult question to answer.

As we have seen in the past on this blog, Russian history and culture is a complicated history and society.

Just as Catholicism and Protestantism are two completely different cultures within the Christian religion, it is difficult to lump Russian Orthodoxy together as a Christian religion.

What is even more difficult is that there are many different sects of Russian Orthodoxy, and even within the same sect, what each person feels in his or her heart is never the same.

This is difficult to see when we think of distant foreign cultures, but if you take us Japanese as an example, it will immediately hit home.

I, Takahiro Ueda, am a Buddhist.

Suppose that I said.

I am a Buddhist, but I am a priest of the Jodo Shinshu sect, and I am also a member of the Shinshu Kiben school of Buddhism. I am also a priest of the Jodo Shinshu sect, but I am also a member of the Shinshu Kiben school of Shin Buddhism.

It is true that I am a Buddhist, but I am not a Zen Buddhist, nor am I a monk of Mt.

Even though they are the same Buddhists, they have very different doctrines and ways of praying.

If we lump them all together and say "Ueda is a Buddhist" and apply that to everything, we will miss something important.

It is the same with Dostoevsky.

Dostoevsky was a devoted Christian."

It is easy to say this, but then we have to be very careful about what kind of faith he had. For example, if one step is taken out of line, one could assume that Dostoevsky was an atheist.

If I, as a Jodo-Shinshu practitioner, a sect that does not practice zazen, were to put it this way: "If you don't practice zazen, you are not a Buddhist. If you don't do zazen, you are not a Buddhist. You are a person who doesn't believe in Buddha.

I believe this is a major reason why Dostoevsky is so easily misunderstood in this area.

And one more point.

The theory that "Dostoevsky was an atheist and a czarist assassin with revolutionary ideas."About.

This is a common story in Japan.Often based on editorials published during the Soviet era and under Soviet ideologyIt is.

I mentioned earlier that "The History and Culture of the Russian Orthodox Paleo-Ritualists" is a compilation of the research results of paleo-priestly scholars who have finally made progress in their studies since the collapse of the Soviet Union.

In the Soviet Union, the study of religion is taboo. Even more so for the heretical Old Ritualists.

Furthermore, the Soviet Union enforces thorough ideological control, so only discourse that suits the Soviet regime is allowed to pass.

Of course, Dostoevsky is used to that.

From the Soviet point of view, it is more convenient for Dostoevsky to be an atheist and a revolutionary who plans to overthrow the tsar by killing him.

Soviet scholars have from the outset eliminated or perverted the religious aspects of Dostoevsky's life to create their own image of him.

And because it is an editorial by a renowned scholar, it goes around the world and becomes an established fact...

It is sad, but that may be the reality of the world.

Of course I am not suggesting that all Soviet-era research is wrong.

However, reading this book made me think again about the need to take into account the historical background of the research.

Fortunately, the situation has changed with the collapse of the Soviet Union, and various studies have emerged, so I hope that these misunderstandings of Dostoevsky will be cleared up.

Again, I am not dismissing all Soviet research. I am well aware of how important to us the history and research results accumulated by the excellent scholars of the Soviet era are. I am by no means downplaying the fact that Dostoevsky is still being delivered to us thanks to their achievements.

However, I felt that it would be dangerous to take all of them for granted.

I am not a professional researcher, so I cannot say more. No, I may have been presumptuous even up to this point. I am not trying to say that everything I am saying is correct or anything like that.

However, as one who was impressed by Dostoevsky, I would like to take a sincere interest in Dostoevsky, and I have written about my feelings here.

We would be happy if this thought could be conveyed to as many people as possible.

The question "Is Dostoevsky an atheist or a revolutionary?" has not only been asked by Toyofusa Kinoshita, president of the Dostoevsky Society and professor emeritus at Chiba University, in his book "Dostoevsky's Image of the Author,Dr. Kinoshita's own websiteYou can also find detailed explanations in the following pages.

If you are interested, please take a look. I am sure you will be surprised.

The above is a summary of the article "Dostoevsky an Atheist and Revolutionary? Read "The History and Culture of the Russian Orthodox Paleo-Ritualists" to consider the misconceptions about Dostoevsky".

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