Церковь и горожане средневекового Пскова. Историко-археологическое исследование [Cerkov’ i gorožane srednevekovogo Pksova. Istoriko-arxeologičeskoe issledovanie] - Normandie Université Access content directly
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Церковь и горожане средневекового Пскова. Историко-археологическое исследование [Cerkov’ i gorožane srednevekovogo Pksova. Istoriko-arxeologičeskoe issledovanie]


THE CHURCH AND THE CITIZENS IN MEDIEVAL PSKOV The identification of the Christian Church with the whole organized society is the fundamental feature which distinguishes the Middle Ages from earlier and later periods of history. However, in Russian historiography, Church history usually have been treated separately from the history of society, while history of the Russian Church was considered in isolation from the canonical law and the history of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of which it had been part until the end of 16th century. One must take into account that the events of ecclesiastic and social life during the medieval period were closely interconnected, so that the knowledge of social history helps us to understand the history of Church and, vice versa, the understanding of peculiarities of the Christian culture allows us better study of the medieval society. This approach is applied to the present study. It is dedicated to the history of mediaeval Pskov of the 11th–15th centuries and its Christian organization and culture which can be understood exclusively within the context of history of Novgorod the Great and the metropolis of Rhosia. In the history of Novgorod and Pskov, the close interconnection between the Church and society resulted in the fact that the urban communities regarded themselves as “house (oikos) of Saint Sophia” and “house (oikos) of the Holy Trinity” in accordance with the dedications of the main city cathedrals. In the consciousness of a mediaeval Novgorodian, St. Sophia together with the God was a protector of the city. Under the term of St. Sophia, not simply the main cathedral of Novgorod was implied but also the Church as a mystical organism of the Body of Christ according to the Niceno-Constantinopolitan Credo Symbolum by which the Church is characterized by four particular attributes as “single, holy, catholic and apostolic. This mentality is recorded in the Novgorod chronicle after 1204, the year of devastation of Constantinople by the 4th Crusade, and possibly was connected with activities of Archbishop Anthony (Dobrynya Yadreykovich) who had realized a pilgrimage to Byzantium. Long before the concept of Moscow as the “Third Rome”appeared, Novgorod regarded itself as the successor of Constantinople and of its St. Sophia cathedral. In Pskov, the urban community personifi ed itself in the Holy Trinity. However, only in 1471, the chronicler identifi ed the Trinity with the Ecumenical Church. Pskov had not had its own bishop until 1589, and the history of Pskov’s church community differed from that of Novgorod in a more protracted establishment of self-identification. Chapter 1, “New people” of Ancient Russia”, discusses the process of appearance of towns in Rus occurring in the context of Trans-Eurasian trade synchronously with the for356 mation of new social groups and their Christianization. At the turn of the 10th and 11th century, a process of trans-urbanization is recordable in Rus as a common European phenomenon marking the transition from the barbarian to early feudal state structures. In Northern Rus, this process was of a peaceful character because here, the dynasty of the Ryurikides was invited by the federation of northern Slavonic and Finish tribes: the Slavs, the Chuds and the Krivichians as a result of a ryad (agreement) dated by the Primary Russian Chronicle to 862. However in Southern Rus, the princely power was established after 882 through military conquest. Here, the trans-urbanization often was of forcible nature when local tribal centres were annihilated by the princely authority giving place to classical feudal cities. In this sense, the history of Pskov is more alike to that of towns of Southern Rus: the classical city with a fortress and posad (unfortifi ed settlement) arose here after the fi re of 1036 related with the raid of prince Yaroslav the Wise. The phenomenon of trans-urbanization resulted in the emergence of a social dichotomy in Old Russian town. The most ancient Russian legal code, “Russian Pravda”, knows three categories of free populace: rousin (rhos) — a person from the princely environment; slovenin of the archaic community and izgoy (an orphan or exile) or a person who had been withdrawn from the common law and accordingly subjugated to the princely Rota System. To that dichotomy, the urban spacial structure corresponded consisting of kontsy (ends; sing. konets) and sotni (hundreds; sing. sotnya) excited in medieval town as city districts. During the beginnings of Russian history, the kontsy were urban districts which may have originated in settlements of the farmstead type usually called in Russian historiography as patronymia and belonging to Slavic aristocracy. The sotni included the population of Ancient Russia subject to the prince. Archaeology allows us to identify in Novgorod diff erent subcultures characteristic of the population of the boyar’s patronymia and inhabitants of prince’s sotni. The estates or proprieties (urban yards) of the sotni residents were predominantly in Torgovaya storona (Trade Side). The oldest kontsy were ranged on the left bank of the Volkhov River in Sophij skaya storona (St. Sophia Side) — Nerevsky konets fi rst mentioned in 1172 and Lyudin or Goncharsky (potters) konets (1195). After 1218, also Zagorodsky (out-of-town) konets arises here. On the right bank, Slavensky (1231) and Plotnitsky (after 1196) kontsy are known. Gradually, ten Novgorod sotni came to be subject to the boyars and administrations of the kontsy. In history of Novgorod, one can observe a gradual transference of princely rights to the local boyars. This was related with their participation in the collection and distribution of state tributes. Furthermore, the Novgorodians ranked themselves with the “Varangian genesis” as belonging to social and political organization which was linked with the invitation of the Varangian princes. This fact allowed the boyars to oppose themselves to the “Russian genesis” established as the princely war retinue in the Middle Dnieper reaches around Kyiv. The participation of the Slavic aristocracy, the ancestors of future Novgorodians, in the invitation of the Varangians princely dynasty gave them particular rights in regard of the Ryurikides. At least since 1264, these rights were fi xed by a special treaty between Novgorod and the prince. However, the original organizing role of the princely power in the appearance of Novgorod in the mid-10th century and subsequent establishment of state structure in Northern Rus was undisputed. This was one of the important points of the “feudal democracy”. To a considerably greater extent, the role of princely power was manifested at the initial stages of the establishment of Pskov. Chapter 2, The urban community of Medieval Pskov”, discusses the bases of the social history of mediaeval Pskov. Traditionally it has been believed that the dominating position in Pskov, like in Novgorod, was held by the Slavic aristocracy which founded the city’s kontsy. However, analysis of written and archaeological sources has shown that Pskov arose gradually as a result of the evolution of princely sotni. An important period in history of Pskov was that of AD 1266 when the Lithuanian prince Dovmont (Daumantas) began his reigning here. The Pskov boyars of the 14th–15th centuries were rooted back into the princely administration which made a subject of inheritance from its social position. There were thirty Pskov sotni, some of which it is possible to localize in modern maps. From those sotni, six kontsy were formed: that of St. Peter or Bolovinsky, Gorodetsky, Ostrolavitsky, Opotsky, Polonishchsky and Bogoyavlensky (the Epiphany) konets. These diff erences between Novgorod and Pskov in social and political history have infl uenced their church organization which is considered in Chapter 3, “The Clergy in mediaeval Russian town”. In the history, the boundaries of dioceses and canon law promoted the fi xation of political borders in Ancient Rus. One of the features of Russian church geography was in the existence of enclaves: certain territories were subject to bishopric situated at a fair distance from them as a result of the distribution of princely power. It is known, however, that only 19 bishopric cathedrae existed over the vast territory of Ancient Rus. The insignifi cant number of Russian dioceses, as compared with Byzantium, is possibly explained by the 57 Canons of the Council of Laodicea which prohibited foundation of bishoprics in underpopulated cities. It is by the regulations of the canonical law and not by a political juncture that one can explain the transference of the Metropolitan cathedra to Moscow due to the reception in 1317–1322 of the yarlyk (patent) from the Mongolian khans for the great-reign by the Moscow prince Yury Danilovich. Indeed, the primacy had to be located in the town of the “ruler and senate”. The studies of the process of the formation of parishes in Rus is a considerably more complicated problem because of the absence of sources. The term prikhod (parish) fi rst is mentioned in 1485 in connection with the reformation of the church organization in the course of the establishment of the Russian centralized state and fi xing the congregations to particular churches created by princely authorities. Before, the term of predel or uyezd, rooted in the Greek periodes, had been used in the church law as related with the notion of visitation. “Russkaya Pravda”, the legal code of Kievan Rus, still did not know clergymen as an isolated stratum. This fact had predetermined the main forms of the initial organization of the Eucharistic life during the Ancient-Russian period. These forms were the divisions of the then-existing social and political structure of the society constituted by the princely court, city’s sotni or boyar patronymies as a form of domus ecclesiae (oikos). This situation impeded the establishment of a special clergy order in Ancient Russia directly subordinated to Episcopal jurisdiction. Only with the lapse of time, due to eff orts of the church hierarchy, the “Regulation on the church people” appeared in the 12th century allowing the clergy to consolidate as a separate estate under the canon law. On the whole, the regulations of the canon law ousted the common law. However, in a number of cases, these regulations, linked both with the status of the clergy in Byzantine aristocratic oikoi and ktitorian law (ktetorikon dikaion) and the position of “royal clergy” diff ering from the “clergy of the bema” subordinate to the Patriarch, coincided with the common Ancient Russian law of patronymia and that of the princely court. It is known that in Rus there was princely clergy non-subordinated to the local bishop. The coincidences of this kind not only promoted the preservation of archaic ecclesiastic relations in Russian patronymia but also the conservation of the politic culture of Novgorod and Pskov established on its basis, i.e. the democracy of the Veche (City Assembly). These connections between the clergy and the society have refl ected in archaeological evidence. In Novgorod, archaeological excavations have allowed us to reveal up to ten urban proprieties of the 12th–15th century where clergy was living. The houses of priests were not situated near the churches but among ordinary urban proprieties this fact indicating a close connection between the clergy and the civil community. In the 16th century, the administration of the Moscow prince intentionally lodged priests near the churches. This resulted in transformation of the clergy into a closed social group and disruption of the natural links with the parishioners, fi rst of all with the aristocratic oikoi. This process began already after the annexation of Novgorod by Moscow when, in 1470–1480, Novgorod boyars were exiled. In Pskov, archaeological evidence has not allowed to identify estates of clergymen. Nevertheless, analysis of Pskov city’s inventory of 1586/1587 demonstrates that here, in contrast to Novgorod, the priests were not moved closer to the churches. Evidently, the clergy of mediaeval Pskov was not closely connected with the local boyars and the exile of the town’s social elite in 1510 had not aff ected the system of settlement of local priests. Chapter 4, “The Seven Church Districts (Sobory) System in Medieval Novgorod”, considers the ecclesiastical organization of Ancient Russian town which was subdivided into church districts or so-called sobory (verbatim councils; sing. sobor). These sobory are to some extent comparable with the deaneries once existing in Europe but their authorities were not rigidly fi xed in the canon law. Also the main church of such a district was called sobor and to it not only urban but also rural churches were subordinated. According to the ecclesiastic law, the sobory had distinct territorial boundaries. It is of note that in Russia, a bishopric cathedral also was called sobor. The fact that under the term of “sobor”, an entire series of mediaeval notions were implied: Church council, district of churches, main church of such district and a bishopric cathedral, as well as the concept of katholikh as a theological characteristic of Church (sobornaya), are to be considered as the historical expression of the catholicity and conciliarity of the Church organization in Ancient Russia. Sobory in Ancient- Russian town were liturgical, administrative and judicial units implying active participation both of secular clergy and laity in the Church life and administration. During the late Middle Ages this collectivism (sobornost’) was infringed. Among the best studied are seven church districts in Novgorod. The documents which have survived until now include the Semisobornaya rospisʼ or a list of Novgorod churches according to seven church districts compiled in the 1480s. It enumerates 158 altars or holy tables of the main churches and theirs chapels, although indeed it states that in total there were 161 church sees in the town. The document informs us that in 44 churches, everyday liturgy was practised. Personal researches allow us to identify the boundaries of a special area which surrounded the bishop palace, Okolotok, mentioned in the chronicle for the years from 1339 to 1535. Presumably, it was originally prince’s territory at future Novgorod area in which, in the late 10th century, a new Christian centre of the town arose. The discrepancy between the altars enumerated and their total number is possibly explained by the fact that during the compilation of the list, the church of Sts. Kosmas and Damian in Kozmodem′yan Street was closed because of the exile of the boyar family to which it belonged. Analysis of chronicles demonstrates that the church organization consisting of seven sobory or districts in Novgorod arose in 1361–1362 as a result of the reform conducted by Archbishop Alexius with the aim of unifi cation of the kontsy and sotni. The boundaries of sobory coincided with those of kontsy. In the Sophia Side there existed fi ve church districts with the centres in the St. Sophia Cathedral in the Kremlin and Okolotok, the Michael Archangel church in Zagorodsky konets, St. Blasius church in Lyudin konets, the churches of the Sts. Forty Martyrs at Sebaste and of St. Martyr Jacob in Nerevsky konets. In Trade Side in Slavensky konets there was the Dormition of Theotokos church as the main district sanctuary, and the church of St. John the Forerunner was in Plotnitsky konets. The existence of seven districts was linked neither with the speculative theology nor with the reminiscence of the seven Ecumenical Councils nor with the Seven Sacraments of the Church, but with the archaic social structure of Novgorod. The existence of the two cathedrals in Nerevsky konets was caused by the fact that one of them arose at the place of a sanctuary previously connected with a sotnya settlement and the other in the area of an ancient boyar patronymia. Chapter 5, “Church Districts (Sobory) and the clergy of Medieval Pskov” discusses the history of sobor districts in Pskov where in the 15th century there were six cathedrals. First it became possible to prove that the sobor districts in the city had their territorial boundaries according with canon law. Traditionally, it has been believed that the sobory of the Pskov clergy were just professional unions like the guilds of medieval European cities. In 1356, the St. Sophia or Sophij sky sobor in Pskov is segregated from Troitsky the Holy Trinity sobor. The former may have been coinciding with the Opotsky konets. In 1416, the St. Nickolas or Nikolsky sobor arises embracing the Petrovsky konets. In 1453, a sobor and everyday liturgy celebration are organized attached to the church of St. Demetrius of Thessalonica, the Great Martyr, in the Dovmontov Gorod (Dovmont’s Town) near the Pskov Kremlin and the Church of the Saviour on Torg (Market). The newly founded sobor included the churches of Gorodetsky and Ostrolavitsky kontsy. In 1462, the sobor at Polonishche was founded. The sobor district attached to the church of the Entry of Our Lord into Jerusalem, created in 1471, may have been intended for Bogoyavlensky konets. The absence of hereditary boyar’s families in Pskov resulted in the fact that not representatives of aristocracy like in Novgorod but ordinary lay people, often headed sotni (sotnik), were the ktitors (churchwarden) of urban and rural churches. In the present study, sobory in Novgorod and Pskov and the regiones of Constantinople are compared. The latter being artifi cial formations later disappeared. In this connection, the conclusion is driven that hierotopy — a modern fashionable direction in studies of Christian culture — is applicable only to late Middle Ages and modern times. In the earlier epoch, the process of formation of sacral topography depended on the social structure and not on abstract theoretical thought. Sacralisation of the urban environment in Ancient Russia took place not earlier than the 16th and 17th centuries, having been expressed in creation of icons which included the realities of urban topography into the iconic space. Chapter 6, “Private devotional objects and the everyday Christian culture of Pskov citizens”, is dedicated to analysis and systematization of private devotional objects of Christian cult yielded by excavations in Pskov. The collection under study includes a total of about 100 objects of the 10th–15th century. In the study, the peculiarities of Christianization of the urban population as well as the role of the Scandinavians and the West-European Christian culture in that process are shown. Quite a series of objects including steatite and nacre crosses of the 12th century — pilgrimage relics from the Holy Land — have been identifi ed. These objects suggest active contacts of Pskov citizens with Byzantium. It is characteristic that in Pskov, a stronger infl uence of the Christian culture of Moscow than in Novgorod is traceable, this fact explaining the voluntary subjugation of Pskov to the Moscow prince in 1469. Generally, the Pskov Christian culture, including both objects of personal devotion and icon-painting, turns to have been very conservative and archaic although it had evolved within the frame of common Russian Christian culture development processes. Investigations of archaeological monuments allow us to make our knowledge about the Christian culture of Pskov considerably more precise whereas the local chronicle-writing emerged only in the 14th century and offi cial documents contain scarce information about that aspect of mediaeval life. In Chapter 7, “Veche of the Holy Trinity: the urban community as the Ecclesia of Pskov”, considers the history of the establishment of church administration in Pskov. Originally, the church law and administration in Pskov were realized in the form of bishop’s visitations and activities of the clergy of the main town’s cathedral — that of the Holy Trinity. In the late 13th century in Rus, the offi ce of the namestnik (local representative or sometimes locum tenenes) of the bishop comes into existence. He was occupied with the legal deeds and management of the church property within a particular territory. This institution was not known in the Byzantine Church. Greek texts do not translate the Russian term but simply transcribe it as namestnikos. The origin of this offi ce, fi rst recorded in Galich-Volyn′ Rus, may have been related with the existence of church castellanies in Poland. Researchers always have believed that the namestnik of the Novgorod archbishop appeared in Pskov due to the attempt to subjugate the city to the Novgorod boyars. However, such an institution emerged practically simultaneously in Pskov, Ladoga and Torzhok not later than in 1307, having nothing in common with the Novgorod-Pskov political confrontation. Beginning since 1330–1340, the namestnik in Pskov was a layman appointed from the number of local citizens as was approved by the Treaty of Bolotovo between Pskov and Novgorod, signed between 1329 and 1342. The last namestnik belonging to clergy was the hieromonk Arseny who in 1331 unsuccessfully competed with Vasily Kalika for Novgorod Archbishop Cathedra. I am critically inclined as regards the information of the Novgorod chronicle that in that year the Pskovians headed by Arseny wanted to organize a separate diocese independent from Novgorod. The activities of the Pskov namestnik are known not only owing to written sources but also through fi nds of lead seals and evolution of their type. The seals were once attached to documents sanctioned by them. The Pskov namestnik’s activities were criticized in the late 14th and 15th century by Kievan metropolitans because in this case a layman-namestnik judged the clergy that was prohibited by the canon law. By contrast to Novgorod, where namsetnik proved testaments and land bargains, in Pskov, these functions remained under the jurisdiction of the Veche (City Assembly). In 1435, Archbishop Euthymius will unsuccessfully try to introduce the Novgorodian practice to Pskov. In 1437, Metropolitan Isidorus, departing for the Ferrara-Florence Council, excluded Pskov from the jurisdiction of the Novgorod archbishop with whom he became in confl ict because of the planned Unia with the Roman Catholic Church. The Metropolitan realized his authority in the town through archimandrites, of whom one, Gregorius, who previously was the hegumen of the St. Demetrius Monastery in Constantinople, became later the Kievan Metropolitan in the territory of Lithuania (1458–1473). After the return of Pskov to the Novgorod jurisdiction in 1448 and until 1470, namestnik of Archbishop of Novgorod received an additional right to prove land bargains of churches and cloisters. After the unsuccessful attempt at foundation of a bishopric cathedra in 1463–1464, the Pskov clergy endeavoured in 1468-1470 to carry out a local “reformation”. With an active participation of laymen, a special legal body of the Church was organized which was to hear independently, without participation of the bishop, church legal proceedings on the basis of the Nomocanones — a code of church laws. One of the main issues for the new body was that of the widowed clergy which was prohibited to practise liturgy in Pskov. Notwithstanding the fact that the Pskov reform was a counterpart of the events of 1385–1406 in Novgorod, where it was decided to reject hearing of legal suits at the Metropolitan’s, in the Pskov proceedings one feels distinctly an eschatological implication. On the eve of the 7,000 years of the Creation (1492 AD), the Pskov citizens made up their mind to put their church in order. Together with the namestnik, considerable authority belonged to the clergy of the Trinity Cathedral. Resolutions of the Pskov Veche were sanctioned by “seals of the Holy Trinity”, i.e. by the seals of the city’s cathedral. Characteristic of the history of Pskov is the control of laymen over the clerics, as well as a high extent of participation of the clergy and laymen in the ecclesiastic life thus realizing, in accordance with the church tradition, a system of “checks-and-balances” in the relation with the bishop. These observations allow us to put forward the question of the correlation between the civil and church communities in history of Pskov. Under the conditions of the mediaeval non-institutional democracy, the resolution of city’s problems “at the Veche near the Trinity”was a religious procedure since the boundaries of the church and urban organizations coincided in mediaeval town. That high extent of coordination between the ecclesiastic and civil issues had provided the longevity of Veche traditions in North Russia including self-government tendencies even under the authoritarian regime of the Muscovite Kingdom. In 1555–1556, this situation led to the abolition of kormleniya (bestowing of maintenance), introduction of the farming system (otkupy) and the appearance of local self-government provincial guba elders as elective public institutions. Under such conditions, the boyars played a progressive role opposing to mancipation or enslavement of peasants, advocating the foundation of a boyar council — the House of Lords of the incipient Russian parliament — and participating actively in the formation of capitalistic economy. The conservatism of the church and political culture of Novgorod and Pskov in the situation of the Time of Troubles in the early 17th century allowed reviving here the traditions of the Veche selfgovernment and active participation of citizens and clergy in the church administration and public social-political life. After the long interruption caused by the Muscovite rule, the Pskov chronicler in 1610 reintroduces into his narrative the subject of the special patronage of the Holy Trinity over Pskov as over “house of the Holy Trinity”, the subject with acquaintance with which the present book is begun…
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hal-03168373 , version 1 (13-03-2021)


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Aleksandr Musin. Церковь и горожане средневекового Пскова. Историко-археологическое исследование [Cerkov’ i gorožane srednevekovogo Pksova. Istoriko-arxeologičeskoe issledovanie]. Université d’État de Saint-Pétersbourg, 364 p., 2010, 978-5-8465-1067-8. ⟨hal-03168373⟩
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