Cover

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Title page, Copyright

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pp. i-iv

Contents

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pp. v-vi

Detailed Table of Contents for the Appendices

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pp. vii-x

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Foreword to the French Edition

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pp. xi-xii

The local Council of Moscow of 1917– 1918 is without doubt the greatest event in the recent history of the Russian Orthodox Church. It was the first council convoked since 1667 and the result of an astonishing renewal— scarcely known until then—of Russian Orthodox theology at the beginning of the twentieth century. This council addressed, with exceptional...

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Preface to the French Edition

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pp. xiii-xviii

If the purpose of writing a preface to a book, above all, is to attract the attention of the public to its importance, presenting the work of Hyacinthe Destivelle, The Moscow Council (1917– 1918), is the easiest of tasks. It is a singular effort, indispensable for anyone who wants to understand the contemporary Russian Orthodox Church. More broadly, this study should...

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Introduction

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pp. 20-23

In Russian, the single word sobor1 is used to designate both the council and a church building. As an adjective, the word qualifies, in the creed, the third element of the Church: soborniy. This manifests the close link that, in Russian thought, unites the Church and the council—to the point that sometimes the two tend to become confused. As for the Church, it is by nature conciliar, and the council manifests the very essence of ecclesiality....

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Part 1: the Council’s Origins

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pp. 24-39

The history of the 1917–1918 Moscow Council began in 1905. In fact, it was in 1905 that various initiatives resulted in the formation of a preconciliar commission. We are obliged, then, to go back to 1905 in order to understand its origins and its causes. These are to be found first of all in the situation of the Russian Church at the time, a situation that was paradoxical,...

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Part 2: Towards the Council, 1905–1917

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pp. 40-71

Between the first manifesto calling for its convocation and the council itself, eleven years were necessary. These preparatory years are indispensable for understanding the enormous work accomplished in barely one year by the council from 1917 to 1918. In 1905, as in 1917, the council process was initiated and then restarted under the pressure of “external” social and...

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Part 3: the Council Itself: Procedures, Composition, and Unfolding

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pp. 72-89

The chief interest of the Council of 1917– 1918 is the conciliar fact itself. The council’s composition and functioning are, in themselves, original and revelatory of the way the Russian Church, in 1917, intended to resolve its difficulties and challenge the new situation. That is why, before even attempting to analyse the content of the council, it seems necessary to...

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Part 4: The Decrees of the Council

The decrees are the culmination of the conciliar process that began in 1905. The Council of 1917–1918 was exceptional because of its composition, its procedure, the ambitions of its reforms, and the circumstances that surrounded it, all of which make it an object of unique interest in the history of the Russian Church. But, at the same time, their importance...

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Chapter 1: The Conciliar Organization of the Church

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pp. 92-142

Until its dissolution on September 7 (20), 1918, the council, pressured by the revolutionary context, concentrated its efforts mostly on the canonical organization of the Church. In reality, the council functioned as a constituent assembly and, as such, possessed “full authority in the Church to organize ecclesial life in Russia on the basis of the Word of God and the...

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Chapter 2: Pastoral Activity and Discipline in the Church

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pp. 143-155

The Council of 1917–1918 did not limit itself to organizing the Russian Church according to the principles of sobornost’. Its members also wanted to give the Church a pastoral dimension, which implied modifications to ecclesial discipline. Since the end of the nineteenth century, the rise of atheism presented new challenges to religious teaching. Moreover, since...

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Chapter 3: The Church, the State, and the Revolution

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pp. 156-171

Since the decree on religious tolerance, promulgated on April 17, 1905, and especially since the abdication of the tsar on March 3 (16), 1917, the Russian Church found itself in an unprecedented situation that led it to a complete reconsideration of its relationship with the state and with society. The revolution, in a way, facilitated the convocation of the council, but, at the same time, it obliged the Church to distance itself from the...

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Part 5: the Application and Reception of the Decrees of the Council

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pp. 172-209

The canonical authority of a council does not come only from its composition and its members—even if they are saints. Its reception by the Church as a whole is equally important. In the case of the Council of 1917– 1918, which, in fact, tried to assemble representatives of the ensemble of the body of the Church, it could be asked what value an assembly of this type...

Appendix I

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pp. 210-351

Appendix II

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pp. 352-370

Addendum of Selected Recent Scholarship

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pp. 371-372

Notes

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pp. 373-441

Bibliography

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pp. 442-451

Index

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pp. 452-468