H. J. Coleman
MEMOIRS OF A MISSIONARY: D.I. BOGOLIUBOV AND THE RUSSIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH'S INTERNAL MISSION IN THE 19TH AND EARLY 20TH CENTURIES
Стаття досліджує історію так званої внутрішньої місії Російської православної церкви в пізній імперській Росії крізь призму спогадів одного з її провідних анти-сектантських місіонерів - Д.І. Боголюбова. Внутрішня місія була надзвичайно спірна, часто зображена як поліцейська рука церкви. Все ж мемуари Боголюбова безпосередньо виявляють спонуки і боротьбу місіонерів, засвідчивши, що вони бачили своє призначення, як щось подібне до слов'янофільського руху "ходіння в народ", відмінне від соціального контролю. Оскільки Боголюбов прагнув втілити своє богословське вчення на практиці, він несподівано зіткнувся з глибокими питаннями про природу російської душі і ролі церкви в російському суспільстві. Ключові слова: Д.І. Боголюбов, спогади, Російська православна церква.
When the Revolution of 1905 ushered in an era of greater religious toleration in Imperial Russia, the Orthodox Church was suddenly forced to confront a new pluralism and to reassess its relationship with Russian society and state. As the 1905-07 report of the Over-Procurator of the Holy Synod, the lay head of the Church, reported with alarm:
Since 1905, [sectarianism] has raised its head. Sectarian congresses began to be held, individual congregations were quickly organized, and missionaries flooded in from abroad, openly travelling around Russia and preaching. The trusting simple people, deeply believing and thirsting for religious teaching, fall into the cleverly set sectarian nets .
The Russian Orthodox Church may have remained the state church and retained a legal monopoly on making converts, but a sense of invasion, of the illegitimacy of non-Orthodox preaching on Russian soil, and of the helplessness and ignorance of the Orthodox flock permeated official responses to increased pluralism. The Church felt challenged to renew its pastoral work in order to compete for the Russian (and Ukrainian and Belarusian) souls that it considered canonically - indeed naturally, essentially - its own.
The Church's "internal" mission stood at the forefront of this response. Its task was to return to the Church converts to Old Belief and non-Orthodox faiths. This mission was highly controversial, and would remain so right up to the 1917 revolution. It was identified with Konstantin Pobedonostsev, the famous reactionary and a defender of the close unity of the state and its Orthodox Church, who exercised great influence as the Over-Procurator of the Holy Synod and key advisor to Alexander III and his son, Nicholas II. Under his watch, religion became highly politicized and the state was mobilized to defend the legal prohibition against preaching non-Orthodox faiths or leaving the Orthodox church . The liberal press at the time focused on tales of missionaries resorting to the police to force Old Believers and sectarians to publicly debate them, and, in a few sensational cases, to remove the children of sectarians from their parents, to be raised and educated in Orthodox monasteries . Criticism echoed inside the Church too. For instance, in his memoirs, written in exile many years later, Metropolitan Evlogii (Georgievskii) would write that, "[i]n the dioceses, in Church circles, [the missionaries] were feared, but they were not loved nor were they trusted" . Such a public perception of the arm of the Church most directly engaged in Christian education could not help in the challenge ahead.
Who were these missionaries and how did they understand their task? These questions have received only limited attention in the scholarly literature . Moreover, what we know about the missionaries comes primarily from the writings by and about the dissidents - who, needless to say, were not fond of these missionaries. There has been very little study of the internal missionaries themselves, of their ideals and their understandings of their role in the Russian state and society. Yet the church's so-called "internal" mission was, in fact, the setting for much of the renewed attention to pastoral work that new studies of late imperial Russian religious life are uncovering. And when we read the pages of the missionary press in this period, we discover a more complicated picture of missionary work, one in which the missionaries were not so much confident instruments of the state as desperate to prove their utility to the government, not so much triumphant as anxiously searching for the best means to convert the Russian people.
A particularly good example can be found in the memoirs of Dmitri I. Bogoliubov, who served as a diocesan anti-sectarian missionary in Tambov, Khar'kiv, and St. Petersburg dioceses between 1894 and 1913. During his summer holidays in 1914, Bogoliubov sat down with a stack of his diaries and began to pen his recollections of his first steps as a missionary twenty years earlier. Back in 1894, he remembered, he was fresh out of Moscow